Posted on

September in Assateague!

What a beautiful Saturday! Sheri and I decided to make a weekend run to the Island. We were meeting my cousin Jeff Bergamotto, his wife Debbie and their two kids Dante and Jullianna.  We also made arrangements to meet up with some local friends Bryen and Kelly. On the way down we had to stop at the Ponderosa and borrow the privacy tent from Mike and Kim Costanzo. Thanks to them both as it was a big help and very much appreciated.

It was nearing 10:00 a.m. by the time we drove onto the beach. The wind was just right and the water was fairly warm so I believed our chances of landing a big shark where high. On the way down the beach we saw a dead Dolphin. It was all chewed up with massive bite marks which seemed to be from a large predator. We later found out from Bryen that the Dolphins had been washing up all summer from some kind of unknown disease. I pulled in about a half mile up from where the dolphin was thinking maybe the beast that bit him might come back. We blasted a few baits with one knock down but came up empty. It was nearing 3:00 p.m. when Byren and Kelly showed up. We exchanged greetings and shared a beer. He was also surprised that I hadn’t hooked up with one yet.

I got to thinking about the dead dolphin and what caused its death. I wondered if there could be something in the water in that area. It was hard to explain. There were no bites on sharks and live dolphins everywhere chasing bait fish in the surf. It was around 5:00 p.m. when my cousin showed up. It was their first time on the Island and I was hoping to show them a big shark. I met them at the gate to show them the tire procedure. As they followed me out, we stopped and looked at the dolphin again. They are massive creatures. It’s such a sad scene to see but now he will become part of the scavenger food chain. I guess that’s the only good thing one can make of it… that something will benefit from the loss of this beautiful anima.

We unloaded and began to bunker up for the night fish. We blasted bait after bait watching the fire and eating like champs. Oh, by the way, Debbie makes the best burnt pop corn this side of the Mississippi! It’s all good. I want to give a thumbs up to my cousins two kids for tending the fire. We put the fire right on the edge of the high tide which kept inching its way into the flames. Instead of moving the fire and giving into the waves Dante and Jullianna dug a deep trench in front of it building a wall to protect it. I thought that was so ironic. In life there are strong forces that try to push you back and most people just give in to that power. It’s the true warriors that fight to protect their ground. In the end, they managed to hold off the huge waves with a wall of sand. Great job! When we hit the beach it’s always something that tests our resolve. Somehow we always manage to work through the obstacles.

Later that night Jeff, Dante and I were watching the rods when we saw a little nibble. Then, “WHAM,” there she goes! I grabbed it and my first thought as the line peeled off was, “This is a monster!” Jeff said, “How big?” I told him it was at least 200lbs. We were all excited but the excitement stalled when the line just stopped. I knew then I had a massive stingray. Nevertheless I was excited for my cousin and his family because I knew they were about to see the biggest ray they had ever seen. It took about an hour to get it on the beach. It was over 1’ thick at the highest point. I estimated it weighed 200-250lbs. It was missing its tail but a dinosaur for sure. I put on a pair of gloves and dragged it back into the ocean for the release. We fished out the rest of the night with no bites. Morning came and as usual I blasted a couple baits for the early sunrise but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sometimes everything can be right and the fish just don’t show up. That’s why they call it fishing instead of catching I guess. We made the usual finger food breakfast, exchanged good byes and promised we would do it again sometime soon. All in all it was a great time on a great beach with some great people. Until next time…. “BUNKER UP!”