Catch a Cure II: Moving Forward

The Sun Also Rises
So many tremendous human beings have come to the aid of Catch a Cure.

I’m currently home for the holidays in Upstate New York, enjoying time with family, but I’m still pushing forward with Catch a Cure II.

As of right now we have a host of generous sponsors who have gotten on board for the cause. Native Eyewear has donated glasses, Get Vicious Fishing is on board for up to $500 for the Melanoma Research Foundation, Rick Roth at Mirror Image sent a second batch of T-shirts to sell for the cause, Sunology has sent more sunscreen so that everyone involved in the project will be lathered up and sun-safe.

In the bigger picture, Gian Lombardo and Emerson College, where I’m working on my Master’s Degree, have approved the project for a Directed Study, where I’ll assess a fishing audience for what I hope to be a forthcoming publication.

While I was spending time with family and loved ones this past Christmas, I couldn’t help but reflect on how grateful I am for all the generous support I’ve gotten with this project. Every company, no matter the size of the donation, that has gotten on board has meant the world to me. With this backing… I’m not just one man fighting a disease, I can represent something more: A generation of fishermen determined to stay safe on the water and what’s more, beat this dreaded disease once and for all.

As much as I’d like not to be… I’ve become as web-dependent as most everyone in my generation. And I have to say, while social media has its admitted drawbacks and cringe-worthy posts… every time I see a “like,” a comment or a share of my project, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter,it warms my heart in knowing that we’re an army against this disease and its days are numbered.

Thank you and Happy Holidays to everyone who has supported Catch a Cure, in any way whatsoever. It has truly meant the world to me.

-Rick

 

 

Ten Times Anglers Have Reminded me Why I’m One

DSC_0088 11For many of us, “becoming” a fisherman isn’t necessarily a choice we give a lot of thought to. Often we’re handed a rod when we’re young, and if we’re lucky, we never really set it down. But there is a difference between becoming an angler and being an angler… and so many men and women I’ve met in my travels have proven time and again why anglers, and all outdoorsmen for that matter, are a type of human being you want on your side, in your corner and who, more than anything, you’d like to share some of this beautiful thing called life with. There are hundreds of times in my life this much has been proven true, but here are ten that are particularly memorable.

10. When I was fishing my way around the country in 2010, a marine artist and angler in the Florida Keys, named Pasta Pantaleo, noticed that I was sleeping in my Jeep in bar parking lots . He offered me his couch, and although I don’t think he realized I’d be there for the better part of a month, waiting on a celebrity to interview, he never once suggested that my company was anything but welcome.

9. On that same journey, a guy named Chris Senyohl, a guide in Seattle, put me up for more than a week and took me salmon fishing, sea-run cutthroat fishing, and even let me tag along for a pheasant hunt.

8. In this past year at Emerson, a professor (and angler) named Gian Lombardo has taken my effort to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation, and helped me turn it into an academic endeavor to give it added depth and purpose.

7. That effort wouldn’t be possible without a precedent set on Catch a Cure, thanks to Todd Smith and the guys at Outdoor Sportsman Group.

6. When I was an intern at Field & Stream, the then assistant web editor (now fishing editor) Joe Cermele made sure I wasn’t lost in the shuffle: He invited me fishing more Fall weekends than he didn’t, and when he was busy, he always made it a point to pull up a map online, and give me suggestions about beaches to fish.

5. In 2009, the guys at On The Water Magazine had more faith in a young aspiring editor than, at the time, he had in himself.

4. When I returned from the road, a guy named Brian McClintock invited me on board a publishing project he and his team was working on at the time called GoFISHn, and for almost two years, I got to live the dream: To write for a living.

3. I have three cousins, one a month younger than me, one two years younger, and one three years younger, all anglers, who for as long as I can remember, have stayed in touch, shared a laugh, and never failed to lift my spirits.

2.That multi-state fishing mission (#10) would not be possible were it not for a guy named Gerry Bethge at Outdoor Life, who believed a 23-year-old kid who claimed he was going to fish his way around the country, and gave him the means to do it.

1. My father, a man who by all accounts spent his share of time in woods hunting as a young man, never for a second discouraged me from chasing the dream of writing about the water.

 

Why The Water is More Essential Now Than it has Ever Been

FB_IMG_1449970427369I was rifling through some old photographs while home for Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house (grandmothers always have old photographs) and found one of a cousin of mine, almost ten years my junior, holding up a striped bass on the flats of Cape Cod.
The picture itself is probably a decade old, but unlike the images we save today online, which can disappear in a glitch or with a program’s crash, those physical images are forever… or almost forever.

My cousin, Dylan Wheelock, now a college-aged student in Buffalo, was holding up his first striped bass and smiling ear-to-ear. Dylan, like me, was raised in Upstate New York and for all I know that might be the only striped bass he has caught to date… and perhaps the only one he’ll ever catch, since he didn’t get the fishing bug as badly as many of us did.

I remembered wading those flats with him, then in my early 20s myself, and nervously telling him to watch his step and mind the current.

I’d remember, even if I didn’t have the photo, the smile on his face after connecting with something from a world so different than the one we grew up in.

We’ve both matured to an age where too much time is spent online, communicating in a way that barely does the word justice, over the myriad of social media platforms that only connect us by the loosest of human threads.

But that day on the flats there were no cell phones or tablets, no Wi-Fi and no one to “tag,” in the image. There was just the two of us, and his mom, Ernie, taking the photo with a disposable camera from a safe patch of dry sand half a hundred yards back.

I was staring at the photo when I realized that it wasn’t online, wasn’t on Facebook or Instagram or any social media platform… it was just there, dug from a box, in my hands. Holding onto it before continuing to flip through the memories, I thought of at least one moment we’d shared on the water that didn’t need some superficial online presence to exist in our minds, and for that moment at least, in my hands.

With the omnipresence of images we’re inundated with today, from what friends had for lunch to some new meme that is going viral, I think that these images have become more sacred.

The time we steal from life to actually spend on the water, with a rod, a few friends and a camera is more necessary now than it has ever been. It’s becoming increasingly easier to fill a day with, what at the end of it, some harsh critics might call “nothing.”

Our time spent under the guise of chasing fish, when we get to absorb all of nature’s beauty without a screen between it and us, has become like air in an ever-shrinking vacuum.

As outdoorsmen, we’ve always known that this was necessary, but with a new social media platform popping up every day to crowd our browser and fill our smartphone… for many of us, I believe, it’s become downright essential.