Editor’s Log: End Of An Era In Montauk - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: End Of An Era In Montauk

I heard the rumors for a couple of weeks, but on February 29th, the official announcement was made. Through his Facebook page, Paul Apostolides, owner of Paulies Tackle in Montauk, said, “Well, the time has come, peeps. Montauk has changed to the point that surfers and fishermen are not the norm anymore. Hotels have gotten out of control, 7-11, The Sloppy Tuna, Surf Lodge, etc., have pushed the whole place into a direction away from what the community once was. And it was a community at one time. Great people, local charm unmatched that will never happen again because the people moving in are never going to a part of what this town was. None of them will be volunteer firemen. None of them will give a hand to the locals. It saddens me, but I now have to lock my doors for good. Wish you all well, and thank you for the years of support.” The announcement was followed by hundreds of comments and shares, all with a touch of sadness, as an era ended in Montauk when Paulies Tackle closed up shop for good.

Most casters who came to town would walk through the doors and have the same experience, the smell of coffee brewing, all the tackle and lures on the wall, the comradery of all the casters and about the bite from the night before. It was the stop before the point to reload on all the necessities for that next tide. Paulie also always had great insights and knowledge on how to be more successful, but he was also the first to tell you that success would not come easy in the Montauk suds. Time was always the key to catching fish and big fish on top of that.

The closing of Paulies marked the last of the old-school tackle shops to close their doors in the town. Johnny’s Tackle Shop and Freddie’s are the other two to close up some years back. The marinas all sell bait and tackle, but they didn’t have that tackle shop, which feels like this one.

There’s no denying that the changing atmosphere and vibe in Montauk in recent years was part of the reason why these small businesses were forced to close their doors. If you have taken a ride out to the end of the island in recent times, you will come to the realization that the town has just become an extension of the Hamptons. I can even attest to this all. Many nights after fishing a tide out at the point, I would just sit in the parking lot of the 7-11 in town and witness the craziness that would take place. I honestly could have started a very popular YouTube channel if I just filmed it all – it was something out of a reality TV series. Between that and the unbelievable traffic on the East End these days, none of this comes as a real shock to me.

The shop has also been the weigh station for the Fred Golofaro Montauk Classic surf tournament every fall. For the past few years we would hang out at the shop throughout the night, waiting for potential weigh-ins. I’ll certainly miss doing that yearly tradition. We wish Paulie the best of luck in his next endeavor, and maybe this move will give him the opportunity to put some more time into fishing once again.


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