PHOTOS: Boating with a Bayman

Captain Rob Thompson takes groups of people fly fishing, light tackle spin fishing, night fishing on ecologic and photo tours from May through November, running 1 to 2 tours a day. Then, from November to March, he goes scalloping. image: bridget shirvell
In the past five years, Thompson said tours have picked up but they’ve also changed. What once used to be mostly guys out fishing has become family-based trips. image: bridget shirvell
The waters have changed as well. “Today you’ll see 5 to 10 fish, when it used to be 100 to 200,” Thompson said. He said while catch numbers are way down, he still normally pulls up a few fish per day. He always releases everything he catches. image: bridget shirvell
“I’ve always been interested in fishing, being out here makes me happy,” Thompson said. image: bridget shirvell
The water is so shallow in most parts it’s easy to just jump out and go clamming if that’s your preference. image: bridget shirvell
When he takes families out, he’ll make sure everyone gets to do what they want, taking the dad fly fishing and regaling the kids with his knowledge whether they want snappers or to go clamming or to find another type of fish. image: bridget shirvell
Ecology tours that include clamming, kids fishing and searching for wildlife will last about three hours for two adults and two kids. image: bridget shirvell
With decades of experience, Thompson easily puts those who have never been on the bay at ease, running around during tours making sure lines are casted and everyone is getting to explore. image: bridget shirvell
When he’s not fishing he’s at the marina or dropping or picking his own kids up from school, making sure they get their homework done and making dinner, waiting to get back on the water. image: bridget shirvell

It’s rare for a day to go by when Rob Thompson is not on the water. The 37-year-old Eastern Long Island native captains a small boat out of Orient Point taking water enthusiasts fly fishing, light tackle fishing and giving ecology tours of the waters he fell in love with as a child.

“I’m the only person in my family whoever wanted to do this stuff,” he said. “Everyone else was into avionics and I was into fishing, the odd ball.”

He’s one of the new baymen of Long Island. Out fishing, clamming, scalloping nearly every day, Thompson is the keeper of secrets of Long Island’s waters.