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by Jesse D. Eisenberg / New York Islanders

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The Islanders 2010 Mini Campers were recently treated to their first of three Long Island-themed excursions scheduled for the week-long training program. Armed with rods and reels, the Islanders top prospects boarded the James Joseph II on Thursday afternoon for a day of fishing on Huntington Bay.

Captain James Schneider reported “solid” conditions for Fluke, and the Isles anglers were eager to cash in and to take a break from the everyday grind of Mini Camp.”

“We spend so much time at the rink, it’s nice to get outside and see this part of Long Island,” said defenseman Travis Hamonic, the Islanders’ second round pick (53rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Before the first lures were cast into the Sound, Schneider enlisted the help of defenseman Anton Klementyev and forward Matt Martin on the Captains Deck. Each player took a quick lesson at the wheel and then took a turn guiding the vessel to the Captains favorite spot, about an hour’s journey from the dock.

“Anton seems like a natural,” remarked Schneider, who took a leisurely break on the bow during Klementyev’s turn at the wheel. “Matt’s eager to learn, and he’s starting to figure it out.”

Martin’s performance at the helm may not have elicited the same praise as Klementyev’s smooth maneuvering, but any time Captain Schneider needs help steadily drifting right, Martin is his man.

“It got a little rocky at the end,” admitted Martin, who made up for his second-place finish in the steering competition by landing the day’s first “keeper,” just seconds after his first cast. 

At the time, Martin was pitted against Hamonic in a 20 minute “fish-off.” He would add an “insurance” keeper before time expired for a 2-0 shutout win.

In search of answers, Hamonic teamed up with Newsday’s “Outdoor” Tom Schlicter for a few tips.

“Travis has been playing great defense all day with these fish,” chirped Outdoor Tom. A quick session with the expert outdoorsman helped Hamonic find his offensive touch, and he reeled in a pair of Fluke before the day was over.

First Round Draft Pick Nino Niederreiter fished alongside local camp invites Ben Rosen and Danny Markowitz. Rosen, who grew up in Syosset, and Markowitz, a Jericho native, made good on their home-town advantage during the early goings.

“Hey Nino, how many did you catch?” asked Rosen. “You catch it, you eat it. If you don’t catch anything, you’re not eating.”

Niederreiter’s fortunes t turned around later in the trip, but the “Big Hook” of the day was Markowitz, who landed a 22 incher.

After a successful afternoon on the water, the team’s haul was prepared at Tutu Pazzo in Huntington. Not only did the team catch their gourmet dinner, but all parties involved proudly managed to hold onto their lunch.

The prospects will head out for an evening at Citi Field tonight to watch the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves. Check back in to Mini Camp Daily for up-to-the-minute Camp coverage.

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