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6th Annual Soldiers on the Sound Fluke Fishing Tournament

  • Published
  • By Michele March
  • Public Relations Chairperson for Soldiers on the Sound
Servicemen and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard joined together for the 6th Annual Soldiers on the Sound Ltd. Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 14 at the Smithtown Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) in St. James.

This year, 123 'soldiers' powered out of the Smithtown Marina on 55 boats for a day of friendly competition and camaraderie. The winning fish weighed in at 5 lbs 14 oz and was caught by Mike Kozyrski, Rear Commodore of the Smithtown Bay Yacht Club. He was accompanied by his captain and SBYC member, Warren Langrock, and TSgt Tom Beall and MSgt Jessica Beall both from the 106th Rescue Wing Air National Guard. "To be the winner feels nice, kind of surprised," said Kozyrski. His name will be added to the coveted Winner's Plaque which is proudly displayed in the SBYC lobby.

Soldiers on the Sound Fishing Tournament was born six years ago when SBYC member and Kings Park resident Mark Garry was inspired by the images of war to do something to be able to give back to the local servicemen and women for their service to our country. Mark teamed up with fellow SBYC members Skip Hein and Roger Smith. Skip's military background made him a perfect liaison with the local military community and since Roger served on the board at the SBYC, that solidified the relationship between the event and the location. It was then decided that a fishing tournament would be more interesting than just a big party.
 
"I decided on a fishing tournament because it was always a stress reliever for me as a Homicide Detective," said Garry. "When work was busy, and it always was, I went out with my boys fishing as much as I could." He continued, "We don't want people to forget the service and sacrifices these 'soldiers' make, these men and women, some married with children, go into harm's way so we can do what we do here. It can't be taken for granted."

The day began with boat assignments and breakfast. For some it was an introduction, for others, a reunion. Two lucky groups of soldiers were assisted by the pros. A professional team of fishermen, Team Old School captained by Mike Smedley and Tommy Adamski, towed their 22 ft. SeaPro from Youngsville, NC to take out a team of soldiers and share their fishing secrets. Team Old School's sponsors donated two of the day's grand prizes: SIMRAD donated their NSS7m Chartplotter Fishfinder Combination and Accurate donated a Fury FX 600N fishing reel. A second lucky team fished with professional fisherman and author Angelo Peluso who schooled them on the how-to's of fluke fishing.

Soldiers, captains and first mates returned from fishing to an incredible display of the American Flag provided by the Smithtown and St. James Fire Departments. Once on shore, everyone feasted on an incredible array of food including a 'low country boil' and a smorgasbord of catered dishes provided by Ruland Road Deli (Melville).

Every participant was eligible to win prizes donated by local merchants and national corporations. In addition to Simrad's and Accurate's donations, other grand prizes include a 4 day/3 night stay at Hawks Cay Florida Keys Resort and a 5 day/4 night stay for 2 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino in St. Maartin. Other raffle prizes included 48" flat screen TV's, kayaks, 70 fishing poles and reels, baseball tickets to the Yankees, Mets and Ducks games, Yeti coolers, Weber grills, etc. There were over 125 prizes raffled off thanks to generous donors.

This unique event is free for all participants -- all captains, first mates and "pink ladies" (dedicated group of helpers) are volunteers. The entire event runs on the generous donations of the sponsors. This tournament is open to active serviceman and prior registration is required.

Soldiers on the Sound Ltd. is a not for profit organization. If you are interested in making a donation towards the 2015 event, please send an email to soldiersonthesound@gmail.com.

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