Tony Dilernia, striped bass New York

Many Irish anglers love their bass fishing, well imagine bass that go up to 50lb and over. It might sound crazy to us but to the anglers on the other side of the Atlantic, thats possible with the striped bass. There are many locations to fish for them in the USA but there is none more spectacular backdrop than the New York City skyline. Tony Dilernia is one of the most experienced skippers in New York and runs the very successful where he has been putting people on the stripers for many years. So if your in NYC with limited time to go fishing, get in touch with Tony and he can help you connect with that fish of dreams….


Me: What are your first memories of fishing?

TD: My grandfather took me fishing in a local pond.  I was four or five, I recall catching a turtle.  Later, (age 10 or so), he took me commercial fishing with him.  He was a commercial fisherman.


Me: Can you tell us about your first ever striped bass?

TD: I recall being about 9 years old.  The men were going fishing that night and decided I was old enough to be brought along.  I sat in the back of the station wagon as we drove in the dark to the shore to fish.  The men were telling fishing stories and I listened quietly.  Once there I took my rod and reel and baited up my hook just like they described in the car.  I cast my line out and tuck in upright in the sand and started to walk back to the fire they had built on the sand.  I had forgotten to leave my open in the loose position.  As I walked up the beach to the fire, my Dad ran past me towards the water.  Seems the striped bass had taken my bait and was about to swim away with my rod and reel.  Dad got to the rod before in disappeared into the water and handed it to me.  I took it and reeled in my first striped bass.  About five pounds.  I still have the photo somewhere in the house.


Me: How do you mostly fish for them?

TD: Now a days we fish mostly with bait, on the bottom; either whole clams out of their shells or with pieces of herring.


Me: How did Rocket charters come about?

TD: I was running a charter-boat on Long Island, about 30 miles from NYC.  Businessmen would skip going to the office and hire me for the day and talk business while fishing. There was a “min-chrash” of the stock market in 1987 and we were in a recession by 1988.  They could not afford to skip a days work to fish.  So by the end of 1988 I started to run evening trips. In 1991 changes to US tax laws eliminated many tax breaks for yacht owners.  This caused may docking spots in NYC to become available.  I decided that instead of trying to get the businessmen to come to me, I would bring the boat to them.  And I moved into one of the now available dock spots in NYC.  Once that occurred it was easy for them to come to me after work and fish from 5-9 pm.  They have dinner on the boat, fish and are able to get home for enough sleep for the next day.


Me: What is a typical day like for Rocket Charters?

TD: Pick up fresh bait at 3:30.  Arrive at boat by 4 pm, heat up dinner in the microwave, refresh the ice on the beverages, rig the tackle (if not rigged from the night before). Sail at 5 pm with up to six passengers, fishing by 5:30 the latest, (the boat is fast and the fish are usually close).  Back at the dock by 9 pm.  Clean fish, wash down boat have a beer. In the car by 10 pm, home by 10:30, out of the shower and to bed by 11pm.  I also run morning trips, but it’s 10 to 1 evenings compared to mornings.


Me: What month would you recommend to someone visiting, hoping for their first striper?

TD: Best striper fishing is from May 1- June 30 and October 1- October 31.  There are fish after October 31, but it gets too cold to fish.


Me: Is it possible to fish for them from the shore in NYC?

TD: Some try but few succeed.  That is because the current is fast and the lines, cast from shore get swept down current quickly.


Me: What has been your own favourite catch over the years?

TD: A 50 pound striped bass is like getting a hole in one in golf.  The first 50 pound striped bass we caught on ROCKET CHARTERS, (we have 4 total), was caught by a guest on his first fishing trip.  It had to be the funniest thing to watch me as I tried to give this fellow instructions on how to fight the fish and how he really wanted no part of it.  He had come along as a courtesy to his host, thinking he would never catch anything.  When the fish jumped on his line, I don’t know who was more frightened, the fish, the fisherman or myself who did not want to loose it, once I saw it in the water.



Me: In your own spare time, what do you like to fish for?

TD: I love to fish for Cod. In the 1970’s and ’80’s before I left Long Island we would travel 40-80 miles offshore and catch codfish, (10-50 lbs).  Now, with warming sea water temperatures, the cod have moved further north out of range.


Me: And Finally Tony, what are your fishing plans for this year?

TD: God willing, catch some fish, try a few new techniques and stay healthy. 


Me: I hope you have a great season Tony, thanks for talking to us

TD: No problem Paddy


About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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