A seasoned striper man’s new book shines light on a darker side of the black market bass fishery off Montauk, N.Y. I’ve worked with Jeff Nichols off and on for a bit over two months as of this writing, helping to edit his forthcoming book, “Caught,” primarily with an eye for the fishing content, which is the bulk of it.
Friends and I for years have jokingly referred to those who’ve chosen to grind our living out of the sea as “misfit toys,” a square-peg navy on a round-hole ocean. In my own career arrangement as a writer-fisherman, I have spent literally thousands of hours on a multitude of charterboats across a significant stretch of the Atlantic Seaboard to gather supporting evidence.
The cold, hard facts of the case made mine a difficult position to defend. It happened thus.
When my wife entered the living room I was yelling at the back cover of a magazine. She asked what was going on, a look of minor concern on her face, at which point I flipped the magazine over, revealing — this is where I blew any chance I might have had of mounting a rational defense — a boat advertisement. Not a fiery op-ed, not a back-page column laden with typos that tend to send me into orbit, not one of my own pieces edited badly or run with the wrong byline. An ad.
As Charley Soares noses the bow of his 18-foot skiff toward the edge of the boulder field, I glance quickly at the near-2-pound scup dangling from a treble at the working end of my line and brace my knees under the coaming in preparation for what I know will be an ugly lob, at best.
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Tim Coleman died May 3, in Weekapaug, R.I., doing what he loved to do best at that time of year: scouting the salt ponds and outer beaches for spring striped bass. He was an exceptional saltwater angler and a prolific writer. Thousands of readers lost an advocate and authentic storyteller for fishing in the Northeast, and anyone fortunate to have known Tim lost a good friend.