Harvey Bennett’s Fish Call, Sam Doughty’s Teaser

Beware the fate of those who ignore the fish call. And woe unto thee who forsake the teaser hook

NOVEMBER 19, 2009

Sunset at Napeague: Sam Doughty leans back on a sunset striper

November Sky at Napeague: Sam Doughty leans back on a sunset striper

Here is the message I picked up on my voice mail at 830am Wednesday morning.

“Hey Fred, you really need to get out to Amagansett, if you aren’t already here. Those fish are stacked up on the beach in front of your house and have been there since before daybreak. It’s about 730am now. Half or three-quarters of Montauk is there, if you want to get in the middle of all the fighting and yelling and screaming. The fish were there last night, too, a couple of 300 or 400 yards to the west of the Napeague Lane. There is an east wind driving bait up on the beach. I don’t know how much longer it will last. Worth a day trip at least. A couple of nice fish came up. Sam fished there last night. I had some smaller fish near Gurney’s.”

Harvey Bennett of The Tackle Shop in Amagansett says he would like to drive a Toyota Prius--but he wouldn't know where to mount the gun rack

Harvey Bennett says he would drive a Toyota Prius--but he doesn't know where to mount the gun rack

That was from Harvey Bennett, proprietor of The Tackle Shop and self proclaimed naked fisherman. I once asked him for a photo and he told me all he had was one of himself fishing in the buff. Heck, I didn’t even know he fished. A good day for Harvey, who Vanity Fair described as the East end’s beloved insult king, is the opportunity to make the most outrageous statement possible to the most unsuspecting, innocent victim.  “I told one tree-hugger,” he proudly recalled,  “that I would be happy to trade in my Chevy pick-up for a hybrid Prius, once I figure out where to mount the gun rack.”

As it turns out, when Harvey is not verbally abusing a friend, customer or random stranger, he does fish. His latest You Tube Video promotion claimed that he caught 50 stripers with his buddy Sam Doughty on a recent afternoon. So his  heads up fish call was all the prompting I required. I put the word out to a few stalwarts that I would be heading east to Amagansett after dinner and I got two takers: my son Daniel and Big Bob Wilsusen.

Big Bob Wilsusen answered the fish call and was rewarded with this chunky 32 inch teen size bass

Big Bob Wilsusen answered the fish call and was rewarded with this chunky teen size bass

We hit the beach at 645am Thursday morning and we didn’t have to travel far. There were already nine trucks in the Napeague Lane parking lot and an equal number on the beach to the west. This is where the action left off when storm Nor’Ida moved through last weekend, and it was where the action picked up again once the waters settled down early in the week.

We stepped into the water halfway between Napeague Lane and Treasure Island Drive. The tide was incoming and the pick was very slow. We threw the lure bag, but the offering of choice was a diamond jig with a green tube—the bigger and heavier the better for the distance required to cast it beyond the sandbar.

At 9am, Big Bob got a hit in the wash.  I was 100 yards down the beach but I could tell by the bend in his rod that he had a quality fish. The striper that came up was a fat and sassy 32-½ inch, teen-sized bass. It was stuffed, literally, to the gills with sand eels.

Not our best day: Daniel played hookey but got skunked and I'm shopping for a new rod

Not our best day: Daniel played hookey but got skunked and I'm shopping for a new rod (photo by Jack Yee)

That pretty much sealed the deal for our morning session. I then ran into a series of equipment snafus. I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say my day was not improved when a 9 1/2-foot graphite rod broke in two on an ordinary cast. Unfortuately, it was a worse day for Daniel. His hookie-from-work escapade turned into a skunk session. Daniel hadn’t gotten into fish even once this season. And we were rapidly running out of season.

Sam Doughty makes catching quality keeper bass like this one seem like child's play

Sam Doughty makes catching quality keeper bass like this one seem like child's play

Bob filleted his fish and left the beach. Dan and I cast at a few other spots before he left for the LIRR and home. At 315pm, I headed back to the beach solo.  Near the Atlantic Ave. beach entrance, there was a flock of birds working so I humped out to the sandbar and began hurling towards them. Finally, a strike. I was hoping for a keeper bass but came up instead with a hyperactive bluefish. Considering my results to that point, I was thankful nonetheless. Then I moved along to the east where I encountered Harvey Bennett and his buddy Sam Doughty. Sam makes surf fishing–or more precisely, surf fish catching–look easy. He  was nailing stripers on nearly every cast. Harvey was fishing with a tiny rod and reel and wasn’t doing much worse. Their secret: rubber tube teasers tied a few inches above their diamond jigs. At one point, Sam pulled in two baby bass, a double header with one on the main lure and another on the teaser. “Put them in a line and you have a keeper,” Harvey quipped.

Sam took pity on me and showed me how to tie on a red tube teaser which he donated to my cause. I escaped total shame by  nailing a tiny striper in a diaper a few casts later. For a  sunset finale, I moved over to the beach entrance at Napeague Lane where I scored one more micro bass. Both fish were caught on the red teaser. Later, Harvey called to say he left a teaser rig for me at his shop. “Don’t forget to pick it up, you’ll need it in the morning.”

I made sure it was my last stop before home.

My only "keeper" of the day was this hyperactive bluefish

My only "keeper" of the day was this hyperactive bluefish

One Response to “Harvey Bennett’s Fish Call, Sam Doughty’s Teaser”

  1. chaweenee says:

    striper in a diaper — ha ha!!!

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