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How to go fly fishing in NYC.

When Natasha Eng, 33, boards the subway after work, fishing rod in tow, she knows what you’re probably thinking: “I basically get called an old man,” says Eng with a laugh. But the creative studio project manager from Williamsburg, who took up fly fishing about three years ago, says the sport isn’t just for the...
Time: 19:09     Date: 22.06.2018
US Living News: How to go fly fishing in NYC. NY Post 24 - US News

But the creative studio project manager from Williamsburg, who took up fly fishing about three years ago, says the sport isn’t just for the senior set, or for guys, anymore.

“Most people only have known their fathers or grandfathers to fly fish,” she says, “but that’s not how it is now.”

The number of people casting lines is up nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years, according to a survey released last year by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Fishing experts say the growth has come mostly from people in their 20s and 30s — especially women, like Eng.

Millennials, in particular, are hooked on fly fishing. The activity can be a much-needed distraction from the pressing demands of the digital age. Unlike spin fishing, where you cast a lightweight line out and wait for a bite below the surface of the water, fly fishing uses a combination of rod, a weighted line, and water tension to propel a faux fly, with the goal of mimicking the movements of an insect near the surface of the water.

“People trying out fly fishing might want to capture that perfect cabin vibe,” she says. “But once you get into it, you don’t really think about your phone. It’s all encompassing.”

The uptick in young anglers has opened new opportunities for businesses, both in the city and upstate, where historic fishing towns such as Roscoe and Livingston Manor are experiencing a renaissance.

“I definitely feel like there is an increasing interest in needing to slow down and be in a wild space,” says Tom Roberts, 33, a former Williamsburg resident who co-founded the Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club (LivingstonManorFlyFishingClub.com) his friend Michael Larsson, and fianceé Anna Aberg. “Brooklyn is our biggest demographic, generally a younger crowd.”

‘There is an increasing interest in needing to slow down.’

His new, rustic eight-room property, on the banks of Livingston Manor’s Willowemoc Creek, offers guests an immersive nature experience, with fly fishing supplemented with foraging hikes, an outdoor sauna and campfire gatherings.

The club offers a $300-a-year membership that includes all of the above, plus members-only fly fishing retreats with a local guide, and stays on the property for between $120 to $220 per room per night. Non-members can join the group for all-inclusive weekend experiences for between $800 to $1,100 a weekend.

And while scant public transportation has long prevented car-less city dwellers from getting to destinations such as Livingston Manor, a new luxury bus service — which touts itself as the “Jitney of the Catskills” — is now operating between the city and Monticello, Callicoon, Livingston Manor and Roscoe (CatskillCarriage.com). While onboard, riders can enjoy WiFi, big-screen televisions, water service and freshly baked goods.

Since the shuttle’s Memorial Day weekend launch, it’s been filled with passengers eager to try fly fishing, Gabriel Brodbar, the owner of the Catskills Carriage service, tells The Post.

“We’re already starting to have regulars,” says Brodbar, who splits his time between the Upper West Side and his home in Delaware County. “It’s not just people who have a house in the Catskills, it’s people who just want to get away for the weekend.”

Gabriel Brodbar, shown here on his wedding day, buses fishers out to the Catskills.NYC Salt Photography Program

The Catskills Carriage picks up riders at Dalton’s Bar and Grill in midtown, and drops them off at stops that include Catskill Brewery and Prohibition Distillery. At the Roscoe stop, Brodbar says, there are four fly shops within walking distance of one another.

In New York City, public parks including Central Park and Prospect Park allow catch-and-release fly fishing, no permits required. The retailer Orvis is hoping to get more city folk into the sport through their free introductory weekend fly fishing classes at midtown’s New York Public Library (for beginners) and Central Park’s Harlem Meer (for more advanced anglers). Both courses teach anglers-in-training to tie knots, cast a line and survey the water. Lucky ones may even catch a fish in Central Park, and then throw it back in, of course. Orvis tells The Post it’s seen a good showing in young anglers, especially women.

Want to try casting your line?

“It might seem a little daunting to start,” says Jackie Kurtzer, who runs a program at the retailer meant to get more women involved in the sport.

She recommends fishing spots at parks in the city or on Long Island, in addition to the more famous Catskills destinations.

“But you don’t have to be all-in all the time,” she says. “There’s a lot of people who dabble on weekends, and you don’t need a ton of stuff to get out in the water.”

Natasha Eng hooks a big one, relatively speaking.Brian Zak

Equipment To start, you’ll need a fly fishing rod, reel and line, plus a couple flies and a leader (the thinner line attached to the weighted line). Orvis sells a startup kit called the “Outdoor Encounter” with most of the basics for $169 in stores or online (Orvis.com).

School of fish Stores in the city including Orvis and Urban Angler (UrbanAngler.com) offer beginner fly fishing schools in the city. Or, train in the wild at fly fishing schools upstate, such as the long-running Wulff School of Fly Fishing in Sullivan County’s Livingston Manor (WulffSchool.com).

For more help Visit TakeMeFishing.org to get the permit you’ll need in the state you’re fishing in, as well as other useful tips. Find a guide to take you out on the water with hands-on expertise at FlyFishingGuideDirectory.com.

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