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Casting Call

Family fishing at Wagner Park.


Parents who cling to outdoor activities as the days grow shorter, dreading the climbing-the-walls insanity of winter, will be very excited to hear about Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s Go Fish catch-and-release event on October 20. Clams and bloodworm bait will dangle in the brackish water where the fresh Hudson becomes the salty New York Bay. “That’s the kind of water that makes estuaries thrive—perfect environments for lots of different species, and also for fish to reproduce,” explains Abby Ehrlich, director of parks programming. Of the 40 species caught here, striped bass bite most frequently, but Ehrlich has taken in a blackfish and a herring, and has witnessed others snagging a couple of kinds of jellyfish, oyster toadfish, sea robins with winglike fins, and even sea horses. (“They are really neat to watch.”) Catches are placed in giant tanks filled with river water, so fishing families can get a gander before everything goes back into the river. Ehrlich’s favorite explanation of why releasing is good came from a fourth-grader: “So they can have relationships with the other fish.” Master anglers will help with the rods and reels while chatting about environ­mental protection and river history. “As island people, we should become stewards of the river and help in age-appropriate ways,” says Ehrlich. Kids, for example, can snip the loops of plastic six-pack holders before discarding them. “Fish get stuck in those. We can all make a difference.” Take a break from fishing to marvel at the sweeping view as bluesman Michael Hill performs Fishing Blues or to watch a two-foot-bluefish dissection (the anatomy-lesson specimens are purchased at a grocery store). The squeamish might prefer to create a sea-life-themed art project. No rescheduling if the weather turns, says Ehrlich: “Fish like rain!”

10/20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park (212-267-9700 or; free.


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