A FISHING WE WILL GO
By Anthony Catazaro
We can all agree uneqivakly , thatMontauk Pointis the fishing capitol on the east coast. I
learned this many years ago when I was young tadpole sucking on a fishing rod instead of a baby
rattle. Fishing onLong Island, as a matter of fact, was very good 60 years ago but has been de-
clining rapidly since then…probably due to pollution, overfishing and political indifference.
But like everything else in this world, change affects most everything, one way or the other.
During the 82 years I have strolled down life’s hi-ways and bi-ways, 20 of them were spent in
Brooklynand the remaining 62 have been spent here onLong Island.
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The only fishing I was exposed to inBrooklynwas on a party boat out ofSheepsheadBay.
Oddly enough, the fish we caught were the boney, voracious, ubiquitous Porgies, that
seemingly, were hell-bent on committing suicide. They literally jumped on the hook, one
after the other, making you deliriously happy to be fishing. And as I recall at that time,
I remember thinking, “man-o-man…this is like shooting fish in a barrel.” (no pun intended)
Preceding my discharge, my parents leftBrooklynand moved toMerrick, Long
Island. With that, I suddenly realized that I was no longer a city slicker but a newly made
“Islander.” .. with no idea how to fish for a striper, bluefish, tuna or shark that are most
popular with local fishermen . What do you do when you want to learn about something?
Right! You go to school and you learn by reading, networking with people who know and
are in the business and doing hands on whenever opportunity knocks. However, before you
get involved with all that you need to equip yourself with the proper tools. So off we go to
Johnny’s tackle shop in Montauk.
I’m not talking tools like hammers and chainsaws, unless you’re going to clobber the fish
with a hammer and filet it with a chainsaw; I’m talking fishing rods, reels, (probably three
different types of both rods and reels) lures, hooks, line or monofilament, sinkers, knives, nets,
bait holders, gaffs, waders and tackle box to hold some of your fishing stuff. And for Pete’s sake,
do not forget to buy a five gallon pail of spackle that you use up on major wall patching jobs; and
after it is empty, scrub it clean and use it for carrying stuff, bringing home the fish or sitting on
it at the beach. If you want be one of the guys in your fishing fraternity…make sure it’s a
WHITE PAIL that has ABOFFS PAINTANDSUPPLIES written on it.
Now that you are fully armed and ready for combat, you need to start learning how to surf cast,
the preferred fishing technique used by many East Enders…second of course to fishing from a
charter or party boat. The school you will attend, are beaches that stretch fromSouthamptonto
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Montauk Point, where you will practice casting until your arms and shoulders ache. When you
finally complete your lessons, it’s time to graduate to the “mother of all famous fishing spots,”
under the famous Lighthouse, ordered built by President George Washington in 1796, for the
grand sum of $22,300. (Couldn’t buy the light bulb for that amount of money these days)
The first time I fished the Point, I nearly had a heart attack. Let me set the scene for you so you
can appreciate this narrative more fully.
Directly under the Lighthouse there are layers of massive rocks that form landings on which
fishermen can stand upon and cast their lures or live bait into the breaking waters of the
Atlantic ocean; that does a good job of nearly drowning our determined and undaunted “men of
the sea.” Usually, when the bass or blues are running ( and I thought they swam) the rocks are
crammed with casting fools who are buzzing the head and ears of the guy standing just below
them. (A good place to come to have your ears pierced, at no charge) But that’s not the only
scary part of this story. When someone has a hit from a 20 to 30 pound bass or bluefish,