Oscar’s Big Day Out – Fishing For Food

Fishing For Food

Fishing For Food

Times have changed. Most of our fishing is now catch and release, but not this trip. We were setting out with the mission to help a young angler put food on the table.

We invited our friends the Martins – Rich and Kelly and their children Oscar and Astrid – to leave NYC behind and have some fun on the water. Rich was psyched and told us that he and Oscar were hankering to catch some fish to feed the group.

What’s more fun than being part of that first big catch when a young angler reaps the bounty of the sea and sees it transformed into dinner for his family? For us, days like these rival, even beat, the excitement of catching a first rooster fish in Costa Rica or that monster hammerhead (9’2”) Mike caught off the Ft. Lauderdale coast years ago.

To get us started on the right foot, Mike stopped by Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, CT, bright and early to learn that porgies were biting off Sheffield Island. Jigging with clams was the suggested temptation of the day. Clams in hand, Mike helped Oscar pick his weapon – a sharp looking Ugly Stick – and we were off.

After a fun boat ride and lunch at SoNo Seafood we were ready to get down to business. Mike powered us out into the lee of Sheffield Island and anchored in about 25 feet of water, in an outgoing tide. Lines were baited, and Oscar, Rich, and Astrid set about the serious work of jigging.

Porgy fishing is just plain fun fishing. The bait won’t bite you, it takes participation and concentration to jig, and when you get one on the line sometimes you catch and sometimes you don’t. Those porgies just don’t want to be dinner so if you give them a chance they will spit the clams right back out.

After a series of – quite puzzling – bait swipes we landed the culprit: A hefty spider crab that was robbing us blind. He went into the live well for later. Trolled for a striper on the way in with him, but to no avail.

With the bait thief behind us we set about to land dinner. Well, at least Rich and Oscar did. I think Astrid REALLY didn’t like the look of that spider crab so she bolted to hang out with her mom on the bow.

And the heavy action began. Rich landed the first porgy – a hefty 11 incher – and the bite was on. With a lot of tag teaming, Mike, Rich and Oscar were baiting hooks and catching fish. Sometimes they were victorious and landed them, sometimes those rascally porgies got away. When the bait ran out we had landed 6 keepers and dinner was on!

Rich ably cleaned and scaled the fish – did a great job for a NYC guy – and we prepared them using our own Coastal Angler recipe of olive oil, salt and pepper and just the right grilling.

Days like that – shared with good friends and watching a young angler develop the passion – are what summer is all about.