Pulling up their gill net last Wednesday morning, August 21, three fishermen off the shore of Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett found the catch of a lifetime—a find so big it’s a wonder it didn’t tear their net.
An old, rusted anchor from the mid-19th century emerged from the water—after a bit of tugging and teamwork—amazing the fishermen, lifeguards and a crowd at the beach.
The anchor is likely a remnant of a shipwreck, according to East Hampton Historical Society director Richard Barons.
Fishermen Danny and Paul Lester and Nat Miller were aboard their dory fishing for bass when their net caught on the anchor, Danny Lester said. “At first we didn’t know what it was,” he said. “We’re lucky it didn’t rip out of the net. It weighed 400, 500 pounds, easy.”
The rusty, barnacle-spattered iron anchor, about 8 feet long, is likely a Rodgers anchor because of its hand-hewn wooden crossbar, according to John Ryan Jr., East Hampton Town’s chief lifeguard, who witnessed the recovery.
At 9:45 that morning, Mr. Ryan and his 2nd assistant lifeguard, Jeff Thompson, were beckoned over the radio by their lifeguard crew: Fishermen had found an anchor and they needed help pulling it out of the water. The boat didn’t have a long enough tow rope, so the lifeguards came to the rescue.
Lifeguard Kelly Kalbacher swam down to the anchor and tied a second rope to it, giving the fishermen the ability to haul it up with a truck.
“It was quite impressive, especially since it was high tide,” Mr. Ryan said. “For something like that to appear in high tide is something else.”
He said it was likely uncovered by Superstorm Sandy.
Mr. Thompson said he has seen only parts of docks come out of the ocean, never anything like the aged anchor.
According to the historical society’s records, the anchor probably belonged to the Daniel Webster, which “went ashore March 25, 1856, bringing from the Canary Islands salt, rice, nuts and fruit.”
The anchor now rests on the Lester family’s lawn on Abraham’s Path in Amagansett.
“It’s funny,” Paul Lester said with a smile. “Our Uncle Jens Lester told us there was always something he’d get hung up on when he went out there.”