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Slowly But Surely…Fishing Brings Them Back

By Rich Johnson

Since the September attacks, I have seen a slow but sure increase in the number of boats on the water in my daily travels on land or by sea. I remember the day of the event and from my office I could see the smoke trailing out over the water of the NY Bight and even party boat captains had told me people at the rail once they heard what happened, just seemed to stop fishing. It’s been a little over a month since the attacks and while the city and the nation will never forget what happened, we will fully recover and fishing can be a part of that healing process.

The entire fishing industry here on the Island and MY Metro area came to a complete stand still almost immediately and many people’s lives were affected. We all know about the fire and police departments across the area and what they and their families and those who worked in the towers and their families went through. Tackle shop owners, party boat captains and all affected by the trickle down economy of the fishing industry were hurt as well. Everything from the boat rental stations to the local delicatessen and the local corner gas station were all affected by the lack of angler participation following the accts on 9-11.

Fishing is a sport we most learn by doing and participating and most of us learned from an adult of some sort in our youth. Fishing can also be way of healing one’s health, mind, spirit and soul. I have one friend, Hank Patterson of Long Beach who joined my fishing club back in 1990 after suffering a stroke. I taught him to fly fish and on his first trip he caught a 5-pound rainbow on a fly rod and has been hooked ever since. He joined the Long Island Flyrodders, started making trips to the Salmon River in the middle of the winter for steelhead and ever since his mobility is much improved, his sprits and attitude were way up and they remain that way today with excellent mobility and plenty of fishing buddies as well. This is just one example and I’m sure there are many of you reading this that can name a few fishing success stories as well.

The amount of E-mails to me from fireman and policeman who didn’t have the time nor desire to fish from the exhausting work schedule they’ve been on, but were looking forward to fishing as a way to rest their minds and sprit was overwhelming. Many letters said the first “taste of fishing ” they’ve had since the attacks was my seminar, they really enjoyed it and we took their minds off things for a few hours…this made me feel proud to serve them in some small way.

As time passed since the attacks, I see more people at the rails of the party boats, more private boats on the water, more anglers at the local fishing piers and it all comes at the right time as the area heals itself and the best fishing of the year gets set to begin. Fall fishing is the absolute best of the year no doubt and with a smorgasbord of species to choose from we could not ask for a better time of year for the healing process to be underway and for Mother Nature to cooperate in helping us get on with living, healing and of course fishing. You can follow our web site for fishing reports and a full schedule of party boat changes to their sought after species and sailing times or special trips they have added for night striped bass trips. Log on to


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