YOUNG GUNS AND THE OLD GUARD - The Fisherman

YOUNG GUNS AND THE OLD GUARD

Mikey Dannon

The next generation is here – under 25 – with their social media, epic catches, fishing hard, moving intel around at lightning speed, and moving on their boats even faster! These guys catch big fish and have deep intel. This is their time to make core memories of Epic Catches and Personal Bests.

So much has changed over the past decade (including COVID) that I don’t think we have had the ‘normal’ transition that happens between the fishing generations.

I see pockets of interaction between the ‘Evolution’ Young Guns (YG) and the ‘Legacy’ Old Guard (OG), but can we do better? There are so many amazing differences between them, and there is a lot to learn from one another.

Recognizing the Past

To appreciate the future, it’s best to understand the past. For me – legacy memories were created by a core group of high-end people – whose knowledge I still refer to, especially on the tough days. My Dad used to wake me up in the middle of the night to catch a tide. John Dotsey taught me big fish fishing when trophies were rare. I looked up to and fished with Donnie Eichen, Dick Mermon, Frank Dominic, Bernie Haig and Billy the Greek. Bob Rochetta and Pete Mikoleski taught me how to fish Montauk. Larry Festa took me on my first offshore trip and kept tabs on me and my family. Mark Keller owned Bay Park and rigged all my gear.

My friends and I have had most of our crazy fishing stories from when we were in our 20s. We were catching huge striped bass, fluke, sharks, and tuna. When I was a YG, I was fishing early and then going to my Wall Street job by 8 a.m. after I (mostly) cleaned up.

Now is the time for the YGs to create their own stories.

Recognizing the Future

The approach to fishing by the YG community is likely the largest change to fishing dynamics ever seen. The YGs take advantage of the latest technology and changes in our fishery. Today’s environment is significantly different than years past – and way different from when I was young.

The YGs leverage new tackle – lightweight gear w/ heavy drags, spinning gear that works, and large center consoles (CC) that cover big water at high speeds. They also benefit from a thriving inshore and offshore fishery. The YGs share intel electronically. This enables them to move info around quickly and quietly. They also like to fish fast – run and gun is typically their favorite. Why shouldn’t it be – it’s fun and matches their lifestyle. Corazon mates are all from the YG crowd. They are obsessed with fishing and fun to be around, which keeps the cockpit energized.

Faust Brothers

Nothing’s Perfect

Passing the baton does not mean the OG is passed by – it’s just recognizing and supporting the YGs as they carve their path.

It’s the OG’s responsibility to be patient with the new anglers entering our turf. They look different because they are different. It’s on the OG to pass down the knowledge and let the YGs decide what to keep. If what we offer is good – it will stick.

As an example – one of the generational discussions I hear between the OG and YG is the trolling debate. When I was young with my CC, I didn’t like to troll and thought it was for lazy people – I was even myopic enough to say this out loud to my seniors.

Today, I laugh at myself. With age, I realized that different conditions and people’s perspectives call for different techniques. The Corazon live bait fishes, jigs, pops, and trolls with cutting-edge light equipment – whatever makes the most sense. As a captain, it’s my job to make sure our guests are connecting with their lifetime memories.

YG versus OG requirements

The YGs are doing what is fun for them – and a lot of times, it’s high-octane. They may be missing opportunities to land fish – and that’s ok. A lot of times, they are catching fish that the OG is not aware of, too! I still share my OG ways with the YGs, so they have it in their bag of tricks, even if they call me lazy. I called myself lazy when I was their age. One day, they’ll look back and laugh, too.

Learning is not a one-way street, and the YGs have lessons to teach the OG. They are awesome with jig and pop and artificials inshore. I have found that the YGs know the water and conditions atypically well because of the amount of ground they cover with their fast boats. This is a clear advantage from the ways of the past. The YGs are in my circle, and I’m fortunate. It’s a two-way street, and our legacy and future are safe.

Sean Hotton

The Young Guns

Faust Brothers – Erick (24) and Joe (22)

“The chase for those unforgettable moments out on the water is what drives me,” Erick said.

“Each day on the water is something new; you are always learning, and if you think you know it all.” – Joe

These guys are the most accomplished of the YGs that I know. They are deadly with the offshore game and slay inshore. Both are working USCG Captains. Joe has been part of the highest-end fishing and chartering teams (e.g., Canyon Runner) and is now doing this for a living. Erick is also well accomplished and is one of the Captains for Triton Charters in Freeport. These guys know how to find fish, rig, run boats, and just be great members of the community. They also are the nicest and most respectful YGs that I know.

Sean Hutton (21)

“Since I started running my own boat to the canyons four years ago, there’s been lots of ups and downs. After watching YouTube videos and a lot of trial and error, I’ve seemed to have gotten a pretty good grip on fishing the Canyons.”

At 21, this YG is already a Canyon Jock Captain running the big waters of Montauk. He leveraged technology and shortened his learning curve. He’s learned to fish from YouTube! He fishes utilizing OG and YG techniques and has high success scores. He is also a mate on Cannonball Charters.

Chris George (21)

“My favorite type of fishing is to Jig and Pop for Tuna.”

Chris has found many tuna bites on his own, running his boat out of the Jones Inlet area. I had seen Chris catch the largest of pelagics in tournaments and tough days when the rest of the fleet struggled. Of course, jig and pop are his favorites – he’s a YG.

DJ Toback (18)

“Part of the reason young guys have so much fun is because we’re always hyped and in a good mood. “

DJ is the author’s son and studies at SUNY Maritime to be a ship engineer. He helped build the Corazon during the refit. His strength is his knowledge of running a professional cockpit. He prefers jigging, lures, and live bait fishing – and knows when trolling is appropriate. He has lots of epic catches inshore and off on the Corazon and with his friends. DJ is also good with social media and telling the story.

Gabe Salami (18)

“The anticipation of riding out in the pitch black, the adrenaline rush produced from a 50-wide peeling drag.”

Gabe is a solid inshore and offshore fisherman. He has lots of great catches, and he always invites his friends to fish – he’s a great ambassador of the sport. Gabe Captain’s his own boat inshore and runs to the deep on his family’s boat, which is a tricked-out fast CC!

Luke Casquarelli (16)

“I love sharing my knowledge and experiences in this sport with all my peers; when it’s too rough to be out on the water, I really enjoy ripping motos with my dad and my friends, and most importantly, I love my friends and family.”

Luke is a mate on the Corazon and runs his own 17-foot center console with sharpshooter results. He loves offshore jig and popping and trophy bass on live bait. He is a total asset to the Corazon and well-known in the community. We have made sure to pass on what we know so Luke can combine OG with what he and his peers do. We know he appreciates it, too.

Mikey Danon (15)

“My Dad taught me about the value of being outdoors, fishing, living my life in a way most kids only dream of.”

Mikey comes from heavy hitter lineage as his father owns the Captain Lou Fleet. This ‘kid’ is already getting it done on his own. He captains his own boat far offshore and connects with pro results. He’s already at the top of the ’10%’ and a jig and pop expert! Seriously, the kid is hardcore and catches huge fish. #MuchRespect

DJ Toback

Side Bar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Capt. Doug owns/operates Corazon Fishing with his son as first mate and has over 30 years of fishing in all NY waters.  He specializes in lifetime personal best inshore/offshore fishing and has 2 IGFA records sailing out of Freeport NY on their locally rebuilt 35-foot Duffy Downeast.

-www.CorazonFishing.com

-@CorazonFishing on Instagram

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