Our History

1980 Our Founding

MSA was founded by a group of concerned surf fishermen in 1980.
We held our first meeting on October, 4th 1980.

The first officers were:
President: Tony Luca,
Vice President: John Pawelski
Treasurer: Ed Perry
Secretary Betty Grundee.
Founding Members include: Jack Yee, Bob Grundee, John Pawelski, and Willie Young.

From the minutes of the first meeting:
“The president stated that he will do his best to try and solve some of the problems which we face. The main purpose of the association is to ensure the right of every member to surfcast in the waters of Montauk without being hassled”
Mr. Luca also went on to outline the problems to be discussed: the rumor of the park being closed to fishermen [referring to Montauk Point State Park]; the difficulty in obtaining permits; the illegal netters; access to the Fort [Camp Hero] being closed; the bathrooms being closed rather than being repaired, etc. He stated that he feels that these issues are designed to discourage surfcasters.
Our Initial Member count at the first meeting was 114 members and another 58 Prospective Members. Quite a few of these members were from the High Hill Striper Club

The Board also recognized Jack Yee as the founder of the organization.

1993-2018 The Willy Young Years

In 1993. Willy Young took the reins to MSA and steered the organization forward. A few of his many successes included:

  • Saving beach access against the Brodsky Bill (which would have banned ALL beach driving in NYS)
  • Assisting with a Disabled American Veterans Suit to ensure Camp Hero Access (Camp hero was opened fully as a state park in 2002)
  • Represented the interests of recreational fishermen regarding the “Truck Beach” Issue in East Hampton
  • Ran a Fishing Tackle Trade show annually
  • Continually advocated in Albany for Striped Bass Fisheries Preservation
  • Represented our members on the NYS ORPHP Fishing Advisory Board
  • Keeping access open in the Town of Brookhaven

2019-Present New Leadership

After the passing of Willy Young in 2018. MSA was in need of new leadership. A group of concerned MSA Members throughout Long Island came together in early 2019 and established a temporary steering committee. This committee elected Bill Jakob and Jason Markowitz as President and Vice President Respectively. They also re-elected Paul Valenti as treasurer and brought Rich Strezpek on board as Secretary.

Bill, Jason, Paul and Rich immediately set to work to re-establish and modernize the organization. A new website and e-commerce platform was rapidly deployed allowing membership to rapidly grow to levels not seen since the mid 1990s. Hybrid In person/video meetings were also started. A heavy focus was placed on building relationships with local and state lawmakers as well as continuing and improving existing relationships with park superintendents. March of 2019 also saw the first time in many years that MSA participated in the Montauk St Patricks day Parade.

2019 and early 2020 were years of improvement and successes for MSA. An Enhanced presence at fishing shows (including returning to NJ) raised much needed operating capital. Beach cleanups were improved including starting a cleanup at Orient Point County Park. Early 2020 also saw the forging of an important relationship with Concerned Citizens of Montauk (CCOM)

The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 slowed down our efforts but it did not stop them. Modernizing our platform allowed us to hold meetings via zoom (with some members even joining from the beach while fishing!) as well as sell merchandise through the newly formed 501(c)(3) Montauk Surfcasters Alliance. We advocated for fishing rights and even got additional access reopened that was closed due to pandemic reasons at this time.

2021 Saw somewhat of a return to normalcy and a slight leadership change. Jason Markowitz and Bill Jakob swapped titles, making Jason President and Bill Vice President as per the bylaws.

2022 Saw the introduction of the first MSA Surf Day, a fishing show. This show was a resounding success with several thousand attendees. MSA also brought the Korkers Cup back for 2022 (and plans to enhance it further for 2023)

2023 Was an expansion year for MSA. Partnerships were formed with Narragansett Surfcasters as well as a Hudson River Chapter, facilitating communication covering a much larger area of the Northeast and covering vital Striped Bass Spawning areas. Significant success was also obtained with the ongoing truck beach issue in East Hampton.

Even through 40+ Years of changes, we still work for our members the same ways that our predecessors did. We are still a group of surf fishermen that are passionate about our right to fish, and preserving the fishery and access for future generations.

-Page written by J. Markowitz 10/2022
Data from the founding of MSA Quoted & Paraphrased from 10/4/1980 Meeting Minutes