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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

September 01, 2014

RIO: Selecting Weight Forward Freshwater Floating Fly Lines, Leaders & Tippet Material

by Bob Banfelder

Think Rio, and the recent World Cup matches of 2014 may pop into your mind. Think ahead to 2016, and the Summer Olympics may conjure up the second largest city in Brazil, where the events are to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Ponder its name, and history buffs will be quick to tell you that Rio de Janeiro's English translation is "River of January," when Portuguese explorer Gasper de Lemos navigated into what he thought was the mouth of a rio (word for river), on January 1st, 1502, which actually turned out to be the entrance to Guanabara Bay. I guess because I'm not a spectator sport's enthusiast, RIO has a whole other meaning for me. Perhaps it was the same for Jim Vincent, founder of RIO, who had guided for anglers fishing the Rio Colorado in Costa Rica after noting similarities to a river in his home state of Idaho. Hence, the name RIO, which was planted firmly in Jim's mind as it is in mine.

RIO's Freshwater Fly Lines:

Far Bank Enterprises is the parent company of Sage, Redington, and RIO fly-fishing products. RIO Products International is a manufacturer and distributor of high quality fly-fishing lines, leaders, and tippet material for over 20 years. We'll begin with my fist selection of a RIO Gold WF8F (Weight Forward #8 Floating line). It is one of 7 different lines sizes to choose from in the RIO Gold Freshwater Trout Series; that is, WF3F through WF9F. The combination color in that range is Melon/Gray Dun. Other colors offered are Moss/Gold, Orange, and Lumalux, a glow in the dark color that can be charged with a bright light source. Consult RIO Products' website, www.rioproducts.com, for not all colors are offered for the above-stated line sizes.

All fly lines are not created equal. All weight forward floating lines are not created equal. Therefore it is important to have a basic understanding of these fly lines. Keeping what can be a complicated subject simple is the key to understanding. Let's examine the nomenclature of my RIO Gold Weight Forward #8 Floating line. It is 100 feet long, consisting of two basic sections. The rear section of the line that attaches to your backing is called the running line. The length of my running line is 50.5 feet. That leaves a 49.5 foot length of front section, which is called the head. There's your 100 feet. It's the 49.5 feet with which I want you to concern yourself. The question is can you keep it, or most of it, in the air on your first or second false cast? If you are a beginner, this 49.5 foot head (weighing 315 grains) will be too much for you to handle. You need to select a line that you can handle comfortably.


RIO Fly Lines, Leaders & Tippet Material

For Donna, whom most of you know by now through my writings, she selected a RIO Grand (not RIO Gold) Trout Series WF7F (Weight Forward #7 Floating) line. Let's examine the basic difference between our two fly lines. Her line is also 100 feet long; however, its total head length is only 43.2 feet, a difference of 6.3 feet from mine, which translates into 21 grains less than mine as its total head weight is 294 grains. The point is that Donna can comfortably handle this fly line whereas my heavier line would be too much for her.

If you are a beginner, I strongly urge you to select a fly line, be it for freshwater or the suds, with a total head length [be it a weight forward, shooting taper, floating/sinking mini tip, et cetera] in the mid-thirty-foot range. Casting distance (which concerns many an angler) is not to be measured, initially, by the size of the line, but rather by continued practice. Again, it's what you can comfortably handle before going up to a heavier head. Timing and technique is what it's all about.

The RIO Grand Trout Series fly lines are designed for modern, fast-action fly rods. Too, these weight-forward lines are designed with more weight distributed toward the front of the line in order to easily load the rod. The line incorporates their new MaxCast and MaxFloat Tip Technology. RIO's ultra-sophisticated line coating, and I'll quote, "actively repels water for higher floatation, longer casts and greater durability."

The RIO Gold Trout Series fly lines boasts, and I'll paraphrase, "a revolutionary taper design that offers incredible loop stability, a unique profile that allows a rod to load quickly and crisply, and a front taper design that delivers perfect presentation of flies ranging from sizes #22 to #2. The RIO Gold is the ultimate all round, floating line for the trout angler." I can cast that long 43.2 foot head-length, along with a fair amount of running line, like a breeze.


The author fly-fishing the Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca

What I also like about our new fly lines are that both ends have welded loops. No need to whip-finish and worry if your connections are secure or knot (yes, pun intended). $74.95 each for these and other top-quality sweetwater trout series fly lines is, well, sweet. There are 31 different fly lines in the RIO Gold and RIO Grand series to choose from: that is 19 and 12 selections, respectively. Therefore, all that glitters may indeed be both Grand and Gold. Reach for RIO and see for yourself. Additionally, there are many other fly lines to choose from to serve several different applications.

RIO's Fluroflex Tapered Leaders:

RIO's fly-fishing leaders had its beginnings when Jim Vincent and his wife Kitty toured North America in their Airstream trailer. Today, RIO's Fluorflex tapered leaders are 100% fluorocarbon and boast tough abrasion resistance along with knot and tensile strength. These leaders have long butt sections which turn flies over facilely for that perfect presentation.

When a virtually invisible presentation is desired and required for spooky trout in crystal-clear water, my RIO 9 foot, 5X, 4-pound test fluorocarbon freshwater tapered leader is the ticket to success. For a bit more finesse, Donna's RIO 9 foot, 6X, 3-pound test fluorocarbon freshwater tapered leader is perfection personified.

From 0X (12-pound test) down to 7X (2-pound test), you have your choice of 8 nine foot, deadly, freshwater fluorocarbon tapered leaders to fool the wariest of fish. Don't even think of fishing for finicky freshwater species, especially trout, with general purpose monofilament/copolymer (nylon) leaders. Why? Because you want to give yourself the added edge. Nylon leaders are generally fine for the suds, but you want to lead with a leader that surpasses all others. Yes? So why settle for less? RIO tapered leaders, with their hand-tied perfection loops at the butt end for quick rigging, are the very best of the best. Period.

Now, let's be candid. These nine-foot fluorocarbon leaders are not cheap. They will run you $12.95 each as opposed to $4.95 a pop for RIO's nylon saltwater selections. However, you will be giving yourself the added edge with fluorocarbon over nylon material. You want a tapered leader material that is practically indiscernible in the water column. Think about your outlay for a quality fly rod and reel. Why would you shortchange yourself when it comes to the terminal end of your outfit? Why indeed?

RIO's Fluoroflex Freshwater Tippet Material:

To top off Donna's 9 foot, 6X, 3-pound test fluorocarbon freshwater tapered leader as well as my 9 foot, 5X, 4-pound test leader, we selected, of course, corresponding 30 yard spools of RIO's Fluoroflex freshwater tippet material; $12.95 each. Approximately 2 feet up from the end of my 9 foot, 5X leader is the discernable point where the tapered diameter changes. Therefore, when I lose a couple of feet of leader material due to changing flies, et cetera, I add about 2 feet of tippet material. Good to go.

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


August 01, 2014

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum: Fishing the Willowemoc

by Bob Banfelder

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is located on a 35-acre parcel in Livingston Manor, New York, along the banks of Willowemoc Creek. Acquiring additional acreage through the years has increased the property to 55.66 acres along a mile of accessible, prime, No Kill, trout water. The Center also holds title to Junction Pool, which is the headwater of the main stream of the Beaver Kill. In other words, the area is an angling mecca just this side of Paradise for freshwater trout, especially brookies and browns. Having toured the museum, walked the Center's nature trail, and spoken at length with Jim Krul (executive director) and Erin Phelan (executive assistant), Donna and I are ready to wet a line in Wulff Run, which is situated in the middle section of Willowemoc Creek. The middle section of the Willowemoc flows from the village of Willowemoc to Livingston Manor. Its banks are lined with beautiful hemlock and spruce.




Jim Krul, Executive Director, The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, talking with the author

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is all about preserving, protecting, and promoting fly-fishing—period. It is the world's largest fly-fishing center, recognized internationally and the home of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, the Demarest Rodmakers Gallery, the Poul Jorgensen Golden Hook Award, the Catskill Rodmakers Gathering, the Hardy Cup, the Wulff Gallery, and The Catskill Rodmakers Workshop and Arts of the Angler Craft Center. Also, it is the sister museum to Italy's International Museum of Fly Fishing in Castel di Sangro, dedicated to Stanislao Kuckiewicz. Wow!


Sculpture titled: Soon To Be Released by Bob Wolf portrays Lee Wulff, The "Father" of Catch and Release, about to release an Atlantic Salmon

The Willowemoc is 26.7 miles long and flows westerly through Livingston Manor to Roscoe; there it joins the Beaver Kill at the famous Junction Pool. In 1983 the museum first opened as a storefront in Roscoe before relocating to its present location. The lower section of the Willowemoc ranges from 40 to 100 feet wide, with many pools averaging between three to five feet deep. By comparison, back home on Long Island, our three gems, the Carmans, Nissequogue, and the Connetquot Rivers, would have to be deemed brooks when compared to Willowemoc Creek. Everything is relative.

Willowemoc Creek in Region 3 (Southeastern New York), Sullivan County, is stocked annually with over 18,000 brown trout, while brook trout thrive well on their own. Rainbow trout do fair to middling. The section of Willowemoc Creek, 1,200 feet above the mouth of Elm Hollow Brook to 3.5 miles downstream to the second Route 17 Quickway Bridge east of Roscoe is catch and release only, year- round, artificial lures solely.

In the Willowemoc Creek Region 3 (Southeastern New York), Sullivan County section, from Iron Bridge at Pakston, downstream, trout season opens April 1st and runs through November 30th. An angler may take 5 trout daily, which must be a minimum length of 9 inches.

Mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies appear to be the preferred ‘match-the-hatch' patterns for Willowemoc Creek. Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Blue-winged Olives, Gray Drakes, Hendricksons, March Browns, miniature Midges (which may sound oxymoronic ~ more on midges in a moment), and Red Quills head the list in alphabetical order. Yet I can't wait till Donna and I introduce Jim to the gray nymph Gimp Fly that I tie. The fly was originated by Lacey E. Gee and highly praised by his friend Erwin D. Sias, who later wrote an article published in Outdoor Life (November 1950 issue), titled "They Go for the Gimp." It is my go-to fly for the four seasons and for one reason. The Gimp fly catches trout: brooks, rainbows and browns. Too, it is a great fly for bluegills and crappies. I have been using this deadly fly since the late sixties. The Gimp is presented in my new book titled The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. I tie a saltwater pattern for the suds. Pictured below are a number of trout that fell for The Gimp while fishing the Nissequogue, Carmans, and Connetquot rivers of Long Island through the years. However, I'll be sure to have on hand a good selection of the above mentioned patterns for the Willowemoc . . . just in case.



Selecting flies to cast at random can prove to be a complete waste of time, kind of like employing them alphabetically as cited above. Therefore, knowing what fly to tie to your tippet during a particular time of year will dramatically increase the odds of hooking and landing a prize. For example, specific to the Willowemoc from the middle of March to the end of May, select a Blue-winged Olive for openers. Blue Quills and Quill Gordons would be a good choice for around mid-April. Around the third week in April to mid-May, Hendricksons and Red Quills would be a good choice. Around the fourth week in April to the middle of May, Gray Drakes appear on the scene and would be a smart choice. March Browns emerge around the middle of May and well into June. Those midges, mentioned earlier, can be fished all year. And don't overlook terrestrials; that is, insects that are born and spend their ephemeral existence on land but inadvertently fall prey to hungry trout via heavy winds and torrential rains. Ants, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers patterns are a few of my favorite imitations. Moving from small patterns to bigger flies, streamers, but of course, immediately come to mind, for the thinking is that a big fly will catch a big trout. But keep in mind that midge patterns fool many big trout as well. And as for my Gimp fly, I tie them on hooks ranging from sizes 16 to 6. Most of my bigger trout, namely browns, were taken with hook sizes ranging somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

My son and I have fond memories of the Catskill area, having fished, of course, the Beaver Kill, fueled body and soul at the Roscoe Dinner, and overnighted at the Antrim Lodge. Donna and I will be fishing the Finger Lake region, with special attention initially beginning with Cayuga Lake. Lake trout and salmon are on our minds and will be most definitely on the menu, not to mention mixing it up with a bit of deer and small game hunting. Andrew Burns of Dick's Sporting Goods in Ithaca was a wealth of information, pointing us in the right direction relating to newcomers fishing and hunting the area. On the way home, Donna and I made a nostalgic stop at the Roscoe Dinner; wholesome food, as always, and plenty of it. As Donna and I love Italian food (and who doesn't?), we'll be making it a point to dine at Raimondo's Restaurant on our next trip to Roscoe, after visiting angling shops in the area.

The two fly-fishing shops that are a must visit are The Beaverkill Angler, www.beaverkillangler.com, 52 Stewart Avenue, and Catskill Flies www.catskillflies.com, 6 Stewart Avenue (right across the street, under the green awning), both in the village of Roscoe. Local angling knowledge along with a wide selection of flies and equipment are what you will uncover within these two well-stocked shops pictured below.


One of the Many Displays at The Beaverkill Angler


Catskill Flies


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





June 01, 2014

Traveling Long Island for Trout

by Bob Banfelder

From Freshwater Rainbows & Browns to the Suds for Weakfish ~ a.k.a. Sea Trout

Laurel Lake for Rainbows & Browns:

Getting a late start this season, Donna and I grabbed our Mad River Canoe on April 3rd, heading for Laurel Lake to wet a line. People ask me, "Where is Laurel Lake, exactly?" It sounds a bit confusing when you try and explain it to some folks, for Laurel is a CDP; that is, a Census-Designated Place; a hamlet of Laurel, located mostly within the town of Southold, but with a tiny section situated in the town of Riverhead. To confound matters, Laurel Lake is considered to be within the boundary of Mattituck, as it lies within the Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District. Huh? As convoluted as these lines of demarcation are so deemed and mapped, a moment of lucidity shines through in the realization that, "Yes, you can get there from here." From Riverhead, take Route 25 heading east for approximately six miles to the town of Laurel. A DEC access sign to the town park will be on your left; drive to the back parking area.

It was good to be back out on the water after such a cold and snowy winter. As we portaged along the 200-yard path leading from the parking area to the shoreline, I couldn't help noticing deer sign—everywhere: rubs, scrapes, and excrement. For a moment, I was back in a hunting mood, Donna having to remind me that we were here for fishing, not pursuing whitetails. Laurel Lake Preserve and Park is a 480-acre parcel teeming with wildlife. Laurel Lake, itself, is a 30-acre gem.


Laurel Lake DEC Access & Information

Twice in April, the DEC first stocks the lake with 240 rainbow trout then later in the month, 260 brown trout, both species initially ranging between 8½–9½ inches. Come fall, these freshwater fishes of the Salmonidea family reach 14 inches on average. Lunkers lurk in this lake, too.

Not only will the angler find rainbows and browns ranging through this kettle hole (in this case formed by a retreating glacier eons ago), he or she will encounter both largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills, brown bullheads (catfish), chain pickerel, pumpkinseed, and white and yellow perch. Now, if that's not a sweetwater smorgasbord found in our own neck of the woods and water, well, let me tell you that it just doesn't get any sweeter than this. If you're a freshwater fanatic, you're going to fall in love with Laurel Lake.

The lake has no inlet or outlet stream, which means that there is virtually no runoff, resulting in one of the cleanest, clearest small bodies of water on Long Island. It is 47 feet deep in its center. Knowing where, how, and when to fish this honey hole is the key to success. A small hand-carry craft such as a canoe or kayak (no motoring), will give you an edge over shoreline anglers for obvious reasons. This is not to say that Donna and I haven't caught keepers from the shoreline.

Spinner baits trailing night crawlers will work wonders for the majority of species mentioned. Of course, if you're a purist, a fly rod employing a streamer fly such as a Muddler Minnow or a deadly dun-colored Gimp will stay the course. I have taken more trout with the Gimp fly than Carter (no not Jimmy) has little liver pills. Since the mid-sixties, it is my go-to fly for all seasons. In my new book, THE FISHING SMART ANYWHERE HANDBOOK ~ FOR SALT WATER & FRESH WATER, I discuss discovering this fantastic freshwater fly, present a brief history, as well as offer a tying recipe for both sweet and saltwater, the latter of which is my own creation. Also, a book that should become your freshwater bible is Tom Schlichter's Long Island's Best Freshwater Fishing, covering streams, ponds, and lakes throughout the Island, and then some. If you are a freshwater fanatic, this book belongs on your shelf if not in the glove compartment of your vehicle.

Nissequogue River for Rainbows & Browns:

Heading west on April the 14th, Donna and I had signed up for the late morning 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. session on sections (beats) #4 and #5 of the Nissequogue River. That section of water, eight beats in all (#2–#9), is run by Caleb Smith State Park Preserve in Smithtown. Fly-fishing only on that stretch of the Nissequogue River is available from April 1st to October 15th. A New York State freshwater fishing license and reservations are required. A four-hour session (7:00 to 11:00, or 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is $20. Years ago, they had an evening session, too. It would not be unusual for me to sign up for all three sessions, bring lunch, and fish for brookies, rainbows, and browns the whole day through. The permit fee was only $5 back then. The cost, of course, went up as times certainly do change. What has not changed, however, is the beautiful, serene setting. Give this north shore wonder a shot. Although designated a river, the section of water covered here (beats #2–#9), may arguably be considered a stream; unarguably, stream-like. Hey, I didn't say a brook. Anyhow, if you're not into wading this relatively shallow flow in hip boots or waders, the area has pond platforms #10–#14 on Vail Pond. Donna and I have taken good-sized pan fish from those platforms. Stick with the Muddler Minnow for some serious fun on the pond.


The Gimp Does its Duty for Dinner

Selecting the aforementioned Gimp fly, then later the Muddler Minnow that mid-April day, Donna had a ball with a series of rainbows measuring 13 inches and 13½ inches. I stayed with my Gimp and nailed a few nice browns, also in the 13-inch category. A 19-inch rainbow appoints a wall in our home, taken on the Gimp from days gone by.

The Peconics (river and bays) for Weakfish:

Moving from the freshwater scene at Laurel Lake and the Nissequogue River to the briny side of the Peconics (namely, its river and bays), Donna and I launched our boat in mid-April. With the water surface temperatures above 50º Fahrenheit, it was prime time. Striped bass season had opened on the 15th; however, the big boys and girls were not in our area as of yet. Schoolie bass were the name of the game from the 105 Bridge area and eastward. Big bluefish were being taken out at Shinnecock. Schoolie-sized bass to eighteen inches gave us action through the third week of May. Then, suddenly, members of the Cynoscion regalis family, namely weakfish (a.k.a. sea trout, tide runners, gray trout, yellowmouths), entered the area in numbers, whereas the action had been rather spotty and sporadic in 2012–2013.

We went from targeting schoolies (all you wanted, truly) with our go-to lure for most species (Kastmasters with eyes that I epoxy upon the tin), to breaking out our arsenal of pink deceivers for the prettiest fish that swims in our waters—the venerable weakfish. Our go-to lure (a lead head teaser rig) for those prize-worthy swimmers was tied for me by Nick Posa, one of finest fishermen for virtually all species in the northeast. Nick is the proverbial "walking encyclopedia" of angling, be it fresh water or the suds. On top of that, he is one of the nicest people on the planet. What more can I say about Nick than to share with you the basics of a special rig he ties, which is an absolute killer for weakfish.

Secure a Spro Prime or Spro Prime-type ¾ ounce lead head jig with a 3/0 hook tied with pink bucktail atop the shank, white bucktail tied along the bottom; same basic color pattern as the lead head. Secure a Spro Prime or Spro Prime-type ¼ ounce lead head jig with a 1/0 hook tied with just darker pink bucktail for the smaller lead head; silver iris with black pupils for both pairs of eyes. Study the photograph. Note the modicum of flash material along its skirt.




Nick Posa's Deadly Lead-Head Tandem Rig for Weaks

As I haven't tied this deadly duo in tandem as yet, I'll simply give you the general specs. You'd begin the procedure with approximately 48 inches of 20-pound test monofilament line. Eighteen inches down from the top of a barrel swivel is a 2-inch dropper loop tied to the Spro Prime-type ¾ ounce lead head jig. Twenty-one inches down from the dropper loop, is the ¼ ounce lead head jig. You should wind up with a three-foot tandem rig. Good to go.

As of this writing, that is, right on through this last day of May, Donna and I are nailing these beauties. As my reports appear on the first of the month, in this case, June 1st, don't lose a second by waiting till the 2nd; get out there today and get in on this great action. Grab anything pink for openers. No, I don't mean pants and/or shirt, fellas; people will talk. Set your drag slightly lighter than you normally would because these fish have tissue paper-thin mouths that will easily tear a lip when setting the hook; hence, they're aptly named weakfish. Finesse that fish. Oh, and have that landing net handy. Also, when you unhook the fish, be careful of those sharp fang-like teeth at the top of its jaw. I've seen veteran anglers forget . . . Ouch!

See you out there.


Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller Novelist, Outdoors Writer & Creator of a Unique Writing Course Guide
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Cablevision TV Show Host, Special Interests with Bob & Donna
www.robertbanfelder.com





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