Season Opener 2014: Stripers at White Sands

A fish tip from The Tackle Shop puts Tenacious Billy Black into the bass 


Reel Therapy: Capt. Bennett at a calm moment

June 25, 2013: Captain Harvey Bennett was pulling his shoulder-length Graham Nash-esque hair out of his graying head when I walked into The Tackle Shop in Amagansett to pay my respects on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Summer was barely underway, but the Captain was already poised to burst into flames. The pressure of 35 years guiding, retailing, and dealing with dilettante googins like me clearly was taking a toll. Nonetheless, the combustible Captain shared a fish-finding tip in a conspiratorial whisper: “White Sands…first light…bass just beyond the bar…they’re gone at sunrise.” As most of you know, there wasn’t much I could do with this news. Unlike the rest of the world, whose official striped bass season begins every year on April 15, my surfcasting doesn’t get going until the day after Labor Day.


Fish Tips: Billy Black at The Tackle Shop

Enter Tenacious Bucktailin’ Billy “Black”, 2010 Surfcasting Rookie of the Year, who hasn’t lived a spring, summer or fall day when he won’t chase fish. Harvey assured me Billy had “the word”. But apparently the fish didn’t. Billy was at the designated Napeague ocean beach Monday morning as instructed. But he might as well have been casting into a desert. No fish. A definite problem, but not insurmountable in Billy’s world.  Living up to his other moniker of Tenacious Billy, he hung around in paradise for another 24 hours. On Tuesday, the scene played out as originally scripted. At first light, nigh of 6 am, heaving a blue Super Strike popping plug over the breakers into a gentle incoming tide, Billy had the beach all to himself. With a school of fish breaking water beyond the bar, a teen-size, 29.5 inch striper took Billy’s lure right in the wash, his first keeper bass of 2014. Just as Harvey predicted, Billy was lit by a soft eastern glow; the sun not yet risen above the horizon. He also landed a 26 inch throw-back striper on a darter and dropped another fish of indeterminate size on a bucktail plug. Not a bad way to get things going in June. As for me, 68 more days ’til Christmas, uh…I mean…surfcasting season.

This teen size bass was the first from the surf this year for Tenacious Billy Black

This teen size bass was the first from the surf this year for Tenacious Billy Black


One Response to “Season Opener 2014: Stripers at White Sands”

  1. Fred Abatemarco says:

    Says Felix Fanti: Billy should use the summer for a remedial course on poker & start fishin’ in Sept!!!

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