The 9th Annual Soldiers on the Sound Fluke Tournament began exactly as did the eight previous events, with the United States Marine Corp Color Guard presenting the colors of our nation’s flag. It is a moving tribute to what is always a remarkable day of fishing on the Long Island Sound, and a day for honoring our nation’s active military. As we all go about our busy lives, we sometimes forget to say thank you to those who protect our freedoms and our coveted way of life. Those liberties were bestowed upon us by visionary forefathers, etched in our Constitution, fought for in wars, and above all else, preserved and protected for all generations by those who have given military service. Regardless of one’s political beliefs or political party affiliations, we as a nation are united by those freedoms we all enjoy. We are forever indebted to the many who have served and to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice so others can enjoy unparalleled liberty. Paying tribute to members of the American military for their honorable and selfless service to our country takes many forms.
Members of the outdoor community were among the first to embrace that patriotic practice. One of the most remarkable and enduring of such recognitions is the annual Soldiers on the Sound Fluke Tournament, organized by the Smithtown Bay Yacht Club, and supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 395 from Saint James, New York. The 2017 event marked the ninth gathering of soldiers and volunteers. Soldiers on the Sound is one of the most popular and successful of those activities conducted on Long Island or anywhere in the state of New York.
The 2017 tournament drew a total of 325 participants, including 150 active members of the military and reservists , 65 boat captains, 65 mates and approximately 45 event volunteers, all working concert to make this the best day possible for the guest soldiers. Those military members in attendance represented the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the renowned 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard based in Westhampton. Many of the participating soldiers had recently returned from various deployments abroad.
Members of the Smithtown Bay Yacht club, private charter captains and mates volunteered their boats, time and fishing expertise to make this the most expansive and successful fluke tournament thus far. Many other behind-the-scenes folks, like the “Pink Ladies” volunteered their time and skills to coordinate event logistics and a magnificent clam bake, BBQ and buffet. An annual highlight of the day for all participants was an equally incredible raffle. Many fabulous prize donations were made by generous individuals, businesses and corporate sponsors from Long Island and beyond. It was my honor to once again participate in the event and serve as mate aboard Captain Adrian Mason’s boat, Big Trouble. Two distinguished members of the 106th Rescue Wing joined with us for the…