2009-04-03 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Saturday morning amidst the rain and chilly morning Nick and I decided to take a spin around the bay. I had installed a new sonar and GPS and was anxious to see how they would perform. Amazing how we take so many things for granted. Today GPS, Chart plotters, Sonar, Radar are all normal expected items.

Over the years I have become familiar with just about every unit on the market. Back in the early seventies Loran was a new item for small vessels. Micro logic had a line of units that was compact, but expensive for the time. Until then most seamen relied upon ranging and shore points to locate wrecks or pieces of bottom productive to fishing.

Navigation was done by mariners with a compass, slide rule and the various charts available, oh yea and ability. Sonar or fish finders were machines which transcribed the bottom on to a paper readout. At the time the Lowrance X-16 was the pinnacle of units. It gave accurate detailed displays; unfortunately one had to have a supply of paper and stylist or needles aboard to replace the rolls as they ran out. The old rolls often times were hoarded by fishermen and reviewed later on, as one would drool over the pieces he fished that particular day.

Great pride and satisfaction went into this learning process. It was a different time back then. Skill was derived from experience and countless hours spent on the water. The offspring of the silicone valley age will never appreciate or understand these lessons, lessons which sadly they will never learn.

Mariners I believe were more cautious and had a better knowledge of their whereabouts. I think in part that is why there are so many boating accidents and tragedies today. Often time fishermen and boaters alike get a false sense of confidence in relying upon electronics. They become dependent upon electronics, forsaking the experience and wisdom of those before them. I for one appreciate the old Smith Barney commercial line "they earned it." Hmm, imagine that.

Returning to the dock both of us were satisfied with the performance of the units. Not only can we better see and locate the fish we can't catch, due to quotas and regulations we can do it more efficiently.

The flounder season officially opens this week. Due to deadlines I'll have to clue you in next week on the outcome. I'm optimistic I think the delayed start may help those pursuing the flatties.

Montauk cooled off a bit as to be expected. Will it rebound? Your guess is as good as mine. For the moment Stellwagon Banks off the Cape seems to be the codfish latest domain.

Tony "The Hawk" called from Florida. He had just returned from Panama, the highlight of his week a Black marlin some 585 lbs., not bad for a blind person. Not bad for someone with sight either. I honestly believe Tony chooses to be blind; at least that way some of us can catch a fish or two once he's aboard.

Anyone with a disadvantage can learn a lot from The Hawk. No, let me stand corrected; anyone can learn a lot from him. And with that being said; Until the next tide ...

Captain Vinnie fish report or chat 516-728-6952

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