Last year I was looking forward to overseeing the Montauk Classic along with Fred Golofaro. Unfortunately, because COVID numbers were high around the classic last year, the event was cancelled. This year Fred and I spoke about going to the event together, and he would show me the ropes of how to oversee it. Sadly, Fred passed before this year’s event, and I was left to oversee the Montauk Classic on my own.
I spent two days in Montauk, although the event began Friday, some pressing deadlines made it impossible to get there sooner. I didn’t hit any East End traffic on the way out, a miracle I could probably write an editorial about in itself these days. My first stop was Paulie’s Tackle in Montauk. It’s always good to see Paul at the shop. I appreciate his humor, hospitality, and stories from fishing on the eastern end of the island.
After dropping off magazines, I made my way to the point where I was greeted by the Montauk Surfcasters Association, Turtle Cove Tackle, Van Staal reels, Lamiglas rods, and Northbar Lures—a great group of anglers and supporters of the sport. The Montauk Surfcasters Association was gracious enough to raise $950 for the family of Fred Golofaro through their raffle. Big thanks goes out to them for putting that together.
Before dark, some of us headed down to North Bar. I sat back and watched some casters work the surf. One of them happened to be my buddy who hooked up with a blue at one point. The fish looked like it had the potential to qualify. Earlier on, I joked with him that a seal would steal any potential winning fish he hooked. Well, halfway in, that colossal beast made a sprint right for his thrashing fish. I yelled out, “you better reel faster,” as this seal sped up the pace. About 30 feet in front of him, the water exploded, and the seal made a meal out of his fish. The situation was comical due to my prediction, but again, this event highlighted a topic for future editorial about the growing seal problem in Montauk.
After chatting with a few other anglers, I made my way back to Paulie’s, where I met up with his son Nick. Again, big thanks go out to those guys for staying open 48 hours straight for tournament weigh-ins. I was limited on Sunday, so I finished up weekly reports while hanging out at the shop.
The next day back at the lot, I met up with senior field reporter Tom Melton and owner of The Fisherman, Mike Caruso who would be a part of the event. I was then introduced to Tom and Frank from state parks. These guys helped make the awards ceremony go pretty smoothly. I also can’t forget about Jessica from the state as well. Email correspondence with her also helped keep the process smooth.
The event went great, and I was honored to speak about my mentor Fred Golofaro during the proceedings. Many anglers worked hard to place fish on the leaderboard, but the striper fishing was off due to several factors and unfortunately, only the bluefish slots were filled. The winners are as follows; first place went to Dominick Pedone for his bluefish weighing 9.14 pounds; Brandon Sausele took second with his 8.98-pounder and Ryan Morell nailed down third place with an 8.06-pounder.
I want to thank all those who helped and participated in the 2021 Montauk Classic. I hope to see you all at the upcoming South Shore Classic that takes place from October 29-31.