August 09, 2006
Man of the Water
Captain Kayak Takes Off
Jerry Collins, a USCG Master, has been fishing the eastern waters for over 40 years and as a licensed charter boat captain, based out of Montauk since 1998, he's gathered a respect for and knowledge of the water that few can match.
So it was fitting that he, along with his partner/fiancée Suzanne Tuthill-Collins, opened Captain Kayak this past spring. Captain Kayak (www.captainkayak.com) is a guided kayak fishing business located on 94 Dune Road in East Quogue that also offers destination trips to various locales on the East End along with eco tours.
Captain Kayak features the exclusive use of state-of-the-art Hobie fishing kayaks that use a unique pedal system so that the operator is free to use both his hands for fishing or binocular use.
"Hobie Cat Company of California has developed a drive system for their kayaks like no other," Collins said. "The advantage of the Hobie Kayak with the 'mirage drive' is that it allows for your hands to be free for fishing, photography or viewing wildlife with binoculars. The steering is controlled by a rudder and you can troll, cast or bottom fish without the encumbrance of a paddle. If you desire, these boats can also be paddled.
"Our customers really love these boats because they're so easy to operate and they're so much fun. They're also very stable in the water, so you can reel in a fish very easily."
Captain Kayak operates out of Dockers Waterside Restaurant and Marina on Shinnecock Bay where Collins also keeps his 2003 23-foot Jones Bros. light tackle/ fly fishing boat, the "Suzie Q," which is used for private charters in the Shinnecock and Peconic Bays as well as the ocean.
"We offer kayak fishing charters from shore, transporting our clients with our nine passenger Suburban and 16-kayak trailer to where the fish are," said Collins, a retired New York City Fire Department Lieutenant. "Every charter is guided by one of our licensed guides and all of the equipment and tackle is provided. Our guide to client ratio is one-to-four, providing personalized service to our customers. We offer four different Hobie Kayaks to fish from and have a fleet of 25 kayaks. These kayaks are fishing kayaks with rod holders built in and come equipped with all fishing and safety equipment."
Collins is also a licensed Hobie Kayak dealer and the company's kayak fishing expeditions occur in places such as Montauk, Block Island and Ponquogue.
"There are so many good points to kayak fishing," Collins said. "Not having to use any fuel would probably be up there, but getting close to nature is probably the best. The kayak allows you to be with the fish in their environment. The kayaks are quiet, can get into places no power boats would dare to go, provide you with a certain degree of physical exercise, and when you hook a fish, it's you and the fish, not you and a 6000 lb. boat."
Captain Kayak also offers guided eco tours from Dockers that operate in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension as well as destination trips to place such as the Sebonac Creek complex and Scallop Pond. "As with our fishing charters we transport our clients to these locations as well as provide the guide," said Collins. All guides are AAD trained and CPR first aid trained as well. They also offer Hobie kayak rentals along with a lesson on water safety and proper kayak use "for people who want an inexpensive and enjoyable time on the water."
"This is a little bit different," he said. "It's fun, it doesn't hurt the environment and it's something that Suzanne and I have done recreationally for the past five years. When we saw these [Hobie] boats could be fished out of, I knew that this was the way to go. It's very popular down south and out west and [when we looked into it], we found that nobody is really doing it out here . . . I figured that it was time someone did.
"Now, we're already getting returning customers who rent them not only for recreation, but for fishing and also for eco tours. This is something new, and we're getting nothing but positive feedback from it. It's a beautiful location to operate out of and it's very exciting. Each day brings something new."
For more information, Collins can be contacted directly at 631-484-0806 or at Captjc@optonline.net.