Perfect game plan: Baseball and fishing combos

If you’re a baseball fan, you don’t have to travel very far to enjoy a game in New York.

Obviously, the new Yankee Stadium, as well as the Mets’ Citi Field, are prime draws for serious fans.

But there’s so much more in the Empire State, which boasts nearly a dozen minor league teams in the International, Eastern and New York-Penn leagues, all offering great entertainment for often bargain-basement prices (unlike those Yankees and Mets games).

Many of those baseball fans are also anglers. And when you take a look at a map of New York state, see where those baseball franchises and stadiums are located, invariably you’re also drawn to a nearby fishing hot spot. That’s just the way it is in New York if you love both baseball and fishing.

So why not take advantage of it all by taking in a game in the afternoon or evening, then visiting a new water as part of your trip.

Here are some perfect game plans to get you started on a combo fastball and fishing road trip.

1. Mets/Yankees/Staten Island Yankees/Brooklyn Cyclones

In addition to the chance to see a Major League in the Big Apple, New York has a pair of entries in the “short season” Class A New York-Penn League – the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones.
With four teams in town, chances are pretty good at least two will be hosting games at the same time. And a visit to the New York-Long Island area offers an angler a chance to take to the salt with a rod – no, not A-Rod, but a fishing rod.

A lot of folks probably aren’t aware you can catch a 25-pound (or bigger) striped bass during the day and then watch Derek Jeter lead the Yankees to a win that evening. Or Johan Santana on the mound for the Mets. Or the New York-Penn Leagues’ Yankees – at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island – or Cyclones at Brooklyn’s MCU Park on historic Coney Island.

You’ll have plenty of options between the ballpark and great fishing, including the popular Coney Island Pier; charter or party boat fishing out of the north or south shore (Long Island Sound or the Atlantic Ocean), or even a run out to famed Montauk Point for some deep sea fishing or stripers from the beach.

2. Buffalo Bisons

The AAA affiliate of the New York Mets plays its games at cozy Coca-Cola Field, located downtown but offering easy access. From there, you’re not far from some of the finest fishing to be had in the Empire State. Take your pick: Lake Erie smallmouths, walleyes or perch, or a fantastic outing on the Upper or Lower Niagara River for species ranging from lake trout, steelhead and salmon to muskies and bass.

3. Syracuse Chiefs

Another AAA entry, the Washington Nationals farm team is based at Alliance Bank Stadium, which replaced the old MacArthur Stadium in 1997. It’s a great place to watch and game, and it’s located not far from central New York’s marquee fishing water – Oneida Lake, which yields plenty of bass and walleye. You can go it alone or hire one of several guides who work the lake, notably for walleye.

4. Rochester Red Wings

Playing out of Frontier Field, the Minnesota Twins’ AAA squad is playing below .500 ball these days. But the nearby fishing is top-shelf, since Rochester sits tight to Lake Ontario, a veritable fish factory in the summer. Track down one of the many guides working the lake and head out for a day of king salmon and brown trout fishing before taking in a game at night.

5. Binghamton Mets

The B-Mets, an Eastern League (AA) entry of the New York Mets, play out of NYSEG Stadium on the city’s northside. The park is actually planted in the middle of some fine fishing, with the Chenango River on one side and the Susquehanna on the other. Access is good on both rivers, and if the flows are right the smallmouth and, at times, walleye fishing can be outstanding.

6. Hudson Valley Renegades

The Renegades, an Eastern League entry of the Tampa Bay Rays, are based out of Wappingers Falls’ Dutchess Stadium. That’s on the east side of the mighty Hudson River, so it only makes sense to ply those waters for bass and, at the right time of year, stripers.

7. Tri-City Valley Cats

The Eastern League’s Houston Astros affiliate plays in Troy, N.Y., at scenic Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, which again is just off the Hudson. That said, it’s well worth a run up the road a bit to Saratoga Lake, where the largemouth fishing seems like it’s always “on.” And with a little sound advice from some of the folks at Saratoga Tackle, you might find some walleye, too.

8. Jamestown Jammers

Russell Diethrick Park is home to the Jammers, the Eastern League offering of the Miami Marlins way out in western New York. The old (1941) stadium is still a great place to take in a game, and for the fishing? Well, that’s a no-brainer, since Jamestown sits tight to Chautauqua Lake. You won’t find any marlin on the big lake, but you’ll have a realistic shot at a big muskie, and the bass, walleye and perch opportunities mean chances are something will be hitting.

9. Batavia Muckdogs

Home to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Eastern League squad, the Muckdogs are based out of historic – and cozy – Dwyer Stadium, built in 1939 and the league’s oldest park. One superb option for anglers is to head east over to Oatka Creek for some early-morning trout fishing, then take in the game in the evening. Oatka offers good access and some special regs areas that ensure good fishing throughout the season.

10. Auburn Doubledays

The Eastern League’s Doubledays have, over the years, seen many future MLB stars pass through, including Johan Santana, Mel Stottlemyre and Kenny Lofton. Today, the team serves as the Washington Nationals’ affiliate. And the fishing in nearby Owasco Lake borders on Hall of Fame quality. Owasco is a lake trout and smallmouth bass factory, and is also noted for some fine rainbow trout fishing.
Almost anywhere you may travel in New York, you’re not far from superb fishing and a stop in for a pro baseball game. Putting the two together can make for a memorable road trip at the park and on the water.

Categories: New York – Steve Piatt, NewBlogs

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