Accidental angler hooks a 2nd place at Montauk
Tom Rock Newsday
Nov 7, 2004
He rolled into town like a spaghetti-western drifter and left with the rod, the reel and the trophy. His name is Kale Fisher from Minnesota (though it would be a lot cooler if no one knew it) and this beginner turned out to be one of the top lure-slingers in Montauk two weeks ago thanks to a $90 combination outfit he purchased on a whim, a heavy wind few anticipated and some beginner's luck.
Glenn Grothmann of Freddie's Bait and Tackle tells the story. In late October the Montauk tackle shop held its annual surfcasting tournament, which ran from Friday through Sunday. It was Saturday morning when the aptly-named Fisher arrived in Montauk in a beat-up car he'd been driving around the country. A little exploring, a little adventure, a little life on the road.
He said he'd always wanted to try fishing. He'd sat on the docks in Minnesota with friends watching the pike swim by, telling himself someday he'd get a pole and learn to fish. That someday finally presented itself on the end of Long Island, and with little instruction and sparse equipment Fisher headed out toward the beach in search of a striped bass.
"About an hour later he came back in with a 12?-pound striper," Grothmann said. "He was so happy to have caught a fish, even if it was this little one." Grothmann weighed the fish, more as a courtesy than contender. But as the weekend wore on and the heavy winds started kicking up on Saturday night and Sunday morning, that little smidge of a bass started to look better and better on the leader board. Fisher came into the tackle shop on Sunday morning about an hour before the contest ended, looking for some swivels.
"Kale, you're in second place," Grothmann said. "Sure," the Midwesterner answered. "I just need some swivels." Grothmann tried to convince him. "Seriously," he said, "there's only an hour left and you have a pretty good shot at it."
The hour went by, and that 12 ?-pound striped bass that no angler who'd ever fished Montauk would have kept, wound up winning second place. It turned out there were dozens or more striped bass caught on Saturday morning by competitors that were more than 20 pounds, but they were thrown back.
With regulations limiting fishermen to one keeper per day, most figured a 20-pound-class bass wouldn't be close to enough to crack the leader board and they went back to searching for the home run fish.
But then the weather changed and there was no window to fish for the rest of the competition. Fisher finished in second place - in a competition in which two fish were weighed in. There was no third-place winner.
Brian Ritter of St. James wound up taking firstplace with a 35-pound bass. He caught his on Saturday morning before the weather changed. Ritter is a Montauk regular who wet-suited out to the rocks to get his fish.
"Here are two guys that go from one extreme to the other," Grothmann said. "One guy is like a professional and the other has never fished.
And they both won awards."
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke