To me, part of fishing is all about the memories made. 2021 was filled with these memories I created through fishing. The fact of the matter is I’m grateful for all the memories. I’ll carry them with me, probably for my entire life.
At the beginning of June, The Fisherman Magazine had the honor of attending the 2021 Manhattan Cup Classic that took place at the Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City. The Long Island crew was all on the same boat along with Al Ristori. While the fishing for us was on the slower side, it was still a wonderful time with lots of laughs.
At the end of the day, Jim Hutch and his gang from Jersey took the cake but in my mind was still a win for The Fisherman. Don’t worry Jim, the Long Island guys will be giving you a run for your money in 2022!
While the win was fantastic, I think most of us could agree that what the tournament benefits is genuinely the best part of it. Proceeds from The Manhattan Cup benefit veterans of our nation’s army forces, local charities, and organizations working to protect and conserve our nation’s marine resources. On top of it all, my mentor, Fred Golofaro, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for everything he’s done for the fishing industry. I have to admit the whole moment was rather moving and emotional for many of us.
Another specific memory from early in the year had to be light tackle fluking on the Shinnecock Star with Fred Golofaro. It was a chilly morning, being that it was early in the year. Fred let Captain John and Deena know we were coming out, and he brought them sandwiches like he always did. We were fishing to get some shots for a feature story in the magazine.
The fishing turned out to be a steady pick throughout the day, with lighter bucktails being the key to getting the most hits. By day’s end, I acquired a limit of fluke using jigs lighter than I care to admit (might make a good feature one day). I always knew fluking was fun, but this is when I learned that fluking with a friend can make for a lifetime memory.
Maybe the fondest memory of all for the year had to be the time Fred and I took a spontaneous trip to Montauk in the summer to fish North Bar. It was a mid-summer rainy day, and Fred called me as usual in the morning to chat. He mentioned he was going to take a ride to Montauk because the weather looked fishy and asked if I cared to join. Of course, how could I say no to that? Without hesitation, I told him he could pick me up whenever he wanted to.
I recall all the stories and things he told me on the way out. Ironically on the way home, Senior Editor Tom Melton pulled up next to us in Southampton traffic. Anyway, we pulled down to North Bar, where the conditions looked great—a perfect amount of whitewater and wind. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch anything, but I did catch one thing during that time. What I caught was the picture of Fred Golofaro laying off casts on North Bar in near-perfect conditions. I stopped fishing for a moment and just watched. It didn’t matter to him if he caught any fish or not. He was doing something he loved to do. At that moment, I knew he was happy. It’s my last and most vivid memory of him—I couldn’t have asked for a better one.