OC Fishing Club plans Centennial Tournament

By Lou Rodia

Anything that survives for 100 years is worth a celebration marking the occasion. The Ocean City Fishing Club has earned that right, having reached its 100th birthday. A celebration is in progress. They are the oldest continually operating fishing club in the United States. It was formed in 1913. Close behind it in longevity is the Association of Surf Angling Clubs (ASAC) that will mark its centennial in 2015. As part of the celebration, the two fishing organizations, in concert with the Ocean City governmental administration and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce are involved in providing what may be the largest fishing tournament ever held in Ocean City, according to Mike Hayes, an Ocean City Fishing Club trustee and chairman of the fishing tournament committee.

The Ocean City Fishing Club is planning a three day surf fishing tournament slated for October 17-19, 2013 on the Ocean City beaches. The event is expected to draw as many as 100 East Coast teams competing for total cash prizes of $20,000, according to Hayes. In addition to hosting the 28 member Association of Surf Angling Clubs, the tournament is expected to attract many club teams that have never fished in Cape May County before, Hayes said. The promotional and educational benefits of the tournament were echoed by Jim Jeffries, of Cape May Court House, president of the ASAC. A lot of people are looking forward to this tournament, Jeffies said. It s a rare opportunity to put Ocean City on the map as a fishing destination for anglers up and down the East Coast. Not only does this tournament showcase surf fishing for all to see and also to try their surf casting skills, he added. The three day tournament will begin with check in for competing teams on October 17. Welcoming events are also scheduled. On October 18, the second day of the event, two fishing sessions and a fishing tackle show are scheduled. On the third day, October 19, there will be two fishing events and an awards dinner. The tournament is open to teams that must include six members. There will be no individual entries. Assisting Chairman Hayes in planning for the tournament are co-chairs first vice president Augie Conte, Jr., of Ocean City and Don Ladik, of Ocean City and Cherry Hill, N.J.

Ties between the Ocean City Fishing Club and the Association of Surf Angling Clubs go back many years. The first president of the ASAC in 1915 was legendary Ocean City angler Churchill Hungerford, who was one of the founders of the Ocean City club in 1913. For additional information about the tournament contact Hayes at 856-303-0906 or at mikehayes325@gmail.com. Contact Conte at 856-429-4364 or aconte@aol.com. Call Ladik at 856-662-2058 or djladik@comcast.net.

The Ocean City Fishing Club has survived several wars, adverse weather that damaged or destroyed club facilities, difficult economic times and the ups and downs that accompany recreational fishing catches. Their presence has been an important contributor in the growth of Ocean City as a family resort and to the quality of life that draws permanent residents to the area. Too often, peripheral activities promulgated by the tournaments are overshadowed by the events themselves. What is often not understood is the long and short term economic impact events such as these have on the area.

Some are fairly obvious. Fishing tournaments such as the one set for October in Ocean City naturally would generate some fishing tackle sales. Food and other refreshment suppliers can see an up tick in sales. Some rental properties will house tournament entrants. Gas stations will sell some gasoline and other travel related items. First time visitors drawn to the area may like what they see and return as vacationers or as permanent residents. Everyone involved in the tournament will take home stories to tell and the better they are treated as guests while they are here, the more favorable their message will be. Treated well, they will become goodwill ambassadors for the area. Tournaments not only attract actual participants. Families and friends also show up to lend support to their teams and to view tournament connected events as well as the actual fishing. Many businesses may not be aware that some of the business they derive from a fishing event is tournament related. They may recognize the actual anglers by their dress, their vehicles and the gadgetry that accompanies their luggage. But they may miss the additional business that surrounds the event by the supporters and onlookers. Tournaments draw media attention that sells the attributes of the area and helps sell the sport of fishing to the mass of people who are exposed to the event on the social networks, the TV, newspapers and magazines.

Tournaments, from the smallest to the largest, these events provide time to socialize, exchange fishing knowledge, create another excuse to go fishing and to sell fishing and fishing equipment. What compels anglers to fish tournaments? It may be the allure of the monetary value of the prizes. It may be the need to assuage the competitive urge. We compete in cards, auto and horse racing, in business, or in individual or team sports like football and base ball, tennis and golf. We are competitive by nature. So it should not be too surprising that we add competition to the long list of reasons why we fish. We have other reasons to compete in fishing. We can compete with ourselves to attain world record status for the fish we catch. We compete in pools on head boats. We can bet a buck or two on who catches the first, the most or the biggest fish on our own boats. Or we can enter a tournament. There are lots of tournaments to choose from. Some are low-level events sponsored by local tackle shops, local marinas, tackle shops or fishing clubs. Some are professionally run with big cash prizes. What ever the bottom line, tournaments add another dimension to fishing. Fishing should be fun. Tournaments become an extension of the fun syndrome.

From the Ocean City Sentinel, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, Lou Rodia - On Fishing. Permission granted to post the above artical written by Lou Rodia.

The above page is not the official website for the Ocean City Fishing Club. The official website is at www.oceancityfishingclub.com

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