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Posted By Jim Hutchinson, Jr., May 11, 2020
Dave Arbeitman, founder/owner of The Reel Seat in Brielle passed away on Sunday morning. Listed in The Fisherman’s 50th Anniversary edition in 2016 as one of the 100 Movers and Shakers on our 50-year timeline, Arbeitman was honored for his innovations on the offshore tuna grounds as creator of tuna spreader bars. He was also a co-founder of the Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund and worked tirelessly to support better science and improved opportunities for recreational fishermen everywhere.

Dave Arbeitman, founder/owner of The Reel Seat, passed away this past Sunday morning, May 10. He was just 65.

“With heavy hearts, it is almost impossible to put into words, the loss of one of the legends in the fishing community,” read the message on The Reel Seat’s Facebook account late Sunday morning, continuing, “Early this morning David passed away in his sleep. We are devastated. Our hearts go out to his family and his many friends. Dave will continue to live on through his legacy, The Reel Seat. We will continue to be here in Dave's spirit and make sure all of our customers are served to the fullest. That is how Dave would have wanted it!”

As noted in The Fisherman’s 50th Anniversary edition as one of the 100 Movers and Shakers on our 50-year timeline, Arbeitman was a pioneer on the offshore fishing grounds having designed the very first spreader bars for tuna fishing, “High speed ‘spreader bars are an offshore staple, thanks in part to the innovative designs of Dave Arbeitman at the Reel Seat in Brielle, NJ who together with Grant Toman combined thin titanium wire and three chains of hollow soft-plastic squid. Dave is also a co-founder of the Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund (SSFFF).”

“David was always an innovator,” said his friend of 30 years, Nick Cicero, a fellow co-founder of SSFFF. “He loved the business he built and especially helping his customers be more successful on the water. He never stopped looking for new fishing opportunities, new methods and improvements in gear.”

“In a world of so many self proclaimed experts today, my friend was the authentic real deal...quiet and unassuming but passionate about our sport and a selfless champion for sound fisheries management. I will miss him,” Cicero added.

On behalf of all of us at The Fisherman family, our heartfelt condolences go out to his family - at home as well as in that home he shared with so many fellow fishermen in a Brielle shop built with a love and a passion for fishing. 

Fare you well Dave, fare you well.

On the fishing front this week, still plenty of big stripers up north on Raritan Bay, with good fish along the Delaware River as well (though that bite is slowing down as fish spawn and begin to move out towards the open ocean this month). A wave of stripers seems to be pushing in along the interior beaches as well, with a few fish reeled in along the beach from Brigantine to Island Beach. Black drum action is catching fire, not just on the Delaware Bay (where anglers on both the Delaware and New Jersey side are scoring) but up inside the Central Jersey bays as well. Weakfish too are coming along now following the May 7 full moon.

Black sea bass is set to reopen this Friday, May 15. Many of the New Jersey party boats in particular have been taking reservations in hopes of hearing some good news from the governor’s office. A recent proposal by the Recreational Fishing Alliance and the United Boatmen of New Jersey offered up ways the for-hire industry could following CDC guidelines and “social distancing” requirements while still be able to sail with customers; there’s been no word yet from Governor Phil Murphy in New Jersey as to any potential start date. “Hopes were running high,” said North Jersey field editor JB Kasper this week, sentiments echoed by entire staff.

“With the financial strain on party and charter boat captains and crews nearing the breaking point it’s time to get back on the water before many reach the point of ruin,” Kasper reported in this week’s edition, adding “let’s pray this insanity comes to an end soon.”

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