Say the one word phrase "Winning!" nowadays and Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen invariably comes to mind. Well, with all due respect, ol' Chuck's got nothing on the 4th annual New Jersey Saltwater Fisherman's banquet that was held this past Saturday at the Captain's Inn in Lacey Township. The winners were, of course, everyone who attended the party. The banquet is held every year to honor the members of New Jersey Saltwater Fisherman (NJSWF) and to raise money to help fund organizations who fight for our right to fish in the Garden State. This year the support was overwhelming and the attendees raised $1350 for the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA)!
Chairman of the RFA-NJ chapter Capt. Adam Nowalsky (left) congratulates the Grand Prize and 2nd place winners, Harry Bentley (center) and Captain Joe Gogan (right) at the 4th Annual NJSWF Banquet
A record number of donations were given by some extremely generous sponsors. As the guests arrived they were greeted by a seemingly never ending amount of prizes. These ran the gamut from rods, reels, lures and accessories to open boat and full charter trips to Coach bags and pedicure kits for the ladies. Said NJSWF founder Rod Houck, "I am honored and astounded at the incredible amount of support that our members and sponsors have provided to us. Although it's a lot of hard work, the biggest problem was finding enough room on the tables to hold all the donations!"
As plentiful as the prizes were, the food was equally as plentiful. The dinner menu included grilled salmon, shrimp and scallop scampi, pasta, filet mignon and stuffed chicken breast. NJSWF member Skip Rosati commented "Looks like we found a home at the Captains Inn, great food and service!" And Kenny Anderson remarked, "What a night! Rod and the crew at NJSWF did it again and put on yet another awesome night of great times, great food and laughs. The food at the Captains Inn was delicious again."
Guests review the vast array of prizes at the 4th Annual NJSWF Banquet.
Before dinner, special acknowledgement was given to the following people who were unable to attend or donate this year due to illness: NJSWF member Dennis Kesolitz (Kez Sr)], long time supporter Bob Hahn, and Ron "RonZ" Poirier (who donated despite battling illness). Following that, a moment of silence was held to honor the memory of popular captain and friend of many in attendance, Victor Medina.
Representives of the RFA included the Chairman of the RFA-NJ chapter Capt. Adam Nowalsky, RFA board member Captain Fran Verdi and Managing Director Jim Hutchinson Jr. Captain Adam spoke on behalf of the group, explaining what the RFA has been doing for recreational fisherman and expressing his gratitude for the NJSWF member's continuing support.
Once dinner was complete and the apple strudel and coffee were on the table it was time to call the winners. With the incredible amount of prizes it took close to two hours to give them away. The grand prize, which included a rod and reel, braided line, numerous plugs, jigs, bucktails, saltwater flies, rigs, hooks, a net, RFA gear, terminal tackle, a huge tackle box and more, was won by Harry Bentley. Second place was won by NJSWF administrator, Capt Joe Gogan.
There was certainly a tremendous amount of "Winning!" all night long. From the members, their guests and the RFA, winners abounded!
In light of all the winning, Rod Houck wants to remind everyone, "As big as this thing has gotten, it would never be possible without the incredible support of our sponsors. I ask everyone who attended to please support those who support us."
See Banquet Gallery Here