Baits, Lures & Flies photo

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Have you ever noticed that you can associate fishing spots, no matter how well-known or how secret, close to home or far away, with some dingy eatery? Let’s be honest, such establishments often round out a fishing trip. I shot this photo at the Forked River Diner the other night because it sums up everything I love about the place. The spoons are literally greasy (remember, that which does not kill you…), the booth vinyl is shredded, but the coffee is hot, the burgers rock, and you can’t beat their pork roll and eggs. By the way, if you know what pork roll is, you’re one of the lucky ones.

This joint is two minutes from my marina, is open early enough to chow down and still be out before the sun rises, and open late enough to feed tired muscles after a long day offshore. Right on the bank of the Pequest River in Buttzville, NJ sits Hot Dog Johnny’s. It’s actually pretty famous, and the dogs and birch beer are top shelf. If you can overlook the crusty fly paper strips, I promise you won’t be sad you stopped. I do every time the Hendricksons are hatching on the ‘Quest.

Likewise, there is a Shell gas station near my favorite stretch of the Big Bushkill that makes the most sublime pasta salad and deli sandwiches. But to see it from the outside, you might be afraid to buy a can of Coke from them.

What’s on the menu at your favorite pre/post-fishing eatery?