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Messages - Free Range Ginger

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General Fishing Tips / Re: Are seals/sealions an issue around Doran?
« on: March 20, 2022, 06:54:35 AM »
In short: YES! Iíve had the most success with the plastic Promar Seal Proof canisters. They are slightly bigger than a coke can with a polka-dog pattern of holes and a screw top. Theyíve worked for me without issue since I switched over to them. Everything else I tried there got destroyed by seals.

My intro to these sea lions was throwing a hoop net from shore and using a bait bag. Not 5 minutes after throwing it in did one sea lion surface with the hoop in his mouth and shaking it like a dog.

General Fishing Tips / Sonoma Creek with kids
« on: March 20, 2022, 06:49:23 AM »
Hey all,

Iím heading to Sonoma Creek, near the bridge on 37, with the kids. Hoping to catch some stripers with anchovies, shad, or lures. Also bringing the kids hoping they might catch some bait fish or something small off of night crawlers.

What have you all caught there? Just looking for tips to up the odds my kids can catch fish there so theyíll want to stay longer.

General Talk / Re: Veteran Fishing Group Update
« on: March 19, 2022, 08:51:07 PM »
Do you accept fishing gear donations?

Hey Rock Hopper! Yes, we definitely do. PM me and we can find a time to meet up where itís convenient for you, or I am also happy to show you around our center if youíd like to make the trip down the road to ROhnert Park.

General Talk / Re: Veteran Fishing Group Update
« on: March 19, 2022, 03:15:35 PM »

nice! What's the organization's name? I'd be interested to show up and help where I can.

I'm an Army infantry vet. Did a year in the Pech/Watapur/Korengal valleys of Kunar province, Afghanistan.

Sorry for ghosting you all! My organization is called the North Bay Vet Center. Itís part of the VA, but just for counseling. We are able to see combat vets and anyone who has experienced military sexual trauma. Anyone can come to our fishing group outings. We mostly crab snare off of Lawsonís Landing and Doran, sometimes pier fish at Fort Baker. We have some injured/mobility impaired vets so these spots are the best access for them. If youíre interested in coming, we meet the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. Call my Vet Center at 707-586-5966 and ask to be put on the fishing group roster. If you want to ask about our other services, including counseling, help with benefits, etc. just ask for me (Mike Ergo) or my outreach worker Corey Whelan.

Feel free to ask any questions here or PM me. Iím a Marine and Iraq vet myself.

Our group is usually 3-6 people and it would be great to meet up with any of you who want to join! And thank you to all of you who have supported support with rods, reels, tackle, and money! I wish I could post some pictures of us in action, but Iím ethically bound not to post pictures of any client (HIPAA aka Confidentiality).

General Talk / Veteran Fishing Group Update
« on: October 09, 2021, 07:23:50 AM »
Hey everyone, it's been a few months. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who was able to donate rods, reels, lures, money, etc. to get my veteran fishing group off the ground! So far, we have met at Doran, Fort Baker, and Paradise Pier. It's been sop rewarding to see my fellow vets find some peace by casting a line in the water.

I would love to post pictures of us fishing and crab snaring, but I can't due to HIPAA (privacy) regulations. Just know that you have made a huge impact in the lives of others.

Many thanks,


P.S. If any of you have a line on cheap bait, please PM me! That's the one thing we will definitely still need.

General Talk / Re: Crab Opener Ideas
« on: October 09, 2021, 07:14:40 AM »
I had the same experience from two local kayakers.  Complete dirt bags.

If you're lucky enough to see them in action, you can always use them to rebait your pots! I always thought about that when I watched Dexter.

Wanted To Buy / Re: Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: June 10, 2021, 02:43:13 AM »
Sonoma County falls under SFVA Correct?  Have you tried hitting up your rec therapy folks for some support?   Also put the order in as soon as possible don't wait with GSA.  It will take a while for it to be processed. be as specific as possible.   Get all the technical data, if you want A given ROD and reel set up, be as specific as you need to be including line and tackle.  I know I worked for the VA for a number of years and know how fracked up purchasing is.    If you can get someone to buy on a credit card (line and hard tackle) and what you can get donated, then what come in later is your replacement stuff.

Great advice. Happy to report we have a few dollars we can use towards this and I was SHOCKED to see tackle on GSA. We are in the process of ordering stuff. That being said, those rods and reels will stay at our Vet Center while we will be able to give your donated rods to veterans to keep in many cases. And it means so much to see the support we have already seen from many of you. My heartfelt thanks goes out to you all!

Wanted To Buy / Re: Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: June 10, 2021, 02:40:03 AM »
How do I get the gears to you?  I guess new gears are ok too right?  :smt003
Yes, new gear is just fine.
Either I have someone come to you or we meet up or we try the NCKA express. Where are you located?

Wanted To Buy / Re: Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: June 08, 2021, 05:18:40 AM »
Thank you everyone who has donated so far. So far we have 4 ultra light rods (one with a reel), one surf/steelhead rod, and $100 to spend. You guys are awesome. Iím blown away by the response so far. To answer some FAQs here is some more information:

1-What all do I need? Everything you are willing to donate that will help my vets catch fish on the beach or at the lake.
2- Am I running a 501c3? No, this is part of the VA. We are federal. Long story short: if I can find fishing gear on a vendorized contractors website I can put in a request to buy it and maybe get it 6 months from now.
3-Do we need guides? Yes. I know a couple spots to bring people that donít involve climbing a jetty, but my shore-based angling on saltwater is pretty limited.

General Talk / Re: NCKA Express- San Jose to Petaluma
« on: June 04, 2021, 09:48:42 PM »
This is something separate Iím buying for my kayak, but I will definitely take some trout gear for my veterans group. Where do you live? We can DM with all the details.

General Talk / Re: NCKA Express- San Jose to Petaluma
« on: June 02, 2021, 05:21:01 PM »
Thank you all for helping with this! Let me PayPal or Venmo you all some gas money.

Wanted To Buy / Re: Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: May 31, 2021, 04:50:14 AM »
Mike that's awesome.

my old gear is I think beyond repair - but I'd gladly make a $ donation - can you accept that?
I'll also sort through my old stuff, see if any of it is serviceable - but I wouldn't want to donate junk.


Hey Brian, I won't say no to that! Let me think on the best way to do that. I can always accept PayPal and Venmo. I just want to make sure you're comfortable with the method of donation since it would be to my personal account if we went that method. Another way we could do it is make it a donation to VA voluntary services earmarked for my agency, the North Bay Vet Center. That would take more time, but be the most transparent way of doing it. Thank you again!

Wanted To Buy / Re: Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: May 31, 2021, 04:46:50 AM »
What's your timeline for getting this stuff?  Is there a deadline?  As a fellow veteran, I certainly want to chip in, but I won't be able to sort gear and get things ready for pickup/delivery for another week.  Does that work for you?

Hey Tedski,

Yes that's totally fine. I am aiming to make this work to get a group together starting in June. I have the people ready, just need some gear. Ideally I'd love to take the group crab snaring and surf fishing in early June and get two trips out of it before Dungeness season ends on June 30th. Thank you for being willing to donate!

Wanted To Buy / Wanted: old fishing gear for veterans
« on: May 28, 2021, 04:18:53 AM »
Hey everyone,

I run a mental health clinic in Sonoma County for veterans. I am in the process of starting a fishing group and am in need of rods, reels and tackle. We will be doing surf casting and fresh water fishing for bass and trout.

What I'd like from those willing is your old gear that is still serviceable or can be made serviceable with a little work. I'm not shy about greasing and oiling up old reels. Please reply with anything you can offer. My coworkers and I can come to you or you can bring it by our office. PM me for details and address.

Thank you all and I hope you have a meaningful Memorial Day. Please take a minute to think of the men and women who didn't make it home.

Semper Fi,

Mike Ergo aka the Free Range Ginger

Wanted To Buy / Wanted: Malibu Kayak X-wing
« on: May 25, 2021, 03:55:58 AM »
Hey everyone,

I'm looking for the X-wing that goes to a Malibu kayak. It seems to be sold out everywhere I look including Amazon. Do any of y'all have one?

They look like this: https://coastalanglermag.com/malibu-x-wing-console/

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