It is with a heavy heart that we relay the sad news that on January 17, 2018, Capt. Alan H. Anderson of Narragansett, RI passed into the next life. Besides being one of the finest and most dedicated members of the Society, Capt. Al was the Society’s most prolific fish tagger and former skipper of the charter boat Prowler.
A Jerseyite at heart, Capt. Al was born on Sept. 27, 1938 in Fords, NJ. He was the son of the late Arthur and Isabelle Anderson. Capt. Al credited his mother’s passion for fishing with igniting and feeding his own life-long love of the sport.
During school lunch breaks in Woodbridge, NJ, he and his mom would head to the river in the family’s 1938 Plymouth. It was there – using a bent pin, string and a stick, Al caught his first pumpkinseed fish. His Aunt Lillian and Uncle Harry also were big influences, providing their nephew with quality tackle from the custom shop they ran from their basement and taking him striped bass fishing on northern New Jersey beaches.
Throughout his life, Capt. Al was both student and teacher, having attended and/or taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Adelphi University, and the University of Rhode Island. The consummate educator, every conversation with Capt. Al would inevitably become an educational experience, as his former students, mates, and clients can attest. Capt. Al held himself to the highest standards, whether fishing or teaching, and he had a way about him of inspiring that same drive to strive for excellence in yourself.
In 1967, Capt. Al marked his first striped bass for the American Littoral Society and has since become the American Littoral Society’s number one tagger, with almost 55,000 game fish tagged using Society tags. That same year he met Frank Mather, founder of the bluefin tagging program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and began tagging tuna for him. Capt. Al also tagged fish for the NMFS cooperative shark and tuna tagging programs, as well as billfish with Billfish Foundation.
In the late 1960s, Capt. Al began charter fishing part-time aboard his first Prowler, out of Wakefield, Rhode Island. In the early 1980s, after a 20-year teaching career in Rhode Island Public Schools, charter fishing aboard his beloved “second” Prowler became Capt. Al’s full-time vocation.
Capt. Al was also a very accomplished writer across many genres. He has authored over 200 major magazine articles and was currently working on his sixth book. One of Capt. Al’s proudest accomplishments was his involvement with the IGFA (International Gamefish Association), which included his 2012 induction into the IGFA hall of fame!
In 1989, Al won his first of 13 awards from AFTCO’s Tag a Tuna for Tomorrow Program (for bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye), and in 2011 he was one of five people selected from the U.S. to receive Sport Fishing magazine’s Making a Difference Award. A member of the IGFA International Committee since 1989, Anderson received an IGFA Conservation Award in 1996.
He also served as an advisor to the National Marine Fisheries Service and on committees of seven major fishing tournaments, as a past president of the Rhode Island Marine Sportfishing Alliance, and as Sportfishing Chairman for the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.
Captain Al is survived by his loving wife Daryl; 2 stepdaughters, Janet (French) Malenfant, wife of Gavin Malenfant, and Susanne (French) Devine, wife of Maurice (Rick) Devine. He was a grandfather to Hannah and Aidan Malenfant, Melinda (Seifert) Schachter, Dustin Seifert and Patrick Devine. He is also survived by two great-granddaughters.
A memorial service will be held at the Peace Dale Congregational Church in South Kingstown, RI at 10 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2018 with a reception to follow in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Daryl Anne Anderson Leadership Fund he established in 2016 at the South County Museum in Narragansett, RI.
Fair winds and following seas to you Capt. Al Anderson; you will be dearly missed, and fondly remembered here at The American Littoral Society.