This year I’ve decided to start doing a little feature on the fishermen and women you might see in the derby and around the fishing hot spots along the East River. Part of the reason is my inability to keep Fish Bum going with any regularity, although I have a bunch of half-finished articles written for it; maybe this will get it moving again. Anyhow, I’m calling this feature Five Questions, and it’s just that: five simple questions to the people I meet on the piers or elsewhere and I ask them about fishing in New York City. For the first feature I interviewed Eric, one of our youngest derby members, whom I met on India Street Pier on opening night while he was casting this humungous 15-foot surf rod. He and his fishing partner Joseph are the only ones I know of fishing with pieces of chicken. While the rest of you guys chunk clams or bunker, Eric says chicken hearts are the way to go. I’ve heard of fishing with chicken hearts for blues since they’ll pretty much eat anything, but for stripers?
What’s your name, how old are you, and how long have you been fishing?
I’m 14. I’m from Mexico but I live in Williamsburg. I’ve been fishing for seven years.
How long have you been fishing the East River?
The East River, almost like four years.
What do you like about fishing NYC?
It’s good to fish. I get entertained when I catch one, when they pull the rod. You get excited.
Where else do you like to fish?
I fish on Coney Island, the Verrazano, and the East River.
Do you have any weird stories about fishing on the East River?
I have a weird story about this rod right here [points to a whippy 7-foot white rod]. [Joseph] had a striper and it took the rod, took it off the pier and into the water. I snagged it back with this rod right here, this Ugly Stik. There was a 42″ striped bass on the end of it. Once it was hooked on, the rod was floating on the water. We caught the fish with chicken hearts. That was out by the Verrazano.