Master baiting

The 411 for reeling in a good catch.



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Where can I buy bait and rods?

While there are no longer live-bait shops in Manhattan, many fishermen use their local fish markets and pet stores. Bunker fish is the bait of choice, followed by sand eels and bloodworms. For rods and gear, most anglers visit their local sports store (Kmart, Modell’s or Sports Authority), or you can try Capitol Fishing Tackle (132 W 36th St between Broadway and Seventh Ave, 212-929-6132); fly-fishing specialist Orvis (522 Fifth Ave between 43rd and 44th Sts, 212-827-0698); or Bernie’s Bait and Tackle (3035 Emmons Ave, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; 718-646-7600), one of a few spots in Sheepshead Bay along the water. For a complete shopping list, see Recommended equipment.

What can I catch in New York?

Striped bass, bluefish, snapper, weakfish, blackfish, porgy, fluke, eel and blue crab. If you’re fishing anywhere south of the George Washington Bridge, you’re required to throw back catches less than 28 inches long.

When should I fish?

Generally, the season runs from May to September, but blackfish are available year-round. The best time of day is subject to debate. If you’ve got a pretty lady in your company, aim for sunset.

Can you eat it?

Yes, but due to contaminants, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends not consuming more than half a pound of self-caught fish per month or more than six blue crabs per week. And it advises against eating eel altogether.

How should I behave myself?

Carve out a small, private spot in the public domain. Be ready to meet strangers and respect others’ privacy. And remember to share extra bait at the end of the day.

Recommended equipment

Want to try your hand at urban fishing? Neill Holland from Capitol Fishing has put together this shopping list that will get you started for around $85 after tax.

Five Star 2 piece fishing rod : $25
Daiwa Sweepfire Fishing reel : $15
Ande Monofilament 15lb. line : $2.50
Plano fishing tackle box : $8
Bait knife : $6
Tsunami Swimshad lure : $5
Deadly Dick’s lure : $6
Package of lines and hooks : $4
Bunker (1) : $2
Clams (1) : $3.50
Sand eels (1) : $3.50
2 and 3 oz. sinkers : $0.59 ea.

The beer’s up to you.

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