First, the birds in the trees greeted the sun with song and chatter. A woodpecker hammered away on an old catalpa tree pregnant with its orchid-like blossoms. Then came the low drone of boats leaving Montauk Harbor.
It was 6 a.m. on the dot, the start time, the appointed hour of departure for the second day of the Star Island Yacht Club’s first shark tournament of the season, a type of derby that Capt. Frank Mundus, Montauk’s Monster Man and Peter Benchley’s model for Quint, the irascible charter captain in “Jaws,” declared vestigial years before he died back in ’08.
It will be interesting to see if the no-kill Shark’s Eye tournament scheduled for July 27 and 28 from the Montauk Marine Basin will generate excitement enough — with its global positioning shark tags that allow us to follow the caught-and-released sharks on their travels via satellite — to replace the big-money, cirque du sang. Not likely. In addition to the spectacle of sharks being hoisted to the scales last weekend, there was the $322,400 cash pool that fishermen were angling for a piece of. But, hey, you never know. A 218-pound blue shark caught aboard the My Joyce II earned $90,400 for the crew.
Lawrence Byrne in the Pilar (the name of Ernest Hemingway’s legendary fishing boat) was philosophical about bringing what would have been the winning mako shark to the scales 15 minutes too late to qualify. The 369-pounder, the largest shark caught in any of the blue shark, mako, and thresher categories, was hooked 20 miles south of Montauk Point.
As it turned out, Capt. Chuck Mallinson’s Joy Sea boat took first place in the mako division with a 311-pound fish. The 346-pound thresher taken by Jason Blake’s Blue Eyes was the heaviest among the threshers weighed.
In the hard-fought Montauk SurfMasters spring tournament for striped bass, Mike Larson caught a 32.94-pound striper on Saturday morning to knock off Geoff Bowen’s third-place 20.7-pounder. Ben McCarron remains in first place with the 44.74-pound bass caught on June 8. Jason Pecoraro’s 40.2-pounder is in second place, and Mike Larson’s fish is now in third. Brendon Farrell remains alone on the leader board in the youth division.
Of course some people fish Huck Finn style, just to get lost in the dreams that appear between angler and a body of water on a spring day.
Speaking of which, Harvey Bennett of the Tackle Shop in Amagansett reports so many two-foot long striped bass in Gardiner’s Bay off the north side of Napeague that “it looks like the bottom is moving.” He said the porgy fishing around Gardiner’s Island was “crazy, really, really big porgies,” and suggested wetting the line down tide from the party boat that’s been visiting the area of late. “It’s a good place to fish. There’s so much bait in the water like a giant chum slick.”
On to sailing. Last season, Pat Mundus, a Montauker who now hails from Greenport, founded East End Charters, a group that puts people and sailboats together for outings of just about any kind. The first paragraph of her press release says it all: “Pat Mundus, a professional mariner in her own right (a retired ship’s officer) is the daughter of Montauk’s famous shark fisherman. Yet unlike her flamboyant father, Pat instead fishes for people looking to enjoy themselves on yachts — for a few hours or a few days.”
She also suggests her service as a pleasant alternative to the ill-fated Hampton Jitney ferry that connected North and South Forks last year. Mundus can be reached at 477-6993, or at Pat@eastendcharters.com.
Some of you might have tuned in last week when this reporter told of how he had to swim like Johnny Weissmuller after his Bristol sloop Leilani when her mooring chain parted from its anchor. Happy to report that Leilani rides easily on her new mooring and only awaits a new fiddle block for her mainsail sheet to set sail.
Leilani has an old rigid-hull inflatable dinghy for a tender. Jacob Bacon at Uihlein’s Marina in Montauk took a look at it the other day and suggested using Krylon spray paint for plastic surfaces as a way to protect the rubber from the sun. A good tip.