Before they’re Gone by Dennis Zambrotta

Chuck VietryBefore they’re Gone

By Dennis Zambrotta 

Camaraderie – a spirit of good friendship and loyalty among members of a group.


            Something that many of us take for granted are the friendships we make while pursuing our favorite pastime of surfcasting stripers.  If we’re fortunate these relationships may last most of our lifetime and help mold who we become as surfcasters and people. 

            I’ve met many different people over my 45 years of fishing.  Many of them are very good fishermen and even better people – some have become lifetime friends.  You can’t even begin to appreciate or comprehend what you get out of these friendships as they will teach you many lessons about fishing… and life.  If you’re lucky you will share marriage celebrations, births of children, grandchildren, and then retirements. I’m now 57 and in recent years death has

 more and more become part of my life.   In 2013 I lost two very special friends to cancer.  I may not have ever met them if it wasn’t for surfcasting.  Ezidro “Zeke” Silva and Chuck “Crafty Angler” Vietry were both very special people in my life.  Remembering the good times and conversations I shared with them still warms my heart.  In our 35 year friendship Zeke became a big part of my life; he was the best man at my wedding; in fishing we witnessed and experienced the great Snowstorm Blitz together, a night when we shook hands after both reaching the ultimate surfcasting pinnacle of landing a 50.  Zeke was in constant pursuit of anything with fins, and was truly the inspiration for the phrase, “No Fish is Safe”.   Chuck Vietry was a fellow surfcasting history buff who loved researching the history of our pastime.  We spent many hours casting live eels at his favorite perches in Newport, Rhode Island.  He also had a creative writing background and freely offered advice to me while I wrote my book. Those of you who have read Surfcasting around the Block will recognize Chuck and Zeke’s na

mes on the books acknowledgement page.  In the next print run I’ll be adding both names to the Dedication page – never an easy thing to do but something I’ll now have done three times starting with my friend, the late Timothy Coleman in 2012.  The men whose names are printed on the dedication page might be physically gone from my life – but they will never be out of my memory. 

As we slip into 2014 I encourage every surfcaster to cherish and savor the friendships you make while casting the beach.   Make sure to take the very next opportunity to look your friends in the eye and thank them for their company and friendship. By all means give them a hug… because you never know when they’ll be gone.   

Zeke Silva 1987



ditors note :

Dennis Zambrotta is well know Rhode Island surfcaster and friend of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine since our humble beginnings.  He was fortunate to be one of the major players during the great Block Island Giant Striper Blitzes in 1980′s and he has recently wrote a  book about his experience,  Surfcasting Around the Block. A good read for any surfcaster.

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9 comments on “Before they’re Gone by Dennis Zambrotta

  1. VIC D

    Well done Dennis . I’ ve been on the beach for over sixty years and have lost alot of comrads . As Im writing this I got a lump in my throat. One thing we should all remember fellow surfcasters is that sooner than you think its going to be your turn on the DL ! Lets all keep that in mind. Tight lines and HAPPY NEWYEAR !

  2. vegasvin

    So true DZ. more and more are gone every year but we have the memories and every time I think of those who left us it leave’s me smiling of the times we’ve shared!

  3. Matthew Engel

    Thank you for autographing the copy of Surfcasting Around the Block which you sent me. In 1955 my parents bought a house and barn and 19 acres of land squarely between Dorry’s and Gracie’s Cove, for ten thousand dollars. My father, brother and I all became enthusiastic surfcasters. I caught my first bluefish on the west side of the Sandy Point rip when I was 16 and my first striper off Charleston beach when I was 19. In the 1980s Southwest Point became my preferred spot and almost automatically guaranteed at least one fish every time out. Maybe it was karma but it seemed that the fishing dropped off when all the McMansions popped up. My father got very angry when a new landowner shouted out that we were trespassing. My father told him we had been fishing there long before he came along. While we were summer people, we cared about the land and the Island people. We still have the house and my wife and I go there for at least 2 weeks in September and October, thereby avoiding the summer crowds. I catch a handful of fish each year but sometimes it seems that I am wishing rather than fishing. Catching my first 2 false albacore in the New Harbor channel a couple of years ago was a recent memory but there are so many good memories from 50 years of fishing around the Block…even when I was just wishing.

    Thank you again.


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