Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1

I have many fond memories of learning to fish with my parents. They had a summer place-just a small rectangular bungalow with no ceilings and old beat up furniture-on the north shore of Long Island back in the day when there was nothing there but potato farms and woods. I remember my mom driving more than a dozen miles to the nearest supermarket and going to the beach every day seeing absolutely nobody in either direction as far as you could see.

I started fishing with a drop line, copying my mom’s style-she refused to use a rod and reel. We were thrilled to catch little sand sharks and porgies, or blowfish in the spring when the water was too cold to even stand in. Later, as I grew older, I had my own spinning reel and casting rod. A small rowboat made it possible for us to fish in areas unreachable from shore. We only had a 5 HP motor on it, but it got us where we needed to go-slowly, but we did get there eventually. My teenage friends and I got better and smarter, catching tons of flounder and blackfish in the spring and porgies and fluke in the summer. Unfortunately, we usually missed the fall blackfish run due to our school obligations.

Now as a single adult I had my own boat. I bought it for peanuts last fall from a guy who hadn’t used it for years. The convertible lounge seats were all chewed up by squirrels and the deck had a few holes in it. The motor, a 150 HP Mercury-well, who knew if it would even run? This became my winter project. I ripped out the seats, the marine carpeting and eventually, the deck. It was all worthless junk. I installed a new deck of half-inch marine plywood, screwing it in place with stainless screws. I clad the deck in fiberglass, glued down new carpeting and replaced the old seating which was too low with captain’s chairs that would swivel and turn. I could fish from them whether I was anchored or drifting. I had to wait for fairly warm weather to clean up the exterior-1 took care of that job during my Easter vacation-I’m a junior high science teacher. Then, using a recommendation from the head of

maintenance in our school district, I took the engine to a mechanic. As I guessed it was useless. The mechanic offered me a rebuilt engine for mine and $2,000. I took the deal. He could use the old engine for parts and I got a decent, if smaller at 125 HP, but working engine. He even threw in a one-year warranty on it.

Now I was ready to fish. It was Memorial Day weekend and it’s early-6:00 a.m. when I rise. I hooked the trailer to my truck last night and loaded my rods, tackle, and plenty of ice and soda in the cooler. I drove to the nearest deli for a Number 1 Special-two fried eggs and bacon on a hard roll with butter and salt/pepper. I bought a large bottle of OJ and a Virginia ham sub for my lunch.

My next stop was the bait shop where I picked up a dozen sand worms, some heavy duty Virginia hooks and a bunch of sinkers. I was fishing for blackfish; they live in rocky areas where they eat stuff like crabs and barnacles. It was really easy to get hung up in the rocks and lose your tackle, so it paid to have lots and lots extra.

I drove the short distance to the boat ramp in Port Jefferson-It’s a great facility with four ramps and parking for about a hundred cars and trailers. It took me about ten minutes to drop the boat in the water, park, and return to start the engine. It was really reassuring to hear it purr as I backed out from the dock and turned into the channel. The speed limit is 12 mph and it’s closely monitored by the county cops so I was very careful while I was in the harbor. It gave me a chance to eat my breakfast and relax in my new captain’s chair where could see clearly through the windshield and all around for safety. In about ten minutes I was finished with my egg sandwich as I drove between the stone breakwaters into Long Island Sound. One of the things I love about the Sound is that It is almost always calm-not lake calm, but pretty damned close. This morning there was only a slight chop with wavelets that couldn’t have been more than an inch or two high. “Perfect for fishing,” I thought out loud. Too bad I’d never get the chance.

I rammed the throttle forward, lifting my old Thunderbird tri-hull onto plane as I headed west toward Crane’s Neck, home of about a thousand big rocks and some huge blacks. I pulled out about a half-mile to avoid any submerged boulders and was about to turn back toward land when a glint of yellow caught my eye about two to three miles out. There are lots of colors on the water, but yellow isn’t one of them. I changed course, screaming toward the color at almost forty miles per hour. I’ll say one thing for the tri-hull-it ran great. It went right onto plane and held it easily, the bow only about six inches higher than the stem.

I was about a mile away and closing fast when I realized it was a boat wreck I was approaching. Pulling out my binoculars I thought I could see someone clinging to the wreckage. The water at this time of year was cold, probably not more than 55 degrees, so a person in the water for any period of time was facing a really bad case of hypothermia. I cut the engine to a slow crawl when I got within a hundred feet. The bow of the wreck was just above the water level and a young woman was hanging on for her life, her clothing soaked by the action of the tiny waves. As I approached it seemed that the boat was sinking. It was noticeably lower in the water when I pulled up and stopped.

Using the boat hook I grabbed under her arm and pulled her closer to the boat. I knew anyone suffering from hypothermia would be unable to climb into my boat or even assist in any way. Straddling the side I grabbed her shirt, dropped the hook to the deck, and pulled her up with both hands. She wasn’t heavy, but she was dead weight and her clothes were sodden. Once I was able to get her hips onto the gunwale the rest was easy. I levered her down to the deck.

I rubbed her face telling her, “Hold on, I’ll call the police. They’ll get you to a hospital.”

I wasn’t expecting much of a response under these circumstances, but she looked up at me and whispered, “Please…no…police…no…. police.” Don’t ask me why listened to her. For all I knew she could have been delirious. I pulled my knife-I keep it razor sharp for filleting and cut up the back of her shirt. I cut off her bra. I had to get her out of the wet clothing. Diving into the tiny cuddy cabin, I pulled out the sweatshirt I keep there for emergencies. I shrugged her into it. Next I pulled off her shoes, slacks, and panties. I didn’t have any sweatpants but I did have a rubber rain suit. I pulled the much-too-big overalls over her, fastening the straps over her shoulders. The jacket followed. The rubber outfit had fantastic insulating properties and getting her warm was the number one priority. I pulled her into the tiny cabin which was almost seven feet long, but only three feet high. I wrapped her body in an old beach blanket and headed home. In the few minutes I had been on the wreck site the boat had slid beneath the surface. I entered the Latitude/Longitude as a waypoint into my GPS in case I needed the location in the future.

You May Also Like 🔥

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.