Posts Tagged New York City Fishing

Carpe Mensis

Carpe Mensis . . .

First Carp in the (Much Too Small) Net!
(NYC 06 12 2020)

Something new and exciting in my fishing experience has emerged from the extended lockdown that has kept my angling local. I have at last figured out how to catch carp on the fly with some consistency.

“Carpe Mensis” — seize the month — has been the pun in play this June.

Carpe Carp
(NYC 06 26 2020)
* photo by James Wu

Warm weather with little rain has permitted plenty of comfortable fishing time over the last several weeks. The theme has been expanded by a focused pursuit of Izaak Walton’s queen of the fishes, the common carp, which when hooked fight like a knight.

Many of New York City’s lakes have a solid carp fishery: Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn, Van Cortlandt Lake in The Bronx, and The Lake in Central Park. The best fishing of all may actually be found in Queens at Meadow Lake in Flushing-Corona Park as the carp is the dominant species there.

I had noticed cruising and tailing carp earlier this year when tenkara fishing for my regular trio of bass, bluegill, and crappie. I knew from past experiment that I could hook a carp on fixed line tackle. But the powerful run of these fish in hemmed in bank settings would also result in a quick snap of the leader, so I brought along my conventional BVK fly rod that Lefty Kreh designed and gave myself some slack as I learned to tackle a new and bigger fish on the fly.

Carp were the large fish catch in my youth when I caught several on doughball using spinning tackle. I have since read as many articles and seen as many videos on carp fishing as the next angler. What changed, perhaps, in late spring of this year was the desire for change, and some challenge, anything to distract my attention from Covid-19 and urban riots.

The carp obliged. The precise roll cast under overhanging branches to large wary fish I could see, and that could see me, was a big change from my usual subaqueous gamble of reading the water and twitching a fly blind in the hope of making a connection with a panfish below the surface.

I find carp are receptive to nymphs and patterns that imitate berries or bread. Presentation is most important. Precision is a must. One has to place the fly right before, or right on top of, the fish, almost bumping the beast on the head to coax a reflex strike.

Size 12 Sucker Spawn tied with white chenille that by pure coincidence resembles a cheesy snack found along the bank!
(NYC 06 12 2020)

Alone, or when paired or in groups, as long as the fish can be seen, and the fly can be landed softly with precision, there  is a good chance of an explosive strike and several long runs from a carp, which in every way remind me of the bonefish I have caught in the tropical salt.

Carp are very much “golden bones” and I have become, like the ones I have caught, hooked!

Carp in the 10 lb. + class are the average catch in NYC lakes.
(NYC 06 12 2020)
* photo by James Wu

— rPs 06 30 2020

 

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Light at the End

Light at the End . . .

The Lake in Central Park
(NYC 05 29 2020)

The sun, often hidden during this strange spring, has at last emerged to take its place as the season begins to brighten and warm at the end of May. Such conditions are not necessarily good for fishing, but given what we have all collectively had to endure, day after day sheltered indoors, it’s good to get out at last, and go fishing.

 

Silver Dollar Crappie
(NYC 05 29 2020)

Bluegill in the Shade
(NYC 05 29 2020)

And the angler is not alone. Sometimes it seems that nature’s other creatures are also happy to see you out fishing again (if only in the hope of a free fishy handout).

Old Mossback
(NYC 05 29 2020)

I have been fishing New York City’s parks for years and there is always on every trip a moment or more worthy of a story. That fact might be the brightest light at the end of this long tunnel of pandemic time.

Follow the Rules and Have Fun
(NYC 05 29 2020)

— rPs 05 31 2020

 

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“A Good Excuse”

” A Good Excuse” . . .

Line on the Water During the Lockdown
(NYC 04 20 2020)

Late April is a period of “peak fishing” in and around the New York region: spring trout, spring striper, as well as bass and sunfish just before the annual spawn. This stretch of fertile time provides “a good excuse” to pause what obligations one has by day and wet a line.

 

This April has been a cruel time, to paraphrase the poet, and I have experienced my share as an essential (healthcare) professional. It has not been inclement weather or religious holidays tying one up from some quality time on the water. We wish it was just that.

 

Life continues, however, and given the concept of Social Distancing, which has become a global directive as well as common sense, it seems to me fishing offers a natural unforced way  — “a good excuse” —  to spend some socially responsible time outdoors even within New York City, the American epicenter of the Covid-19 health crisis.

Going Green: a Silver Lining to Solitary Social Distancing in the Spring of 2020.
(NYC 04 20 2020)

— rPs  04 30 2020

 

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Distance

Distance . . .

Rain on the Tenkara Rod
(NYC 03 17 2020)

I have long noticed that New Yorkers, prone to tailgaiting, often keep their distance from anglers fishing the city’s park ponds. Add a gray day with a little rain, and one can be positively alone.

The conditions have been ideal for late winter and early spring fishing. Add the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional space of social distancing, and there has appeared ample room to cast the long tenkara rod with fixed line, even along what is usually a busy path.

Such a spot afforded me my first take and solid wrestle with a fish in 2020. St. Patrick’s Day, normally a bustle of less than sober revelers in and around the usual business, gave me several hours of therapeutic solitude and a solid bluegill dressed in rich purple and orange colors.

Lucky Start: First Fish of 2020
(03 17 2020)

Spring arrived on March 19th, the earliest such equinox in 124 years. A similar gray and rainy start inspired me to go out again.

I’m glad I did, as the city of New York has since entered a stranger than science fiction time. Like the character Roux in The Plague by Albert Camus, I have witnessed the public space of Manhattan gradually empty into a quiet stage set of sorts. Spring flowers and singing birds have since taken over, giving a heartbreaking natural beauty to the city under siege.

I worked one fly for a few hours in Central Park in the shadow of the Mt. Sinai hospital complex (my employer!), and the reward, in a spring now without baseball, was the local grand slam:

Black Crappie

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Bluegill

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Largemouth Bass

(NYC 03 20 2020)

What a positive start to the 2020 fishing season.

I must set aside my angling avocation to focus on my professional role as a CRCST, managing the sterillization of surgical trays and assisting any way I can in the hospital’s PACU. The fear of sickness subdued by the duty to serve, and soothed by a few hours of good fishing.

Grateful I continue to be for fishing in general, and tenkara specifically, for the distance, physical and psychological, the sport provides from the weights of the world.

Hope
(NYC 03 20 2020)

— rPs 03 31 2020

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Waiting

Waiting . . .

Waiting by the Bay
(02 28 2020)

February for the local fisher can be a time for fly tying, reading, or simply cleaning and organizing tackle in anticipation of the new season. Throughout all these pastimes is a central  principal: Waiting.

Waiting for the thaw

Waiting for spring

Waiting for opening day

Waiting for fishing

Leap year adds one additional day to this, the shortest month of the year, so we’ll all be waiting just a little bit longer.

— rPs 02 29 2020

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The Second Fish

The Second Fish . . .

The Lake in December
(NYC 12 2019)

The day, overcast, the sky white, and the water of the lake reflects a deep chocolate gray from tree leaves now settled on the bottom.

The bare branches and dry rushes speak within the wind as waterfowl patrol the lake. Mated pairs of mallards share the water with flocks of geese. Two swans, their sheer size impressing, provide the brightest sight to be seen.

End of the Year Gathering
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s until an equally white fly, chenille and herl imitating a baitfish, fished very, very slowly, gets picked up with a sudden flash and grab near the bottom. The rod bends, the weight ascends until the surface of the lake ripples and a slab of silvered black and white comes to hand.

The First Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

The black crappie is the primary cold weather fish of New York City’s lakes. A few largemouth bass and yellow perch may be encountered, too, but the crappie predominates.

Near evening the geese descend until dozens begin to call to one another across the water. The white sky turns gray and a steady mist begins to fall. Just before the shivering angler’s will decides to call it a season, as it is the end of December, another strong take awakens the inner heat and happiness as one more battle of catch and release takes place.

The white fly has done its job and the second fish gives satisfaction in the knowledge that the first fish was not a fluke. The second fish is the grand finale for the year.

The Second Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s a whip finish for 2019.

— rPs 12 31 2019

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Fall Fish Finale

Fall Fish Finale . . .

November: a view that transcends cold toes.
(11 29 2019)

What was I thinking, going fishing the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, when almost everyone else was shopping?

I know what I was feeling: cold. The creek was running at 42 degress Fahrenheit, clear enough for 6x tippet and a Hare’s Ear, a Wolly Bugger, even my own Green Guarantee, all of which failed to meet a fish.

The views and solitude along the water were worth the trip. Even so, a fish fooled and brought to the net was the actual goal.

When the sun reached its height and seemed to warm the air just a bit, I fell back on an old faithful, the white fly. No hatch, no action on the nymph, so I tried the tiny baitfish tactic. A swing through a riffle into one of the clear pools, a twitch or two, and at last resistance, followed by the familiar tug and tussle of a taking fish.

The short battle was enough to shake the cold in my bones. In the net, not a trout, but a fallfish as shiny as an ingot of silver. One fish, enough to end the last wade of the season on a successful note.

Fallfish Finale
(11 29 2019)

— rPs 11 30 2019

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The End of the Regular Season

The End of the Regular Season . . .


Basepath Around the Pond
(NYC 09 2019)

Evening falls fast  for the tenkara fisher now that the Autumnal Equinox has passed. The lingering, almost lazy, evening hours have been replaced by a quick race into darkness that can add a bit of urgency to a fishing trip taken after work.

The local ponds have begun to turn over, weedy waters turning clear,  and the fish appear paler and more actively feeding, which, if one is lucky, can result in a grand slam:

Bluegill

Bluegill
(NYC 09 28 2019)

Black Crappie

Black Crappie
(NYC 09 28 2019)

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass
(09 28 2019)

The largemouth bass came at last light, making it a grand slam, an appropriate finish alongside  the final weekend of the regular MLB season.

— rPs 09 30 2019

 

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The L Word

The L Word . . .

The Stream Behind
(08 2019)

Low water, light tippet, little fish, and lots of fun over the Labor Day weekend.

Redbreast Sunfish
(08 2019)

Smallmouth Bass
(08 2019)

Mornings have begun to dawn later, and evening falls faster. The truncated time in between spent fishing is a day labor . . . of Love.

That’s the short story near the end of another summer.

The Road Ahead
(08 2019)

— rPs 08 31 2019

 

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End of July Fluke

End of July Fluke . . .

 

Proper Beach Fluke Release
(07 2019)

The find for a good start: an empty stretch of beach, early, sun behind, near a narrow point connecting back bay with channel, sand underfoot. It’s summer.

The small tungsten bucktail kebari with perhaps an especially long saddle feather may be swung off a line of fifteen to twenty feet in combined length. The tide incoming or outgoing swings the pattern on a current like a trout stream seam within the greater bay. Sometimes a striper, also short,  intercedes, but this season is ruled by the summer flounder.

Fluke Kandy
(NYC 07n2019)

Another summer morning, another sudden solid connection with a fluke on the swing.

A Beauty By the Jetty
(07 2019)

The left-eyed flatfish, the summer flounder, fluke, is game for fly patterns. The black crappie of the sea, perhaps, to my personal perception of parallel connection. The southpaw fluke stands as a visual stealth and surge predator that seeks smaller fish.

Width adds weight to the battle after the connection is made and a demonstrative tenkara rod hookset sets with success. Nothing else quite feels like a flounder on the end of a line: the uppercut take, the fluttering stand-off, the evasions the fish’s nearly two-dimensional form can achieve.

Shorts are the rule. True. Catch and release is not only fun saltwater panfishing; it’s the law. So many fluke caught are just below the legal length that one must assume keepers are in fact almost always kept.

I release all, with the option open to keep.

Path to Fluke Point
(07 2019l)

 

— rPs 07 31 2019

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