Paul Melnyk discovered his unorthodox but deadly style of fishing by chance. Since the '50s, Montauk anglers had donned wet suits and like frogmen swam out to large rocks that, at low tide, still lay 2 or 3 feet beneath the ocean's surface. Once on these perches the rock hoppers, as they're known, fished water that was unreachable by shore-bound surf casters. One night in 1996, Melnyk was on Weakfish Rock, a large boulder that has a flat top the size of a kitchen table and sits some 200 yards off the point, when a wave washed him off. It happens often, but this time Melnyk was fighting a 30-pound striped bass, and it started towing him to sea. With no chance of hopping back on the rock, he decided to fight the fish in its element. His 6mm wet suit gave him plenty of buoyancy, and if he placed the rod between his legs and floated on his back "like an otter eating an abalone," he could actually put some leverage on the fish. Five minutes later he landed his prize. He was hooked.