derby 2012 over!

BKUAA Closing Night from Jane Borock on Vimeo.

Another derby down, many thanks to everyone who came out to eat all the food I assume was delicious. Many prizes went out to the good people of the derby and it was a great time to be had by everyone until I, being the drunk asshole I am, forgot where I put the box of derby shirts (shirts are for sale, by the way, email me at It’s becoming customary for every closing party, when the times and smiles get bigger and better, the drunker the idiot I become. So far, I’ve sent out two apology emails to Roberta’s (who were a fantastic host in every way, many, many thanks to them), and am considering sending them a handwritten note. It may be necessary, though the details of what I did exactly are pretty hazy to me. Consider this factoid to explain my state of mind last night: (1) as the party was winding down, I put the box of shirts and my rucksack in my car; (2) about five minutes later I completely forgot I did this and went about frantically searching for aforementioned box of shirts and ruck; (3) the bartender kept telling me I put everything in my car, but I couldn’t recall ever doing it; and (4) I still have zero recollection of putting the stuff in my car. It may just as well have appeared there by magic. That was just one of the drunken, idiotic things I did last night.

Ok, enough about my transgressions. I want to thank all of our sponsors for helping us put the derby on, because, even though I think it sounds a little cliché it’s still true, we really couldn’t have pulled this off without them. We struggled mightily, stressed daily, went way over budget, but people came out and had a great time and that’s what matters most to us. So, for helping us do this, I want to thank:
Dream Tackle—it really is our home base and we owe so much to Robert and Barbara there. They did a great job through the whole derby keeping people informed and always come through donating amazing prizes and gear.

Roberta’s—They did a fantastic job making us look good. Great people and food, though unfortunately I was too busy to eat any. Many thanks to Brendan, Greg, Cherie, and the rest of the crew there.

Brooklyn Kitchen—Thanks to Harry Rosenblum.

Shelsky’s Smoked Fish

Fish Tales—Donated some amazing food (I heard) along with helping us out with our budget. Many thanks there.

Depanneur—Thanks to Nicolina and Garrison. I didn’t win it but I spend enough money there anyhow. Robert will enjoy this one.

Jason Puris at The Fin—is your heat back on yet? Thanks for the lures you donated, Jason. Hopefully we’ll see some fish on those before the season is over.

Sea to Table—More food! Thanks guys!

Red Hook Lobster Pound—Unfortunately didn’t get to take full advantage of this one due to Hurricane Sandy, but they’ve been big supporters. Many gracious thanks.

Acme Smoked Fish—Rich Schiff always comes through and has been with us from the beginning. Thanks, Rich!

Geralyn Shukwit—donated two amazing photos that the winners loved. Everyone knows G, or has at least seen her on the piers. She’s been with us since the beginning and has done so much to help our cause and make us look better than we actually are. G couldn’t make it to the party because of a family issue, but she was with us in spirit. Thanks G!

Matt @ Werd Ink—Matt busted his ass getting us our shirts even though we were horribly disorganized in getting them to him, asking ridiculous turnaround and having little cash to front. Matt came through in the clutch.

Annica @ Dirty Bandits—Annica made this fantastic logo that has been such a hit. She’s a longtime collaborator with Ben and has done all our graphics since the derby started. We owe her a lot for her work.

2012 Derby Winners

I know we had a couple sheets of scribbled paper last night with all the prizes and winners on it, but me being the drunk asshole lost it at some point during the night, along with my mind. So I will do my best to recall the highlights.

Striped Bass Winners
Jan Gorz, 43″
John Ruffino, 38″
Mike Arvan, 36.5″

Blue Fish Winner
John Ruffino, 32″

Junior Fisherman Winner
Ben Lew, 16″ striper

Fly Winner
Shane Smith

Most Stressed
Robert Piskorski

Biggest Scaredy Cat
Jon Capobianco

Biggest Trash Talker
John Ruffino

Biggest Slacker

Most Eligible Fisherman
Shane Smith (of course, as I was reading this one off I saw across the room that he’d brought a date to the party. Oops.)

Most Dedicated

Unluckiest Fishermen
Bryce and Alan Godwin

Newcomers of the Year Award
Sumin Choi and Kathleen (wrote her last name down but lost the piece of paper and forgot. Sorry!)

Double Header Award
Jason Stancati

Biggest Smile Award
James Hogan

Sidebet of the Week: Eel
James Hogan

Sidebet of the Week: Black Bass
Alex Marquez

Sidebet of the Week: Uglyfish/Hacklehead
Mike Arvan

There were more that I will add as people remind me/I remember them. I want to give a huge thank you out to everyone who signed up for the derby this year. Five weeks is a long derby and it gets tough out there with the weather turning and the fish being picky. You all stuck it out and are the kind of people we want to know. Running the derby is a sometimes frustrating endeavor for me, but getting to meet people throughout the derby and at the opening and closing parties makes it all really rewarding knowing that more people are taking advantage of where we live and exploring the river and their love of fishing. From the sharpies and old timers to the dedicated newcomers, seeing the smiles on people’s faces and their excitement when they tell me how they caught this fish or that fish, one story or another about something they saw or discovered on the East River, that’s really what the derby is about for me. And I, of course, couldn’t have done this myself, but only with a ton of help and hard work from the BKUAA crew: David Cole, Jane Borock, Geralyn Shukwit, and, of course, Ben Sargent for starting all of this. Much gratitude goes out to Robin Shulman for the reading at the opening, Krista B. for being one of our most enthusiastic members who never got to fish, and to Abbey Adkison for working with us and braving through all the footage of us not catching any fish (though we eventually did) and the razor wire at Green Street—hope the story works out.

And always, thanking you.



new prizes from Jason@TheFin

Jason Puris is hooking up these prizes out of his private collection. Jason runs The Fin blog, which also has a photo/fishing app for your mobile devices. It’s like Instagram but fishing-centric. If I were any good at catching fish I’d be contributing to it all the time.

There’s still time for that to change this season, though. Jason is also the guy who first took me out fishing at Montauk, if you read that post last year. These are plugs out of his personal collection, including Crazy Alberto’s Tactical Angler’s darter, three SuperStrike Darters in yellow and black+purple, a SuperStrike Darter in a color never released to the public, and a DT Lures metal lip swimmer. A few of these are going to the SideBet winners, a couple others are up for grabs in the many and miscellany of prize categories we come up with about five minutes before the awards ceremony, so if you didn’t catch the biggest fish, there is still stuff to be won. See you out on N5th today and at the chili cookoff afterward.

Derby rules updated and prize announcements (1 of ?)

*edit: don’t forget about the pre-derby fishing trip this weekend. If you miss out, then you are a fool.

Three J's with last year's winning striper.

The derby is upon us and we at BKUAA HQ are busting our collective asses to get this thing in gear in a way deserving of the third annual. I have a couple new rules and adjustments to highlight (to see the complete derby rules list see here), and then some awesome prize announcements to announce. Yes, prize announcements to announce. That’s how awesome they are. These announcements need their own announcements.

#1. The opening party is going to be Friday, September 30 at Dream Tackle, 673 Manhattan Avenue, from 6.30 to 9 in the PM. Here you can pick up your membership card, derby T-shirt, measuring tape, register, and receive your derby package. Afterward we will be retiring to a local pub to get drunk. The derby officially opens at 12AM October 1.

#2. Derby registration has been moved to the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the site. Or you can click here. The menu also has all the other derby information.

#3. Everyone knows we promote catch and release of all derby fish. Not everyone abides by this and that’s their prerogative (assuming they are keeping legal fish [see #5]), but that’s why we require photo evidence of each entry. This year we’re sticking to the same theme, but all photos will be required to be texted or emailed to our Twitter account. You can do this by typing the address

PLEASE PUNCH THIS INTO YOUR PHONE AND EMAIL ADDRESS BOOKS AND SAVE IT. It looks weird (at least to me) to text to this address from your phone but I assure you it works. If I can do it, then we all can probably do it. I will repeat this O.P. throughout the derby so you will all get many reminders.
Tom Pfeiffer shows good form
Mike Louie does not.

#4. Since I failed to mention this before I wrote #3, we now have a BKUAA Twitter account. Check it out at I tried to get “BKUAA” but some Japanese site beat us to it. If anyone knows what that page is all about, let me know.

#5. More importantly, and this is related to our C&R theme, I noticed some people keeping small fish last year on the piers. Actually, I see this more than once in a while among the people who fish around NYC. This year, any derby member who is found to be keeping short fish WILL BE KICKED FROM THE DERBY. No refunds will be given. You will be unceremoniously given the boot.

I don’t want to sound harsh, and I don’t think this is a huge problem among BKUAA members, but there’s little tolerance for this sort of thing here at BKUAA HQ. We do our best to promote C&R and awareness for striped bass conservation while enjoying this shared resource. So, in case you didn’t know, the legal limit for striped bass is 28″ minimum, and the keep limit is one fish at 28″ or longer, or one fish at 40″ or more. Bluefish have no size limit, but they should be handled with respect as well. Maybe more since they’ll bite your fucking finger off.
With that said, don’t put your finger in a bluefish’s mouth.

#6. We are working on helping out newcomers to fishing on the East River. I think we didn’t do such a great job of this last year. The derby is supposed to be fun for everyone, but I know personally that I just kind of ran out to fish my own spots while leaving new fisher-people lost at The Woods at the derby opening party last year. It’s no fun for people to have no idea where to start fishing, to be apprehensive to approach other people with what they feel are stupid questions or whatever. I myself had to go through that—fishing the East River isn’t the same as fishing a beach or a jetty—and I hadn’t done much recon myself prior to joining the first derby, so we all should have known better.

This year, Dave and I are working on a derby map for newcomers. This is a work in progress and I’d like to include members’ contributions (if they feel like sharing them), as well as tips on knots, currents and tides, moon phases, fishing with bait and fishing with plugs. This will be an ongoing project.

#7. We’re going to have weekly and daily prizes this year. The daily prize will be a pin we are currently designing, and the weekly prize will be something awesome from one of our sponsors. So don’t feel shy about submitting pics of those fish.

Ok, enough with the bureaucratic shit. On to the fun stuff.

I met with Barbara over at Dream today to drop off some posters. If you don’t know Barbara, then you need to go to Dream and introduce thyself because she is really stepping up the game this year. A huge thanks in advance to Barbara, Robert, and Dream Tackle.

First off, if you bought the “Big Hooker” package you will get the same series rod and reel from last year (I’ll update this with the exact models, sorry), plus:
* Bucktails, a downed U.S. jetfighter’s best friend.
* One pack of Tsunami/Storm worm trailers
* One pack of bluefish rigs and one pack of striper rigs (7/0 hooks and pre-tied leaders).
* Sinkers, a fishfinder, one bell and one glowstick for fishing those dark and stormy nights.
* One small plastic tackle box.
* One stool for sitting. This was Barbara’s idea and I think it’s pretty great when you’re hanging out on the piers or beach. It’s small and portable and you can bust it out pretty much wherever. I wouldn’t mind making my own seat on the subway.

Even better than this year’s derby package are the prizes. Dream has started carrying the Van Staal line of reels, so of course most of those are going to me, but for the rest of you, check this out:

* Shimano Baitrunner D 8000 and 300 yards of 50# Rapala braided line

* Penn Battle 6000

* 10′ St. Croix Triumph surf rod. I personally have this rod and it’s served me well, except for that time I broke it when I caught a fence. I fish Montauk with this one and it’s held up well, except when I’m catching fences.

* A full-size, 3-tray tackle box
* A full-size, 2-tray tackle box

I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty badass. This is all surf-ready gear and more than capable of handling anything in the East River and beyond. I’m really impressed with what they’ve come up with this year. Dream is putting the finishing touches on their own site ( and it should be up soon. They’re having a cool “Daily Catch” column that will feature photos and stories of the fisher-people’s catches in Brooklyn. Sounds pretty cool to me.

I will be updating with more prizes as we get them, and this is a great start for our big-fish winners. Don’t forget, this is a striped bass AND bluefish derby, and we will have prizes for more than just biggest fish. Get out there and start doing some recon. The prizes for this year’s derby will eclipse last year’s and the coveted cup is up for grabs again. Come get yours.

One last thing, I’m reposting this great link from BKUAA buddy Jason Puris’s site The Fin. It’s the online version of The Surfcaster’s Journal, which I will probably spend the next hour or so reading. It’s edited by Zeno Hromin, author of such great striper-fishing books as The Art of Surfcasting With Lures and The Hunt for Big Stripers. He’s a regular contributor to fishing sites and, by all accounts, a good guy. I’ve never met him, but I can say his forum posts are fair and generous with sharing fishing info. Check it (and Jason’s site) here!

/end long post.


mid-week meetup at M SHANGHAI, ben’s birthday and more

Ben’s birthday was this week, so we’re heading over to M SHANGHAI for our weekly organizers meeting Wednesday night around 7.30 for drinks and awesome food. Feel free to come by and buy the birthday guy a drink or two, talk fishing, the derby, any issues or suggestions are welcome. This week has been slow for me fishing-wise, so I’m looking to get some action on the water, possibly afterward depending on how many beers i have in me.

also, NOVEMBER 4 is the premier of Ben’s new series on the Cooking Network. That’s him in the picture above on the road from late this summer. We’re having a premier party for that also at M SHANGHAI and everyone is welcome! There may be some surprises in the works for the party too…. details and reminders are coming throughout the week.


Kevin Glendhill on Catch It, Cook It, Eat It!

Ben hooked up with Kevin Glendhill of Greenpoint Tackle this week, and Kevin was nice enough to come to Ben’s radio show today. Greenpoint Tackle makes these gorgeous handmade lures: wooden swimmers with a metal lip that have a different (slower) swim pattern and a wider tail kick than the plastic swimmers like Bombers and Redfins. I’m dying to get my hands on a black scale/purple one, and maybe that Wonderbread color too. The best part about Greenpoint Tackle is that Kevin makes his lures right here in Brooklyn, only like 3 blocks away from where we regularly fish! Check out their site here, but go on sober. A few drinks deep and you might wake up to find you just spent a lot of money on some incredible fishing gear.

***Also, Kevin donated a couple lures as prizes for the derby! Holeeeee Shit! The stakes just got raised!!!
These are not necessarily the lures, but they’re like these and they’re badass.