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The Striper Surf Club, Inc. will be holding its 6th Annual Spring Beach Clean-up at Jones Beach State Park, West End, on Saturday, April 21, from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

As an environmentally concerned fishing club, Striper Surf Club members said keeping beaches clean and open for fishing are important issues to all those who enjoy this sport.

"Our beaches are used by thousands of people," Vice President Rick Zappala, a Westbury resident, said. "Not all of them care to leave it as clean as they found it. Weather also deposits trash on the beaches. Not only is this trash unsightly, but it can be hazardous to both beach users and sea life. Imagine what a crushed can would do to a bare foot, or what a balloon could do to a sea turtle."

Club members also said providing services like the annual cleanups are an important contribution to the public who use New York's wonderful beaches.

"Most of us in the fishing community are conservationist," Zappala added. "We know that our enjoyment depends on protecting the resource. The surf fishing community strongly feels that we should all do our part to protect these wonderful resources. By providing these cleanups we are trying to do our part to protect the beaches. The Striper Surf Club is proud that we are recognized as a conservation-minded club."

Established in 1951, the Striper Surf Club is one of the oldest active organized surf-fishing clubs in New York State. The non-profit organization was formed when several members of the Coney Island Rod & Gun Club of Brooklyn, broke away to specialize in surf fishing for Striped Bass.

Club President John Citarella of East Meadow has been surf fishing for over 33 years.

"My father started me and my brothers surf fishing at our summer house in Sound Beach," he added.

A member of the Striper Surf Club for 14 years, Citarella said he joined the club "to meet people that share the interest and drive that I have in surf fishing."

His biggest catch to date is a 39-pound bass caught in Montauk in 1993.

Cleanup participants should meet on April 21 at the Construction Dock parking area on the north side of Jones Inlet (turn left at Coast Guard station). The entry fee will be waived for those informing the collector that they are participating in the cleanup. Coffee and donuts will be served, as well as a sandwich lunch afterwards. They will also hold our annual raffle with many great gifts provided by our sponsors. This is an all weather event, so dress for the weather.

The next Club meeting is slated for Monday, April 23 at 8:15 p.m. All meetings take place at Majors Steak House in East Meadow and are held two times a month during the off season and once a month during the fishing season. The club currently has 19 members that hail from Floral Park, Mineola, East Meadow, Franklin Square, Westbury, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Seaford, Long Beach, Wantagh, West Islip and New York City. For more information call President John Citarella at 214-4332 or email jcltr3@aol.com or Vice President Rick Zappala at 330-4458 or email rzap@att.net. To learn more about the Striper Surf Club, log onto www.stripersurfclub.com.


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