2008-05-09 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheel House

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Linda and some nice bass. Linda and some nice bass. Buzzing around the bay this past week either fishing or fueling up, I ran into some old familiar faces. Perhaps a year older and a bit weather beaten, they still seemed eager in their pursuit of catching Striped Bass.

The south side of the bay was well represented. The various center consoles had their share of characters. It was like cartoon characters if you will, all with their personalities, quirks and assorted nicknames to match.

Just for a brief moment or two, I stopped scanned to port and starboard and took in the day. This collection of anglers has been eclipsing one another for oh, thirty five years or so, give or take a few.

One in particular always makes me grin..uh take that back makes me laugh.

He's kind of a big troll of sorts. Everything about him is big. Big feet, big hands, big head but most importantly he catches big fish and lots of them. And he's been doing it for a long time. He also has a formidable entourage of large round men at his side.

As we drift our baits over a spot we pause for a moment and look at one another. He tips his cap revealing a flock of salt and pepper, mostly salt at this time hair.

Hank and friends aboard the Karen Ann. Hank and friends aboard the Karen Ann. We exchange pleasantries and in a blink of an eye thirty five years of fishing and crossing paths flashes by. I recall the June morning off 61 Street, seeing him beach a fifty-four pound striper. Skillfully and patiently, he landed the fish as I watched in envy. At the time, fishing was a puzzle whose pieces took years to complete. Still, to this day, I'm not finished with it.

Fishing this past week was good. The cold front of the weekend finally broke, and we were treated to some much needed sunshine and diminishing winds. The bay is alive with fish. Bluefish respectable size ones in the eight to twelve pound range seem to be everywhere.

Their feeding on the bunker schools which aren't too difficult to locate. Stripers into the upper twenties are also being landed as well as some monster weakfish. Dawn and dusk always good times for fish to put on the feedbag have been yielding good catches.

This phase of the moon should seem some stellar catches.

Walking into Tom McNichols' tackle shop, I was greeted or should I say serenaded, to the melody of Tom strumming on his guitar.

For those not familiar with Toms' place he has a Bait and Tackle shop located at the gas station along the sea wall on the bay.

I just happened to be there when he was getting a delivery of fresh bunker. Fresh bunker to us fish hounds is the ultimate panacea for catching "big bass".

Tom shared a few tricks with me about keeping baits in tip top shape. He slowly chills them in a solution of brine. This not only helps them maintain their golden hue, but locks the scent and firmness in. Good points to know. Fresh bait and a concert. Does it get any better? Until the next tide...For fish reports, you can call me at 516-728 -6952 or log on to www.karenann charters.com.

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