Brooklyn Fishing Derby — oh, it’s on!

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And now for something completely fishy.

The Brooklyn Fishing Derby kicked off at midnight on Oct. 1, beginning five weeks of big hauls, ones that got aways, plenty of outright lies and lots of fun.

“It’s a great way to prolong summer and surprise yourself by catching huge sport fish out of the East River!” said Greenpoint’s lovable lobster roll maven Ben Sargent, who founded the annual competition three years ago.

All it takes is a $40 entry fee and a dream. But to win, you’d better bring your A-rod.

Last year’s winner, Yan Gorz, roped in a 47-inch striped bass off the N. Sixth Street pier. And two years ago, winner John Ruffino fought with a 45-inch striper.

And the fish are already biting.

“These two months are the best fishing months — mating season is beginning of October, and then they feed in November,” said Barbara Piskorska of Dream Fishing Tackle, which hosted the opening night party.

The key is the bait. Piskorska recommends gunk clams or bunker fish.

“You cut the head of the bunker fish, the tail, and slice it down the middle and you just hook it onto your hook,” she said.

Veteran fishermen recommend casting lines after 9 pm when the East River Ferry has stopped running, and sticking to piers such as N. Sixth Street in Williamsburg, Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights, Red Hook Pier, or the new India Street pier in Greenpoint.

“I used to like the pier off of Green Street, but I might try India Street this year,” said Louie. “A bunch of older people fish there, hang out there all day and watch girls to the ferry. It keeps them entertained between bites.”

Brooklyn Fishing Derby, through Nov. 5. For info, visit

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

nsp resident from williamsburg says:
Its a shame that fishing is allowed on the n 6th st pier, the fishermen are disgusting and they have turned the end of the pier into a filthy mess. to me they are the low lifes of society and need to be removed so that everyone can enjoy the pier, right now local residents and visitors are either intimidated by the low lifes or disgusted by the mess. the local residents are contacting the local authorities and have had a positive response, it is only a matter of time before fishing there is banned.
Oct. 4, 2011, 8:25 am
mike from williamsburg says:
so mr. anonymous guy likes to call other people names? who are you to call people low lifes? have you ever talked with the guys fishing on the pier? tried to engage them? or do you just stand on your mobile soapbox with your nose turned to the air? every time i go to the pier and see those guys talking with curious locals they've been nothing but cordial and polite. and as far as "everyone enjoying the pier" goes, I suppose that means "everyone" you approve of, yes? otherwise, you sound like a ——ing idiot.
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:40 pm
nsp resident from williamsburg says:
no mike, you are an idiot.
Oct. 6, 2011, 8:28 am
alex m. from greenpoint says:
nice reply, nsp resident, aka, mr. anoymous. instead of being open minded and acknowledging mike's comments and defending your point further you chose to take take the 6yo. stance: i know you are but what am I? there's only one world, one love, one life and if you are offended by the lifestyles of people that have been living in that neighboorhood, probably, for a lot longer than you have; people that probably depend on that meager blue fish to supplement their daily substinence,then you need to get off your high horse and reflect on what you have contributed to the development of N. 6th You are in no better position to reprimand their lifestyle. Your parent's rent money does not buy you in. Instead of passive-aggressively watching the pier become the unSightly PUBLIC place that you claim it has become, you should reach out to the local anglers and listen to their stories, create a community based grass roots outreach program and help bring forth a change of culture to keep the pier enjoyable to ALL. Oh wait, that might be too much wishful thinking. You best go back to squatting at your local coffee place and stealing their broadband to Wi-Fi into your Hulu-fed pre-conceived notion of a biring, sedentary life. Or you could just go out and FISH!
Oct. 10, 2011, 5:48 pm
JacqueAstronaut from Greenpoint says:
Dear NSP resident. As a successful business owner and father I thoroughly enjoy fishing on the piers in the east river on a regular basis. The fact is that the fishermen/women are the ones cleaning up after people who come out to party, vandalize and leave crap all over the pier. We are also the eyes and ears of the piers fishing into the wee-hours and helping to keep our waterfront neighborhoods safer. We all do our best to leave the pier cleaner than it was when we got there. There is no shame in what we do. Maybe the next time you are out you should take a great appreciation for this great group of people that care so much about the environment, the river and each other.
Oct. 24, 2011, 9:04 am
dave f. from bushwick says:
Hey nsp-
Everytime you set your dinner table on the 30th floor of your overpriced, undersized, dropping like a rock in value condo and you little elitist eyes look out onto the pier I hope you grumble to yourself about the lowlife trash that are outside enjoying life and ruining your little nest egg. I, a simple low life, hope to continue to intimidate and disgust you as long as possible.
Oct. 24, 2011, 9:17 am
Jane from NYC: all of it. says:
I am a second generation native NYCer. My mother was born in Manhattan, and my father in Brooklyn. I grew up going to different neighborhoods simply to look at different sized buildings, to listen to different languages, go to a particular bodega that carried that certain candy - to feel different "vibes". But that's no longer a reality of NYC living. If not already, New York City is rapidly becoming one carefully conceived homogeneous commodity. It is a brand - every aspect devised to convince that a "thing", has a pulse, a character. NYC's branders are the real estate developers complete with internal marketing departments. They're the ones who have named every inch of land with a acronym like DUMBO, BoCoCa, NoHo, and Sty Heights fooling people into thinking that not only do neighborhoods still exist, but that new ones are developing. A name is not a neighborhood. neighborhood is is a community.

There are a lot of assumptions being made - from the "article" to responses. We don't know for certain that "nsp resident from Williamsburg" (who takes issue with fishing from North 5th Pier) actually does live in a new condo development. To assume that he does, is problematic in that it implies a binary issue which then leaves room for only binary thinking. It near impossible to productively discuss or even have online banter regarding conservation, development and gentrification in NYC without considering NYC's history, general issues of urbanization, and local politics. This is particularly true to our urban coasts - be it ocean, river or canal. There is a reason why Manhatten's 5th Avenue is a "prestigious" address. It is dead center of an island. It is as far away from the water you can be. To live by the water in NYC, used to mean that you were subjected to boat-based mercantile trade which was meant living alongside a shunned, working class people. Because of the transient nature of their lifestyle, many often held onto aspects of their original cultures and languages more than others, thus they were perceived as being "less American" and certainly not aspirational. People forget that water is literally, a financial stream. Ports and piers are hubs of commerce, pathways to other lands, and everything that is essential to the sustainability of a middle class in NYC. The long term negative perception of the residential areas around NYC's waterways resulted in neglect. The neglect is what turns an area into a "bad neighborhoods". Decades ago or now, it will always be true that no one wants to live in a "bad neighborhood". That said,hardly anyone can afford to live in a "good neighborhood". The result: an exodus of urbanites welcoming suburban life. NYC has gone through periods of concerted effort to maintain a middle class, most notably the development of middle income housing. Over the past ten years, the leases of most middle income housing projects have expired and the developers are thrilled to now charge "market value". Truly overnight, people who have structured their entire lives paying $500 rent, are expected to pay $2,600. This is an impossibility.

The point of all this? NYC has lost it's middle class and the "good areas" and now overly populated which is the core reason why these waterfronts are being so built up, and hyped up. The once least-desired residential areas are now being presented as, "the best". Just look at the website for the biggest new condo that now looms over the North 5th Street pier: Most people who live in these "fancy new condos" are new to New York City. They truly don't know and were victim to the real estate developer's marketing. Take a look at the sites "Green" page: It's loaded with morsels about sustainability, and even mentions having water efficient fixtures. I bet most people that moved in thought they were doing a good thing for the "neighborhood".

When I was younger the only way we verbally differentiated areas of the city was by calling part of Manhattan "downtown", and the other part, "uptown". And Brooklyn, well it was just Brooklyn. Now the only place I go that does not have a proper name, an acronym, or a copyright symbol is, the pier. Mike mentioned in his post on the BKUAA blog that it's near impossible to fish on the pier and not be asked a million questions. I'm always asked if fishing reminds me of home. The answer is yes.
Oct. 24, 2011, 9:37 pm
Ben from Ditmas Park says:
NSP Resident,

I've only been fishing on the pier three times but it is similar to the other piers in NY. In terms of culture, ethnicity, income and education, the diversity of the people fishing on the pier is incredible and should be held up as example of urban living--and Brooklyn living--at its best. Very few places in this country allow people to meet in a beautiful public setting around such a noble common purpose. Your disparaging comments about "removing" "low lifes" reveals an ugliness in your thoughts that matches the ugliness of the apartment tower you live in. You obviously neither appreciate nor understand what it means to live in a vibrant, diverse, democratic urban community. Nor do you understand the larger value and higher purpose fishing, sportsmen and women have in the preservation of our natural resources. Fisherpeople have traditionally been among the first groups of people to stand up to corporate and government interests to protect the land, waters and wildlife of New York State. Those who appreciate wildlife, protect it. And to appreciate it, you need to allow and create public access. It is as simple as that.

NSP resident, there is no doubt in my mind that the sportspeople of Brooklyn will have no trouble standing up to you and your bankrupt view of urban life, the environment and your neighbors.
Oct. 25, 2011, 11:41 am

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