2008-02-29 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Scenes like this are just around the corner. Scenes like this are just around the corner. I live pretty much a "bizzarro" life. That's a good thing because, as I go about my day void of saltwater and fishing this time of year, I can retreat into my Walter Mitty existence and daydreaming as I go along.

Oh I get my hits of saltwater, for instance when I walk Bo I'm down by the bay; that's one hit. On route to work I pass Jamaica Bay and Little Neck Bay. That's a double hit; actually factor in the ride home you have four hits. That's what I'm talking about. Inadvertently or by design, I feed my saltwater craving.

Added to the above would be the neverending "fish calls" I receive before, during and after work. Basically, they are monotonous, redundant calls by the same group of fish burnouts day in and day out, year after year. The content of which changes on rare occasion like the tide. Fish jargon is sprinkled throughout these conversations. For those not in the life, listen and learn.

We fishermen or anglers if you will, to be gender friendly, are always looking to speak to the point and conserve energy. In our infinite wisdom, we invent words, phrases and so on. At the pinnacle of these would be the age-old word "Gotchya" "Hello" "Hey" "What's up" "Not much" "I gotchya" "hear anything" "Na" "yea" "I gotchya" "Mild winter" "Yep I gotchya" "Fish should move through early".

"Yea maybe" "Yea I gotchya" "Not much ice in the bay" "Yea not much been mild" "Yea I gotchya" "Might be good for crabbin' whatta you think" "Hmm depends" "Yea I gotchya."

You see "gotchya" has been handed down from generation to generation of mariners. Basically before the age of the internet and text messaging "gotchya" was used to communicate quickly and decisively.

Without a doubt, the term was a high speed form of communication and light years before fiber optics. How those non-fishermen lived without that term is mind boggling. Spotlight on Jamaica Bay Louies' Pier

I don't know Louie personally. In fact, I don't know if there is a Louie, but every fisherman in the bay knows the spot referred to as Louies' Pier. This landmark spot is easily identified by the white lighthouse structure in appearance on the shore between Roxbury and the elbow or turn toward Breezy Point.

It's further recognized by the sailboats moored there. Directly to the north, or thereabouts, you will see a "rip" formed by the tide flow, and the wreck that lies beneath.

It's a real sleeper of a spot with many boats cruising past it on their way to the inlet. Because of the tide flow, it can be a little tricky at times to get on right, but it does hold fish and is worth investigating. My method of choice would be to use a grapple hook and try and position the boat directly above the structure. Seasonal residents would be blackfish, porgies and Stripers.

Surfcasters also get their licks in casting toward the rip and working the debris field surrounding it. Also, to the west is a belly in the beach that foraging bass and blues coral bait in.

It is a nifty little spot worthy of your time, especially on days when the weather, sea conditions and winds make venturing outside the inlet a little tough.

Personally, I think it is a natural runway for fish moving about the bay. The current moves briskly, especially on the moon tides and the wreck itself provides a break in the tide and a good place for baitfish to hide and forage, hence attracting the bigger predators. Plus, scattered about are the remains of some wooden pilings, all good stuff.

Successful surfcasters prowl about the beach nearby under the cover of darkness when boat traffic subsides and in the early dawn. For the most part, they use decent size surf rods and lures, as opposed to bait.

Occasionally you will see a fly rodder or two undulating their spaghetti western rods back and forth. Pencil poppers, metal lip swimmers, and poppers are all favorites.

But I must add this little caveat to my loyal readers-the master blaster himself, Cheech, prefers the super strike floating polaris. Hard to believe but he single-handedly out fished yours truly with it last fall.

Ok everyone beware the Ides of March, Cesar and flounders............. Until the next Tide.

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