Scout Troop carries on leader’s tradition of life lessons through fishing

Last Saturday, 44 scouts and their families of Greenville’s Troop 42 fished the roiling waters of the Long Island Sound for porgies, black seabass and bluefish.

Before I get into the details of the eventful trip, I’d like to talk about the origins of the semi-annual event. David P. Battini, who had been scoutmaster of Troop 42 for 49 years until his death just over two months ago this past July, had the idea over 10 years ago.

With Dave’s death, hunting, fishing and the shooting sports lost a staunch advocate. To get the scouts salt water fishing, Dave and I sought the services of the Capt. Bob IV out of Mattituck on Long Island, who year after year put us on to great porgies, seabass and schools of bluefish and stripers.

It was fun to watch scouts catch stout, hard-fighting bluefish, especially since the biggest fish they may have ever caught previously was a sunfish or large mouth. A Troop 42 scout won the lunker pool two years ago landing a 10-and-a-half pound monster blue.

Scouts had the best time catching limits of big humpback porgies and seabass, then getting arm weary hauling in big blues who have arguably been called the “pound for pound” best fighting marine fish around.

Throw in a few big stripers and the occasional weakfish and year after year, the scene was complete. All this stemmed from Dave Battini’s wish to pass on his passion for fishing while molding the character of scouts as they became successful men and civic minded citizens.

Dave loved to fish; through the ice, in saltwater and on the banks of rivers and streams. When asked about a salmon fishing trip upon his return from the rivers of Alaska, he once remarked, “You ever hear someone describe great fishing with the phrase, ‘you should have been here yesterday’? Well, my whole trip was filled with a string of ‘yesterdays.’”

He had enjoyed outstanding hauls of salmon on whatever he threw out. Dave wanted to share that joy of having some great times fishing in the saltwater with the scouts and families of the troop. He certainly delivered on that with the help of Capt. Bob.

The area of the camps where we stayed, especially those at Peconic Dunes with a beach right on the Sound were particularly memorable. After a hard 7-hour day catching blues, stripers, porgies and seabass, we’d have a fish bake over real coals with local tomatoes, basil and onions provided by the vast picturesque farms and vineyards on the north fork of eastern Long Island.

Surprisingly, the quantity and beauty of the vineyards, corn and potato farms rival those in the most pastoral upstate agricultural communities. At the camp, scouts had pick-up football and wiffle-ball games on the beach while others who fished from shore usually caught something interesting.

Back to last Saturday — as we left the dock at 7 a.m., everyone was giddy with anticipation of what the day would bring; monster blues, plus limits of humpback porgies and giant seabass? While the fishing was very good vis a vie a steady diet of big porgies, the rough seas were much less welcoming.

Swells up to 7-feet battered the anchored 70-plus foot Celtic Quest party boat. The Celtic Quest took the place of Capt. Bob’s, which unfortunately battened down their hatches for the last time last summer.

Capt. Mark and the Celtic Quest is an outstanding replacement. After knowing we traveled more than four hours the night before, he tried to safely give us the best opportunity to catch fish. He could only do so for about two hours, though.

It was so rough, about a third of those on-board were sick, including many veterans of some fairly rough seas in the past; it was that bad. That being said, the scouts I spoke to had a great time anyway.

One scout who had been sick could barely contain his joy after catching a mess of porgies, riding the waves in the front of the boat, getting drenched in the process by the balmy 74-degree seawater in the hot sun. The adults may not quite have taken the same enthusiastic view unique to youthful spirit.

So, the only loss other than a lot of lunches that day, was the pursuit of the monster blues which would have involved more travel in rough seas and was definitely not worth the effort. A few small cocktail blues were caught as were banded rudderfish, a tropical species not normally caught this far north.

Without question, what was missed most that day was Scoutmaster Dave Battini.

The highlight of the trip for me was its dedication as the first “David P. Battini Memorial Fishing Trip.” As we turned from the tumultuous seas of the Sound into the calming waters of Mattituck Creek, Capt. Mark read a statement we prepared on the “P.A.” announcing, commemorating, and dedicating Dave’s passion for fishing and scouting, noting his service of nearly five decades as scoutmaster of Troop 42.

Dave always supported scouts pushing the limits of their intellect and physical abilities as they grew and matured. He both insisted and assisted them in cutting apron strings on their journey to becoming fine, young, independent men. He would have been proud of the scouts weathering the rough seas, metaphorically bound to be encountered in their lives. Dave’s example taught scouts to enjoy the process, good and bad, all while remaining optimistic about the future. His unique brand of cutting wit, wisdom and advice will certainly be missed.

Happy hunting and fishing until next time.

News and Notes

— Reminder: Deadline to file for you Deer Management Permits (DMP) is Oct. 1.

— The Kalicoontie Rod & Gun Club is holding a firearms Hunter Safety Course at their club on Oct. 6. You must register for this class through DEC’s website ( and complete the homework prior to attending. Use this website to locate the many gun and bow classes being offered now so you can take advantage of the fast approaching 2018-19 hunting season.

— The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club is holding an Open House tomorrow, Sept. 30. All ranges will be open free of charge except the trap range which will only cost $4 per round. There is a 28 target, bow, rifle and pistol range. Those who wish to shoot pistol must possess a valid NYS Pistol Permit. Club Grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event with breakfast and lunch available with a chicken barbeque at 4 p.m.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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