2001-04-28 / Sports

Straight From The Angler

Straight From The Angler

By Paul Jalonschi

It’s early morning and everything is coming to life.  The birds are chirping and every creature in sight is moving about sounding the alarm of mornings’ arrival. I’ve got my travel rod and reel kit, a small tackle box and I am ready to do some fishing in one of the best fishing spots in all of New York State.  I head to the lake full of confidence and thinking about the fish I am about to catch.  I am hoping for a few bass and maybe a few perch this morning.  As I enter the park at the West 72nd Street entrance off Central Park West, I wonder what awaits me at this morning.

  If you haven’t guessed by now, the lake I am going to is the one in Central Park.  Now, what kind of nut would go fishing in that place?  The water is dirty and there is no way fish actually live there! If there are fish there they are probably no bigger then the guppies you buy at Petland Discounts!  Maybe those are few of the things that are going through your mind as you think about the lake in Central Park!   I had my doubts too, but then I discovered that Central Park Lake is one of the best fishing spots I had ever had the pleasure of fishing from!   Not only do you catch fish, it’s also a great place to practice your fishing skills and try out new lures.

What kinds of fish are there in the lake at Central Park?  There are your sunfish, which can grow to about the size of your palm.  You have perch, which can reach eight to ten inches.  There is catfish as well and you can catch some nice fat catfish there.  Plus, you have your largemouth bass, which can reach up to 3 pounds and can put up a good fight.  Still sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Well here are a few of my experiences and some of the experiences of some other fishermen I have met at the Central Park Lake.  The first time I ever went fishing at the lake in Central Park, I too had my doubts.  At first I tried a spinnerbait. After about 20 minutes of not catching anything, I decided to try a different lure.  I took out a medium diver crankbait.  I said to myself, if I am here, I might as well practice on my retrieves.  I worked on a slow retrieve at first.  I did this for about 5 minutes.  Then I went to a real fast retrieve.  As I was reeling in I felt that glorious bite (well I hoped it was, I didn’t want to get excited about catching a boot or a sneaker).  I reeled in my first fish and it was a largemouth bass that measured 17 inches.   I could not believe my eyes.  A fish that big in this lake?   Well that experience my friends made me a believer.

Last Saturday, I had to start work at 8 A.M.!  Since I work in that area I decided to go to the lake in Central Park before I go to work.  I was using a size 8 hook and a plastic minnow.  Sure enough Mr. Largemouth Bass came calling again.  I was just casting and letting the bait hit the bottom.  Then, I mixed up my retrieves going from slow to fast to slow again.  I have caught perch that way and also the occasional catfish who, when fished at the bottom, will strike on even a plastic minnow.  I have caught catfish using a size 6 hook and a plastic worm of a dark purple or black color.   I have used crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait.  They all have caught me fish, whether it is an eight-inch perch or a bass.  I have also talked to other fishermen who go fishing at this lake.  One woman caught five perch using raw chicken as bait.  One gentleman was using a fly rod and caught himself a largemouth bass.  Another was using worms or nightcrawlers and he was catching sunfish and perch.

The lake in Central Park has also been a great practice lake for me.  It has given me a chance to work on a backhand cast and using a baitcasting reel.  It has helped me better work my jerkbaits and crankbaits.  I have seen people practicing using a fly rod and working on casting one.  Its a great place to take your kids and teach them how to fish All of this from a lake that is supposed to be dirty, swampy and void of fish.  I was taken aback by the fact that its not only a great place to fish but that you can catch quality fish here.

Here are a few rules about fishing at the lake in Central Park.  The lake is a catch and release lake.  Once you catch the fish you have to put it back in the water.  Do not attempt to take the fish home.  Not only will you get a hefty fine, but eating fish from that lake is not recommended.  Do not use any lures, sinkers, splitshots or hooks that have lead in them.  Do not use barbed hooks and try to be aware of the wildlife that surrounds you.  You don’t want to hook a duck or a swan.  They are not dinner.

So, next time you are looking for a good fishing spot, why don’t you give the lake in Central Park a chance!!!  You just might be surprised!

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