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Interviewee: Captain Frank Rizzo

Role: Commercial Fisherman

Date of Interview: 1997

Collection: Long Island Traditions

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Frank Rizzo, of Freeport, New York, is captain of the Jennifer B, a mahogany-trimmed boat built in 1972. Frank believes that it takes a lot of knowledge and skill to catch fish—lessons and techniques learned out on the water—but he also thinks it takes a certain measure of sheer luck.  

Transcript: “It's easier for a seasoned fisherman to catch fish than it is for a beginner. You know, you learn from the old timers like I said. The best experience is experience. What you read in a book and what you do in reality on the water is two different things. Ah, there's different techniques, you know? A flounder is not an easy fish to catch, especially in the springtime because they have to be coaxed up. The success of the catch relies a lot on the captain and the crew, the instructions that the beginners are being given, how the fish are hitting, what you do to catch the fish or coax the fish, also chumming. Chumming is a way to coax the fish, to bring the fish closer to the boat.

It's the way that you present the bait to the fish, it's the area of the bottom that you're choosing to fish, it's the water temperature, it's the barometric changes in the air, it's the wind and the tidal conditions, the bait that comes off a particular type of land. There's certain bottom types to fish, mud, sand, mud and sand combinations, rock bottom, contours of the bottom, type of bottom, growth on the bottom. It's a phenomenally involved thing, but I think you gotta be lucky to begin with to catch fish. Gotta have luck.”

To listen to Frank's interview, click here.