Warmed by memories on the cold, crisp mornings

JASON SHIELDS PHOTO | Rich Lenzer with a late-season linesider plucked from Gardiner’s Bay .

On bluebird days in November and December, we’d haul our barnacle-encrusted bait barrel and carefully shake out enough green crabs for a half day of blackfishing. Inclement days, on the other hand, were reserved for duck hunting, wood splitting, sinker making and tackle maintenance. If our Muscovy duck population was in need of thinning and a brood was ready for the chopping stump, we’d process a dozen or more.

It was a fitting activity for a stormy day; the birds sensed their impending doom under scudding grey clouds and the pelting rain added to my misery as I slid and sloshed around in duck slop chasing those poor birds. In the shed, the tin garbage can of piping hot water brought life back to my fingers when I dipped a bird to ease the plucking. Friends of my dad’s would come over and pluck with us and tell stories. I’d listen and laugh on cue, not quite getting the jokes and hoping in the back of my mind for a few more nice days to go fishing before the boat was hauled for winter.

Green crabs work best for blackfish. They are sturdy looking creatures, these would-be bait offerings we trapped around rock piles and other structures in shallow waters. A fish has to be pretty rugged to crack a green crab’s shell. Blackfish, or “tautog” as the Narragansett Indians called them, have front teeth that resemble human choppers and strong jaws that easily crush crab shell. They strike with a ferocity commensurate to the hardness of their quarry’s exoskeleton, and once hooked immediately wiggle back into the crevices of their rocky abodes. Eight pounders were common when I was a boy and the old man usually topped the pool with a 12- or 13-pound fish.

Blackfish yield one of the most tender fish meats I’ve eaten. We would poach them whole with vegetables and wine and my dad would go for the cheeks as soon as the fish was out of the pot. He’d pull the skin back like it was wet tape and pull the meat from the bones. It really was delicious.

Openngs and closings
Blackfish season opened October 8 and will close December 5. Mid-season reports are very good, with party boat fares limiting out most trips. The bag limit this year is four fish 16 inches or larger. North Fork party boats are booking now and filling up quickly. Trips are subject to cancellation based on weather so watch the forecast and try and pick a good day. Jumbo porgies also are still coming over the rails.

I haven’t seen or heard any reports on striped bass since the storm hit three weeks ago. I know the surfcasters on the south fork have been slowly trickling back to the beach but fish are scarce at best. Bass and blues continue to bite up west off beaches and seaside communities that were badly damaged by Sandy. A lot of folks simply have more important things to attend to than fishing.

Montauk is quiet now, in stark contrast to the blistering surf action anglers enjoyed before the storm. I’ve heard many people say this year’s fall run was unlike any they’d seen in decades. An epic weather event will literally turn the water upside down and send everything deep. We probably saw the last of the linesiders until next spring.
I did manage to make two trips with Gregg Petry and Rich Lenzer the week before the storm. We left the dock early Tuesday night, October 22 and found 11 boats in the spot we’d been fishing all fall. This was a marked increase in the fleet. Gregg said some of the boats were crewed by Bonnackers (East Hampton locals) and they’d be leaving soon. Bonnackers are descendants of farmers and prefer to be in bed by 9 p.m. and up by 4 the next day. Sure enough, several boats left the grounds around 8:30 headed for Three Mile Harbor.

The operators of two boats that stayed kept running back directly over the fish, a cardinal sin when fishing in shallow water. They also came close to cutting our lines a few times. Gregg always arcs around the spot when he runs back up to start a new drift. It’s the difference between being a conscientious fisherman and just some yahoo who can’t see the bigger picture. Despite some people’s best efforts to drive the fish deep, we got our limit and then some.
The final trip was the Saturday before the storm and we fished hard and late. It was a mixed bag of bluefish and bass and there were a few other boats from Shelter Island getting their last licks in. We three on the Pridwin boat were trying to take our minds off the coming storm and all of the unknowns that preceded it. It was hard to imagine that the placid bay we were gliding on would be a raging tempest 36 hours later. We put our last bass in the box around 1 a.m. and stuck it out for another half hour or so, knowing this would be it until next year.

Then we turned west and headed home to batten down the hatches.



132 Comment

  • Believe it or not unlike the Brits in The top Exotic Marigold Hotel, who want to leave England I might love to retire to England. I really like that country!

  • Practically all this discussion on Siri amazes me. How can anybody rightly refer to a fairly uncomplicated voice recognition software program as artificial intelligence?

  • It’s always the way isn’t it – you spend ages searching for something, only to discover a page like this that gives you everything in one location that you’ve just wasted hours looking for! The way you have composed this site is both articulate and informative at the same time. That’s quite an achievement, considering the subject matter addressed. Thank you once again for taking the time to put pen to paper, I have learnt a lot :). My dad always used to say “a day without learning anything is a wasted day”. I have certainly learned a lot from this article, thanks. I have placed a link to this page from Twitter, I hope that’s OK?

  • I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

  • I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I¡¯ll learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  • Very tremendous things here. I am very happy to see your article. Thanks a lot and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  • Really informative post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

  • Right now it looks like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  • Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to

  • I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this web site. I’m hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  • I am glad for commenting to make you be aware of what a perfect discovery my friend’s girl went through checking your web page. She mastered a wide variety of things, most notably how it is like to have a great coaching heart to make folks just know chosen specialized subject areas. You actually did more than our desires. Thank you for coming up with such warm and friendly, trustworthy, revealing as well as easy thoughts on that topic to Emily.

  • I actually wanted to send a quick message so as to express gratitude to you for all the magnificent techniques you are writing on this website. My extensive internet investigation has at the end of the day been honored with high-quality know-how to exchange with my relatives. I ‘d admit that many of us readers actually are undoubtedly lucky to exist in a really good site with so many wonderful individuals with beneficial techniques. I feel truly privileged to have discovered your web page and look forward to really more awesome minutes reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.

  • Hello there, I do believe your blog could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!

  • Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, as well as the content!

  • Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • Hi are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  • I am continuously looking online for posts that can facilitate me. Thx!

  • Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the desire”.I am trying to to find things to improve my web site!I assume its adequate to use some of your ideas!!

  • Hello all, here every one is sharing these familiarity, so it’s fastidious to read this website, and I used to go to see this website everyday.

  • After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  • I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

  • It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • I have been using the Luci for a couple weeks, I really like it. My package arrived about a week after I ordered it (ground). I refill the cartridges myself to save even more cash, and I buy the atomizers when I need to.

  • I loved your article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  • “Wow, great article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.”

  • Hello. Very cool blog!! Man .. Outstanding .. Superb .. I will bookmark your web position and acquire the feeds also…I’m cheerful to find several effective data here in the post. Gratitude for sharing.

  • That panic might attain all punish excluding few.

  • Its comparable you recite my mind! You appear to get a lot concerning this, in the vein of you wrote the book in it before impressive. I ponder that you could perform with a few pics to constrain the message inland a bit, except further than that, this is outstanding blog. An admirable interpret. I will definitely be present back.

  • As soon as I detected this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  • I really liked your article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  • Wow, superb blog layout! How extensive have you been blogging for? you compose blogging look laid-back. The largely expression of your locate is fantastic, consent to on your own the content!

  • Hiya. Vastly cool muddle site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and acquire the feeds additionally…I’m happy to find as a result a good deal cooperative data here within the send. Thanks for sharing.

  • My husband and i ended up being comfortable that Edward managed to carry out his homework through the ideas he discovered while using the web site. It is now and again perplexing to just happen to be giving out concepts that other folks could have been selling. So we know we now have the website owner to be grateful to for that. The most important illustrations you have made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships you can give support to instill – it is all spectacular, and it is helping our son and us do think that idea is fun, which is wonderfully pressing. Thank you for the whole lot!

  • Good write-up, I am regular visitor of one’s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  • Terrific paintings! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared around the internet. Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

  • After examine jdhipss just a few of the weblog posts on your website now, and I actually like your approach of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site listing and will likely be checking back soon. Pls check out my web page as effectively and let me know what you think.

  • Wonderful beat ! I jdhipss wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I have been tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vivid transparent idea

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and net and this is really frustrating. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this website, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  • I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!

  • I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this web site. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a great example of it.

  • I am not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  • Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  • Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Great. I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  • I just couldn’t depart your website before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often in order to check up on new posts

  • You have observed fantastically attractive points ! ps straight website . “Become addicted to unremitting and never-ending identity improvement.” by Anthony D’Angelo.

  • I am not certain where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I used to be searching for this information for my mission.

  • You should participate in a contest for jdhipss top-of-the-line blogs on the web. I’ll suggest this web site!

  • Die Bereiche Fashion, Dessous, Beach & Bikini sowie unser Schuh- und Schmuckbereich bieten attraktive Produkte zu top Preisen.

  • Nice weblog right here! Also your website so much up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate link on your host? I desire my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • Hello would you mind sharing which blog jdhipss platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  • I regard something genuinely special in this website.

  • I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  • I discovered your weblog website on google and test a number of of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the excellent operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for ahead to reading more from you later on!…

  • I’ve been surfing on-line more than three hours nowadays, but I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It¡¦s pretty value enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web might be much more helpful than ever before.

  • Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great design .

  • I just want to tell you that I am just new to blogs and truly loved your web-site. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your site . You absolutely have fabulous writings. Thanks a lot for revealing your blog.

  • Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to

  • Leaked around the refill. Condensation dripped from the “filter” & tasted strange. I returned my Njoy to Pilot the next day after argument w/an excited store manager. Not worth the hassle.

  • Hey there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Many thanks!

  • I am always looking online for ideas that can assist me. Thanks!

  • Great work! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this publish higher! Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)

  • Interesting post right here. One thing I would really like to say is most professional domains consider the Bachelor’s Degree just as the entry level standard for an online diploma. While Associate Certifications are a great way to begin with, completing a person’s Bachelors reveals many opportunities to various careers, there are numerous internet Bachelor Diploma Programs available by institutions like The University of Phoenix, Intercontinental University Online and Kaplan. Another issue is that many brick and mortar institutions offer Online versions of their degree programs but generally for a extensively higher fee than the institutions that specialize in online higher education degree programs.

  • Hello, Neat post. There is an issue along with your web site in web explorer, might test this… IE still is the market leader and a huge component of other people will omit your magnificent writing because of this problem.

Comments are closed.