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One ’Cane’s story of family, resilience, entrepreneurship—and sharks

By Pamela Edward

One ’Cane’s story of family, resilience, entrepreneurship—and sharks

By Pamela Edward
From prewar Poland, to prerevolutionary Cuba, to present-day Miami, Stan Rudman and his family have built an American success story.

In 2018, Stan Rudman, B.B.A. ’86, got a call from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. For a self-described “fish head” from Miami, whose family business, Hook & Tackle Outfitters, produces highly popular sport-fishing apparel and accessories, the request made perfect sense.

The Rosenstiel School wanted Rudman’s help to create a line of high-performance field apparel with strong ultraviolet sun protection for the faculty, researchers, and students in the Shark Research and Conservation Program. Rudman’s company—local, alumni-owned, innovative, and backed by generations of expertise—stepped up.

Stan Rudman

The partnership with the Rosenstiel School is a notable milepost in the Rudman family journey that began more than eight decades ago and an ocean away. Along the way, the family started over not once, but twice.

Rudman’s grandfather Raul, a Polish national, escaped the Nazi advance in 1938 and headed across the Atlantic. “Both sets of my grandparents emigrated from Poland,” Rudman said, “and their ship wound up in Cuba.” Rudman’s grandfather had been a master tailor in Poland, so, starting over in a new country, he put his skills to work and launched an apparel manufacturing business in prerevolutionary Havana. Over time, the company grew to nearly 700 employees.

Everything changed in 1961 and the family found itself starting over for the second time. After the revolution, Rudman’s parents, grandparents, and extended family fled to Miami, leaving the business and all their possessions behind.

“They came to the United States with little or no money and moved into an efficiency in Miami Beach and had to start all over again,” Rudman said. “My grandfather became a tailor on Lincoln Road and my father went to the University of Miami to study accounting nights while working days.”

After Rudman’s father, Frank, graduated from the University in 1963, he and Rudman’s grandfather began to rebuild the business they had lost. They launched the Weekender line of casual sportswear, whose products are still sold online and in retail outlets around the country.

In 1989 the family launched Hook & Tackle, now the nation’s largest sport-fishing apparel brand. Rudman is now the outfitter’s principal owner as well as chief marketing officer for Hook & Tackle’s parent company, whose president is Rudman’s brother, Abe.   

Rudman takes inspiration from his father’s and grandfather’s example—“the resilience my parents and grandparents had is beyond measure”—and infuses it with his own passions for fishing, boating, and his hometown. He is a big believer in getting involved and giving back. For many years he has co-chaired the Miami Dolphins Foundation’s Fins Weekend, an annual festival of fishing, golf, and fundraising for community organizations, and he is a regular rider in Dolphins Challenge Cancer to benefit the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

And those UV-blocking, University shark research-branded performance shirts that Hook & Tackle created for the Rosenstiel School? They’ve made regular appearances on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, as sported by program director and research associate professor Dr. Neil Hammerschlag. And they’re available on the company’s website, www.hookandtackle.com, with a portion of the proceeds of each sale benefiting the Shark Research and Conservation Program.

Hook & Tackle is one of more than 800 businesses around the country owned and operated by University of Miami alumni. Check out the ’Cane Biz directory to find ’Cane-owned businesses and alumni discounts near you. If you want to list your business in the directory, click here to tell us all about it.