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On the Water: Road Trip Cut Short

Wed, 10/12/2022 - 09:38
Donna Alfuso caught and released this striped bass on a recent trip with Fishooker Charters out of Montauk.
Capt. Savio Mizzi

I guess it was bound to happen at some point.

It was 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 4 in Bar Harbor, Me., when I woke up with a rather nasty headache and some body aches. I had a strong hunch that our much-anticipated vacation to Vermont, New Hampshire, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Maine, was coming to a premature end. Was I dreaming?

Trudging in a half-sleep to the bathroom with a home test kit in hand, it was ultimately confirmed that I had contracted Covid-19. Goodbye vacation. Hello to quarantine at home, which was still 420 miles away. It was going to be a long ride back to North Haven.

Our original 13-day vacation had already been cut short, as we never made it to Prince Edward Island. The tiny province was pulverized by Hurricane Fiona several weeks ago, making traveling there impossible, as much of the island is still without electricity. However, Covid was the icing on the cake. The vacation was officially over.

On a side note, my wife and I have played it excessively straight in the precautions to avoid Covid the past three years. Both of us have received all of our shots and various boosters (we even rolled up our sleeves two weeks ago to get our yearly flu shot). We wear masks whenever we enter any establishment. We’ve avoided having dinner indoors with crowds of people. We have stayed away from air travel, etc. The list goes on and on.

At this point, I’m quite sure I could be a spokesperson for the C.D.C. I’ve read the guidelines backward and forward many times. Next question, please.

“There is nothing normal anymore,” replied Capt. Harvey Bennett, the former owner of the Tackle Shop in Amagansett, when I texted him about my condition. “I’ve been very careful to wear a mask everywhere too. It just shows you how unpredictable and nasty Covid is.”  Knock on wood, Bennett has successfully avoided the virus so far.

While I quarantined in my bedroom when we returned home, my wife ultimately tested positive on Friday evening. Game over. We had traded places and it was now my turn to help her in her recovery.

We are both thankfully on the mend. I exited quarantine, albeit with a mask on, on Sunday morning. I needed to pick up a bushel of green crabs I had ordered from Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor in anticipation of the opening of blackfish season this week.

“Hey, how are you guys doing?” asked Morse as I entered his establishment, as he already knew of our plight with Covid. “You all feeling better?”

I nodded my head. It was good to be back home and talking to a friend, albeit from a distance. I picked up my hefty burlap sack of crabs and took them dockside to where my boat resides.

It was nice to know that I’d be fishing again soon. Covid be damned.

For those not in quarantine, the fishing scene bounced back quite nicely after nearly a week of northeasterly wind and rain. Striped bass were especially plentiful and easy to catch at Montauk.

“I can say that the local striped bass fishing was above average before the big blow,” noted Capt. Rob Aaronson of the Montauk charter boat Oh Brother! “But after the easterly wind, it really woke things up, and it was truly epic fishing. The fall run of striped bass is happening now. Plenty of slot-sized bass and throw-backs up to 45 pounds.”

The experienced skipper of many decades noted that the storm also rejuvenated the bite for the equally savored black sea bass.

“There’s been some really high-quality fish and it’s been easy to get your limit of seven fish per person,” he added. “To top it off, we’ve had a nice showing of keeper-sized codfish in the slot range too.”

Closer to shore, it comes as no surprise to see Brandon Sausele on top of the leaderboard of the Montauk SurfMasters Fall Classic. Sausele landed and released a hefty 38-pound striped bass in recent days. Bill Wetzel, another seasoned surf rat, is in second with a 30-pound fish. Two weeks ago, Sausele was also the winner of the Fred Golofaro Montauk Surf Fishing Classic tournament. The man knows his bass.

Meanwhile, in the Montauk Locals Surf Classic, Dennis Gaviola remains in first place with a 31-pound striped bass.

“The action on the beach for bass has been good, but it’s been better farther to the east, like Napeague and Montauk,” added Morse.

Finally, the archery season has opened up for those who hunt deer (it closes at the end of January). Woodcock can now also be retained for those in the field too.


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


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