Forest and Stream, Saturday, June 23, 1906, p. 999

The Webster Trout

The thriving little city of Patchogue out on Long Island is the center of a trout district that before the day of private preserves could not be beaten either for big fish or ease in getting at them. Even now sport can be had there if one knows where to go. Almost every male in the town is a trout fisherman, but the chief by common consent is Judge A. H. CarmanAstor House Footnote, president of the Carman River Fishing Club. The Judge can tell a good story well, as witness the following:

Forest and Stream, 23 June 1906"This region was the favorite fishing ground of Daniel Webster. He would begin at the bay and fish our streams back to their source in the middle of the island, ten or twelve miles. Henry Clay sometimes fished with him. There was a big trout in Carman's River they could never get to take the hook; neither could any one else, though scores had seen him. and according to the stories told he was as big as a small whale.

"One hot June day, when all the townspeople were at church and the minister had just got to his sixthly, Carman's little nigger boy rushed in, mouth open, eyes bulging, one hand holding up his baggy trousers, and yelling, 'The big trout is in the hole! The big trout is in the hole!' All knew what hole was meant. It was a spring under a big willow tree, where Carman's dairy house had once stood, and sent a little brook into the river. So every man and boy in the house was on his feet in an instant.

"'Hold on, brethren,' shouted the parson, who was a fisherman himself, 'let's all have a fair start.' Then they made a rush across the fields for the old spring hole, the women and girls tagging after. Arrived there, their first thought was to stop up the entrance, then they got out Carman's old menhaden seine that hadn't seen the water in ten years and was full of holes, and wrapped it round and round the sides and bottom of the hole, while the big trout made the water boil as an accompaniment.

"At last, having him hard and fast, they went back and completed their devotions. Next day some one sent a telegram to Webster, and he sent back a check of ten dollars for the trout, and ordered him held alive until he arrived. He came as soon as the stage coach could bring him, and in his presence the trout was taken out, laid on a broad oak plank and his outline carefully drawn with chalk. From this a weather vane was cut out and swung on Sam Carman's mill for years, or until a West India cyclone came up the coast and split it so it fell. It is still in existence, however, and you will find it in the shop of Nathaniel Miller, one of. our oldest residents.

"Webster took the trout to New York, invited in all his friends and made a grand banquet of it in the Astor House Astor House Footnote, where he always stopped when in the city. The feast was held in the northeast room, second floor, the Vesey street and Broadway corner.

"There is a boy at Artist Lake, where I some times go fishing for black bass," continued the Judge, "who will be a millionaire if he lives. It is a pretty little sheet of water several miles cast of Ronkonkoma, and I usually have better luck there than at the larger and better known lake. One day when I was going up I wrote to this boy in advance and told him to have all the small frogs he could get at the lake on a certain day. He demanded two cents apiece, which I agreed to pay. Well, we got there, and there was my boy with a dry-goods box full of frogs, and a cheese cloth over them to keep them from hopping out. He had enlisted all the small boys and scoured the country for miles around. It cost me five dollars to settle the bill." C. B. T.