Don't be a pogie
Postcard: Searching for Bluefish at the Verrazano-Narrows
3:30 p.m. EDT | Just off Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn — “Pray that if you die, you don’t ever come back as a pogie.” Captain Frank of the Fits the Bill had a special knack for aphorisms that, without context, sounded like the ramblings of a homeless man. But now, as he cut 10-inch-long baitfish into miniature filets with smooth SCRRRTT, SCRRRTT, SCRRRT strokes of a toothed bread knife, spreading blood around his cutting table with the carelessness of a chef dribbling olive oil about a skillet, his statement seemed apt.
The “pogies” were menhaden, a fish plentiful in the Hudson Bay, where we were bobbing gently under a bright blue sky. You could see schools of them all around the boat, creating dark, amorphous bands in the water. Occasionally, whole masses of them would fly into the air, silvery bodies flashing in the sun, spray hissing as they reentered the water and leapt again. This, as Captain Frank explained, was the pogies’ attempt to escape the bluefish below, who torpedoed into their midst and slashed the baitfish to ribbons with their sharp teeth.
“Don’t be a pogie”, I repeated.
A postcard is always a pleasant surprise, particularly in an era of Instagram and SMS pics. We don’t have enough postage for our entire readership, but our new bite-sized series, Postcards lightly details the who, what, when, where and why. It’s a simple, and effective, premise. Whether they’re based on a life-changing subject or just a strange one, shot with a Red Epic or an iPhone, we hope you find these little moments more genuine than the stock images you’re used to seeing opposite of the Xs and Os.