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Charter Fishing Boat With Booze to Launch From 23rd Street Pier, Owner Says

 The Capitol Princess will soon be bringing customers into New York Harbor for fishing trips, and will be launching from the New York Skyport Marina at East 23rd Street.
The Capitol Princess will soon be bringing customers into New York Harbor for fishing trips, and will be launching from the New York Skyport Marina at East 23rd Street.
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Capitol Princess Fishing Trips and Charters

THE EAST RIVER — New Yorkers looking for an adventure in the harbor will soon be able to hop aboard a charter fishing boat at the New York Skyport Marina at East 23rd Street and cast lines in the fishing grounds that dot the harbor.

Capitol Princess, a yacht owned by Manhattan fishing shop Capitol Fishing Tackle in Midtown, will begin making trips later this month, transporting customers to fishing spots in the New York Harbor, where fish like striped bass and bluefish abound.

Eric Collins, whose family has run Capitol Fishing Tackle for decades, said he hopes to have the Princess shuttling customers out to the harbor’s fishing grounds by late June.

The boat will have a bar onboard, and has a capacity for 150, which will make it available for non-fishing excursions like wedding parties or quinceañeras, Collins said. 

But when fishing is on the schedule they plan to keep capacity at around 55, in order to ensure everyone gets their fair chance to cast, he said.

Collins hopes to send the Princess out three times a day, and said the all-day schedule separates their business model from a nocturnal party boat.

“For one thing you usually can’t take a fishing pole on a booze cruise at 8 a.m.,” he said.

Collins wouldn’t give exact details about where the boat would be anchoring to try to reel in fish — every fishing captain has his own secret spot, he said — but said some of the best striped bass grounds are in the waters behind the Statue of Liberty and in a spot just beyond the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Fish caught in New York harbor are usually safe to eat in moderation, despite the area’s reputation for pollution, according to the state Department of Health. So customers who catch a striped bass that meets the size requirement can take it home for dinner, Collins said.

A trip on the Capitol Princess will run between $65 and $70 per person, according to Collins.

Because the boat will have a bar onboard, it needs a liquor license from the state. Community Board 6 recommended approval of the license at its June meeting after feeling satisfied that the Capitol Princess would not be discharging loud, drunk crowds at late hours, according to Keith Powers, chair of the board's Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee. 

Community boards and neighbors of waterfront areas in New York have opposed so-called booze cruises — party boats that bring their customers on a boozy tour of the harbor — in the past, saying they contribute to noise and pollution in neighborhoods near the water.

But according to Powers, the Capitol Princess's focus on fishing made it more palatable than other boat businesses that have applied for liquor licenses in the past.

According to Collins, the application for a liquor license is in its final stages. A representative of the State Liquor Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Princess will be arriving in New York on Thursday and docking at Pier 36 for the time being, while improvements are made at its more permanent home at the East 23rd Street marina.

The city is currently in the process of building a gangway there, according to a spokesman for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which oversees both docks. 

The Princess will be the first charter fishing operation from the marina, which currently houses a seaplane base as well as berths for several river and harbor cruise companies.

The other boats that launch from the Skyport Marina mostly offer day cruises that steam up and down the East river, around the island, and on the Hudson River, as well as nighttime party cruises for weddings and other gatherings, according to the websites for several of the companies.

Most charter fishing boats in the area meanwhile launch from docks in the outer boroughs, including Flushing and Sheepshead Bay, or from New Jersey.


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