5 Ways to Find Fishy Dudes in NY

When you live in NY, remarkably you’re surrounded by a good number of angling options. And while we have great waters, salt and fresh, the sheer size of the city might give you the impression its tough to meet and hang with other anglers.  Maybe you’re just not into party boats. Well, quickly, here are five ways to enjoy the camaraderie of other anglers in the five boroughs and maybe find a fishing buddy. Oh, and maybe a good bar too.

1. Hit the bar at a NY Trout Unlimited meeting

The NYC chapter meets every now and then to discuss conservation, fly fishing, and of course, protecting trout habitat. They also meet at a kick-ass bar! Blackstones Pub in midtown has an old-time saloon look, flatscreens for the game, pool tables and a nice jukebox. So you can grab a pint and linger after the meeting.

2. Take a fly-tying class at the Brooklyn Brainery

Midcurrent.com contributor, angler and fly tyer, John Melfi will be teaching an introductory fly tying class at this open source, community classroom in mid-Nov. Just in time for seasons end…or for the Salmon River steelhead run, take your pick. The Brainery is in Cobble Hill on the border of Red Hook and there are no end to great bars down there…I like Fort Defiance.

3. Catch a show at the Bklyn Rod & Gun Club

This low-key rod and reel club/bar in Williamsburg ‘hood of Brooklyn has a free and open-membership. If you fish or hunt and are stuck in the city, you can hang-out, tell fish-stories, drink and catch fantastic emerging music acts at their space. Follow them on Twitter for show times.

Jose Colon teaching fly tying at Bklyn Rod & Gun Club. Note the drumset behind him!

4. Compete in the Brooklyn Fishing Derby (well, next year)

The annual Brooklyn Fishing Derby along the shores of the East River (yep!) the East River, gathers anglers of all types, even fly fishermen, to compete to bring in striper and blues from Oct 1 to Nov 5. I didn’t compete this year (maybe next). This derby makes it easy to get out fishing with a variety of packages from Greenpoint’s Dream Tackle supply. But the Derby holds regular Saturday meetups during the competition at two great bars, either the Brooklyn Ale House or The Woods. Think its crazy to fish the east river? Here’s the latest leaderboard on Oct. 31:

  • Striped Bass: Damar Douglas, 41″
  • Bluefish: Ricky, 36″
  • Fly Division: Preacher, 21″ bass
"East River Blue" photo by Geralyn Shukwit via BKUAA

5.  Hit the Salt with the Salty Flyrodders

I recently joined the SF,  the guys are friendly, a real mix of blue and white-collar dudes with a couple of artists sprinkled in, with a common passion for fishing the salt’. They have meetings regularly in the Queens Botanical Garden where they often hold casting clinics. However, its their monthly outings to Breezy Point, Long Beach, Montauk and so forth that makes for the fun times. I recently caught my first striper on the fly hanging with a SF member on Orchard Beach the other day. It was a schoolie, but I’ll graduate eventually.


Also try joining the Westchesterfishing.com forums and find a fishing buddy for-a-day or the occasional invite to row the boat on one of the reservoirs while your “host” hauls in monster lakers and browns. If a jackass tells you to bring your own oars, skip it. If he tells you to bring the six, do accept the invitation.

Striper on the Fly Coming Soon

Maybe it’s because I’m coming off a weekend of birthday celebrations that included a tour of the Breukelen Distillery (thanks Brad), a 14-hour smoked pork shoulder (thanks bro), a new waterproof digital camera and lemon tarts (thanks babe!), and many happy wishes from friends and family, that I’m feeling a bit thankful. Can I beg just one more indulgence?

I’d like a striper on my 8wt fly rod on the surf.

I’ve just joined the Salty Flyrodders and my first meeting is tomorrow night. This venerable club of anglers fly fish the salt and is fast approaching their 50-year anniversary (2016). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed fly fishing all summer various streams and rivers for bass, brookies, ‘bows and browns, but October means the beginning of the fall run here in the NE and I want in on the action. I’m hoping the SF can be patient with a newbie like me, that I will get opportunities to tag-along and learn this particular angle of the fly fishing craft. I’ve caught stripers before in the surf, mostly on a fluke (pun intended–actually, bucktails), but fly fishing in the fall on the surf is a different matter all together. Its a combination of reading the tides, having the right cast, fortitude to weather the cold, and patience, lots of patience. This summer I read a couple of classics, Striper Surf, and the Legend of Billy the Greek–and came away with the single-most important lesson drilled in me, have patience. By the way, if you’re looking for a good online surfcasting magazine, the Surfcasters Journal is the last word in my opinion.

Tomorrow at the Queens Botanical Garden, I’ll join the Salty Flyrodders, and start to learn the new language, the flies, the patterns and take up their offer on the casting clinic before the meeting. I like that the SF practice catch & release, but I do intend to take a blue or striper now and then for the grill–but I honor the fish already as a member of Stripers Forever–who seek to make the striper a game fish permanently and remove it from the commercial fisheries. I believe that if you prepare well, hunt and stalk your fish with humility and conservation in mind, then you gain a right to consume its flesh every now and then. There is, undoubtedly, a primal reason why I want to catch a striper on the fly though and it stirs when I see things like this…



If you’re a traditional spinning rod angler and interesting in taking in the striper action but just can’t seem to get out of the city, you may want to consider joining the Brooklyn Fishing Derby put on by the Brooklyn Urban Anglers Association. The Derby opened on Friday and runs a month. If you’ve got the gear and willpower–they’ll even help you get started. Prime fishing stretches from Red Hook to LIC. If you feel weird about fishing the East River, get over it, cause the Hudson is one of the biggest spawning grounds for striped bass (aka rockfish) in the world (and about 200 other species) and they migrate. That striped bass on your plate at the restaurant has probably been in the Hudson, Chesapeake and maybe even Cape Hatteras.