2008-06-13 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheel House

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Tony a.k.a. the Hawk. Need I say more... Tony a.k.a. the Hawk. Need I say more... Tuesday morning I looked over my shoulder to see the familiar silhouette of Tony "a.k.a." the Hawk back arched, rod doubled over leaning into a good fish. Without much fanfare he followed the fish up toward the bow and maneuvered about the skiff through a maze of anglers, rods, gaffs and a live well. After the fish spent most of his energy the big bass was gaffed and hit the deck. The fish was still a little "green" a term we use to describe a fish that has a lot of life left in him, he flopped up and down on the deck tail slapping, and making quite a spectacle. None of this drama unraveled Tony. The Hawk then went into surgeon mode and removed the hook ,replaced the leader because it was frayed, tied on a new hook, got a fresh bunker from the live well and dropped down again.

He wasn't down more than five minutes or so and once again he was setting the hook on another fish. Not bad, all in a days work for a fisherman except for one minor detail.

Did I mention Tony's blind? Tony is part of our crew and usually it takes about half the morning for customers to realize that he is blind. It's kind of a little thing of ours and it makes for some laughs and interesting conversation.

I know of no better fisherman than the Hawk. What he lacks in vision, the Hawk makes up for with insight. His knowledge of the bay is incomparable. From the Ospreys nest at the north end of Woodhull, to the shallows of the Pumpkin Patch, the man knows his surroundings.

Many a day, he has navigated me to one of his favorite drops and put me on the fish. Not only has he set my course straight on the water he has navigated me through even more treacherous times in life. I know of no better fishermen than the Hawk, let me correct that I know of no better person...

Off this past week's departing full moon Jamaica bay was alive with fish. Big bass were being caught in just about every corner of the bay. If you were a bunker, it wasn't a good week. You had to deal with bass, blues and weakfish not to mention the armada of anglers snagging and netting you.

The weakfish continued to come up, sixteen pounds the biggest of the week that I knew of. One of the locals did the big Tide runner in, you guessed it live bunker. Kudos to him; hey he deserves a shout out way to go King Richard.

Overall fishing is good I haven't heard too many people complaining. We just may make this Spring a memorable one.

Until the next tide...

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