Anyone who has fished the waters surrounding Montauk on even a semiregular basis over the past few decades will tell you that much has changed. In recent years, the once piscatorial town with a gruff attitude and a serious fishing bent has morphed into a touristy village that bustles throughout the summer and fall.
Yet Montauk still retains some semblance of quaintness and working class charm, especially when compared to the glitzy Hamptons towns that proceed it on the way to "The End."
Undoubtedly, the surf fishing contingent has led the way when it comes to resisting change but it, too, has entered a new era. There was a time when all it took was a decent hike to have a section of beach, and hopefully some bass and blues, just to yourself. Montauk has garnered the well-deserved title "surf casting capital of the world."
Enter film director Richard Siberry and his documentary debut, "Montauk Rocks." Five years in the making, at a cost of one drowned camera, one almost drowned cameraman, a blown transmission, two broken ribs, countless hours of fundraising and many sleepless nights, this film has just been released in DVD format and it provides a marvelous insight into the surprisingly dynamic, often secretive world that is East End surfcasting. "Montauk Rocks" has caught both the famous little fishing village and it's hard core contingent of shore-bound anglers in a state of flux, making it both timely and important.
From a surf-caster's perspective, Siberry shows Montauk in all its glory past and present -- and with all its warts. There are historic photos, interviews with top surf-casters covering several generations, night scenes and day scenes of super fishing and fall blitz mayhem, plus glimpses into the stresses brewing between various user groups, "googans" (unrefined surf-casters) and the most serious anglers.
Especially interesting is the exploration of the interrelationship, camaraderie and competitiveness that flows between the best of the beach rats. Through it all, Siberry has done an extremely professional job, with great editing and a terrific score that includes music from the Hot Sprockets and blues legends Bob Corritore and Henry Gray.
If you have ever fished the Montauk surf, or ever plan to, this is a film you simply must see. Fair and honest, "Montauk Rocks" does, indeed, rock. The DVD is available at most local tackle shops and Amazon.com for $24.95. For more information, contact Siberry at Richard@oscailfilms.com.
Striped bass action
Some very good striped bass action is under way along the South Shore, where Captree's Fishfinder II, Captree Pride and Laura Lee have had as many as 112 bass per trip on a mix of clams, eels and jigs. On the blackfish front, catches remain strong at Orient, very good at Montauk, decent off Smithtown and Huntington, and super off Long Island's West End. The Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk has hammered blackfish with pool winners consistently in the 8- to 12-pound class. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org