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A HISTORY OF THE VIRGINIA ANGLERS CLUB (1)

Founded 1961 – Richmond, Virginia

The first meeting of the Virginia Anglers club was an organization meeting which was held in Richmond at the home of Joe Brooks in June of 1960.  You might say, however, that the beginning of the club went back quite a few years before that.

“Monk” Montague, a Richmond attorney-at-law, met Joe Brooks in the 1930s.  It was not long after that first meeting that Joe Brooks and “Monk” became good friends.

In the 1930s Joe was living in the Florida Keys.  Monk was down there fishing with him when Joe told “Monk” that he would like to move to Richmond so that Joe would be closer to his agent in New York City.  Shortly after that fishing trip a house just up the street from “Monk” came on the market.  Joe and his wife, Mary, moved into the house in July of 1958.  Joe remained a resident of Richmond until his death on September 20, 1972.

“Monk” was familiar with the Tidewater Anglers Club in Norfolk, VA.  One day in a conversation with Joe, “Monk” suggested that there should be an angling club in Richmond.  Joe agreed on the spot and from that conversation, Joe and “Monk” started to work on forming what would become the Virginia Anglers Club.

Joe knew of few anglers from Richmond, but not many. Joe and “Monk” sat down to draw up a list of anglers who might be interested in forming such an angling club.  A list of 19 potential members was drawn up.  Joe invited the nineteen to join he and “Monk” at Joe’s home to discuss formation of an angling club in Richmond.  Attending that meeting were the following anglers:

Louis W. Ballou Charles Bowman Joe Brooks
W.H. (Bill) Bryant Austin I. Dodson, Jr. H.V. Funai
James W. Guy George F. Kenny Leon G. Kesteloo
J. Robert Massie Winston Montague Moses D. Nunnally, Jr.
Lewis S. Pendleton, Jr. John W. Powell William F. Rothert
Charles E. Willis Charles M. Nelson Charles D. Morris
E. Finley Gayle, III    

After some discussion, those present decided to form an angling club. They chose the name Virginia Anglers Club.  All but James W. Guy became founding members.

The first organizational meeting of the Virginia Anglers Club was held on January, 5th, 1961 at 2004 Prince George Road, Richmond, VA, the home of Joe Brooks.  The following officers were elected:  “Monk” Montague – President; Bill Rothert – Vice President; Lewis Pendelton – Secretary and Moses Nunnaly, Jr. – Treasurer.  “Monk” Montague announced the Virginia Anglers Club had become a member club of the International Game Fish Association and a member club of the Association of Surf Angling Clubs. 

In a letter written on March 27, 1961, Membership Committee Chairman “Monk” Montague announced that the official membership drive was starting.  Annual dues were to be $15.00 and those members who previously contributed $5.00 to cover organizational expenses were to be credited for this earlier donation.

The first “formal” club activity was in November of 1960, when a team from what was to become the Virginia Anglers Club fished in the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club’s Invitational Surf Tournament.  Members of that first team from the VAC to fish the Hatteras Tournament were V. Cassell Adamson, Joe Brooks, William F. Hazen, “Monk” Montague and Lewis Pendelton; Winnie Crenshaw was the alternate.  Thirty-nine (39) teams competed in the two-day event.  The Virginia Anglers Team finished third from the bottom (in the 2006 CHAC tournament, the Virginia Anglers Club team won the Tournament).   Since 1961, a team representing the Virginia Anglers Club has always competed in the Invitational Tournament.

In 1961, the angling activities of the Virginia Anglers Club were more numerous.  On April 23rd, a club tournament was held on the pond of “Mose” Nunnally.  In June, a team from the VAC went over to Bermuda and fished in the country’s first international tournament, a three day affair.  Lewis Pendleton, Jennings Culley, Joe Brooks, John Hunter (from Pennsylvania) and “Monk” Montague participated as the members of the Virginia Anglers Club Team.  John Hunter caught a one hundred and four (104) pound Allison tuna.  By the end of the Tournament, the VAC team finished third out of the four teams fishing.  Teams of clubs from Miami and Bermuda finished ahead of the VAC team (no mention was made of who the fourth team was).

The Club ended 1961 activities with participation in three tournaments.  The first tournament was an intra-club rockfish tournament held at Gwynn’s Island, Virginia.  Next, a Team from the VAC again fished the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Tournament.  In one year, the number of clubs participating in the Hatteras Tournament rose to 42 or 43 teams and the VAC team finished in fifteenth (15th) or sixteenth (16th) place.  The year ended up with a rock fish tournament in Mann’s Harbor, NC, with Joe Brooks, Howard Turner, Cassell Adamson, Bill Haven and “Monk” participating.

The Virginia Anglers Club has had a team entered in every Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Surf tournament since the beginning.  Along the way to the present day, Club members have served on advisory committees of the Virginia Marine Fisheries Commission and of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  The Club has provided a full schedule of both salt water and fresh water tournaments each year.  The Club has a long history of financial support to various organizations that support the conservation of and the expansion of the angling environment in Virginia and adjacent states. The Virginia Anglers Club is proud of the heritage that has been passed down over the years from member to member and keeps the memory of Joe Brooks alive today.

Historical Photos

(1) Note:  This history is based on “THE VIRGINIA ANGLERS CLUB – A short history by Winston Montague ”, written by founding member Winston “Monk” Montague.

 



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