Plumb Beach, Brooklyn: Brawny and brutish, with teeth like stilettos, a bluefish on the line is bound to wake you from the lassitude brought on by even the most dolorous winter. This season, I looked on with mounting interest as the Internet ignited with reports of bluefish action.
After a few days of compulsively checking the often reliable website noreast.com, I found that the fish stories had reached enough critical mass to carry a ring of truth. (First unbreakable rule of fishing: Never believe just one report.)
I booked a spot on the Flamingo III, one of the most venerable of the open-to-all-comers party boats that remain from the dozens of vessels that once sailed from nearby Sheepshead Bay to the inshore fishing grounds.
“Do I need my rubber boots?” I asked the skipper, Bob Wiegand. Captain Bob regarded my Top-Siders the way an artillery officer might size up a BB gun. “It can get pretty bloody,” he said. “I’d wear them.” Most of my fellow anglers wore boots and rubberized overalls, a sensible outfit for a visit to an abattoir and equally suitable to the landing and filleting of big bluefish.
Bob is the third generation of his family to ply our local waters. His son and first mate, Rob, sail with him. I learned in a subsequent phone call with the paterfamilias, Walter, that their family business had grown out of necessity.