At a time when fishing club participation is competing with family obligations and job demands more so than any other time, some clubs are falling by the wayside and other clubs are finding it difficult to get members to participate in club activities. Despite being a relatively small club with approximately 50 members, the Freeport Hudson Anglers Club has managed for 45 years to stage one of the largest shark fishing tournaments in the country thanks to the dedicated efforts of a small group of members. Having the support of the Town of Hempstead and the Village of Freeport has also played a role in the tournament’s ongoing success.
Formed in 1966 by a group of 16 anglers as the Hudson Point Fishing Club, the goals of the club included: facilitating members’ interest and participation in all forms of sport fishing; support all efforts and legislation intended to assist in the propagation of saltwater fish; use all legislative methods to protect the interests of rod and reel fishermen; encourage good fellowship and sportsmanship; aid in the formulation and establishment of sound policies and practices designed to conserve, restore, protect and safely regulate the natural resources of our continent. These guidelines have largely stood the test of time and reflect the commitment demonstrated by the club to our marine resources.
In 1975, the club was chartered as the Hudson Anglers, Inc. The charter was revised in 1988 to its current name as the Freeport Hudson Anglers, Inc. The membership is made up of anglers from many different backgrounds and professions, with fishing the common bond. New members must be sponsored by a current member, go through an interview process and be voted in by the club. Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at the Merrick Golf Course in Merrick, and the executive board meets the last Tuesday of each month. You do not have to own a boat to become a member. The club actively competes against other clubs in various tournaments for flounder, fluke, bluefish, weakfish, striped bass, blackfish and sharks, and sponsor a number of charter fishing trips out of Montauk, Mattituck and Port Jefferson. They also hold several intra-club tournaments and derbies during the season, in addition to an annual awards/dinner dance and summer barbecue. They are members of the New York Sportfishing Federation, Recreational Fishing Alliance and the IGFA.
The club’s big event of course is their 45th Annual Freeport Hudson Anglers Shark Tournament slated for Saturday, June 17 when hundreds of boats will depart Jones Inlet in pursuit of prize money that has approached nearly a quarter million dollars in prior years. Prize money is based on the number of entries and the entry fee is $350 per boat. The tournament also will feature a shark tagging competition. Any FHA recognized species of shark, of any weight, tagged with an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shark tag is eligible. Six percent of the total prize money will be allotted to the tagging competition.
A mandatory captains’ meeting takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, June 16 at the Town of Hempstead Guy Lombardo Marina in Freeport. Fishing is from 6 a.m. Saturday with a weigh-in deadline of 6 p.m. at Guy Lombardo Marina. The five heaviest sharks, regardless of species, will be declared the winner. Weighed-in fish are donated for distribution to charitable organizations. For complete rules and tournament application, visit www.freeporthudsonanglers.com or call Dave Gross at 516-286-8293.