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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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January 04, 2016


by Bob Banfelder

No sooner than I finished up a six-piece installment for Nor'east Saltwater, reporting on fishing-beach access via Suffolk County's Green Key Card program—ending with Indian Island County Park on the Peconic River—I learn that the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant is dumping raw sewage into the Peconic River. What should have been front page news in our local newspaper, the Riverhead News–Review (December 17, 2015), was a brief article buried on page 26, mentioning that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services said that residents should stay out of the Peconic River. Really? That's a rhetorical question. Water samples taken from the Peconic River showed excessive levels of coliform bacteria. That translates to intestinal human feces, folks!

Donna and I, along with area residents, are very upset in the fact that the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, in conjunction with the powers that be, allows for raw sewage four times the amount permitted by DEC permit into the Peconic River. At the expense of sounding rather presumptuous, there is a reason why two of my award-winning novels (nine novels in all) have been well-received. One titled The Author, deals with the pollution of our environment and is based totally on facts, explaining the extremely high cancer rates in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. I weave fact through fiction.

This past 2015 season, our outlying area bays (Reeves Bay, Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay—through which treated waste water flows from the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant) experienced both a serious fish die-off as well as the discovery of many dead terrapin turtles. The turtles are suspected to have died after eating toxic mollusks in those bay areas. Suspected. Really? The Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant has been getting away with dumping untreated sewage water into the Peconic River for many years.

Dead Bunker from Riverhead Town to those Outlying Bays

That covers one end of the Peconic River. Let's take a look near the other end. Let's travel back west, back in time as well to the Calverton/Manorville areas of Long Island, right along the Peconic River. A toxic plume was discovered in March of 2009 at the U.S. Navy Grumman location in Manorville. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs ~ highly toxic chemicals) were found to exceed 200 times the state's drinking water standards. No, this number (200) is not a misprint. We see a most serious pollution matter having reared its ugly head. Donna and I will be discussing this past plume issue as well as the current Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant fiasco in detail on our Cablevision show (going into its fifth year) titled, Special Interests with Bob & Donna.

By the time the show airs, it will be old news and most likely forgotten. As a matter of fact, the following week, buried on page 14 in the Riverhead News–Review (December 24, 2015), referencing the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, was a brief piece titled Peconic River water comes back clean. Really? Backing up to the toxic plume debacle of 2009, which the United States Navy's spokespeople initially assured the public was going to go away via "natural attenuation" before caving and installing an Operating Pump-and-Treat System, is still not there yet. According to officials, let's look at the time element involved. I'll quote from a Riverhead News-Review piece dated April 17, 2014:

Staff writer Tim Gannon reported that according to officials, "The pump-and-treat system now operating at the southern end of EPCAL [Enterprise Park at Calverton] is removing 99 percent of the contaminants in the water being treated, good for 19 pounds of dangerous chemicals so far. Installed October 2013, the $4.6 million system that is remediating a plume headed toward the Peconic River will be in operation for at least another two to four years — assuming all goes as planned."


That would take us, on the outside, "assuming all goes as planned," to October 2017.

On the other end, referencing the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, the antiquated system, receiving upgrades, is still operating at half efficiency because one of its two vats [tanks] are inoperative. This was reported to be remedied by January of this year.


As serious fishing folks concerned about our environment, we have a responsibility and the ability to address these matters. Stay tuned.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

January 03, 2016

A Mid-Range Quality Spinning Combo

by Bob Banfelder

Penn CLA Clash 5000 Spinning Reel ~ Penn Carnage II Rod ~ SpiderWire's Stealth Blue Camo-Braid Line

As I stated in my December 1, 2015 Nor'east Saltwater report, I'd be covering the elements of the above titled piece. What better way to bring in the start of 2016 with a review of a complete and perfectly balanced medium- to medium-heavy action spinning outfit? As a reminder, I spent virtually the entire 2015 season with this combo in hand: reel, rod, and line. Let's examine the award-winning Penn CLA Clash 5000 spinning reel along with its integrally matched Penn Carnage II rod, followed up with a spool of SpiderWire's Stealth Blue Camo-Braid line. Why? Answer: It is a solid package that delivers quality performance while fitting within the framework of most folks' price range. Whether you are new to the game and simply want an all-around high-caliber combo, maybe looking for a serious backup outfit, or merely wanting to add to your mid-range arsenal—this triad (reel, rod, and braided line) covers all bases while offering great value.

At the 2015 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) event, held annually, the Penn Clash CLA 5000 spinning reel won the "Best of Show" award. Referencing new gear technology is the reel's machined aluminum main drive gear and brass pinion. Also featured in Penn's Clash CLA 5000 are 8 high-grade oversized sealed stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 instant anti-reverse bearing, designed to protect and perform smoothly in a harsh, unforgiving marine environment. Too, the reel bears a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire, which Donna noted immediately as she opened the box before I did. These are but a few of the virtues that underscore this quality spinning reel.

New for 2016 is Penn's Carnage II series of spinning rods. My 7-foot wand matches the Clash 5000 reel perfectly. The rod is built from state-of-the-art SLS3 components comprised of layers of graphite and glass. Not to get too technical, SLS3 construction is spiral wrapped carbon fibers running along longitudinal fiberglass and carbon, creating both an inner and outer spiral wrap. This process translates into a very strong, lightweight, thin diameter blank.

Top-of-the-line Fuji K guides with Alconite inserts (a breakthrough ceramic blend) are "made for braid." I dedicate this rod and reel to combing the beach or fishing from a boat with braided line. More on braided line in a moment.

A super lightweight but durable EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) foam foregrip and butt section are covered with a non-slip textured rubber top coat, right on down to an aluminum gimbal and butt cap. You'll note that the rod's foregrip is fashioned with sculpted grooves for your fingers, making for comfortable casting and especially when fighting large fish. The rod's reel seat is a machined aluminum Pacific Bay model.

The Carnage II 7-foot spinning rod is designed to handle 30–65 pound test braided line. However, for a perfectly balanced setup with the Penn Clash CLA 5000, 300 yards of 30-pound test SpiderWire's Stealth Blue Camo-Braid line fills the reel's spool capacity precisely. According to Penn's line specifications, 30-pound test braided line offers twice the strength and a third more yardage than monofilament line. Keep in mind that there is no industry standard for braid versus monofilament. PowerPro rates their .011-inch diameter 30-pound braided line the equivalent of 8-pound test monofilament. Don't make yourself crazy with the math. Simply realize that given a specific diameter, braided line is considerably stronger than monofilament. Thirty-pound test braided line is generally plenty for our inshore waters, and so is a spool capacity of 300 yards. Braided line is sensitivity personified. Let's see what SpiderWire Stealth Blue Camo-Braid is all about.

For either saltwater or freshwater species, SpiderWire Stealth Blue Camo-Braid is a winner. Introduced at the 2015 ICAST show, it was made crystal clear that SpiderWire Stealth Blue Camo-Braid presents no problem blending within ultra-clear waters and surrounding vegetation. A varying blue/white/black color pattern not only breaks up the profile of the line but of a straight line that cuts across the water column. Blues are the colors that are least seen deep in the water column. Fish are not color-blind as some folks believe. Therefore, Blue Camo-Braid was developed. SpiderWire is not new; SpiderWire Stealth Blue Camo-Braid is, indeed, brand-new. Consequently, the jury is still out. It will be interesting to see what truly develops. SpiderWire braided line is made from Dyneema, the world's strongest fiber that stands up to abrasion.

This mid-range spinning combo is an absolute winner. As many of you know, from October through December of 2015, I plied and reported on the six beach-access areas via Suffolk County's Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation Green Key Card program. I'll be covering other areas in the near future with this consummate combo in hand. In the meantime, have a happy and healthy New Year. Too, here's wishing our friend, fishing fool fanatic, Tom Gahan, a speedy recovery and that he will soon be walking the beaches with Donna and me.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

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