Monday, March 29, 2010

Weather-1 Mark-0

View from Dow's boat rentals on Nolan's Point, taken on a day when the weather was nicer.

When: Sunday, March 28th, from 7am to 2pm
Where: Lake Hopatcong
What: Flatline trtolling with Rapalas and Bombers
Weather: Brutal

It's days like this that I like to think a Higher Power is looking down on me; admiring my efforts and taking notes so I can be rewarded on a later day.

It was tough out there, but I persisted for seven hours.

Chris Martalus was originally supposed to join me in the morning, but after having some homeowner issues, was then going to meet me in the afternoon. I talked to him before he left Jersey City and told him it wasn't worth it.

After closely monitoring the weather report, I was fairly confident that the wind wouldn't pick up until the late morning/early afternoon and that cloudy skies would eventually part to let the sun warm the shallows, thus triggering a bite.

I was wrong on all accounts.

It was cold and it stayed cold, but I hung in there as long as I could. Most of my time was spent trolling with stickbaits and I did catch a nice pickerel in the back of Henderson Cove. I noticed some people catching panfish near Brady's Bridge, but I didn't feel much like competing for elbow room and was still holding out that bigger fish were willing to bite. It never worked out though as the water didn't warm much and the wind steadily increased.

Just before 2pm, I was trolling north of Halsey Island on my way to take one more pass through Henderson where I had caught my only fish. As I looked to the left, I saw Nolan's Point and the heavy chop that I was going to have to endure to get there.

It was time to make a decision.

Although it would have been nice to see a couple more fish come up, I wasn't really hip with going any further in the wrong direction. The spring had bearly begun and there would be plenty more days on the big lake.

So, after seven hours of sub-par weather and one fish, I turned the bow into the stiff wind and headed back.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Saltwater Fishing Expo

When: Saturday, March 20th and Sunday, March 21st
Where: The Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, NJ
What: Representing the NJ Angler Magazine and selling subscriptions
Weather: Beautiful.......outside

A few years back, I used to get bummed, and maybe even a little resentful if I couldn't get outside and enjoy the first truly beautful day of the year.

And there I was, on the first day of Spring, with bluebird skies and temps well into the 70's, sitting indoors all day at a fishing Expo.

I couldn't have been happier.

First of all, I now realize that the "first" nice day of the year is indeed not the "last" one. And furthermore, if I get all of my stuff taken care of regardless of how nice it is outside, then I can truly enjoy the rest of the Spring with a clear head.

Which brings me to now.

After two of the craziest months of my life (good crazy), with not an hour to spare between a full-time job, part time writing, working Saturdays, three fishing Expos and all the other blessings in my is all over.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a job, I still have writing, but the Expos are finished, I won't be working any more Saturdays and it's time to do some serious fishing.

I'm stoked.

Next stop: Lake Hopatcong, Sunday March 28th.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Key Off-Season Acquisitions

Although ice fishing and outdoor expos did their part to keep cabin fever at bay, it was undoubtedly necessary to do some shopping these past few months to effectively stave off the winter blues. More than any other spring, I am totally stoked to get back on the water for no better reason than to try out some sick new gear. I'm confident that I did a stellar job of researching these puppies before buying them, and am sure they will serve me well for years to come.

Here is the 2010 Key Off-Season Acquisition List...

1)Humminbird 345c Portable Sonar
My Fishin' Buddy served me well for over a decade, however, a big lake and big quarry called for an upgrade. I looked at a lot of units, and this was the best. It has a color display, rechargeable battery, speed guage and a even a flasher mode for next year's ice season. I should be breaking this one in on March 28th on Lake Hopatcong and it will be a vital asset during a week-long September summer finale on Black Lake in NY State.

2)Wright and McGill Tessera Skeet Reese Signature Crankbait Rod
Out of all my fishing rods, I lacked a fiberglass casting rod for the sole purpose of tossing crankbaits. With the addition of a few cranks from Koppers LiveTarget Series and a few Lucky Crafts to my tackle bag, I wanted a set-up that would do them justice. After doing my homework, this was the rod for the money. I paired it with an Abu Garcia Revo SX which has been spooled with 10-lb. test P-Line Fluorocarbon. The low stretch of fluoro helps the "give" of a glass rod. The rod was already tested successfully with a Binsky on Round Valley Reservoir, but will have much more playing time when I hit the Watergate Pond with Pat on April 3rd.

3)Abu Garcia Revo SX
After a long phone conversation and more homework, I decided this was the reel for the Tessera Cranking Rod. I'm normally a Shimano guy, but wanted to broaden my horizons. I'm glad I did. In the few swings I took with this on Round Valley, I can tell it's solid, and it came at a great price, brand new, from Ebay. It will be at the Watergate Pond with a Binksy and lipless crankbaits on the 3rd of April.

4)Wright and McGill Tessera Skeet Reese Signature Senko/Shaky Head Rod
I liked the feel of the cranking rod so much, I wanted another. Seeing as these rods are technique specific and I throw a ton of Yum Dingers, I figured a Senko rod was in order. I have a very special and very new Shimano Stradic Ci4 to go with this. It will also see plenty of action at the Watergate Pond on April 3rd.

5)Shimano Stradic Ci4
With the introduction of carbon fiber, this new for 2010 Shimano is the coolest reel I now own. The 2500 model I bought weighs a measley 7 ounces and with 6-lb. P-Line Flouroclear makes the perfect compliment to the new Senko rod. This will get plenty of action with plenty of Yum Dingers, starting April 3rd at the Watergate Pond. It will also get the call on a Loomis of my choice for spring trout on Hopatcong.

6)Shimano Sustain 3000
This was a bonus. Setting aside the untouchable Stella, this is the top of the line and the choice of pros. It will most often be found on my GLoomis GL3 6'6" Medium action spinning rod and used for tossing Rapalas and Bomber minnows. It will also see plenty of action and will be with me both on March 28th on Lake Hopatcong and the Watergate Pond on April 3rd.

7)Tsunami Trophy Series 11-foot Extra-Heavy Action Surf Rod
I intend to do more surf fishing this year than in years past, and one of my targets will be brown sharks come July and August. I needed a hefty rod without a hefty price and this was the ticket. This thing has a ton of backbone, and with my Penn 750 Metal Spinfisher, should be able to handle anything I might catch from the beach. This one will most likely be christened some time in mid-April off the beach in Long Branch, with a fish-finder rig, a surf-clam and hopefully a spring striper.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Asbury Park Fishing Flea Market

Custom-made plugs crafted by Gary Soldati of Big Water Lures.

When: Sunday, March 14th, from 9am to 2pm
Where: The Asbury Park Convention Center
What: Representing The New Jersey Angler Magazines and selling subscriptions
Weather: Post-Monsoon

When Bill Donovan wrote me an email with the details of the show and reminded me it was Daylight Savings Time, I assured him it wasn't an issue. After all, being somewhat obsessive and mildy neurotic, I NEVER forget to change the clocks.

There's a first time for everything though..................

............but Divine Intervention would save the day.

At precisely 4am, our insane kitten and the call of nature woke me from slumber. Upon returning to bed, I was struck with the realization that it was actually 5am: the time I needed to be waking up.

I'm in good hands.

I woke Linday, who is nothing less than a saint for getting up before sunrise on a Sunday and keeping me company while I trudged down to the Jersey Shore during the aftermath of a monsoon only to hang around with a mob of mostly "the rough type" of fishermen for five hours. Thank you my love, really.

We had a good time though, and once again, Lindsay did much better at selling subscriptions than I did. We hung out with Bob J, who also writes for The NJ Angler, and I got to check out some of the best custom plug makers in the state.

Pretty cool.

After the show, we did some shopping in Asbury and ate in Ocean Grove.

We also intended to hang with Momma for awhile, who was arriving back home in Long Branch with Shirley and Bob via train after seeing the Mountaineers rock the Big East tourney in NYC (they're from West Virginia).

However, after arriving at the train station to pick them up, it soon became apparent they were going to be a bit late.

Everything happens for a reason though, as we needed some time to sleep.

Next stop: The Saltwater Expo in Somerset on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the's time to go fishing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Save The People

Several years ago, I somehow found myself campaigning to save the environment.

I must admit that I was inspired by the people I worked with; their enthusiasm, activism and desire to make a difference. I never questioned that their intentions were good, and supported and admired their efforts.

However, over the last several months, I've started noticing some huge holes in environmental activism, and am starting to doubt my efforts of years past.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not about to stop recylcing or start clubbing seals, but I do feel like something has been lost in the efforts to save the planet.

What has been lost is the concern for the well-being of humans.

It appears that some activists have become so entrenched in achieving their goals that they are not looking down to see who they are stepping on. In Canada, the World Wildlife Fund and International Fund for Animal Welfare were successful in stopping the hunting of spring bear.

They saved the creatures, but at what cost?

The cost was the livelihood of people; family business and tourism.

Have we really gotten to the point that the well-being of animals is more important than the well-being of people?

Apparently so.

Now that I have accepted the fact that I was duped and voted for a President that sold his soul to activists, I can only wait and watch this trend unfold.

At the end of the month, a Federal task force fueled by our President's debt to the people who put him in office will have a resounding impact on the recreational fishing industry, an industry that employs over a million people and contributes billions of dollars to the economy.

These decisions will not be based on science, and will wrongly put recreational fishermen in the same boat (tee-hee) as commercial fishermen.

I am all for properly managing our fisheries, but that being said, policies should be founded on science and economical impact, not from a hidden agenda to stop people from fishing.

We may be able to save the fish, but who is going to save us?

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Show

Yours truly with Kevin Van Dam, a mere week after he won the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.
When: Thursday, February 25th to Sunday, February 28th
Where: Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, PA
What: Working a booth for The New Jersey Angler
Weather: From snow to rain to wind to sun

First off, it is incredibly fulfilling and I get a great sense of pride (not the bad pride) writing for and representing The New Jersey Angler Magazine. So, when I realized I was going to have to shell out a few beans to relocate to Pensy for a long weekend, it wasn't a tough decision.

It's funny how things work out you shall see.

Products Editor Gabriel Hnat with Sandy from Northern Bass Supply.

This was the first time that I actually met Gabriel Hnat in person, the man who opened the door for me and with whom I've been working closely with since August. It was nothing short of a pleasure.

The weekend would have many other moments for the highlight reel, including the picture you see above with KVD, meeting Gabriel's wife Lisa and son Jack, talking to a ton of industry people, giving away hundreds of magazines with me on the cover, etc., etc., etc.

Thursday and Friday brought snow and Saturday brought Lindsay to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. I ducked out of the show to get her, and upon returning, she quickly made friends with Lisa and did a stellar job of selling subscriptions.

I am also happy to report that my quick visit to the City of Brotherly Love had me warming up to place a bit. It was the first in half dozen trips to Philly that I have not gotten lost. It's was also the first time I bothered to get directions. GO EAGLES!!!

I need to thank my Mom and Steve as well for getting me a top-notch hotel at top-notch price, which was only 10 minutes from the Expo Center. We dined there with friends on Saturday night, checked out Sunday morning and headed to the Expo Center for a half-day at the booth.

Awhile later, after four days of standing, talking, shopping and nearly overdosing on pickles, beef sticks and cheese, we headed home.

There would, however, be one more surprise.

We were well into our trip home, with the windows down, enjoying the fresh Turnpike air when my phone rang. I answered, and a man from the Montgomery County Bassmasters informed me that I had won first place in their raffle and $400 in cash.

I was sure he was joking.

He wasn't.

Like I said, everything would have been more than swell if I had not gotten that phone call, but after finding out that my expenses (and a few purchases) had been paid for, I couldn't help but wonder if there were other forces at work.

Next stop......the Asbury Park Fishing Flea Market, March 14th.