I still have not gotten over the news on the passing of Tim Coleman just the other day, especially when knowing that we had corresponded just a few hours before he left on his daily beach and pond fishing trips. Tim was one who was as 'pure' a recreational fisherman you would find, with fishing being like working out for many, something that must be done everyday.
Last night in looking over some of the material he had sent to me, one thing which did stand out is that he never much focused on telling stories about the 'big catches' of fish, be it from the beach or when fishing or finding a new virgin wreck. It was about getting out to the fishing grounds either along the beach or on a boat, and the foremost enjoyment was in just making it a routine during his life.
I keep trying to emphasize here that fishing is just one part of the story, and that much of our fishing activities comes down to the people you meet and fish with due to going fishing. I look at the above picture he mailed to me a few weeks back, and whether it was a codfish, striped bass or even tarpon, he looked forward to going out and then, talking about his fishing day.
My good buddy the Microwelder left me a message late in the evening upon hearing the news about Tim..... 'Shocked and speechless' were his thoughts, as I would imagine how many who knew him, did feel upon hearing this tragic news.
As long as I go on writing about saltwater fishing in our region, Tim will always be there in my thoughts. He did send me his last wreck fishing story a few days back. 'Wow' is all I can say. He was always one who not only told a story you could not put down, but also where you would learn a little something along the way. This last story will be posted sometime in the near future.
At a time when the party boat fishing fleet is contracting all along our coast, it really is good news when a new vessel comes into one of our local fishing ports. The 'new' party boat which is now berthed towards the east end of Sheepshead Bay, just happens to be one built almost a half century ago but looks like she just rolled out of one of the local ship building yards.
Though the lines along the hull and superstructure give it the appearance of a Stowman/Dorchester Shipyard or Deebold Boatworks in Atlantic City, all very common wood framed party boats built during the fifties and sixties in southern New Jersey, the DONNA G happens to have been built down at the Price boatyard Virginia, in 1963. From that time, it has sailed out of various noted fishing ports, ranging from Pt. Pleasant and Belmar New Jersey, then out of Hyannis in Cape Cod Massachusetts before coming here to Sheepshead Bay.
Captain Dominick purchased the "Baby Bullet' from Captain Jeff of the Bullet fleet over a year ago, and over the past twelve months, he has literally done a complete makeover of the vessel, where one would say it is as close to a yacht like finish you would find on a party boat these days.
Just yesterday Captain Dominick proudly gave me a tour of the DONNA G, and as you go through the engine room, heads, wheelhouse and inside cabin where he still has plans to remodel further, one is struck by the care and attention to every detail of this boat. On this day, one of his close friends was adding oak woodwork to the wheelhouse, and I even joked as I made my way to what can be called Captain Dom's office, "should I take my shoes off before I go up here?' Captain Dominick then told me the story on why he undertook such a long remodeling of this vessel, and he will tell you if you ask,
This is my home, and I want it to be like a home for all the fishermen who come down during the season to fish with me. I want it to be a place for fishing families to come down, and feel very comfortable in enjoying a day of fishing on the water, similar to the way it used to be years ago.
It really was a pleasure to hear Captain Dom talk about how he wants to bring the intimacy and care to attention given to each customer, just like on a charter boat only now, on board a party boat fishing out of New York City.
I want guys like you to bring your kids and wife down, and enjoy for a couple of hours the really good local fishing we have just a short ride from the dock.
Looking around the wheelhouse, I can pass along that Captain Dominick spared no expense to installing top of the line electronics to locate and catch the fish he will target during the season. He even installed a video camera system for him to monitor what is going on all around the boat, while he is in the wheelhouse.
As I was leaving the boat I said to him that he had done an amazing job in restoring a classic party boat. He then added he was not done with the work, as he has a few more personal touches to add during the next few weeks before the DONNA G begins daily sailing. I cannot see what more he can do, and a few of us here cannot wait till Captain Dom is backing the DONNA G from the pier and getting out to the fishing grounds. I know my kids and I will be fishing on the boat during the season.
For me I always look forward bumping into long time friends from the fishing industry, and just the other day I met one who had helped me out in wreck hunting back, in the day. Frank Sabatino, long time and past owner of the fv 'TAMMY GALE' , has been helping out one of the party boat owners here in the Bay over the past few months.
Over the past decade after he left the commercial fishing industry, I would bump into him for just a few moments down at Pilot Boat Station here in NY Harbor, and we would always talk about the way it used to be with the commercial fishing fleet that operated in the NY BIGHT area. Frank who happens to hold a marine biology degree from Southhampton College, was one who would pass along his great wisdom and insight on properly managing our fisheries a few decades back, and I should add, before it became popular to talk about fishery management issues when speaking with other fishermen.
Frank who gave me a few moments of his time, spoke about the wooden, day-boat fishing fleet we had here for decades in Long Island, and how it was dwarfed by the massive Russian, and other foreign nations factory ships that pillaged our fishery resources within site of our shoreline. His perspective, gained in part from learning and talking with older fishing captains from back in the seventies about the fishing industry being 'done' at that time, still amazes to this day. One story he did pass along was on how he needed a note from his parents to be allowed to go fishing upon a commercial fishing boat when he was just nine years old!
I thanked Frank for helping me out back in those days when I always used to pester him for hangs and wrecks that he had hit while locally dragging off our area. I can say he passed along a few cherries to me during those years a few on and just off the East Beach where we eventually had some spectacular catches of blackfish, sea bass, and one in particular, the 'Park Bench', for striped bass!
I am glad to see Frank doing well these days, after being forced by our government out of the fishing industry. His vessel the TAMMY GALE, is one of the last of the day-boats still fishing in the NY BIGHT region, as long time commercial fishermen Timmy Ryan did an incredible job in restoring the boat. I should say, even when Frank owned the the TAMMY GALE it was one of the best kept and prettiest draggers you would ever see on the waterfront.
It is fishermen like Frank who were always willing to give a hand when asked and share their hard earned fishing knowledge with fishermen like myself. Big thanks Frank, and always great seeing you.
While on the OCEAN EAGLE V the other day, Captain Bill Reddan came by to say hello and talk with Captain Greg. Seeing Bill who is noted as the person who turned the NYPD Scuba team into the finest search, rescue and recovery police dive team in the world is always a pleasure, but sadly he is finally selling his beloved Neuville built JEANNE II dive boat and business, with both up for sale.
Bill who is an walking encyclopedia on and about the shipwrecks he has dove on over the decades in this region, said that his time has come to retire, and wants to put the JEANNIE II in 'good hands', as it is still operating at this time.
Anyone interested can contact Bill @:
After a good start to the striped bass and bluefish season, it seems that both have noticeably been very 'lackluster' when it comes to biting a jig or bait. Over the past few days, both the bluefish and bass bite have continued to dwindle in the catches made to the point where Captain Michael Ardolino of the BROOKLYN VI told me a few minutes before, that:
"It was a very tough, long day, and not for lack for the lack of running all over."
It does seem that a nice ocean ground swell along with the moon has put the bite off for the time being. Nonetheless, guys fishing up in NY HARBOR continue to catch bass and blues, with Captain Ken 'Swell RIder' Mullen, now working with one of the large tugboat companies here in New York, said that the bass are biting well and sent this pic along:
A few more sent to me by Captain Ken Mullen. Looks like the fishing off of Long Dock is rocking:
Captain Greg of the OCEAN EAGLE did point out that we are coming up to a 'SUPERMOON' and that may be the reason why this fishing has been off:
NEW YORK – The biggest and brightest full moon of the year will arrive Saturday night as our celestial neighbor passes closer to Earth than usual.
It's called a supermoon.
Expect currents to be running harder then usual for the next few days.
Pollock are no strangers to be caught on the offshore wrecks between New York and New Jersey. It seems though, one made its way to the Scotland Grounds and ended up taking a jig meant for a bluefish! It is not as uncommon as one would think, especially during the spring.
I have also been told by Captain Greg of the OCEAN EAGLE, and Captain Steve of the SUPERHAWK, about a surprising number of FOUR SPOT FLOUNDER that are being caught almost on a daily basis when fishing for ling. It seems that anywhere from 1 to 5 of these fine tasting flounders are being caught for the last few weeks. They will be caught on the same hooks that you are using for fishing for ling inshore.
No doubt a good sign to see.
IN YOUR POSSESSION
I don't know how many fishermen out there have noticed, but a few captains have contacted me about the NE MULTI-SPECIES LIST which I posted in another thread. It does appear as one bottom fish captain told me that the NMFS has slipped this species onto the NO RETENTION LIST, and that is something NO ONE FISHING VESSEL OWNER heard anything about.
(9) Ocean pout. Persons aboard charter/party vessels permitted under this part and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program, on a sector trip, under a Handgear A permit, under a Handgear B permit, or under a Small Vessel Category C permit, and private recreational fishing vessels in or possessing fish from the EEZ may not possess ocean pout.
Needless to say, these are the little regulatory things which you have to pay attention to these days, as minor as they might be. I wish I was wrong here, but it now seems that this is another fish that fishermen are subject to a Notice of Violation if in their possession in the EEZ.
NOTE - ADDED MAY 5, 2012: From this post, I have received a few questions if this 'is for real' on CONGER EELS. Refer to this document:
(Generally 3-200 miles off shore from Maine to Virginia)
A public comment period was issued in the Federal Register in April 2011, with all comments having to be received by May 9, 2011. Final rule making went into effect July 19, 2011 and can be found under the § 648.89 Recreational and charter/party vessel restrictions..
Also windowpane flounders, what we locally call 'sun dials' commonly seen during the early part of the fluke season, are also a NO-RETENTION fish outside of state waters.
So much more to talk about, but this is all for now.................Good fishing!