By Howard Koplowitz
Angler Fleet has been setting sail from a Howard Beach marina by Cross Bay Boulevard since 2003, offering customers fishing trips on Jamaica Bay where they can hook fluke, porgies and flounder.
The business was started by licensed Capts. Ken Tokar and Tony Negron, two Queens men who met through a fishing club, after Negron suggested they buy a fishing boat.
“It took a couple of years to build the business,” Tokar said. “We decided to stick with it for a few years and it got better and better.”
When Angler Fleet opened, it started out with a 1964 wooden boat, but has since expanded to two motorized sailing boats: the six-passenger Angler Xpress and 39-passenger Angler II. Angler Fleet accepts charter trips for the Angler Xpress.
“We promise a nice, fun, full day on the water,” Tokar said.
He said Angler Fleet offers two half-day fishing trips a day for $35 each. That gets you bait, tackle, dock-side parking and a rod and reel. Senior citizens and children under 12 get $5 off.
The first trip sets sail at 8 a.m. and docks at 1 p.m. at Capt. Luna's Marina at 158-35 Cross Bay Blvd. The second trip begins at 2 p.m. and gets back to the marina at 7 p.m.
On a usual trip, customers can expect to catch fluke, sea bass, porgies, striped bass and bluefish in Jamaica Bay, Tokar said. If the weather permits, the captains take the boats to Rockaway Reef.
He said customers can expect to catch enough fish during the five-hour trips. The business slogan is “Half is enough when you know your stuff,” Tokar said. Or in other words, he said, the captains are seasoned enough to provide a full experience on the water.
While Tokar and Negron offer fishing tips to customers during the trip, Chris Schneck, the Angler Fleet first mate, filets the captured fish aboard the boat for customers to take home.
About 80 percent of customers learn about Angler Fleet from its Web site, theangler.com, Tokar said, while another 10 percent are driven from word-of-mouth and another 10 percent are “drive-by” patrons from Cross Bay Boulevard.
The business opens April 1 and provides trips until customers stop coming, usually around the middle of November, Tokar said.
Angler Fleet accepts walk-on customers, meaning a reservation is not needed. To book a charter trip, call Capt. Ken at 917-301-3237.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.