Opening day: Island baymen continue an Island tradition

111016_scallops_2Monday, was opening day to take bay scallops in New York State waters, an annual and important ritual for the handful of Shelter Island baymen. Long after the once-ubiquitous Peconic Bay scallop stopped showing up, Shelter Island’s fishermen have saved the date. Baymen board boats before dawn, proceed to a carefully considered spot and throw a dredge, a metal frame with a net attached, overboard as the sun rises, hopeful they will haul it up full of bivalves. The limit for a commercial scalloper is 10 bushels, and on opening day last year it was easily reached. On Monday, however most baymen came back with two or three bushels to show for five or more hours of fighting wind, rough water and heavy dredges. Sunday night before the big day, a line of boats docked at the end of Congdon Road were loaded with dredges, neatly stowed and ready for deployment. By 6 the next morning, a few were already gone, while the operators of the others were exchanging top- secret information in the time-honored method impervious to Russian hackers. Read the story here 10:43