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Da Ya Know What Tomorrow Is???? Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net There wasn't too much trout fishing going on back on Old StatNisland, as far as I could ever tell, or fly fishing for that matter.

The only trout on StatNisland were frozen, in the Safeway, and little enough of that.

I don't think we had any trout streams on the Island. We had brooks leading from Clove Lake to Martlings Pond to Brooks Pond to I dunno what.

We had Sunnies, sunfish, in freshwater. Bass? Maybe a few of those, but I never caught a bass on StatNisland.

Bread or worms on a hook is what we used in fresh water.

StatNislanders fished the old fashioned way, dragging bait behind an outboard motor and a chumline, the ingredients of which you bought by the 5-gallon can full at Dinger's Dock, in Great Kills Harbor. You pulled up to their dock in your boat, bought a can for a coupla bucks and spent the next couple hours tossing overboard a tuna canful (nailed to a stick from a crate) at a time. This made everybody in the boat sick, from the smell of the exhaust and the smell of the fish oil from the moss-bunkers, aka menhaden, you remember, those fish that liked to swim in circles before washing up on the South Shore.

The chumline did bring up the bluefish, a gamy tasting thing that turned a lot of people, at least in my family, off eating fish. There wasn't enough lemon juice in a basket of lemons to kill the fishy taste.

Blues put up a fight, as did striped bass, caught trolling or off the beach. Bottom fish, fluke, were okay to eat. You used killies to catch those.

You trolled with lotsa things, but one of the best was a jiggit eel (phonetic). It was a piece of surgical rubber over a steel leader followed by a sizable hook.

Fly rods weren't exactly outlawed on StatNisland, but I never saw any there, certainly not in use in the 'Fifties.

Spinning rods and reels were the new thing in 1951. I still have my Airex Vagabond I bought that year, after an expedition into the wilds of New York. Modells and Davega were places to go in Manhattan for fishing supplies.

We (meaning me) were bait fishermen, meat hunters, the lowest of the low in the fishing world. Kept everything we caught, used three hooks where one would do, barbs on the hooks, and bait.

After a StatNislander moves to California he learns there is another game in town, called fly fishing. San Francisco has, in Golden Gate Park, a couple of shallow fly-fishing pools, no fish, where you can practice casting in a wooded setting without catching a tree on the back cast, because the ponds are separated by causeways that you stand on as you aim for floating ring targets. There's always a guy willing to show you how to do it right. I almost do.

California has trout streams. I can understand why opening day gets loaded up with fishermen on opening day. I don' wanna describe fly fishing because it'll take too long and we didn't do it on S.I.

It's just a great thing to do, especially after you start catching trout, which are a lot smarter then you, speaking for me.

Now it's light tackle, tiny hooks, barbless hooks, throw 'em all back, tie the flies yourself. In short, it's like if you want to eat fish, you go to the store. If you want to angle for them, you go to the stream. Otherwise the price per pound is higher than cocaine, another thing I never heard of on StatNisland way-back-when.

-rs



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