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Annual Dinner Reflections

by Tom Hogye


I have had the pleasure of serving this fine establishment in many ways over the last thirty years.  Conservation, President, Programs, Casting, and now Master of Ceremonies at our annual dinner / fundraiser.   I suppose the next best opportunity is hosting the Oscars.

As mentioned during our annual dinner, this was our 45th year, only ever interrupted by Covid in 2021 and 2022, the first annual dinner a small gathering of the original members in the Portuguese Hall for a spaghetti dinner.    There are photos of some of these annual dinners in albums somewhere in the club members’ possession.

The annual dinner/fundraiser is the primary funding source for the club’s desire to provide for conservation, and other costs not directly associated with the membership dues.   Since those early days back in 1977, the clubs funding goals have expanded into several areas of conservation focused on opportunities for fly-fishing, and our pursuit of bringing the youth of the world into fly-fishing and conservation with our high-school scholarship program which began in 2018 in memoriam of members who have passed away.    

Santa Cruz Fly Fishing is one of some 50 clubs in California and Nevada.  While other clubs suffered in 2020, or aged out of existence, you helped us continue growing and even better, sharing with other clubs, what we are doing to continue growing and thriving amidst so many challenges.

This first of our big dinner/fundraisers returning from Covid proved to be one of the most successful in many years.

Thank you to the 45 club member volunteers who helped organize the event.  Much of this beginning September the previous year – yes, we do spend a lot of time planning.

Thanks to the great staff at the Pajaro Rod & Gun Club for a great venue and your warm welcome.

Special thank you to Sam Bishop and his band of Sous Chef’s for catching the salmon in Alaska, bringing it back and putting everything together.   You’d be hard pressed to have had fresher salmon.   To the folks at California Grill and Watsonville Staff of Life for the excellent side dishes and salad.

Enormous thank you to Elaine Cook, David South and everyone who helped with the set up and in the kitchen.   If you don’t know this, Elaine has been orchestrating SCFF annual dinners for well over 35 years.   

I only ask forgiveness for anyone I may have left out who also put their heart and soul into this event.   Thank you.  

Thanks to the those who donated many of the raffle prizes and silent auction items.   I’m told the Silent Auction results of $3,075 were the highest we’ve ever seen.

In short, below is how you helped make this event a success.

$6,800 – we factored in a cap at 160 tickets but sold 170.   ~150 attended.  

$5,450 – Raffle tickets, an average $36.00 per person

$3,075 – Silent Auction returns 

$   266 – Donations

$15,591.00 – Total Revenue 

$240 in new memberships paid at the dinner – it was exciting to see how many this was their first annual dinner/fundraiser.    

($6,452) – Expenses – salmon, sides, serviettes, place settings, raffle prizes, hall rental

$8,873 – net to the club.


Our primary goal was to raise the Conservation Budget to $4,000 and scholarships to $3,200 and build a buffer to go into 2024 and planning for the 2025 fundraiser/dinner to see if we can go a bit bigger next year.   Mission accomplished.


It took a village.  YOU are that village.   If you’re reading this, you are part of the success story.  One we could not have without YOU.  Yes, you.    


Where other clubs have struggled to stay alive through Covid; some of which dissolved all together, your leadership team has been very enthusiastic about this club, its mission and future.  Because of you the future of fly-fishing, the environment around fly-fishing and the terrific community / family we have come to be, is being shared with other “clubs” here in California, Nevada and clear across the country.


Scott has had a theme of “fellowship” as being our goal for 2023-24.   And to that extent we are enthusiastic about our future and sharing it with others.    


Thank you.   And you thought this was just a club for fly-fishing.