The Log of a Legend Part 2
October 1971 - November 1987
By Vito Orlando
Memories from My Diaries-October 1-Oct 10, 1971-Nantucket Island
FULL MOON ON OCTOBER 4TH, 1971********
October 1, 1971. Jerry Bernard, Pat Abate, Charley Wahl Sr, Charlie Jr, Warren Urquhart, Steve Petri Sr., Al Mathews, and Myself leave for Nantucket Island. We meet some other Long Island Fishermen on the Island. Howie Moskowitz, Al and Hattie Lefkowitz, Jerry Ebner (Jerry The Butcher), Fred and Sandy Emery, John (The Roofer) & Joe Flynn. They are not in our club but we know them from Montauk. I know Fred from the PD.
Stopping at The Cape to fish the night before catching the Ferry to Nantucket, we immediately run into trouble. The radiator in Warren’s Red Wagoner springs a leak. As luck would have it, there was a Radiator Repair Shop near by and we were back in business before dusk. That evening we fished at Head Of the Meadow and did absolutely nothing. It was very late when we rested out heads on the tires of the buggies and dozed in a sitting up position right there in the Parking Lot. The trucks were filled with gear and there was no place to sleep. It is now October 2nd, I wake up around 5AM I began shouting at everyone to get up as we would be late for our (7:30AM) Ferry to Nantucket. We still had to drive about 45 minutes to Woods Hole. We made good time and soon decided to stop for breakfast. We wolfed down eggs and coffee and were at the Ferry Slip in plenty of time. Another set back as Jerry Bernard leaves his Farragut Hat in Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. The hat had all of Jerry’s Schaeffer Pins on it. He called and left his address so they could mail it to him. Once on the Ferry Pat Abate and Warren meet a fisherman who was a local on the island. His name was Mike Backman. He relays stories about big bass being caught and offers to show us some spots. It is a 3 ½ hour ferry ride to the island. The stories continue and we make arrangements to meet Mike the following evening. We arrive on the island at settle in at Ropitsky’s Cottage at Surfside. It was a little cramped with eight of us, one bathroom, and plumbing problems. But we are here to fish and shitting is not on our minds.
October 2, 1971 –
The first night on the island we fished Great Point Rip. It is a 7 mile ride from the Air Pump. They have an Air Pump just for fisherman. Never saw that before. There are two tracks, front and back. The front runs along the water’s edge and we take that track to the Point. Sand was very soft. We pass a place called the Gauls. It is an open stretch of beach where the back and front tracks come together and is not far from the Point. Rounding the Light House we can see water sprouting into the air. We are at Great Point Rip. The Light House is on the Bluffs just before Great Point but it seems close to the surf line. We are able to drive around the beach side but it could get tricky if there is any type of storm. The Rip at Great Point runs out to sea for approx. 8-9 miles and the water from the two currents crashing together sometimes rising 15 feet into the air. The tide is high incoming, Moon: Full on the 4th. Warren is the first to hook up. He fights this fish for several minutes. What a big bass I was thinking. Finally Warren lands the Largest Albacore I have ever seen. He was using a J8 and foul hooked it in the tail. After an occasional bluefish some of the guys went back to the cottage to get some sleep. Fishing had been slow and we actually had very little sleep in the past two days. Jerry, Steve Petri and I remained at Great Point. Steve and I were tired but Jerry didn’t want to leave and talked us into staying. As tired as I was, I had to stay with him. Through out the night we covered the entire area of the Point catching a bluefish here and there but not one bass.
It was dawn when Steve Petri after seeing some fish break made a cast with a Pencil Popper. He immediately hooks an 18 lb bass. Jerry and I follow suit but can do nothing except that I buried Jerry’s Buggy into the soft sand. We dig and but it takes Joe Flynn to finally pull us out. Thank God he was around. It’s late morning when we drive back to the cottage. The guys break our chops about looking so tired.
October 3, 1971
During the day we get a visit from Mike Bachman, the person who Pat/Warren met on the ferry. He tells about a place called Eel Point and that the day before there had been a good pick of fish there. That evening we meet him and he guides us to Eel Point. (Follow the Telephone Poles and after they turn left keep straight to the water) From 7PM until 6AM the following morning we had a bass or bluefish on almost every cast. I had 4 over 20 that night and thought I died and went to heaven. Warren had the largest fish of the evening a bass that was 28lbs. We estimated that we had over 300 bass and 30 bluefish for the night. We spent the entire next day on tackle maintenance. Twisted hooks, broken plugs were the norm. Off to Bill Fisher’s Tackle Store. Once there we purchased 4 dozen 5” Red Fins. We were ill equipped as we brought mostly large plugs. We took just about all the Red Fins that he had.
October 4, 1971
This evening we return to Eel Point for another night of non stop action. Largest was Charlie Wahl Sr. with a 31 lb bass. My best was 18lbs. Again busted plugs, bent hooks, and tangled lines. Just listening to Al Mathews and Warren arguing over who took whose plugs was the funniest thing I have ever heard. They were riding together and somehow their plugs got mixed up. Total for the night was another approx. 300 bass and 62 bluefish,
October 5, 1971
It is raining hard and very windy. We fished a place called The Bathtub which is just a hundred yards left of where we had been fishing. It is so called because of the deep water in the middle, coupled with shallow water on both sides. This night the fish were very picky. Load of Sand Eels but all we could manage was 81 bass and 4 bluefish between the 8 of us.
October 6, 1971,
We find ourselves back at Eel Point and The Bathtub. Fishing was much better than last night. Once again we caught a Bass or Bluefish on almost every cast. Charlie Whal Jr had a 34lbs bass which was our largest of the evening. I managed a 21. The bluefish were in the 7 lb range. The next day we again perform a necessary maintenance session and another trip to Bill Fisher’s. We also get a visit from The Butcher, his wife and John The Roofer. Jerry is yelling, cursing and screaming about Al & Hattie and Joe Flynn not telling him about the fish they had been catching. They had a very solid pick of big fish along Wiawonet which is a stretch of beach on the way to Great Point. It seems that they had met Jack Frech (The Professor) and he showed them how to fish this stretch of beach. Jack’s 4 Wheel Drive had broken down and they became his chauffer and he showed them where the fish were. What better teacher. They picked away at bass in the low 30’s while we were getting mostly smaller bass. It turns out that Joe Flynn and Al & Hattie were sworn to secrecy by Frech so they could not contact us as long as Jack was on the island. When he went back to Long Island only then did they tell Jerry and John about the fish and that pissed them off. It did nothing for us as we were not that close to them but Jerry had come to the island with them and they were avoiding him to fish with Frech.. The Butcher had not been doing too well fish wise and wanted information and a place to shower. He and his wife had been living in his Wonder Wagon, a 2 Wheel Drive Van. Living out of your vehicle is prohibited on the island. A local reported them to the police and Jerry wanted us to say that he was living in the cottage with us. However, he left the island a day and a half later so there was not need for that.
October 7 1971,
Jerry Bernard wants to fish Great Point during daytime after we spoke to two local fishermen who we met while food shopping earlier that day. They told of big bass at Great Point during daytime. Only Jerry and I go as the others want to get an early start to Eel Point and do not want to chase reports. Never leave a sure thing for a maybe they say, or to put it another way Never leave fish to find fish. Jerry and I arrive at Great Point around 1PM. The Rip was making up pretty good. No fish showing. We were using 3 oz Polaris Poppers and immediately hooked up with Big Bluefish. The locals work Polaris Poppers and Pencil Poppers by reeling them very fast and skipping them on top of the water. The fish come out of the rip and smash these plugs. Its hard to figure out how can they see them much less grab them, but they do. The bluefish action lasted until 4PM. We had 27 big blues, from 11-16lbs. Another 15 or so were lost in addition to several plugs and bent hooks. You have to use 20lb Ande and of course The Crack 300 helps a lot. Getting a big bluefish in that Rip was tough work and our arms are hurting. Returning, we found the cottage empty as the others were already at Eel Point. We go to meet them. The time is now 6:30pm. Arriving at Eel Point we notice the bent rods. We join in and everyone is taking fish. It died suddenly and we then went to Warrens Landing and the slaughter continued. Warrens Landing is actually a marshy area that holds loads of sand eels and nice sized striped bass. The largest for the night was 24lbs, which I took. My bass seem to be getting bigger.
October 8, 1971
-We all go to Great Point. The bluefish are not as thick as they were yesterday. We only manage 11 bluefish to 17lbs, and 4 bass to 16lbs. The wind changed and we were told that NW is the best here. We had a NW yesterday. Leaving Great Point Jerry, myself, Pat, and Steve immediately go to Eel Point. The time is 7PM. The place is loaded with sand eels. The bass are all over them, but not our plugs. The fish were starting to become picky. After several days of feeding, they now had full stomachs and were not interested in our offerings. They would bump the plugs and every so often one would take it. When the others arrived they experience the same. We only had 64 bass and 11 bluefish for the night.
Bill Fisher had given Jerry and I a dozen Eels. The Time is now 2AM on the 9th. Jerry wants to fish them along beach going to Great Point. Since the bass were picky at Eel Point Jerry and I go to Wiawonet. The others go to Warrens Landing where they pick a few fish but nothing great. There is deep water close to the beach at Wiawonet. The correct way to fish this place is to work the points. Make several casts along the deep water adjacent to the points and then if nothing move to the next. Leap frog sort of fishing with each person moving the buggy up when they pass it. That is what we did. After about an hour, Jerry hooks a fish and the drag on his Crack 300 is screaming. Our immediate thoughts were Hugh Bass. After fighting the fish for what seemed like an eternity Jerry lands his big fish, A Sand Tiger Shark. That fish must have been close to 60 lbs or so. He is so pissed that he hits the shark with his rod breaking the tip top. I was laughing like hell as Jerry kept kicking the shark and striking it with his rod. It was still alive when we finally took it by the tail and released it. He told me that he would rather have lost the fish without knowing what it was than to catch a shark. I am a Bass Fisherman He shouted to me, not a Shark Fisherman. I laugh like hell. Its hard to believe that the shark did not bite through his mono leader, but for some reason it didn’t. We do nothing the remainder of the night and return to the cottage around 9AM.
October 9, 1971-
Mike Backman stops by and tells us about big bass being taken at Scionset Rip. That evening we meet him and he once again guides us. It’s our last night on the island. We have a Ferry to catch at 7AM the next morning. Casting Darters into the Rip we begin picking away at bass from 20-45pounds. We had 7 bass over 30lbs, but my largest was only 25lbs. It’s my largest to date. Steve Petri got the 45lb bass. By 11pm the fishing was over and most of the crew went back to the cottage to sleep. But not Jerry, once at the cottage we loaded Jerry’s buggy and then off to Eel Point with Pat and Charlie Wahl Jr. Pat was using a fly rod loaned to him by Bill Fisher. I was breaking his balls about using a Fly Rod. We all did well, with Charlie and I having 19 bass apiece. Neither of us could get the 20th. At 6:30AM we go directly to the Ferry. To our amazement, Bill Fisher was there to see us off. Yes, Pat returned the Fly Rod. What an experienced. We figured that we had over 1000 bass between for the week, and maybe another 200 bluefish along with one albacore and a Sand Tiger Shark.
October 10, 1971- Rain, Heavy
We get to the Ferry and head home. It is now raining very hard.
On the Route 95 in Ct our buggy gets a Flat Tire. We change the tire while wearing our Moby Dick Orange Tops. However, since the spare tire was buried under all of our ruble everything had to be unloaded and of course got soaked. A Small Price to pay for 10 days of outstanding fishing.
Plugs used: At Great Point---2-3 ounce Polaris, Pencil Poppers, Large Hopkins, Darters, Bottle Plugs
At Eel Point—5” Red Fins, Rebels.
The Group during our October 1971 Trip to Nantucket outside our cottage and Jerry Bernard---Nantucket 1971
Both these pictures were taken on Nantucket in 1971- Yes that's me with hair and thinner.
June 5-6, 1975--------------
New Moon 9th
Memories From My Diaries June 5- 6, 1975 Montauk (The Days Dreams Are Made Of)
5 June 1975-First Trip of the year to Montauk-Just returned from Fort Drum with Army Reserves and took two weeks off for Vacation from PD. The time was 7PM and my first stop was North Bar/Clark’s Cove. The tide was high incoming and it was windy and dark clouds were forming in the west. The day before Jack Yee had fish near North Bar, actually Carks Cove at the same tidal stage and had a good pick. There were about 6 guys just sitting in their buggies when I arrived, Jack was one of them. He had been casting for about an hour without success. I walk to the left of the Bar in Clark’s Cove, make one cast and won’t you believe it, I land a bass of about 5 lbs. I string it & cast again. On my second cast I land another. Before I made my 3rd cast I was surrounded. No more fish for about the next 20 minutes. I got pissed off at being crowded out *(Getting Mugged was not yet in our vocabulary) so I leave and go to Shagwong. I had intentions of fishing what remained of the incoming rip for the next hour and a half. Before leaving Jack Yee and Bernie another regular tell me that Shagwong has been a bust. But I hated crowds. It begins to rain and the wind picks up. Arriving at the tip of the Wong, I noticed there were three guys who have the corner locked up. I decide to fish by the second set of rocks about 200 feet from the tip. *(In those days there were other rocks between what is now the rock pile and the tip of the Wong. Also the tip was about another 100 feet longer than it is today). It begins raining pretty hard, and the wind picks up accompanied by thunder and lightening in the distance. It is also getting dark. The time is 9PM, the current was still incoming. A large school of bunker is splashing in the surf to the left of me. I see huge splashes caused by giant tails as big bass have the bunker trapped against the beach, almost in front of where I was parked. The rain has intensified, loud thunder and the lightening that was in the distance is now close by. My heart is pounding. I threw a darter into the school of bunker/bass and immediately was into a fish that went 24lbs. On my next cast I hook a big bass that takes me into the rocks and I am cut off. It was a large bass. I ran back to my Bronco, and grabbed the first rod that I could get my hands on and ripped it out of the rack. It was the rod I was using at North Bar, a two piece blue Garcia Rod with a Penn 710 reel filled with 10 lb Pink Ande. I had previously changed to a 7” Silver Rebel Windcheater at North Bar for a little more distance. The plug hits the water, I make about three turns and a bass was all over it. The fish started taking line and he/she swims west with the current just as the previous bass did. I began to walk the fish finally ending at the lone rock that was way out of the water. The lightening was bolting over the dunes, the rain was drenching my body, as in my excitement I did not put on a top. After several long runs I finally land the bass. This was the largest bass that I have ever caught. I practically run with the fish back to the buggy and put it on a scale. I bottoms out a 50lb scale. I got my 50. It is still raining and I am soaked, but so what, I was into big bass. I had these fish for the next couple hours, all alone. As it turned out, when the thunderstorm intensified, those three guys who had the corner locked up, went to sleep in their trucks. It was now after midnight and I had 14 bass, 4 over 30lbs and the others all over 20 already on the beach. I also dropped a couple. The storm moved on toward Block Island. The fish were still there but not as thick as they had been. I am drenched, soaking wet but it is warm and humid. I managed another two over 20 before it slowed down. I now had 16 bass. It is close to 1AM. I decide to call Jerry Bernard. I drive to the bathrooms at Gin Beach. I am very excited and want Jerry to see my fish. There are two telephone booths at the entrance to Gin Beach next to the bathrooms in the Parking Lot. I call Jerry who had just gone to sleep after coming home from work. The time is 1AM. I wake up Yvonne, Jerry’s wife who is not too happy judging from the tone in her voice, but she wakes Jerry. After hearing what I did he tells me he will be right out. I also call Jerry The Butcher who calls Steve Petri, and John Fritz. I go back to fishing. The fishing has slowed down, the tide is half out, and the bunker disappeared. I keep casting and hook another three fish. All in the low 20’s. I now have 19 bass from low 20’s to over 50lbs. I really dies after that. It’s near 5AM when The Butcher, Fritz and Petri finally arrive. They look at my big fish and place it on one of their scales. It bottoms that scale out. At 8am Jerry Bernard finally drives onto the beach. As he drives up he sees me into my last bass, 26lbs. It seems that he was so excited after getting my phone call that he races out to Montauk and while speeding through Amagansett hits a huge puddle. The splashing water soaks the wires of his truck and gets into the buggies distributor cap. He is stuck and is going crazy as he thinks I am still into big fish. He later told me that he thought of calling a taxi and leaving his buggy there until I could take him to get it the next day. He remained there until around 7AM when he gets some help from the owner of the Mobil Gas Station. He takes one look at my fish, puts it on his scale. Again, it’s over 50. I am now hungry and want to go for breakfast but Jerry would have none of it. He wants to fish especially after seeing the back of my Bronco, filled to the rim with large bass. We do nothing. Its after 10AM, the sun is out, it’s hot, when he finally agrees to breakfast. I’ll buy. Fritz, Petri and the Butcher prefer to sleep in the Camper. My first stop was John Kronich’s to officially weight the bass for the Schaeffer Contest. The fish goes 49lbs 1 ounce on his scale. I officially weighed it a little over 13 hours after it was caught. It is 48” long with a girth of approx.29-30”. An even 20 bass at Shagwong, from the low twenties to well, others can be the judge, I consider this my 50. It was now Friday morning and I had to get my paycheck from a police friend who picked it up for me so I left for home.. I had intentions of coming back to Montauk but I had been awake for over 30 hours so I took a nap. When my wife woke me I just turned over and went back to sleep. Jerry, Fritz, Petri, Jerry The Butcher, and Don Laurida who came for the weekend fished the next two nights and had only one decent fish between them, a 20lb bass taken by Don Laurida Total for the night, 5 Bass over 30, 15 Bass in the 20’s all at the Wong and two rats at Clark’s Cove. I ship 599 lbs of bass earning me $1000 for the night. Since it was early June the price of bass was up. I made out very well that night.
John Kronich asks for a picture and I will give him one. Doc Muller tells me that the bass may have been 52 lbs or so when caught.
The Moratorium Years
Moon Full on Nov 5, 1987
Block Island-November 6-12, 1987***
Pat Abate had been telling us for a few years that the Full Moon will shut down the bass fishing on Block Island. The only recourse was some cloud cover. We would come to find that this was true. We originally planned our trip to begin on the Nov 9, 1987 and run until the 15th or 16th. However, I had to be in Arkansas at an Army Reserve School on the 14th so we had little options left. The Full Moon was on Nov. 6, 1987. What you will read is a condensed version of my Diary Entries put into story form so you would not get bored by little details and hopefully will find more interesting.***
Nov 6th-Damp and Cloudy, Moon is Full- We, (Pat, Jerry, and I) decide to fish The Snake Hole. The Snake Hole is a rock filled piece of real estate with the rocks resembling the small rocks that line the entrance to Kings. I lies on the south side of the island. As the water moves in over the rocks it creates the same type of rumbling sound that one hears when fishing the South Side of Montauk. The climb down mirrors the steep descent from The Upper Lot in the Fort down to Browns. You now get the picture. We move cautiously down the Cliff and immediately begin casting. It is now 6:30PM. We do nothing for 45 minutes. Jerry decides to move to our Left towards Vails Beach. Vails Beach is a sandy beach with a few large rocks that lie within casting distance. He disappears into the darkness as the clouds obstruct the full moon. Pat and I stay at the Snake Hole. Pat gets a bump and then lands a bass of 27lbs. I do nothing. We continue casting for another half hour and then decide to join Jerry who is somewhere on the now obscured Vails Beach. We spot a light in the distance and walk towards it. Jerry is releasing what he figured to be a bass in the mid 30’s. It is his second 30lb fish of the short night. Pat and I begin casting. Pat hooks up and lands a 20lb bass. Jerry is in again and this time it’s a 27lber. I can do nothing. Pat lands a teen bluefish. Jerry lands another teen bluefish. I still do nothing. We are using the same Gibbs Yellow Needlefish and I cannot figure what I am doing wrong. “Cannot even catch a bluefish” I mutter to myself. As you can guess, its going to be one of those days or should I say nights. We all experience these sessions once in a while. Thank God I have a pleasant disposition even when not catching fish. (Richard will attest to that, right Richard). Pat lands another bass in the 20’s and Jerry is into a big fish that turns out to be an 18lb bluefish. I do nothing. The time is now 1AM, its cold, damp and I am tired since we had been up for over 24 hours. We continue casting. It’s close to 3AM, tired, cold and exhausted and pissed off I finally land a decent bass, 22 lbs and it takes the edge off. I know, “They must have been thick”. Actually they were not. We, that is Jerry wants to move to Grove Point which is on the north eastern part of the island. “We can fish till dawn Jerry yells”. Pat and I really do not want any part of it but we are riding in Jerry’s Buggy so we relent and go. It’s now 4:15AM when we arrive at Grove Point. Jerry pushes me out of the truck, “You were low hook so you might get lucky out there” he tells me. What else is new,” Okay, I’ll go”. But I had a selfish motive. If I get so much as a bump I won’t say a word. This is an old trick from Our North Bar Wet Suit Days. Jerry would stay for hours on end if any of us had so much as a bump or God Forbid caught a bass. So when I wanted to sleep, eat or just take a break, I always told him No when he would ask, even if I had a solid hit. In addition, another trick I would perform is to make the sign of the cross and ask NOT to catch a fish. All I really wanted was to go home or at least to sleep. But knowing Jerry as well as I did, he would have none of that. I know I will work the Needlefish fast that no bass in his/her right mind will look at it. Then after 15 minutes or so of no fish we can call it quits. It is cold, temp in high 30’s Wind from North or North East and I am tired, but cannot go back to the Buggy. Pat is asleep in the truck so he is no help. On my fifth cast, while working the plug at a faster than normal speed the rod is practically yanked out of my hand. It is now doubled over and the drag on my Crack 300 is screaming. I am into a good fish. Jerry is watching all this from the warmth of the buggy. Pat is still asleep. I finally manage to land a Bass that Jerry weighed at 37lbs. I make another cast as Jerry goes to wake up Pat. Pat wants no part of the cold, dark night so he doses off again. On my next cast while working the Needlefish about the same speed I am again into a nice fish. This time it was 32lbs. Three casts later, while Jerry is doing nothing, and Pat is still asleep in the truck, my rod is again bent. Another bass, 34lbs Three 30’s and a 22lb bass earlier and my night is complete. We do nothing but freeze until the sun comes up around 7AM. We decide to go back to the house. Before going to bed, Pat reiterates the only way the Full Moon Period is going to produce bass on this island is when clouds cover the moon. Once again, this was proven to be true.
Our total for the first night on the island: 13 bass 5 of which were over 30lbs. and 3 bluefish to 18lbs.
We set out to duplicate exactly what we did yesterday. Begin at Vails Beach and then to Grove Point. This was to be Pat’s last night on the Island. He would be back at the Shop tomorrow afternoon. We start fishing just prior to dusk. With the expected moon we wanted to get in some daylight casting. We begin throwing Yellow Gibbs Needlefish. No fish for close to an hour. It was cold, but not as cold as last night. The rising moon would soon appear like a large Mellon and make night seem like day. There would be no cloud cover tonight. Wind was gentle from the Southwest which made it a bit warmer. Pat was first up. A large bluefish inhaled his plug. Jerry and I were next, both big bluefish. Large Sand eels gushing in the wash and our hopes were high. We continued to hammer teen sized bluefish for another 2 1/2 hours. No bass yet. By 9PM it was all over. No more bluefish and not a single bass. We figured that we had over 50 blues between us most in the teen size range. The November Moon is now high in the sky and since the tide at Grove Point will not be right until later that evening, Pat suggests going to Black Rock. Black Rock is located on the south side of the island just west of The Snake Hole. The road to Black Rock is a little dangerous to traverse. A hard, narrow dirt path passes close to the edge of a high cliff. Only about five or six feet of roadway separate the buggy from the edge of the cliff and it’s a long way down to the rocks below. Pat has some rigged eels and shares them with us. Jerry is first up, a low teen bass then Pat and then me. Nothing large with Pat’s fish estimated to be around 18lbs. We take a total of 3 there. It is now after midnight. We decide to try North Point which is close Grove Point Reef. North Point resembles a large sand bar which it is not. It is actually a sandy beach with open water on both sides. We leave the buggy and walk to the water’s edge. The tides are tricky so you best leave the truck and walk a little. Again, the Gibbs Needlefish are our selected lures. I draw first blood with a small bass. Then we do nothing for half an hour. Pat beaches a bluefish around 12 lbs and I get another around the same size. Jerry lands a much larger bluefish that weighs in at 17lbs. That was that. The time is close to 3AM when we decide Grove Point would be our best bet. No sitting in the buggy tonight as there were big fish to be had here last night. Wouldn’t you know, not a touch, nadda, nothing and at 6:30AM as dawn is slowly creeping upon us we leave. Pat again tells that the Full Moon ruined the bass fishing.
Total for the night Over 50 blues and 4 Bass between us.
Pat leaves the island and heads back to the shop. Jerry and I rearrange the buggy and do some maintenance. It is 4PM when we head out to North Point. I begin with a Needlefish and Jerry uses a Metal Lip. We do nothing for a while then I get a small bluefish and Jerry lands a teen bass on a Jr. Atom. I get another small bluefish. The weather is warmer than the last few days so fishing is pretty comfortable. The Moon will rise in a short time but there is some cloud cover, so we may get lucky. We continue casting until 8PM then decide to go to Black Rock. Pat had left us some rigged eels. On my third cast I drop a decent bass and Jerry lands a teen size fish. Several casts later I hook up with a 12lb bass and then nothing for about an hour. We leave and go to a place called Dories Cove which is located on the western side of the island. Jerry starts throwing his favorite a 7”Rapala while I use a 5” Red Fin. There is a deep hole within casting distance of the beach and we easily reach it. Jerry has a nice fish on and lands a teen bass. I land a bluefish. There are sand eels all over the wash. Fish begin busting and we begin taking fish after fish. There is nothing large but bass into the low teens. We finish up with thirty two bass and three bluefish. It is now after midnight and Grove Point would be our next destination. We start throwing Needlefish and immediately hook up. Again all teen fish and we take 11 fish before it ends. The time is now 4AM and we go to back to North Point. We fish until 7AM but only manage one more fish, a bass of 10lbs by Jerry. It’s now 7:30 and we are back at the house. In discussing the night’s events we discover that the majority of bass were taken when the Moon was covered by what little clouds were in the sky. When the moon is out, we caught mainly bluefish even with all those large sand eels in the wash. Pat has been telling us this for several years. Out total for the night: 46 bass and 6 bluefish.
— Temp 42 degrees Rain
Jerry and I begin our night at Black Rock. Why, I am not sure. We still had some Rigged Eels that Pat had left behind. We do nothing for close to an hour. Soon the tide begins to move in and covers the many rocks that make up this area. I finally land a small bass around 10 lbs then another, the same size. Jerry does nothing. The time is 8:30PM when we decide to make a move. This place is funny. You keep searching and moving until you find some fish. The same tactic I like to use on Montauk’s South Side. In fact, this is how I came to learn to do just that. We find ourselves throwing Needle Fish at The Snake Hole by 9:15PM. We do nothing and move to Vails Beach which by now you are aware is just short distance to our left. Jerry is first up with a bass in the low twenties. Then it’s my turn with a bluefish that went 17 lbs on my 30lb scale. I land another smaller blue and Jerry does likewise. That was it. We are on the move by 11PM and en route to Grove Point. It’s getting chilly the rain has intensified and we have a tough time climbing up the cliff. The heavy rain has created a small mud slide. I slip and slide my way to the top carrying both mine and Jerry’s rods. He waits my assistance at the bottom of the cliff. Jerry suffers from an Asbestos Related Disease from his years working as a welder at the Old Brooklyn Navy Yard. He has difficulty breathing every so often. I deposit the rods on the buggy which was parked near by and slowly make my way down to get Jerry. I have a rope tied to my waist band for Jerry to hold onto. We developed this strategy two years ago when Jerry was having difficulty climbing up the cliffs. We fall, slip, and slide but finally make it to the top. Muddied we have to remove our waders before entering the buggy. With muddy waders and hopes that the Grove Point water will help clean them we begin fishing. The damp rain is now producing small welts in the water’s surface. Throwing Gibbs Needlefish, it was after midnight when Jerry is into a big fish that bottoms out my 30lb chatilion but shows 32 lbs on his 50lb scale. Over the next two hours it’s a very, very, slow and very wet pick. All we can manage is a teen fish for me and another in the low twenties for Jerry. That was it for the Grove Point. At 2AM we are headed to North Point which is just a stones throw from where we are. We manage only 7 bluefish as the rain begins to let up but the air is still damp. A partly cloudy dawn produces nothing. The sun is trying to come out as we head back to the cottage. Our total for the night: 6 Bass and 10 Bluefish between us. No moon and only 6 bass for the night. Maybe Pat is wrong.
Just before nightfall, Tim Coleman arrives on the Island. He flew in to fish a few hours and will then fly off in the morning. Tim is one of several fishermen who share the cottage with Pat. Others will do the same and even Pat will fly in for a night of fishing from time to time. Tim advises us that he is going to Southeast saying that he has recently caught some large bass there. Southeast is a spot that rests not too far from the Light House. It’s a tough climb but can produce some quality bass. Jerry and I have only fished there three times during the 6 years we have been coming to Block. However, we only took few school fish there so we mostly avoided it. If you know Browns at Montauk, you know Southeast on Block Island. Before Tim departs on his fishing journey he tells us that Southwest has also been holding some decent bass. Tim leaves and Jerry and I contemplate a plan of action. We decide that we will try Southwest and if we do nothing we will go to Southeast. Just as their names imply they lie just opposite each other. With the moon moving away from Full and towards the Last Qtr fishing should be good anywhere on the island. It is after 6PM when we arrive at Southwest. The wind is from the Southeast but rather calm and the temperature is in the mid 40’s. It’s a nice night. We begin casting. It was close to 8PM when I finally get a fish. A bass in the low 20’s. During the next half hour, we do nothing. I then get another fish around the same size. Jerry has not had a bite. It is now after 9PM when Jerry lands his largest bass of the trip, 39lbs. I am into another fish that goes high twenties. It’s another fifteen minutes before Jerry lands a nice fat 26lb bass. It is now after 11PM and we have been doing nothing for the past hour or so. We begin to wonder what Tim is doing at Southeast. Do we leave or stay a while longer? “Let’s give it another half hour” Jerry says. Twenty minutes later I land a 21lb bass. Jerry gets another around the same size. That was all for Southwest. It is almost 2AM when we decide to move. While en-route to Grove Point Tim and Southeast occupy our thoughts. We keep going and arrive at our destination close to 2:30AM. We are immediately rewarded with a couple of teen bass. Sand eels were now banging against our waders and our hopes are high. During the next several hours we keep picking away at bass in the low 20’s and high teens. It was near 6:30AM when the fish moved on. We estimate that during the session we had 32 bass. The combined total for the night’s fishing was 41 bass and No Bluefish. The down side of the moon may be the ticket. Pat may be right after all. And why did Tim suddenly appear on the island? By the Way, “I wonder how Tim is doing at Southeast”. We did not see him again until the following year as he was gone by daybreak. We later found out from Pat that Tim had seven bass, three of which were in the 40lb range. I guess he knew what he was doing.
November 11th. It was our last night on the island. Temp in the mid 40’s, clear sky, and falling moon. Wind gentle southwest
We decide to pay another visit to Southwest. Arriving after 6PM we would not have long to wait until the fish showed up. There were sand eels and what turned out to be herring darting and jumping as they attempted to avoid being eaten by the pursuing bass and bluefish. We soon found ourselves into nice sized fish at the same time. Once beached, they went 34 and 31 lbs respectfully. I was the lucky one with the 34. We continued to pick away until after 1AM. Then they were gone. We estimate that we landed 30 bass and 21 bluefish between. Jerry had two others in the low 30s’ but I could not break the 30 mark for a second time. We were tired but with this being our last night on the island we had to do an all nighter. Grove Point would be our last stop. Arriving close to 2AM, Jerry pushed me out of the buggy. “Your, younger, so go out give it a try, I will watch from here”. I begin casting, and am soon into a teen bluefish. I then land another. Large spearing and some sand eels can be seen bouncing close to shore. I land another bluefish, and then a bass of 10lbs. Jerry gets out of the buggy and joins me. By 4AM when it all ended we had taken another 21 bass, nothing large and 14 bluefish, mostly low teens. Our final tally for almost 10 hours of fishing was 51 bass and 35 bluefish.
Our Grand Total for the trip, including those that Pat caught during his two nights fishing with us on the Island came to approx. 161 bass (11 of which were over 30lbs) and approx.104 bluefish. I say approximate because we lost count during several nights but these are fair assessments.
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