Summer Fishing Report with Capt'n Jan

Egret wearing a captain's hat

By Captain Janice Longshank, Great Egret.

Hey there Fisherbirds, Captain Jan here with tips on Fishing in New York! First, the good news is: I’ve found another excellent fishing hole in Prospect Park that hardly any bird knows about! The water is sweet, the area nicely shaded, and it’s full of tender, lithe, little fish, just perfect in size and wonderfully delicious. I have spent the last few mornings dining at this fine spot and it has not been found wanting. Best of all, no birders!

Now the bad news... I’m not going to tell you where it is, haha! The last time I revealed my secret spot at the Upper Pond it was promptly inundated with local fisherbirds as well as professional waders from out of state, including two black-crowned night herons from Jersey. This many waders of course attracted the human paparazzi and, while I have no problem showing off my fancy plumage for the camera, the crews were scaring off all the fish. Plus the increase in swimming dogs that came with them gave the fish an offputting flavor, IMO.

So nope, not gonna tell ya about this new spot, but if you’re serious you’ll find it. It’s a perfect set up for us wading birds and likely as not you’ll find me there. I’ll give y’all a clue though. The fish taste slightly of magnolia. Hmmmmm... ;-)

In other news, I’ve been invited by a group of Manhattan Double Crested Cormorants for a spot of fishing and “turtle riding” — whatever that is — at Turtle Pond in Central Park. I’ll let you know how that goes. I wouldn’t normally get to hang with cormorants and I’m looking forward to it. Their feathers aren’t waterproof which I find odd and must be a disadvantage for the waders, but they are pretty good at fishing nonetheless. 

I spent last Saturday exploring some old haunts around Staten Island and as I was doing my statue thing near some human boats I saw something remarkable. The humans had technology that could show on a screen where the fish were underwater. Has anyone else seen that? If we waterbirds could somehow figure out how to operate such a device it would save all that time we spend swimming aimlessly or standing around motionless until a fish happens by. But it’s probably not as meditative, and I’m an old school gal anyway!

Thanks for all your letters and questions about fishing, and keep ‘em coming! Today’s question comes from Tim, a Glossy Ibis currently fishing the harbor but wanting to get in on the city scene. Tim wants to know “if the fish taste good out of the Gowanus”. The short answer, Tim, is NO and that is why hardly any birds fish there, as no doubt you noticed. The humans fouled up the Gowanus Canal pretty bad and while they’re making good progress cleaning it up, that news hasn’t spread to the fish yet. Either that or they have developed their manky flavour as an evolutionary advantage. If so, it worked. But keep looking, Tim. You will carve out your own fishing hole in the city with time. 

Till then, keep spearing those fish and I’ll see y’all on the water!


Egret wearing a captain's hat with a fish in its mouth

Illustrations: © Fiona Carswell, 2021.