Editor’s Log: A First Meeting - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: A First Meeting

It was over seven years ago, mid-September down at the New Inlet that was opened by Hurricane Sandy a few years prior. Back before the cut opened, anglers were able to drive the beach buggies down to the Long Cove area, which was just east of the Watch Hill campground. I didn’t experience much Long Cove fishing since the cut ended that experience for me. Luckily the New Inlet itself did produce some great fishing, and back in the first few years of its opening, the cut was highly under-fished.

On this particular night, I decided to fish the spot (a weekday), only one other angler was fishing it. After airing down the tires, I drove about a mile down the beach until I reached the sign where trucks couldn’t go any further. I only saw one other truck, so I doubted I’d even run into someone that night (luckily, I did).

In my first few casts, I was greeted with giant bluefish. Usually, I’m not too fond of bluefish at night, but since the fishing was slow on previous nights and the fish were large in size, I was having a blast. After catching and releasing several fish, I decided to weigh one—17 pounds! I was ecstatic. While trying to remove the fish from my BOGA grip, the large blue aggressively shook, and one of its teeth grazed the backside of my hand, slicing it wide open to the point where it could see the tendon leading to my pinky finger. The pain wasn’t too bad due to the razor-sharp teeth, but the gash created was about an inch wide which led to some concern on my part.

Luckily (as I mentioned before), another angler was close by and helped wrap it up with paper towels and electrical tape. Within the hour, I was at Brookhaven Memorial hospital getting stitches. Since it was one in the morning, I didn’t have to wait at all.

Fast forward two days, and The Fisherman Magazine was holding their annual seminar at the Huntington Hilton in Melville. I was working at a local tackle shop at the time and wouldn’t miss this anticipated event for anything. At that point in time, I had never met Fred Golofaro. My only interaction with him was VIA phone calls for reports on Sundays. I had read and heard much about the man, and I was extremely excited to meet him face to face.

After we set up our booth at the event, Fred walked over and in his soft-spoken voice said, “You guys need anything?” This was the proper time for me to introduce myself to someone I looked up to. I let him know I was the person he was speaking to for the weekly reports, and of course, he extended his hand to shake mine. Well, I didn’t have it in me to deny shaking the hand of this man due to the fresh stitches and bandages covering it, so I gritted my teeth and gave him a firm handshake. Boy, it hurt like mad because Freddy had quite the grip, and my injury was still fresh. I did my best to hide the grimace on my face and smiled through it. Looking back, I’d shake the man’s hand over and over again with those stitches in my hand if I could right now. That was the first time I met him. It was also the beginning of him becoming a mentor to me in the years that followed—one of the luckiest experiences of my life. Every day I’m thinking back to something he taught me, whether it be fishing or just life in general.

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