Brooklyn Fishing is the website for Brooklynites and visitors to
discover the rich seafaring roots of our city and its fishing heritage.
Brooklyn is a seaside town and fishing has been a key part of it's
culture. From the time when Native American tribes showed the European
settlers how to use and catch Scup and Tautog, through the Cod and Oyster
economies of the early 19th Century, onto todays modern comercial and
recreational fishing centers mostly about Sheepshead Bay, fishing
has been central to our welfare and lives.
Fishing is a four season activity in our city. While Summer is great
for fishing all long our water front, our fishing ground and shore lines
are busy all year long. I've spent considerable time, over the years,
as a passenger on most of the Brooklyn based boats including the
, Explorer, and Brooklyn, just to name a few. Our family has fished around the
entire calender. The purpose of this website is to help put
Brooklynites into the water, to get them at the rail of our boats,
and on the water.
It is to help connect all our residents to this essential resource for work, fun,
and pleasure. We live on one of the worlds greatest fisheries, and
are we are striking distance from furtile fishereies in the Hudson Canyon,
Jamaica Bay and the Gateway National Park and the entire Long Island
Sound. If you live here, you owe it to yourself to explore what Brooklyn
has to offer in its marinas, peirs and beaches.
This site is the result of many years of reports, stories and random thoughts.
It has hundreds of images and essays that are largely organized by time.
With thousands of pictures and vidoes, it takes a bit of time, depending on your
platoform, to download the complete page so be patient. If you have
any questions, suggestions or concerns, you can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. My contact informations is at my home page - www.mrbrklyn.com
is the main bait and tackle shop that I use.
2702 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235
They are open at 5AM every morning
and serves as something of a club house for many of the captains
in Sheepshead Bay. Get there in the morning and ask for
"Stretch". He's about as warm of a person as
you might ever meet
The summer is over and we have moved into the Fall and Winter fishing. In
Brooklyn that means Striped Bass and Black Sea Bass. The weather has been
warm, even into mid-November, and the Ocean Eagle and the Marilyn Jean have
switched over to day trips for Blacks, and they are hunting in different
ground with the weather as it is, they are fishing all around the upper
New York Harbor, from the Staten Island shore to the Battery, and even
up the Hudson. And to the most part, fishing has been excellent and should
continue to be so for the immediate future. The Ocean Eagle is positively
excited about their results and have been dragging abot it in their reports.
The Marilyn Jean has also caught more than a few fish.
I've been out for two trips in November, and will add a few more this
weekend before Thanksgiving. I've hooked a few dozen fish, mostly 14 inch
shorts, but I have brought home 6 fish this past week. On the first trip,
it was particularlly warm and I was all hung over from an oversea's trip.
I landed in JFK a few hours before and was on the dock about the first free
moment I had after unpacking. I was really tired and really sluggish but
still pulled in 2 keepers and a dozen shorts. AL was fishing right next to
me, and I Al and I don't get along that well, but we had a peaceful day
and he was really busy pulling in fish. I counted 6 keepers, which he gave
away on the boat. It was a nice first round.
My next day out was Sunday, after the gale blew through. There was threats
of rain and wind, but fishing in the harbor protects us from most of the
weather, but the temperature dropped quick, and there was wind and rain.
I landed 4 keepers, which makes me a happy fisherman indeed. And we got
excellent pictures of Manhattan and the harbor. I definetely recommend
getting out and enjoying this rare fishing with the skyline as your
backdrop. It makes you feel like a real New Yorker.
I would like to add that the Striped Bass run is in FULL SWING and extra
wonderful reports are showing up from the Flamingo in Brooklyn down the
entire Jersey Shore to as far away as Belmar (where Mike Ardino is acting
captain). Richie Colombo is reporting that this is the easiest striped bass
season he has ever seen and expressed bordom since it has become so routine.
August Nights 2022
Ducking the last summer heat
I was out on the water this past Thursday night, on the MJIV. We left
the dock at 7:30, and I parked myself in my normal place on the bow in
the first position. Pelican was running the boat. Kevin and Paulie
were the mates. We had more of a crowd than I expected and headed into
Jamaica Bay and found a huge and rich view of big Porgies about the
Marine Parkway Bridge.
Sometimes we can catch big fish here, but this time the fish were very
plentiful and huge, and easy to catch. They weren't run and gun Porgies
that bend over poles. They were sucking up bait from the bottom swimming
gingerly in the water. It was a soft touch to the fish, much as one
might expect from North Shore Porgies.
The mates decided to send all the fishermen in the Stern into the bow
and one young women decided to fish between me and anchor. That really
ticked me off but by this time I already have about 2 buckets of large
fish already caught, many of which I gave away. There is a reason I don't
normally fish in the stern, I am not found of the company. Having these
folks crown me in the bow was not fun at all. Your crowding them into
a small space as the bow comes to a tip. As some point, the starboard
side was getting
all the action and I was on the portside. At that point, and after
losing a 4th jig on the rubble under the bridge, I just called it quits
and put up my rods for an hour or so before we went back in. Everyone
went home with fish. It was a big night for tourists and semi-regulars.
Happy faces around the boat. that was on Thursday. As I am following
reports, it seems that these fish are still driving large catches so it
is worth a night trip out on the water. Enjoy...
The week earlier, I was lucky enough to fish with a young couple of Princeton graduates from Manhattan Beach.
The fishing wasn't as hot, and this summer fishing has been either off the hook or drull, and never inbetween,
but I did still pick up about a dozen sizable fish and they provided optimal entertainment and conversation the
entire night. I gave them a few fish, and they caught a few fish as well. These sophiscated up and comers
taught me something about fishing and people. No matter how educated, how important, how royal, how rich and
fameous, and self-important that someone is, when they hook their first fish, they all melt into 12 year old
school children, jumping up and down in the excitement of having that first fish come over the rail and only
the deck. There is something inately human about it and in fishing we are all brothers.
Portraits on the Docks
The faces You Meet on the Brooklyn Fishing Fleet
Over the last decade or so, since I've been collecting images and stories from the Nautical Recreation Area at Sheepshead Bay, I've taken thousands of images
many of which are of people holding fish, catching fish, talking about fish, or otherwise enjoying the boats. I have a few special portraits that are worth special
attention - which I present here.
It has been some time since COVID started and I've collect a large number of images that documents the time on our docks until this Summer
Enjoy all the Photographs from fishing in the since 2019 to July 2022
June, turning into July, the huge Porgy run has continued and is the talk of the
waterfront. While Fluke continue to produce, the consistancy and number of
Jumbo Sized porgies, coming up on both jigs and bait, continued straight through
to this last week as we entered into the July 4th holiday, in a post-pandemic world.
On the Friday prior to this holiday trip we had an excellent Friday Fishing Club day with huge numbers
of Porgies, all thick and meaty and over 15 inches. I had a wonderful day out with with my
youngest son, Rabbi Shmuel-Leib Eliezar Safir, who, as we started, had difficulty and rare fisherman
both casting and manipulating the rod and reel. But by the end of the trip, he had mastered all the
basic tasks needed to catch Scup and he exploded with productive casts, yanking in fish one by
one and by two by two. We filled the cooler and had them all scaled and gutted and beheaded and sent
his Yeshiva, at the Chofetz Chaim in Kew Garden Hills, Queens. They were presented with well over
100 fish, which included the legal limits of 3 fisherman.
Summer Porgy Run 2022
OK - so here is the scoop on the Hot Porgy fishing that we have been
going through the last week. About midway through last week huge porgies
moved in the lower harbor along with bluefish. We have been crushing
them, and they have been huge. You can find the pictures around here
and about brooklyn-fishing.com. Things began to slow down considerable
yesterday. Monday morning was still hot fishing, but few blues in site.
The porgy fishing all but died by Monday afternoon for daytime fishing.
But night fish is still quite good. Although not the red hot fishing we
had earlier in the week it was still very productive. Last night, Monday,
I was on the MJIV with Rafeal and a boatful of regulars. I pulled in 15
respectable fish, and Ralph 3xs that of
course. The night fishing was not the in the hot daytime stops, but east.
It was rough bottom and I went through considerable tackle and was
fustrated at time. But the tally on the night overall was very
Today's daytime trips I have no firsthand knowledge on, but you can see
the the trip reports. They had at least some fish, worthy of making
a trip. What happens tomorrow is a guess. We hope to see the blues remain
and the big fish with them. This might be a long term trend.
The daytime bite has been hot regardless of bait or jigs, although the
guys have had great time jigger bigger porgies. The night time bite
has been very bias for worms, and you they should be used and purchased.
That is pretty much it. I think the fish are still about and show up
on the fish finders, but they seem to have paused from feeding
for a day or so. It is likely to get at least another stretch of
excellent fishing before the porgy frenzy returns to normal.
Early Summer Fishing June 2022
Today was one of those extraordinary days of fishing. I spent the last
two days, Monday and Tuesday, June 13th and 14th, in Belmar, NJ fishing
for Black Sea Bass, which is out of season, in NYS. I hopped on the New
Jersey Transit Long Branch line which goes, not only to Belmar, but
right to the docks. It is about a 2 hour ride from Penn Station, and
a connection needs to be made in Long Beach for the local leg that goes
down the shore line. It is a pleasant trip, and I arrived at about
11PM, and threw my gear onto the boat and took a nap on the dock in a chair,
until about 5AM when the boats started to power up and get ready for the
trip. I stayed two days there and loaded up on Black Sea Bass in the
most pleasant atmosphere one could expect. It is a huge boat and I had
a wonderful time fishing for 2 days, and staying over that the Motor
Lodge up the block. Everything was perfect.
When I got there, they all asked me if I was familiar with Anthony the
Dutchman and Mike Ardolino. It so happens that they have started to
work in Belmar and we all agreed that they are wonderful mates and
captains, and they are. Mike and Anthony will be working regularly
down there, and will be working this coming Thursday, today being
Wed Jun 15 2022. After two days, they asked if I was staying on more,
but I told them I had to head home, and this was true. So I went
from the boat to the rail station, and got home before 5:30PM. Then
I crashed until about 1AM Wednesday so I decided after doing all the paper
work I needed, that I would head out to the Marilyn Jean IV to porgie
fishing Wednesday. That is when strange things really started to happen.
I took the Q train to Sheepsehead Bay with my two lightweight porgies sticks
documented somewhere below, outfitted with matching Abu Garcia MGX2
low profile baitcasters. In Belmar I fished with my heavier United
Composite graphic stick with a Penn International 975CS baitcaster, which
I love for ling and tautog. Porgie fishing tends, for us, to be more
inshore so I use lighter tackle.
When we shoved off and made out first stop, we were surrounded by birds
working through a blue fish feeding frenzie. Pelican stopped in front of
them, south and east of the breezy point rocks and he parks himself, most
annoyingly, right in front of me in the bow and starts to throw a small jig
on a spinning rod, hunting not for blue fish but for porgies. And he found
them, huge ones, like our night time vapire fish, all 17 inches and up.
I was using clam that I brought from Stellar Maris bait shop, and the
boat was fishing shrimp. But I was really struggling to fish around
Pelican who was now jigging and pulling in about a dozen whoppers.
I was fishing small 2/0 Gamakatsu circle hooks tied up with light weight
20 pound flourocarbon leader and I hooked up a double header
that put a heavy bend my light porgie stick rod. Then I lost them on
the hook. The fish spit the hooks, to my amazement.
The same happened again before I finally pulled in a very nice fish.
Pelican continued to hook up a steady and infuriating stream of 16+
inch porgies on his jig, while hemming in my casting. We fish all
the time together so it was kind of weird. But I paid my $100 today to
be on the boat so I was getting a little annoyed with it.
Pelican and I squabbled a little about the positioning on the bow between
us when he graciously moved to the other side of the boat. With the
bow open to me, and now with my drag turned way way down, I started to
put on a nice display of fishing. While the rest of the boat was being
introduced to catching monster porgies on jigs, I continued with clam
on circle hooks resulting in a huge catch that included 6+ double headers,
and limiting out. I then started to distribute fish to clients. I had
over ten 16 plus inch fish that just over whelmed my rods. I was
considering changing to bigger hooks as these were deep ocean sized
porgies with huge mouths. The hooks would either rip off the meaty part
of their lips, or they occasionally just spit the hook. They had huge
mouths for porgies.
The fish were so big that I was having trouble lifting fish over the
rails, causing more discussions in the bow.
About half way through customers started to ask me about the clams because
they had shrimp. Shrimp is always the better and more expensive bait
and they were looking for salted clams, which is usually the worst sort
of bait, though better than clam bellies, so I was at a loss. I wasn't
really going to give out my clams since there wasn't enough for the boat.
Aside from that, they had shrimp which is usually superior and they did
catch some fish, but I was admittedly
on fire, as were the guys jigging next to me. Newbies on the boat were
a bit puzzled. We had a huge take of monster porgies, with
a few blue fish thrown in, catching on jigs and clams and they had
shrimp. It was easy to see why they would want clam. Never the less,
it was a lot of fun in the bow, and about the boat and everyone
went home with plenty of fish.
Usually I fish the bow because it is quiet and all the bigger and better
fisherman crowd the stern. I have no idea why everyone ran to the bow
today, but they did, with one young fellow fishing right under my elbow,
sticking to me about as close as he could get. I was so hot today that
it didn't really stop me, but I lost one or two fish trying to pull the
fish in without smacking him across the face with a rather big and spiney
porgie (safety first). Still it was a great trip and now I have
far more fish than I anticipated in the fridge.
I would like to assure everyone that reads this, or who was on the boat,
that there was really no magic to the fishing today. It was just years
of practice which allowed us to exploit what is a somewhat unusual fishing,
situation. One fellow inquired about the technique and I pretty much
said this and he made a retort about some sort of Catholic Saint and
miracals, which I didn't totally understand. But I did feel for his
wonderment. But some things can't be verbally taught, and they just
need practice and that matters more than the clams I was using. The
result was that we pulled in a large number of whoppers, but others on the
boat, even the more novice fisherman, pulled in fish. I think
everyone walked off the boat happy and the expectation is that the Porgies
are here, big ones, and if you enjoy that kind of fishing, now is the time
to get down to the Nautical Recreational Area at the Oceanside Piers at
Sheepshead Bay, and try jigging for porgies, or do as I did and use
bait. We fished on the Marilyn Jean IV, but other boats caught fish
today. So enjoy the porgy run. Scup is Up
Ling Cooking is a delicate matter - and they taste great. The key
to cooking Red Hake (Ling) is to use a low heat as the meat is
Memorial Day Week 2022
Heading into the Memorial Day weekend fishing in Brooklyn has begun
to heat up for night time runs of Blues and Porgies, and daytime
fishing has been spotty. The weather has brightened up this week
leading up the holiday but there are few fisherman on the docks
during the weekdays. I headed out on Wednesday and Friday and
on both days, the Marilyn Jean, which is my favorite boat, failed
to get out. I shifted to the Ocean Eagle, to fish with Chris and
Greg to do some Fluking.
Chris, the cheif mate on the Ocean Eagle, is a gem of a mate, knowledgable,
helpful, courtious, and a truly warm dude. We have a few videos here
with Chris in action. This time, since we were going for Fluke, which is
as area of fishing tackle I am by no means expert on, I depend on Chris's
expertise more than I often would. The resulkt over 2 days was 4 keeper
Fluke and more than a dozen sizable shorts. This is slow by standards of
good fishing, and the overall slow fishing had Captain Greg growling over
the PA system. Greg is passionate about catching fish and can show some
emotions when fishing is not as he expects. I, however, was pleased and
had more fillets than I could eat of a premium cut of fresh, sushi grade
On the second trip, Fishing Friday, I had a man and his son in from the
West Coast, fishing in the stern of the boat with boat rods, and standard
rigs. When we first started fishing the young pup pictured above began
complaining if we were going to be just dropping and moving all afternoon
with no catch. I told him to relax, it is a long day and we have lots of
time to catch fish as the tides and locations change. He was skeptical
until, low and behold, both him and his father caught some nice Fluke.
They went how with real smiles.
I made a new friend on this trip, Claude, an elder black man who is a
regular on the Ocean Eagle. He caught a vicious 4 inch fluke, about the
size of a sandap, which he proudly displayed. Claude was great to fish
with. He is easy going, warm and caught a few fish. I am not sure if he
got an 18 inch keeper, but he had a good day.
Meanwhile - Most of the boats are now reporting Night Time - Vampire
Porgies - are showing up along with more bluefish than we had seen in
a few years. This is the reports from the MJIV, The Hunter, The Captain
Dave, Flamingo and also the Sea Queen. This is good news. The MJIV is now
doing weekend half day fishing and they found ample Porgies this Saturday
on the monring trip... also good news.
On a sadder note, we lost a long time friend form the Nautical Recreational
Center at the Oceanside Peir of Sheepshead Bay. The MJ$ gallery guy, Dave,
who has been battling cancer over the last few years, died this past week,
from a heart condition. He has been on chemo for quite a while. We wish
all of Daves family our sincere condolences. They recently lost their
father, so it has been a tough stretch for this family who could often
be found fishing on Thursday nights on the MJIV. Dave was a supreme
Porgy fisherman, and a fixture at the Gallery for many years.
Dave on the a winter trip, one of his last apearances on the boat
along with many of the regulars.
Spring Fishing 2022
The fishing action for the early parts of 2022 have been at times spotty but also at times
productive. There has been a change in the line up of boats in at the Nautical Recreational Area at
the the Oceanside peirs of Sheepshead Bay. The Marilyn Jean V,
which was the largest carrying boat on the harbor, was sold to Captree. The Hunter, which was owned
by Michael Ardolino has been sold to new ownership and relocated to 2771 Knapp St, near the UA Movie theater.
The Captain Dave has been specializing in long range and tile trips. I took one 18 hour trip
for winter Sea Bass fishing and the fishing was great. Their long range Tile Fish trips have been
all the rage, and many come home with excellent catches and it has been steady all winter and
spring. The take has been the talk of the fleet and young Paulie has put a charge into the
life of the Captain Dave.
Black Fishing has been great when the weather cooperates, but now is finished. The Coean Eagle
has been very steady with Blacks and the Marilyn Jean has been doing some Blacks and Ling and Cod.
There has been a lot of rain through winter and spring, limiting the boats. But when we get out,
I was on the boat this 1st week in May for the Friday Fishing Club and we did just wonderful
ling fishing. I was hoping for a Cod, but it never came. Little Anthony was helping captain the
boat. He has relocated to Florida along with Mike, but was in town for a week, so I fished with them.
Ling fishing up to 120 foot was great. Nighttime Striped Bass fishing has been hot as well, but
not on the night I went out. The tide was extremely slack due to the moons position. We cruized
all of Jamacia Bay. The day before Stiper fishing was outstanding on the Hunter, Flamingo, and
the Sea Queen, day and night. But with slack tide, the fish weren't running. But we made up for it
with the day time Lings. Everyone on the Friday Fishing Club brought home nice Ling on this
cold and rain spring day. The Ocean was flat, with little wind. I fished with a 4 ounce weight
and 4/0 circle hooks into 120 feet without a problem. I ended up with a dozen fish and the
rest of the boat did better.
Early Winter 2021 - 2021
I was up Friday, 12/17/21, at 3AM and messages Captain Pelican as to the status of the boat for Firday morning. He reported to me that Ralphie was mating and he was expecting to get out. I looked up the wether report and it was reported to be a bit windy, out of the west, but with 3 foot seas. And Pelican asked for coffee. I asked him to hold the boat for me and I'd bring Breakfast.
I picked up coffee and Dunkin Donuts opn Kings Highway at 6AM and everything was packed and read for the trip at 6:30AM when the cab came. I arrived to find everyone on the MJ4, which was a bit of a disappointment. The MJ5 is not just a bigger boat, but it is more comfortable around that rails, especially if we are heading out past the NJ Highland, as we routinely do for Black Fishing. During the week, the Black fishing has been good, and I was hoping for more of the same. We loaded up and steamed south, with a boat full of the FRIDAY FISHING CLUB, the premium edition, with Felix Perez, Indian Joe, Jay, Frankie Kneski, Smilie - Robert Smilen, the Chins, Davie and his family, just a lot of expereinced rods in the water.
On the first stop, some hour south, the stern of the boat lit up with fine fish, except for Frankie Kneski who was on the port side bow, opposite of me. He pulled in two quick keepers, but I was getting nothing on the starbart side of the bow. Fortunately, I had my radio to keep me company for the first half of the trip and we had lots of hot coffee.
Things changed after 11:00 AM, and we lit up. I was fishing with the green Rod Geeks stick I had Ethan Klawansky make for me with a slowed up black pen torque 12 star drag on 30 pound braid and 30 pound flouro top shot and 3:0 Owners straigh hooks... no circles. I was trying to fish with my Penn Internation 987 baitcaster, my favorite Black Fish reel, but it needs to go into to Penn for seasonal work. I was fishing 5 ounces of weight. In the morning, the current was strong so I had to up the weight to 6 ounces, higher than I wanted. In the afternoon the current died down and I dropped to four ounces. And then I hit 3 keeper fish between 11:30 and 1:00PM. I kept two and gave one away to my neighbor in the bow who was having less luck. I just didn't get the fourth fish.
Around the boat though, we had fish and often HUGE fish. The Chins plucks out of the water one of the biggest Black Fish I had ever seen. This thing would play paddle ball with its tail. It must have been a 75 year old fish. People caught all about the boat. But late in the afternoon, we were up to having conversation in the bow. I was playing, by happenstance, the Cars, Steely Dan, and the Velvet Underground on the radio. Everyone seemed to have had a good time. And the ride home was pleasant enough. It was a good day, with good fishing and a happy crew.
The one very sad note was that we didn't take out the MJV. That boat was sadly sold this week and is heading back to Cap Tree. That really is a bummer as I liked the mudhole trips with that boat and the room for the galley and food. It will be missed.
As we close in on the holiday season, fishing remains quite exciting in Brooklyn with both Blackfish and
Striped Bass seasons in full swing. I have personally not fished much for Striped Bass, but the Lady
Flamingo and the night time trips on three of our famous boats, The Davie, The Sea Queen, and the Marilyn Jean,
have been hammering on the fish, pulling in lots of fish in the legal slot from 28-25 inches. Many prized fish,
40 inches and up had to return to the ocean.
Instead of striped bass fishing, I have done a lot of black fishing. Both on the Ocean Eagle and the Marilyn Jean,
nearly twice a week, I have been fishing on the 7AM boats as they run to the grounds. Most commonly the boats steamed
south of the Atlantic Highlands, up to an hour and 20 minutes south as the most. The deeper
waters from 120 feet deep have been productive as have many spots more inshore. Fishing has been adequate, and reasonably
challenging. That makes it fun, and the weather has also been holding out.
Let me start with the two trips I took on the Ocean Eagle. The first trip
I took had both Chris and Tommy as the mates. We had a fun trip, and I shared the stern with Robbie and Cano.
Even if we didn't catch as many fish as Captain Greg wanted, we still caught many fish, and I had an excellent time.
Tommy was at his best game, and just a delight to be fishing with and I caught fish! And we had a pool winner.
One of the best things about this trip is that the crew and regulars were in such a delightful mood.
My friend Tony was "a spaining" and in a talking mood, a very Italian cultural trait, and you can
listen in a little here on this wonderful video. Enjoy a of a real slice of life on the Oceanside
Docks at Sheepshead bay.
The second trip that I took with the Ocean Eagle was on an incredably rough Friday with
lots of wind and quite cold. It was a light crowd, but again, I caught decent fish, including 2 keeper Black Fish
and a huge Cunner which I love for Breakfast. It was a vewry tough day on the boat and when not fishing, we ened up
huddled in the cabin. That can be good or bad, depending on the company. But we still caught fish that Friday and
got into dock before Shabbat.
On Thanksgiving Weekend itself, I spent my free time on the Marilyn Jean V. We fished that
Thanksgiving, and on that Sunday, and it was very plesant. Fishing aside, the MJ5 itself is the most comfortable boat to
fish on, and Rafeal, the first mate, is a delightful guy and a personal friend. On Thankgiving, we have a traditional trip
with about 20+ passangers. I have many friends among those regulars, including Jon and Kathy, who caught decent fish
on these trips. I brought a bucket of Kosher Chicken to the boat, plus hot coffee. It was a bit nippy, but the fishing
was terrific and the ocean was very gentle.
On the Thankgiving trip, we caught a lot of fish! Felix was on the boat, along with Indian Joe and
they decided to run their own pool. I don't do pools, which was good for Felix because I caught what would
have been the pool winner. We got happy fishermen and great shots! It was GREAT fun and there is more winter fishing
November Black Fishing on the MJ5
We turn the calander and this Wednesday I made an unplanned Blackfish trip on the Marilyn Jean V
for Blacks. We hummed out across the lower bay and down the Jersey Shore and it started out so miserable.
With lowering temperatures but bright skies, we had Rojas and Benny as mates, as Rafeal seemed to be out for
a prolonged lend to Rhode Island. I was happy to see Rojas. We also had a few guests on the boat, including
Fireman Matt, Little Anthony, Denis and his better half, Nickie, all professionals from around the bay. Regular
customers included Rooster, and crazy Lou. Lou really does suffer, and he is cashing out his mothers home in Brooklyn
and moving, likely to New Jersey. We was well behaved and had a good time on the boat which is cause
to be happy. And he pulled out some very nice Tautog!
The temperatures plummeted into the 50's, which was a shock on the system as we have been
hovering over 70 degrees for weeks. The drop in water temperature seems to help the fishing.
But my morning was one of suffering. I lost 4 rigges in the first half hour after anchoring up.
And to make matters worst, my Penn 987 Baitcaster was acting up and not catching. It it the best
blackfish reel I could get, and it is needing to be sent in when I need it most. And noone seemed
to be catching. It was just fustrating all around, so much so that I tossed my pole onto the rack
and retired to the cabin, wondering to myself why I even do this. It seems like such a waste of
energy and time, and honestly, the people at the dock overall wear me out.
I cooled my jets for a few minutes and listened to my jute box, before finally returning. At this point,
in an effort to avoid losing more rigs, I lifted the snaffu rig up the topshot leader, by about six inches,
and attempted to gently lay the rig across the bottom, a bit away from the weight. This did prevent me from
getting stuck. It didn't help in catching fish. Captain Pelican came down and said a disgruntled word or two
about the set up, and complained that after all this time I should know better on how to make a working rig.
The truth is, he is only half right. It is easy to see what others are doing than it is to execute it and
it has only been about a year now that I have tried to make my own rigs and set up myself. It is part of the
skill building that I have put myself through. But today it was pretty miserable. And I intended to
use the alternative set up to dtop getting hung up. He was right about one thing though, this was also
So I lowered my rig again, and shorted the length of the hook leaders, making everything tight. This
seemed to have produced some results, as I hit a nice short and then a legit keeper on this set up,
while nursing my sick reel. By the end of the day I pulled in 3 keeper and 8-10 fish all together, sending
the rest back. This was satisfying and I have fresh blackfish for Shabbat.
Fall Night Time Striped Bass Run on the MJ5 - 2021
The Striped Bass action has begun at night. Honestly, night Striped Bass is not my favorite way to fish for them
as I perfer to jig for them, but the run is on and last night was an exceptional catch. We had about 20 folks
on the boat and they had a wonderful time. About 12 fish over the 28 inch slot came of the rail, and many were
true monsters that was over the slot limit and had to be returned to the water. But we still got a few to take
We fished eels with 8-12 ounce weights on a triple rig, with mandated circle hooks, each attached to about 2 feet
of line. Bass fishing is jackpot fishing. If the captain can find fish, usually even newbies can catch them, and
it can be great fun. And sometimes, you can come up blank. Pelican spanned much of the lower harbor from
end to end and hit the fish big. For some reason on our boat, nearly all the fish were
caught in the back of the boat. So they had great fun in the stern.
Fall Wreck Trips on the Captain Dave
As the fall and winter creeps in upon on and on the Halloween Season, I was able to squeeze in a post-Shabbat
long range trip to the far wrecks in the area. These trips are usually rewarding in that you can nail some
really decent size fish and in quantity. This Halloween, Captain Dave offered a 10PM Saturday Night
voyage to the wreck grounds. I loaded up with food and headed out to the Oceanside Docks and the Nautical Recreational
area on Emmons Avenue. Davie's boat is anchored at Pier 2 on Bedford Avenue and Emmons.
Up and down the Northeast, fishing trips this weekend were cancelled as we were wedged between two NorEaster storms,
but heading into Sunday, the reports started clearing up and by Saturday night the Jersey boats were changing plans and
opening their boats. So we loaded up the Captain Dave, at near capacity, the only boat on the whole of Long Island that
seemed to get out, and we ferried out to the world-wide ocean. We hugged the coast and steamed east for nearly 6 hours
and then about Fire Island turned SouthEast to an area south of Shinnecock around the Mochies. It was long trip and
the boys has a floating penny ante poker game that lasted more than 10 hours back and forth. The boys had fun. I slept
on a beanbag that was lent me from Richie at Stella Maris.
We arrived the next morning and the steal boat was flattening out what was otherwise a rough sea. The guys next to me pulled
up 5 huge seabass, 25+ inches. Huge porgies came up the rail, swallowing 3/0 and 5/0 hooks. I fished with my Herucles Seeker
paired to my baitcaster Penn 987, using 50 pound braid and a 60 pound topshot, topped off with 3/0 Owner hooks and a 12 ounce weight.
I pulled in endless fish, but most of my seabass, including some 8 double headers in a row, with mostly 14+ inch fish. Nice fish
but not legal to keep under the draceon NYC regulations. I pulled up one nice monster and another keeper before Captain Paulie
decided to cut the trip a little early and at about 12:30 we pulled out and headed home. All in all, we arrived at about 9PM Sunday
night. Everyone stumbled off the boat with smiles and fish, quite pleased with themselves.
Early Fall Fishing Runs
The Jewish Holiday Season just passed us and we are now beginning to expereince the
cooler temperatures and waters entering into fall. The Scup fishing has continued to
support the recreational fishing, but there has been a lot of sightings of Tuna and
Albacore throughout the waters. Boats are gearing up and we have seen very decent
Blue Fish throughout Jamaica Bay. The birds have been pounding the surf and we have
spotted peanut bunker inside Sheepshead Bay.
Fridays continue to be my favorite day to fish and we have had lovely trips. Throughout
September and now into October, we pounded huge porgies inshore, and as they have weakened
somewhat, we pounded HUGE Sea Bass slightly offshore. Last week I pulled up a monster 23+ inch
Sea Bass, along with a pale full of other fish. The boat had excellent catches all around. I had
one young boy of about 10 years of age, the last 2 weeks, outfish me, which is fun.
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I'm getting fatigued with endless pictures of people
holding fish. The long stretch of Fluke and Porgie fishes has taken some of the fun out
of picture taking. I promise more pics as we move into Blackfish Season in the coming weeks.
One of the oddest things I've seen of late, though, is that have hooked the biggest Sea Robbins
I can ever remmeber with wingspans of nearly 24 inches. I don't promote eating these fish, although
they make great pets. But it has been note worthy. Trigger Fish are also lurking about.
Over this last week, I have had the pleasure to fish, mostly with Frankie - El Grecco. on the Marilyn Jean V
on the night trip on Sunday Night, Monday Night and Tuesday Night. During this time, it has reminded me that
New York, and especially Brooklyn, can very well be a world of water. When one visits for a period of time
California, or in Israel in the summer, one can go through weeks without significant rain. But we have
been in a water world. Between rain, mist, ocean spray, and the ocean itself, we have been surrounded by water
and the boundry between the bay and the air and the sky has blurred by water. Tonight we had a decent rain storm
through out the early even, and by night I was quite wet, but this has been largely the case for the whole week.
Porgies, though, love this weather, especaily with the new moon when tides are at their peaks. We have had a
week of excellent Scup fishing over the entire week.
On Sunday, Ralphie was in the stern with worms, along with a group of Mexican regulars. They did extremely well
on worms, although I had a lighter catch with shrimp and squid. We followed that up with a Monday in Jamacia Bay
with a real drizzily night on the water. We started cold, but then the tide turned on and we crushed the Scup and
hit extensive Weak Fish. I caught 6 small Weak Fish, a few Blues and a bucket of Porgies. Today, we hit fish
right after we anchored. Tonight was the kind of night where even newbies walked off the boat with extessive fish,
even as we fished through a storm or two, fit with lightning. We pulled in hundreds of fish. And as the night ended
and we docked, other boats came in. The Hunter had a big Tuna trip and hit fish. Captain Dave hit great Tile Fish
over the weekend. Over all, the harbor is enjoying all kinds of fishing with great success.
Local Night Time Porgies
This past Thursday Night I managed to get to Pier 7 and hop on the night trip for the Marilyn Jean V
and get some fishing in with Captain Pelican. We cruised out to Jamacia Bay and found a wonderful catch
of decent size Porgies. This was a boat full of first timers and newbies, and that resulted in a lot of
fun. Then, at about midnight, after we were supposed to be already back in the dock, Captain Pelican
decided to make a pit stip in a secret local that I am sworn to silence on. And we hit HUGE fish, all
in the 18 inch range for Porgies, and we ran into a keeper Striped Bass. That made everyone happy,
despite entering late into the dock at almost 1:30AM. I didn't get home until nearly 2AM. But it was
We were lucky enough on this night to have members of the Staten Island Fishing Club on the boat.
I fished the bow with Paulie, a founding member who pulled in some excellent fish. He is a very
serious guy with very serious fishing techniques.
The Oceanside Nautical Recreational Center of Sheepshead Bay
If you are visiting New York City, you owe it to yourself to experience a full day of fun and action at New York's Oceanside Piers at the Sheepshead Bay Recreation and Entertainment District -- Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn USA.
I have been working on this promotional pamphlet for the Nautical Recreation Area of Sheepshead Bay. It
is still a work in progress but presentable. Oceanside is more than just Peirs, but an entire district
dedicated to Tourists and Locals alike for an authentic fishing and recreational experience. Bait, Tackle,
Boats, Charters, Jet Skis, Dining, Movies, Hotel Accomodations, Kayaking, Boat Clubs, and more are all
available and waiting for your discovery, right here in Brooklyn USA.
Friday's Fishing Club Entering the Fourth of July of 2021
Cautious optimism is creeping into the regions consciousness as we seemingly emerge from the lock downs of Covid-19. Part of
that optimism is carried by people finding other things to do then sailing on fishing boats. The resulting corwds which are now be slimmer.
Going into the Forth of July, it rained. In my experience, when it rains, Porgies love to bite. But the day after, as sweet water
and sewage makes it way into the harbor, they tend to turn off for a couple of days. The Friday Fishing Club got out, but the Marilyn Jean V
didn't. Instead we fished with Greg on the Ocean Eagle. The Ocean Eagle has had a wonderful season run, and it has seen terrific fluking and
very decent porgy fishing. I had no expectations for this trip. The night before, Thursday night, we did get out on the MJV during the rain. I
ran there from work and was without my serious fishing gear or my serious rain gear. I got soaked through. We went out, and
headed east. I caught 5 decent sized porgies, and the rest of the boat, much less. And it wasn't for a lack of effort. So my
thought was that after the rain, if we went porgy hunting, it was not likely to be a big bite.
Getting on the boat on Friday morning, I was already pessimistic about the outcome. But I am always just happy to be on the boat.
I was greeted warmly by the Ocean Eagle crew, Greg, Chris, and especially the old man of the docks, Tommy. Tommy is an interesting
case, worth his own write up. He is in his late seventy's or maybe even his eighties, but he keeps working as a mate on the Ocean Eagle,
regardless of the weather. I have worried about him getting sun stroke. He is a truly kind soul whose life has been touched by some sobering
tragedy. HE is was civil worker, and a locksmith, and on retirement with a civil pension. His friendship is warm and authentic. I learned
today that he is a huge Bob Dylan fan.
Last night fish were stacked on the sonar, but the fish simply didn't bite. Today was similar all over the local waters. Greg found
fish, but the fish refused to bite. I expected this, so I was happy with my 6 fish and my jute box playing Bob Dylan and Steely Dan.
Captain Greg was significantly less amused. He was very frustrated with these fish outright teasing him! Added to this, we had a rather
odd young women refusing to fish because she only fished with worms. Never mind that Porgies like clams, and shrimp, which were plentiful
and that such boats never carry worms, she was having none of it. She refused to pick up a stick and wandered about the boat the entire
day saying odd things about anything that passed her fancy. She was harmless and I felt bad for her. But it was worst with the slow
fishing. In the end, I brought home a smile and 3 nice fish, and gave the rest to passengers. We will see how things goes on the 4th of July.
... stay tuned...
Friday's Fishing Club having extra-ordinary trips in the Summer of 2021
This last week of June we had an extraordinary group of fisherman, and fishing in the beginnings of the heat of summer. We
still have some spring coolness in the breeze, but the midday sun was very present. On board fishing this Friday was a
set of veteran anglers including Indian Joe, Glen Evans, Doc, and Jay, along with plenty of new and old faces. The day before,
Captain Pelican found a pile of large Black Sea Bass, and that drew quite a bit of interest. But the Friday trip wasn't able to
repeat that. We did pick up some beautiful Sea Bass, however, including this whopper I hooked which barely fits in my wok.
We started scouting Jamaica Bay for Scup and that turned up nothing, so we steamed out to
the Atlantic Wreck. The great thing about the Marilyn Jean V is that it has considerable
range and maneuverability for a big party boat. Pelican has learned to use it to his advantage
and to run from local to local and hunt for fish. On the Atlantic Wreck we hit some Sea Bass and
a few Porgies, but not enough. So up went the Anchors and onto the hunt went Pelican, out further
east, and further out, until with piled up some decent numbers. My personal take was 4 Sea Bass, substantial
in size, plus about 10 porgies, and I caught 5 Fluke, which I kept only two keepers, and a spare ling or two.
Elsewhere on the boat, Rusty fit 2 nice herrings, just to give you an idea of the variety.
This promised to be a decent Scup Fishing day with plenty of action. So I broke out my favorite Porgies fishing gear for the first time this summer. I fished all day with my ultralight Abu Garcia MGX2 reel on a custom Porgy Rod made by "Flounder" at Stella Maris. I used
three hooks, two lower Porgy hooks with Gamakatsu 2 circles, and an upper 3/0 Ling/Cod Hook. I fished
Shrimp and Clam Bait the entire day. Others around me used Gulp (to less success) and Indian Joe had a small
jig he was using to chase keeper Sea Bass and that worked for him. My line was 30 pound dark green braid with about 15 feet of
30 pound flouro top shot. At times I found myself letting the bait sit on the bottom and dragging it over the
sea floor. That seemed to get the attention of larger Sea Bass. All the Fluke hit on shrimp. At lower depth I
casted 30-40 feet, throwing 4 ounces of lead. On the deeper drops, I casted less so and depended on touch and
It's Fathers Day and Everybody Wants to Get into the Newspaper Story About It!
Fathers Day after the COVID-19 Lock Down has every family stiring an looking for terrific outdoor activities to do with dad!
Of course, this means that the entire fleet at Sheepshead Bay was sold out and railed with fishermen, young and old! Multi-Generational
fishermen from local families had a great day of fun, and the fish cooperated, leaving smiles everywhere.
The weather broke to be a spectacular day. I was on the Bow of the Marilyn Jean 5, fishing on the
port side. To my left, down the boat was my new young friend, Danny, and his father and grandfather.
His grandfather was in the Russian Army during the War and had a lovely tattoo of Bering Strait Islands
on his arm as a memento. His father and him have been on the boat earlier in the year. Daniel is a
very serious young man who loves his fishing and is somewhat competitive with his father. They were
very pleasant. Further down the rail was a couple of Ukrainian immigrants. They didn't speak a word of
English and seemed completely new to the boat, but on boat rods they caught a nice quantity of fish when
they weren't tangling the entire bow (both the port and starboard sides). They had great fun
Captain Pelican fished the ocean this day. We started out with local Porgies, but soon ran out
to Atlantic Reef where we picked up a great run of Ling. Unfortunately, Thresher Sharks moved into
the area, along with some Dolphins. We really couldn't tangle with the sharks, so we reluctantly moved
onto deeper waters, fishing into 160 Foot drops, and picking out nice bunches of Ling and Cod.
The family to my right had about 4 older boys and a Fireman who swapped stories with my of 9-11.
The kids were warriors of the rails and one of the boys showed me my first Seigler Reel, which is an
American Made top quality star drag reel. It was surprisingly light weight and he said he know the
distributor for them. I wish I took his contact information because I was very interested in that
reel. They had a good time, but didn't catch what they had hoped. I am sure they would had fared
better on another day with more room. But even the big MJV was tight, and even in the bow where there
is most often more room. For myself, after a few tangles, I let up on my fishing and spent more
time help others about the bow, and I still pulled in about 20 fish that I gave away. This is the
kind of day that really works the mates.
I actually did two trips on Father's Day, day and night. Between the two, I headed to
Stella Maris's bait shop to visit the Mayor of Sheepshead Bay. He was deep into
cooking on his grill class A steaks. The crew there was so intent on the meat, they
actually stopped talking as they meditated on the meat. It was impressive.
The night trip was just a little weird. I propably shouldn't had gone as I was exhauste. We left the
dock and hit the porgies, and the night porgies were there. They weren't the fat ones, but they
did provide some steady entertainment. I used my custom porgy stick with the Abu Garcia MGX2 reel
and showed off my casting skills for the crowd, hitting targets 40+ feet out of the boat and into the
tide. I kept thinking I need to think like a fish, and hit fish on that mantra. It made the mates
laugh, and even young Ivan, the junior mate, was behaving themselves. I pulled in about 20 porgies
and gave them away. Folks were very happy coming off the boat. I was feeling like an old man needing
The Porgy Watch is OVER
Well the much anticipated wait for the annual summer porgy run is over. This Friday morning on a rough
day out in the ocean, we scouted out on the Marilyn Jean, along with the Ocean Eagle, in shore and about
Jamaica Bay for the Porgies. There has been roumors that they have been making their way down from The
north shore and Long Island Sound. At first we checked out the rough waters about the jetty and read them.
We got a few nibbles and found a stray baby black fish, and some silver dollar porgies. It was not what we
were looking for. Then we fished about the inside lick of Breezy Point up to Roxburry. And we found some
Porgies, nice and fat ones. Not a lot, but a steady pick at them for the boat. I ended up with a moderate
number of them, about 12 large fish that ended up on the Shabbat Tables of friends and myself. This is all
good news for the fleet and Porgies are their bread and butter. For me, it means the end of Ling fishing and
the end of Cod fishing. That makes me unhappy. By August we will be up to our waist in Porgies.
During the third week of June, I had the pleasure to have a rare Wednesday off, and we hit the water, porgy fishing.
I pulled out my Porgy sticks, including my custom made MHX sticks loaded with 30 pound braid on my Abu Garcia MGX2
reels. This is what they were designed to do. I took a position in the stern of the boat, which is unusual for me.
You can almost always find me in the bow. But I figured on a light weekday trip, I could squeeze into the portside
bow comfortably, and we had a decent group of people. I fished near my friend "Raster", who was fishing a Penn levelwind,
GT321 with a lever drag. On the second drop, I hit bullseye on the second drift about a mile outside the Rockaways.
I pulled up huge fish, and we had a day of very large porgies. We are talking routinely 17+ inches of fish. And I was
loading up on them, but the rest of the boat seemed to be stone cold. So about 15 fish in, Captain Pelican decided to move
me off the spot!
Eventually we moved to about the 2 bell where we hit fish, and later moved closer toward the Brighton Beach shore line.
In the end, everyone hit NICE fish. The fishing wasn't drop and stick, as it is in August, but we made up for it
with the size and quality of the fish. Poor Raster didn't get a hit until almost 12:30PM. Then he nailed a huge fish,
along with a share of later catches. A young man to my left had a steady run of quality fish. There was nothing but
smiles on the boat today.
The June Swoon - Early Summer is on
The weather is finally beginning to heat up and the Porgy Watch is
well on. They have been biting for them in the Long Island Sound, but down
here on the south shore, they haven't yet apeared. So we are still
enjoying a nice mixture of Cod and Ling Fishing, down the Jersey Shore in
about 160 foot of water, and Bass Fishing in Raritan and Fluking.
Fluking has been largely been steady on the Ocean Eagle, and the Captain
Dave. Bass fishing has been explossive on the Lady Flamingo and on
the Sea Queen (both day and night). The Marilyn Jean IV has been picking
at Fluke, and the Marilyn Jean V has been steady with Ling and Cod.
Personally, I enjoy Ling and Cod, so I am not complaining.
I haven't picked up any Cod, but folks around me have been steady on them.
This Sunday, on June 6th, I was out on the water with my old friend,
Paul Robert Marino. We've been hitting the Red Hake at satisfactory
rates, and two lovely Cods were picked up around me. Something weird
seemed to be happening to my hooks today. I took a day and night trip,
with Rafeal and Rojas mating the day trip and Billy and Benny on the
night trip, I dropped a large number of large fish at the surface,
including 3 huge baseball bat size ling, and 3 reasonable size blue fish.
The common theme was that these fish where all hooked from under the
boat and pulled in. Pulling them up, the fish were at an odd angle.
But this is nothing I haven't handled before. I am using Owner hooks,
and still fustratingly dropping fish all day.
Even still, we had a terrific day of fishing in the bow. The variation
in fishing depths and species has been a welcome change before the
Porgy runs. Here is a great montage of bow fishhing.
2021 Night Time Bass and Blues on Chunks
Brooklyn is experiencing one of the great Striped Bass and Blues runs of the decade. Early on Bass reports
were pouring in from the Raritan Bay area, and now it has spread to all over the harbor and into Jamacia
Bay. We started on worms and the Six Packs like the Rock Fish were giving great reports. Later, the night
time party boats and specialty cruisers like the Hunter were killing it, hitting bass in the slot size to the
limit and many monster fish that had to be returned to the water.
I finally got in on the action in the 3rd week of May with a night trip on the MJ5. Benny and Billy were the mates, and
the captain was Pelican. He guaranteed that we would catch sh, which was entertaining because one never guarantees fish. But we did
catch a load of fish. I pulled in two keeper fish, fat cows, 28 and 31 inches, and the fish loaded up on blues. We bunker chunked
on fish finder rigs. Many of the blues were caught on wire rigs on bunker chunks as well. We sailed into Jamacia Bay, out to the back
and loaded up on fish, essentially one stop shopping, which a good chum slick for the night.
We made a mess of the boat, but we had a wonder evening, in pleasant weather. Smiles and Fish all around the boat. I fished
the bow with two wonderful gentlemen, who came on the baot with stylish life jackets that were very cool. They were
wonderfully organized and pulled in a good share of blue fish. They were loaded with surf rods in the bow and took a
little bit of time to get used to no overhand casting on the boat. But once comportable, they got in and got fish.
Anthony Pelican Reyes
When I was busy raising my kids in the 1990's, I most often fished on
Tommy Marcini's Pilot. Tommy was a sweetheart to his customers, and
loved my kids. He sadly died of cancer and the reigns of the Pilot was
entrusted to a young captain, Anthony "Pelican" Reyes. Tony was born
with a birth defect in his jaw that gave rise to his moniker, "Pelican".
They rode him fairly hard, and the defect was eventually surgically
fixed. But in the face of much adversity, he shined, and developed his
I didn't meet Tony until about 2014 as I was going through multiple
personal setbacks. I was going through a devastating divorce, the death
of my grandmother, who was all but a mother to me, and terrible and
undeserved legal problems in my career brought on by a malicious
investigator who dragged me into an pharmacy investigation for a store I
only worked a day a week in, and had no dealings with. Things reached a
point where I wasn't even sleeping for days on end. In desperation, I
finally ended up early in the mornings at the dock. And upon someones
recommendation, found the Marilyn Jean IV, where Captain Pelican was
running the ship.
Pelican took me in as a lost family member and before long we were
almost like family. I spent weeks in the pilot house with him,
absorbing all the comings and goings of the entire harbor, and even
Pelican's personal life. I recall the death of his father, and the
disfunction on his home front. But on the boat, Pelican was king and in
control. Hardly perfect as a person (who is), but he had grudging
respect from the entire harbor, and friends everywhere he went.
Pelican and I are very close. He has earned my friendship because of
the man he is. He is generous with his time and his knowledge. He has
included me on adventures I would never otherwise imaged. Most of what I
have learned about fishing, I had learned by being schooled by Pelican.
He catches more fish that anyone on the East Coast, if not in the entire
country. It helps that he targets Porgies in the summer, but it is
still a fact. He has more happy customers than anyone else on the
docks, and he works hard with beginners and new customers on the boat,
and sends them home with smiles and fish. He can be a bit gruff, even
childish at times, but he has matured considerably in the time I have
known him, and he always leads with his best foot, and with sincere
friendship to all.
So much time and friendship has passed between us, that we both
take it for granted. Mind you, we come from two separate worlds. But
we share a common Brooklyn heritage, and a love for fishing, although he
does it professionally and I only wish I did. And we have come to learn
a lot about, not just fishing, but life as well, in our time as friends.
The contrast works for us. The love I have for this man is genuine and
When we fish in deeper waters for Tautog or Red Hake (Ling), we often run into swarms of smaller fish we call Berballs, but which
are more properly known as Cunners. Off shore these can grow to decent sizes of 6-8 inches. Most often we seem them as very small
and agressive fish that steal bait, with a size of 2 - 3 inches. They are annoying bait snatchers and they live in the wrecks and
are a primary cause of folks getting stuck on the bottom as they wrap up light weight lines into the rocks and wrecks. If you pull up,
you often stab them and they come up to the surface harpooned in the head or belly. They must be thick on the bottom. Most people
throw them back. I love them for breakfast.
They are in the Family of Wrasse Fish (Labridae), and that makes them a cousin to Blackfish. If you look, it is obvious. They
both have that teeth set up and similar locomotion.
It is a very Jewish thing to have fish with breakfast. In Israel we have huge smorgasbords of fresh fish. So I seem to have
taken to this NYC form of fish in the morning with Cunners when I can get them. And of late, I have gotten quite a few Berballs
for my breakfast table.
Cooking Cunners is as easy as it gets. Just gut and scale the fish. Maybe you don't even need to scale them. Throw them
on the grill or the pan and brown them on each side. They are done as quickly as the eggs... a few minutes. It can't get any
easier. As for the tast, they are DELICIOUS. They are better than lox for breakfast. They tast almost like makeral, but
with a lighter, more delicate meat. They have a more salty flavor, and the small amount of fish for breakfast carries over in the
pallet as one eats the eggs, enhancing all of breakfast, even the coffee. If you are a Brooklyn fisherman, you have access to this
delightful specialty you have to try this. Even the rich don't eat this well, and to my knowledge, you can't buy this at any price.
A Cunner breakfast, with eggs, once over easy, with two thin slices of Challah make for a special breakfast, especially if your
trying to impress someone special for a relaxing morning by the docks.
Eating them is a bit of a finesse. You feel very classy eating them, and you need your fork. They do have small bones,
but the bones are lined up in a delicate row, very easy to remove with your fork. The meat is very white,
and visually appealing. You will have a great meal and it is quick and easy to prepare. This is sooo much better than caviar.
Anytime I get a chance to take home Cunners, I do so and they are a
regular staple of my mornings. Try them yourself!
Late Spring 2021
May has come and the early Black Fish season has come and gone, but Fluke Season has opened, The Striped Bass are on full run,
Blue Fish are being seen in the waters, and Ling and Cod have been ON FIRE. As Mothers day has come and gone, fishing
has lit up accross the board. You can have succcess now in nearly any kind of fishing, from jigs, chuncks, bottom fishing, and fluking. This is NYC's best fishing at its finest and you're lucky that the crowds are still small. Don't expect that to remain so as the boats are putting up more and more pictures.
I got my second pfizer vaccine yesterday, so I went on the boat feeling expectedly under the weather, slighly soar
all over my body and achy. The right arm, that recieved the shot, felt weak the entire trip. On the second cast
of the morning, once we go out on this Tuesday morning, I was whopped be something I didn't know. I was using my
United Composite Mega attached to my low gear Torque 12 star drag. It was spooled with 30 lb blue braid and about 12 feet of
30 lb Flourocarbon topshot. Then I ran a lower snafu rig (hooks on opposite ends of 10 inches of 60lb leader) and a top hook
of 9 inches of 60lb leader snelled to the hook. All the hooks were 3/0 Owens hooks. These hooks really do make a difference and
are worth the expense. The entire rig was nchored by a 5 ounce weight. And to my susprise, for most of the day this rig, with
all three hooks, held up nicely and I didn't loose it until nearly 1:30PM.
On the second cast, when I pulled in the two Blacks and they were hanging on the top hook and the bottom. As they were
swimming around each other, the rig got fairly tangled, and this was one of the small disadvantages of the this rig, its
tendency to table and the need to detangle it. If I shortened the higher hook, I might had avoided some of this, but I
wanted the slight potential overlap of bait on the bottom. So I lived with the hooks getting tangled from time to time.
The resulting fishing was outstanding.
The rest of the day was a steady pull of Ling, with a sprinkling of Blacks and Huge Sea Bass mixed in. Pelican, the captain
of the Marilyn Jean V, really found fat spots today. The cod was caught on a standard rig and boat hooks. We filled
coolers all about the boat. It was nearly 6 hours of steady bottom fishing, with fish on nearly every pull. We
fished clams the whole day, without use of artificials. The sole mate today was Rojas, and he was exceptionally
busy with fillets, cutting fish until we entered th dock. He earned his keep today, despite the light crowd.
With all that, I was excited to finally get some decent pics and video. But when I pulled out my camera, I noticed
that it was missing its memory chip. So all I have are pics from the smartphones taken by Pelican. Sorry :). So,
I will get decent Spring fishing images soone enough, just not today.
So what can I recommend for Fisherman now? It is ALL good. Jigging on the Flamingo, Stripers on the Hunter,
especially at night, Fluking on the Ocean Eagle or half day on the MJIV are all driving EXCELLENT reports. Davie has
turned into the golden boy this spring with wonderful Tile trips and Canyon andventures happening and the Charter Boats
have been killing the striped bass. Everything right now is Aces, so get down to the Seasonside Docks at Sheepshead Bay
and get in on the action.
Late in the week, the Ling Fishing has slowed into Sunday. We hit enough fish to keep everyone interested, but after
hitting 40 fish days for a week, Sunday was a considerable slowdown. We had a great trip, though, and made new friends
including Daniel and his Father who caught their share of fish and smiled a lot.
We also had the pleasure of fishing with Freddie the Jinx - one of the oldest characters on the Bay.
It is worth noting that the Hunter has a new Midnight to Morning Blues and Bass trip and they have been very successful in
getting clients AND catching fish. For the smaller boats, blues and Bass are in top form right now,
Spring Opening 2021
After a short winter, spring fishing opened in the Borough, and we have chased a decent run of Spring Blackfish and Striped Bass. For myself, I
love the Spring Ling Fishing and Cod runs down the mudhole. Fishing has been at times wonderful and sometimes completely a dude. The weather has
been difficult and there is a big of a COVID-19 hangover. We've had some fun catching a few fish, anyway. And the entire gang has gotten into the
action, both young and old.
In addition to these Blackfish and Cod trips, the Captain Dave has been whomping on the Tile Fish, doing successful offshore
trips with Paulie as captain all string long. They are really encouranged and keep adding more and more trips onto there schedule.
They are really doing well on these trips.
Along with the regular reports, we have several new options now in Brooklyn for fishing. The Hunter now has added a fast, far ranging,
charter boat, dubbed by Mike as the Hunter Express. Schedules haven't yet been announced, but we are likely to see some action
soon with that boat. And in addition, we have a new charter berthed in Geriten Beach, the Sound Bound II, which is a 6 pack charter
in the class of the Rockfish. The Rochfish itself is always booked so there is likely capacity for the new boats.
Complete Fall Photo Gallery
Enjoy all the Photographs from fishing in the Fall and Winter of
After the disaster of the 2021 year comes to a close, the Blackfish season in New York closed on
December 22nd, and the Striped Bass season ending on December 25th, the Winter Fishing is shifting into a new stretch.
Black Sea Bass ends on New Years. That legally closes almost all the productive fisheries for legal fishing accept for
Ling and Cod. Many of the boats are taking the time to do winter repairs. The Sea Queen, and the Hunter are shut down
for a period of time making upgrades and repairs. I saw that Michael, the owner of the Hunter, is working on a new rail
for the Hunter, especially on the bow of the boat. That will be a welcome addition to his boat. The Marilyn Jean 5 was
in the dry dock under painting and repairs, and just this week (I am writing this on Mon Dec 28 09:49:32 AM EST 2020) has
just returned to Sheepshead Bay and not the Marilyn Jean 4 is undergoing repairs. The Ocean Eagle had run decently Tatoug
trips right to the end of the season, and is not pausing until the New Year, when they expect to fish Cod.
Cod fishing has started out with a bang, being lead by Paul Paris on the Captain Dave. He has produced both regular wreck
trips that have run from Friday through the weekend, and 12 hour local Cod and Ling trips. They have been most productive.
They pulled in one Cod that made me green with envy, which I am showing you below. Based on that success, I headed out With
Davie on Sunday, December 27th, that ran from 5AM until 5PM. We headed out from the Colera Grounds, to the waters around
Jones Beach, hitting nearly every wreck and reef along the way. The weather was cold, barely tipping over freezing in the
mid-afternoon, but the ocean was calm with nearly any wind. But we produced no fish, other than spiney dogfish. I tried
nearly every tackle I carried from light tackle on 4 ounce weights and porgy hooks, to 3/0 high lows on wreck fishing torques
on heavier sticks. Nothing seemed to work. Even the light tackle felt barely Gebal nibble. The fish just weren't biting.
We had a good time though. Chris proved that eating fish every day for 40 years gives you a hairy chest, and the guys
had a decent game of penny-ante poker going on. The cabin was warm, and the weather was stunning for a mid-winter ocean
trip. Honeslty, we had lots of great laughs, and the next day, today, I am fully relaxed, which is the best gage of a
decent fishing trip. That has real value in the middle of this Covid-19 Pandemic
Early Winter Fishing
Before the Blackfish and Striped Bass seasons ended, I had a chance to do a little more Striped Bass and Blues Fishing using my
new Fathom Low Profile 400 High Speed reel attached to my United Composite GUSA stick. As we headed out to the south shore waters,
we passed massive amounts of both bunker and birds, acres worth in all directions. Pelican found some very late Porgies in mid-December
and he went Porgie crazy. But I was really interested in the Blackfish and the Stripers. I hit enough blackfish, but I had the most
fun using diamond jigs and pulling in Striped Bass just as Chanukah came in. For Shabbat on Chanukah, we had most excellent Striped Bass
With Thanksgiving and December rolling in, Blackfishing slowed down. Many of the standard drops for Blackfish
have been all but fished out. All the boats targeting blackfish have had good days, and bad ones. For a while, we fished
inside New York's upper harbor. This is actually the first time I fished up there, and I learned about several new spots.
Some of them I can't disclose, out of respect for Greg on the Ocean Eagle. They rigirously have protected the exact locations
where they fished. The Marilyn Jean and Hunter also hit spots inside the harbor. We slammed the blackfish in these locals and
put some of the best hit rates on the Blacks for the season within the New York Bight.
The Ocean Eagle on the week of Thanksgiving put me on a Tautog heyday, when I reached the state limit of keeper blackfish. Others
also did well that day. On the next trip, I hit a few keepers, but the boat was much more quiet.
On the first Friday in December we had some terrific company on the boat. The weather held out, although it was cold.
Pelican, the MJIV captain traveled for1 1/2 hours down the Jersey shore hunting for ripe Blackfish grounds and NY Harbor
was largely fished out. But we largely came out blank. For the time being, the blacks see to be fished out. Other
boats had similar results, scouting the entire area. They largely worked as a team, anbd shared info, and it seems
from the Harbor to the Jersey shore, right now, the Blackfish are very slow. My friend Felix, who fished on the
Hunter, believes they are there, but they are just were not biting.
Striped Bass, however, were everywhere. As we pulled out of Breezy Point, the entire horizon was covered with
birds 270 degrees around. The bass boats had a feild day. This has been a jigging holiday.
The weather over this particul weekend sucked. High winds howled in the wrong direction. The hunter went out to
tried to beat the weather with minimal luck. Mike is very capable of doing this but bottom fishing has just turned hard.
Even Jersey boats are cancelling trips for the weekend.
As the second week of December rolled in, after skunking on the previous Friday, Pelican, on the MJIV decided to
try the fishing grounds off of the Rockaways. These are more traditional Porgie grounds, and to our suprise, we
actually hit a few Porgies. But there were Blackfish also, som HUGE ones. I was so jelous when this fish come up
over the rail. But I made up for it when we stopped for Jig for Bass and I hit a delicious Blue Fish and pulled
in a nice Striped Bass which I incredibly dropped at the rail. I hit these with a Diamond Jig and the new Pen Low Profile
Fathom 400 HP. Its a killer.
It was cold, and after the trip, we headed to Stella Maris where Richie was busy feeding the entire
dock. He is like an loving Grandmother like this. He loves to cook and insists that everyone sit and
eat (and give money to local charities). Look at the smiles that Richie has on.
No matter what you do, and where you fish, enjoy your time at the Rod! If it was easy all the time, it would be no fun!
BTW - we are seeing a few large lings byting on crabs. So that is a good indiciation for the winter.
The Fall Striped Bass Run - In Full Gear
Along with the Blackfish season, we have had an outstanding fall run for Striped Bass. The Sea Queen has been
pounding the fish, day and night. The Flamingo has been steadily feeding on huge fish, and the night trips
on the Marilyn Jean have been productive. Despite that, and even armed with a new jigging reel, a Penn Fathom Low
Profile 400 High Speed monster, I hadn't nailed a decent fish the whole season. I finally boned up last Sunday
and took the Marilyn Jean IV our on its scheduled 8:00AM to 2:00 PM trip. We were loaded with Bronx residents who
excitiedly came down to the dock fully loaded for Striped Bass. And we headed out into the harbor on a day that
called for moderate swells. Instead, the weather took a slight turn for the worst, and we ended up in 10-15 foot
swells, with chilling air and a blowing wind. But I pulled up to the rail with my UC Mega and the Low Porfile Fathom,
tipped with 20 foot of 30 pound flourocarbon and a 2 ounce diamond jig and immediately hammered the fish. ***BANG***
I was on and my arm was getting a serious workout after 2 weeks of rest. I could feel that lactic acid burn up my arm
and my elbow got seriously tender. I pulled in the fish and pounding the wake again, when ***BANG*** another great Striper
was hooked up. Now my arm was getting seriously number and sour, but I pulled up that fish, slapped it onto the Deck,
and punched out the jig again, 80+ feet into the surf... and ***BANG*** another fish and another and another....
I pulled in 6 in all when I lost my jig on the bottom of the ocean, and the pain in my right arm got too much to bare.
I put down my pole, and caught a breather, and didn't really have another stretch like that for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, Indian Joe, the mate, was just getting started. But the later part of this trip, he found a grove and pounded
in at least 20 Stripers, all but a few distributed to the croud, returned safetely to the water. I got a terrific shot of
Joe showing off his fish. This is one of the best Fish photo's I'd ever had. So click on the link and enjoy all
15 megs of this fabuous striped bass pic.
Opening of the Blackfish Season 2020
Over some time, I had wanted to have an excuse to fish on the Captain Dave III. Over the warm weather we had this November, the right chance finally arrived, and I had a chance to both film about the Captain Dave, and to take a hand at trying to catch a few Blackfish. This ended up as one of those truly poisitive trips, on the Davie, heading out to the Mud Hole, to go after some Blacks, and having satisfying success. Usually when I take the Captain Dave, it is with the old Man, Dave Paris, and looking for Fluke. Fluking seems to be hard for me. As a rule, I do better fishing for Blacks, and I have learned a few tricks from everyone I fish with, giving me a decent chance to land some fish. This trip was with his son, Paul (Paulie). He is truely a pleasant kid and a good fisherman. Having a good trip on his watch pleases my ego and makes my legend grow on the docks (I say this toung in cheek ).
I had a chance to get a good film of the boat. This video is a bit large so give it a chance to download. It is worth the watch.
November entered with some rough gale like weather. I went with my friend George to
Belmar for striped bass fishing. The boat caught fish until about 10:30AM, but then
the bite ended. We then found ourselves nearly nose to nose with a whale, which was
quite exciting. But the storm cam in and ended fishing throughout the tri-state
area until Wednesday. I was sort of arm twisted by my friend, The Dutchman, to go out
on the Hunter. It was a good crowd with Anthony (the dutchman), CJ (an old friend and
mate about the docks), Indian Joe, and Ralphie, not to forget the Captain, Mike. We
had a good time and moderate Blackfish action, which is better than most of the other
boats. I went out with my Penn 975 baitcaster with jigs and snufu rigs. I pulled in
2 keepers, and about 8 shorts. It was good.
Blackfishing on The Marilyn Jean - later that week
We followed up by hitting the Marilyn Jean V's Friday morning trip. Friday is our
regular trip. We spread out on a quiet boat, with the radio on, and take a serious
run at fish. Captain Pelican is most normally scouting spots for the weekend traffic, so
while the boat is carrying light passengers, it's a serious run and the boat is
putting out a better than normal effort to find fish. We are on the Tautog run
now and we stretched our trip down the Jersey coast line to the Sea Bass grounds
that both the Ocean Eagle and Marilyn Jean normally ply. In fact, when we arrived,
the Hunter was already anchored up as they leave the dock at 6AM and the MJ5 leaves
All along the Jersey coast line, construction is still being done in the wake of
Super Storm Sandy. It's interesting to see the sand projects with front end loaders
fully in the water, and dredging boats pumping sand onto the shore line. Most of the
housing has been rebuilt since Sandy. It is a lot of effort to save the Jersey
shore line communities.
At times on this trip, we did quite well. I got two overall keepers, and over 12
other fish more than 14 inches. We were sometimes overwhelmed by sharks, but between
them we pulled in a number of blackfish, and many nice keepers.
Tackle for Tautog Fishing
It is worth exploring, at this point, some of the intricacies of of my Tautog gear,
because experimentation with the tackle seems to have affected the trips success. First,
with the return of my Penn Internations 975CS baitcasting reel, I've put it to immediate
use, loaded on my Hercules Seeker custom rod. I also loaded one of my low gear ratio
Penn Torque 12 Star Drag onto a United Composite GUSA Mega, which has become my
favorite rod. They are both lined with spools of 30 pound test braid, with 40 pound
flourocarbon topshot. Significantly, this means that my braid often breaks in the
rocks when stuck, rather than the leader. The end tackle has varied from lightweight
30 pound leaders, which is good for feel and allows for the tackle to break on the end tackle
when stuck, rather than the braid. But the downside is that it curls and bends out of
shape quickly. One usually wants a stiffer leader material to attach to hooks. If
one can fine stiffer line, you can get by with a lighter test. That is not always
available and sometimes I am not sure what the nomenclature is for such leader. More
often I end up using 60 pound test fluoro, which is stiffer, but still too twisty.
That leaves us with a choice of hooks and "jigs". The latest craze in blackfishing
is the use of a jig with a piece of crab on a hook. I'll show this a little later.
Otherwise we have plain hooks. I have often used Gamakatsu 3/0 circle hooks. Lately
I've gotten exasperated with trying to properly hook the crab to the circle hook, and
have moved to 4/0 Owner SSW hooks. They are a lot easier to bait, and are very sharp.
Hooks take a beating when blackfishing. First, they get stuck in the rocks where the
fish live. Secondly, the hard shell of the crab takes its toll on the hook
tips. Investment in quality hooks with blackfishing can be of a major
This some instruction from Glen Nardiello on the Ocean Eagle, I've settled on a
method to make a SNAFU rigs. This is a rig with 2 hooks snelled on opposite
ends of flouro or mono leaders. Just off center is a drop loop, and that loop
is attached to your shock leader about 3 inches up from the surgeons knot that
holds your weight. This is one of several kinds of blackfishing rigs, but
probably the most common. After consulting with several people, I decided to
alter this basic design and installed a 2 way swivel to the end tackle, with a
latch to take the weight. I extended a 6 inch or so leader with a terminal
loop. To that loop I attached my SNAFU rig. This gives me a little bit of
length from the crabs that sit and float in the water, and the weight. I had
hoped that this would give the crabs a more natural looking presentation to the
fish, while causing fewer unresolvable sticking events in the rocks and wrecks
as the fish can hit the crab without necessarily dragging the weight about the
bottom. Meanwhile the swivel gives 360 degree rotational flexibility to the
rig. The result is that fish can attack the rig from all directions equally
and the initial attack will not drag the weight into the rock. This provides
increased stability and allows for multiple hits, which is essential when
smaller fish, such as cunners or even crabs.
There has been some doubt about the effectiveness of this rig, and the
concern is that the complexity makes it too easy to get hung up on the rocks.
But after 2 trips, one on the Hunter and one on the Marilyn Jean V, I've lost
only a single rig, fishing in some stick bottoms. I tend to let this rig just
sit on the bottom, almost like you are dead sticking it. Then I swing on the
first really good tug, although I have found that sometimes fish take the crab
and sit on the rig silently, which is an attribute of the long leader. Some
big fish come up like that.
Alternately, I have experimented with the blackfish "jig". These are not
really jigs in the traditional sense in that one is not to bounce them on the
bottom. They are the shape of boats with numerous color schemes. Out of the
tip of the jig comes a hook that holds crabs. When placed on a flat surface,
this jib rocks until it is stable, holding the crab bait up and forward. Indian
Joe has had much success with these jigs and owns a box full of them of
different varieties. They are not that cheap, being about 3-5 dollars each, so
losing them on sticky bottom can be very expensive. He uses a light spinning
rod when he fishes with them. I've tried them with my United Composite, which
is very light and sensitive, but not at the level of my porgie sticks.
From what I have observed and learned, the key to these jigs and their
effectiveness is centered on the presentation that they make of the crab.
Light weight, from a half ounce to 3 ounces, they gently float to the bottom,
an rock into position, holding the crap a few centimeters off the bottom.
Being light tackle, you feel the hits very easily and the jig itself is
disguised either as a small rock or perhaps even part of a crab. Such as it
is, it seem the length and position of the hook is key to how you succeed with
these jigs. I was fishing one jig with a smallish shank to the hook and it did
well over a couple of trips. I lost it on the rocks and switched to another
jig with a much longer shank on the hook. I had no luck with that, and seemed
to just be losing bait. Frustrated with that, I switched rods to use the SNAFU
rig, and I hit tautog hard, at one point pulling 8 fish in a row out of a
specific spot before Captian Pelican decided to move the boat. But even after
that move, I still had success with the SNAFU rig on the triple swivel.
All that was nice and the trip was also wonderful. We brought in more than a
few fish and had some Friday fun. But it wasn't easy. At first I fished with
a whitish jig that I had used prior and it worked nicely. And then I got it
stuck on the rocks and lost it and then I switched to the jig you see below.
It is green with a longer hook shank. It didn't work. The first kept stealing
the crabs without me even feeling the bite. I tried large crabs and small
crabs, and half crabs and whole crabs, with a variety of hook settings, and
nothing worked. The first Mate, Rapheal, strongly suggested I use a weight, so
I switched to the SNAFU rig. At that point, I began hitting on the fish again,
bringing in 8 consecutive fish before, for some inexplicit reason, the boat
decided to move to another spot. I believe the difference in the length of the
shank was the criticle difference.
Others on the boat had there fish, and smiles were all about the boat. Blackfish
are a gourmet fish and always apreciated on the deck. They have a rich meat that
cooks well whether you are flying them up, or serving them like I like best, steamed
with some light sause prepared in my wok.
Late October Update
Going into November, the weather has been difficult but around Brooklyn we have had a
continuation of on and off again Black Fishing, and a steady feed of HUGE Striped Bass.
If your heart is set on hooking the big bad striper, this is the time to hit the boats,
both day and night. You might come up empty, but you might well hit a fish over 40 inches
long. The Flamingo, Sea Queen, Captain Dave and Marilyn Jean V have all hit on big big fish
this month and monster trips. Not all the trips are like that, but many are.
Bottom fishing has been spotty but at times great, fishing mostly for Blacks. I've had a steady
diet of keepers on the Ocean Eagle and the Marilyn Jean V. The hunter is reporting excellent
success with the Blacks as well.
While none of this is the constant bang bang bang fishing that the Porgies had, it is in many ways
more fun and very challenging. Enjoy the Fall!
Early this week I took a couple of early season blackfish trips on the Marilyn Jean V. I
hope to catch a trip with the Ocean Eagle a little later in the week. I can report that the
fish have been biting nicely and I'd taken more than a few keepers, as has the rest of the boat.
I was puzzling over the gear to use for the adventure, and settled on my new custom blue Hercules
Seeker powered by my black Torque 12 Star drag outfitted with a 4.8/1 versa gear replacement.
The low gear with the extra power killed at pulling the blacks out of the rocks. I pucked dozens
of Tautog out of the water, with many keepers. The fridge is full.
In addition, we were hitting on big porgies. These fished seemed all but gone, but on the East Reef
they were attacking the Crabs and I pulled in a few on the 3/0 hooks. Surprisingly, my friend
Tommy pulled in two buckets of Porgies by 11AM this morning Tue Oct 20 2020. Tourists on the having
trouble blackfish did well with the Porgies. I had Gil and his father from Pennsylvania who came in
for his fathers birthday that whaled on the Porgies, pulling in a bucket, and taking home
fillets and whole fish. I was a good time and we had some rain and even a rainbow. My friend
Felix, the head mate on the Rockfish, fulled in a monster fish that I hope to get an image of later.
Meanwhile, enjoy these pics including yesterdays pool winner.
Ocean Eagle Bottom Fishing - 2020
I had a free Friday morning when the docks were very quiet, but I managed to
get a ride out to the Porgy Grounds with my friends, Greg Nardiello, Chris and
the old man, Tommy (who is the oldest mate I know of in the tri-state area)
on the Ocean Eagle and took a trip out to the Porgy grounds about the lower harbor
and Coney Island. There is a few interesting wrecks in the area which are more
like Blackfish grounds, but we did find some really large and nice Porgies at a
steady pick both in the Rockaway Inlet of Jamaica Bay and out past Norton's Point.
During the earlier part of the trip, during the pick, I was pulling in, to my suprise
because of our location, some of the largest Porgies of the year, steadily over 13
inches and very fat fish. The rate of the pick bothered Greg, so we moved inevitably
to another local near the community wreck, until we hit "Drop and Stick" Porgy Fishing,
but the fish were smaller on the 10 inch size, moslty keepers. I pulled in an endless
stream of fish, bang bang bang, almost boring for me, but the rest of the boat was
One of the most interesting part of this trip was the arrival of huge schools of bunker
into our local waters. It was seen previously and the docks on Emmons Avenue had been
hot with bunker and blue fish attracting in the know fishermen. But this was well beyound
that. It is often seen that bunker move in before the big fall striped bass runs. These
are the largest bunker schools I'd ever witnessed, that were stretched accross miles of
harbor, as of about October 10th. This video I took lets you see the fish expanssively
about the Ocean Eagle. This is a massive display of nature in action, which most folks are
completely ignorant of.
The Hunter: Tuna Fishing in the Hudson Canyon - 2020
This Succus holiday, in the middle days (Chol Me-od), I decided to take a
long range fishign trip on The Hunter that went from 6AM on the 5th of October
until last night, Tuesday at 9:30PM. For me, it was a long trip on a real fishing
platform, no cabins, and no gallery (although they had plenty of food). Tuna
fishing has been good, and the previous trip was washed out by the weather.
But this run was set, and although the swells were consierable heading out
to the Hudson Canyon, the weather when we arrived was spotless
I had always wanted to see the Canyon, and we've heard stories that at times
it is like an ocean wild life TV show. Whe did see whales and the dolphins
disrupted out fishing. It was interesting to look out to the ocean calm and
to see the horizon with nothing but ocean and sky, and no city skyline. It
was nearly a 10 hour ride to where we were going, and we spent nearly 13 hours
in the deep water. We had targets Tuna and Mahi Mahi, which use too highly
different types of tackle. The boat had 10 passangers on a boat that can
carry twice that at least. And even with that, there was barely room for all
out sticks. I had friends on the boat, including Ralphie (who was somewhat grumpy)
on the trip, and Anthony, the dutchman, and of course Mike, the captain. We
stopped on some lobster pots allong the wall of the Canyon and found plenty of
Mahi Mahi. We hit these fish on lighter tackle, nearly no weights (I had a
1/2 ounce bead on my line just to prevent the line from eagle nesting in my
Torque 40 reel on 40 pound braid), and drifting small bait into the water from
10 to 40 feet below the surface. This resulted in plenty of action on 2 drops.
I'd had been excited to get one of these gorgeous and tasty kosher fish, but
I hooked up with 11 of them, even after taking time out for picture and video
taking. It was awesome, and my United Composit stick got a bit of a work out.
We got GREAT video:
I did really well with these tasty fish. and at the end of the trip we pulled
in a huge bull. The change rainbow colors on the deck, trying to match
the background. They turn blue, green, and red, with dots and spot.
After the first Mahi attack, we turned our attention to Tuna. We switched
to heavy and short sticks with huge reels. I borrowed from the boat a
rod and senator reel. All night I sat and watched my reel, waiting for the
big hit in the wake and the cool fall winds. By day break, after about
11 hours of watching, waiting and changing bait, I grew tired and retreated
into a bean bag and slept for about 4 hours. No fish were picked up.
Mike called around to other boats in the area, but the
normal canyon locations where all but barren of tuna. We did hit then
a second Mahi shot. We hit them hard and had a great time pulling these
fish up, and then tried one more unsucessful tuna run before packing it
up and heading home, after a very long ride home.
Flamingo Jigging - 2020
With the COVID-Wuhan-19 Pandemic locking down much of NYC during the
summer, once the docks reopened, they made a ralitively safe haven for
all walks of life in a city with every other activity closed down.
Crowds on the weekend boats, even while limited to covid-19 level
passangers, were routy. With some new sticks I wanted to try out,
I looked for new places to fish, and hit on the Lady Flamingo for a
number of trips. This is a Jigging boat that hunts for blues.
The Lady Flamingo is parked off the Belt Parkway behind the UA
Movie theater. Since it is not right with the other boats in Sheepshead
Bay, I take this boat less frequently than other boats, but every time
I have taken this boat, it has been an outstanding experience.
There are a few things that make this boat different than any other in
the City. First of all, it is primarily a Jigging boat for Blue Fish.
Blues has been harder to get the last few years as the population has
migrated away from North America, but they can and are found, and the
Flamingo finds them often. Blue fishing is a higher risk fishing, that
it, it is easier to skunk out on any given trip. The captain keeps
close tabs on the Blues all year, and nobody is more aware of there
location than on the Flamingo. The last 4 trips I took, I nailed good
fish every time, and the boat ran all the way down the Jersey Shore to
as far as Point Pleasant and into the ocean to track Blues.
I am not an experienced fisherman with jigging, but I nailed fish.
The boys on the crew helped with jiggs and even helped me adjust them
to get a chance at the fish. The old men in the bow always outfished
me :). But that is OK.
This is one of the cleanest boats I'd
even been on. It is amazingly clean and the boat rides rock solid, even
is heavier seas. If your a beginner and you willing to chance a truly
supper great day out, to learn from the pros about jigging and fishing,
but possibly go home without fish but great memories, then this is a
perfect boat to venture out on. You will get the full experience of the
thrill of the hunt, and you WILL likely catch something fun. If your
experienced, this boat is as good as getting you on the meat as any boat
on the south shore of NYC.
This boat tends to be less crowded
than any other in the city. That might not be great for the owner,
but it is terrific for the fisherman. There is a ton of space. If you
are looking to spread out during the Pandemic and be and feel safe, this
boat is ideal. It is not packed in at all, and you have a ton of space
to social distance and the clean ocean breeze to keep you from contact
with the virus. I love fishing here and wish I could do so more often.
I usually fish in the bow, and on the Flamingo, that means I am fishing with the most
experienced dudes on the boat. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes not. These guys
don't share their secrets. The Flamingo attracts suburbanites more than other Brooklyn boats,
and this gives the trip a whole different feel, which is a welcome change after a few weeks
fishing with new immigrants, and locals from Coney Island and East New York. It can be a nice
change to not fish with hip hop blaring from radios. On the Flamingo, it is all about the
water and the Fishing.
I loaded up onto the boat with my new 8 foot Hercules Seeker rod made by Micael Cho, outfitted
with a Torque 12 Star Drag which I lowered the gear ration until it is now about 21 inches
per rotation on the handle. That is good for my bottom fishing, but for jigging, the downgrade
of speed doesn't match the jigs they use, which are designed for high speed retreival. The
result is that I caught fish, but I could have done better. It also helps to practice jigging.
It's been a while since I regularly did this. The old timers were using ugly sticks and Newells.
The kids in the back of the boat that had high hook were using light weight spinning rods.
So this is a whole other world for me both in terms of tackle and technique, and I need to
learn a new vocabulary.
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Fall 2020
The Fall 2020 Run - Several Reports
Mid Fall Fishing
We've spent a week dodging offshore hurricanes and fading Porgy runs. We've
still eeked out good fun on all the boats in the harbor. Meanwhile, while the Fluking
season is coming to a close, the Ocean Eagle and the Captain Dave continue with successful
regular trips, picking out fluke, which at times can be quite good. The Ocean Eagle split
the docks a bit early on Thursday and pulled in late with a lot of happy fisherman. I am
still looking forward to the reports. Mike, the owner of the hunter, keeps getting excited
with good long distance trips and blows apart the schedule. I have trouble keeping up. As of
now he has a mid-range trip on Wed the 30th of Septembet from 9PM to 9PM. At this point it is
fair to say he has no regular weekly schedule with long trips punctuating his calender on the
30th, the 2nd, and October 5th! He is really turning the boat into a long trip vessel.
By the way, I promised to get a couple of pictures up for Jessica, a regular on the Marilyn
Jean V, mostly on night trips. She came out one evening on her own and pulled in some
Speaking of special customers, we get, from time to time, extraordinary
folks that come down to the boat, and I am always happy to meet them
and learn something about the world and our city. On this day, we had
a repeating customer who I had met once before, who was celebrating his
90th birthday on the MJV on a Thursday night trip. This fellow spent the
evening (7PM to Midnight) catching Porgies near Norton's Point, on a
warm fall night. His name is Bill and he was in the Navy during the Korean
War, when the cold war was boiling over and the US and China squared off
with real guns and not just trade tariffs. They felt safe enough to fish
at the rail without masks. In truth, the constant clean blowing winds on
the open water protects them and they mostly fished a good 12 feet from
everyone else on the boat. They caught more than a few fish, and left the
On that day trip, I fished in the bow with a gentleman from the West Indies
who is a novice at the sport and just purchased his first reel for $50.
It seems it didn't come with a manual and he fished it all morning with the
clicker on. I finally got a little worn out hearing it whine all day, so I
leaned over to him and said, "You know if you leave it on the clicker all day,
you can damage it. The clicking noise is not for free. It has a ratchet That
wears down and it slows your cast." He reluctantly allowed me to show him how
to operate his reel correctly and when I picked up the rod, I also found
that the reel wasn't sitting in the seat holder tightly. I fixed everything and
he casted out nice and smoothly and had a big smile. I turned my back on him,
and right off the bat, with his gear now adjusted, he pulled in a nice whopper
of a Porgy! And he remained on fire for the rest of the trip. I still can't
forgive him, though, for wearing thick socks with sandals. It just make me crazy.
Weakfish are more plentiful now than at any time I can remember. I pulled
up with this really nice one tonight on the Marilyn Jean V while loading
up on some decent sized porgies. We had a bunch of plesant young adults
on the boat tonight who pulled in 5 buckets of Porgies amongst themselves
and they smiled when they got off the boat. The nice West Indian women
to my left in the stern limited out her porgies, as did most others on
the boat. It was just a plesant night, with no stress, and some hot
coffee for the entire boats on the new moon.
The Rosh HaShahonah High Holiday Season
The Jewish Holidays are here and the tides have slowly been rising.
We have had weather and water conditions dominated by a hurricane
out in the North Atlantic which has caused increased winds and swells
out in the ocean. This has pushed us into the protection of Jamaica
Bay where we have loaded up on Porgies and Weakfish. On Tuesday and
Wednesday we finally checked out the Ocean and the porgies and blues
have been abundant and large about the tin cans. On my last day out on
the water before the Holiday, Wednesday, we killed the porgies. It
was the kind of day fisherman dream about on the night before a trip.
I pulled in nearly a 100 keepers and kept only 10 of the largest, and
took home a snapper for dinner. I hooked a good 20+ inch fluke and
lost him on the rail when I lifted him over. I should have called a
net. That would have made the week. All in all, a racked up 6
consecutive trips, day and night, loading up before the holidays.
Among the trips I'd taken, I went out with my friend, Dr George Moskowitz,
who had a pleasant day on the deck while we were in Jamaica Bay. It was
a pleasant day and George pulled in a few keepers on my new tackle.
This included a very unkosher by cool Puffer and nice Weakfish.
Dr Moskowitz has been burning up his hours taking care of patients
during the COVID-19 pandemic. His office is in Boro Park, in the
highly dense and Orthodox Jewish community. He has needed the days
off and so we gave him a break.
Being pressed into Jamaica Bay for a couple of days has reminded me
of something that often happens on the boat. It is the preconceived
notion by paying customers that the best fishing is out "in the Ocean".
There are so MANY problems with this, so lets start to break them down.
First of all, people really need to learn the geography of New York
Harbor and the surrounding New York Bite. Here is a map of the area's
Between Coney Island and Sandy Hook is the traditional boundaries of New
York Harbor and the open ocean. For this reason, Coney Island is one of the
most exciting locals on the world. Its unique position jaunting out into the
open ocean from the protected harbor gives it not only a world class beach,
but the coolest of evening breezes that tend to switch direction as the sun
sets. Unfortunately, it also exposed Coney Island, Brighton and Manhattan
Beaches, and Sheepshead Bay, to terrible flooding and storm surges. There
was a natural protective system in that Jamaica Bay was, prior to European
settlement, a vast Everglades like, salt water marsh, which the Dutch
immediately started to landfill as they arrived. Today nothing remains of the
original shore line and in an attempt to protect Coney Island, and South
Brooklyn, the Rockaway Peninsula was extended from today what is the
Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge to Breezy Point. Even today most boats find
the water about Coney Island, outside of the Coney Island Channel, to be
too shallow to routinely navigate and waves crash over a shoal just outside
of Coney Island when the tide is low. But when you reach the Breezy Point
Jetty, the Hudson River flow and the tides of the open ocean take controls and
you can feel the wake of the waves as you reach the tide lines that run
between Breezy Point and Sandy Hook. Likewise, Sandy Hook is in very narrow,
but exposed surf. This makes it idea for surf fishing, as is Rockaway.
This gives Jamaica Bay extra protection, and despite being dredged, and
reshaped, this large body of water that runs from Nassau County to New York
Harbor is filled with fish habitat and big fish. It is over 25,000 acres
large, and nearly 5 million people live
near its shores. It is filled with fish and bird life. Porgies, Weaks,
Stripers, Fluke, Blues, and a dozen other fish live in the waters, swamps, and
creeks all along the bay. It is a protected zone that has Osprey, Bald
Eagles, Crabs, Horseshoe Crabs, and Egrets. And it is a great place to fish.
Often, it is the best place in our area to fish. And that might include a
day when you are on the boat. And if you are there that day, be glad that we
have such a wonderful option to go and fish, because otherwise we would
likely be either without fish or left at the dock because of the weather.
ARE WE GOING OUT TO THE OCEAN!!
People often come up to the boat and ask if we are going out to the
Ocean and the answer is usually yes but...
and here is the but. Fishing boats can travel normally between 8 and 15
knots, and the fast ones can top up near 20 knots. The old Brooklyn VI
super cruiser could hit 23 knots, if memory serves me right. A small
six pack charter like the Rock Fish can also reach the low 20's. So if
you are looking at a 8 hour trip (7AM-4PM), and your anticipating going
out to the Hudson Canyon, a good 70 Nautical Miles South West of Sheepshead
Bay, you will be disappointed. Those are long trips best done in at least
3 days on the ocean. And they cost a lot of money. After all, you are on
the boat for 3 days.
But one should not fret over this. We have plenty of fish within reach
of day trips and even midrange 11 and 12 hour voyages can put one in
reach of Tuna, Mahi Mahii, and Blues. Closer trips can reach Cod
grounds, Ling, Sea Bass, Striped Bass, Weakfish, Scup, Tautaug (Blackfish),
Drums, Game Sharks, and more. One just needs to go where the fish are,
and fish with the weather and season in mind.
The question one should be asking crew when deciding on a boat to take out
is "What have you been catchings and where". There is always the risk
that any trip can bomb out, and fishing out in the ocean, to the
Canyon, Cholera, etc., is no guarantee of success. Even 3 day trips
can, and often do, bomb out.
The captains try to catch fish. Customers want fish. Captains
prepare for it all the time and there is a network of informal information
that they all share. If you want to catch big game fish, you need to
go in the right season and in the right phase of the moon, and then
follow the reports. If you want to go for fish with less risk of a bust,
porgies and bottom fishing is probably your best chance, and you might
well end up fishing in Jamaica Bay, or near the Jetty. Fishing for
Fluke can lead one to a trip both near and far. It depends on where the
fish are. Fluke can be near the Marine Parkway Bridge or out at the
MacAlister Reef. Blue fishing comes in many forms, off shore and
near shore varieties. They both have seasons and conditions. Stripers
can be targets near shore or further out. Past the 3 mile state line, in
Federal waters, keeping stripers is illegal. The more you know, the better
one can chose as to what trip to take. Don't be arrogant. Ask, listen and learn.
Captains and Mates often like to share there knowledge. But just walking up to
the boat as asking if they are going out "to the Ocean" just puts the
crew in a difficult position. They want to tell you yes, but they really
just want to catch fish and spending 6 hours to head out to the Canyon, on
a 8 hour trip is no way to catch fish.
Worst than not asking a sensible question when selecting your boat to fish on
is when the passenger has completely unrealistic expectations about the
nature of a trip or the procedures and chances of finding fish. If for some
reason, they have a hard day at the rail, they get surely and nasty, as if it is
the crews fault. It happens that indiviudal passengers can just have bad days,
and that happened to us just the other night. The weather truly prevented the boat
from heading out past the Jetty into the open ocean currents. There were 8 foot
waves, a huge swell and high NE winds come off an off shore hurricane (Pamela if you want to look it up).
We had reports of an abundance of giant Porgies and large numbers of
Weakfish inside Jamaica Bay, not far from the Canarsie pier and the
Padeget creek. And we hit fish. Most of the fish were in the swift
currents of the bay, and fishing was hot along the sides of the boats.
But the fools who were drinking far too hard in the stern of the boat
were clueless on how to adjust to the conditions and skunked out.
They then started shouting at the captain, and blaming him for not
going out to "The Ocean". These bores deserved to go out into the
rough seas and fail to catch fish, because bottom fishing in gale
conditions is nearly impossible, but it will even make veteran fishermen feel sea sick.
You can't keep the bottom when your rocking so hard and you can't feel for fish
when trying to hold onto the rail with your hands vomiting.
They would have caught nothing out there in the open water. The fish
were right in Jamaica Bay and I caught 17 porgies, 2 weaks, and a blue fish. It
was not a super night, but it was good fish in our bucket. Thinking
that you Know more than the captain is a HUGE error. Those captains do this
all day and all night around the clock. You don't come close to their
background and knowledge. Talk to them. They are great sources of
information, but never tell them where to fish. They are your best chance
to bring home fish, and if it doesn't work out, sometimes it just doesn't.
There is no magic formula and certain fishing "out in the ocean" isn't
a foolproof solution to every fishing problem.
September Fishing Run
Running into the fall months of 2020, fishing continues to still be on of the few activities
available to the public in New York. Scup fishing contines to entertain and the offshore boats
have picked up a run of Mahi Mahi and Tuna, not far from shore, as close as the mudhole, but
also on longer trips into the canyon. Fluking has been at times very good, although never a
guarantee. Lots of Week fish have made it into Jamacia Bay.
The Ocean Eagle has had a productive late summer and early fall, with Pories and Fluke. I
had the pleasure on Thursday to take her out, with Greg and Chris, on a fluke trip. I
hooked 5 decent Fluke between 15-18 inches. The minimum is 19 inches, so none came home.
But I scored 7 keeper Black Sea Bass, and the boat as a whole caught quite a few keeper
fluke about the boat. Greg gave us a tour of the harbor making nearly 12 stops, hunting
for the sacred fluke spot. We picked at keeper or two on each drop. And at the end, we
ended up with a someone hooking a bull head ray. It was a big heavy ugly fish with about
15 barbs in its tail and back. It is not a fish to be messed with, but the entire boat
got in the act and we had out share of laughs and fun.
Aside from that, the Ocean Eagle has a new mate, who is fun to be on the boat with, and is a decent seaman.
His biggest fault is that he fails to let anyone other than himself to take pictures with fish. Here is
Chris with all the fish:
The Hunter is landing good Tuna and Bonita's and more on there long trips. I wish I could afford these trips.
Michael, by his own admision, is a very loud Italian, and he has been having the time of his life with the
Hunter, and his son, chasing the Tuna, and the Mahi Mahi on inshore and offshore trips. He shared with me
some terrific pics of his catches.
I had my son of the boat last week, two weeks before Rosh Hashana. The weather was terrific, but he still was a little
wheezy on the ocean. He did a great job of pulling in fish on the MJV, and the boat brought in Porgies and Triggers,
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Summer 2020
The Full Summer 2020 Run Down's COVID-19 Edition
Labor Day 2020 - fading summer action
The dog days of summer are turning into fall. This has been a particularly hard summer and nerves about the
harbor are getting freyed. We witnesses a 30 minute stand off between two people arguing over a parking space on
Emmons Avenue right in front of Peir 6, blocking traffic for a half hour from Ocean Avenue until the Belt Parkway
entrance. sll but stopping business and the boats as they were trying to leave at 7PM. And that is just one
example of many that are happening.
Fishing has also slowed a bit, although it is diversifing with more Tuna, Bonita, and Blues entering the mix
of Fluking and Porgie Fishing. Captain Dave is making a few special Sea Bass / Fluke marathons and the Hunter
is running out to the grounds to go after Blues, Bonita and Albacore. Porgie trips are also continueing
although that has slowed somewhat.
Here is a close look at my Abu Garcia MGX2 Revo reels after nearly 2
months of solid usage on the salt water boats of Sheepshead Bay
Late August 2020 - fading summer action
In the late August run the whisper of fall has reached the waterfront and the fish are being affected. It seems that the record sized scup are gone,
althougth there are still plenty of nice size fish available. The Jewish community is deep into its cycle of repentance and the month of Elul, and
its new moon has come and gone. The new moon brough roaring and nearly unfishable tides and currents. But now in the middle of the lunar phase
the currents are much more fishing friendly and the Porgies are biting, as well as many blues and fluke. We've also seen an inordinate amount
of puffer fish and real sharks, the ones with teeth, about the harbor. Accordingly, fleet captains have been making some adjustments to there
schedules, especially Michael on the Hunter, who is squeezing more Blue Fish runs. The crowds on boats are still thick. The best day to fish is
still Friday mornings, with light crowds.
Today, Friday morning, I got on the boat and I had the warm company of young John, from Staten Island, and his family. They were somewhat
experienced anglers with there own tackle and rods. They were expereinced enough to pull in a few buckets of fish between them, but only bringing
home about 10 fish to cook. The rest were exchanged on the dock to friends. John managed to loose a record number of Scup at the rail, losing
5 fish in the air, which is breaking rule number 3 (the fish is not caught until it is over the rail and onto the deck). I think he was having
fun annoying us every time he lost a fish. Such is life for a 16 year old boy. He was also stealing my bait, but we pretended not to notice.
Meanwhile, Nick, who was fishing the bow, pulled in a terrific triple header. He and his buddies had a bit of fun on the boat. And then
there was the young women who regulary comes to the Marilyn Jean V and kills the porgies. She is quietly, perhaps, the best fishermen that
comes on the boat. She is slowly getting notices as she pulls in the largest and most fish, and does so regularly. I have no picture of
her from today, but Pelican started to notice her, as she pulled in a huge double header.
If you are serious about having a positive day on the water front, Friday
Mornings continue to produce the most regular fun. This morning
(Aug 14th, 2020) the weather report called for some late morning rain
with thunderstorms. So it was not suprising to show up at the dock and
to find the boat largely empty. I've been trying to learn how to work
out of the stern of the boat after years of fishing the bow, so I
grabbed the sterns, portside corner. The new on-line ticketing
requirements has all but guaranteed that patrons now who used to show up
at 5AM to get the best spots, now show up 5 minutes
before the scheduled time the boat was to leave, especially beginners.
This makes it hard for the mates to set everyone up, but it is the new
reality. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, on-line ordering had created
At 6:45, we worried about having enough to go out because we only had a
just a few
diehearts on the boat. By 7AM we had about 25 customers, all of them on
the boat for the first time, and none of them read my
instructions for beginners. Still, we had a few seasoned hand,
myself, Glen, the head mate, Ralphie had time to fish, and Pelican came
out of the pilot house after we were anchored to collect a few fish.
We anchored near the tin cans, and waited out the current. We had a
moderate bite until about 11AM. Prior to that, we pulled in a moderate
number of porgies on a nearly slack tide (which was good for the beginners),
but we were overwhelmed by small sea bass, sharks, and
even a baby thresher which was released. But then the current picked
up, and we found ourselves in what felt like a river in the harbor, with
the water flowing powerfully past us. I started casting out up into the
current emptying nearly my entire small spool, about 100 meters, and found fish.
They were tide running porgies, being hooked on the run. At first, I
thought I wasn't hitting the bottom, but I actually hooked porgies on the run,
double header porgies, as a matter of fact, swimming as fast as they could. When
I ran out of spool I hit the drag. Low and behold, I felt fish on the 4 ounce weight
I was casting. I pulled them in and brought in a whopping double header!
With such a surprise, we casted out again, and bang, more fish in the
current. In a 20 minutes, most of the best fisherman on the boat are
casting out into the current, a great distance, catching hard hitting
scup in the current, and pulling them in against the water. It was
hard fishing, which required skill and a lot of fun. We ended up with
smiles all about the boat and pulling in more than a 100 fish, or maybe
in 200 fish, all which fought for hard in a white water that raged about
the boat as much as a river. Finally, twirls of whirlpools formed about
the stern of the boat, so quickly did the current pick up, that I had to
switch from my lightest porgy killers sticks to my new United Composite GUSA 7ft 9
inches MEGA stick that is specified at 20-40 pound line and 1-5 ounce
lures. This extra power let me pull in fish with a 6 ounce weight, at
about 100 yards distance, and when matched with my low gear pen torque
12 reel, it had no troubles navigating even the height of the current.
We never ran out of fish. We did, however, run out of time and we
pulled up the anchor at 2:30PM and headed home, completely satisfied
with our work for the day. Unfortunately, there are no pictures today
as I decided to leave the camera at home. Besides, how many more
pictures of fish do you need?
Ralphie on the Hunter from a long range trip and the Hunter Blue Fish -
pictures compliments of Mike from the Hunter
The Dutchman has arrived
During 2012, when I first began to me seriously fish out of the boats on
Emmons Avenue and Dooley Street, most of the nighttime fishing trips,
and many of the day time ones as well, was manned by a young boy who
was aptly named Little Antony. It so happens that we have so many
Anthony's on the doc that we need to segregate them. We have Boss Tony,
the owner, Pelican, the captain, and Little Ant, Anthong Van Utretch,
who I affectionately call, "The Dutchman". Little Antony was commonly
paired on night trips with an older, more experienced fellow by the name
of Tommy. Tommy ran a commercial lumber yard by day and did some night
Mate Work on the Marilyn Jean IV. He took credit for training Anthony,
and also claimed to have a Korean Wife. I am not sure of either, but
Anthony did learn a lot from Tommy, and absorbed everything he could
from nearly anyone else who would teach him.
In short time, Anthony learned and practiced nearly every function on
the boat. He worked with the anchor ropes continually. It is dangerous
and physical work, that the captain calls for routinely. He built up
strength, and stamina, and eventually absorbed more and more duties,
working in all weather, day and night. In time, he made the job look
easy, and passengers barely noticed the expertise that he functioned with,
from shucking clams, to scaling fish, untangling lines, setting up rigs,
straight through the customer service chain, and even learning about
One day, the first mate tells me, Anthony is going to be a father.
Anthony is a young pup, and so was his girlfriend. This put a jolt
into Anthony's thinking, and he was desperately trying to conjure up a
future for himself where he could afford a family. He joined a few
unions, and faded from the docks, which was, all in all, good for him.
He needed the pay and benefits. But his heart was on the boats, and
we would continually show up again, maturing into an adult man, while
gaining more and more skills.
When the Brooklyn VI was sold, its main captain, Mike Ardolino, went
into business for himself, settling on the new boat, the Hunter, a
smaller boat which is marketed torwards big game fishing on the scale
of a charter boat business, but with the flexibility of a regular party
boat, carrying about 15 passengers at premium prices, regularly running
with individual ticket sales.Mike was targeting the fishing market of
people who view themselves as advanced fishermen going for the big show.
And he largely succeeded in this market. And much of that success is
because of the hard work of the Dutchman and Big Ralfie, who followed
Anthony the Hunter to fish (which is not to understate the hard work of
Mike , himself and other members of the Hunter team).
One of the things Mike was smart enough to do was to encourage and
enable Anthony's passions to advance, and he brought Anthony up to the
wheel house to captain the ship, and to learn the ropes of piloting a
fishing vessel. Anthony had already taking the Captains classes and
passed the exams, but needed hours behind the wheel. He has begun to
rack up those hours on the Hunter. And this week, we got more hours as
the captain of the Marilyn Jean IV, returning home full circle. And so,
yet another Sheepshead Bay Captain has been minted, in the long tradition
of the docks.
Sunday is usualy crowded on the boat and these Sundays, in the post
COVID-19 apocalypse, the boats fill to max quickly and people are turned
away at the dock because of restrictions. I went down to the boat on
Sunday morning and decided to forgo arguing for a spot on the stern
or the bow. For years, Doc fished on the bow of the boat. It is the
hardest place to fish but it had several advantages for Doc to fish. First, the
wind is breezy on the bow. That means that it is better for his stomach,
which likes to get wheezy on the ocean. Secondly, nobody fishes there,
so he has room to spread out. The wind also means he is not bothered
by cigarette smoke and such, and it is comfortable. But other the years
even the causal fisherman has come to notice me there, and catching fish.
This is not because the bow generally produces, but because over the
years, I have developed a little skill at catching fish in the bow of the
boat. So now, they come to the bow and crowd me, especially on Sundays.
So on this Sunday, I conceded the bow and moved to the middle of
the starboard side rail, smack in the middle of all the beginners.
I thought it might be fun, and in the morning, it was fun. The fishermen
about me were clueless and they tangled with each other pretty good.
I worked with all the passangers, the married couple on my right, and
the family of Mexicans on my left, including a young boy, and we got
them all hooked up with fish and happy. In the meantime, I was somehow
managing to squeeze around all the tangles and avoid the hanging lines,
and pulled in a bucket of fish.
By the afternoon, the newbies were exhausted, leaning on the rails,
getting fustrated with the increasing outgoing tide, tangled lines and
soogy bait. They kept hanging their fishing line down the side of the boat.
I was fishing through a spider web. It became all but impossible for
me to continue to fish. So I learned a new lesson about the mid-ship
fishing on Sundays... patiences
Drum Fishing Fun - Unexpected Giants in the Harbor
id = drum
Fri 07 Aug 2020
This Friday we had overcast skies and light rain in the morning, which
kept the crowds light. We hit the water not knowing what to expect,
since the was a decent tropic storm earlier in the week. But when we
made it out into lower New York Harbor, the fish were hungry, and in
the morning I crushed the porgies, logging 21 fish over 15 inches.
I made few new friends, especially Philip, which we quickly dubbed,
King Philip. He was heading out for a fluke trip that was cancelled,
so he grabbed a Porgy/Sea Bass trip instead and had a blast.
Everyone ended up with near limits of fish. 3 keeper Sea Bass made there
way onto the boat. And we capped of the trip with an exciting run at a
26 inch Red Drum, by King Philip. It was a great great day at the rail.
After stuggling with the fish, we took it in and meaasured it up, at 26
inches, it was one of the nicest catches of the season.
For those that have never had the experience, this is a picture of what it looks like when you stare into the water with wonderment, astonished about what you actually got on your hook, and knowing it is huge.
August 3rd 2020 - A Day of Infammy
id = aug2020
We had a bizarre night on August 3rd. The weather reports have been
threatening us with a tropical storm for 3 days, but the hurricaine was
downgraded toa tropical strong, and the weather keeps coming up cherries,
sunny with light winds. Early in the evening the sky was blue and nearly
cloudless. the weather report was for scattered thunderstorms in the
afternoon, clearing out by evening. Instead we had blue skies and the
evening boats headed to the Tin Cans to pull in fish and we were having
a banner night. Buckets of porgies before 9:30PM. All the passengers and
families were happy. I gave out a bit of Meclizine (Dramanine) to folks
before pulling out of port. At 9:30PM, all hell broke loose. First we had
a minor thunder bumper that passed but that blew off slthoguh it did blow us off the fish.
Then the seas got rough, and the wind picked up. No more fish. The
boat near us was caught up in particularly rough swells, and had to
cut its anchor to get into Jamacina Bay safely. We followed them in,
and the night ended a bit early. It was quite an adventure though,
a few hundred feet off of Breezy Point
We finished up this weekend by burning into August, much as a continuaiton
of July. Porgie life has been mostly large fish and buckets of them.
This is one of the greatest porgie runs I'd ever witnesses, not because
we have had endless fish, which is normal in the summer, but because the
fish have been consistantly huge. I can honestly tell you that there is
no need to run all the way to Montauk to get big fish. They have been
right here in Jamacia Bay and at the tin cans, espeically at night when
the gates of Hell seem to open up and we get Demon Scup, fish 17 inches
and bigger, coming in on a current of cold deep water..
Additionally, I am reminded, especially with the
Sunday morning trip, that one doen't need a bunch of fancy equiptment to
catch a bucket or two of porgies. It is not unusually for me, with all
my fancy gear, and fancy casting, to get out fished by a boat rod holder
fishing for the first time. This big guy here, we smart enough to take
advice from the crew and fill his full limit of Porgies for the day,
and wasn't cheated a fish.
The End of July
The fishing weekend begins tonight and the porgie fishing has been up and
down. It was sluggish until the tide changed. Then I was able to pick a
few fish up at the Atlantic wreck and I enoughage the rest of the boat
to join the feed. The result was ending the night with lots of smiles
and I pulled in a modest 11 fish on miss matched gear, so I was happy.
Friday Fishing - best in the week
Fishing on the party boats is best on Friday's. The crowd is usually
enthusiastic but light. Mates are feeling friendly and the captain,
because he is setting himself up for the heavy weekend, is usually
willing to take extra risks to find new fertile fishing grounds, so
that he can fill up the boat with fish for the weekend passangers.
The overall result is usually a happy trip.
This Friday we set out with a light crowd on the Marilyn Jean V with
about 30 passangers. The boats capacity is about 95 passangers or more.
Our mates were Rojas and Ole grizzily Frankie. The morning it rained
and the weather was a bit rough so the captain tried his luck about
Jamacia Bay and we hit Porgies hard. I connected with an old firend,
Anthony Van Utrecht, who was a young pup when I first met him, but has
grown into a full man, and gentle father. He mates and captains for the
Hunter now, and we rarely get to fish together, but this is FRIDAY, so
things that otherwsie can't happen, turn out to be possible on Fridays.
After tooling about Jamacia, we steamed off to the Atlantic Reef.
The captain of the Marilyn Jean, Pelican, wanted to see how things looked,
and Anthony is in need of hours at the pilots wheel for his certification
as a captain, so blowing an hour or more on the travel to the reefs where
a good investment. The Atlantic Reef was a dog house (all sharks), so we
pushed forward to the McAllister Reef, which produced well for us. We had
a full ecosystem of fish to try for, Scup, Sea Bass, Spanish Mackerel,
Fluke, and Puffers all showed up on the decks today. Acrobatic mackerel
did aerial shows on the sufrace, flipping out of the water, seemingly
for the fun of it. I had a Guyanese family sharing the stern with me.
The fellow closet to me was a COVID-19 survivor who had spent 3 weeks
on a ventilator. They are Indian Guyanese. And he was happy to be alive
and to be out on the water. I like the Guyanese people. They are calm,
and friendly, and he used WD40 on his bait, which, while cancerous, is
very effective at attracting fish, and essentially turned off my fish
as he pulled in buckets of Porgies.
In all seriousness, despite that they come from the, "Kill Everything"
school of fishing and loved sand sharks, they seriously kicked ass at
the rail and went home with coolers of fish!
This fellow further down the starboard side woke up to find himself
with a most improbable double header Spanish Mackerel Delight on his line.
This was very cool, and these fish eat well.
Wild Sunday on the Jersey Shore
So what do you do in NYC when the theaters are all still closed and no
jazz Clubs are open? You head for the Jersey Shore and do some fishing.
I packed up 4 rods, a cooler, kosher fried chicken, and some tackle and
took the 11:07PM train to Bellmar, which arrived at the docks at 1:05AM.
I went to the boat and tossed my gear on the deck, then followed the
dock to the beautiful bar and dining facilities that was still roaring
like the 1920's. I had a few beers, and at 3:00AM walked down the beach,
which was quite busy with walkers on the boardwalk. It's a nice little
beach, nothing like Coney, Island, but clean, and well maintained,
and the police station is right on the boardwalk.
I turned around, headed back to the docks and stopped at the 24/7 7-11,
picked up some water and soda, and headed back to the Bellmar Princess
which is the boat I was booked for. To my surprise, there was already
dozens of people jockeying about for the best spots on a variety of the
boats. I nodded out for about 2 hours when a mate showed up at the boat
about 5:30AM. We exchanged greetings and I took a choice spot on the stern
of the boat, in the starboard corner. By 7:30AM the boat was decently
packed, within the COVID-19 regulations. The boat was scheduled for
blue fishing, and a Mexican family boarded the boat with young children
and loaded with jigs with treble hooks. They caught a lot of blue fish,
but children and treble hooks is a deadly combination. Sure enough, a 2
year old daughter got a treble hook in her hand which the mates needed
to cut into pieces to remove from her hand. It is extremely stupid to
allow children on the deck with swinging jigs, especially treble hooks,
and this situation could easily been much worst, and it wasn't pretty
to begin with to hear the child screaming and the mates gathers around
her trying to remain calm until the situation, fortunately, resolved.
The Mate on the Bellmar Pricess, Billy, is an experienced old salt dog
and experienced handling hook injuries with the skill of a nurse. He is
the reason I return to this boat again and again.
Despite the hysterics, I had a good time using my new stick, a Hercules
Seeker, outfitted by Michael Chow. It was the first time I had used it and
it has a new Fuji Painted seat holderi, in a blue design. I fitted it with my faster
Torque 12 Star drag, and the reel didn't sit well in the housing. It got
loose with a fish on, which could be disturbing. Bill brought over a pipe
pliers and tightened the reel to the seat. I will need to look at this
more closely. It seems that the paint is interfering with the seating's.
I'll see what happens going forward. I still took in 4 blue fish and
dropped many more. This boat is high off the water and this new rod has
a lot of spring in it. Blues popped off and the pole recoiled twice
before I finally started to learn the pole and get things under control.
The boat had a lot of blue fish, some Spanish mackerel, albacore, and
then we switched off to bottom fishing. That is a skill I know well,
and I hit multiple Black Sea bass, and a very nice ling. Overall, I had
a lovely take and my bottom fishing was the envy of the boat. I shared
a few fish which soothed ruffled feathers, and then we headed home.
Bellmar's party boats dock in the Shark River estuary, and when I arrived at
the docks, it was high tide, the water level almost up to the dock.
I'd never seen that before and it seems like a guaranteed way to
get flooding. The piers at Sheepshead Bay are several feet above the
average high tide and you need to step down the stairs to reach the boat.
It makes it a little harder to get on the boat, but it is much safer for
the community, which will suffer from periodic flooding. The boats are
also backed into the dock, a difficult maneuver in my eyes, but it makes
boarding very easy. The estuary is behind 3 draw bridges and when the
boats leave in the morning, they do so in a parade, until there reach the
open ocean. Along the parade route are many homes, and fancy edifices,
and lot of small boats enjoying the water. Check out the morning parade
out of Bellmar:
There also seems to be a ritual parade of dogs at the Dock in the
morning. I've seen this before, and it seems almost like a fishing dock
tradition that the local dog walkers can bring there dogs to the docks
in the morning and Fido get a treat.
Overall, this was a terrific Sunday trip, and much better than
the zoo that exists on Sheepshead Bay. Conversation was easy, and
drinking was moderated. The Cabin on the Miss Bellmar is enormous and
air conditioned. More than a few passengers spent there day cooling
off, and even sleeping in the cabin. The upper deck is a lounging area and some children
were up there, with mom, kids, and young adults sunning themselves.
While all that was going on, the boat was sailing in the Klondikes,
and we were clobbering the blue fish. Over 100 Blues come on the boat.
And even the captain was impressed with the fish.
At about 3PM we arrived back in port. I grabbed my gear and ran
off to the railroad station. At about 3:40PM, the train arrived and at
about 5:50, I was at Penn Station. I looked at my watched and realized
I could take a cab from Penn Station, directly to Pier 6 on Emmons
Avenue, and enjoy an additional night of fishing. And I did just that.
We hailed a cab, and headed through the tunnel, up the Prospect, and
down Ocean Avenue to reach the docks at 6:41PM, more than 15 minutes
before the Marilyn Jean IV was ready to pull out for its night trip.
That night trip itself one one for the ages.
Part two of a Wild Sunday Run
So when I arrived back at Penn Station in Manhattan, the time was about
5:30PM and I had relized that if I hop in a cab, I could make the Sunday
Night trip on the Marilyn Jean fleet. I got out on the 8th Avenue exit,
carrying a small cooler of fish, 4 fishing poles and a messanger bag
full of gear. At that point, I was fairly loaded and tried to find a cab
with enough room to handle my poles. This wasn't easy and the city taxi
attendent at railroad station was of little help. In fact, he gave away
the cab I needed. Finally he fished out a cab that could take my gear.
The problem is that the poles are long and the cabs now have plastic
divders to protect drivers from COVID-19 (More Bullsht).
I hopped into the cab and a West Indian fellow was driving and he asked
me the address, and I told him Peir 6 and Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead
Bay Brooklyn. He couldn't find it on Google and he couldn't spell
Emmons, and I got flustered because the clock was ticking. We came to
an agreement of $60 for the ride, including the tip, cash, and told him
to just drive downtown, and use your eyes, and brain and forget about
the damn GPS. He did so, and we finally hit the West Side Highway, and
took the Battery Tunnel. We negotiation about the route, and settled on
the Prospect Expressway and taking Ocean Parkway to Avenue N, and then
into Ocean Avenue. Ocean Avenue, with the damn 25 mile an hour speed limit
was the slowest part of this. Getting from Kings Highway to Emmons was
a major difficulty. Meanwhile, the driver and I chatted quite a bit
and finnaly when we arrived, with 20 minutes to spare, we were friends,
I paid him his $60 cash, and we hugged, and I got on the boat.
I wanted to tell them all about my exciting adventures in New Jersey, but
frankly, nobody was interested. But Ralf came stacked with bait, which
was nice. Then Mikey showed up. Jessica and Louie, two more regulars,
showed up at the boat, and a fellow named George, another semi-regular.
So we settled into the boat, and Pelican, the Marilyn Jean Captain,
set us a sail to the tin can grounds. When we stopped on the spot and
we immediately started hooking up with big vampire porgies on shrimp.
These fish were pushing 14-16 inches, and biting hard. Lead by Rafeal,
we had them in a frenzy for the next 4 hours, and loaded up with a huge
quantity of dinner plate sized porgies. We had them hitting on shrimp and
worms, and then as the nigh wore on, they got a little finicky and would
only take worms. To cap off the night Rafeal pulled in the largest Porgy
Double Header I had ever seen. He wouldn't let me take a good clean
picture of it. But we had a streak going of 4 of my last MJ trips,
we kept hitting the biggest scup I had ever seen, night after night,
going from 17 inches, to 18 inches, to 20 inches, and Ralf continues
this street with TWO 20+ inches, the biggest being about 22 inches.
This was the best photograph I could get of it, because it disappeared
into the buckets.
We limited out the boat, and finally sailed home in triumph on the biggest Porgy Night I have ever seen. We could have fed the homeless.
Wreck Fishing Far and Wide
There are several kinds of fishing that one can participate in from surf
fishing to long range bottom fishing. One of the most popular types,
especially on the party boat circuit, is wreck fishing or reef fishing.
The New York Bight, before European settlement and the industrial
revolution, was largely a sloping mud plain carved out with a large canyon
by the Hudson River, and lined with barrier islands. The continental
self is relatively far from New York Harbor, unlike on the West Coast,
and we have a distinctive inshore fishery in waters less than 80 feet.
In addition, we have water that is cold in winter. This gives
the fishery lots of natural structure, boulders from the Hudson Rivers
breakthrough of the narrows, and rocky shores on the Long Island north
shore in the sound, and numerous rocky islands in and around the harbor,
such as Ellis Island, and Liberty Island, most of which is not gone because
of activity about the harbor. Little of the natural waterfront remains.
What you see is largely an artificial of a construction as artificial as
Central Park. Jamaica Bay was largely a swamp, or a salt water marsh,
not much different than the New Jersey Meadowlands. Rockaway Peninsula
extended no further than where the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge stands currently.
Coney Island was largely exposed to the open ocean, which made it dangerous.
In addition, other barrier islands existed which we still see traces of today.
But now, Jamaica Bay is a swallow bay, with deep pits dug out around JFK airport.
Channels are dug through it and it has small islands. Natural reefs about New York existed,
but were not a dominant feature of the Bight. The major exception to
this was the shallow water
oyster beds that formed reefs throughout
Brooklyn and Long Island. At one time Brooklyn was the leading oyser
exporter of the world and the many small barrier islands about the south
shore supported billions of oysters in oyster reefs.
In order to sustain a fishery and to provide fish habitat, the city and
states of New York and New Jersey have created a number of artificial
reefs all around the waters of Long Island, and up and down the New
Jersey Shore. The artificial projects are well documented and provide
safe havens for recreational fishing boats, and scuba divers. In addition
to the reefs, there are a large number and historically interesting ship
wrecks through out the area. Intelligence of these wrecks, from small
fishing vessels to large commercial ships, are tightly held by fishing
captains and the sharing and holding of this intelligence looks much like
a war. Today, with GPS identification of fishing vessels and tracing of
there movements, much of this discovery and intelligence is an open book.
You can follow hot spots on GPS marine maps around the web. Still, the
knowledge of a good piece of fishing bottom is a treasure to be shared
carefully among captains.
Artificial Reefs are created by artificial debris such as old
subway cars, construction material, and even ship wrecks. The scientific merit of these reefs have been debated
but there attraction to the fish that we target for recreational fishing
is impossible to deny. The reefs consistently produce scup, black sea
bass, cod, and fluke. A boat of 90 fisherman can fill up buckets on
the long island reefs, and the Rockaway Reef, which is the one closest
to Sheepshead Bay and New York City, is very crowded on a weekend.
When other spots to fish fail, the Rockaway Reef is usually a safe bet
for captains to allow there passangers to fill up before heading home.
Reefs to the further east are less easy to reach and often have more
action. I think I have never fished the reefs about Fire Island.
This Friday, July 24th, 2020, we motored over to the distant McAllister
grounds to see what was on the reef. There was a prediction for a chance
of rain, and as we swung about Breezy Point and headed east along the
Long Island shore, skies got continually threatening. It was a light
crowd on the boat, perhaps 25 people, small enough to become familiar with
each fisherman. A few of the regulars where on the boat, including Glen.
The first mate, Rafeal, and myself, settled in to the starboard side of
the boat near the stern. The captain and crew were determined to catch
some fish today, since the crowd was light and it was likely for the
boat to be anchored up. It took over an hour to cruise to McAllister,
and when we did, the sky grew ominous, but we settled in anyway, with
now expectations for it to rain.
The fishing was excellent. I pulled in more scup than I could count,
more than 2 buckets. We then worked on Fluke. I limited out on the
Fluke with 3 keepers and 4 shorts. As we continued to pull in fish,
a man lost his fishing pole in the rain. He leaped after it, and ended
up on the worng side of the rail, hanging on for dear life with the surf
and the rain pounding on him. His buddy pulled him back onto the boat.
This was the closest I'd seen anyone come to ending up in the water.
Meanwhile, a would be hero yelled man over board, and ran through
the cabin, and naturally enough, with all the water, he slipped and
injured his knee. He spent the rest of the day with ice on his knee,
killing his fishing day. The captain missed the entire event, since he
was on the far side of the boat, but the mates were on it right away.
This entire event reminds me to state some rules:
Don't run on the boat for any reason ever.
Never reach over the rail. You can end up in the water.
Leave the mates to handle all and any emergencies.
Be safe on the boat, always.
Mates and crew are trained for emergencies and have procedures to follow. If necessary, they can reach the Coast Guard. You are not trained, so stay out of the way and follow instructions.
Fishing is all about patience and focus
People ask me all the time why is it that I spend so much time fishing. It is not obvious to them, and I've
given this thought over many years, and I've drawn some conclusions. It seems that fishing particularly
is psychologically healthy for men. Women can enjoy it, but men seem to be hard wired to the hunting and gathering
process is a way that women rarely are. I know that this is considered heresy in the intolerant environment
which we currently live under which we are asked ignore the some thousands of differences between the anatomy and
physiology between the genders, in order to reach political
goals. And regardless of solid hard science that exposes neurological
differences between the genders, I'm sure that my observation that men enjoy
fishing more than women will be attributed to some kind of bigotry.
Regardless of the culture wars, it seems that men get more out of fishing than do women, although
both genders can benefit from the process of fishing, and can learn important life lessons from the
experience. The fishing experience causes people to settle their minds, and to focus on the task
in front of them. It forces them to curb there anxieties, and to be patient. Focus and patiences are
the two great gifts of fishing. Every cast is a chance to learn a little bit more. You have to subtly
adapt in a catatonic like state which leads to an epiphany of minute actions that lead to catching a fish.
And if you do things well, you can be rewarded with a fish..or even a bucket of fish.
I was reminded of this last night when I went out on a night trip on the Marilyn Jean V, captained by
Frankie and accompanied by the two night time mates, Alex and Julian. We had 41 people on the boat last
night, making more than enough room to social distance and maintain WUHAN-19 Coronas SAR2 viral disease protocols.
To my left was an older gentleman, who was struggling with a boat rod. And to the right was two gentlemen
guzzling Henesy and catching Scup.
The gentleman on my left had a profound tremor in his left hand. He was out with some friends, and we were all
at the rail in the stern of the boat. His tremor was so pronounced, that he had trouble holding the reel
steady, and this resulted in a large number of minor tangles in his reel. And after each tangle, he patiently
loosened the reel, untangled the mono filament, set up his bait and rig and casted out again. This went on
most of the night and we talked. Evidently he had a spinal injury that gave rise to the tremors, but he just
fished right through it with a minimal fuss. And then, to my surprise, late in the night, he caught a
porgy and brought it up. He was damn happy, and it was the fruit of nearly an entire nights work. And it
reminded me that patiences is a critical trait to success in all matters of life, not just at the rail.
The two gentlemen on my right also had a very rewarding day. For the last
3 trips, we have pulled up progressively larger pool winning Porgies.
I hooked one 17 inches. Last night we had one 18 inches long. Tonight,
these fellows on my right pulled in a porgy nearly 20 inches long.
It was one of the largest Porgies I'd ever seen pulled from our inshore
boating and fishing. They enjoyed it very much and had a few belts of
liquor and caught even more fish.
Cow Nose Rays are about
Cow Nose Rays are huge venomous Rays that we never bring on the boat.
I avoid them but customers enjoy the fight. This Friday I got out on a
terrific day trip, and fished through a morning rain with a light crowd
on the Marylin Jean. We had new friends from Orange County, and Queens.
And everyone had a great time. Friday mornings are often wonderful trips.
The boat is usually light and crowds happy. These guys had a great time
and I pulled in my limit. We had Weak Fish, Rays, Porgies and Sea Bass.
The Sun came out by 10AM and the weather was cool and breezy on the sea,
even though we spent most of the morning inshore in Jamacia Bay.
With the clam shortage, bait has been a constant problem in the wake
of the COVID-19 lockdown, I picked up blood worms from Stellas Maris
at $13 a dozen, and Shrimp, which from the bait shop is $6 a pound and
$8 a pound on the boat. Porgies have proven to love the shrimp. It just can't be denied.
Without the extra bait, one is left with the Free
Clams Bellies catch great fish, but destroy your hands
since it is liquefied goop in a stew of digestive enzymes. It is also
very difficult to get on the hook without practice. The fish do love
it though. But at a dollar a fish for worms, this can get expensive
As the weekend rolled in, fishing continued at a workman's steady pace with
lots of happy patrons on the docks. Saturday night nearly everyone on the in the bay limited
out at the tin cans. This is an area of fishing at the mouth of the harbor just south of
the Breezy Point Jetty. On Sunday the heat war war beating down, but the fish cam up along the
Rockaway Reef. I personaly didn't do so well. Sometimes it just seems I have a bad
day for inexplicitable reasons, may it be tiredness, or a bad match for equiptment. But the
boat filled up on a stready beat of porgy, with some triggers and sea bass in the mix. Everyone
walked off the boat with smiles.
Evening Porgy Fishing Has Been Red Hot
Besides that the nights have been unsually beautiful, fishing has been mostly very hot on the
Evening and Night trips around the New York blight. It seems that we have had more than our normal
amount of boozing on the boats, a response to people trying to find outlets post the COVID-19 lockdown.
Weekend trips have been very unruley. Weekday trips have been more managable. Porgy fishing has turned
on and at times we have had buckets of fish. I spent a great deal of time thinking about my Porgy fishing
gear and it has performed wonderfully. The results have been not just great catches, but huge Fish.
The Lady Flamingo - Jigging Boat out of Knapp Street
July Fourth 2020 - Covid Edition
Friday morning of the 4th of July Weekend and for a change of pace we decided to do a little Jigging out of Sheephead Bay for Blue Fish. We headed out to the Lady Flamingo. This boat is docked off of Knap Street behind the UA movie theater on the Gerritsen Creek. The ride out to the fish grounds give a unique view of the fishing village of Gerritseon, coming out of Brooklyn and into Jamacia Bay. At one time the Borough was riddled with these salt water creeks and marshes, but today we are down to a few. You see plenty of public and private boat slips allong the shore and the Snowy Egrets and water Fowl.
I took this trip largely to give my United Graphite GUSA RUSX79MEGA 20-40Lb rated fast stick a work out. I set it up with a Penn Torque 12 refitted to a low ration vesa gear to be slow 4.8:1, loaded with 30 pound Braid at about 10 foot of 30 pound top shot of Flourocarbon. We were jigging with 3-4 ounce gold and silver Jigs.
I had a back up rod with me, my Shimano Terarmar Inhore Series TMC-E70MH designed for 20-50lb power pro with a lure weight of 1-4ounces, and a medium action. I had 20+ foot of 30lb flouro top shot and outfited with a standard Penn Fathom 12 with a 6:2 ration on 40 pound braid and the 20 ft of topshot.
The GUSA set up didn't perform well. It didn't seem to like the jigs, and the slow speed reel didn't help. Most often my fishing problem is to slow down the hook and not rip the hook out of the fishes mouth. So I lowered the speed of this torque. But this doesn't work well with Jigging and it works less well, with such a small top shot. And the graphit stick seems to absorb the bounce, slowly the jigging motion of the artificial bait. It casted, if not even out casted, everything on the boat, but the jigging motion just wasn't there. The jig pulled in from the bottom like a dead fish or a lead weight. The back up Shimono stick did much better and I pulled in a few snappers when I changed sticks.
I learned something and still came home with a few fish. A few folks on the boat came home with a nice cooler full of blues. A Cobia was caught on the back of the boat. It is a fun trip and I will be collecting my "data" on my trip and rethinking my jigging technique and try it again.
Half Day Fishing on the Marily Jean Four
I had a chance to take a rare Sunday half day afternoon trip on the
Marylin Jean IV run by Captain Boss Tony. The weather was fabulous. It
was a lovely crowd hitting on the porgies. The great thing about these
half day trips is that you get a chance to fish with other fishermen
who you might not normally run into on the boat. You see folks who have
families killing a Sunday afternoon. You meet a few brothers or friends
looking for a low commitment and fun afternoon. It is a low stress and
highly fun afternoon.
Night Fishing Strikes
Both Day and Night fishing has been terrific at times this week. On the Marylin Jean V we had a truely
wonderful groups coming down to the docks to fish. At other times, it seems that the boat has become
a booze cruise, and routy. The boat has moved from Striped Bass and Blues to Porgy fishing at night.
When the fish have been on, we are getting some of the largest fish I've seen in the local waters.
When they aren't there, we are doing a lot of work to bring home a catch.
Although this is the pool winning, I hooked several fish in this size class on this Thursday afternoon.
In the morning we were just hammering on the drift and my new porgy rods proved to be leathal weapons
on the Porgy hunt. The custom built rod, specked out with an MHX composit blank and 11 guilds, is matched
with an Abu Gacia MGX2 low power reel to make a light weight, but powerful tool and pounds on Scup at 30 to
80 feet of water.
At times, we've had excellent clients hitting the boat. Here are a number of folks
having fun on the Marilyn Jean V, which I have mostly been fishing both day and night.
The boats now are running at all hours. Friday and Satuday over nights, 9PM-4AM trips are being added to the
Marilyn Jean IV.
At 7AM the Ocean Eagle and the MJV leave for Porgies - full day 7AM to 3PM.
The Ocean Eagle alternates with Fluking, see their schedule.
The Hunter is limited passanger Fluking 7Am to 3PM.
8AM the Marilyn Jean IV is half day Porgy Fishing. 8AM to 1PM
9AM Captain Dave is Flukings 9AM to 4PM
2PM MJIV from 2PM to 6PM
5PM: Capt Dave Striped Bass & Porgies 5pm - 10pm
6PM - The Hunter from 6PM-11PM for Blues and Bass
7PM - MJV for Night Time porgies
9PM - Friday and Saturday Night - 9PM to 4AM
In additiont to these, other fine boats fish at various times including the Flamingo on Knapp Street, and
the Sea Queen with 2 half trips a day.
Summer 2020 Fishing Picks!
Thu 18 Jun 2020 12:11:10 AM EDT
This week, the boats out of Sheepshead Bay have been in full fishing
mode with folks showing up at the docks in large numbers, especially
at night. Captain Dave made a great special Tile Fish Trip. The Ocean
Eagle has been hammering Fluke and Cod. The Hunter has had excellent
nights with Striped Bass. The Day trips on the Marilyn Jean 5 have been
off the hook Red Hake and Cod fishing. We have fished the New York Bite,
about 17 and near the Pilot Boats general location. I pulled out this
terrific Cod this week, and it made it home to my Shabbos Table.
Sun 12 Jun 2020
Watchya gonna do? Some days it just RAINS Red Hake all over the boat... what a mess...
Thu 11 Jun 2020 08:44:38 PM EDT
Yesterdays Marilyn Jean 5 trip was the supurb fishing for Ling with a
mix of other great eating fish tossed in. Fishing was breezy eay, in
a rare way, with everyone heading home with bags of delicious fillets.
The weather was very cooperative, and the ocean warm and inviting.
This is the break you've been waiting for and the MJ5 (and the MJ4)
have both produced only the best reults in this opening week of the
2020 season. Both customers and mates were friendly and helpful.
The COVID-19 spacing rules gives you extraordinary elbow room.
Likewise, the night trips have been filled, and fun, shooting for
Striped Bass and Blues. We also filled up, quite accidently , on a
score of bottom fish to put meat in everyones coolers. More that a few
keeper bass have apeared, and so have some nice snappers and big blues.
Old friends have gotten together and rekindled our love for each other
and fishing! So join the MJ5 in the post corona lockup events, going
on now at the Marily Jean Fishing Fleet!
With New York still locked down I wandered down to the New Jersey Shore and
landed in the seaside town of Belmar fishing for 2 days on
the Miss Belmar Princess, a 120 foot
luxury fishing machine that has wonderful accommodations, much of which is
closed for the Coronus lockdown. They have a full grill, for example, lawn
chairs on the upper decks, a huge cabin with Mcdonald's like seating with
cushioned seats. The full size capacity for the boat is probably capable of
carrying nearly 100 passengers, but it was working at maximum allowable capacity
under the lock down, with a limit of 25 passengers, spread out nicely on the deck.
Usually, the day trip is a Bass and Blues trip but the stripers are already gone
for the season and the blues are still sparse in the area, although a few
show up sparingly. So the captain has wisely targeted Black Sea Bass,
which have been in abundance this May. We headed out for about a 40
minute ride off shore and hammered on Sea Bass all day. In New York,
Black Sea Bass are extremely limited, but Jersey keeps them open at 10
fish at 12.5 inches from May 15 - June 22. Since in New York, these
delicious fish are out of season and restricted to be only opened from
June 23 - Aug 31 and set with a 15 inch minimum and a 3 fish limit, it
makes it hardly worth it for NY boats to target these fish, even though boats
from both states fish the same exact waters. NY also allows a late season September
1 until Dec 31 with Seven fish limit. That is better, but still hardly
worth the run. As a New Yorker I had stepped into heaven. I love Sea Bass.
Sea Bass are extremely delicious and have been the backbone
of bottom fishing for decades before New York State inexplicitly put a
halt to it. We hit them hard at about 80-100 feet depth and limited out
the boat. I limited out early and switch over bait and rod to target Ling
and Cod. I hit more than a few few ling and brought home, over 2 days,
nearly a freezer full of fish. This has been some of the best fishing
I've experienced in quite some time, with minimal fuss. Thank You New Jersey.
I overnighted at the the nearby motor lounge (not to be recommended) for about
$65.00. The town as all but closed, to my disappointment because Belmar is a
genuinely pleasent vacation spot, with a sporty bar scene, and warm summer breezes.
It left me little to do for the evening other than to wait out for the next morning.
The deck hands let me leave my gear on the boat overnight, which I was much obliged
to them fori, and Billy even had me up an staked out to a prime stern spot in
the morning when I arrived at the dock. He is a good man, and the whole crew
were curtious and kind, to newbies, youngen ones and us old sea dogs one and all.
They even handled a minor medical event without incident when "mom" got a hook
in her finger. Everyone was well taken cared of and there were 4 mates to only
25 passengers, which is a ratio that even a charter vessel wouldn't match. So we
had a great amount of attention, and time. Fish cleaning was offered
free, but tips are expected. I'd personally recommend to ships that cleaning
be attached to a fee, but in wealthier areas of New Jersey, I suppose
a more reliable tipping behavior might be in expected. For myself,
I tripped $30 on the first day and $40 on the second day. That included
filleting about 60 fish of mixed species. Normally I
tip $20 but I know that everyone on the docks are having a difficult time,
so I tipped what for me is a little heavy, just to show my support for
It was an excellent trip and I hope to do it again
soon, with or without the virus pandemic. The docks are 2 blocks from
the trains station to Pen Station in NYC, which makes this an easy hop
on NJ Transit from the city. The trick is to travel light, which I failed to
do, but I will remember better next time. There is a fully stocked bait and tackle shop
at the marina, with a full line of reels, and rods and tackle. I picked up some
grubs and blood worms for the trip, which, in truth, I probbably didn't need. Clams
ruled the day for both Ling and Sea Bass.
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Winter and Spring 2019/2020
This has been a most unusual winter of fishing in New York. The Blackfish season came and
went rather quietly, and then we hit Cod and Ling. The Cod fishing has beem rather exceptoinal
and the Ocean Eagle has been pounding Cod all winter, as has been Cpt Dave and the Marilyn Jean.
The Ocean Eagle has fit cod on the regular 7AM to 4PM runs. The Captain Dave has had several
18 hour trips off shore which has reculted in piles of fish. The Marily Jean has focused on Ling and
has been able to keep a regular flow to its customers. Meanwhile, the boats have been steadily catching
all winter long, as long as the weather has held up.
Earlier in the winter, the Ocean Eagle pounded Backfish, which is very much the strongest part of their
boating experience. Geoff and greg are world class Black Fish specialist. Greg has an encyclopedia
of blackfish wrecks and spots, with intimate knowledge of just about the entire NY/NJ Blight. This winter
that knowledge base was puit to good use for his clients, those lucky enough to fish with him. Everyone took
home prized fish.
On a sad note, one of the oldest and highest rated fishing boats out of Sheepshead Bay has been retired from
the fleet. The Brooklyn V Bass and Blues boat, which is famous for its off shore adventures, has been sold
and is gone from the bay. It is sad to see this boat leave and it makes a hole in fleet. Fortunately,
both the Marilyn Jean V and the Hunter are filling in some of the vacancy. Additionally, the Ocean Eagle had
new engines installed about a year ago, and it is more than capable of picking up some the slack. They have a
new mate, Chris, who is wonderful with clients and makes everything pleasant. The Captain Dave has been largely
handed to the next generation, and Paul Paris is an expert seaman, with fishing in his veins. Additionally
the MJ IV is having it's engines completely overhauled. In some regards, the fleet is in the best shape it has
been in for years, and folks should come down and hop a ride.
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Fall 2019
Great Fall Fishing 2019!
Fall Fishing in Jamacia Bay
The fishery in Jamacia Bay is often underated. Much of the bay is under the jurisdiction of the Gateway National
Park, which has brought an interesting degree of strife between Brooklyn fishermen, and the National Parks
Department. Most of the shore line is closed to comericial fishing, but the waters are all open. Overall,
the conservation efforts around the bay has been good for fish. We've seen a run of weakfish and herring this
year, and the striped bass are always exciting. This fall, the bay produced some nice porgies and other
bottom fish. Even the Kayakers have been out.
The Leaves are turing and the Porgies and Blues are all over the waterfront
School has started and while the summer was full of a great fluke run,
the flatties have seemingly turned off and the Porgies and Blue Fish have
exploded both in Jamaica Bay and in the Ocean, especially along the Long
Island South Shore.
The Brooklyn VI and The Flamingo has seen blue fishing unlike what has been
seen for a couple of years. Last night I was out on the Marilyn Jean IV, as
the MJV was having maintenance being done on it, and the porgies near the
buoy's past the Breezy Point jetty have not just been strong, but it has
seemed to attracted a great deal of dolphins during the day, making fishing
The weather has largely held up, minus a brush with a hurricane earlier in the
month that was off shore. The result is crowded Sunday boats as word s
getting out that the fishing has been exceptional. Good spots are available on
the Ocean Eagle, which is an outstanding boat. Other boats have space as
well, but it just seems that the Eagle has been running excellent trips and
have lots of room on a large boat. Night trips on the Marilyn Jean have been
very productive and the Captain Dave is running a number of interesting long
range trip including one trip up the Hudson River into fresh water, hunting
for Striped Bass.
Night time fishing is the best so far of the year. If you enjoy fishing under
the stars, this full moon has fish rocking off the Long Island reefs and the
harbor. Blue Fish are jumping around the boat and I caught over 8 blues my
accident, as they tore through much of my end tackle. My 30 pound test
leaders for porgy fishing is no match for the sizzler teeth of snapper and
large blue fish. If you are a fan of the big blue fishing, both day and
night, now is the best time to step out and go for the action that it has been
for 3 or more years.
Fall 2019 Fishing Picks!
Your First Time Fishing on a Party Boat
I recently had a chance to reflect on the experience that a new and
inexperienced patron of recreational fishing boats goes through. Fishing is a
very enjoyable experience, when it is done right, and with a little bit of help
at the beginning. It can be completely miserable otherwise. Often, new
patrons to the boats are caught by surprise by getting sea sick, or by the lack
of amenities on a fishing boat. These are not pleasure craft, or dinner boats.
They are stocked, and built for catching fish, and this is a bit like camping,
not like touring the countryside with credit card in hand, and hot showers at
That being said, you can have a great time on a fishing boat. They are called
party boats for a reason, there are a lot of laughter on these boats. And
while different boats have different ease of access for new users, overall,
none of them are the Circle Line or Carnival Cruises. And this
misunderstanding can cause a number of negative reviews on internet platforms,
and forums. I am going to review some things one can expect when fishing for
the first time on a party boat, and how one should prepare for a trip in order
to maximize your enjoyment. Then I am going to review a day I had on the Ocean
Eagle V, to give life to some of these tips for newbies.
The first thing one needs to do is contend with is the weather. Weather on the
open ocean is not quite like it is on shore. The ocean is flat and there is no
protection from wind and rain. And weather patterns can be more abrupt, and
most of all, it is always wet. Salt water is the element of fishing and you need to
bring clothing that is ready for ocean spray and salt water. Rubber boots are
a good idea, even for newbies. I see folks come with flip flops, and I don't
recommend this. At minimum, have a decent pair of sneakers which you won't
mind getting ruined by the exposure to salt water. The salt gets into shoes and corrodes the
material and leaves rings. Best to bring the cheap sneakers and leave the
expensive ones in the house. Bring a sweatshirt in the summer and otherwise
over dress. Except for heat waves in July or August, you always end up colder
than you think you are because you are exposed to the wind. You can always
take off cloths as needed, but it sucks to be at the rail, shivering because of
On the same token, there is also no place to hide from the sun. You are on
the open ocean and on an open deck. Bring a hat with a brim, and perhaps
sunglasses, and if you need, sunblock. Hats with brims, especially on weekends
when the boat is crowded, is a necessary safety precaution. Aside from the
sun, a brimmed hat can protect your eyes from flying hooks or flying fish. I
never go on the boat without a hat and if you look at all the pictures posted
here, you will see me with a broad rimmed hat in every picture.
That being said, don't let bad weather put you off from making a trip. Some
of the best fishing I had ever experienced has been in the rain, and even in
the dead of winter with 20 degree air temperatures. Thunderstorms in the ocean
can actually be cool. The boat has modern weather radar and the captains are
well trained. They know what their boats can do and have handled passengers
for decades. The boat will not go out in unsafe conditions, and I've seen us
dock the boat perfectly in a deep fog with almost no visibility, almost
completely on instrumentation. You won't melt in the rain, so take a poncho
and head out to the dock and catch some fish!
Expect to get sea sick. Unless you are a salty sea dog, everyone can get
sea sick, especially those without experience on boats. A certain rocking
motion at a particular rhythm will set off the nausea and vomiting trigger zone
in your brain. So take meclizine (Bonine or Dramanine) before coming on the
boat. And it is a good idea to eat lightly before coming on board. Why ruin
your whole day getting unnecessarily sea sick? Also, carry some pretzel rods
with you an stay hydrated. Old fashioned pretzel rods have baking soda in them
that nicely buffers the stomach and reduces nausea. If you do get sea sick,
try to fish through it. Its not easy, but really the nausea is all in your
head and you can gain control over it and fight through it. If you give up and
just lay on a bench, you make it worst. And vomit over the rail into the
ocean. Don't use the bathroom for that. It is not really a toilet on the
boat. There is no water pressure and minimal plumbing. Vomit over the rail
and do everyone a favor.
Safety on the boat is job number one for the crew and it should be yours as
well. While fishing boats are regulated by the coast guard, and the state,
they are mostly reviewed for sea worthiness, and emergency equipment. But this
is not a school yard, and in that sense, fishing boats are not safe. You need
to use more than a little common sense to remain safe. You need to actually
think about safety all the time. And for this reason, the boats crew and mates
are in charge absolutely. Follow the instructions of the crew always. Anchor
ropes, ladders, wet decks, fishing hooks, knives, and live fish all present
potential dangers. The mates are there to protect you. Let them do their job.
You will not just catch more fish, but you will get on and off the boat safely,
intact, without any missing body parts.
Don't do unsafe things. Don't overhand cast...ever! Don't run on the deck.
Don't jump ever. The boat moves and you can end up with a serious injury if
you jump and the boat rises unexpectedly. Climb down ladders slowly and facing
the ladder when coming down. Hold the rail and come down the ladder like a
ladder, backwards, not like a staircase, facing outward. Hold rails with two
hands. Don't get drunk. I don't know why people come to the boat, drink hard
liquor or even beer, get drunk, then sea sick and then can't fish. This is
stupid. Limit yourself to a couple of beers at most. Smoking doesn't help you
either and while it is permitted, in truth cigars and cigarettes on the boat
suck and make others around you nauseas. Give everyone a break and don't smoke
on the boat and never in the cabins.
When you arrive to the boat, let the mates help you on and off. After a long
trip, your legs can get very wobbly. The boat doesn't line up perfectly with
the stairs. You can fall into the bay .. and it has sadly happened. Let the
mates help you. We have had wheelchairs and cripples on the boat, and everyone
has been safely brought on and off the boat, with the help of the mates. They
will also help you with any coolers you have or equipment. Let the mates do
their jobs. They will optimize your safety while coming on board or
disembarking. Never get impatient and jump over the rail onto or off the vessel.
I mean really, why would anyone ever think that is a good idea? The mates are
busy after docking, tying the boat securely and tightly to the docks. And some
young rambunctious kid jumps the rail with his tackle and lands face first into
the cement dock, breaking his rod in the process, and ending up with a hook
embedded in this scalp. Don't do that! A momentary bad decision like this can
cause a life altering event. Be safe.
Upon boarding the boat, you will be set up near a pole station on the rail.
The rail has rod holders along the boat, each one a spot, theoretically, for a
fisherman. When the boat is crowded, it can be tight. Everyone gets one
spot per fare, although on weekdays or nights, often passenger crowds are thin enough
where one can spread out a bit. Chose a spot and set up. If you need a pole
and rigs, they can be available from the boat for a $5.00 rental (like renting
bowling shoes). Lost tackle costs about 3 dollars a rig. It is expected to go
through a rig or two on the trip. So, you should factor that into your trip.
As a newbie, even if your have your own pole, let the mates tie you rigs.
Mates tie thousands of rigs a week, and they are expert on this. You can't do
it better yourself, even if you looked it all up on the internet before you
left for the boat. Trust me, it takes lots of practice to do the things
fishermen make look so easy, like tying knots, and casting out the line. As
your first experience, lean on the mates expertise. You will be glad you did.
If your are lucky, you will get an exceptional mate who will teach you the
ropes of fishing, and how to feel for the fish, to gently cast forward, and
some of the finer points of the rigging and hooks. It doesn't happen all the
time, so if it does for you, you've been blessed. Soak in as much knowledge as
When selecting which boat to take, there are several general types of fishing
that can be done. There is bottom fishing, which is catching fish that live on
the ocean floor or in wrecks. These would include, in New York City, mostly
Scup (porgies), Totaug (blackfish), Black Sea Bass, Red Hake (ling), Fluke
and Flounder, and some occasional Cod. Other fishing is for game fish or tide
runners, like Blue Fish, Striped Bass, Mackerel, Weakfish, and offshore Tuna,
Bonito, and MahiMahi. These species generally use jigs, or crocks and
occasionally bunker chunks or eels to catch Striped Bass or Blues. Bottom
fishing boats out of Sheepshead Bay currently include the Marilyn Jean,
Ocean Eagle, and Captain Dave. Bottom fishing can be
divided into Sea Bass, Porgy trips, and Fluking trips. The Brooklyn and the
Lady Flamingo target Blue Fish when they can, and Stripers in season. The Sea
Queen targets Striped Bass through most of the year. Through out the year,
boats will change what they are fishing for according to reports and expected
weather. Other boats, like the Rock Fish and the Hunter, are more like charter
boats, and cost a bit more. They are smaller and have fewer passengers. They
will target different fish according to conditions, but tend to go after game
fish like Striped Bass or even large sharks. In my opinion, newbie fisherman
are better off targeting bottom fishing boats because there are more likely to
bring home fish. Although nothing is ever guaranteed, you have a good chance
to bring some from Scup (Porgies) even when fishing is slow.
The folks you meet on fishing boats can be roughly broken down to two groups, dedicated fishermen, and tourists.
Mates and Captains come from the pool of enthusiasts, although there are some
folks with multiple generations of family in the business. Passengers come
from across the entire spectrum of New York society. While you have some
bankers and real estate folks, especially on high end charters, you also have
many recent immigrants (West Indians, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Russians,
Ukrainians, Chinese, and Koreans), working class Catholics, Orthodox Jews,
many city workers and a large number of retirees. They come with a variety of
fishing skills, and talents, from being experts to total novices. Boats also
get a large number of young professionals, especially on weekends, and hipsters
who are exploring their new city and surroundings. More than a few folks travel into town from
as far away as Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey, to make a trip and enjoy
our world class waters. As a composite, the composition of party boat patrons
would make an interesting sociological study. Some of the hardest patrons are
those with some experience fishing, lets say surf fishing with 12 foot fishing
poles and spinning reels, and little background on what it is like to fish on
a crowed part boat. 12 foot rods are not appropriate for party boats. They
are too long and cause tangles on the boat. Likewise, techniques from the West
Coast often don't translate to the East Coast with shallower water and more
crowded boats. Fishing is not one size fits all.
The biggest mistake new patrons of the party boats make is a bad attitude
towards the crew. This will create anxiety and trouble for folks who just
don't seem to understand who they are speaking to. These crews are not
working for a hotel or waiters at your favorite restaurant. These are
fisherman, and they swear, and curse, and while they are in the service
business, they are not in the connoisseur business. They try, but you
can't change a leopards spots. These are folks who are hustlers, and
pull ropes for a living. Often they gamble in their free time, never get
enough free time and drink hard. They are craftsman and they will only
take so much gruff before they speak their minds. They are polite with
the public, but don't get into their kitchen, or be a wise guy or know it
all, because they will not respond well. They will give you the shirt off
their back for you, but not if you insult them. Conflict is not a means
to get anything you want from these folks. They would cut off their
noses to spite their faces... for better or worst, that is how it is.
There are a lot of emotional issues with mates. They aren't wealthy
and suffer there fair share of personal problems. These are the people
who chose to be mates. They are not MIT graduates or entertainers.
They are real live fisherman. So respect them, and don't toy with them.
If you do this and give them a moderate tip, they will be your friend
for life. Abuse them at all, and your in for a rough day on the water. You
can complain about it on social media, but it won't help you. The entire dock
is a large squabbling family and they stick up for each other.
Ocean Eagle V Trip
With all that background information, let me describe for you a recent trip
on the Ocean Eagle V. This could have been a description on any of the other
boats I fish from, and in fact, I fish most often on Boss Tony's Marilyn Jean
V. But this particular day the Ocean Eagle had a nice special trip for Fluke
that I wanted to make. Until this year, I had never seemed to be able to catch
fluke, but with tutelage from the Ocean Eagle mates, I've begun to master this
special form of fishing.
This is one of the best fishing boats on the East Coast of the US.
I've taken nearly every boat out of Brooklyn for fishing and the Ocean
Eagle is a hard core fishing boat that is singularly focused on catching
fish and having customers catch fish. This past Thursday, August 15th,
2019, I went out with the boat for one of its epic Fluke trips. Let me
review the trip and hopefully others can gain from my experience and be
prepared for having the very best time on their fishing adventure.
The boat was scheduled to leave Pier 5 at 6:30AM. I arrived by cab at
6:00AM with my tackle box and fishing rods. You don't need your own
equipment, as the boat is fully loaded with rods and tackle. The Mate
Geoff had two huge bags of Lures, Bucktails, and rigs for Fluking and
he takes special pride on the passengers landing top fish. I had a large
tackle box, my messenger bag filled with line, sweaters, rags and knives, and
two rods and reels I chose for this trip. I was met at the dock by the mates,
and we exchanged hello's. I turned around and they had my gear already on the
boat in the bow where I usually fish.
The galley was close today, which was a personal disappointment because,
first of all, I enjoy talking to Kathy who is the cook, but also, it
is nearly a 10 hour trip from 6:30AM to 4:00PM and Kathy makes the best
French Fries in NYC... seriously. She is a master cook inside of that
little galley on a fishing boat that is in no way designed to prepare
or serve food (it is designed to catch fish and the galley is often for
the crew). Fresh coffee is usually ready for patrons, and she makes
great eggs. As far as fishing boats are concern, she runs a clean and
efficient little operation. Everyday she scrubs the entire galley, and
all the electric fryers and cookers to server everything from bacon and
eggs to home made chicken soup. I had to giggle when I read complaints
about Kathy not wearing gloved on a fishing boat where bait and clams
are everywhere. She is without a doubt, the cleanest person on the boat,
and you think you can find better food on a fishing boat, then maybe
you should try fishing off Carnival Cruse Lines, or the Midnight Star.
They have great galleys..
Once underway, Geoff adjusted my rigs so I could have a better chance
to catch fish. In truth, I tend to ride the Ocean Eagle in order to
fish with Geoff. He is a big man and a bit burly at times, but he is
an encyclopedia in knowledge on fishing and technique. His ability
to understand tide and wind conditions and to make changes accordingly
is the best in the tri-state area. Together, with his brother, Greg, who is
captain and owner of the Ocean Eagle, they make an unbeatable pair.
As Geoff is a genius with catching fish, Greg has a near encyclopedic
knowledge of the regions fishing and marine topography and oceanography.
Greg has found and opened up hundreds of otherwise unknown areas for
recreational fishing, and understands the details of the dynamics of
each area of bottom and how it interacts with desired species and today's
desired species was Fluke.
The trip to the fishing grounds which are east, down the south
shore of Long Island, took about a half hour and then when we arrived we settled over
the wreck and the whistle blew. Captain Greg called for lines down.
For newbies, that means fishing is to commence, and everyone was in
the water. I immediately hooked a short fluke. Fluke need to be 19
inches to keep in New York State, and this first one was a healthy 14
inches and it was gently returned to the ocean. Over the next hour I
landed one keeper Fluke, a Sea Bass, and I lost a rig. Geoff quickly
helped me make a rig change and I was back in the water. Soon, as
tide and winds changed, Captain Greg decided to move to another spot.
We were mostly drifting. There are two basic ways to fish the boat.
One is to let the current move the boat over an area of bottom that you
want to fish. This is drifting. The second way is to anchor the boat
and to remain relatively immobile over a chosen section of bottom.
We did a lot of drifting different areas, and I lost quite a bit of tackle. We used natural bait, mostly spearing fish and strips of fish skin, and artificial lures and teasers. We also used artificial bait called gulp which the fluke particularly like. The boat was stocked with all this, although technically only bait is free, Geoff was generous with tackle this day.
On the trip home, the crew started to clean fish and scrub the boat.
We hit well over 40 fish and had only 30 passengers. Everyone went
home with fish and meat... sushi grade meat. When we got into the dock,
folks were helped off the boat and passengers gave tips to the crew.
The mates largely work for tips, and they appreciate tips a great deal.
Mates work hard, and the job is somewhat dangerous. Aside from flying
hooks, there is anchors, wet floors, and knives. Geoff is actually
missing a finger tip from an accident years ago. People on the docks
work hard, and deserve the tips they earn.
When one comes on a fishing boat, aside from the fare, one should be
prepared to pay for tackle (as it is lost), food, and fish cleaning.
Most importantly, remember to tip the mates. It is an expected part of
the days activities, as it is with waiters and tax drivers. I always
have $20 ready for mates in addition to the fare.
When trying to find a place to fish on the boat at the rail, the rear
of the boat, called the stern, is often preferred. I, myself, usually
fish the bow and I spent most this day in the bow. When the boat is
anchored, I will move if the fish are biting elsewhere on the boat,
and the Ocean Eagle is a sizable boat with lots of room. When the boat
is drifting, I might move to one side of the bow to the other depending
on the movement of the boat. I try be fishing under the boat.
FWIW, bathroom facilities on the Ocean Eagle are adequate, but no fishing
boat will have running hot and cold fresh water, or any fresh water,
until they return to dock. This is like camping, not spending a day at
the Waldorf. The fun of it is in the fishing and the shared camaraderie
that you make with other fishermen. Fishing is not easy, and even more
so for first time or new fisherman. Just not tangling lines can be a
challenge on a busy boat. Never overhand cast, and always listen to
the crew. They are there to help you catch fish and to keep you safe.
While they may share a laugh and a smile, never forget they are there
to do there job, and the mates and crew of the Ocean Eagle is top notch!
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Summer 2019
The Heat has been pouring on
Mid-July and the Porgies have finally some to the south shore of Long
Island and Brooklyn. While they have been start and stop, then are now
biting all along the harbor, including the east reefs, and in the tin
cans area and off the Breezy Point Reef. My freezer is filled again,
and the Sea Bass are making a strong presense. Unfortunately, for
the Sea Bass fisherman, New York Regulations are just irresepnsible and crazy.
Sea Bass regulations in NY are making a mockery of the entire
regulatory process and begs one to question if we should have any
confidence in New York States abilty to pass and maintain rational law.
A number of years ago, Black Sea Bass became threatened by overfishing
all along the East Coast of the United States. The Black Sea Bass is
a very popular sport and comericial fish with fine texture and flavor,
making it one of the best eating fish in North America.
The Federal Government stepped in and created a Black Sea Bass Management
Board. To quote the board in its "FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE 2016
BLACK SEA BASS FISHERY"
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC or Commission) management of black sea
bass was initiated as one component of a multi-species fishery management
plan (FMP) addressing summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. In
1990, summer flounder was singled out for immediate action under a joint
ASMFC and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC or Council)
plan. Further action on the scup and black sea bass plan was delayed until
1992 to expedite the summer flounder FMP and subsequent amendments. The
joint Black Sea Bass FMP was completed and approved in 1996. The MAFMC
approved regulations for black sea bass as Amendment 9 to the Summer
Flounder FMP in May 1996.
The management unit of the Black Sea Bass FMP includes all black sea
bass in U.S. waters in the western Atlantic Ocean from Cape Hatteras,
North Carolina north to the Canadian border. Maine, New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina have declared an interest in
black sea bass; Maine and New Hampshire declared interest most recently,
in 2014. The Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass
Management Board (or Board) and the MAFMC Demersal Species Committee
guide development of the FMP. Technical issues are addressed through
the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Technical Committee and
the Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committee. The Black Sea Bass Plan Review
Team conducts annual reviews and monitors compliance and the Scup and
Black Sea Bass Advisory Panel provide industry input and advice.
The objectives of the FMP are to reduce fishing mortality to ensure
overfishing does not occur, reduce fishing mortality on immature black sea
bass to increase spawning stock biomass, improve yield from the fishery,
promote compatible regulations among states and between federal and state
jurisdictions, promote uniform and effective enforcement, and to minimize
regulations necessary to achieve the stated objectives. The initial black
sea bass FMP was designated to reduce fishing mortality by a coastwide
commercial quota allocated into quarterly periods beginning in 1999,
and a recreational harvest limit constrained through the use of minimum
size, possession limit, and seasonal closures.
[Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission October 18, 2017 ]
In the words of the Commision itself, Black Sea Bass Stocks are completely
rebuilt, and even more than that, they are in over abundance, and yet
regulations continue that make fishing even for healthy adult catches
to be illegal in New York State. The Commision said in 2017:
Retrospectively adjusted values of SSB and F from the
ASAP model are being used for stock status determination. The stock of
black sea bass north of Cape Hatteras, NC is not overfished, nor is it
experiencing over fishing (Figures A169-A170). The retrospective adjusted
estimates of F, SSB and B from each area were combined for comparison to
biological reference points. The retro-adjusted 2015 biomass (32,010 mt)
is currently 86% above BMSY proxy and retro-adjusted 2015 SSB (22,176
mt) is 129% above the SSBMSY proxy (9,667 mt). Retro-adjusted fishing
mortality in 2015 (FMULT = FAges 4-7 = 0.27) is 25% below the F MSY
proxy = 0.36.
The black sea bass stock from Maine through Cape Hatteras, North
Carolina is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Abundance
has increased and is currently very high, particularly off southern New
England. As a result, recreational catches have been relatively high,
even under restrictive regulations.
The most recent stock status information comes from the 2016 stock
assessment. Spawning stock biomass (i.e. the abundance of mature females
and males) was estimated to be 48.9 million pounds in 2015, which is
2.3 times the target spawning stock biomass level. A recent increase in
spawning stock biomass was driven by the 2011 “year class” (i.e. the
fish spawned in 2011), which was nearly three times the 1989-2015 average.
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Website 2019 ]
And yet, Black Sea Bass are more tightly regulated this year than previous
ones, and New York's regulations are far more restrictive than
regulations in New Jersey, where fisherman fish the same waters.
In fact it is more restrictive than any other state in the Management Council.
New York is NUTS and
the council is an example of a bureaucracy that is more interested
in preserving their own jobs and prestige than doing the public good.
There is a whole corrupt federal industry now of statisticians, researchers
and university centers on the Black Sea Bass gravy train, producing
truly incomprehensible documents, that read like undergraduate research papers,
and impossible to understand regulations
which are completely detached from public need or useful to the fish or
The fact is that there are too many fish! It is impossible not to
hook them. The constant dazed and confused look on the faced of fisherman,
novice and experienced fisherman alike, when they put down a baited hook and bring up
a nice healthy, sexually mature 13 inch, 3 pound meaty fish, and are demanded
to return it to the water, repeatedly, over and over along the boat, is
causing anguish and resentment because it is obviously an unreasonable
request! The whole thing is like a skit out of Saturday Night Live.
To throw these prized fish back is too much for the public to
bare. The excuses for the 15 inch size limit in the face of historically
high populations of Sea Bass comes down to pages and pages of stats with
faulty data that conclude, "well since we don't know what tomorrow will
bring, we will just stop you from fishing!" It is OUTRAGEOUS.
Customers are outraged on the boats, and mates and fishermen and knocking heads
trying to comply with regulations. Fisherman city wide are in
Nobody believes Black Sea Bass are endangered.
NOAA - Above target population levels in the Mid-Atlantic.
ASMFC - The 2016 benchmark stock assessment found black sea bass
not overfished nor experiencing overfishing.
IUCN Red List - Black Sea Bass of Least Concern
fishwatch - Above Target Population
So then why are we over regulating them? According to our professional taxpayer paid
beaurocrats, we don't know their future, so we punish fishermen. This is
an important moment for all of us to make a stand against unjust over
regulation by the government!
Summer 2019 Fishing Picks!
Schools are graduating and the kids are on the streets. Restaurants about
New York City are fillings up and the roads are clogged. The inflation
bug has reached the Emmons avenue piers, and prices are moving up.
This has been good and bad. The good part is that the market ground
that has been plowed by the Hunter, longer trips with few passengers on
a smaller boat, geared for those craving a raw fishing experience and
bigger fish, as a good price of $75 dollars a head, has taken notice
now by the other boats in the Sheepshead Bay fleet. The Ocean Eagle has
been offering outstanding fluke trips that have produced fish at a cost
of $65 a head. Now, Captain Greg Nardielo has decided to convert that
offering to a longer 6AM trip with a higher pricetag for more hours in
the morning at $75 a head.
The same vein, The new Marilyn Jean V, being run by Tony "Pelican"
Reyes, has been doing scheduled longer trips from 6AM until 5PM that have
had decent crowds and have been quite enjoyable. We just finished one
this past Friday, June 29th,2019, and we tried for a trifecta of Fluke
in the morning, Sea Bass in the afternoon, and the late afternoon with
buckets of Ling. The NYS regulation on the Sea Bass has spoiled the Sea
Bass fishing with limits of only 3 fish at least 15 inch inches long.
The regulation is not only doesn't making any sense ecologically, but it
is creating an artificial imbalance into the Sea Bass population because
only male fish are pulled out of the water. In order to be of any use,
the Sea Bass limitation needs to be dropped back to 13 inches. It is
the only logical thing to do both scientifically and for the industry.
14 inch Sea Bass are big fish, and fat bulldog, fully mature, blue
The Story of Big Ralfie
Over time on the docks, one inevitably makes a share of friends,
and acquaintances. Not everyone you meet here in the docks are the gems of
the societal class. They come with their hair down, often pumped up to
fish. I've had a friend on the docks for many years, named Rafeal -
"Big Ralfie". He is a huge guy, who is a huge man. He lifts weights,
and works at the airport moving luggage. He is a brute. He likes to
quietly come onto the boat, drink a few beers, and fish. And he is
one of the best fisherman on the docks. I have seen him consistently
win the boat pools, and he never interfaces with anyone but his most
trusted associates. And he can growl when he is upset, like a rockweiler.
He is an intimidating presence not to by toyed or trifled with.
One time, for whatever reasons, the crews of the Brooklyn and the Marilyn
Jean, who shared a dock, had an old time Brooklyn scrimmage with the
crew of the Sea Queen over marketing techniques and how they hawk for
customers on the docks. Without getting into the details, this erupted
into a fight that ended up with Ralfie taking down a few crewman of the
Sea Queens mates, and Captain Frankie pulling Ralfie off the pile before
someone got more seriously hurt, and someone else ending up in the clink.
Needless to say, this sealed Ralfy's reputation on the docks, keeping the
peace, and all that sort of good stuff. He is respected as a fisherman
and revered for his friendship and loyalty.
this is not to paint Ralfie as a violent man, because he is for sure a
man of peace. He just happens to just be there sometimes when things
happen, and he is also a man of justice. My first time that I met
Ralfie was on a night trip on the Marilyn Jean. We were in a huge run
of night "Vampire Porgies" and we piled up buckets of night time fish.
Ralfie was in the stern and pulled in a decent size fluke on top of nearly
2 buckets of oversized porgies, out-fishing me by a bucket. I'm watching
him carefully and trying to figure out what he is doing better than me.
I finally decide I needed a closer look. And I walked behind him and
looks down at his bucket and his flounder to admire it. Ralfie didn't
find this flattering and he growled at me, "Hey, why don't you worry about
your own bucket and mind your business". It was enough to make my heart
jump a beat. But undeterred I arrogantly stepped one step closer to him,
and smiled, and said, "I'm sorry, I wasn't going to take it. I'm just
amazed and looking at it. Hey, I am just trying to learn from the best."
This act of contrition didn't win me any points with him, but he didn't
hit me, so we were now friends. He is one of my beloved friends.
Another character, who I might write about at another time, is Matt
the Fireman. He is a loud mouthed, brag abound, who is also one of the
friendliest people you would ever want to meet. He is truly a nice guy
and the two of us, when we are together, can make a lot of noise... the
opposite of Ralfie to say the least. But on this particular night last
week, Ralfie moved from his usual quiet spot in the stern to fish between
Matt and myself, and we had a classic laugh session. 5 hours of straight
chatters and loud laughing and teasing and jovial moments. Most of
the time Ralfie fished between us, barely moving his facial expression,
and occasionally smiling an nodding his head. This is a huge emotional
outburst for stoic Ralfie. All of a sudden, I look over my shoulder
and Ralfie is missing. I'm think, of God, he couldn't take any more of
us and slipped away in anger. It was a slow fishing night. I looked
through the window into the boats cabin and I couldn't believe my eyes!
There was Ralfie in the Cabin helping a newbie stranger tie a knot on
the tackle of a boat rod. I almost fell over the rail in astonishment!!
And I took a picture of this remarkable event to prove it happened!
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Spring 2019
Dateline: June 20th in the pouring rain all day and night
It was a big day last night for the Marily Jean Mates and Crew. The boat didn't go out so the Mates had a field day all over NY Harbor! Alex Caught a 52 pound monster Striped Bass on the Hunter, and Joe caught about 5 monster Fluke on the Ocean Eagle. It poured raining the entire day. I got home at 2AM soaked to the bone and crashed on the couch.
Not every shark pulled out of the water is a dogfish :) This Dusty or mayby Tiger Sand Shark was returned to the water, but hooked and photographed on the Marilyn Jean V on a night trip
Alex and his 52 pound Striped Bass caught last night on the Hunter
Porgies Bigger than a dinner plate caught on the Morning Star
With the new year a lot of changes have happened at the Emmons Avenue Peirs in Sheepshead Bay. For starters,
two new boats have arrived to the docks, run by the partnership of Mike Ardolino and Larry Patrin. Mike is
the experienced captain of the Brooklyn, and has struck out on his own. I first went fishing with Larry and
Mike on the small 6 man boat called the Morning Star.
That trip was a 12AM to 4PM off shore run that
finished on new years eve, December 31st, 2018. I pulled in a huge haul of Porgies and Sea Bass, some of the
largest I'd ever fished. We were largely in 200 feet of water, around the Texas 4 Tower wreck amoung other
nearby spots. It was great run and highly recommend
The second boat that Mike and Larry are collaberating on is The Hunter which is a fabulous 15 passanger Striped Bass open boat. They have been hauling in the Stripers
all spring without a break. It has been one of the most impressive Striped Bass runs of our lifetime.
Huge fish have been landed every day by the clients
Striped Bass Trophy on the Hunter
In addition to these two new attractions to the bay, the Marilyn Jean Ownership sold the Capt'ns Lady and
made a purchase of the former Captree Princess, renaming it the Marilyn Jean V. This is a much larger and faster boat than the Marilyn Jean IV and makes routine trips to the Ling and Sea Bass grounds easy rumpts down the coastline and into the open ocean.
Marilyn Jean V
I have now had a chance to fish on the new boat day and night. It is very comfortable with a huge cabin, with a stocked galley
and vending machine. It makes the
trips to the Red Hake (Ling - Mud Hole) grounds much easier than on the old MJIV. Even in rough seas, it is stable for a fishing boat. I've pulled in a lot of Red Hake (Ling)
in addition to Blues and Bass at night. In fact, this has been one of the best Ling seasons in a long
Blackfish Season has begun, and just in time the temperaature is dropping although the water temperature is still unseasonably high. Get ready for the Striped Bass and Blackfish seasons as they launch.
The Marilyn Jean, Ocean Eagle and Captain Dave are all hitting Blackfish and Porgies. The Brooklyn is hitting Albies, and Blues.
Porgy Fishing this October has been steady on. Here is little Anthony filleting the night catch on Sunday Night October 14th.
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Summer - 2018
Trigger Happy Father and Son on Son's Birthday
My son came into Brooklyn Friday for the first time in many years, so we went out a caught some fish on the Marily Jean IV. We pulled in between us 60 porgies,
and then we took a knap. We woke up a half our later and I pulled out my rig as the captain searched around for some sea bass around Coney Island, and then
WAHMM!!! Fishing for porgies I was using 20 pound leader tipped with gamakatsu 1.0 circle hooks. They are a little large for porgies, but I thought they might help pull in a stray sea bass. I'd lost a few hooks are what I thought was a huge shark. I was wrong. This time I dropped the drag and let the fish pull out. The fish tired and I finally brought in the biggest trigger fish I had ever seen. And that was just the bigging. Over the next 45 minutes will killed the trigger fish, bringing in well over 60 of them, many of them the largest I'd ever seen. I pulled in 19 of them myself. Unfortunately I left my camera at home but these are a few pics that the boat took.
Happy 22nd Birthday, Schmuel-Lieb Eliezar
Fathers and Kids Day
Weekdays are often family and kids day on the boats around Brooklyn. This week I had the pleasure of fishing with Emily, Kaitlyn, Chistopher and their Father and Grandfather in the box of the Marilyn Jean IV. The kids did great!! as they always do. On the otherside of the bow was a young Jewish family of boy's who I didn't get their names, but I did hear they squeling and squauking as they picked up their far share of fish
Overall, August has shaped up to be nice month on the water. At one point the crews on the ships decided to do a little snapper fishing off the peirs. Everyone seemed to get into this rare closeup of snapper blues
chasing peanut bunker into the inner bay
In the middle of the month, the Ocean Eagle had a dramatic sea rescue for a medical emergency, with helicopters and everything
On June 30th, this last Sunday. I headed out to the days at 4AM and waited for the boats to fill. And fill up they did. Word have gotten out that the Porgies on on parade. The rails on the Marilyn Jean IV were packed. When we left the dock, we had over 60 passangers and my favorite spot on the boat was surrounded ny weekend warriors. Instead of squeezing on the rail, I took a nap for 2 hours and then woke up to see a boat overloaded with fish. The mates were being run into the groundfixing tagles and cleaning fish. I took a position on the bow and couldn't help by give a hand, which made the weekend wariors and first time fisherman happy.
I also had a chance to pull out my camera and the entire Sheepsbay Fleet was on the water and catching fish. I got great pictures of the Brooklyn, Ocean Eagle and the Captn's Lady. Everyone was having banner days. These are the days that you will be talking about when your an old man.
I just spent a full day, morning (July 16th, 2018) and evening of fishing on the Marily Jean IV. The morning trip had huge thunderstorms which allowed me to catch a ton of porgies. This morning trip was one of my great trips on the water, with these four young folks, racking up on their first trip, huge numbers of fish and a prize Sea Bass.
We managed to pull in a huge Striped Bass from another young women, to the shock of the entire boat
The night time 7 to midnight trip was likewise productive, although without the thunderstorms.
The Fourth of July is right around the corner and Brooklyn has now seen its first heat wave of
the summer after a few days of rain. The result is that we are seening huge porgies thoughout
the waters in the lower New York Harbor and blight. Fishing has been anything from off the hook
to moderately heavy, with huge fish coming over the rail. This is the days of summer that locals
come to cherish, quiet, productive, mind clearing. Grab the kids and your girl and head to the docks
because life moves on quickly, and you should milk it for all that you can. Just ask Elias!
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Spring 2018 and Summer 2018
Starting this year we had the great oppurtunity for the firs time in over a decade to fish legally for Black Fish in the Spring Time. Unforuntately
we also suffered a very cold winter into early Summer. The result was lots of fishing, not many fish. The Ocean Eagle, Captian Dave, and Marylin Jean all tried to get in on the action, and a few fish were caught but nothing to get really excited over. Hopefully next season with be more promising
In light of these changed, our local captains have made some adjustments to their regular schedules.
Captain Dave will continue with 9AM - 4PM Fluking and
added an early evening trip from 5PM to 10PM for Stripers, Blues etc.
The Ocean Eagle has been running great Fluke trips all Spring and into the summer, after the Blackfish runs. Greg, Glen and Geoff have had some great success. I
caught 4 shorts on my trip on Thursday June 7th (2018). The boat brought in a decent 24 keepers with about 25 passangers, along with other species. It was a very decent trip. The Brooklyn VI has hammered Blue Fish all season. They are definitely back in the local waters. The Brooklyn is running Sundays from 5PM to 9PM for Porgies which is actually a boon for many looking to squeeze in a trip with a workday following up. Otherwise they are running their deep sea fishing 7AM-3:30PM all week and 7PM-Midnight otherwise. I see a lot of smiles coming off the Brooklyn of late.
The Marilyn Jean has been running mostly Ling Fishing early in the season, with night time Bass and Blues. This weekend, the first week of June, we hit a large number of Ling with a huge number of Black Sea Bass that had to be returned to the water, and large blackfish, that also had to be returned. DEC was waiting for the boats at the docks on return. They searched the Brooklyn, Ocean Eagle, Sea Queen and the Marilyn Jean. They didn't find much, but it was unpleasant enough.
In addition to DEC, the Federal DEC was also on the docks. Why? I
don't know. But law enforcement has been choking the docks all season.
The Coast Guard ticketed Frankie, the Caption of the Marilyn Jean for being to close
to the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, which is a regular spot for decades
to catch stripers. This was a $30,000 fine. The presure put on these boats for fishing near
the bridge is just morally repugnant. These are the known registered
professional boats that not only pose zero security risk, but also are
the eyes and ears of any kind of terrorist activities that might be
in Jamacia Bay. If anything suspecious was to happen, they would be
the first to know. Targeting and manhandlng them by the Coast Gaurd
is just flat out wrong. Instead of wasting time harassing the party
boat captains for fishing, they could be doing their jobs for once and
crackdown on the rampant Striped Bass pouching that happens at night
all throughtout the bay by small boats fishing without lights. But the
coast guard is just to lazy to tackle real issues when they can harrass
a big target like the licensed recreational vessels who won't fight back
because they make their living off the water.
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Spring 2017 and Summer 2017
Fishing starts this week. As we have moved into early summer good sized porgies have come alive and we are picking out buckets of them
again on the Marilyn Jean IV and the Ocean Eagle. In early July, the Ocean Eagle has pulled out Trigger Fish and Tuesday and Thursdays have had decent Fluke.
There has been some unusually artistitic sunset along the waterfront that is worth noting. These shots are taken with my Cannon T3 Rebel and a telephoto lens while I
was fishing on the Marilyn Jean IV's night trip. That trip is often wonderful and runs from 7PM until about midnight. We've had some great times on these night time
cruises, especially during the week when the crowds are thinner and crew and passangers have time to talk,
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Summer 2016
I spent a good portion of this summer over seas, and not fishing much. However, when I returned, we were in the greatestg Porgy
run in the history of NYC Fishing. The Porgies have been coming over the rail at limits, 45 fish a man, every day like clockwork.
In addition, we have been limiting out early in trips, and heading back to the dock with nothing to do by 1PM. The mates have been
suffering, filleting fish from 8AM until 3PM. I've seen cooler after cooler of porgies being taken off the boats. I had to
buy a new freezer to store all the fish!!
This is the new freezer Daily Take of Scup
Brooklyn Fishing Reports - Spring 2016
With the coming spring and after a rather mild winter with only one cold spot, we started out early fishing in March. We caught
nothing after several trips, hunting for Cod, Ling and even Summer Flounder. The best spring fishing, Black Sea Bass and Black Fish
are off limits in New York State. The law is crazy, especially with regard to the Black Sea Bass whose numbers are enormous
in New York State waters, and have never been in danger. The main benefactors of this spring moratorium on Sea Bass is the Jersey
boats who come and take our fish. Left with left overs, nothing was biting in the water. But then, on the first week of April, the
Striped Bass started to make their presence known. There season didn't open until April 15th, but a lot of catch and release
was taking place around the harbor. After the season opened, my Son came into town from overseas and we booked a trip on the single
best Striped Bass boat on the East Coast, the Rockfish Charter Boat, run by Richie Colombo,
the most knowledgeable Striper Fisherman, probably anywhere... and Felix, the most knowledgeable Mate on the Sheepshead Bay Docks.
I've known Felix for years. A soft spoken, kind hearted individual, which hides his tough churning interior, and brilliant intellect,
Felix introduced me originally to the Marilyn Jean IV. His migration to the Rockfish and teaming with Richie was a natural. He is
open to learning, the best knot tier on the docks, a passionate fisherman, who is a master craftsman in all things fishing. He also
has a near encyclopedic knowledge of fishing, local waters, technique, and species. In combination with Richie, they make a lethal
dual for the fish. Staked to a powerful small sporty boat, you will (almost) always catch fish on this boat. And big fish.
On the Monday in April here is my son and his catch just before Passover.
Here is the Trips take. We are limited to one fish each to take home
By early May, the weather had warmed up and the fishing situation has
brightened. The fishing fleet in springtime has been confronted with an
idiotic regiment of closed seasons on non-endanger fish which are popular
and good eating from our local waters. Among the fishing seasons that
have been closed in Spring are Black Sea Bass and Tautog. Additionally,
Striped Bass are limited to one fish per person. In fact, we have so
many Black Sea Bass, that the juvenile fish are a nuisance and in the
way then targeting other species. And they are now so abundant in the
local waters that they are attracting predatory species, like trigger
fish into our waters, where they had never been here before.
That has left up fishing for Ling
and Cod. When the water warms up, the ling particularly, liven up.
We have had some decent success with the Cod. On one trip on the Marilyn Jean IV I hit a very decent
Cod, one of 4 that day on the boat, with only 9 passengers. I fish dived
into the rocks. I was in the bow of the boat and I couldn't release
the line of the rocks. So I passed my pole under the anchors to the
other side of the boat, and gently played the fish out of rocks from the
new direction. The fish came out, and I hauled in this decent catch.
In addition to the Cod Action, night fishing has been filled with Blue
Fishing, and very decent size fish at that. It has made for some fun
evening. In addition, Greg, on the Ocean Eagle has been hitting Porgies in
Brooklyn Fishing Report 2015
The summer of 2015 has been busy on the Bay. I have largely fished out of the Ocean Eagle V which is owned and run by
the Nardiello Brothers, a very experienced and professional family which has
the pulse of Sheepshead Bay fishing in their blood. Recently, the Blackfish
season opened and Low and Behold, they landed this 13 pound baby
Greg, Jeff and Glen are senior members of the docks, but in addition, they have the most loyal following based on years
of results. I've been on this boat in near zero degree weather, and the lazy days of summer and always find an exciting
take home of fish. Not just that, but they usually go after a diversity of fish, and I usually come home is something
tasty I didn't expect. Jeff is on of the best and most experienced fisherman in the greater New York Harbor. He has
been generous with advise and a great mentor. Glen runs fantastic ship, and a stocked gallery, and is first mate. Greg
is Captain and has the deepest and most mature book of fishing spots in the city. He is like google maps, but with the
fish accurately marked, including ever wreck, hot spot and seasonal location from the Snake River to Freeport.
This is a striper picked up on an evening trip on the Marylin Jean
Here you can see the photographer yelling at me to hold out the fish
but my wrist barely let me lift it, let alone hold it out like the dude
standing next to me
Coldest Winter of a lifetime in 2014
Brooklyn Fishing Report 2014
As 2014 moves in we come into the
coldest winter in my lifetime. Despite this, we fished
through much of this winter, and took several trips to the Island Current
in Snugg Harbor, Rhode Island, where we hit Cod pretty hard.
The crew is generally stationed at City Island in the Bronx, but
in the winter they hole up in this lovely area in Rhode Island which
puts them within the same fishing areas as the Monkouk Viking Fleet.
It was 19 degrees midday on the day we went fishing, but we did hit large cod.
I caught 14 of them including a nice 30+ incher that bent my rod and
fought its way through 200 feet of water. It was a lot of fun and the
best fish I have ever eaten. Injuries to my hand made handling the fish painful
and I almost dropped the pole, getting down on one knee and using my body for
leverage to componsate for a weekened hand and enflamed elbow. Pelican
grabbed the pole at one point for extra support.
The Island Current crew, Scottie, CJ, Pelican and Brownie, were so
successful that they made the local Rhode Island Francis Fleet jelous
enough to call out the local Rhode Island version of the Fishing Police
to harrass the Island Current crew and passangers. The Rhode Island
DEM officers showed up at the dock when we came in, with the owner of
the Francis Fleet directing the local police on where to inspect the
boats and passangers. It was a pretty ugly display of local cronyism.
One can only hope that it doesn't disuade the Island Current from doing
business in Snugg Harbor next season, because it was worth every moment
of the trip.
A few things about fishing in Rhode Island. First, it pays to take
advantage of the Amtrak train to Westport CT and then arrainge lodging
and transport. The ticket is only $55 each way, and after 20 hours
of fishing in extreme weather, you will apreciate the availability
of electricy, wifi, and hot coffee. The train left at about 11PM and
arrived into Penn Station at 2:30AM. It beats the hell out of drive.
When we drove to Rhode Island, originally, Tony Pelican pulled us all
together into is pick up truck with all the equiptment we could load up.
It was nearly a 4 hour ride, a bit much for me. Then we stayed in
the single worst motel room I'd ever been in for the overnight before
heading out again for another 7 hours of butal fishing. We packed up
without washing into the truck and went home. Then, Pelican decided to
take more passangers and headed straight back on a second 48 hour trip.
I was glad not to go.
The second trip I did go on, about a week later, I had learned a few
things. First and foremost was to take the train home. Pelican dropped
me off in Westport, Ct right on the Rhodes Island and Connecticut boarder,
and I took Amtrak home. It was one of the best decisions I made that
week. We arrived at about 9:30PM so I had an hour and a half to kill.
I walked to the local musical venue and watering hole, a block from the
train station, and found that the women of Westport were both warm and
personable, making the time waiting very easy.
Finally, If you are going to make this trip, put away your cellphone and
follow the road signs. We found one of the great little seafood places
not far from the boat, just following the business district signs off
the highway. We then stumbled upon "The Hungry Haven", located right
off ther highway exit at 5000 South County Trail, Charlestown, RI 02813.
They might well have the best Cod Fish and seafood menu on the East Coast.
We ended up ordering just about everything on the menu and not a crum
was left between the 6 of us. When we went back the second time,
the small family owned staff was really excited. You HAVE to try this
place, and bring an appetite. Nobody should fish Rhode Island and not
stop here to eat. This place is frankly AWESOME. They're fresh cod,
haddock and flounder is unmatched by anything in NYC. They're phone
number is 401-364-3609 and you might not find them on your "smart" phone
so try using your eyes and brain to find them off of Route 1.
Moving on to March and April, I went out often with the Marilyn Jean IV,
loading up on Kosher Hot Dogs, but not many fish. In fact, my total fish
count for April was 6 Dog Fish, 6 rays, one out of season Black Fish and
several undersized thingies.... Nothing to Eat! I was looking forward
to the water heating up and May turned out a bit better with several
Striped bass hits, and a killer night for Blue Fish when I landed 14
monster Blues, all over 30 Inches.
My favorite fish is the Black Sea Bass and catching them in late spring is
the best time, which is before the seaon on them opens on July 15, 2014.
There are special permits that some boats buy at considerable costs to
allow early fishing. There is only one in Sheepshead Bay, that I'm aware
of, the Marilyn Jean IV. I caught some early Sea Bass, limiting
out at 8 one time, and catching a few 20 inchers on another trip.
On the up side, Captain Dave landed some decent Porgies the other night!
So summer has arrived. The other advantage of the Captain Dave is that he
has a new boat, which is an all steel vessel, 95 feet long and SMOOTH as
River Stones. The boat does not rock and is a pleasure to fish from. It is not
fast. It is not beautiful. But boy is it SMOOTH. Anyone who gets seasick
should try this boat out, and it is ideal for Newbies and Children!
Additionally, the cook is very decent on this boat. While he does not
put out the variety of food that Kathy on the Ocean Eagle does, he was still
getting 10 bucks for his Philly Cheese Steaks and they were so good he sold
out to fishermen who have a reputation for being quite cheap.
The Captain Daves ship is a good ride. The mates are not quite up to snuff of what
we experience on the Marilyn Jean or the Ocean Eagle, but they are friendly and
seem to be able to get through the night. You have to be patient with them,
though. They are just not the experienced vetrans of other ships. Davie
is a top notch Captain. They have a regular 9AM-5PM fluke run in the morning
and a night bass run at 7PM to midnight. It is not the hard hitting fishing
experience of the other boats, but an enjoyable expereince and a nice change of pace.
Inside the Cabin of the Marilyn Jean IV on the way home from a happy trip
Spring brings RSA Permit Sea Bass fishing
to Sheepshead Bay. The best Sea Bass vesel, in fact the only one in Brooklyn,
is the Marilyn Jean. Sometimes the Sea Bass have been slow. Other times
is has been outstanding. Now as we are reaching the end of the RSA season and moving
into the Sea Bass open season, which starts on July 15th, the Sea Bass have really
begun to hit the decks hard. At a minimum length of 13 inches, many 18+ inch specimens
are show up and the stock looks very healthy with plump male and females showing up on
In late August the local Porgies finally showwed up in number and size. The best porgy of the year was picked up at the Rockaway Reef, just outside of
Bell Harbor and Riess Park.
The Brooklyn Fishing Report 2013
We have fished the Marilyn Jean this summer day and night, rain and shine, and the pilots of this vessel put me on the fish every time
and have also attracted a very decent group of traveling companions. Tony Pelican, Frank, Felix, Anthony, Joe Joe and Ralph never fail
to make good company, and to freely help with a tip or two on how to bring them in. We've had some memorable times.
Fishing overall in 2013 has been very decent with all but the Blue Fish having good representations on hooks around the harbor. In early spring
we saw a lot of striped bass and we brought down 5 keeper sized stripers just on one trip on the Ocean Eagle early in the season. I had to throw
three back since the limit is two. The small boat, "The Jet", also did very well with the stripers. As the season moved on, we continued to hit
stripers and Weak Fish, especially on night runs at the Verrazano, and Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges. We had a great job hitting the bass at night
with Tony Pelican at the helm of the Marilyn Jean, and
Felix helped us catch some king size Bass in Jamacia Bay and around
As we moved into mid-June, the big catches was with daytime ling fishing. My fist daytime trip on the Marilyn Jean IV gathered in an astonishing
49 ling, 12 keeper sea bass and an odd porgie. It was the hottest day of fishing I can ever recall. Ling, better known at Whiting about and
around town, is a great cousin of the cod fish, kosher, and a great fish for frying in olive oil. A bounty like we had in early June can make
gefilte fish through next Passover.
As the summer moved in we reached the a perigee full moon which I took
pictures of while on the deck of the Capt'n Dave. The Sea Bass season has become ridicules and is an example of special interests groups gone wild.
Before the official Sea Bass season, boats with RSA licenses were allowed to fish for Sea Bass, as the season only began July 10th, and lasts until
December 31st. One can keep up to 8, 13 inch, sea bass, which is likely the best eating fish in local waters. Bite for the RSA was decent all through
June and almost as soon as the season opened, they seemed to have high tailed it out of the area. July has been a good porgy month. Fluke have been
off and on and the Blues have not migrated into the area until very late July.
In Late July Tony found what he called the Vampire Porgies. These have been enormous, the largest I'd ever seen and have sown up only on night
trips to the delight of my good friend Terry who gives master classes in fishing knots before the boat goes out.
Vampire Porgies have continued for at least 2 weeks through the end of July, 2013, when finally the Blue Fish had started to arrive to the relief
of many of the Blue Fish boats in town, including the "Brooklyn". While the Sea Bass and Ling seemed to reach a lull with the new moon, the Ocean
Eagle found some good trigger fishing near Sea Bright, NJ, in addition to unintentional catching of eels, HUGE eels. In late June, the Marilyn Jean IV
and the Jet had engine overhalls. We fished for a couple of days out of the much smaller Capt'ns Lady. I caught an American Eel of over 40 inches on
the Marylin Jean and one nearly 35 inches on the Ocean Eagle. I gave both away. Eels are not kosher and we don't eat them. Usually I through them
back but these two were so large that I gave them to other families.
With the coming of the Blue Fish in the last week of July, and after practicing Jigging and Casting for a week, I wandered to the Flamingo, a blues
jigging boat that leaves from the Gerritsen Creek at the Sheepshead Bay Parking Lot. My fishing was terrible, but I did collect two cocktail blue fish
and lost 2 others at the rail. Rob, the mate on the Flamingo, is part of the ownership family who has been at it forever. The boat was very impressive
as an older model, built with Mahagony and rock solid and about as smooth in the water as you would ever expect. I loved the boat. And we ran into a large
school of dolphins on the trip not far from Sandy Hook and in sight of the Verrazono Bridge.
Now, as August comes, we continued with the good Porgie fishing, with way too many dogfish. But everyone did catch this week and even my daughter Shani went
home smiling after she nailed three very good Porgies on a rainy Thursday morning. Better fishermen than I seemed to pull Porgies out of the water almost at will.
Some of them were the largest I'd seen in the season, even bigger than the Vampires. But overall they were of normal Porgie size range.
How big were the Porgies? When I cooked them they looked like Chicken Cutlets
As we moved into fall, Striped Bass and Black Fish season approached. Although off to a slow start, Striped Bass was hammering on
the small charter boats for an early run in October, before slowing down in November. The fish seemed to move off to Fire Island, and
now in mid and late November have moved back into the NYC Harbor area.
Finally, we reached Black Fish Season in
Mid-November when the fish really began to hit hard. Most commonly we
fished for them off the New Jersey Shore line. Both the Ocean Eagle and
the Marilyn Jean IV have stayed with them this late season. There is
a limit of 4 Black Fish per man in New York. I have frequently limited
out with some huge fish in the mix.