I thank our president from the bot TOM of my heart and also from the en DYER membership for leading us to this celebration tonight.
A couple of weeks ago, when one of the taller members of the club came by and DAVE me the opportunity to talk tonight, I wasn’t sure POWELL I’d do. It has been years since I’ve spoken before the Stuart Sailfish Club. He said, “ We’d really like KUBIAK.” ANDY told me that for the 75th they were going to really put on the FRITZ. I thought to myself: That sounds a lot better than sitting around and throwing a couple of hot dogs on the GRELL. I thought maybe it would be appropriate to talk about the past presidents. Over the years, all of those volunteers DAVE MILLS of their time and effort to keep this club alive. But it seems that recently my memory GENE must have a DETMER in it. – (and I’m not even 75 yet!!) I mean lately it has really taken a WHIPPEN. Half the time, I can’t remember what the BILL I did yesterday!!
However the name of one past president does come to mind: He was always the Weather Chairman for the Club’s Small Boat Tournaments. The committee felt it was necessary to do a SEA CHECK of ocean conditions each morning. You know, when our St Lucie Inlet gets an East wind on an outgoing tide, it can get BARRY RUFO.
But really what I’d like to do tonight is just share a little TOMFOOLERY with you.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far far away…. There lived a family of commercial fisherman along the East coast of Florida in a little town named Stuart. They were struggling a little bit because fish prices were dropping. Now, these were wise men, because soon it WHITICAR to them that they no longer had to GANNETT fish for a living. All they had to do was greet the Northerners visiting the local Pelican Hotel & Sunrise Inn with a friendly HOWDY in the morning, SKIPPER them out to the GULFSTREAM, catch a bunch of sailfish, take a NORWESTER course back to the inlet, CAPT. ADD up their profits and they wouldn’t have to live like a HOBO anymore.
By and by, the Stuart Sailfish Club was formed. It advocated releasing sailfish for future generations to catch. The waters off the St Lucie Inlet continued to team with sailfish. And the town was to become known as the Sailfish Capitol of the World.
As time went on, the membership started the great tradition of the Light Tackle Tournament, which has seen many changes over the years…
· from linen to mono
· from star drags to lever
· from dead boat to backing down
· from no riggers, to sophisticated RUPP riggers
· from no tops, to Bimini tops, to BAUSCH hardtops and towers
A dredge was a secret weapon for a tournament. Now we use them every day. The list goes on and on.
Imagine the plight of the proud owner of an older sportfish; As they were heading out at 20 knots for the 8:30am lines in: Before he knew it, the ole girl HATTERAS overtaken by the entire fleet!! It WHITICARd to him that something was wrong. He yelled up to the bridge: ”What the L&H makes this ole RYBOVITCH so slow?” The captain put her on autopilot, came down and consoled the owner. “This ole girl has MERRITT, but she is no longer the VIKING of the sea. In order to pay TRIBUTE to the sport, and be competitive today, you’ll just have to SPENCER. If you WILLIS permission to not BAYLISS than 2 or 3 million dollars to build a brand new all AMERICAN CUSTOM GARLINGTON of a sportfish… one that not every JIM SMITH owns, we can be competitive again in about 2 years.”
Well… the owner thought and pondered, and pondered and thought. He finally answered, “Frankly, the thought of going 40+ knots in a 65 footer SCARBOROUGHs the hell out of me!!”
And, so it was that tournaments like Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle helped to raise the bar for anglers, captains, mates and boats.
And, now as we celebrate our 75th anniversary, instead of focusing on the past, I would like to look into my Crystal Ball and tell you the LONG STORY of the future MY WAY:
Ahh… Yes… I foresee a tremendous amount of HOPE for the Stuart Sailfish Club. As soon as they learned that the U.S. Government would no longer OUTLAW any FLORIDIAN to make a trip to Cuba, the club organized a tournament there during the PRIME TIME of this coming June. Now, this tournament was not to be your average DAY MAKER. It would be 5 full days of fishing.
The volunteers have been working without RESTITUTION and have made the rules CLEAN-N-SIMPLE. If you are any kind of SEA HUNTER, you would have already called and said: “I’M ON”
Everyone wanted to participate. Why someone even called in and asked: ” Can we enter R KA NU?” The Office Manager couldn’t help herself. She kinda let out a Tish, Tish, but answered, “That would be very CAVALIER of you, but are you a TEASER?, or just PLANE CRAZY? You need to take a LISCENSE TO CHILL.”
By and by, June 11th finally arrived and the fleet left Key West and took the WALKER’S RUN across the TRUE BLUE Florida Straits that can sometimes be a real BONE SHAKER. No SEA CHECK was necessary, the trip turned out to be an EASY RIDER.
As they made their FINAL APPROACH, the PATINA’d buildings of Havana appeared like a DESERT ROSE. Soon, they would set up BASE CAMP at Marina Hemmingway and await the big day,
At sun up the next morning, it was SHOW TIME! The fleet would kick off the Cuban CHALLENGE.
The tournament progressed very well. One angler turned out to be a HAL-RAISER. One night, with a lot of BAYLEYHOO going on, he was having too much HEDGE FUN and really made an OSCEOLA out of himself. But, you know… what happens in Cuba, stays in Cuba.
Speaking of which: I would be SEA LION II ya if I didn’t say that I noticed LISA K and LAURA K posing as local SIGHT-SEA-ERs aboard a big sportfish across the marina. They would apparently ANHINGA the local COCONUT EXPRESS every day to visit. The boat never left the dock. Every day was a lay day!!. I think the 3 AMIGOS aboard would get their TRIPLE TAILs in the DOG HOUSE when they got home!!
By and by as the fleet trolled and fished and fished and trolled, the competition finally came to the end.
The weather was UNBELIEVABLE, and the fishing was OFF THE CHAIN. So the fleet gathered their gear, headed out to the Gulfstream for the ride home thru the St Lucie Inlet and back to Stuart, Florida where they would all live happily ever after.