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FILLING THE BILL FOR ARTIFICIAL REEFS:
As various sectors of the recreational realm battle over bass regs, one area where all anglers stand united is in supporting NJ?s incredible Artificial Reef Program ? and its guru, Bill Figley.

Sadly, and somewhat frighteningly, Bill is retiring in a year and a half.

That is actually just around the corner in terms of the program?s future.

Chatting with Figley this week, he feels it is vital to the proper transition of Reef Program leadership that his replacement be trained for at least a year prior to taking over his spot. A new player would have to meet ?all the state and federal people and the industrial components,? said Figley, adding "that takes a long time.?

Needless to say, anglers have a bundle riding on a smooth transition and the proper preservation of the sky-high level of the program?s reef building efficiency. And it might take some serious involvement by anglers to make sure the proper people know anglers? feelings toward the reef program. Don?t believe for a second that Trenton recognizes the depth of fishermen appreciation with the reef building. If it does, why is the program unfunded?

If only out of respect for what Figley has done to date ? which is just about everything reefy out there -- his wish to have his replacement train for at least a year is something fishing groups can strongly propose to the Trenton. A proper starting point would be via the NJ Marine Fisheries Council, during one of its monthly meetings.

There is also a glaring need for anglers to hype the reef program, reaching out to those who control the state?s purse strings or to those legislators who could make life so much easier for the reef system by securing annual funding.
Amazingly, the reef program only runs on donations, with a movement now toward corporate sponsorship. It should be noted that fundraising ? without which the program goes down the tubes -- is yet another vital part of the learning curve for Figley?s replacement.

One thing is certain: the reefs simply cannot be left on their own.

?We can?t simply say ?That was a great project and forget about it.? It takes a lot of maintenance. It?s the worst environment in the world out there,? said Figley.

Not that the methodologies of proper NJ reef building would depart with Figley. Over the years he has carefully documented the policies and procedures used to elevate the Garden State?s reef program to national prominence. He leaves behind what amounts to reef plans, offering detailed guidance including, in Figley?s words, ?philosophies, protocols and building techniques.?

Hopefully anglers like those here at BassBarn can rally to assure the future of the Artificial Reef Program by backing Bill Figley as he works to assure that after his retirement the reef program he built will survive, along with incredible fishing he wants to leave as a legacy.

J-mann
 

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j mann great post i hope that he can find a suitable person with dedication and knowledge like hes so that the future of the reef program will be able to flurish.
 

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Great post J Mann. Please post on the Offshore and Tackle Box Forums. Thank you.
 
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