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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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April 02, 2017

A Deal of a Fly Rod & Reel ~ This is No Fly-By-Night

by Bob Banfelder

Part II

Before we continue on our Ithaca/Newfield journey, I'd like to introduce you to a deal of a fly rod and reel. Tom Gahan, Marketing Director for Eposeidon, whom you met in Part I, brought this KastKing product combo to my attention. At this stage of my life, I know a bargain when I see one.

The KastKing Katmai fly reel pictured below is currently available in four sizes: 3/4 (74 mm diameter), 5/6 (87 mm diameter), 7/8 (97 mm diameter), 9/10 (109 mm diameter). I recently selected the 7/8 size to do double duty in both fresh and salt water. Not too large a reel for some serious freshwater action; not too small a reel for most inshore saltwater species. As the reel is saltwater approved, there is no issue when hitting the suds. The super smooth waterproof center-disk drag is sealed with an O-ring to prevent water and sand intrusion.


KastKing Katmai 9 foot 4-piece #8-weight fly rod
KastKing Katmai 7/8 fly reel offered in black or gunmetal gray

The reel boasts solid stainless steel components and a lightweight yet super strong frame and spool composed of an anodized cold-forged aluminum alloy. With a 1.0:1 gear ratio, 2 saltwater rated ball bearings, and an instant-stop one-way anti-reverse clutch bearing, you are holding dependability in hand, knowing you can cast tirelessly then tackle the big boys when the bite is on. Although I am right handed, I set up all my fly reels for a left-handed retrieve as I do not like to change hands to reel in a fish. All reels are shipped from the company for righties; left-hand conversion can be done in literally a minute. It's a bit different than what I'm used to; that is, reversing a pawl-click mechanism. On the KastKing Katmai, you invert the anti-reverse bearing. It can be a bit tricky the first time out, so I suggest that you watch the You Tube video under Katmai Fly Reel Conversion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHA_u4B54So. Everything is easy once you know how.

I loaded the large arbor spool with backing and 82 feet of a slow-sinking fly line comprised of a 58-foot floating section, a 24-inch weight-forward tip, and a 9-foot tapered leader. To it, I tied a specially designed variation of the Muddler Minnow, heading out to a salty water column I had in mind. As of this writing (mid-March), it is still too early in the season to ply our local Long Island waters for bass and blues, but it was fun waving around the wand. It casts wonderfully. Aside from being a renowned deadly streamer fly in sweet waters for generations, the Muddler Minnow [pictured above] is magic in the suds, too.

The four-piece fast action 9-foot #8-weight KastKing Katmai carbon fiber rod [available in #4- #5- #8- #9-weight] is wrapped and wonderfully finished with stainless steel snake guides, tip, and K-foot ceramic inserts re the stripping guides; a quality full cork handle and fighting butt; and an aluminum double uplocking reel seat. The rod comes in a sectioned-off, heavy-duty protective tube made of Oxford 420D ballistic material with a 1¼-inch wide adjustable strap, serving as either a shoulder strap or tightened down for a carrying handle.


Carrying case for the four 28½-inch rod sections

I can't wait to put my new KastKing Katmai fly rod and reel through the rigors of both a freshwater and saltwater environment this season. If this fly-fishing outfit is as fine as the other KastKing spin-fishing equipment that I've field-tested and reviewed in Nor'east Saltwater through the years, Eposeidon has another winner on their hands with their KastKing Katmai fly rod and reel combination. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) soon recognize KastKing Katami fly reels/rods as "Best in Show" award winners. For when you pair quality with affordability, you can't help but be a winner. You'd be hard-pressed to find this kind of quality and value in a #7/8-weight combo outfit—rod, reel, and case—for under $130 dollars. Katami is named after the Katami National Park in Alaska.

Exploring Additional Areas in the Ithaca/Newfield Region

A suggestion when fishing freshwater pools for a variety of fish is to fish below a barrier falls. The Ithaca area has over 150 falls; some big, some small. Many provide excellent angling. Others offer spectacular views. Buttermilk Falls falls within the scenic category, whereas Ithaca Falls and its tributaries offer superb fishing opportunities—generally a spring and fall affair. Buttermilk Falls is a must for hikers in that its trails range from 1.7 miles to a more strenuous climb of 4.7 miles.


Buttermilk Falls ~ author taking a hike ~ not the plunge


A pool along Buttermilk Falls trail

On the southwest side of Cayuga Lake is Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg. Campsites and cabins overlook Cayuga Lake. For April 2017, the Department of Environmental Conservation stocks the lake with 16,500 brown trout ranging between 8½–9½ inches. In addition to brown trout, the DEC stocks lake trout. For those who do not have access to a boat, the State Park shoreline is hot spot, providing year-round sport. A short cast from shoreline puts you into 50–60 feet of water, which holds many species of fish. In addition to brown trout and lake trout, anglers can catch rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, bass, and panfish, to name bit a few. The park is located 8 miles north of Ithaca, along Route 89.


Taughannock Falls ~ plunging 215 feet past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 feet above the gorge.

Another 10 miles north of Taughannock Falls is Lucifer Falls, located in Robert H. Treman State Park. Shoreline fishing is permitted along Enfield Creek and its tributaries.

Salmon Creek and the Inlet. There are 1.1 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) along Salmon Creek, with three official PFR parking areas. Anglers can also use unofficial pull offs along the stream.

Not everyone within our circle of friends is a fishing fool. Some folks simply enjoy hiking in the great outdoors and/or capturing spectacular scenery with camera in hand. Lee Hanwick is a retired music teacher, camera buff, and our next-door neighbor and friend.


Lee Hanwick hiking along Buttermilk Falls

At this juncture, I'm sure you realize that there is something for most everyone in the Ithaca and Newfield areas—especially great fishing and hunting opportunities. It all begins by perusing the Department of Environmental Conservation information mentioned throughout this two-part article. Additionally, a good suggestion would be to join a sportsmen's club. Though Donna and I will only be visiting the area four times a year (spring, summer, fall, winter), it pays to become a member of a club. Fees are nominal and well worth the effort. The knowledge that you will glean over a period of time will prove priceless. We recently joined the Trumansburg Fish and Game Club. It's but a stone's throw from some of the areas we've been fishing and that I'll be hunting. Donna will be shooting the camera. As Donna and I enter our golden years, we don't just travel about—we explore the great outdoors.

For my bucket list, I have a couple of fishing activities planned; namely, bowfishing and ice fishing. I recently purchased a spin-cast type of bowfishing reel for one of my old Stemmler compound bows that was just collecting dust. I already have some articles in mind for future publications. Many of us outdoor folks divide our time between two mistresses [fishing and hunting]. I'll be hunting for fish, mainly carp on Long Island, along with other species on Cayuga Lake. For coverage of many fine angling products and informative articles, please check out my website at www.robertbanfelder.com under Publications [top right-hand box] and peruse those articles that I've written for Nor'east Saltwater over the years. You can do so—free of charge—by going into Nor'east's archives under the ‘Magazine and Blog' links at the top of the home page. The Blog link will direct you to my blog postings; the Magazine link will lead you to Nor'east's magazine issues, which may be read on your desktop, laptop, mobile, or tablet. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page you will see the link to older issues, where the magazine archive continues.

To conclude, I'll now return to home base ~ Long Island, New York. You may or may not know that the Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale—after its demise, covering a span of eight years—is finally getting back on track. The folks who fought for and worked indefatigably to bring back Connetquot's once world-class trout fishery are to be congratulated . . . profusely. Too many names to mention; however, one man has remained a friend of ours for many years: Dr. Richard Steinberger, affectionately monikered "Doc," of Idle Hour Fly Fishers. Doc had thoroughly researched the fishery debacle from a scientific perspective, helping to pave the way for positive change. Yes, yet another fishing fool. God bless.

Bob Banfelder
https://www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.


Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats


Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats

April 01, 2017

Spectacular Outdoor Activities Await the Adventurous

by Bob Banfelder

Part I

As the headliner for my Nor'east Saltwater Magazine articles is titled "North Fork/South Fork Bays ... and Beyond," I'm going to transport you well beyond Long Island borders to a freshwater fishing mecca that once lie beneath a shallow saltwater sea, 350 million years ago. We'll be heading north to south-central New York; specifically, the surrounding areas of Ithaca and Newfield. Many bodies of water, both big and small, compose a picturesque canvas: lakes, inlets, tributaries, creeks, falls, ponds and pools. The region is but a five-hour drive from New York City. It is an outdoor haven for fledgling to fanatic anglers as well as hunters. Cayuga Lake, which we'll drop in on, is the longest (39.7 miles) and second largest of the Finger Lakes.


Cayuga Lake

The Newfield State Forest, encompassing 1,552 acres, is where outdoor opportunities also abound. The forest is connected with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ~ Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, which covers more than 11,000 acres. Additionally, the NYSDEC has Deer Management Focus Areas (DMFA) to help alleviate deer overpopulation. One of these Focus Areas is located at Cornell University in Ithaca. The Cornell University Deer Management Program provides great hunting opportunities. Visit the Cornell University website for details.

For fishing fanatics, Cayuga Inlet, at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, provides five ample parking areas, two boat ramps on the east side of the lake, and one on the west side. Too, Salmon Creek on the east side of Cayuga Lake has two parking areas.


Author with a fingerling rainbow trout

The DEC stocks approximately 12,500 6-inch fingerling rainbow trout annually, which can grow to 29-plus inches. Excerpted from the Department of Environmental Conservation's website is information referencing Public Fishing Rights Maps:

Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) are permanent easements purchased by the NYSDEC from willing landowners, giving anglers the right to fish and walk along the bank(s). For more PFR information and legally permissible activities on those easements, please see the New York State DEC Public Fishing Rights page.

Most PFR easements are on trout streams. While keeping and eating the fish you catch is part of the fishing experience, many people choose to release their catch. If you release the fish you catch, please review the Catching and Releasing Trout page for tips on reducing the mortality of released trout. Want to know how much that fish you caught weighed? The Use a Ruler to Weigh Your Fish page http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9222.html will help you estimate the weight of your catch. Please view Fishing for Stream Trout http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/62477.html for information on catching stream trout. Further area information is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/64153.html. There are many excellent fishing opportunities listed on the Department of Environmental Conservation's website. One of them is Fall Creek.

Fall Creek & Public Access

Fall Creek, located in Cayuga and Tompkins counties, is a major tributary to Cayuga Lake. The creek begins near Lake Como and meanders for approximately 33 miles to Ithaca, where it enters into Cayuga Lake. There are 10.9 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) along Fall Creek, four with official PFR parking areas; anglers may also use unofficial pull-offs along the stream.

Parking Areas

Old Stage Road. From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road to Groton City. Take Groton City Road south to Old Stage Road.
Hinman Road. From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road for approximately 1.3 miles. Parking area is just past the County Boundary.
State Highway 90. On State Highway 90 approximately five miles west of Homer.
•Lake Como Road. From State Highway 90 parking area go west on 90 about 300 yards to Lake Como Road. Two miles north on Lake Como Road.

Cayuga Lake Inlet Areas:

Cayuga Lake Inlet is a small- to medium-sized stream. Cayuga Inlet is a major spawning stream for Cayuga Lake rainbows. A vast majority (around 70%) of the rainbows in the inlet are wild fish. Enfield Creek, a tributary to Cayuga Inlet, is stocked annually with around 10,000 (Finger Lakes strain). Rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, and smallmouth bass can all be caught in the stream.

The NYSDEC Cayuga Inlet Fishway is located on the inlet and is an important rainbow trout egg collection and sea lamprey control point.


Author fishing Cayuga Inlet

For fishing and/or big game hunting at its finest, rethink then set aside the Catskills and the Adirondacks for another day. You'll find it quite interesting to note that area streams actually flow north and exit into Lake Ontario, so go with the flow and head northwest this April for some serious outdoor angling action.

You'll Fall For The Falls
Area Inlets, Tributaries, Creeks, Ponds, and Pools Provide Plenty of Angling Action


Although lakes and their tributaries offer spectacular fishing in the Finger Lakes region, area pools and small ponds should not be overlooked. Covering a large body of water can certainly wear a body down as we get older, but homing in on a pool for trout or small pond for smallmouth and largemouth bass can still be a blast.

Our friends, Tom Gahan and his wife Darla, found time for a bit of rest and relaxation at a nearby pond in Newfield. Asking and receiving permission of area residents to fish an owner's freshwater pond was amicably given. The only stipulation was that Tom and I catch and release any fish taken. Not a problem. Acquiring a property owner's permission to fish on their land is easier than one might imagine. Folks there are friendly.


Left to right: Tom Gahan, author, and Darla Gahan
The boys eyeing their imitations ~ light spinning outfits in the foreground, readying for action.



Tom sorting through his boxes of tricks

Although the pond had not produced a single bite for the first hour and a half, Tom's persistence finally paid off. He caught, landed, and released a decent size largemouth bass. Tom was a happy camper; more on camps and other area accommodations in a moment.


Tom's largemouth bass, caught and released


Tom with a plastic imitation to which a largemouth bass finally surrendered

Tom went on and on about the effectiveness of a soft plastic worm. I simply told him that it had little to do with the lure but had everything to do with the luck of the Irish, for I hadn't had a hit all morning. Finally, as the morning wore on, I caught and released a nice largemouth. I went on and on about patience personified and the effectiveness of a crankbait. Tom emphatically insisted that it had wee little to do with the crankbait and everything to do with the sheer stubbornness of a thick-headed German. I didn't belabor the fact that my bass was bigger than his bass. :o) :o)


Author caught and released a nice largemouth bass from a pond in Newfield

Over the years, Donna and I have come to know a good many fishing fools, several who remain among our circle of closest friends. So, who is this Tom Gahan guy? you may be wondering. Tom is the Marketing Director for Eposeidon Outdoor Adventures, Inc., http://www.eposeidon.com/, a budget-minded company that is making industry inroads by leaps and bounds . . . or should I say waves—BIG waves. Under the Eposeidon banner, the company's brands include KastKing and MadBite, combining both quality and exceptional value. KastKing offers excellent spinning, baitcasting, and—now—fly-fishing rods and reels, along with high quality monofilament, copolymer, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines; lines for a fraction of the cost of other leading brand names. The company will soon be producing quality fly lines, too. MadBite features quality fishing lures at a price point that is as sharp as their hooks.

Camps and B&Bs in the area are plentiful in the Ithaca/Newfield areas. Snuggled just 11.2 miles southwest from the tip of Cayuga Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, lies The Wilderness B&B sanctuary in Newfield that caters to outdoorsy folks. Six spotlessly clean, spaciously separated cabins on twenty-one acres, along with a pond, blanket the property. Log onto http://www.thewildernessbnb.com/. You'll be glad that you did. Frank Hartenstein and his most amicable wife, Andi, run the establishment. During deer hunting season, the couple shift gears and provide a professional deer processing operation. Frank and his associate, Barry Dunning, are both professional butchers by trade. When I harvested my first button buck with a handgun this fall, of course that is where Donna and I brought the animal for custom processing. A young deer is venison at its finest.


Author with first handgun harvest

Tomorrow we'll continue our journey, first taking a look at A DEAL OF A FLY ROD & REEL. Stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder
https://www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.



Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats


Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats



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