Tonight I’m going to be on a panel of speakers at the Brooklyn Historical Society for an event on fishing in Brooklyn. The official title is “Gone Fishin’: Brooklyn’s Favorite, Forgotten Pastime”. It will mainly be a loose, informal discussion on fishing, water quality, some history, and mostly fish stories. Panelists include Sean Dixon, a lawyer for Hudson Riverkeeper—a group that played an important role in starting the wildlife conservation movement in the 70s with the Storm King lawsuit up river and the West Way project on the Manhattan waterfront in the 1980s. Also speaking is John Malizia of the Staten Island Tuna Club, and also, for some reason, me. It should be interesting. It’s happening at 630 tonight at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St. in the gorgeous main hall. It might be worth it just to check out the building.
I’ve hit a few tides with a little luck lately. All I really have to show for it is this weakfish I got on a Stick Shad, for which I got absolutely D-E-molished by mosquitoes in the parking lot. But it was pretty cool to catch a weakie since I haven’t caught one myself in over 20 years when they were pretty common in the Indian River Inlet down in Delaware. I have barely seen them since.
I also had a chance to catch up with Ben, who is splitting his time between Greenpoint, the Rockaways, and whatever project he has going on rebuilding barns and neglected farm properties into incredible restorations at which you’d probably want to spend a weekend in some kind of romantic tryst. Maybe not with Ben, though.
Here’s where he lives, like Riggs from Lethal Weapon:
And here’s his little Whaler that’s stuffed with rods and gas cans. It’s tight but it’s a good ride for Jamaica Bay.
We headed out around dusk. Around the corner from a sandbar we sat around drinking a beer and searching the water when we heard a sound I haven’t heard before. Think of a large sheet of construction-weight plastic snapping in high winds, or more exotically, a Terminator-esque inter-dimensional break in time and space preceded by lightning. We turned around to see a huge water funnel behind us, technically a tornado, moving in our direction. We had enough time to ask, “Should we move the boat?” before it dissipated.
We fished for a couple hours around JFK and I lost my only fish because I apparently don’t know how to tie a proper knot. Still annoyed at myself for that, but that’s a lesson learned. We motored back to the marina fish-less, but Ben’s set up is prime territory to throw a fresh fish on the grill directly off the boat. We spent some time catching up and drinking a few beers on his house boat (remember the other one sank because of some bad AirBnB guests) and it was a pretty good time.
On July 3 I went down to the Greenpoint waterfront to check out the unrelenting construction and see if there was anything interesting to sneak into, but I came across this as perhaps a final epitaph to those early days of the BKUAA fishing derby.
Come out tonight if you can make it!