2008-01-25 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheel House

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Late breaking news; I didn't fish this past week.

Now consider the fact that from the end of March till the end or mid January I fish every day, sometimes twice a day, and occasionally three times a day, that's saying a lot.

That has been my constant for as long as I can remember. That oddity or destiny began as a kid growing up in Rosedale. Brookville Park was my Okeechobee (a famous bass lake down south). I learned my craft catching carp, sunnies, and goldfish. But like Ishmael I set a path towards the sea. Not the New Bedford of Melville's Moby Dick, but Rockaway.

To say I have spent the better part of my life on or in the water would be a gross understatement. Fishing Rockaway was what I did. Before school, after school, at times during school, I fished Rockaway. In my younger days, no car no problem.

Strap my rods to my Raleigh grand prix and peddle to Beach 4th Street. Live on the edge and peddle to Beach 36 Street. Going on a date tonight, check the beach first, conditions good date ends early, better yet, she waits in the car while I fish.

These were care free times for me, the gas was cheap and the fishing easy. So much has changed. The course by car from my house to Rockaway was a simple one. Up Brookville Boulevard, left on Rockaway Turnpike, past Argo boats, past the homemade bait sign with arrow beneath marking the block to Seaman's bait and tackle, off to the left Mays department store gone, round the turn through Inwood passing the RKO in Lawrence, now gone, past TSS gone, make a pit stop at Carvel also gone, and straight into Rockaway.

Wow that strip has undergone some fashion makeover, I think it's safe to say that you're getting old when all of your driving landmarks have been replaced. Now I can relate to progress, and I don't mean to be a drama queen here but my rituals, vanilla flying saucers (flying saucer-creation of world famous chef Tom Carvel, it consisted of 2 chocolate cookies with ice cream in the middle) en route to the beach, gone!

I'm just not the 39 flavors type,I'm a pureist; vanilla cone chocolate sprinkles. OK, take a walk on the wild side a cherry bonnet (cherry bonnet- a masterpiece words cannot describe), gone. You know what, I'm putting an Eagles 8 track in my cassette player, those flat little round things, I ain't feeling them either.

Well my inactivity didn't stop my crew from wetting a line. Earlier in the week they thumbed a ride on my friend Eddie's boat, giving the Karen Ann a little rest. Needless to say, their quarry was blackfish, so off to the deep they went. And, I might add with good success.

As anticipated the blackfish were chewing and with two drops they limited out. Quality fish too, I think the biggest weighed in around 10 lbs, with some codfish mixed in. As was the case, last weeks fishing had its ups and downs.

This cold weather hurt the fishing, and the Packers more than the Giants. Although boats still caught, it wasn't the bang up job that we had over the past few weeks. Herring made some cameo appearances on the local piers, but they too with no consistency

The cold snap if you're a duck hunter came a bit late this year, the season ends this week. Conversations with duck hunters from the other bays, East Rockaway, Merrick and points east all said the duck hunting was disappointing this past season.

Cold weather from up north usually moves ducks our way and that wasn't the case, global warming affects us all.

The highlight of this past weekend's hunting, as reported to me from Billy of Inwood, was the seals moving on to the banks of Merrick Bay. As he and fellow hunters tried to set up their blind on a favorite bank they were greeted by a residing seal colony. So much for that hot spot, wise choice when you're out numbered.

Once again, tight lines....

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