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Finding Fishing in New York City

This week on Hook, Line & Dinner, I head to the Big Apple to prove that New York City is really just one giant fishing village.

One key person in tonight’s episode is my good buddy Pastor Phil. To help you appreciate him, here’s a little background. One day while I was fishing from the North 5th Pier in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I pulled some spark plugs out of the water. It was clear someone was trying a rig that involved using them as sinkers. This got me curious — I wanted to know who the man was behind this creative rig.

Flash-forward a few weeks, and I jumped into a taxi cab being driven by Pastor Phil (yes, he’s a taxi-driving pastor). The inside of the cab was plastered with laminated photos of him fishing (so add fisherman to his list of occupations). This naturally sparked my curiosity: “Why all these fishing photos, and are these really all from around here?” I asked.

“Yes, my brother. Every single one of those fish was caught right here in New York,” he replied. He then broke into a verse of “Amazing Grace”: “How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”

I sat there dumbfounded in the back seat, listening to him sing. When we arrived at my home, I was bummed to have to get out of the cab. And then Pastor Phil surprised me again.

“It’s up to you,” he said. “Whatever you can afford.”

I laughed. “Yeah, right. In New York City?”

But he repeated it again: “Whatever you can afford.” And then he asked, “Would you like some pizza?”

He got out of the cab and walked to the trunk. He opened the back hatch and there sat not only five pizza boxes and six dozen bagels, but also a 32-inch bass on ice in a black trash bag. Pastor Phil informed me that he gives the pizza and bagels to homeless people around the city.

But the bass? “Any chance you caught this guy with a rig that had two spark plugs as sinkers?” I asked.

He burst out laughing. “You’re the guy who has been pulling up my fishing rig!”

Our conversation was cut short when he realized he was going to be late getting home to his wife. “Judy is gonna be mad that we are sitting here jabbing; I was supposed to be back for supper. I have fish to clean and she hates it when I clean my fish in the bathtub.”

And that is how I came to know Pastor Phil. It’s all true. And I hope for your sake, if you are ever in NYC, you’re lucky enough to hail a cab driven by Pastor Phil. Trust me, it’s an experience. And be sure to ask him for a fish tour, because Pastor Phil can show you side of NYC-area fishing that will blow your mind.

Tune in to Hook, Line & Dinner tonight at 8pm ET.

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