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Oct 3, 2017 9:53 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Anglers Good And Bad Chasing Big Fish Migration

Lou Gisone with one of several hefty stripers caught by surfcasters from local beaches from Moriches to Montauk this week. Adam Flax
Oct 3, 2017 10:05 AM

I happened to meet two groups of fishermen this weekend. After years of getting stuck in conversations with egotistical know-it-alls, I’ve learned to hardly ever engage in conversation with others when I’d rather be focusing on fishing, so it’s sort of rare I would make any new acquaintances on a dark beach. But on a night of spectacular fishing, these two trios both just happened to cross my path.The names of the first group were Jerry, Chris and Joe, I came to learn. The names of the other three were Jose, Juan and Angel. A more perfect stereotyped cross-section of Long Island’s residents you could not produce than these six guys.

Three of these guys were a disturbance to the quiet, and quite good, fishing scene they arrived at. They were inconsiderate of other fishermen, piss-poor anglers themselves, and they irritated or angered just about every other guy on the beach that night.

They pulled up in a truck, on a Southampton beach, without the proper permits—or documentation, if you will—so they were breaking the law at the outset. Then they marched down the beach and wedged their way between other surfcasters, in uncomfortably and unnecessarily close quarters.

One of them then proceeded to tangle with every other fishermen within casting distance, starting from his very first off-target cast. I, of course, was the first victim.

When I took up the chore of trying to untangle his lure from my line, even though he had reached the knot first and given up in disgust, he approached angrily and seemed to be blaming me for having tangled him on his very first cast. Though I couldn’t actually understand what he was saying. Even through the air of the surf, I could smell the alcohol on his breath.

His two friends came stomping over loudly a little while later and fished next to him for what seemed like about two or three flailing casts before they trudged away, because clearly this was not the good spot (failing to notice, apparently, that I had hooked a fish just feet from where they stood). During that brief time, one of them turned on his insanely bright headlamps at least three times, a major faux pas for nighttime surf fishermen.

Finally, the angry ringleader moved away, apparently now tangled with someone far down the beach in the opposite direction. He fell face-first into the wash as he went, which probably didn’t help much with his perturbation.

That is when I encountered the other three guys. They had been standing to my left all along, and I mumbled something about “good riddance” to them, to which they chuckled quietly.

For the 30 minutes or so I spent next to these three anglers, none of us had tangled any of the others, nobody had turned on a headlamp for even a couple of seconds, nobody had spoken in anything but a brief whisper—and we all had caught multiple large striped bass.

As the tide came up and the bite died out, these three guys quietly walked back to their Chevy pickups, each with the proper town stickers on them, chatted briefly with other anglers, and left. I learned their names early the next morning, when we all were back after just a couple of hours sleep.

Shortly after they left, the other three came storming back to their truck, which turned out to be parked next to mine. They had clearly not caught any fish and were quite bothered by it. I had been ignoring them, until I heard something that I couldn’t really translate but sounded like it was referring to taking the keeper fish I had bleeding out in the sand by my rear tire.

So I strolled around the back of my tailgate, catching the guy standing over my fish a little by surprise. It was the previously very angry fellow—but now he became very friendly. I asked his name, just to be polite, but then went back to stripping off my gear. I learned the names of his other friends eavesdropping on the tidbits of their conversation I could piece together.

It was only a brief time before they got in their undocumented truck and, with headlights on (another party foul), roared off down the beach. As they passed, the one I’d introduced myself to grumbled a farewell.

“Good luck, Jerry,” I answered.

The rest of you, catch ’em up. See you out there.

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Why not make a call and report Jerry and his friends?
By tenn tom (196), remsenburg on Oct 5, 17 8:08 AM
Sounds made up.
By pw herman (1009), southampton on Oct 5, 17 8:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Only if you want it be.
By em (49), sagaponack on Oct 17, 17 6:37 AM