A Requiem For A Surfcasting Legend

I wish I could tell you I knew Jack as well as many of our subscribers did,  but I did not. The unofficial mayor of Montauk was a special character, one of those people that make this sport so special. Many of us will fish those same rocks, but probably no one will remember us other then our closest friends.

Jack was a big part of surfcasting scene in Montauk for decades , from the early day of wetsuits, abundance of fish through moratorium and then he got to experience the glory days again. He left us this summer, leaving a void in the lives of many who knew him well.

Vito Orlando wrote a touching poem which he read at the ceremony recently on the north side of Montauk honoring Jack.

I though it deserved to be heard and read my many, because Jack like every one of us, had his demons but on the end of the day, he is one of the few we call the Legends of the Surf

RIP Jack


   A Requiem For  A Surfcasting Legend

  By Vito Orlando

The Light House Went Dim

Its Fog Horn Fell Mute

As A Farewell To A Surfman

And A Final Salute

Angels In Wet Suits

Sent To Guide The Way

Pointed To The Heavens

As A Place He Could Stay

The Majestic Cliffs

Cried Out In Sorrow

And The Boulders Below

Knew Of No Tomorrow

Word Quickly Spread

Of His Departure From This Land

And Many A Tough Surfman

Shed A Tear In The Sand

Some May Recall

His Camper In The Grass

And The Offer Of Coffee

To All Who Would Pass

A Hook In Your Hand

No Reason To Ball

This Surf Casting Legend

Was Always On Call

He Loved To Drive

His Jeep On The Beach

And Always A Camera

Within Easy Reach

He Often Swam

To An Off Shore Stone

And Weakfish Rock

Was Considered His Home

As Time Went On

And Years Rolled Past

The Vigor Of His Youth

Could No Longer Last

It Was A Painful Day

When He Made Up His Mind

That The Best Days Of Fishing

Were Left Far Behind

As His Fragile Body

Began To Sore

He Fought A Brave Battle

Till He Could Take No More

He Now Fishes With Angels

And St. Peter Too

“Come On In Wabbit

We’ve Been Waiting For You”

21 comments on “A Requiem For A Surfcasting Legend

  1. Bill H

    I didn’t know Jack personally but saw him on the beach and around town for decades. Camera around his neck he always said Hi and occasionally had a few brief words with him. The passing of these guys that were pioneers in the sport is a loss to all the younger people getting into the obsession. Vito, that was a fitting and moving tribute to a man you shared the beach with. Zeno, thanks for your efforts to put on film the people who came before us.

  2. Awesome John

    Jack was a dear friend, My beloved mentor Ken Kassan introduced my to him in 1989,
    We hung out a lot and fished together on a couple of occasions, we shared the the special interest for casting tins in big storms .. When the wind would howl and the hard rain would blast Montauk the south side beached would be barren as most die hards would by at the point… I would walk from the Montauk hotel where I have stayed for 25 years to the town beach and I was the only one on the beach casting a 6oz hopkins on a 12 ft rod into a monster surf banging bass and blues… and then he would show up in his cool old jeep… jump out with just boots on and blast out a cast using conventional gear, a 4oz diamond jig the distances he hit was amazing…. he stood right next to his jeep casting 20 yards away from the waters edge and still getting over 100 yards out with the wind blowing in our faces… The diamond jig he used was aerodynamic but he was doing this with a “Penn Squider conventional reel” with no magnets or breaks just thumb pressure and casting form… he would look at me and say “Hey Dream I knew you’d be here you nut” and then we would both hook up and smile. He drove me and my first wife all around Montauk and showed us all the cool spots, we had breakfast at “Bird on the roof” which he said had the best Omelette in Montauk which is true… he was a true legend because “he never gave up and fished hard till the end” He once told me “I won’t live too much longer I just want to get a few more good seasons in and nail a couple more 50’s before I go”…… that was 10 years ago…. Jack Yee was an authentic Montauk Legend… RIP old friend, Thank you for the warm friendship that meant so much to this surfcaster. You are always in my prayers Jack… Now you and Ken can hang out together again.

  3. gil

    Awesome tribute. I just wish I would have taken the time to sit down with him at Paulie’s and just chewed the fat! RIP sir.

  4. Fishtrek

    I think I met him once at Paulie’s More as a pass by, but he took the time to advice another newbie about gear. A gentleman and class act in every sense….

  5. JohnP

    Yeah I do miss Jack. People came and went over the years at Montauk, but Jack was always there. He was always very good to my kids too.

  6. bob jones

    Jack was one of the best fishermen that I’ve ever met and I’m proud to say that he was my friend.
    We would sit in his camper in late November & breathe those kerosene fumes. I used to be afraid for my life; but I stayed to talk to Jack. Vito, I’m a wabbit, too. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. Hope he’s in a better place. BJ

  7. jimmy z

    The words are very good. He said, ” like it’s a nothing thing” . Only one who is true to this thing we do can ever say that. Rest in peace, and may the tides always be in your favor.


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