The Missing Decoy Found After 35+ Years! ~Great South Bay, Long Island, NY

Anthony Babich

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The Missing Decoy Has Been Found 35+ Years Later On The Great South Bay!
Detailed Story Below:
(Anthony Babich) LIDCA Member / Web Digital Operations

"About 3 weeks ago I received the email I have attached below from a gentleman named Jim O’Brien. Jim lives in Brightwaters currently and this may be a name we are familiar with as he was featured in “When Broadbill Was King (2015) I have attached an image where he was pictured he’s in the Yellow bibs with Brud Skidmore & a young Dougie Brewster.
Anyways, Jim reached out in regards to a decoy he found shortly after an ice storm way back around 1981-1982 where he was gunning West Island not too far from my home port.
He explained he was on his way out for an afternoon of gunning after a morning storm and saw something that just looked suspicious bobbing up in the ice, as he approached he quickly realized the was a decoy pulling it up he noticed a cable type weight with a black duck attached.
The decoy had no markings that were identifiable but he continued on that afternoon placing it out among his rig
After the season had passed, he decided to put it on his wall for the past 30+ years because of how he has found it.. an unexpected treasure on the bay...
Fast foward to now, he sent an email to the LIDCA website, unbeknownst to me I put a post up asking if anyone knew of the maker of this decoy. I did get a variety of responses that just didnt really lead to any solid conclusions.
We had some speculation on Gil Herzy or Artie Schneider but after taking a look at some of their decoys it didnt seem to be a solid match…
Last week while I was in the process of updating some website info for LIDCA I had my email thread up on one of the screens, my father (Mike Babich) walked into the room and as always was interested in what I was working on… he glanced over and saw the decoy images Jim had sent.. suddenly he said
“where the hell did you get that decoy picture”…. I then turned around and explained the story I mentioned above. He then said that’s one of my decoys I made back in the late 70’s!!
I could not believe it….. he then went on to explain to me he had the remaining 8 decoys up in his barn attic. Right now im in the process of digging out for them this week to bring to next week’s meeting. (April 9th) I could not believe it.
Today, dad came and showed me some images from his album itemized by year from the GSB hunts. This was 1980-1981 hunting out of his Tom Pryor Aeromarine Single Man Boat off West Island & other locations. You can see in one of the images that same weight cable dad explained to me was from a boat steering cable as the line was coated to protect the decoy from scratching up.
I called Jim last week and explained this all, he could not believe it. What are the chances my father makes this decoy, loses it that morning back in the early 80’s and his son gets an email 35+years later!
I plan to bring dad along next week so he can sign the decoy for Jim as well, what a story.
I also hope to dig up the renaming decoys soon. Dad explained that morning hunt was a good one but the ice suddenly started breaking up and pushing his rig west. In an effort to get back in he drove his Aero marine out picked up the decoys and noticed he was missing 2 with the storm intensifying he tied up the Aero to his 23’ mako and headed back in to port.
Here’s some of the images from that year * Note the decoy pics!






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Truly can’t believe it!
I plan on getting some nice photos at next week’s meeting I’ll be sure to share.
The part I like the best is this: ""With the storm intensifying, I headed back to port (without 2 decoys). How many would have risked their lives for the 2 decoys?