Smitty's Fishing Station
by Raymond Hansen
Grandma bought the "bungalow" on East Court on the end of Fire Island Ave in the late 1930s. I was a baby, but growing up there during the summer was WONDERFUL. During WW2 fighter planes from Republic and Grumman roared over the Bay every day.
After the war Smitty's got active and I could tell the various brands of outboard motors by their sound as they came down the canal past my window. Then Bill,"CAPTAIN SMITTY" hired me for WORK. Forty boats to clean. Forty boats out on Saturday and Sunday. It was really busy getting the guys out fishing. Sometimes a "Door Mat" (a fluke over five or six pounds) got caught. "WILD BILL GARRETTS" was a real regular and we painted his name on his favorite skiff.
The Babylon Seaplane base was busy too with Piper Cubs on floats, student pilots and a Republic Sea Bee would land on the bay and taxi in for gas. I remember the joy rides--two dollars for 10 minutes. Jack Looney managed the base and also Zahn's Airport off of route 109.
Then there was "Cod Fish Bob's" near the municipal dock. Some world class drinking took place there. Near by was Worth Perry's place. Worth rented out boats like Smitty and he was also a really good designer and builder of good safe Skiffs. Worth and his Mrs. could out curse any boat load of bay bums you could come up with in a nightmare. I think they came from the rocky shores of Maine.
I remember the Great Eye Sore as well as well. The bridge and causeway to Fire Island. It was and still is a blight on the bay scape. Before the "thing" you took the Mischief ferry boat from the town dock across the bay to the islands. The other slower gray boat may have been called the Belmont. Mischief was about forty or forty five feet long and made about twenty five knots or so wide open. I think it was powered by Liberty engines and was a rum runner back in the day.
I used to fish near every day in Hawley's Pond. One summer I actually caught two bass. I'd hop on my bike and pedal up to Hawley's or row from near the Babylon Pool all the way up to the very end, tie up, cross the highway, fish and row back. I get tired just thinking of it now.