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On the Water: Back on Dry Land

Thu, 04/27/2023 - 11:52
Austin Marxe, left, and Arlen Allen of Montauk caught their limit of codfish aboard the Simple Life out of Montauk last week. 
Capt. Michael Potts

What a difference a week can make. Nearly two weeks ago, I was smiling, happily hauling up my lobster traps and preparing my rod and reels for another season on the water fishing on my boat. Life was good and simple.

But by last Thursday, I was lying flat on my back in the operating room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. The tide had sadly changed.

With a well-worn hospital gown draped upon me, I glumly awaited an angiogram that would hopefully rectify a 99 percent blockage that was discovered in my right coronary artery. Unfortunately, I already have two pre-existing stents in that same vital vein of life. Not good.

As I’ve learned over the years, life most certainly will provide some pretty swift personal swings of emotion, both good and bad. It is what it is. Life has no boundaries, nor limitations.

Looking above me at the numerous lights that shone brightly above me in the sterile operating room, about 10 medical professionals scurried about doing their respective duties, waiting for the surgeon to appear. Despite being on that table several times before to address such similar heart ailments for nearly 20 years, I remained very nervous.

“Mr. Diat, we meet again,” announced Dr. Geoffrey Bergman from beneath his tightly strapped surgical mask that looked down upon me. I had no immediate words to address him. What could I say?

Bergman, unfortunately for better or worse, knows me rather well. Two years ago, he inserted a stent into one of my heart arteries between two prior stents. As well, back in 2008, he oversaw the insertion of my first two stents after I narrowly avoided a fatal heart attack. Bergman has my back (and heart) to be thankful for.

For those keeping score, I already have seven metal or plastic stents that are adorned within my most vital organ. That said, I’m most grateful for modern medical technology to keep me above ground, alive, breathing, and fishing.

Unfortunately, the stubborn blockage of calcium buildup could not be alleviated that morning. Another procedure is scheduled for today. Fingers are most certainly crossed that Bergman will successfully complete the job and I get off dry land and back on the water soon.

Elsewhere, beyond the glare of the operating room table, striped bass have shown up en masse in local waters, and many casters are very pleased with their early, bountiful showing.

“Striped bass have moved in big time on the ocean beach locally,” Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor said on Sunday afternoon. “Fish up to 15 pounds have been taken from the surf from Shinnecock to Wainscott. The stripers were actually on a full-scale blitz the other day at Sagg Main Beach. They are everywhere.”

Morse added that the bass have also shown up in waters in and around Montauk as well. “It’s a great early showing of stripers,” he added. “It’s wonderful to see.”

Elsewhere, in an early season surprise this past weekend, porgies have grouped up in large quantities and size upon the west side of Jessup’s Neck in Little Peconic Bay. Fulfilling a full creel limit of 30 porgies up to three pounds was an easy task for those armed with a rod and reel with clam bait. Some keeper-size striped bass and weakfish were landed too.

Want to catch codfish? You better act quickly, as the season will come to a close on Sunday (the season will resume on Aug. 1). For the intrepid few who have ventured forth in the past few weeks, the action has been surprisingly bountiful in the waters south and east of Montauk.

“Codfishing has been really good when you can get out with the weather,” remarked Capt. Michael Potts. The seasoned skipper has taken two trips to waters offshore in recent days, bringing smiles to the face of anglers on board who reeled in full limits of the tasty white-fleshed fish. “The fishing was really great,” he said.

Potts also confirmed that striped bass were keeping surfcasters busy along the ocean beaches.


Fishing tips, observations, and photographs can be sent to [email protected].


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