Merry Fishmas 2013

December 23rd, 2013
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Lyrics by Big Brother Frank and Fred, photo by California Chris, design by Chaweenee

The good thing about the end of fishing season is how seamlessly it segues to the season for making merry.  Therefore, in an unending quest to blend the our two most beloved seasons, Big Brother Frank and I offer you our annual Fishmas Card.

Tight lines in the New Year and jingle jingle, y’all.

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Lovely Weather for a Surfcast Together With You

(to the tune of Sleigh Ride, by Mitchell Parrish and Leroy Anderson, 1948)

 Just see those striped bass finning

Ring-ting-tingling too

Come on it’s lovely weather

For a surfcast together with you

Outside the tide is falling

And Googins are calling, “Yoo-hoo”

Come on it’s lovely weather

For a surfcast together with you!

Fish ‘em up, fish em up, fish em up

Let’s go; how far can you throw?

We’re fishing in a wild nor’easter blow.

Crank em in, crank em in, crank em in

Don’t snag; keep your hands off the drag.

We’re casting along with a song

Of a fisherman’s fairy land.

Our lures are sharp and shiny,

And picked out by Harvey with glee.

We’re in the suds together

Like two sharpies with white boots would be.

Cast over the bar out deeper

And nail a keeper or two.

Come on, it’s lovely weather

For a surfcast together with you.

There’s a striped bass party

At the home of old Jack Yee.

It will be the perfect ending of a blitz for me.

We’ll be filleting the fish

We love to grill without a single stop

At the barbeque while we watch

The Clampie pop; Pop! Pop! Pop!

There’s a happy feeling

Nothing on a boat can match.

When that big’un in the wash winds up

a 12-pound catch.

It’ll nearly be like a picture print

By Currier and Ives.

These wonderful fish are the things

We remember all through our lives!

Just see those striped bass finning

Ring-ting-tingling too.

Come on it’s lovely weather

For a surfcast together with you.

Outside the tide is falling

And Googins are calling, “Yoo hoo”.

Come on it’s lovely weather

For a surfcast together with you.

The Timely Casting of California Chris

December 15th, 2013

December 15 is the closing day of the 2013 Striped Bass fishing season.  But before I get to a season wrap up and move on to the annual holiday “Fishmas Card”, I have one more fall tale to tell.  This one of my remarkable nephew and his uncanny sense of timing who proved that sometimes once is just enough.

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Surfcasters stretched for a mile along  Napeague beach in pursuit of stripers.

First light on a chilly late October morning revealed a picket fence of surf fishermen, spaced 20 yards apart and stretched for a mile east and west of the sandy entrance through the dunes to Napeague State Park, west of Montauk. This army of anglers had swarmed to this normally deserted idyllic beach in pursuit of striped bass which had been feasting on sand eels since Columbus Day.

Bucktailin' Billy: Sunrise striper on the beach

Bucktailin’ Billy: Sunrise striper.

By the time the sun poked through the low clouds on the eastern horizon, Bucktailing Blliy S. had a fat 31-inch keeper bass in the cooler. Big Brother Frank had caught and released a schoolie just shy of the 28-inch minimum.

My nephew, California Chris, sat in the truck…and waited.

Allow me to reintroduce you to Chris.  He last gave us all a fishing lesson on East Hampton’s Main Beach, nailing one schoolie bass after another on a sunny day in fall 2010.  He doesn’t always make the surfcasting season here on the East End, but when he does, he has a knack of making it count.

Back to the present: A cloud of gulls worked the waters coursing over the very deep bar, far beyond even the most yeoman cast. Here and there along the chorus line of casters, a sweet spot existed, where the fish ventured close enough to where mere mortals could reach them. But mostly it was throw as hard as you can, as far as you can, as often as you can–and hope for the best. A slow but steady pick of bass and blues brought up a quality crop of teen-size fish, with an occasional 20-pound trophy.

Meanwhile, Chris continued to sit in the truck…and wait.

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Sam’s 26-plus pounder. Royalty among surfcasters.

Now, among the copious lies and lore of fishing, there is one adage that is certain:  You can’t catch fish from the truck. Indeed, you must put the line in the water.  So I asked Chris:  “What’s up with you?”.

“I hate this kind of fishing”, he replied as I watched four or five rods bend with fish on their lines. “What kind if fishing would you call this that you hate ?” I answered. “Sharpshooting”, said  Chris. Hmmm. My definition of sharpshooting is casting blind into a seemingly dead sea with fragile hope that something will swim along to swallow my lure by dumb luck. This morning, conditions were anything but dead.

Still, Chris remained in the truck…..and waited.

More poles bent. By 8 am, Slammin’ Sam Doughty, one of the resident royalty of local sandy-beach striper hunters, joined the fray. Sam took 3rd place in this year’s local surfcasting tournament with a 26-plus bass he caught a week earlier. And for a brief moment on this morning, as if drawn to Sam himself, a pod of fish darted inside the bar producing swirls, splashes and a dozen fish on the hook.

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California Chris nailed this 33-inch striper, his first ever keeper, on a single cast.

Now Chris stepped out of the truck.  He walked some 10 paces to the water’s edge.  He hadn’t bothered to don waders, but took a stance on dry sand. On his first cast, Chris’ line went tight and he leaned back on his heels. In minutes, he dragged ashore a fat, 33-inch bass, his first ever keeper.

Shooting me a wry grin, Chris lifted his catch and retreated to the truck.  Say what you will, but on a fish per minute, or fish per cast basis, Chris had the best season of us all.

Can’t wait to see him here again next season. In the truck, of course.

 

Capos Go Surfcasting: Tony and His Kinky Boots

September 27th, 2013
Tony wore the poofiest shoes ever seen on a fishing beach.

Kinky Boots: Tony wore the poofiest blue shoes ever seen on a fishing beach.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2013: It must have been his footwear. Tony wore the most godawful poofy blue Topsiders any of us have ever seen when the Brooklyn Capos came to surfcast for their 7th year in a row. And don’t you know, it was he alone among these childhood buddies who caught fish—micro-striper though it was.

Anthony or Santiago?

Old Man and the Bass: Tony or Santiago?

Not that anyone has a right to knock baby bass. In mid-September, when the fall striper run should be ramping up to its peak, the fish, instead, are certainly distracted as we all are by Indian Summer; Lollygagging, sipping pink drinks with umbrella stirrers, reading the New Yorker. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. Maybe they’re reading the New York Post. Whatever they’re doing, the fish are definitely not feeding because there is bait EVERYWHERE and not a predator upon them. So, a fish caught is a fish caught, no matter the size, and despite the fact that it was a catch to be released, not filleted.

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Dan nailed micro-bass at Billy’s Beach.

My son, Can’t-Miss-Dan, was a 24-hour drop in and he too nailed a striper in diapers on light tackle. Both were caught during a tailgating respite at “Billy’s Beach”–so called for our own Tenancious Bucktailing Billy–a placid sliver of shoreline along the channel leading into Three Mile Harbor.

Having shaken the skunk off himself and the rest of the Capos, Tony and the boys chowed down in a nearly celebratory mood on eggplant parmigiana sandwiches and roast chicken that I packed in the truck. And when, for our last dinner, I conjured up a batch of black bean soup and grilled a half dozen rib-eyes, there was nary a complaint. Like the old joke about the hunter and the bear, the fact is, my guys didn’t really come for the fishing.

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Dr. Charley cutting bait like a surgeon.

Except Dr. Charley Boyz. Once I roused him from bed at dawn, he willingly stayed on the beach and cast the whole day through. He even put his doctoring skills to work cutting up clam bellies when, in a desperate move that I am none too proud of–and is never to be spoken of again, you hear?–we resorted to “meatstick” surf-fishing, using bait instead of lures on Napeague Beach. Needless to say, the change of tactics did not change the fish’s minds. They were having none.

But at least I was able to serve up the sea’s bounty on two evenings. Before the full complement of Capos arrived, Felix and I chased down a handful of cocktail blues that hopscotched in and out along the sandy beach near the White Sands Motel just before sundown.

Five of these cocktails Blues fed the masses.

Five  cocktails blues fed the masses.

Within hours, we dined on one tasty two-pounder which I left on the bone and grilled whole, wrapped in prosciutto, a trick I borrowed from my trout fishing friends. When the full Capo crew was on hand, I served up the rest of the fillets baked in the BW’s marinara sauce along with the requisite linguine. Throw some broccoli rabe and escarole braised in olive oil and garlic at these guys and they soon forget this is a fishing trip.

Especially Vinny. It’s a major accomplishment for him to actually make it to the east end of Long Island from the Oakland suburb where he lives.

Vinny sweeps a poker pot.

If he only fished like he played cards, Vinny the Taxman would have swept the surf.

Frankly, the only time Vinny seems coherent the entire weekend is when he is playing cards. Vinny is still a virgin in the surf. I’m not sure he actually believes there are fish to be caught and that these weekends are not a conspiracy to take his money at the poker table.

Bluefish grilled whole on the bone wrapped in prosciutto

Trout Fishing Trick: Bluefish grilled on the bone wrapped in prosciutto.

Wounder Warrior: Bobby cast between coughs.

Bobby A.:  casting between coughs.

Bobby A. was a wounded warrior on this trip, fighting off a budding case of bronchitis and an ear infection. Still, he cast valiantly between coughs. But it was Felix, who chased after, cast for, and saw more fish than any of the others, and proved gamest of all.

He fished with all his heart and might only to come close but never connect.

Most likely, Felix just wasn’t wearing the right shoes. And that left Tony, thanks to his kinky boots, as the only Brooklyn Capo with a true FishTale to tell for 2013.

We’ll get them next year guys.  Just don’t ever stop coming back.

Felix's casting form was near perfect in the surf

Felix chased blues on the beach with nearly perfect surfcasting form.

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Capos Surfcasting 2013: Fred, Dan, Big Bob, Tony, Dr. Charley Boyz, Bobby A., Bucktailin’ Billy, Felix, Vinny the Taxman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Tides Go By: Surf Fishing’s High Holy Days

September 19th, 2013

 

“With the coming of the war, a tortuous refugee trail sprang up to Casablanca. Here, the fortunate ones might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to the New World. But the others wait in Casablanca…and wait….and wait….and wait…”

SEPT. 19, 2013: And that is precisely what I and all the other usual Montauk surfcasting suspects have been doing: waiting for the fall run to kick into gear. And waiting…and waiting….and waiting.

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At Turtle Cove, Waiting……..

 

Like our hero Rick, who says he went to Casablanca “for the waters”,  I too was misinformed that Labor Day would be the beginning of a beautiful fishing season. As yet, this story does not have a wow finish. But, stick around; one may come to me as I go along.

I was shocked, shocked to find the pickings so slim these first few weeks. After all, Labor Day is to me what the Letters of Transit were to Laszlo: From this point I have an irrevocable pass from the BW (beautiful wife) to fish until Thanksgiving. Furthermore, the first week in September brought early what is traditionally the luckiest fishing days of the early season: The Rosh Hoshannah Blitz, and, 10 days later of course, the lesser known but up-and-coming Yom Kippur Blitz.

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Picture Perfect Weather: We’ll always have Napeague

Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, as I guess I will always have these beautiful and picturesque late summer days. But for all the fishing success anyone’s had, we might as well have gone back to Bulgaria.  Making the pre-sunrise rounds on cool, cloudless mornings and later with the backdrop of  blazing orange sunsets, I hunted all the East End beachs with cohorts Tenacious Bucktailing Billy, Big Brother Frank, Verizon Charlie and the Amazing Randi.  We plied south and north facing haunts from Amagansett to the Montauk Light and–as Rick suspected of Ilsa–there were others in between.

FASandDabTIBeach

Of all the beaches in all the world, this fish had to swim onto mine….

Some, though not many, fared better than we. I am, indeed, the kind that fishes and tells. In two weeks, I saw one quality striper emerge from the Montauk rocks pre-dawn, and a few stray, skinny bluefish nailed on the last of the outgoing tide at the North Bar. I’d bet the fish are asleep on the North Bar.  I’d bet they’re asleep all over the East End.

Verizon Charlie and the Amazing Randi picked up a couple of bluefish on the descending tide at North Bar. So did Nurse Carmela and her wet-suiting daughter Angela. All I had to show for my efforts, however, were a couple of silly sea robins and an anemic sand dab flounder caught off of Treasure Island Drive beach. Of all the beaches in all the world, these trash fish had to swim into mine.  It didn’t take much to see that these catches didn’t add up to a hill of beans in this crazy fishing season.

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North Bar Wetsuiters: Nurse Carmela and daughter Angela

By the end of Yom Kippur weekend, Billy and I showed up at Oyster Pond Cove at 7am. But the fish, imitating inspector Renault, arrived at 10. We were long gone by then. However, Verizon Charlie–the spiritual leader of all surfcasting activities who is a very influential and respected man in Montauk and points west–stuck around to nail a couple of nearly legal bass.

Now, with Sukkot–the ancient harvest festival–upon us, I maintain a stoic attitude.  After all, you must remember this, a fish is just a fish: A cast is just a cast. The fundamental things apply, as tides go by.

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Verizon Charlie nailed a few of these long skinny Bluefish

If you just said, “oy”, well, you are right in the spirit of things. That is to say, you’re just as confused as me.

Here’s looking at you….squid.

 

A Mid-Summer’s Fish Charter

July 17th, 2013

A tasty return when four Realtors set sail for stripers on a sultry day

Lenny the Sailor, Bobby the Fish Killer, Yours Truly and Sammy Shamu.

Lenny the Sailor, Bobby the Fish Killer, Yours Truly and Sammy Shamu.

JULY 17, 2013:  My good buddy and fellow Realtor–let’s call him Sammy Shamu–says his wife’s latest best dates were with me. True, the elegant Ms. J. and I have tooled around Kings Point waterfront properties in her hot wheels; we’ve had picnic lunches, and recently spent a day touring and tasting in North Fork wine country. But it’s been all business. I assure you. I assure him. Still, Sammy remains skeptical.

So, to demonstrate that I don’t play favorites in his family, I used the occasion of a striped bass fishing trip to give Sammy a literal taste of the good life, Fred style. Another of our esteemed real estate colleagues–Bobby S., the silent but deadly striper hunter–arranged for a four man charter aboard the Sundowner out of Orient Point on a particularly vicious mid-summer morning.

In his Element: Bobby S. is a silent but deadly striper hunter.

Bobby’s had good fortune aboard this vessel. In fact, the captain adorns his cockpit with a photo of Bobby and the 45-pound bass he boated on a past sail aboard the Sundowner. Ordinarily, I eschew boating in favor of surfcasting. But I was in for the camaraderie and the conviction we’d go home with dinner at least.

Unsure whether to appeal to my colleagues’ carnivorous or vegetarian side for breakfast and lunch, I fired straight down the middle, stepping aboard the Sundowner at 7am with eggplant caponata sandwiches on seeded mini semolina rolls, along with grilled breaded chicken cutlet panini on beds of baby spinach flecked with tangly feta cheese. There was a cooler filled with Hofbrau House lagers, but the dozens of Poland Spring water bottles won the 90 degree day.

Shortly past 8am we began drifting live eels over a 26-foot deep ledge in The Race, a stretch of fecund water off Little Gull’s Island where Long Island Sound meets Block Island Sound. We lucked into a gentle breeze that gave some relief from the searing sun and mercifully kept the black flies off our legs–except for those of Lenny P. the Sailor.

Lenny the Sailor:  He took first fish and most fish for the day.

Lenny the Sailor: He took first fish and most fish for the day.

Couldn’t feel too bad for Lenny, however. He took two-thirds of the day’s pool by nailing the first fish–a fat 33-inch striper–and the most fish–later he added a gorilla bluefish and a frisky sand shark. Bobby, our fearless leader, had two keeper bass, but threw one back in hopes of a trophy that never came. This was my first time fishing with Bob who had not been indoctrinated in Fred’s fishing rules. Note to Bob: Never throw back a keeper. It’s in all the literature.

There are NO small fish in my hands, ever.

There are NO small fish in my hands, not ever.

My production was nothing to write home about. I landed a short bass and hooked a monster bluefish that bit off before we got it to the boat.

But back to the star of our show: Sammy Shamu.  About an hour into our drift session, Sammy boated a broad-shouldered linesider. In the interest of full disclosure, the very capable mate–”filet-and-release” Zack–estimated Sam’s fish at 34 inches, 12 pounds.My highly trained eye told me Zack was underselling: 36-inches, 15 pounds for sure. And, I am certain by the time you read this–though this fish has long since been sliced, grilled, eaten and digested–it is sure to be even larger.  Reread this story tomorrow and you can add two more inches and two more pounds.  Such is the nature of stripers–and fish-tale tellers.

Shamu Sammy: He scored with the fish of the day.

Sammy Shamu: He scored with the fish of the day.

With a cooler full of fish, Sammy and I hustled off to Amagansett on the South Fork for a lightning round of organic farm-stand shopping, a swim at the ocean beach and dinner at Big Brother Frank’s house. Hoping to introduce Sammy to the joys of fresh caught bluefish, I went with a mixed grill of bass and blues, dressed with a summery fresh tomato and basil salsa.  It all disappeared in record time, consumed along side fire-roasted baby zucchini, a summery escarole salad by SIL St. Toni of the Blitz, and washed down with a blush California rosê.

Dinner: 40 pounds of bass and blues

Dinner: 40 pounds of bass and blues

Do we think that Sammy had a good time?  I’m guessing yes because the following evening Sammy and his wife asked for the recipe to prepare the rest of his catch precisely the same way. For the record, here it is:

 Mixed Grill of Striped Bass and Bluefish with Fresh Tomato & Basil Salsa

  • Bluefish and striped bass filets, cleaned;
  • Ripe tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil, garlic;
  • Extra virgin olive oil;
  • Fresh lemon juice and/or zest;
  • Salt and pepper.

PREPARATION

  • Lightly salt and oil the fish filets;
  • Finely dice then mix the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, lemon salt and pepper with the olive oil to form a syrupy dressing; Set aside;
  • On a clean, hot and oiled grill, cook the fish a few minute on each side, depending upon thickness; The bluefish will likely cook more quickly–2 minutes per side. The thicker bass filets will require about 6 minutes per side or more. When the filets are opaque, or springy to a finger poke, they are done.
  • Spoon the dressing on the cooked filets and serve.Mixed grill of blue and bass with a summery salsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2013

January 1st, 2013

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Merry Fishmas 2012

December 23rd, 2012

It’s not that FishTales went away this year.  More the case that the fish hardly made an appearance.

A brief blitz of bass in mid-October. Then came Hurricane Sandy and, well, you know the rest.

Still, this is the season of hopes and dreams.  So we pine for the miracle of Christmas Bass, in the most figurative sense.

And as Big Brother Frank and I have penned here: “We Believe”.

Therefore, may there be a Van Staal under your tree, a keeper on your line,  and love and peace on Earth for the New Year.

Merry Fishmas to all.

Fred

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Gina, Fred and Frank Abatemarco. Lyrics by Frank and Fred. Graphic Design by Chaweenee. Photo by Punk Rock Barrister Justin Hoy.

 

GRANDMA NAILED A KEPER AT THE LIGHTHOUSE

(To the tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer)

Grandma nailed a keeper at the Lighthouse,

Fishing on the slack tide Christmas Eve.

You can say there’s no such thing as Santa.

But as for all the Sharpies, they believe.

She’d been drinking rum with Harvey,

And we begged her not to go.

But she slipped into her waders,

And she staggered to the Point under the snow.

When she weighed in Christmas morning,

Down at Paulie’s Tackle Shop,

She had a striper in the cooler,

And a big ole nasty bluefish on the top.

Now the bass is on the table,

And the pudding made of fig.

But Grandma’s deep into her tide charts.

She says New Year’s Eve at North Bar will be big.

Fishmas Card 2011: Keeper Bass Coming to Town

December 19th, 2011
Never Say Never. The season officially ended last week, but did anyone tell the fish?
December 19, 2011: Right up until the closing bell on December 15,  the 2011 striped bass surfcasting season was consistently  3 to 4 weeks off schedule.  September was a sleeper.  The “count-on-able” Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur blitzes didn’t happen until Columbus Day weekend. And the herring and bunker runs that historically characterize November hardly appeared until early December.  At this rate, we may in fact have keeper bass for Christmas. That notion inspired this year’s Fishmas card by me and Big Brother Frank.
Lyrics by Fred and Frank; photo by St. Toni of the Blitz; graphics design by Chawenee.                                                                                                                                                                

 

Keeper Bass Are Coming To Town
(To the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”)
You better cast straight
And tie on a fly
Look for the bait
I’m telling you why
Keeper bass are coming to town.
They’re in at sun-rise
Along with the blues
Gonna find out
Who’s paying their dues
Keeper Bass are coming to town.
They see you with your buck tails
They know when things are jake
They know if you’re a goog’ or not
So be good for goodness sake!
O! They’re blitzing the Light
So work that new lure
A really good bite
Big stripers for sure
Keeper Bass are coming to town.

FishTales 2011: A Thanksgiving Reprise

November 23rd, 2011

True story or not, the Bonacker Turkey tale is too good not to retell

On Long Island’s East End, Bonackers (short for the Indian word Accabonac, which roughly translates to land of ground nuts), are the descendants of the earliest working class English settlers of the East Hampton hamlet known as Springs. Only a few such families remain of what used to be farmers, baymen and fishermen. The Bonacker family names most commonly include Miller, King, Bennett, Conklin, Havens, Strong and Lester.

Back in the day, these “bubs” lived low on the food chain. Consider them among the earliest locavores. In the toughest of times, particularly during the Great Depression, Bonackers were known to eschew the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving. Instead, they’d stuff a big meaty codfish with scallops, stale bread and whatever veggies their gardens would yield. Perhaps there would be some oyster stew or clam chowder, clam fritters or clam pie as well. The codfish, scallops, oysters and clams were plentiful and cheap, cheap, cheap once upon a time. Not so today.

There are some who question the veracity of this particular Fish Tale. But I think it too quaint not to retell, regardless. And whether you are fortunate enough to have a fat fowl on your table this holiday, or you’re giving a turkey a break by serving a ham, or perhaps a Bonacker’s turkey, here’s wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from FishTales.

Montauk to the Met: The Bel Canto Bass Blitz

October 6th, 2011
Dramatic top water hits in the surf; Trilling high C’s on stage at Lincoln Center
Oct. 6, 2011: My definition of a good day: 730am; keeper stripers in a North Bar bass blitz in Montauk.  730pm; curtain up on Anna Netrebko singing lead soprano in a Donizetti classic at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera.
Rosh Hoshanah Blitz: Charlie R scores a keeper

Reacting to a fish call from Big Brother Frank, reporting that Montauk finally lit up with bass and blues, I hustled out east for a mid-week lightening round of fishing with Tenacious Billy S., who is rapidly showing signs as the equal of any degenerate, eh, I mean dedicated, surfcasting rat. The “Rosh Hoshanah Blitz”, highly anticipated the weekend before, was virtually a non-event, except for a few diligent anglers like Charlie R., the Mickey Mantle of south shore surfcasting, who scored some bluefish and a healthy schoolie for his table from Montauk’s north side.  Frank put a brunch-time keeper in his cooler at Jones Reef on Wednesday so Billy and I were quick to join him for the tail end of the afternoon feed. We didn’t fare quite as successfully, but did manage two good sized bluefish from Turtle Cove at sundown. Even though our boots were in the water at 445pm, we were a tad late for a tea-time north side blitz that produced child-size bass on the beach from a picket-fence line of surfcasters stretching from Scott’s Cove near the lighthouse to Clark’s Cove to the west.  Reports also confirmed that “all big fish” were caught at the Stepping Stones, Oyster Pond Cove, and Shagwong, further west.

Brunch Time Keeper: Frank put out the fish call

Highly encouraged by the amount of fish caught, their size and the stiff NNW wind that promised to keep pushing the tiny rain bait and feeding bass into our faces, we returned to the scene of the crime at first light.  Billy and I had afternoon obligations so we knew ours was a hit and run proposition: get them early, or go home skunked.

Our truck reached the North Bar as the sun broke the horizon over our right shoulders, revealing squawking, diving birds that told the tale: major striper blitz.  Billy threw a shorty Hopkins, I threw a white and red Polaris popper, Frank threw a blue swimmer. Everything–and everyone–caught fish.

Major Montauk Bass Blitz: Big Brother Frank on the North Bar

All the hits were dramatic, top water explosions. My lure got slammed within a single crank of the reel, accompanied by a vicious tail slap. The feel of the previous night’s fighting-dog bluefish was still fresh, so I knew immediately from the difference that I was on a muscular keeper bass. It was combat fishing conditions, with hard running water, wind-blown fish lines and anglers stacked on top of each other. There was no chance to savor the fight, so I horsed my 31-inch fatty onto the beach and extracted the lure that the fish inhaled half way down its throat.

Pair of Keepers: Hit and run stripers at sunrise

Billy had already deposited his 29-inch bass in the cooler and was now fast on a short.  Frank had one throwback schoolie and then the action died as quickly as it started.  The fish moved offshore to the west.  A quick look at the south side revealed another blitz in the making at Brown’s Rock beyond Turtle Cove.  But it was time for Billy and me to hit the road.

Later that evening at the Met, Anna Netrebko trilled her final high C‘s before the axe man cut off her pretty head. Then A-Rod whiffed at a 3rd strike in the Bronx, sending the Yankees to defeat in game 5 of the American League’s first round championship playoffs. Meanwhile, I was still grinning with memories of the morning’s mayhem in Montauk–and looking forward to the weekend prospects for the lesser known, but up-and-coming, Yom Kippur Blitz of 2011.

From Montauk to the Met: My idea of a great day