|Big Apple Angling|
Part 2: During the spring, summer, and early fall, the prime fishing action is at the Meer.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
The New York City Parks Department, along with the Central Park Conservancy, stocks all three lakes with several freshwater species, including blue gills, sunfish, shiners, and large-mouth bass. Urban legend has it that many a New Yorker has also dumped a goldfish or two, along with several other species taken from the family fish tank, that have since grown to generous proportions.
During the spring, summer, and early fall, the prime fishing action is at the Meer. That’s where the Central Park Conservancy supplies bamboo poles for the kids and their parents, who wait patiently for the little red and white bobbers to dip below the surface, indicating a strike. When it does, the child hauls the fish in, the parent takes the requisite picture, someone carefully removes the tiny hook, and the trophy is returned safe and sound to the lake.
But it’s wintertime as I write this, and I’m off to try something a little more esoteric, even for a New York angler: fly-casting on all three lakes. My equipment is my favorite 8'4", two-piece Orvis T-3 rod with a 6.5 flex paired with a Bat Large Arbor IV reel. It being one of the coldest winters on record, I am suitably garbed for a day out in the cold.
My first stop is Rowboat Lake, and while some nearby dogs eagerly sniff out an errant squirrel, I prepare my first cast. I use a basic nonslip knot for the fly to get more natural action. My cast is a double whip-out-and-in, followed by a full-arm push. As soon as the lure hits the water, I peel off some line and give the rod tip a little flick, then another, in hopes of coaxing a fish. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the strike. Which, of course, does not come. Wandering the perimeter of the lake for the next few hours, I try several different spots and even swap out flies. I fail to raise a fish.
I decide to pack up and head for Turtle Pond. I must be careful not to cast clear across this small lake. I get my range after two casts and settle into a rhythm. But it is to no avail, as there is nary a ripple on the placid waters. Once again, I pack up and head uptown. But I meet the same fate at the Meer and decide, as many fishermen so often do, that today is not my day.
Nevertheless, it’s been a good day because I’ve spent it at my favorite sport in my favorite city. And while I didn’t raise a fish, I find solace in the fact that I gave it a try on a day when most of my fellow urban anglers could only dream of spring, when the first flounders poke their eyes up out of the mud. For this New York City fisherman, that’s pretty special.
This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.