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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, 2017

Father's Day Concerns ~ Part I

by Bob Banfelder

I trust that all you guys had a very nice Father's Day. I certainly had. The bite was on, and many a backyard BBQ had been fired up and soon ready for hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken, fish, steaks, and assorted vegetables, not to mention a parade of cold beverages to help tame the heat. In a few days, we'll be repeating the act, celebrating the Fourth of July; Independence Day. We sometimes take these moments in time—Father's Day and the Fourth of July—with friends and family for granted. I'd like to introduce you to a man who also had a nice Father's Day, but at the same time has concerns referencing two text messages he received, the first one concerning business, the other of a more serious nature.

Bob [Scat] Hardman is affectionately monikered The Scatman, who once sang and played the guitar under The Scat Brothers headliner; hence, the name, Scat, stuck. Scat spent better than four decades in the entertainment field as part of a technical production support staff. No one I know calls him Bob. I'm Bob; he's Scat. Scat lives year-round with his significant other, Jeanie, on a houseboat/barge (more accurately and legally referred to as a floating home), which is situated at a marina but a long cast from our home along the Peconic River in Riverhead, Long Island, New York.

Now, semi-retired, Scat is being called back on the grid, having recently received several offers from entertainment agencies to work concerts as a tour coordinator and technical production support staff adviser—tutoring, mentoring, teaching, and keeping groups of young whippersnappers in line. On Father's Day, Scat received a text message from one of his three sons, Dale, the youngest. The following is Dale's communication.

"Hey, I'm very serious about what you were talking about the other day, Pop. I would love to work the concert tour with you overseas. You never knew this, but I cried after the CD 101.9 cruise gigs got shut down after 9/11. Working side by side with you was the most enjoyable moment from my childhood, and I don't have many. I loved coordinating and working the technical aspects of the live shows alongside you and all those guys. A huge part of me always felt like that's what I was meant to do. If you can make it happen where I can come along, you can teach me all of the behind-the-scenes technical stuff that you've been doing for the past forty years. I'd love to carry the torch, Pop. So let's try and do this."

Scat had worked in the entertainment production field administrating technical support for big-name entertainers such as Barbra Streisand, Yanni, Katell Keineg (Jet album), Peter White, Bruce Springsteen, Rachelle Ferrell, George Duke, Rahsaan Patterson, KISS, Boney James, Lizt Alfonzo Dance Cuba, to name but a few. Working behind the scenes, Scat and his crew had set the stage both figuratively and literally for ‘Sold Out' concert performances; other examples are Smooth Jazz Holiday Concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City, as well as CD 101.9's Valentine's Day Concert, also held at the Beacon Theater.

Lifting a line from The Godfather ~ Part III, shortly after Scat received several concert tour-job offerings, Scat recites Michael Corleone's memorable moment from that movie: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in," to which Scat may soon be singing several lines from Willie Nelson's On the Road Again. Scat has to weigh in on a big decision, for if he decides to go, he will be traveling widely and broadly—away from Jeanie and their floating home on the Peconic River. He'll be off to Brazil (a rallying point) before continuing the tour. I believe that Scat has already made up his mind because he emphatically declared to me, "Bob, I think I have one more tour left in me!" The Kills concert tour will be held in various cities in Scandinavia and Europe. From there, the rock band will be performing in South America, where Scat and his son, Dale, will likely meet up with the group. The tour will continue from South America to the United States and Canada.

Last month, Donna and I had set up a phone interview via our Channel 20 Cablevision Show (Special Interests with Bob Banfelder & Donna Derasmo) with Scat's oldest son, Doug, a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant Counterintelligence Specialist, having served several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Doug expounded on his experiences. I had asked the man some hard-and-fast questions, to which I received candid responses. Donna's and my TV show airs for thirty-minute every Saturday at 4 P.M., coverage from Eastport to Montauk on Long Island's south shore, and Wading River to Orient on the north shore.

Special Interests with Bob & Donna is an eclectic show that we have been doing since 2012, covering a wide range of topics from criminal justice to hunting and fishing. As many of you know, I covered combination spinning and fly fishing travel cases and kits in a two-part piece here at Nor'east Saltwater last month for my bimonthly report (published on the 1st and 2nd of every month). On our Channel 20 Public Access Cablevision Show for July 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, and August 5, 12, 19, 26, Donna and I will be covering those combo travel cases, which I believe will be of special interest to many viewers, especially if you love to travel, fish, and hunt. Many viewers and readers have requested that Donna and I cover more fishing and hunting segments on our show. And so we shall.

Our viewing audience is growing considerably and, consequently, so is our range of topics. The following is a list of select programming as it appears on my website, At the top of the page, you can click the bottom middle-column box that reads Cablevision TV ~ Special Interests with Bob Banfelder & Donna Derasmo; you'll note the many topics we've covered to date:


You can find all my current Nor'east Saltwater articles by going to their website at and clicking on Blogs, listed at the top of the page. My articles appear under North Fork/South Fork Bays . . . and Beyond with Bob Banfelder. Earlier in time, when Nor'east Saltwater was a print and online magazine, I wrote articles that appeared in both versions. You can click on Magazine at the top of the Nor'east Saltwater page and find my print/online magazine articles in their archives, dated in descending order from December 2013 back to January 1998. The print Magazines and Blogs listings run from 1998 to the present for a grand total of nineteen (19) years, covering all of my articles for Nor'east Saltwater. That ought to keep an angler busy reading for a while. Additionally, a comprehensive listing of my entire body of works can be viewed on, under the Publications (Fiction, Nonfiction, TV, Articles, Interviews) box located at the top of the page in the top far right column.

Tomorrow we'll pick up with Scat's oldest son, Doug (United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Counterintelligence Specialist), and that son's Father's Day announcement to his dad, set in a rather disturbing light when reading between the lines. You'll then note the irony between a father and son's prophetic pronouncements. Stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder

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

May 01, 2017

A Wilderness Finger Lakes B&B ~ For Ourdoorsy Men & Women Part I

by Bob Banfelder

In response to Part I of my April 1st article titled Spectacular Outdoor Activities Await the Adventurous, several folks called or e-mailed, requesting to see more photos and wanting to know more (actually a lot more) about The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast located in the Finger Lakes region of Newfield, New York. Another gentleman commented nostalgically, having had attended college in Ithaca, fishing Fall Creek and Cayuga Lake when he could find the time. I encourage all of you to visit this wonderland. The Wilderness B&B is a great base to begin your outdoor adventures this spring, exploring the area's gorges, waterfalls; fishing its lakes, streams, and ponds—not to mention spectacular deer hunting opportunities come fall and winter.

Two of six Wilderness B&B cabins, grounds ~ 21 acres, pond [winter 2016]

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 a little-known B&B sanctuary that caters to outdoors men and women. At first blush, the establishment is appropriately named The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast; that is, until you learn that the enterprise does not serve breakfast during the off-season. The ‘off-season' corresponds with those dates set aside for hunting white-tailed deer during the gunning season in the 7R area of Central New York. Therefore, the appellation is not necessarily a contradiction in terms. What happens is that come deer hunting season, the operation receives a transformation, a metamorphosis if you will. While the cozy, warm, clean cabins accommodate deer hunters, The Wilderness B&B deer processing operation springs into action. It then becomes a deer hunter's mecca; a haven for the hearty. Through the remainder of the year, but not limited to one particular season within this pristine wilderness area, other outstanding opportunities abound for outdoorsy folks: fishing, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, or just plain lounging around for a bit of R&R. Come springtime, many outstanding angling opportunities abound throughout this pristine area, all within proximity to The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast.

Just 2.1 miles down the road from the B&B is the Newfield State Forest, encompassing 1,552 acres. The forest is connected to the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC), Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, which covers more than 11,000 acres.

Additionally, the NYSDEC has Deer Management Focus Areas (DMFA) to help alleviate the overpopulation of deer. This is a homerun for those who want to increase the odds of bagging a trophy. More information is available at One of these Focus Areas is Cornell University in Ithaca, which is 12.5 miles northeast of The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast. Cornell land is but one of those areas that provides great hunting opportunities:

Six private, spaciously separated cabins dot The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast landscape within a picturesque twenty-one acre property. The establishment provides a bathhouse with separate men's and women's bathrooms, game room, horseshoe pits, and although breakfast is not included during the ‘off season,' guests have their use of the kitchen facilities located in the main (common) cabin area where folks may prepare their own meals. Frank Hartenstein and his gracious wife Andi run a first-class operation.

Andi Hartenstein in the Common Area

During late fall and running through the winter deer hunting firearm season, the wilderness operation is truly unique in the sense that it offers a Hunter's Special weekly rental rate for a nominal $200. That's under $29 a day! Now get this: Two of the larger cabins can accommodate up to five folks for the same weekly rate. Do the math. We're talking about clean, comfortable, cozy lodging for less than $6 a day per person!

B&B Wilderness' warm, cozy cabins

In the Finger Lakes area, winter weather and temperature changes can vary dramatically, so one has to be ready for anything. For example, lake-effect snow can drop in on you within a surprisingly short period of time. For example, on the opening day of deer season, November 19th, 2016, with clear skies, the high and low for the day was 67º/32º Fahrenheit, respectively. By the following day, 7 inches of snow covered the ground. Gusts of wind were whipping up to 40 miles per hour. With the wind chill factor, it was 22º. By the 21st, 3- to 3½-foot drifts had piled up in certain areas. It was still snowing; 18–20 inches blanketed the landscape—2 inches over the tops of my Muck boots as I tracked, trudged, and still-hunted for white-tailed deer, eventually making it to one of my treestands. Days like that are for the hardy. I was set up by 6 a.m. as I had for the past few days. I took a nice button buck with a handgun, which became the highlight of the hunt because that challenge was on my bucket list. The high and low for the day had been 29º/26º.

By late spring and early fall, the area is a fishing mecca for sportsmen. Small and largemouth bass blanket many small ponds. Rainbow and brown trout fill the streams; lake trout and landlocked salmon laud crystal clear clean lakes. Shown below is a nice size catfish caught at the foot of Cayuga Lake, just steps from the Ithaca Farmers Market. Its dock and pier are open to the public, so you can shop, or fish, or take a leisurely stroll around the waterfront.

Local fellow with catfish caught at the foot of Cayuga Lake

Tomorrow we'll continue with PART II, covering more of this unique B&B operation and the area in general, so please stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder

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 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: 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 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

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 will help you estimate the weight of your catch. Please view Fishing for Stream Trout for information on catching stream trout. Further area information is available at 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.,, 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 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

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

December 02, 2015

Indian Island County Park

by Bob Banfelder

This is the final report in a six-series installment referencing Suffolk County beach access areas. Indian Island County Park in Riverhead offers RV trailer and tent campsite accommodations, picnic tables, grills, playground, and good fishing. Among angling opportunities, set your sights high for striped bass chasing anything from peanut-size (baby) bunker to nineteen-inch adult-sized prey. Stripers love bunker (aka menhaden). During the height of the season, it is not uncommon to take 40-plus inch linesiders by live-lining bunker, tossing tins, poppers, or any number of lures. Big blues in the 12- to 17-pound category may also be found in the mix. Fluke, although mostly shorts, are caught periodically. Of late, nice weakfish ranging from 3 to 5 pounds for the past three years have invaded these waters. So, too, have blowfish made a nice comeback. Porgies have always been around the area; however, jumbo-sized scup have also been a tasty treat for the past few years.

Bob trying for striped bass or bluefish off the beach at Indian Island on an unusually warm autumn day. The beach overlooks Flanders Bay.

Donna walked down the west end of the beach to fish the marsh area.

Indian Island County Park is a 275-acre gem located at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River. From the campground, you can carry in your own kayak or canoe and travel these waters westerly, upriver, or easterly to the bays. Directly across from the park to the south is Reeves Bay. Heading a short paddle east will put you into Flanders Bay. Continuing east will take you into Great Peconic Bay. These three bays, including the Peconic River, depending on the time of year, hold the aforementioned species. As Donna and I live on and have fished the Peconic River for over a quarter of a century, we know the area quite well. Admittedly, most of our fishing is done from a powerboat, canoe, or kayak rather than from the shoreline. However, for Indian Island County Park, a small craft such as a kayak or canoe is the perfect vessel for the Peconic River and especially Reeves Bay and Flanders Bay. I should mention that canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals are available at Treasure Cove Marina, located next to the Hyatt Place Hotel, 469 East Main Street, 727-8386 and the Peconic Paddler, 89 Peconic Avenue, 727-9895.

It is, of course, not unusual to find folks engaged in other activities aside from—strictly speaking—fishing the park's beach. You'll perhaps see a person employing a seine (net) in order to catch baitfish for a later hour's angling outing, an individual combing the sand for treasure with a metal detector, or a family walking out to the sandbar at low tide, digging up clams.

At low tide, the east end of Indian Island beach reveals a sandbar; a favorite fishing spot.

However, it's not every day you spot a man picking, prodding, and probing the shoreline with a stick, searching tirelessly before carefully selecting several empty conch shells! Donna and I met up with Sean who collects them for his jewelry-making hobby. Sean uses the inner part of the shell to make necklaces—chipping, cutting, sanding, and polishing. Sean says it's a long and painstaking process, but he enjoys it and wishes that he had more time to devote to his hobby. Yes, there is almost always something new to explore and learn while traveling our local Suffolk County beach access parks as covered in this six-series installment: Cupsogue Beach County Park, Shinnecock East County Park, Meschutt Beach County Park, Montauk County Park, Cedar Point County Park, and Indian Island County Park.

Sean displays one of the conch shells he collected for his jewelry-making hobby.

Sean uses a handcrafted walking stick while wading and searching for conch shells.

Within the beach area, you will see a park bench lovingly dedicated to Caroljane Munzel. Caroljane was an avid walker and was often seen strolling the area's Sound and bay beaches. She especially enjoyed walking Indian Island Park and taking in its natural, peaceful environment.

Park bench dedicated to Caroljane Munzel.
Rod & reel setups: Donna wielded a Shimano spinning reel on an Ugly Stik with a Shimano Waxwing lure. For the entire season, I carried and will soon review a Penn Clash Model 5000 reel on a Penn Carnage II rod, spooled with Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the six Suffolk County beach-access areas that I covered. Get out there and explore these waters while the weather is still cooperating. Before long, we all will be armchair anglers via books, magazines, and videos—unless, of course, you're off to warmer climes.


Take the Long Island Expressway (495) east to Exit 73 (last exit). Continue straight to County Road 105 then make a right. Go approximately a quarter of a mile and exit at the County park entrance. You will see the office parking area to the right. During the in-season, you will need to register prior to driving into the park proper. Maps are available to lead you to the closest parking area for access to the beach.

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

December 01, 2015

Cedar Point County Park

by Bob Banfelder

Suffolk County's Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton offers camping, boating (boat rentals), picnicking, hiking (with splendid nature trails), hunting (in season) and fishing. Striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish are predominantly the name of the game from the shoreline. Six hundred-plus acres comprise the park with a view of Gardiners Bay. An eight-minute drive from the parking area along a sandy beach trail is permitted with a Suffolk County Park recreational vehicle beach permit. Four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles enable you to reach the park's historic decommissioned lighthouse, originally built in 1839. Now owned by the government of Suffolk County, the lighthouse is presently undergoing renovation. As Cedar Point County Park does allow hunting, access to the beach is limited Wednesday through Sunday until noontime during hunting season. As you drive or walk out to the lighthouse, you will note several duck blinds along the way.

Bob wetting a line while working his way toward the lighthouse at Cedar Point Park.

Enlightening Info:

Lighthouses have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When Donna and I moved from Queens to Long Island in 1991, I read up and truly appreciated what historical and traditional roles lighthouses played in the area of commerce. The Cedar Island Lighthouse had been a beacon for mariners entering Sag Harbor since 1839, when Sag Harbor was . . . "home port to 29 whaling ships and 20 ships used for fishing and transportation." The original lighthouse was replaced in 1868. Sag Harbor had become one of the most important ports on the East Coast of the United States. Whaling ships and other vessels depended upon the lighthouse when sailing from Sag Harbor to all areas of the world and back again.

The Cedar Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1934, having passed through private hands and, as mentioned initially, is now part of Suffolk County's Cedar Point Park since the late 1960s. The hurricane of 1938 created a sandbar connecting Cedar Island to the mainland of East Hampton, which is now known as Cedar Point.

The strip of land connecting to the lighthouse, where you will notice duck blinds along the way during hunting season.

End of strip leading to Cedar Island Lighthouse.

Inside the park, signs lead to various fishing, boating, hiking, and camping areas.

There is a method to my madness for pointing rod and reel at the above County sign. If you have been following my Suffolk County Parks beach-access blogs through these five reports thus far (the sixth and final shortly on the horizon), you may have noticed that I have been toting (and now touting) Penn's new Clash 5000 Model spinning reel paired with a Penn Carnage II 7-foot spinning rod. The reel is spooled with 300 yards of Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire. Having spent the entire season fishing with this outfit, working shorelines, jetties, inlets, and bays, the combination is a winner—holding up to a harsh marine environment. I used this setup primarily for casting 1 ½- to 3-ounce lures. Incidentally, yet importantly, the Penn Clash 5000 Model spinning reel won Best Saltwater Reel at the 2015 ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show. This all-around tool-combo belongs in your arsenal of fine weaponry. I will be talking extensively about this rod/reel/line setup in the near future.

Over the course of time, the Cedar Island Lighthouse's granite facade has been severely weathered. Additionally, vandalism has taken its toll on the structure. In1974 a fire gutted the interior of the lighthouse. Hence, the building was closed as it is currently. As time dragged on, the Long Island Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society raised funds to restore the Cedar Island Oil House, the small structure next to the lighthouse where oil to light the original beacon was stored. After almost fifteen years, Suffolk County Parks has given the Society the go-ahead to restore and "Relight the Lighthouse."

Directions to Cedar Point County Park:

Traveling east on Sunrise Highway (Route 27), take Montauk Highway east. Turn left onto Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton. Continue straight to Old Northwest Road. Turn left at Alewive Brook Road. Take the first right into the park.

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

November 09, 2015

Montauk County Park

by Bob Banfelder

Suffolk County's Montauk County Park in Montauk offers outer beach access and camping (with permit), canoeing, kayaking as well as both freshwater and saltwater fishing, especially for serious surfcasters who fish from rock retaining walls at the base of a cliff in front of the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The one-hundred-foot tower has been part of the seascape for the past 220 years.

Tom O'Keefe was about to try his luck surf fishing as Donna and I arrived. In truth, it has been a strange season out east in that baitfish have been abundant. Menhaden are everywhere—peanuts to thirteen-inch adults. Birds, too, are prolific, hovering above the gulls and gannets. So where are the bass? Back west, but of course. Elias Vaisberg, a fellow Team Eposeidon angler, is killing them from his kayak back in Jamaica Bay, Queens. Out east we're hearing the same story from many surfcasters. "Birds, bait, but no bass except for a short every now and then." Boaters, of course, are faring a bit better, but not knocking them dead for this time of year. Yeah, I know: "That's why they call it fishing." The all-around outdoorsmen are singing virtually the same song: "Can't wait till deer hunting season opens." Tom was to call us if he caught anything worth mentioning. No call. I'm hoping that by the time you read this that the surf fishing has turned around for the better.

Tom O'Keefe setting out for some surf fishing

In-season activities abound at Montauk County Park. They include outer beach camping (with permit), picnicking, canoeing, hiking trails, bridal paths, seasonal hunting, freshwater fishing at Big Reed Pond—located in the northwestern corner of Theodore Roosevelt County Park (New York State fishing license required) — and the list goes on. As Theodore Roosevelt County Park is part and parcel to Montauk County Park, your Green Key card will give you access to the pond. Freshwater fanatics will delight in fishing the 45-acre pond for largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and white perch.

In addition to your Green Key card, an outer beach camping permit for Suffolk County residents is $75 annually plus $12 per night. For nonresidents, the fee runs $200 plus $20 per night. Only self-contained 4-wheel drive campers are allowed. A self-contained vehicle for outer beach access is defined as a unit that contains a built-in flushable toilet with a built-in holding tank for a minimum five-gallon black water capacity; a built-in sink with a minimum five gallon potable (fresh water) tank; and a minimum five-gallon gray water holding tank. A maximum of seven consecutive day stays is permitted. No tenting is allowed. For further information, go online at

Entrance to the RV parking area

Directions to Montauk County Park:

Take Sunrise Highway (Route 27) to Montauk Highway east to East Lake Drive on the left. Access to the outer beach is at the end of East Lake Drive. For Green Key card holders, there is a parking area just past East Lake Marina on the right. Additionally, there is a parking lot at the end of East Lake Drive; however, you must have an East Hampton Resident parking permit to park there. Not to worry. It is only a 0.2 mile walk from the ‘Green Key' area parking lot to the end of the second lot for a more direct, unencumbered approach as beach access from the first (legal) parking area was awash from heavy rains. It was doable but downright vexatious. From this second lot, you can easily walk down to the jetty as pictured below.

Tom O'Keefe on the jetty at the end of East Lake Drive

The Dock Bar & Grill

While in Montauk (humorously dubbed as a "Quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem"), a visit to The Dock Bar & Grill at Montauk Harbor is a must. It's Montauk's local haunt. In his early years, George Watson, the owner, was a professional boxer and certainly has a sense of humor as you will note by various quips that are sign-posted both inside and outside the establishment. Donna always wonders why I take so long in the men's room—returning to the table with a big smile. "Take a peek," I tease. On a more serious note, ask George for a look at the book referencing his boxing career; informative and quite interesting.

Donna and I recently stepped in for a light lunch. I ordered a bowl of the Montauk Clam Chowder $7; Donna ordered a cup $6. We shared orders of Baked Clams and Clams Casino; $9 each. A glass of draft Budweiser is $2.50; pint $4. We've been there many times, so trust me when I tell you that the fare is fine—actually, fantastic.

Directions to The Dock Bar & Grill:

Take Sunrise Highway (Route 27) East to Montauk. Continue through the town village, heading east to the Montauk Lighthouse. Take a left onto West Lake Drive. Turn right at the Montauk Harbor intersections, which is at Flamingo Road and West Lake Drive. Make the last right just before the main entrance to Gosman's Dock.

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

November 08, 2015

Meschutt Beach County Park & the Shinnecock Canal

by Bob Banfelder

Suffolk County's Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays offers swimming, picnicking, snorkeling, windsurfing, and sailing. During the off-season (post Labor Day), saltwater fishing is permitted. Along its 1,000-foot stretch of very rocky shoreline on Great Peconic Bay, just east of the Shinnecock Canal, good striped bass and blue fishing can be had. If the bite is off, beautiful sunsets will serve as the area's redeeming quality to close out the day. Ostensibly, this seven-acre tract is somewhat limited when compared to other Suffolk County Parks with beach access, yet this seemingly confined shoreline is certainly doable. And things get better, for beyond the County Park's boundary to the east, one may continue walking and fishing the shoreline until reaching a distant inlet in Southampton, near the Lobster Inn Grill. That's certainly a good stretch; about a mile of beautiful beachfront to keep you busy for a spell. Additionally, there is a far shorter distance for anglers to explore just to the west of Meschutt Beach County Park, as you will soon note.

Meschutt Beach County Park shoreline, walking toward Shinnecock Canal jetty

First off, Donna and I drove to the easterly end of the parking lot, placed our Green Key card atop the dashboard then worked the beach, fronting the bay in both directions. First, easterly for approximately 350 yards, turning around and heading west toward the Shinnecock jetty, which is 642 yards from where we parked. There is your approximate 1,000 foot of rocky shoreline along the county park's Great Peconic Bay. I mark these distances with a range finder no differently than I would if I were on a boat charting a course with navigational aids. As a matter of fact, my Bushnell Legend 1200 range finder, purchased primarily for bow and gun hunting, is a great tool for marking distances and combing our beaches. Are we not hunting for fish on foot in lieu of boat?

Fishing the Shinnecock Canal jetty

From the Beach Hut Restaurant, just to the west of where we parked, I recorded precisely how many yards away I spotted tailing bunker activity. Although we had no luck after throwing out Shimano Waxwing lures, I inadvertently snagged a 16-inch bunker and decided to set up live-lining the menhaden while Donna persistently stayed, played, and plied the waters with her shallow subsurface Waxwing. I silently prayed for a keeper bass. As the tailing action continued for a good fifteen minutes, I told God that I'd even settle for a nice big blue. Oh, well. No takers to report. I released the bunker, which appeared to be no worse for wear, and switched to a silver Kastmaster with eyes that I epoxy to the silvery tin. It is usually my go-to lure; one in which I have a lot of confidence.

Donna tries her luck using a Shimano Waxwing lure at the canal's barrier wall

From the Beach Hut Restaurant, it was a leisurely walk, casting and retrieving and making our way toward the jetty. In the past, Donna and I have taken a few weakfish right along the barrier wall paralleling the Shinnecock Canal. A good many anglers fish the wall and the jetty and forego that stretch of beach along Great Peconic Bay for one of two reasons: 1) it is not open to the public for fishing during the regular season; 2) anglers generally forget that it is, indeed, open to the public after Labor Day. It's a 10-minute streeeetch to the end of the long jetty. Be careful as those boulders can get slippery wet.

Directions to Two of the County Park's Parking Areas:

Meschutt Beach and the Shinnecock Canal

Meschutt Beach ~ Take Montauk Highway east, crossing over the Shinnecock Canal. Make a left onto North Road. Go straight then turn right onto Old North Highway. Take the first left onto Canal Road.

Shinnecock Canal ~ Driving from Meshcutt Beach, it is 0.2 miles from the far end of the parking lot to the second lot at the Shinnecock Canal. Head down Canal Road and make a right onto Old North Highway. The lot is located just before the left turn onto North Road. As the sign below indicates, the lot is part and parcel to the Suffolk County Parklands, so, yes, you may park there. Again, leave your Green Key card in plain view atop the dash.

A Nearby Treat Awaits You
The Canal Café

As the Beach Hut eatery is closed after Labor Day, discover a small but fabulous nearby waterfront café that will positively delight you. It is open until Christmas then reopens in early March. It is truly a find; a gem of special note. Donna and I were looking for a light lunch. I could not believe my appetizer portion: thirteen steamed littleneck clams (actually, many were of topneck size; better yet) steeped in a savory saffron, wine, clam broth — loaded with leeks, tomatoes, and chorizo (sausage), served with delicious crusty hot bread to sop up that flavorful liquid; $16 — a meal in itself. Two beers [designated driver sitting across from me] along with that hearty appetizer, and I was replete. Donna thoroughly enjoyed her generous portion of Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with white wine, garlic, and butter — also with delightful crusty hot bread. That was our light lunch. We couldn't even handle dinner at home that evening. Donna and I can't wait to return to try their entrées. So be warned. Come to Canal Café with a serious appetite. Additionally, there is seasonal outdoor dining. And please say hello to our amiable and most affable server, Tatiana, as well as the café's most attentive staff. Open from noon till 9 pm; closed on Tuesdays.

Directions to the Canal Café:

The Canal Café at 44 Newtown Road is 1.2 miles from Meschutt Beach. Make a right onto Montauk Highway, heading west to Newtown Road. The Café is located within the Hampton Watercraft Marina. Don't stop or you may wind up buying a boat. Proceed through their parking lot, making a sharp right into the café's own parking area.

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

October 15, 2015

Fishing Shinnecock East County Park

by Bob Banfelder

On October 1st, I covered Cupsogue Beach County Park on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach. Several phone calls and e-mail replies from friends and acquaintances prompted me to continue writing about the six other Suffolk County Park beach access areas for those who purchase a Suffolk County Green Key card. Refer back to my October1st blog concerning general information referencing a Green Key card for residents, nonresidents, seniors, et cetera. For specific seasonal information regarding each of the seven Suffolk County beaches, it is best to call the park ahead of time. Shinnecock East County Park's phone number is (631) 852-8899. To get to the park, go east on Montauk Highway to Halsey Neck Lane. Make a right and continue to Dune Road. Make a right turn onto Dune Road and head west to the park entrance.

Donna and I have learned that regulations vary from county park to county park. A set of regulations at one park does not necessarily apply to another. For example, at Shinnecock East County Park, you are required to leave your Green Key card on the dashboard. However, at Cupsogue Beach County Park, it is not required. Also, rules and hours may change according to the season, so be sure to not only call but to carefully read posted signs on arrival as they apply to the activity you are considering. You'll note the ATTENTION sign below as instructions not only pertain to displaying your Green Key card but information referencing hours and night fishing (by permit) as well. Googling respective beach information is not always accurate, so be sure to check out those regulation signs upon entering the park, especially if the entrance booths are unmanned.

Flanking the eastern border of the Shinnecock Inlet where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, this rugged, undeveloped barrier beach park includes both ocean and bay beach recreation areas. Shinnecock East County Park in Southampton offers good fishing. One hundred campsites along the outer beach are available to those with self-contained campers and a valid Outer Beach Recreational Vehicle Permit; those vehicles must park on the beach. No tent camping is permitted. A small parking lot is available for Green Key card holders who do not have an Outer Beach Recreational Vehicle Permit. The walk from the parking lot to a midway point along the jetty is approximately 360 yards. This is where you'll find anglers lined all along those boulders, especially when the bite is on. Bait, spin, and fly fishermen abound. Bluefish, black fish, black sea bass, and stripers are the main attractions. "Ah, but you ‘should've been here yesterday' for the bonito and albies!" were the sincere sentiments sounded by angler after angler we spoke to whose only catch of the day was limited to skates and sea robins.

Navigating those boulders that form ocean jetties can be treacherous when wet. For warmer weather, a pair of cleated sandals as shown provides safety and comfort

For those colder months ahead, either boots offering interchangeable sole technology or overshoes with threaded or push-through carbide spikes (cleats) is a good choice. Whatever style you select, stay with a winner whose name has stood the test of time for fifty years: Korkers. As I already have pairs of general footwear for virtually all seasons and reasons, but not those jetties, a pair of cleated overshoes was a good choice for keeping me safe on those slippery, mossy surfaces. Referencing this arena, one has to decide among three Korkers' models; namely, CastTrax ($100), RockTrax ($70), or RockTrax Plus ($80). The main differences concern the threaded versus push-through carbide spikes; also, the number of spikes per pair. The RockTrax overshoe model has threaded spikes whereas the other two models have the push-through spikes. That is why you are paying more for the CastTrax model. However, the CastTrax model only has 18 spikes per sole, whereby the RockTrax Plus model has 26 spikes per sole. The lower price RockTrax model has14 spikes per sole, but it comes with 12 additional spikes and receptacles for you to customize the overshoe. Therefore, I elected to go with the RockTrax $70 model (which is on order) for its customization feature. To my way of thinking, fifty-two carbide spikes per pair translate to better traction on those slippery boulders. Yes, I'd be sacrificing threaded spikes in lieu of the push-through type, but the RockTrax model, unlike the RockTrax Plus model, allows for customizing the toes, heels, and balls of the soles.

All three models come with easy/off release buckles and strap system, extra strap, and spare spikes. The overshoes are constructed of rubber soles and wall surrounding the toe, heel, and sides for a secure fit. Check out Korkers online at Depending on the season, determine what type of footwear is best for you, sandal or overshoe, then get out there for some rock-solid fishing.

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

October 01, 2015

Fishing Cupsogue Beach County Park

by Bob Banfelder

At the extreme west end of Dune Road in Suffolk County, Long Island is Cupsogue Beach County Park in the town of Westhampton. In a morning's jaunt, the beach offers the best of three worlds for anglers: ocean, inlet, and bay fishing. It is also a perfect area for RV trailer campers, scuba divers, and surfers. With rod and reel in hand, Donna and I were ready for a long walk, about to learn the lay of the land. We first stopped and chatted with a woman and her son referencing the fishing scene as well as inquiring about RV trailer camper information. Trailer campers, like the one shown below, are allowed to stay for a seven day period; reservations are to be made well in advance. But for a morning of fishing, taking in ocean, inlet, and bay, Cupsogue Beach County Park is most enjoyable. From the parking lot, it is a forty minute westerly walk to the ocean jetty, which one can see in the distance on a clear day.

Along the way, we spoke with an angler who had inadvertently caught and released a sea gull that hit one of his lengthy plugs in the surf.

Near the jetty, we chatted with another man who said he had a nice bass on the other day but lost it. A fair size sea robin was but his only catch of the morning. The fish was quickly released and it was back to the business of bass for the fellow. The tidal action was especially powerful that morning, and you'll note the size of the sinker. It did not hold bottom but traversed the sea floor at breakneck speed. With the far lighter spinning outfits that Donna and I carried, it would first be a walk to the jetty then around Moriches Inlet to the calmer waters of Moriches Bay, just to the north.

Continuing along the ocean side, we reached the ocean jetty and waved to a young lady who had passed us earlier on a steady run from the parking lot, out along the boulders, then up the 38-foot privately maintained jetty marker. No, I did not ask her to keep an open eye for birds or baitfish. After Super Storm Sandy (October 22–31, 2012), half of that triangular sign you see just to the left of her was missing. Mariners are advised to obtain local knowledge before navigating this waterway due to frequent shoaling issues. As a matter of fact, from the RV trailer park camper area, a sandy roadway just to the right, running between the ocean side and the Moriches Bay side, is still closed to vehicles at a distant point because of Super Storm Sandy.

A resident three-year Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation Green Key Card costs $11. Additionally, seniors (60 years and older) pay $8 on weekends, free on weekdays. Under 60 years of age, residents pay $24 for three years. Non-residents pay $40 for one year. Be advised that on weekends the beach is extremely crowded during summer months. The park opens at 8:30 a.m. Get there early or you may not be able to get in at all, for there have been days that the parking lot was filled by 11:30 a.m.

There are many Suffolk County Parks that your Green Key covers; however, I'll list seven of those with beach access.

South Shore ~ East to West:

Montauk County Park, Montauk; Cedar Point County Park, East Hampton ; Shinnecock East County Park, Southampton; Cupsogue Beach County Park, Westhampton; Meschutt Beach County Park, Hampton Bays; Smith Point County Park, Shirley.

North Shore:

Indian Island County Park, Riverhead.

Donna and I continued around the inlet, heading east and back toward the parking lot while fishing Moriches Bay. With our lighter spinning outfits, we covered the water column, casting tins, shallow-water divers, and poppers. I did see a small fluke along a rocky shoreline, but that was it. As anglers have more excuses than a pregnant nun, we blamed a late start and heavy boat traffic for getting skunked. More importantly, we had a great time and learned a good deal about the area. So get out there and try one our area beaches, especially now that the weather is turning cooler.

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

January 01, 2015

Three Fine East End Eateries

by Bob Banfelder

Now that fishing has pretty much cooled down for the winter season, except for those die-hards who'll brave the elements whether aboard open boats heading out for cod and ling or ice fishing their local areas. The lucky few may grab a flight to the Florida Keys. So what are you and I left to do to other than count the days until springtime? Well, for openers, we can count on our favorite fresh fish meals being served at a handful of fine restaurants on the East End. Here are three that will not disappoint.

A Lure Chowderhouse & Oysteria
62300 Main Road
Route 25
Southold, New York 11971
(631) 876-5300

If it's a Tom Schaudel-owned and/or operated eatery, it's sure to be a winner. A Lure Chowderhouse & Oysteria in Southold is exactly that. Fantastic, in fact! As a bonus, the view is grandiose as the restaurant is located in the Port of Egypt Marina on Southold Bay. When Tom was chef de cuisine at Jedediah Hawkins in Jamesport, the restaurant became first rate. The emphasis on Alure Chowderhouse & Oysteria is alluring, for as the name denotes, the main focus is on seafood. There are, of course, steaks and ribs and burgers for landlubbers as well as at least three tempting and delectable salads from which to choose for the vegan.

Donna and I started off with beverages and shared two blow-away appetizers. We ordered and divvied up a bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels in a Thai red curry, coconut, and lime sauce. [$13] Superb. Too, their baked clams presentation (more or less along the lines of a clams casino offering rather than your customary presentment) are truly peerless: eight breadcrumb and herbed morsels splashed with white wine and lemon. [$11]

For Donna's entrée, she ordered Alure's macadamia-coconut crusted flounder dish that was lightly topped with a key lime beurre blanc. Few of us know the work that goes into preparing this sauce unless you are a foodie with a flair for French cuisine. This gourmet plate was portioned with properly seasoned fresh tiny French string beans and a creamy sweet potato puree. [$27]

I delighted in devouring a generous portion of excellently prepared (meaning marvelously moist and most flavorful) crusted and grilled Scottish salmon, ratatouille (a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish), with olive tapenade (puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil), and lemon oil. [$26] Wow!

We finished the meal with vanilla ice cream (three scoops) and flourless chocolate cake.

CowFish Restaurant
258 Montauk Highway
Hampton Bays
(631) 594-3868

Holy cow! Here is another fine restaurant in the Indian Cove Marina on Shinnecock Bay, just south of Montauk Highway. Dine and enjoy fantastic views of the canal, bay, with boats coming and going from Spellman's and Jackson's Marinas. Blue skies would be a bonus; sunsets will sooth your soul and frame a picture-perfect evening.

Donna and I started off with beverages and appetizers, sharing individual orders of Jumbo Buffalo Shrimp with Danish blue cheese and chives. As ‘jumbo shrimp' is often jokingly referred to as an oxymoron (two words put together that mean opposite things, no different than the classic example of ‘military intelligence'), it is no joke when an appetizer of CowFish's Jumbo Buffalo Shrimp arrives at your table. The shrimp are, indeed, jumbo! And that's no bull. These crustaceans were plump, succulent, and savory. [$12] Oysters Hamptons was the second appetizer we divided up and devoured, comprised of Parmigiano Reggiano, creamed spinach, garlic aïoli (lemony mayonnaise sauce), sriracha (a paste from chili peppers). Wonderful. [$12]

For our entrées, we both ordered NOLA shrimp; short for (New Orleans, LA) Louisana-style cuisine. I had heard earlier from friends and neighbors that this dish is positively a winner. The shrimps are reduced (no, not in size) in a Worcestershire sauce, jasmine rice (a rice with a nutty aroma and a subtle pandan-like sweet flavor), and served with a most tasty, toasted French bread. Friends and neighbors were quite right; this Cajun/Creole creation (if I may be so bold as to use the two cuisines interchangeably) is the best I've had. [$25]

For dessert, we somehow indulged our sweet tooth and managed to finish our Iron Skillet Cookies, served with whip cream and rum (yum) caramel. [$10]

CowFish is once again offering their seasonal five course winter wine-paring dinner extravaganza. If you haven't quite figured out the significance of the restaurant's name, meat and fish should surely give you a helpful hint; hence, an immediate clue as to what will be served during these three hour feasts. Another hint so as to narrow the field, poultry will not be presented, period.

First Course: Braised pork over corn cheddar pudding, apple demi glacé, pickled shallots.

Second Course: Pumpkin dumplings, brown sage butter, braised cabbage, sugared pecans.

Third Course: Pan-seared scallops, Andouille sausage and corn risotto, mushroom demi glacé.

Fourth Course: Grilled NY Strip, herbed potato Au gratin, fried leeks, beet reduction

Fifth Course: Bacon sugar cookie, rum caramel dipping sauce.

Palmer Vineyards will be pairing and explaining their wine selection accompanying each course. As you will be reading this review during the month of January, having missed the November 13th, 2014 wine-dinner event, call or e-mail the eatery at for future dates and menu(s).

Touch of Venice Restaurant
28350 Main Road
Cutchogue, New York 11935
(631) 298-5851

Touch of Venice is an old favorite of ours, previously located at the Matt-A-Mar Marina in Southold. After relocating to Main Road in what was formally was the Fisherman's Rest Restaurant, business boomed for the family-owned and operated eatery. The setting is no longer on the water; however, chefs Ettore Pennacchia and his son, Brian, brought forth the flavors of a vintage European background via a marvelously major renovation project—both inside as well as outside the establishment. The new Touch of Venice is vicariously portrayed through tastefully appointed furnishings, photographs, posters, and other artwork. From floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall the theme is casual and comfortable. Not so much rustic as it is provincially relaxing.

Of course, the fare that followed from Southold to its relatively new location in Cutchogue is steeped in traditional recipes that the family has been preparing and perfecting for two decades. It is one of only a few establishments where you can order a seafood combination that is cooked to perfection. A medley such as clams, calamari, shrimp, and say a fish fillet require different cooking times and temperatures. Try ordering this dish in an eatery where they do not have their act together (most do not) and you'll be disappointed in discovering rubbery clams, overcooked shrimp, et cetera. Not so at Touch of Venice, for they've had over twenty years of culinary experience under their aprons. They do things right.

Dinner always begins with an unannounced treat brought to your table: slices of toasty-warm and crusty grilled Italian bread, a trinity of individual portions of pesto, roasted red pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese: symbolic colors (green ~ red ~ white). A bottle of inviting olive oil is already sitting on your table, waiting for you to spread the pesto and roasted red pepper then sprinkle cheese upon those fantastic bread slices . . . finally to dip that delight into a light bath of olive oil you'll carefully pour upon your plate. An introduction appetizer—gratis—to appetizers listed on the menu. Wow!

Donna and I then selected and shared two additional appetizers. One of the restaurant's specialties is their sizable stuffed artichoke offering—not to die for but rather to live for till the day we die! It is stupendous. The labor of love that goes into preparing this dish would simply be considered laborious for most of us. Picture a great open flower with a burst of prodigious buds. Breadcrumb, garlic, herbs, and melted Pecorino cheese adorn virtually each leaf, the cluster bathed in a light flavorsome broth. Savor each coated morsel, right down to the center of the globe's heart, and you'll think you died and went to heaven. [$13] Our second appetizer was big bowl of wild, plump Maine mussels prepared in olive oil, butter, white wine sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, and lemon gremolata (lemon zest, garlic, and parsley). [$14]

Ordinarily, those three appetizers and a glass of wine (of course), would make an adequate meal for the two of us. However, we brought along our appetites, for we are reviewing this fabulous restaurant. For a main course, Donna ordered a pasta dish of Tagliatelle (traditional long, flat ribbons of pasta from Emilia Romagna and Marche regions of northern Italy) loaded with shrimp and scallops prepared in olive oil, preserved lemons, mixed olives, and capers. [$26]

For my main course, I decided on veal Sorrentino, a classic dish from Sorrento, basically comprised of sumptuous red sauce (gravy, if you will), thinly sliced and pounded veal, eggplant, prosciutto, wine, mozzarella cheese, et al. There are few things worse than ordering veal that arrives at the table tough and/or chewy. Good cuts of veal, such as scaloppini, are expensive. I never had a veal dish at Touch of Venice that disappointed. Another specialty dish that I often order is their signature veal rollatini, prepared with prosciutto de Parma, mozzarella and pecorino cheese, porcini mushrooms, Marsala wine sauce, and risotto. [$29]

For dessert we shared giolitti (Italian ice cream) and tiramisu (coffee-flavored Italian dessert). We asked to be wheeled out to our vehicle.?


There are several fine restaurants on the East End of Long Island. Donna and I have seen many eateries come and go over the years. Here are a couple of tips to restaurant entrepreneurs who wish to remain in business rather than close their doors after a few years. Tip number one: Be consistent in your fare. Folks who shell out hard-earned dollars for a great dinner then return and are disappointed with a mediocre meal are not likely to return. Tip number two: Wine prices are out of sight today. Donna and I like to dine while enjoying a nice bottle of wine. Offer customers a bottle of decent wine for a moderate cost and watch your business grow, even if you make that offering only one day a week.

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

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,, 52 Stewart Avenue, and Catskill Flies, 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

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