Looking for something new to do with the kids now that summer's more than halfway over? How about fishing? Long Island has a plethora of places to dangle a line - party boats in the ocean, bay or Sound; freshwater lakes; docks that jut like fingers into the various waterways.
All you need is a basic, well-made fishing rod and appropriate bait for the kind of fish you're seeking. Make sure you go for only a few hours, so kids don't get bored, and try to pick somewhere that the kids are sure to catch something so they don't get frustrated.
"When you take them on their first trip, they should come back with a fish story," says Angelo Peluso, director of editorial and marketing for The Fisherman magazines, based in Shirley.
Here are some angling outings to try:
COST $8 park entrance fee; $3 with Suffolk County Green Key Card
Fish from the shoreline of Hards Lake, which is part of the Carmans River, and you may catch brook or rainbow trout, largemouth bass, perch or bluegills. If they meet state requirements for length, you can take the fish home. You can also fish off a rowboat, which costs $6 for the first hour and $4 for each additional hour, with a $10 refundable deposit. Life jackets provided. Bring your own rods and bait.
ALSO TRY Lake Ronkonkoma parks run by Suffolk County and the towns of Brookhaven and Islip, Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon, Hempstead Lake State Park in Hempstead. You can also rent rowboats to fish in Belmont Lake State Park on weekdays only.
COST $40 per adult, $37 senior citizen, $25 for 12 and younger. Reservations not necessary; but if you book online, you get a $3 discount. Trips are rain or shine.
The boat sails three times a day, seven days a week; each trip is four hours. Trips at 7 a.m. and noon hunt for fluke; 6 p.m. sail is for bluefish, striped bass and weakfish. The boat holds 90 people. Bait, pole and tackle provided. Snack bar on board; bring your own cooler. Staff cleans fish.
ALSO TRY Many other boats also leave from Captree State Park
COST $45 per adult, $25 children ages 5 to 12, 4 and younger free; rods, tackle and bait provided. Reservations not necessary.
For children, the half-day trips are recommended, either from 8 a.m. to noon or 1 to 5 p.m. daily. This fishing boat fishes for fluke in the ocean waters around Montauk. It can carry up to 100 passengers, with each one having a rod holder at the rail. Food and beverage available for purchase; coolers allowed. Staff cleans fish for you.
COST $10 Jones Beach parking fee
Four "finger piers" jut into the Great South Bay. Bring your own rod and other necessities, and there's a bait station that sells bait, tackle and snacks. This time of year, fish for fluke, Northern Kingfish, porgies and bluefish.
COST $65 per adult; $55 for seniors, $45 for children 12 and younger. Reservations not necessary. Rods, tackle and bait included. Dockside parking is free.
The Angler II sails from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day, and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 to 7 p.m. Sundays. The boat holds up to 40 people. The day trips are primarily for fluke or porgies, the night trips for striped bass and bluefish. Soda, water and chips are available; bring your own cooler. Staff cleans the fish.
WHERE THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE YOU'LL CATCH A FISH
COST Admission to hatchery is $6 adults, $4 children 3 to 12; to fish is an additional $5 per person; $2 to rent a rod (you can bring your own), $2 to purchase bait (you can bring your own, but they must be night crawlers). Everything you catch you must take home, and it's $3 a fish. Clean your fish at home.
Fishing takes place only Fridays through Tuesdays. Fish from 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. on all fishing days. Saturday and Sunday there's an extra session from 4 to 6 p.m. in August. Only 12 people can fish at any time; no reservations accepted. Fishing is from a platform deck with a railing; hang the line over the side (no casting). Fishing is into what's called a tidal raceway, a body of water that flows from an underground spring to Cold Spring Harbor. You'll catch either brook trout or rainbow trout, which you can take home and prepare to eat.