I was walking east in one of Montauk’s moorland coves the other day and saw a lone surfcaster heading toward me. It was Eric Ernst, wetsuited, with casting rod on his shoulder. He had been testing the waters. We fell into conversation as the cove’s spring green waves thumped and whispered.
He confirmed what I’d heard earlier in the day. Small striped bass were being caught from the beach in recent days at Ditch Plain Beach and just east in front of the Montauk Shores Condominiums.
House them and they will come — the Montauk Mustangs that is. The Mustangs are Montauk’s home team in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. Their first game is scheduled for June 1, but there’s a problem, and it’s bigger than the one that faced the Mudville nine.
About a dozen of the squad’s 24 players need a host family, a place to stay during the season, June 1 to the end of July.
The former Salivar’s, Montauk’s iconic, dockside eatery, reopened during the past week following an impressive renovation inside and out.
The people who gave us the West Lake Clam and Chowder House are running the place. They have brought their popular menu and sushi bar across the harbor to the green building (a lighter shade now) that began serving food and spirits during a time when raw fish, as the saying goes, was bait.
You can tell it’s spring. Gannets have been seen diving, probably on alewives, in Gardiner’s Bay, a striped bass has been caught in Three Mile Harbor, bait and tackle shops are opening their doors, the Montauk SurfMasters tournament is nigh, and the buzz of power tools can be heard just off Old Stone Highway in Amagansett where Dwayne Denton is finishing up a dory for two baymen, Dan and Paul Lester.
Time to wet a line. Tuesday, April Fool’s Day, marked the start of freshwater fishing — trout being the first species to become fair game. In the briny, the season for winter flounder also began on Monday. This year, both starts are iffy.
Because of the extra cold winter, plus the fact that the State Department of Environmental Conservation does not stock trout in the Town of East Hampton, the joke is on Bonac’s trout anglers.
Early Monday I built a fire as I’ve done each morning of this cold winter. The fire first raced through crumpled, balled-up stories. “Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science” and “The Postwar Paralympics” and “Kiev Says Russia Seized Gas Plant Close to Crimea” — up in flames. Maureen Dowd moaning about Obama, too. And Bernard Malamud’s quote, “stories are stories” in The Book Review. So true.
I played lacrosse when sticks were made of wood, gut, and rawhide. During the three years I played for Colgate we scrimmaged with Syracuse University several times during the season. We did well against them, although they were in a more challenging league.