The charterboat economy isnít bad enough. Now we have Big Bad Bill come through on an August weekend and scare
away half the clients. The forecast mentioned ten to twelve foot waves, but didnít say anything about the waves coming
through at the rate of about four per minute. Inshore Friday the conditions were worse than anything that Bill brought
us. On the flood tide in the mornings everything was fine. On the ebb in the afternoon the waves were stood up a bit,
but it was still fishable almost anywhere. Offshore was probably a different situation, but it might have been doable as
well. Weíll never know.
The surfers were happy though. The six oíclock news said there were two thousand surfers here in Montauk. I donít
know how accurate that figure is, but there were a lot. Especially on the north side, where it looked like there were at
least fifty in the water at any given time.. And the conditions looked perfect, nice clean, big waves, with no chop and
spread far apart.
Shark fishing is steady, with everybody that tries it catching a couple of bluesharks and maybe an exotic like a small
mako, big tiger or big dusky. No long runs needed. Twelve miles out in any direction will do it.
Tuna are a different story. The most consistent action has been around the 450 line to the south for smaller yellowfins,
but that is based on a small sampling, since hardly anyone is booking long range tuna trips this year. But it seems that
anyone who goes there catches a couple of fish. Going for bigger game out at the edge is less sure. Bluefin, on the other
hand are all over the place. Every day you hear about someone catching a couple at 600/800, the Acid Barge, the
Fairway Buoy, the Mudhole, Coxes Ledge, south of Coxes or various place around the Dump. What you donít hear
much about is all the boats that go to those same places and donít get a sniff, and there are a lot more of those than
there are of the lucky ones.
Fluke season is closed, but all of the all day partyboats have those research permits. Originally there were only a couple
of them, but even though they were sold out by December, somehow the remainder of the boats came up with them and
they are carrying pretty good. At the end of the day though it is hard to see how they are making any money. The clients
are allowed four fish at twenty inches, and it is fairly easy to catch a limit of those. So itís easy to imagine the clients
each catching twelve pounds of fish each, (and there are fish of seven and eight pounds caught daily) which comes to
$36 the boat has to pay back to Uncle Sam, or whoever gets the money. So, everybody is sailing for about half price.
Maybe Iím missing something.
Hereís a helpful hint for any of you who have been pestered by those tiny ants finding their way into your kitchen,
courtesy of the old wives of Guatemala. Put about a teaspoon of sugar in a saucer and add enough water to surround it.
In about a day they will be gone and youíll never see them again.