Hot Spot: Canarsie Pier - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Canarsie Pier

canarsie
This easily accessible pier has ample fishing space for anglers to spread out and cast a line. Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

A fishing hotspot for more than 300 years, the Canarsie Pier located just off the Belt Parkway in the Township of Brooklyn in New York City has actually been part of the Gateway National Recreation Area since 1972. Naturally many substantial modifications over the span of 51 years has not only made this gem a shorebound fishing destination, but also host a well maintained and safe playground for the kiddies should they become bored during those hours the fish may be going through a case of lockjaw. In addition, there is a large picnic area, restrooms, a kayak launch site and ample parking.

Since the park is open year round, anglers will be delighted to know they can shake off some winter blues at this location for much of the winter and enjoy plenty of excellent fishing in the spring, summer and fall. Starting in January, blueback herring is the species of choice. Let me emphasize that throughout January and for much of the winter for that fact, the herring fishing will be sporadic, providing air temperatures don’t become too cold and causes the water to freeze over. Sabiki herring rigs and a 1/2 to 1-once metal jigs of your choice is all that is needed on the terminal end along with a spinning outfit in the 8- to 10-pound class. Please note that November and December provides some fantastic herring fishing from Canarsie that often carries through much of January. As for February and March, what better way can you spend a beautiful winter day than to send down a herring rig and try your luck at hitting a school of feisty blueback’s again. Trust me, there’ll be many shore bound enthusiast trying their luck with you.

The action really begins to heat up in April as a myriad of baitfish begin heading for the marshes there in Jamaica Bay for their annual spring spawn. Massive schools of moss bunker inhabit the entire shore line attracting stripers ranging from micro to cow-sized fish. Bunker chunks will catch a few bass in the early going. Oddly enough however, whole bloodworms will outfish all other baits since the bass are quite sluggish. Once the water warms a bit and the stripers become aggressive, bunker chunks as well as rubber shads and poppers are the top selections.

May and June are peak season as fluke, bluefish, weakfish and stripers are all visiting the Canarsie area where your favorite method of tactic for your favorite species should get the job done. July and August produce primarily small fluke, some weakfish and some schools of bluefish from time to time. September and October is a sinker bouncers delight as porgies, kingfish, blowfish and summer weakfish will all be happy to attack, blood and sandworms, fresh clams and squid strips. And let’s not forget the kids, both young and old, as snappers will gladly accept Kastmasters and poppers. Lastly, mid to late October and well into November, nighttime anglers supplying artificial lights and squid jigs (preferably pink color) can put a pile of calamari in the pail in time for the holiday season.

The Canarsie Pier is open daily year round from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cars are allowed to park in the field from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. year-round as well. Getting to the Canarsie Pier is made simple by getting off exit 13 off the Belt Parkway. Should you prefer, you can take the L train to Rockaway Parkway, then transfer to the B 42 bus.

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