Riverhead’s new fishing club fundraises at Ward Melville Fishing Expo

The Riverhead Fishing Club was caught fundraising at the Ward Melville Fishing Expo Saturday at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket. 

Members of the club, newly formed for the 2023-24 school year, presented raffle prizes that included a half-day charter fishing trip, an Igloo cooler and a Sea Tow membership. The raffle to support the club will continue, with tickets to be sold at sports games and other Riverhead High School events until June 14.

The fishing club — which currently has 15 members, many of them girls — “is designed to provide guidance and opportunities for youth anglers to learn about fishing techniques and key locations,” states the school’s club and activities web listing. “Members will learn from experts in the field and experience some of the best fishing our local waters offer.” So far, the club has taken one fishing trip and has hosted guest speakers including Bill Jacob and Alfred Allen of the Montauk Surfcasters Association.

Junior Alice Ries said the guest speakers have been a key to luring in new members and keeping them on the hook and involved with the club. She said some members stopped coming to meetings but showed up again when they found out about the speakers.

“I do track, too, so that takes up a lot of time,” said senior James Hise. “One guy from Montauk was a diehard surfcaster and one guy who lives kind of local, so very cool,” he said, citing them as reasons to make the time to attend.

Club members Charleigh Ries and Adrianna Mosca rattled off what they’ve learned so far in the club, including where to fish and information on tides. Some members, like Alice and Charleigh, had fishing experience before joining the club. Others, like Annabelle Dunn, had never fished before.

In October, the club took a trip with Someday Came Fishing Charters in Shinnecock Bay. “It was actually a great day,” Alice said. “We caught mostly [striped] bass and sea bass.” 

Riverhead high school Fishing Club’s first fishing trip on Shinnecock Bay. (courtesy photos)

She said proceeds from the raffle will go toward paying for more fishing trips. 

Social studies teacher and club advisor Garrett Moore said that the Montauk Surfcasters Association and Jamesport True Value Hardware have sponsored the club so far. He said school board approval took a while, but the start of the club is going great and the local fishing community has been supportive.

“My worlds are kind of colliding with fishing and school,” said Mr. Moore. As a lifelong fisherman, licensed captain and Sea Tow operator, he said he is excited to get students interested in fishing. 

“Fishing helps young men and women appreciate getting outdoors,” he continued. “Fishermen and -women become stewards of the environment while gaining the benefit of lifelong friendships. I have had the benefit of fishing with some amazing individuals from all walks of life and I am happy to pass this onto the next generation.”