Anchor's Aweigh! Why Boating is The Way to Go in Rockaway!

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Boating in Rockaway is a three-part series by The Rockaway Times highlighting the amazing experiences locals and visitors can experience in our beautifully rich Jamaica Bay. You may be surprised by the resources that are available for everyone to enjoy, right here in our local waters, if you’re willing to go on a memorable adventure.

In the last installation, Boating In Rockaway, The Rockaway Times (RT), highlighted the eclectic array of recreational treasures that can be experienced in Rockaway’s local waters. From kayaking, cruising, houseboat living to even where you can rent or buy your own boat — and now we tease you with more — sailing and fishing.

For some, sailing might seem just a fusion of luxury and adventure, but after The RT got the opportunity to sail with Breezy Point veteran seadog, Bob Hauck a.k.a. “The Local Shaman,” on his boat, The Sundowner, the experience was even deeper than that — it was spiritually magical. A powerboat will drive you from dock to destination, but on a sailboat, you are dependent on the breeze, the oxygen that controls and propels the speed; and the ocean, the blood that buoys the boat with life.

Hauck, who grew up riding on boats and owned a variety of them throughout his life, even living on one after Hurricane Sandy destroyed his home, said though sailing is very challenging, he loves it. “I have friends who joke that now I have a sailboat, I switched teams.

“My truism is that it’s better to be at the dock wishing you were sailing, than to be sailing, wishing you were at the dock. Sailing is a completely different experience, because you are so dependent on the forces of nature. The wind force and direction; the tide; sand bars, that if you get stuck, could keep you waiting for a six-hour tide cycle; and other boats on the water — you have to be in tune and sensitive to it all,” Hauck said.

Hauck is also an avid fisherman. He said on the bay, blue fish, porgies, black fish and stripe bass, are all readily available, but as the water temperature changes, so does the catch. “It’s all about being patient and sensitive to what the waters provide. I also troll for fish (a method of fishing where fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water) on my sailboat, and I get amazing catch. But again, it takes experience and of course time to known when, where and what to catch,” Hauck said.

Even with all his years of experience, Hauck is pursuing his dream of getting a degree in Maritime Technology at Kingsborough Community College. “Years ago, I thought that by the age of 21, I would have my captain’s license, but life happens. However, now that I have time on my hands, instead of sitting around the house, I’m fulfilling one of my goals, and it’s something that I love,” Hauck said.

Born and raised in Rockaway, Pat Butera, at just age 25, might seem like a sea baby. However, don’t be fooled. Butera owns his own fishing charter, Forever Two Worlds, and judging from his prized catches, and prowess navigating his boat, he’s no amateur.

“I was born in Neponsit, 10 houses away from the ocean. Since I was five, I was in the water. From competitive swimming, surfing as a grom (a young participant in extreme sports, including surfing), boating and fishing, I was exposed to a lot, and always loved it. I feel so blessed to be able to pay the bills from what I love to do — boating and fishing,” Butera said.

At just 22 years old, Butera got his own boat, received his Captain’s license and launched his fishing charter business. Butera’s 35-foot Duffy is also called, Forever Two Worlds. “I named both my boat and charter, Forever, Two Worlds, because being able to enjoy ocean life in NYC, is like being in two worlds. People don’t realize it, until they see and experience it for themselves,” he said.

Butera believes that people will be amazed by what NYC waters have to offer for fishing. “Fishing for stripe bass is one of the best here in NYC. The season for stripe bass kicks off in spring, wanes a bit, then gets alive again in fall. Porgies, fluke, and blue fish are also great here. But I love to go after the really big guns,” Butera said.

Butera takes his charter for inshore and offshore shark fishing. And when he’s with his friends, he fishes for blue-fin tuna, and even boasts catching a 700-pound lovely. “Boating is my sanity, and I love the challenge. However, I love exposing people new to fishing and boating. They come back with an amazing experience, and get inspired to pursue it on their own. For me, that’s the most satisfying aspect of running my own charter, besides just being in my favorite space — on my boat in the water,” he said.

Butera’s Forever Two Worlds Fishing Vessel is located in the Vernam Basin Marina in Arverne. The price of the fishing charter includes all bait and tackle. Charters can be booked daily for half-day, full-day, or night fishing trips. Groups of up to six people are welcome. During inshore trips, there are several species of fish targeted according to the season, such as stripe bass. For offshore trips, tuna, swordfish, mahi, marlin, and sharks are on the menu. For more info about Forever Two Worlds, visit: www.forevertwoworlds.com/charters

So landlubbers, seize the opportunity to go overboard and rock the diverse adventures of boating life in Rockaway. The opportunities are endless!

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