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Outer Banks Anglers Club meets Monday, holds membership drive

In what will be the first gathering in 15 months, members of the Outer Banks Anglers Club are looking forward to their Monday, May 24, 7 p.m. meeting in the Hilton Garden Inn at 5353 North Virginia Dare Trail in Kitty Hawk.

Due to a number of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in place, the club was one of many local organizations unable to hold any meetings. That’s not to say there has been no activity.

Using money from a $882,000 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries grant made available from the sale of North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses, along with a $20,000 contribution from TW’s Bait & Tackle, Dick Parker and other club members spent all of 2020 and the early months of 2021 working with Marine Fisheries and Coleen Marine, Inc. in Virginia overseeing development of an artificial reef site. Designated AR-165, the reef area covers around 162 acres three miles off the Hatteras Island coast and about eight miles south of Oregon Inlet. Maintained by North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the reef was created by sinking three decommissioned, gutted and stripped tugboats along with more than 7,000 tons of concrete pipe.

One of now five artificial reefs off the Outer Banks coast, it is expected to attract fish which will in turn enhance the area’s recreational fishing opportunities.

“The reef helps promote good fishing,” said club member Brian Forbes. “Just like in the movie Field of Dreams. If you build it they will come. That’s exactly what happens with a reef. If you build a reef out there, the fish will show up. I don’t know how they find it, but they do. They tell their friends and they all show up.”

While the new reef is attracting fish, club officials hope to attract more club members.

Founded in March of 2008 by a handful of local anglers, club president Mike Ross said there were about 80 members when COVID-19 restrictions went into place. Today it is not clear how many are still around, so Ross and others are attempting to contact all previous members to inform them of Monday’s meeting and that the $25 annual dues are due.

Although new board members are to be voted in, there is more to Monday’s meeting than organizational business matters. Ross said club member Bob Rickenbaugh, one of the best speckled trout fisherman around, will be the guest speaker.

A timely subject, since according to past president and tournament director Stuart Baldwin, the club plans to offer several in-house tournaments this year with the next one for speckled trout and slot redfish.

“We have enjoyed some good success over the years and hope to grow the club,” said Ross. “We have the best anglers club around and our meetings are always open to the public. We operate on the principles of safety, education, entertainment and fellowship and welcome any who wish to attend.”

The club also promotes legislation, customs and practices for the protection, propagation and conservation of fish and other marine creatures and their habitats as well as support for the advancement of recreational angling.

Ross encouraged anyone with any questions about the club to call his home phone at 252-715-1203 or visit the group’s Facebook page or website at https://www.outerbanksanglersclub.com.

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