Heeding a word from his grandmother about patience, 7-year-old Nicholas Aspris heaved his crab trap into the water at Captree State Park Friday and waited.
Three minutes later, he got one -- which he named "Mr. Crab." But his trap sat empty for the next hour, the bait gnawed on.
"Your crabs are smarter than you," said his grandmother, Eleanor Carney, 69, of Central Islip. "They're eating your chicken but they won't come up for you."
The pair and other relatives spent lazy hours at the state park in Babylon on the waning days of summer vacation. Some Long Islanders savored the peace of the Labor Day weekend before school starts next week.
"The plan for the rest of the day is to cook our fish," said Reine James, 39, of Islip. Her daughter Kayla, 8, and son Nate, 6, caught sea bass on a family excursion on a party fishing boat in the Great South Bay.
Nationwide 34.7 million people are expected to take to the roads and air this weekend -- a 1.3 percent increase over 2013 and the most since the economic downturn of 2008, AAA New York said.
Temperatures will reach a high of the upper 70s Saturday and range from upper 70s to 81 Sunday, said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service is Upton.
There is a 30 percent chance of showers Sunday afternoon through Monday, when the temperatures will be in the low 80s, Nash said.
The Long Island Rail Road gave commuters a head start on their holiday getaway by adding eight additional early-afternoon trains Friday from Penn Station.
Long Island state parks, including beaches, are expecting 150,000 visitors Saturday and 200,000 Sunday, but fewer on Labor Day because of potential of rain, said George Gorman Jr., deputy regional director of state parks.
Gorman said attendance has rebounded, with more than 350,000 people visiting between Memorial Day weekend and Aug. 17 this year from the same period last year.
State parks saw 40,000 more visitors this year compared with the same period in 2012, Gorman said.
"We are at pre-superstorm Sandy levels and a little bit better," he said.
He added: "We had a good summer. The negative is that we didn't have any 90 degree days, that's when we would have seen more attendance, but we had steady attendance."
Long Island beaches reopened Friday after dangerous rip currents and high surf caused by Hurricane Cristobal forced the closure of several beaches to swimmers Thursday.
At Captree, Nicholas, who lives in Lake Ronkonkoma, tossed the lone crab into the water as his sister, Isabella, 9, and cousin Taylor Ellisor, 7, of Whitehaven, Pa., and other relatives stood nearby.
"You better stay away," he said to a hovering seagull.