Skip to main content

On the Water: Back on the Court

Thu, 10/05/2023 - 09:38
Brian Finnegan caught this 60-pound yellowfin tuna fishing 20 miles off Montauk aboard Capt. Marty Clarke’s boat Luna. 
Capt. Marty Clarke

Last week, for the first time in over five months after dealing with some heart issues, I returned to the tennis courts at East Hampton Indoor Tennis, better known to many as EHIT.

The “indoor” in the name is a bit of a misnomer; while it does have six indoor tennis courts, there are over 20 outdoors to play on during the warmer months. One day I need to ask Scott Rubenstein, the primary owner of the complex, which includes the Clubhouse, how the name came about.

The family-friendly facility across the street from the East Hampton Airport has been a constant fixture in my daily schedule for many years. Since I hung up the ice hockey skates, tennis has taken over in my daily exercise regimen. When I’m not on the water, I can usually be found there playing 90 minutes or more six days a week.

Most important, over the years I’ve embraced many fine friends there, including Jack Graves, my occasional tennis partner. As a tandem, we remain unbeaten in doubles. Incidentally, Graves is best known as the sports editor of this newspaper for over 50 years. Jack still plays a most solid game and exhibits incredible deftness and touch around the net. He is also incredibly competitive. Don’t stop, Jack!

Unfortunately, I’m still not out of the woods in addressing all of my health concerns. This week I will be back in Manhattan to have a carotid artery CT angiogram. Fingers crossed I won’t need any stents. I already have more than enough.

I will also pay a visit to my urologist as I’ve been fighting a stubborn kidney stone. Plus, while playing tennis last Thursday, I stubbed the big toe on my right foot, which may result in losing the nail. Ouch! Alas, tennis at EHIT has again been suspended for me until further notice. It’s frustrating.

So, why am I writing about tennis and a few personal ailments, rather than life on the water this week? Well, blame it on the weather. The skies were finally bright by Sunday morning, but that was after we witnessed strong northeasterly winds mixed with a copious amount of rain for 10 straight days.

As such, there has been little fishing news to report, but that should quickly change this week as the conditions finally turn calm, warm, and sunny. Many, including myself, are anxious to return to fishing.

“Yeah, the weather gods have not been cooperating of late,” confirmed Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor. “The winds were relentless, but it appears things are finally going to calm down.”

As a reminder, Morse will be relocating his tackle shop to 260 Hampton Road in Southampton. He expects to open the door to his new establishment in mid-October. “My final day here in Sag Harbor will probably be between Oct. 7 and 10,” he added. “I will really miss being here in Sag, but I’m excited about my new home in Southampton.”

Get ready fly-rod and light-tackle aficionados. Once again, the popular Castoberfest Montauk Fall Run event will be held on Sunday at the Montauk Lake Club on East Lake Drive from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Capt. Tim O’Rourke of Montauk Point Fly Fishing, a light-tackle guide, will again host the afternoon of fun featuring a demonstration of high-end fly rods made by Sage. Cold beer from the Montauk Brewing Company will be offered alongside a barbecue hosted by NorthFork Ironworks. A Sage fly rod and other items will be raffled off.

Want to catch a fluke? You better act quick as the season closes on Monday. Fishing was pretty good for the flatties before the big winds and waves arrived on the scene.

Also, sound the trumpets. The season for blackfish opens in Long Island Sound on Wednesday, and anglers will be allowed to retain three fish over 16 inches per day. The season in the remainder of New York waters starts a few days later on, Oct. 15, but folks can keep four fish. Commercial pinhookers are already enjoying fine catches.

Finally, the Montauk SurfMasters fall striped bass tournament is underway. Sign-ups can be done at Paulie’s Tackle Shop in downtown Montauk or online at

Gary Krist currently sits atop the leaderboard with his 23-pound striper that was safely released to fight another day. Still, as always, Brandon Sausele of Lake Grove lurks in the background.

Sausele is the bass assassin. He has taken the top prize in the tournament seven times in either the spring or fall event (including in the last five tournaments). He also won the Montauk Surf Fishing Classic last October. By the way, he is only 26.

Sausele did say that the fishing for striped bass was good from the beach for those brave enough to withstand the windy conditions. “There were a lot of fish up front this past week and at Shagwong,” he said. “But I only heard of a few good fish taken and they were mostly slots. I hope this coming week it really turns on with larger bass.”


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


Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.