Posts Tagged Harlem Meer

C.A.S.T. for Kids

C.A.S.T. for Kids . . .

2017 Harlem Meer Registration Flyer - jpeg


The 2nd annual C.A.S.T. for Kids fishing event at Harlem Meer in Manhattan has been set for Sunday, September 10, 2017.

Click on the above image to view all the details. Volunteer if you can. You will be happy you did.

— rPs 09 10 2017

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C.A.S.T. for Kids at Harlem Meer

C.A.S.T. for Kids at Harlem Meer . . .

I learned of C.A.S.T. for Kids from my fishing friend named Morgan. My appeal to you directly regards the event, a morning of city fishing, to be held  on Sunday, September 18 at Harlem Meer in Central Park.


My reasons are founded on several strong personal connections:


1) My wife’s twin brother, Louis, is a special needs citizen.

2) I am the author and illustrator of two books on fly fishing. The second, Small Fry: The Lure of the Little, includes a chapter on Harlem Meer as well as fly fishing with younger anglers.

3) I work part-time at Urban Angler, Ltd. on 5th Avenue and have independently guided several clients along The Meer, so I know the lake and how to fish there well.

4) I maintain an ongoing blog on tenkara, a simple form of Japanese fly fishing, great for Harlem Meer, which requires only rod, line, and fly. Physically challenged anglers have found the more simple style to be a godsend that allows them to keep fishing despite challenged limbs.


I’ll be there. Will you?



C.A.S.T. for Kids at Harlem Meer

8:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Sunday

September 18, 2016

Dana Discovery Center

Harlem Meer, Central Park

New York, New York



– rPs 09 14 2016

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Heroes: Gone

Heroes: Gone . . .


Harlem Meer Hielo Fino (NYC 01 2016)

Harlem Meer
Hielo Fino
(NYC 01 2016)


Thin ice spreads a broad surface steady cold winds skate across. Positioned beside a stand of dry cattail, exposed face feels a slap along the banks of the Harlem Meer, here one calendar month into Winter.

“David Bowie has died.” became an actual phrase as tough to bear. The headline’s words smacked me awake last Monday morning. Temperate December gone as a switch flicked on to a frigid January. What a way to begin. Then a man known to a young outdoorsman as “Grizzly Adams” portrayed by the now late Dan Haggerty, passed away.

Artist; Outdoorsman; Heroes: Gone.

Reading regenerates. Any flagging level of retention or enthusiasm for the written word must be engaged since for the writer the word can at times be work. Reading for professional growth becomes pleasure when the titles are as strong as Crooked Lines by Dominic Garnett and The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. Fishing is a subject rendered in broad terms on these pages. Story, profound and fun, can be found in every line.

January Reading (01 2016)

January Reading
(01 2016)


The light of Winter: brilliance filtered clear scenes of brown, white, and blue finished by a tangerine sunset. That light gives hope, braced by added good timing in the form of a gift of new shoes, Saucony cross trainers, paired with an Ebisu tenkara rod that received express professional service from the Repairs Department of Tenkara USA. Support of this speed and quality has allowed me to grieve by living life as fully as I can squeeze It into a day.

Ebisu (01 2016)

(01 2016)


Loss can be reabsorbed and channeled into positive productivity and even happiness when pushing into a period of life experienced at a higher notch. David Bowie lived such a life. He pursued multiple art forms to high levels. He could dance. The theater and film embraced his performance. And he painted. David Bowie, artist, left us a large body of painting and sculpture. My appraisal sees his his work fit the historical space adjacent to Francis Bacon when it comes to rendering human personality and psyche through expressionist treatment of the portrait face.

Fly tying and illustration fit right in step with this multimodal creative expression. Combined with writing, these arts and crafts can also bring a fishing book to term. Writing, like most all the creative channels, involves the malleable process of the Plastic Arts.

Small Fry & the Muddy Moreblacks (01 2016)

Small Fry & the Muddy Moreblacks
(01 2016)


Green Guarantee in Situ (01 2016)

Green Guarantee in Situ: colored pencil and original fly pattern on paper
(rPs 01 2016)


The setting of eleven on my own amplifier can be activated by the blending of art and sport. Running combined with some safe clambering over rocks, safe climbing of trees, legal catch and release fishing. Bird watching, cycling, and yoga can be included as well. After the stretch and a cool down, the documentation through multiple art forms may happen, sometimes. The cycle of (my) Life, work I deem ample enough for a human life span.

David Bowie gave insights into this way of living one’s life. Dan Haggerty breathed life into a character who carried such convictions into the outdoors. Activity and Art: a lasting living legacy, a positive path pointed out so well by two heroes: the sensitive animal man, last name Adams; the putative human, first name David.

– rPs 01 22 2016

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Harlem Meer, Blue Again

Harlem Meer, Blue Again . . .

Free at last: Harlem Meer without ice.. (photo taken 03 21 2014)

Free at last: Harlem Meer without ice.. (photo taken 03 21 2014)

The wind was up. The sun set the high cirrus aglow. Harlem Meer reflected deep blue and, occasionally, bare trees. Rippled, the winded surface did not deter the birds. Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, and Hooded Megansers all utilized the resource. I found myself, too, with colleagues Fergus and Jesse. We three angled urbanely for an entire Friday.

The water was clear and dark, free of weed. Only the bottom, where we worked our offerings, hinted at the ragged rooted bases of plants yet to rise.

I decided to employ one of my own finished fly patterns:

The Green Guarantee; a bucktail streamer

Green Guarantee: bucktail version.

Green Guarantee:
bucktail version.

Size 6 hook
030 wire for weight
Deer hair for tail
Olive floss for body
Peacock herl for thorax
6/0 Green thread for wrapping


Where others using conventional fly fishing outfits and ultralight spinning outfits failed, tenkara succeeded. One fish fell for the delicate dance of the pattern. The limber tenkara tip had provided again.

Crappie as long as your pine handle: Tenkara USA Ebisu and a black crappie. (photo taken 03 21 2014)

Crappie as long as your pine handle:
Tenkara USA Ebisu and a black crappie. (photo taken 03 21 2014)

First black crappie of 2014

The day’s fishing ended on a silent moment. We three stood abreast and watched, as time lapsed in front of us, the bend of a cove letting go the last of its lock of ice.

Harlem Meer, blue again.

– rPs 03 31 2014

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One More

One More . . .

Tenkara is an excellent way to connect with bluegill in October. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

Tenkara is an excellent way to connect with bluegill in October. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

When the leaves are just about to turn and the asters are flush with their tiny daisy faces, there appears one more window of decent bluegill and largemouth bass fishing before the inconsistent angling of the cold months arrives. Ponds are pretty places at this time and the fish remain within the fixed range of tenkara equipment.

My fly shop coworker, Jesse Valentin, wanted to squeeze in one more outing this month before some necessary dental work. I happily accompanied him . . . to Harlem Meer. There I employed my technique of a large nymph, fished slowly and steadily, in and around the pond’s deeper areas. A size 10 Zug Bug brought two nice fish quickly to hand; I noted a slow lift, rather than twitches, teased these fish into striking.

Bluegill with Asters. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

Bluegill with Asters. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

A chilly wind from the northwest began to pick up as the sky turned gray after noon. Satisfied with the bluegill, I decided to experiment in my quest for a bass. I used a dropper loop to attach a size 6 Olive Flats Fly, a weighted pattern designed for bonefish and permit, yet its greenish tones and split tail make an excellent crayfish imitation.

The extended length of my Ebisu model allowed me to precisely work the fly along the base of some reeds going brown where a flash of bright green connected with me. Three jumps later, a modest largemouth bass allowed itself to be brought ashore for an authentic urban angling photograph: a bucolic pond with a brick highrise standing in the background.

Bright Bass, Big City. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

Bright Bass, Big City. (photo taken 10 09 2013)

Jesse, for his part, caught a bass and a black crappie with one of the jigs from his own vise, so we both headed home happy, knowing we had seized the opportunity for one more easy, fish-filled day. The gray and brown months, the time when methodical angling in uncomfortable weather produces sporadic catches, arrives with holiday season, which begins today on Halloween . . .


– rPs 10 31 2013

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Joe-Pye and the Yellow Perch

Joe-Pye and the Yellow Perch . . .

Tenkara + Streamer = Yellow Perch (photo taken 08 07 2013

Tenkara + Streamer = Yellow Perch (photo taken 08 07 2013

Tenkara fly fishing, as we know, originated along the mountain trout streams of Japan. Here, half a world away in New York City, I continue to learn how wonderful, yes wonderful, this method can be for warmwater ponds like Central Park’s Harlem Meer. I find myself surprised on almost every outing. The most recent discovery for me has been that streamers, retrieved with a slow lift of the longer tenkara rod, can entice yellow perch to strike. The photo above provides the proof . . .

I grew up catching Perca flavescens on spinning gear. Worms, minnows, spinners, and small spoons were all effective at putting several dozen on the dock. This species is a favorite sport and food fish of the Great Lakes region and one, like the pike, which is shared by our European neighbors. To them I say: “Try some coarse fishing the tenkara way!”

The tenkara technique for yellow perch is simple enough: tie a streamer such as a Mickey Finn, Grey Ghost, or Muddler Minnow to the end of your tippet and cast in areas where baitfish, the perch’s preferred forage, may be congregating. Allow the fly to sink and hover for a while before retrieving with a slow, steady lift of the rod. The result can be several strong takes in succession, as the yellow perch tends to school en masse. Once one does strike, hold on! A perch will fight a fast subsurface battle that will put an excellent deep bend in the rod.

The Yellow Perch tends to be most active in the American northeast when chalky pink Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium dubium, is in bloom around waterways. The months of August and September are an especially good time to visit a lake or pond and try this entertaining twist in the tenkara way.

Joe-Pye Weed graces the banks of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 08 07 2013)

Joe-Pye Weed graces the banks of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 08 07 2013)

– rPs 08 28 2013

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Casting for Immigrant Species in Central Park

Casting for Immigrant Species in Central Park . . .

Harlem Meer on the day I fished with The New York Observer. (photo taken 05 24 2013)

Harlem Meer on the day I fished with The New York Observer. (photo taken 05 24 2013)

The story of the alleged snakehead in Central Park continues. Last week. Matt Kassel, a reporter from The New York Observer, contacted me and asked one question to which I answered an emphatic “YES!”

“Would you be willing to go fishing?”

We arranged to spend a gray and windy Friday angling beside Harlem Meer. We were in search of the northern snakehead in one regard, that being the story of this fish and how what I prefer to call an immigrant may have established a tenuous presence in the pond. The answer I posited involves another immigrant, one of the human fishmonger variety.

The two of us fortunately failed to catch a snakehead during our outing, but I did manage to coax two bluegills from the lake, which resembled lentil soup laced with cooked spinach on account of two unbroken days of torrential rains. My highlight of the trip was successfully guiding Matt to a healthy largemouth bass. Fishes caught, story set, we parted as new friends beside the Meer now bordered by a third immigrant, the delightful yellow flag, a wildflower mentioned in American literature as far back as Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

Matt’s story, including several excellent photos by Observer staff photographer Fernando Gomes, appeared in the newspaper on Tuesday, May 28th. Here is the link to the online version:

On the Bright Side: immigrant Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus) lines the bank of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 05 24 2013)

On the Bright Side: immigrant Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus) lines the bank of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 05 24 2013)

— rPs 05 31 2013

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