Many thanks to everyone who braved the cold rain to meet us at Dream Tackle tonight in Greenpoint. One of my favorite things about the Derby is meeting new people and reconnecting with friends. We had a bunch of food thanks to ACME Smoked Fish, beer thanks to Pabst Blue Ribbon, and hospitality thanks to Robert and Basia at Dream. One side note before I get too far, Dream has A LOT of fresh bunker right now. I reached in there and tested those fish out. GET SOME NOW while the getting is good. I jokingly asked if Robert threw a casting net into Newtown Creek this morning.
Back to the opening, it was great meeting some new folks like Justin and Alex, and meeting up with friends like Jacques, Alex Marquez, Robin (who pleaded for me to open a blackfish category since she is currently crushing them at her secret locations), Geralyn, Ruffino and his crew, Dave Cole, and others who we are always happy to see. Jon Capo showed up late and didn’t get his shirt. Don’t worry, Jon. We have them in Ben’s truck. Just show up Sunday if you didn’t get yours, and if you asked me (via email) to hold one for you, I have yours.
Despite the near-freezing rain, a small, but dedicated crew decided to head out Thursday night. The weather sucked; nobody needs to elaborate on that, really. I ran home, grabbed my gear and my flask of whiskey to ward off the chill, and met up with Ben—of Derby and lobster roll fame; Jacques—of last year’s grill and Fort Reno fame; Dennis—of fishing and gyotaku print (he did the fish logo for our derby this year) fame; and Geralyn—of photography fame. Me, I’m perhaps famous for swiping all the way through to the end of Tinder. Alex Marquez decided to set up on a nearby Greenpoint Pier. There’s been a lot of whispers about the pod of bunker hanging out in Newtown Creek lately. It sounds crazy to me too that they would be schooling up around that particular waterway, but here is the photographic proof from our own hands:
Ben got the first one. He swore up and down that his was bigger, and that was the reason he pulled a muscle, I won’t say which, hauling it in. We both snagged up on weighted trebles, which you can also find in good supply at Dream. We both decided to live line them, though I was skeptical we’d find any bass of the size that could swallow these adult bunker, and I do stress that these were adult size bunker, but then again, the East River surprises me every year and having a few thousand bunker schooling in Newtown Creek is surprising enough. If a 300# sea lion came and snatched my bunker and rod away, I couldn’t be that surprised after this. Regardless, our lines lay untouched. Ben hooked his bunker through the tail and it promptly drowned itself to death. I hooked mine through the dorsal and somehow it became so lively as to unhook itself. Ben tossed his dead bunker over the side. I surreptitiously snagged it back to put it on ice, where it lies with the other fresh bunker I bought at Dream, to wait for tomorrow night.
Not to be completely outdone, Alex Marquez submitted this photo:
of what is the first striped bass of the 2014 derby. He is now the leader, despite the fact that this guy is smaller than the bunker Ben and I caught. Way to go, Alex! Get out there and get some!