Good ol’ Montauk, NY. A quaint drinking village with a fishing problem. Winter population of a few thousand or less. Summer population around tens of thousands or more. The ebbs and flows of the population growth have been fluctuating since the days of Carl Fisher in the 1930s. What has been consistent during the decades since has been the hardworking, blue-collar commercial fishing community.
Many have been attracted to Montauk because of the benefits this industry can provide, but it’s not for the faint of heart or anyone that lacks perseverance. I was recently fortunate enough to have a few of the local commercial fisherman allow me on their boats and tell me a few stories about their times on the sea. Before you jump, I’d like to say thank you to the men and women of the Montauk commercial fishing industry and the families that support them.
Mike Fallon of F/V Josephine
GM: What made you become a commercial fisherman?
MF: I grew up in Bayshore digging clams on the Great South Bay in the summer time to make money. It was fun, it was freedom and it wasn’t a nine to five.
GM: What was your scariest moment while out at sea?
MF: I remember being up off of Newfoundland and there was a hurricane going by, so we had to wait at sea for four or five days. It was blowing 70 mph. It was right when they had found the Titanic, and we had Oceans Magazine on the boat. Ballard had given the coordinates to where the Titanic was; this is before they sent cameras down to look at it. So we are jogging in this shitty weather and I look at the coordinates, then I look where we are, and we less than a mile away [from the Titanic]. It was a really eerie feeling. That is the most bizarre story I can think of. That is actually factual, I told that to many people before. That was a weird thing for me.