3 Fly Fishermen Lost in Central Park

Well, it wasn’t that serious. But we were kind of lost – in a world of snapchatters, joggers, a rogue raccoon, and a whole gang of Pokemon hunters.

On a Tuesday afternoon I texted two of my fly fishing buddies who also live in New York City. It was assumed that we would get some drinks and talk fishing, but then Pat McEvoy responded “Should we call an audible and go to Central Park with fly rods and beers?”, and a new plan was formed.

Pat, Jared Zissu and I met up at a pond on 102nd St, Central Park West at around 6 pm. We had heard there were some decent largemouth bass swimming around and were excited to try our hand at some proper urban angling. The pond had a light layer of algae across the top, which would separate when you laid a cast across it and leave a tiny contrail as you stripped back. I tied on a few feet of 3x tippet and elected to start with a popper, as did Pat. These were largemouth bass after all. Jared, the guy behind Fly Lords, went with a classic wooly bugger and some split shot, and within about five casts had already landed a decent perch.

I was down the bank a hundred feet or so, interrupting a couple’s romantic evening with my mediocre double haul. At first I thought there were rises everywhere, but on closer inspection I realized that the pond was absolutely teeming with escaped or abandoned turtles. Every time they moved or poked their heads up, you’d turn and say something like “Shit did you see that?! Was that a rise or a turtle?”, even though you knew it was a turtle.

The popper wasn’t working for me and Jared was looking pretty smug, so I started to tie on a sparkly pink streamer until Pat gave a yell from his side of the pond. He had already caught two little largemouths, about 3 or 4 inches each, but this one was a little more worthy of a photograph. The fight was no joke. On a 3 weight fiberglass rod, this 1 or 2 pound largemouth from Harlem held it’s own.

Back on my side of the pond, I was waiting to cast that pink streamer while joggers and Pokemon hunters haunted my back cast. I went to fire one off quickly and ended up getting my streamer stuck in a tree. The branch shook as I was trying to get it out and a couple dogs started barking. “You wanna move?” shouted Jared.

Checking the path behind

About 10 minutes walk from where we were is a bigger pond called the Harlem Meer. We walked slowly, sipping on beers and laying the foundations for a few upcoming trips. Harlem Meer is a much bigger pond than where we had started, so we stopped on the bank to assess the pond and discreetly finish our beers.

The other bank had a lot less foot traffic so we set out for that, but only made it halfway around before Jared couldn’t resist throwing a popper at the topwater scum line between the algae blooms and the rest of the pond. Three casts and about 15 snapchats of him later, this little guy smashed the popper.

The commotion in the water caused a bit of a crowd. “I didn’t know there were fish in here!” “What kind of fish is that?!” as about 10 people huddled around Jared while he was taking the hook out.

More importantly, I still hadn’t touched a fish. I left the other two behind and started to walk around the pond, pulling my popper through any structure or weed bed that looked like it might hold fish. A couple spin fishermen dotted the bank, casting and retrieving frog patterns and spoons. We nodded at each other.

It was getting dark when someone spoke behind me “Do you want to hit one more spot before dinner?”. “Yeah sure” I said, thinking it was Pat. I turned and saw it was two dudes talking about heading to a Pokemon hot spot nearby.

Same idea I guess.