The Harbour Rod and Reel Club is a community based organization operating out of Southern California’s Huntington Harbour. It was founded in 1994 and now has over 200 members.
Southern California’s Huntington Harbour is not only a very unique boating neighborhood composed of beautiful bayside homes resting on the shores of quiet backwater channels, but it is also home to one of the most successful fishing clubs in the Southland. The Harbour Rod and Reel Club has accomplished many of its ambitious goals and established itself as a true inter-club competitor and champion of its community.
In 1994, a very enthusiastic group of local anglers wanted to form a club “to fill the need for a family oriented sport fishing club for anglers whose fishing activities were centered around the Huntington Harbour area”. In addition, these ladies and gentlemen admired their beautiful harbor to such a high degree that they made that admiration a pre-requisite to joining their club. In order to qualify as a member of the Harbour Rod and Reel Club, applicants must either live within the harbor community, or use Huntington Harbour as their primary port of departure.
HHRC in the twentieth century
The Harbour Rod and Reel Club is a very contemporary organization that is “in tune” with the times by being family oriented as well as competitive minded. Born at the height of twentieth century environmental awareness, the club is also committed to an active program of ocean conservation and resource enhancement. The HHRC spearheaded a drive starting in 1994 to build and maintain a white seabass grow-out facility in Huntington Harbour. The project was named Harbour Ocean Preservation Enhancement and is affectionately called HOPE by its supporters. As part of a joint venture with United Anglers of Southern California and fellow harbor based fishing club, the Huntington Harbour Anglers, HOPE successfully released its nineteenth batch of pen raised white seabass last September. The September 2008 release of 2,447 fish pushed the projects release total to over 30,000 fish released in the Huntington Harbour area. HOPE’s releases are turning up in local seabass catches including the Channel Islands and Catalina.
The club’s elected officers and board understand the importance of family and social activity as it pertains to the future of our sport. Each year the HRRC organizes a Catalina Island raft-up, a kid’s tournament, a twilight sand bass fishing trip, a casting party, a chili cook-off, an organized group trip to Baja California’s East Cape, and numerous other events. Many members of the club attend informal meetings for breakfast each Thursday morning at a local breakfast spot to exchange fish stories, get acquainted with new members and to simply enjoy each other’s company. Even with that busy schedule, this energetic group still finds time to manage a Community Outreach program that raises money for the purpose of putting something back into the community. Last year the club treated a large group of kids from the Olivecrest Abused Children Homes to a fishing charter aboard the Clemente out of Dana Point.
Our competitive spirit
Hard-core competitive fishing is no stranger to this group either. Each season, the HRRC sends very strong teams to the BAC Master Angler’s Billfish Tournament. In the club’s charter year, 1994, it swept all of the prize categories in the Master’s Tournament. Now that’s the way to announce your arrival! The club has won this event multiple times since then. Members compete in tournaments all over the world and over the years several IGFA Records have been set by club members. This is a club that has “put its money where its mouth is” in terms of its belief in competition and conservation. When the club celebrates the accomplishments of its members’ angling skills each year at its annual awards banquet, it gives no awards for “the biggest fish” of any species, nor does it give awards for killing billfish. The HRRC instead recognizes the skill levels of its members by means of a fair and comprehendible line class system that challenges everyone who competes within it. The club also enthusiastically supports and recognizes the importance of circle hooks and the practice of catch and release.
The Harbour Rod and Reel Club is an example of what can be accomplished by a small group of enthusiastic and dedicated people.