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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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July 01, 2013

Perseverance Pays Big Dividends

by Bob Banfelder

On the afternoon of June 27th, shortly after proofing this piece for publication, I witnessed an event that fittingly reinforced the theme I put forth in this very title. Perseverance pays big dividends—both in terms of personal pride as well as character growth. So back to the drawing board I went to begin the blog anew:

As I walked down to our dock, I saw a young man in a small boat, megaphone in hand, instructing two students—one male, the other female—rowing their respective sculls; that is, those light, narrow racing boats. One sculler was unaware that he was getting too close to a line of boats docked at a nearby marina and was immediately made aware of the situation as Eric, the instructor, called out to him. The other sculler was warned that she was too close to a buoy, River marker "16" on the Peconic River. Eric's attention was directed back to the male student when suddenly the young woman hit the buoy and capsized. As the water's surface temperature was eighty-one degrees Fahrenheit, the situation was far from dangerous. Apart from taking a dunking, she was fine. Eric first made sure of that, then asked her if she remembered how to upright the scull and get back aboard.

Long story made short, the young woman managed to upright the vessel. Getting back aboard the scull, however, proved to be a struggle. Good-natured laughter on her part put nearby observers at ease. She listened carefully to Eric's instruction. Try as she might, she couldn't get the lower part of her body back into the boat. There came a point when Eric said that he would get into the water with her and assist, to which she protested with an emphatic, "No!" This woman was determined to get back aboard by herself. This woman was going to persevere.

After an inordinate period of time, the woman finally managed to get back aboard that craft, seemingly no worse for wear as she rowed off in a westerly direction, smiling victoriously. I called out, "Way to go, girl! Fantastic. You didn't give up." To which she smiled, laughed and good-naturedly said that she was at least everyone's entertainment.

"Not at all," I replied. I didn't have a chance to tell the woman that I had hoped every observer learned a valuable lesson, too, that afternoon, for surely she realized that one day she might have to reenact that scene—perhaps with no crowd around to watch and be ready to rescue her.

As a safety precaution, I'd like to see all scullers wearing those rearview mirrors that attach to the brim of a cap or eye/sunglasses, especially while rowing on a narrow river lined with boats and boat traffic.

Not nearly as dramatic as Thursday's afternoon occurrence, I'm still reminded of Donna's perseverance whenever we fish, for patience goes hand in hand with perseverance, and Donna is positively patience personified. In my writings I often mention that Donna will invariably catch the first, the biggest and the most fish. The fact that she catches the first fish can easily be explained because I am busy putting the boat and, consequently, Donna into position. The fact that she perpetually catches the biggest I attribute to dumb luck. Ah, but the inescapable reality that Donna catches the most is because she unquestionably perseveres. My excuses for coming in as a close second are that I'm frequently busy recording important information for my fishing log, considering ideas and jotting down notes for an article, grabbing a sandwich and a drink, or chatting with boating guests rather than paying strict attention. Donna, however, is focused . . . right up to and including the penultimate hour. Case in point:

Orient Star II ~ June 12th, 2005

The fishing trip had been arranged by the board of directors of the New York Sportfishing Federation, of which I was a member. The vessel was Captain Bill Russo's Orient Star II out of, of course, Orient. The group was comprised of board members as well as our families and friends. It was a spectacular afternoon, both in terms of fellowship and fishing fun. Everyone caught fluke.

Bill, a retired high school teacher who had taught marine biology and answered many related questions that morning, seemed omnipresent: standing within the wheelhouse manning the helm, busy at the railings untangling lines while unassumingly suggesting certain tactics and techniques, assisting his son, Mike (acting as mate), both men netting fish for their customers as the action grew hot and heavy. A most knowledgeable and patient gentleman, Bill and his family made the charter most interesting.

As most everyone was finishing up the day, ready to gather their gear, the captain's wife, Myra, unquestionably had the pool winner—that is, until Donna did her thing during the last five minutes, taking an 8.2 pound fluke over the rail, which officially ended the outing. It was Steve Sekora's Glow Squid lure and special rigging that won Donna top honors. The complete story, rigging process and baits used to nail big fluke may be read in my newly released book, The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water, which covers rods and reels selection for spinning ~ conventional (baitcasting) ~ fly casting; tried-and-true methods for novice and veteran alike, plus innovative tactics and techniques; lethal lures and live baits; kayaking/canoeing; seafood recipes and smoking fish ($14.95 plus S&H).The book is available through Amazon or by contacting me directly: e-mail ( Too, you could contact me through this blog or message me on Facebook @ Robert Banfelder, or call directly (631-369-3192). Five thriller novels to date (two of which are award winners) and a new, eclectic fishing book took a bit of perseverance. Yes?

I'm quite proud to add that the fishing book has been endorsed by such notable folks as Lefty Kreh, international master fly fisherman, instructor, photographer and prolific book author; Angelo Peluso, regionally recognized newspaper and magazine columnist, author, photographer, lecturer and consummate fly fisherman; Chris Paparo, marine biologist and director of the Marine Science Center–Stony Brook University–Southampton, magazine columnist, photographer, and fisherman personified. Donna calls Chris the fish whisperer, for she is often upstaged by the man's angling abilities, regardless of the species targeted: bass, blues, porgies, et cetera.

Many years later while heading to the Orient by the Sea Restaurant, Donna and I saw Captain Bill Russo standing alongside his vessel. I asked the man if he remembered me. He looked hesitantly, smiled, then with a mischievous wink declared that he did not, immediately stating, "But I sure as heck remember her," he pointed. "That's the lady who beat my wife out and won the pool in the last five minutes of that trip!" he exclaimed.

"We call her Ms. Perseverance," I explained.

Donna and I chatted with Bill for a spell before heading to that wonderful restaurant for a great meal.

Last month on June 8th, Donna and I took our fishing buddy, Paul Gianelli, out for some action, hoping maybe we'd hook into a bass or blue. Nada. The action had slowed down considerably. Paul and I decided we'd pack it in; however, Donna wanted to give it a final go on the way back. The two of them trolled Kastmasters while I handled the boat. Keep in mind that I'm moving along at two knots and that the ¾ ounce lures were high up in an eight-foot water column.

Bang! Donna hooks up with a 17-inch fluke, just two inches shy of a keeper and in waters that never-ever before produced summer flounder for us. I've inadvertently caught fluke on Kastmasters while jigging for other species, never while trolling. Once again, Donna had persevered and caught the first fish, the biggest fish and, of course, the most fish because Paul and I caught no fish at all. Later in the day, after we finally called it a morning and Paul left for home, feel rest assured that Donna and I thoroughly worked the area while properly rigged for fluke. Nada. We came to the conclusion that Donna's fluke that morning was—well—a fluke.

Believing that I was finally finished with this month's blog, having added the finishing touches to the piece on Saturday evening, I was woken shortly before 7:00 am on Sunday to sounds coming from downtown Riverhead, along the Peconic River. Not long after, a surreal view of the river through sleepy eyes revealed prodigious orange balls and bodies propelling through the water. A long line of geese floated parallel to the swimmers. I then realized that this was the kickoff of the ‘Riverhead Rocks Triathlon,' beginning with a 1.5 kilometer swim, which would be followed by a 40K bike race and a 10K run. How could I not conclude this blog where I began, with yet another example of perseverance—this time with triathletes of all ages, befittingly and initially beginning their event on the Peconic River?

Once again, my attempt is interrupted because Donna wanted to know if there was such a thing as a fishing triathlon for the first fish, the biggest fish, and the most fish caught in a single day, explaining that she'd be a shoo-in if she could somehow keep Chris Paparo from entering. "No," I told her. "However, the British have a competition comprised of fly-casting, horseback riding and trapshooting events," I elaborated factually. As we both fly-fish and occasionally shoot trap and skeet, Donna then wanted to know when and where we could "saddle up—and soon." "Hold your horses," I countered. "I feel that you take this perseverance business just a bit too far sometimes."

Donna hasn't spoken to me since Sunday morning, except to remind me to wish you guys and gals a wonderful and safe Fourth of July holiday. Ditto.

Bob Banfelder is author of the newly released (April 2013) The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water, with blurbs by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso. He is a member of the Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network and the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Bob is also an award-winning thriller writer; his novels include Trace Evidence, The Author (two-volume set), The Teacher, Knots (e-book), and No Stranger Than I. Visit; follow on Facebook @ Robert Banfelder and Twitter @RBanfelder.

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