The recent closure of Paulie’s Tackle Shop in downtown Montauk was a blow for many fishermen. For over 20 years, the no-frills establishment was a popular hangout where anglers of all kinds shared fishing stories, some true and some embellished, with a hot cup of coffee in hand. 

Paulie’s will be missed, especially as, for the first time in memory, there are no longer any bait and tackle shops located downtown. 

But all is not lost for those who wet a hook and line in Montauk. The Montauk Anglers Club, right near the Montauk inlet on East Lake Drive, is looking to fill the void left by the departure of Paulie’s by adding more tackle, bait, lures, gear, and services to its already well-stocked marine and tackle store. 

 

The recent closure of Paulie’s Tackle Shop in downtown Montauk was a blow for many fishermen. For over 20 years, the no-frills establishment was a popular hangout where anglers of all kinds shared fishing stories, some true and some embellished, with a hot cup of coffee in hand. 

Paulie’s will be missed, especially as, for the first time in memory, there are no longer any bait and tackle shops located downtown. 

But all is not lost for those who wet a hook and line in Montauk. The Montauk Anglers Club, right near the Montauk inlet on East Lake Drive, is looking to fill the void left by the departure of Paulie’s by adding more tackle, bait, lures, gear, and services to its already well-stocked marine and tackle store. 

 

East Hampton Star - On The Water - Montauk Anglers Club Tackles a Voif
Hoping to fill a void left by the departure of Montauk's only downtown tackle shop, Will Cornacchia said this year the Montauk Anglers Club is offering more products and services for fishermen in its shop near the inlet.
East Hampton Star - On The Water - Montauk Anglers Club Tackles a Voif
Hoping to fill a void left by the departure of Montauk's only downtown tackle shop, Will Cornacchia said this year the Montauk Anglers Club is offering more products and services for fishermen in its shop near the inlet.

“It really was unfortunate to see Paulie close his shop,” Will Cornacchia, who serves as the retail operations manager, said on a rainy and cold morning last Thursday. “But we are actively adding a wide variety of tackle and gear to our marine and tackle store. We want to ensure that we can serve the needs and demands of just about anything an angler could want.” 

Cornacchia is currently adding more rods (including custom-made ones), reels, lures, clothing, rod repair, marine products, and services to meet the demands and wants of saltwater and freshwater anglers. He is also planning to provide more equipment and gear for surfcasters. Paulie’s Tackle was particularly noted for serving the needs of those who fished from the shoreline. 

Beyond the marine and tackle store, the full-service marina, which sits on seven acres opposite Gin Beach and Shagwong Point, also offers 157 seasonal and transient slips for vessels up to 150 feet, as well as a waterfront restaurant. 

Cornacchia, 28, was raised in Darien, Conn., and spent his summers in Montauk with his family while growing up. Fishing and boating were a big part of their time there, and five years ago the family ultimately purchased the former Gone Fishing Marina, which was operated by the Sennefelder family for over 40 years. 

“The Sennefelders are wonderful people and they still keep their boat here,” said Cornacchia, who is also a licensed captain and operates the Thermocline, a 50-foot Munson, an aluminum-hulled charter boat built in 2019 in Oregon that can hit a top speed of nearly 50 miles per hour. 

Before joining the family business three years ago and settling full time in Montauk, Cornacchia, who attended Columbia University, had his sights set on a career on Wall Street and worked at Goldman Sachs. But he knew his heart was really in Montauk and fishing. 

“The folks at Goldman Sachs were, and continue to be, tremendously supportive of me,” he remarked. “I’m lucky to have them in my life and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity now to be a part of the Montauk community and have an exceptional team of colleagues here at our marina. My passion for fishing and people pushes me every day to do more in this business and my goal is to build the Anglers Club into the premier Montauk fishing destination.” 

Working closely with him is Chris Albronda, another enthusiastic fisherman in his own right, who also has a rich local pedigree. 

“I’m very glad to have Chris on the team with us as a fishing expert and as a longtime friend,” said Cornacchia. “I’ve known Chris and his father for almost 14 years and have learned a tremendous amount from both of them.” Albronda’s father is Capt. Mike Albronda, known by most as Mikey Montauk, who ran the charter boat Montauk for several decades. I experienced many fine fishing trips with him over the years before his retirement. Cornacchia, beyond wanting to serve the daily needs of basic fishermen, also wants to help the expansive charter boat fleet that calls Montauk Harbor home. “We offer a discount on fuel and ice for the charter boats,” he said. “The charter fleet is a huge part of the community here and we know how hard they work. We want to help them succeed.”

“We are continuing to build out our line of products and services, and we aim to serve every type of fishing and fisherman,” Cornacchia added. “We are very competitive with our prices and want to be fair for everyone, whether they are a beginner or professional.” On the local fishing scene, things are still rather quiet. Small striped bass are being landed and released in Sag Harbor Cove and Three Mile Harbor. Rumors of some early-arrival weakfish have been swirling about in the western Peconics.

Chris Albronda reported that he recently caught a striped bass and a blackfish in Montauk waters, and said that the spring run of squid should start any day now. Note that the blackfish season concludes on Tuesday.