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On the Water: I Was Robbed

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 19:31
Adam Giunta of Montauk celebrated his 11th birthday last week in fine style by catching this largemouth bass not far from home.
Capt. Dan Giunta

I think most of us would agree that the weather this spring has been less than inspiring. The words wet, cold, and windy have been most commonly used to describe it.

On Saturday morning, I was supposed to take my Rock Water off to the east to check on my lobster traps. It had been about 10 days since my last venture. I also planned to do some diamond jigging for striped bass in Plum Gut. Alas, it did not happen.

With my alarm clock set for 5, I awoke to winds that were clocking a steady 10 to 20 knots out of the northeast. It was also overly cold.

As I peered from my bedroom window overlooking Shelter Island Sound on North Haven, I could see whitecaps everywhere. It was rather nautical, as fishermen would say. The game plan had now changed. There would be no lobster dinner awaiting me that night. The trip was canceled.

After finishing my toasted English muffin and black coffee at the breakfast table, I repaired to the living room couch to read the morning papers and casually peer occasionally at the television screen, which showed a repeat of a playoff hockey game I had missed the night before. I was very comfortable.

“Come on, let’s go do something fun today,” my wife, Terie, suggested as she came downstairs. “It’s a nice, sunny day.” She thought a trip to the North Fork would be fun. I hesitated for a moment, but I do love to check out the quaint towns and villages from Orient to Aquebogue, usually on my motorcycle.

“Okay, I’m in,” I said. “I’ll get the cooler and ice packs.” Best to be prepared; we usually pick up some fresh seafood, veggies, and other goodies on our adventure there.

The first stop after disembarking from the North Ferry in Greenport, was lunch at the Hellenic Snack Bar, which has consistently served fabulous Greek food and other delectables. On a side note, the made-to-order lemonade is a must-have; it’s beyond fab. Also, try the local grilled whole porgy if it’s on the menu when you visit. Porgy is so under-appreciated, and it’s the bomb when prepared there.

The Giannaris family has operated the Hellenic since its inception in 1976. With a greatly expanded menu, it is now far from being the simple snack bar that in the beginning offered a minimal menu of basic grub that included hamburgers, fries, and hot dogs.

Happily, the chef and owner George Giannaris was there, and it was good to catch up with him at the end of our lunch. He is extremely hands-on and takes great pride on what’s served to his patrons. Giannaris equally loves to fish, especially with a spear gun while free-diving for striped bass. He said he had not gone yet this spring but hoped to get out soon.

You can catch Giannaris on YouTube for some great videos on fishing and cooking. They are well done and very informative.

The next stop was to Orient Harbor, five miles to the east, to check on the charter boat fleet that harbors and sets sail from there. Tied up to the dock when we entered was the Nancy-Ann IV, operated by Capt. Richard Jensen since the 1960s.

Anyone, who is anyone who fishes on the East End knows and respects Jensen. Extremely modest and humble, he knows where the fish are. It’s ingrained in his blood as a third generation of fishermen in his family. Few are better.

To wit, he’s already fully booked for the upcoming blackfish season, which starts in October. It’s rumored that even the Kardashians and Taylor Swift have been rebuffed in securing a reservation upon the Nancy-Ann’s deck, no matter how hard they have tried.

Jensen had just returned from another very successful fishing trip for his fares and was cleaning up the boat when we arrived. “We first headed off back to Greenport and the porgy fishing was really very good,” he said. “Then we went back east to Plum Gut for striped bass. The conditions were horrible, but the bass were thankfully there.” The savvy skipper said that the bass bite was excellent with 15 keepers being landed by his fares aboard.

As per regulations, anglers are allowed to retain one bass per day between 28 and 31 inches. His fares that day caught them on bucktail jigs adjoined to a three-way rig in the swift currents that pass between Orient Point and Plum Island.

“The action was excellent and it was nice to see such a good amount of slot-sized keepers,” he said. “There were plenty of bass and birds on the feed on the incoming tide.” Despite the chilly air, it was a sign of better things to come.

Before saying goodbye, the captain offered us a striped bass for dinner, but Terie and I politely declined his generous offer. That’s just who he is. One of the best.

On Sunday morning at 5:30, the waters were much calmer when Al Daniels accompanied me on the trip to the lobster grounds on the Rock Water.

The Daniels family has a 13-generation legacy of fishing on the East End. Al’s son, Mark, has built a very successful tree cutting and trimming business here, while his daughter, Caitlin, teaches school in Greenport. Daniels himself served as the building inspector for Sag Harbor, North Haven, and Dering Harbor for several decades, and for nearly 30 years has written the fishing column for The Sag Harbor Express. Have a question about fishing and hunting? He knows the answer. I often seek his advice and guidance.

Sadly, our excursion to the lobster grounds was a bust. We trapped only four. The week before I captured 13 lobsters.

Most of my traps were poached. How did I know? The traps were not in place where I had set them 10 days prior, according to my GPS. Lobster traps don’t move unless they undergo severe turbulent weather and seas. We had no such conditions since.

I had clearly been robbed. It’s not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. And that’s sad.

“I used to put four or five zip ties on my traps when I went for them,” Daniels said as we headed back to Sag Harbor. “But it didn’t do much good. It probably only slowed them down a bit.” I have some cable zip ties aboard the Rock Water. I will apply them to my traps the next time I venture out. A combination lock may not be far behind.

I hope the person who committed this crime will read this and be ashamed of themselves.


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



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