In 2019, English teacher Mike Carr ’01 applied for and was awarded a Delbarton sabbatical grant that covered travel and expenses to support his twin passions for fishing and writing. His goal? To become a published journalist writing about a sport that he loves. Since then, the professional development grant from Delbarton has enabled him to write sixteen articles published in four publications, including On the Water, Fly Tyer, Anglers Journal, and In the Loop. Click here to read several of his pieces from On the Water.
Recently, Carr's latest piece entitled Virtuoso of the Flats, a compelling profile of Montauk's premier fly-fishing captain Paul Dixon, was featured in Anglers Journal. Here is the magazine spread...
and enjoy this sample from Carr's article...
Imagine you’re in a Hell’s Bay skiff on flat, calm water. The sun is high, and shadows of darting fish are easily perceived along the sandy bottom, floating ‘with the current, unresisting,’ as Hemingway famously wrote. But you’re not in the Florida Keys or the islands. And the fish are not bonefish or permit. They’re striped bass.
You stare to your right at a mansion on the hill, one of the dozens that dot the landscape around Gardiners Bay at the eastern end of Long Island, New York. This has been the land of the rich and famous since Capt. Kidd buried his gold on Gardiners Island in 1699. You’re at the end of Long Island. And you’re sight-fishing.
In the breakers below the mansion, a blonde surfer with years embedded on his face gives you a wave, catches a small swell, then carries the board up the path to the mansion, his mansion, just as that same surfer’s voice floats into your head singing “searching for my lost shaker of salt.” And before you can finish the chorus of “Margaritaville,” you hear a few curse words from your right as the greatest fly caster of all time, Bernard “Lefty” Kreh, dumps his crab pattern in a mess after a gust from the south hits him in the face. You see Joe Blados having a chuckle with Nick Curcione two boats over. To the south, you see John Cole and Peter Matthiessen spot a fish, but they can’t hook up.
Now imagine you’re witnessing this from your poling platform as Jose Wejebe watches your good buddy Bob Popovics place a fly 70 feet out and a cruising striper explodes on it. If you can imagine this with clarity, you’re inside the mind of Capt. Paul Dixon, and this might have been any random Tuesday.
Mike Carr is a proud alumnus from the Class of 2001 who wears many hats at Delbarton where he serves as English teacher, Summer Camp Co-Director, Deanery Advisor, Junior Class Moderator, Film Club Moderator and Ice Hockey Coach. He also shares his interest in fishing with members of the very popular Delbarton Anglers Club. In the photo below, he offered a fly-tying class to Club members in 2019...
Carr is grateful that Delbarton helped him pursue his twin passions of fishing and writing and says, “Without Delbarton's support, I never would have been able to pursue this. I am also able to bring a lot more shared knowledge of creative writing and fishing into my classes and the Angler's Club.”
The Delbarton community salutes Mike Carr '01 for his many contributions to the School and -- with planning, determination and persistence -- for navigating his way to a second career as a published journalist.