I got a call from my friend of 25 years on May 12th. He was bringing his latest sport fishing yacht from Shinnecock to Mattituck on May 13th. Luckily, he stopped in Montauk and picked me up on his way. He’s been refitting boats since I started fishing with him on his 1998 35 foot Contender. We reminisced about memorable shark and tuna trips on the contender. The trip we caught the 365 pound Mako, the Halloween overnighter we caught 13 giant tunas in the Hudson Canyon, etc. He moved from the 35 foot Contender to a 2011 40 foot Contender and went from two 250 horsepower Yamaha outboards to three 350 horsepower Yamahas on the 40. Both boats were rocket ships.
Over the last seven years he’s been refitting larger sport fishing yachts to accommodate his family, fishing and travel. First he refitted a 1993 65 foot Hatteras Convertible. It was powered by two Detroit 1000 horsepower, 12 cylinder diesel engines and held 1700 gallons of diesel. The past two years he’s been getting his latest refit completed. It was made by legendary yacht designer Robert “Bob” Roscioli at Roscioli Yachting Center in Davie, FL near Fort Lauderdale. The 2004 Custom 80 foot Roscioli sport fishing yacht holds 3200 gallons of diesel. It’s powered by two 16 cylinder, 2000 horsepower MTU diesels. MTU is one of the core brands of Rolls-Royce.
We left Montauk and headed northeast out of the inlet to an area we had caught bottom fish over the past six years. We did a drift with no good results. I knew from past seasons that fishing off Gardiner’s Island can be good and it was the direction we needed to go. He had four screens of electronics showing the bottom structure and our global positioning. We did a drift in a 92 foot hole where his 9 year old son caught a nice black sea bass with a green tubed diamond jig. Then we headed closer to the island and drifted over a large boulder in 50 feet of water. I thought this rock must have fish on it. Probably a good spot to anchor during blackfish season. Immediately after drifting over the boulder rods went off. One had two black sea bass. Then I felt a bite and set the hook. The stout conventional rod had a nice bend to it. My two hook rig with light green squid teasers had a couple species hit the spearing baits. The top hook had a blackfish and the bottom had a black sea bass. I had conjured up the blackfish with my thoughts as we passed the boulder. It was a successful drift. As we cruised past Gardiner’s, I mentioned how the largest privately owned island in the U.S. was purchased from Montaukett Chief Wyandanch in 1639 by Lyon Gardiner for a large black dog, a few Dutch blankets and some powder and shot. As we rounded north of Gardiner’s to head west up the sound we passed the “Ruins” which was intended to be Fort Tyler on a 14 acre island known as Gardiner’s Point until the blizzard of 1888 caused it to be unoccupied. We passed a fleet of boat’s drifting the rips southwest of Plum Island and headed towards Mattituck. When we got through the Mattituck Jetties and came through the tight channel it opened up to luxury homes mixed with commercial docks. It was a successful delivery, fishing trip, shakedown cruise and a new season had begun.