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08 Aug

An Oasis in the Graveyard of the Atlantic

In 1957, four sportsmen met at a restaurant overlooking a few boat slips in Hatteras, North Carolina, after a morning of duck hunting. They were keenly aware of the growing ­fishery just offshore and wanted to find a way to make it known to the rest of the world. That day, Charles Johnson, Luther Hodges, Earl Phillips and Willis Slane laid the groundwork that would lead to the creation of the Hatteras Marlin Club in 1959, giving the tiny coastal ­village on the edge of the Outer Banks the moniker of Blue Marlin Capital of the World.

Homer Styron’s parents owned the restaurant that housed that first meeting; it took a couple of years to purchase the property and put all the pieces in place, but the Hatteras Marlin Club was born when it opened its doors in 1959. At that time, it was primarily a gentlemen’s sporting club, where men from out of town could get away for the weekend to hunt, fish, play cards and swap ­stories. Many of the early members would keep their boats in the neighboring slips all summer, not traveling as many operations do today. The four original founders not only changed the community of Hatteras through the club, but they also made an impact on the lives of untold numbers of fishermen around the world.

The Early Years

Charles Johnson, a car dealer from the other end of the state in Asheville, North Carolina, was an avid fisherman. Based on his desire to experience pelagic fishing in other parts of the world, Johnson imagined Hatteras as a worldwide destination for fishermen to visit and enjoy. His vision would prove to be more dynamic than simply fishing; he led a financial construction campaign to bring a much-needed medical center to Hatteras Village in 1963. Most would agree, this was the first unofficial charity event associated with the club.

At the time of the club’s inception, Luther Hodges was the governor of North Carolina. A passionate fisherman ­himself, he played a key role in promoting Hatteras as well as the club. Having been governor, Hodges and subsequent governors were key influencers, ­attracting many businessmen and sportsmen of the day to form the core membership.

Homer Styron has been one of the ­influential members of the Hatteras Marlin Club over the years. Courtesy Hatteras Marlin Club

Courtesy of Marlin Magazine 


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