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On the Water: On the Table Again

Thu, 06/08/2023 - 08:36
Bob and Sue Kelsey came all the way from Buffalo to catch striped bass off Montauk last month.
Capt. Michael Potts

Last Thursday morning, I was not where I would rather be the most: on the water. Instead, I was dressed again in a drab, dull blue hospital gown while lying on the operating table for the third time in six weeks for another heart operation in Manhattan. Fishing would need to wait.

While being prepped by my highly attentive nurse in the catheterization staging room on the fourth floor, my mind aimlessly wandered as I curiously pondered why such hospital garb needed to be so mundane. Why are hospitals so excessively dour in dressing up their highly valued patients?

Is there some kind of secret handshake agreement or code among such health institutions to provide the most depressing colors and fabrics? This isn’t the Army.

If anything, from my horizontal viewpoint, I would think that the gowns they supply would be bright, colorful, and boisterous to better enhance the spirits of their patients.

“Mr. Diat, we meet again,” said Dr. Geoffrey Bergman, as I was wheeled into the operating room. Bergman knows my heart well. Over the years, he has inserted five of the seven stents I already possessed. More would be added to my collection that day.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” he added from behind his surgical mask, as two other surgeons joined him. As nice a person as he is -- and most significantly, he’s a very skilled heart specialist -- I could not agree more. My heart, literally, was in his hands.

This surgery lasted a shade under four hours. At least it was shorter than my previous one, which was strung out for nearly five hours (again while being awake no less). I can readily confirm that time does not fly when one is operated on when they can hear every command and concern discussed in that sterile room. My heart certainly skipped a few extra beats on the table.

After the surgery was successfully completed, I was promptly wheeled to my room, which afforded me an excellent view of the East River and Queens on the other side. While I was still a bit groggy and weak, it was nice to see tugboats and other commercial ships make their way with or against the stiff incoming tide. Even a few recreational cruisers and sailboats passed by my window. Life went on as usual.

All told, the view made up for my dinner, which consisted of jerky-like pot roast, white rice, and overcooked broccoli. Did I save room for dessert? You bet. The applesauce was divine.

It’s too bad my million-dollar vantage point did not match my supper. But alas, hospitals are here for more than a meal and a view (and high fashion).

They matter greatly to people and often mark central points in their lives. I can personally attest to that. So, thanks so very much to those who work in the health care field. You are beyond true heroes. I am most grateful that I will fish once again.

Well beyond the East River, the fishing scene out in Montauk, particularly for striped bass and bluefish, remains excellent. Anglers are returning to the docks with sore arms. Porgy fishing has also been consistent, with fish up to three pounds. But fluke have yet to show up in sizable quantities.

Farther offshore, bluefin tuna have arrived, but they too, have been scattered. On Friday Chris Remkus of North Haven traveled to the Dip and Fishtails, about 75 miles south of Montauk, but did not get a knockdown. “There was a 500-pound bluefin taken the day before,” he said. “We had no luck, although we marked a number of fish, but they were all deep.” Remkus will try again soon.

“Fishing out in Montauk for striped bass has been truly epic,” confirmed Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor. “The reports I’m getting from anglers have been incredible.”

Closer to home, Morse said that stripers, weakfish, and bluefish are pleasing many, and that porgy fishing remains strong. “Fluke fishing has improved as well, with fish up to 24 inches being taken.” Morse said that the fish are spread around Shelter Island, with no particular spot being better than the other.

“The bass fishing has been great in and outside of Three Mile Harbor, as well as on the ocean beach around Maidstone,” observed Sebastian Gorgone at Mrs. Sam’s Bait and Tackle in East Hampton. “Porgy fishing has been excellent and bluefish continue to roam around the Gerard Drive area. And fluke has even improved and should continue to get better as the water warms up.”

Gorgone also said that blowfish rigs have been flying out of his shop of late. “I have not received any direct reports, but I have to believe folks are catching them.”

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


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