The way we were

I been thinking a lot lately about how the sport (and life in general ) has changed. When I grew up, there was no “sport” in fishing, it was just fishing. Anything caught it was eaten, from a bergal to the biggest fish. We are paying a price for it today , not only where I grew up but all around the world. But this really wasn’t a malicious raping of the ocean, it was just a means of survival
But I can go back only few decades…and I have seen the world change tremendously. I see changes in myself, the way I look at the fisheries, the way I see surfcasting now as just a pure enjoyment. Not that I am saying you should never take a fish home to eat. I do and I will on’s not about that
For me it’s about the history, about those who fished with oil skins and linen lines, those who drove the first jeeps on the beach, those who camped with their families in the cramped Volkswagen little buggies for days at the time..
With all the lures at our disposal today , and more new ones appearing daily, I often wonder how would it be to walk a beach with only lures you make at home.? I am sure that I would have a hell of a time mastering the conventional rod the way old-timers did. Imagine if every guy in a Montauk blitz, hundreds of them lined up side to side used a conventional reels? Now that would be a sight to see.
Or if you walked the beach at night and were not allowed to put on a flashlight. No, not because someone would get mad at you, or some other surfcaster would see you, but because German U-boats would have reference where the shore was. This was a reality at one time for the pioneers.
Here is legendary angler, Fred Schwab, called the world most decorated surfcaster by many, tireless worker in Albany and Washington in protecting striped bass over his illustrious career ,talking how he got started. I can listed to this man for hours and never get bored. One of the primary reasons why I joined High Hill Striper Club

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10 comments on “The way we were

  1. Vito Orlando

    Enjoyed reading and listening to Fred Schwab’s accounting of those Glory Years. Fred and the rest of The High Hill Crew of the 60’s & 70’s were truly amazing fishermen. I knew many of those Fred mentioned and he brought back many memories. Wish I had known them better. I was a young, new member of The Farragut Striper Club in those years and can recall us and High Hill having several fishing contests. All won by High Hill. In those early years I used to think that they were lucky. As time went on and I got to know them better I realized that The High Hill Crew were so much better fishermen than we/I was. Fred did a lot for SOS, and other Conservation Groups. If I am not mistaken, Fred, and Bob Rance were the original founders of SOS-Save Our Stripers. Thanks again for publishing this great read. Stay well


  2. Jerry

    My son and I walked much of montauk’s south side today and I too spent a lot of time thinking about the history of this thing we do. Rocks and points un-named or little know where those who came before us swam or waded on the coldest, darkest and stormiest of nights. And not for glory or money or so they could end up on YouTube decades later but purely because they loved to do it. We do those things today for that same reason, and we certainly have among us now those who will be considered legends decades from now. To me in my googan opinion, legends, heros, adversity challenged and overcome and importantly, remembering and honoring those who we hold with such regard separates the awe we feel when we visit Canton or Cooperstown from birdwatching or stamp collecting. As a parent I want to push my kids to persue that which they find joy and that which stokes their passion and to which they endevour to succeed and be great. TV, Wii and angry birds fail miserable on all counts. Vito, you wrote something several years ago about people you met and fished with years ago. A sentence or two on the greats and those who were little knowns alike. I’m going to ask my son to read that to me. He now reads me accounts of Ruth and Gehrig, Messier and Mantle so it seems fitting and appropriate.

  3. mark m @ ""

    Fred, thanks for the story. They are always welcome.

    Z, couldn’t agree more. High Hill has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the sport, it’s the reason many devoted surfcasters over the years have been drawn to this particular club…

  4. Allen W

    Not only an interesting video but what a gentleman. Truly a class act. Thanks Zeno for making this video. This is why I come to this site.

  5. Rob Cohn

    I enjoy the histories of those that started the early years.

    He mentioned the Three Mile Harbor Jetty. In the 60’s my father and I used to rent a wood skiff from Charley Weiss’s fishing station 100 yards from the entrance to Three Mile Harbor which was through those Jetties. I bet at night on the outgoing tide that jetty would have been a great spot. Was just like a breachway opening.

  6. Moses

    Great video Z! I really enjoy pieces like this. I love to hear the history of the sport especially by those who were there and fished the good ol days. Thanks Z for sharing and thank you Fred Schwab for taking the time and sharing your story with us.


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