I Have a Gripe

January 16, 2017

My Problem with Pink

Filed under: Fashion,General Annoyances,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 6:04 pm
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I hate pink. There I said it.

Yes, I am a girl and I’ve never liked pink. I’ve always liked blue. My formal china has blue in it, most of my clothes are blue, even my car is blue!

pink-shirtSo when I recently went on Bass Pro Shops to place an order, I always check out the latest hunting and fishing shirts. I saw one that I really liked. The problem? It was pink.

You have a “reel women” saying…but it is pink.

Needless to say I didn’t purchase it.

Yes, I am an angler – do I really need to have a pink shirt? I looked at the other shirt options they had available. Almost EVERY other shirt had some kind of pink in it. Pink camo? Seriously?

I remember a similar annoyance brought to attention by Alyssa Milano. She was annoyed that the only women’s shirts for NFL teams were – you guessed – in pink. So she launched her own line of NFL wear. I love it! It is stylish and you get to show off the love for your favorite team with more than just a pink jersey.

So what do I say to Bass Pro? Recognize that the women looking at your merchandise do not want pink. You will make more sales if you offer more colors and grown-up styles.

July 2, 2016

Clean up!

Filed under: New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 1:54 am
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Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my state; the great state of New Jersey. I love it so much I even have a blog about how great New Jersey is! Unfortunately, I have a gripe today about those who do not take care of the outdoors in this great, and often misunderstood, state.

When I finish my day and get off Rt. 80, there’s a section of the road I take home that is nothing but a wooded area. It is where I mentally switch from work to home. I usually turn off the radio, open all the windows and enjoy what is around me. Sometimes I’ll see some deer or a bear cross. Unfortunately, a few days ago I saw this:


Rockaway, New Jersey

I was disgusted.

How could someone with a bunch of household trash think this was a good place to illegally dump!?

Sadly, I see this from time-to-time when my husband and I are out enjoying the great open spaces in New Jersey.


Saxton Falls

I remember some time ago Cory Booker had someone pulled over for littering when the driver threw something out the window.


I thought it was great!

When my husband and I give lectures about fly fishing, we always remind people to “carry in, carry out.” The sad truth is that when we speak with people who enjoy the outdoors, they already know to take care of their trash. People who hunt, fish, hike, bird watch, and more, understand the importance of protecting resources like our open spaces.

So I ask my readers to make sure to not toss their trash out the car window or leave cigarette butts behind at the local park. Do what I do and keep a few plastic bags in the car and if you see some garbage while out enjoying the day pick it up and put it in the right place.

We have only a limited amount of open space. I ask that everyone takes the time to take care of it!


November 3, 2013

Conservation Area Fishing

Filed under: New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 9:24 pm
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Those of you who known me know I am a long-time fly angler and advocate of catch-and-release fishing. In New Jersey, less than five miles of the approximately 8,600 miles of streams and rivers are catch-and-release. I find that appalling and have long advocated for more conservation areas.

Well, New Jersey is finally listening.

New Jersey’s Fish and Game Council, and the DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is proposing amendments to the 2014 – 2015 Fish Code. The proposed amendments include changes to conservation areas. The Big Flat Brook section to Roy Bridge currently has a liberal harvest limit of six trout with a minimum size of nine inches (yes, nine) from Opening Day to May 31 and four trout all other times.

Electrofishing surveys conducted during the summer of 2007, 2012 and 2013 indicate very few trout remaining by mid-summer. The low number of trout may be a result of one or more factors, including significant harvest by anglers and/or a variety of ecological conditions.

To determine the role harvest plays in limited trout availability, the Council proposes year round catch and release regulations for the 4.2 mile stretch, from the Route 206 stretch downstream to the Roy bridge. The regulations should result in an increase in trout abundance, improve catch rates, and ultimately enhanced angler satisfaction. As hooking mortality is higher with live bait than with artificial lures and flies, the possession or use of bait is proposed to be prohibited at all times. For similar reasons, artificially enhanced substances are also proposed to be prohibited. A 2012 Trout Angler Survey indicate that 11% of anglers who fish the first nine days of the season in the fly stretch use bait. The current gear restriction for fly fishing is also proposed to be amended to allow spin fishing and artificial lures and flies for the entire 4.2 mile stretch, including the Blewett Tract. The Division will continue to monitor the fisheries population in response to any regulatory change.

I just sent the follow comment to the state regarding the proposed change:

As a long-time angler of the Big Flatbook Roy Bridge region, I encourage the state to change the regulation to a year-round conservation area. I avoid the initial opening season time period as I find it quite crowded, but I have seen the number and size of fish anglers keep in that area and I am often appalled at how many and the size of fish are immediately taken from the region. As a result, there are very few fish left by the time I get to fish the area.

I have long advocated for more conservation areas in the state and always practice catch-and-release. There are very few conservation areas in the state as compared to the total number of miles of water available for fishing. As a result,I feel this change in regulation would not negatively impact those who practice catch-and-keep fishing. Additionally, I would like to see the state consider raising the minimum fish harvesting size to a minimum of 12 inches as opposed to the current nine. A nine inch fish provides very little meat. I see no reason why this shouldn’t be changed.

While I am a member of the East Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, my opinion in no way has anything to do with my association. I have long advocated these positions far prior to my membership with TU.

I hope you will take my comments into consideration prior to making your final decision.

Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten
Fly Angler and Catch-and-Release Angler

If you are an angler in New Jersey and would like to see more conservation areas, I encourage you to submit your comments to: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/news/2013/fishcode_proposal.htm by November 15th.




August 7, 2011

Bear that Wandered into Stokes Campsite Killed

This week was a mix of lies, stories and excuses on a multiple of fronts. No, I’m not talking about the ongoing nonsense in D.C. – I’m talking about the killing of a black bear in Stokes State Forest.

According to the initial story, a bear attacked two young campers sending them to the hospital with minor injuries. The bear was shot (non kill shot) in the  neck and left the area wounded. A search continued until the bear was caught in a snare and killed.

Later it was learned the counselors jumped to conclusions about the event and the kids lied about being attacked, as doctors that examined the boys and determined their wounds were not fresh. It was also learned that the food at the camp site was not stored properly, which will always bring a bear curiously looking for an easy meal. DEP still classified this as a “Category One” bear, meaning, it displayed “aggressive behavior.”

This was a travesty on multiple fronts. First, the two camp counselors obviously didn’t stress bear safety and food storage properly to their campers. Next, you have two boys who lied about their encounter. You had a representative make an incredibly poor shot that failed to kill the animal the first time, so the bear headed off injured. Finally, the DEP stood by their initial decision, classifying this animal as a category one, setting traps and ultimately killing the bear. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Let’s remember this was an 18-month-old yearling who smelled food and set off looking for an easy meal. It was in a wooded area, not a residential neighborhood. Yearlings are on their own for the first time and are naturally curious about their area and new found independence. If you are in bear country, you need to understand how to store your food, and take important safety measures in order to minimize negative encounters. After all, you are now in their home. My husband and I often fish in bear country and we are always armed with whistles and bear spray and are sure to stay alert and aware of our surroundings. This is just common sense.

These suburbanites need to understand the ramifications of their actions that resulted in the death of a young bear.

Now to clarify, I am not “anti-hunt.” I believe it is important to hunt responsibly, following all safety regulations as a way to control population by “thinning the herd” and avoid starvation by these animals in the winter. Additionally, all hunters I know consume what they harvest, using it as a food source. At the same time, Jersey needs to stop building strip malls in every open space. It is because of the lack of open space that you see more and more wildlife coming into residential areas.

This is a very unfortunate example of ill-prepared counselors, lying kids and over-zealous officials. I hope they all understand the ramifications of their actions.

January 31, 2011

NJ Considers Dumping Snow in Rivers – Bad Idea!

Filed under: government,New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 12:27 pm
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Over the weekend I saw a report that several towns in NJ have asked the DEP for permission to dump plowed snow into NJ different rivers, like the Hackensack, because there is just no where left to put it. I have two words: ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Some of New Jersey’s rivers have pollution issues already. If the DEP grants these requests, it will just make things worse. Let’s remember, it isn’t just snow, it is salt and other chemicals mixed in that are used to reducing icing on the roadways. This would further degrade an already bruised ecosystem. Plus all the gravel, oil and other garbage that is collected during snow removal.

What makes this even worse is that several of the riverkeepers in NJ appear to have no issue with this request, saying things like “All of that salt is going to reach the rivers anyway when it melts.” Wow, way to protect the waters you are charged with caring for on a daily basis.

I urge the DEP to deny these requests. Why not throw the snow on the local town football fields? They won’t be in use for months.

They used to dump plowed snow in the Passaic River on a regular basis and look at it now. Shameful. Simply shameful.

Why not consider each county purchasing a snow melter that could be a shared resource? That would both help eliminate the large piles of snow, but help remove impurities as well.

People complain that Jersey is the butt-end of a lot of jokes. Well, how about now allowing this to happen so the rest of our state looks a little less like the industrial areas people see in and out of Newark Airport? That would be a good start.

December 2, 2010

“It Was a Just a Turkey”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Laws,New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 1:04 am
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I just saw this story on my local news and I was compelled to write a post.

In Rutherford, NJ, two teenagers killed one of the borough’s wild turkeys in July of this year with a bow and arrow. The backlash has been so bad, the case has been moved to another venue.

Now many of you that know me personally or have read this blog regularly, know that I am an avid angler (catch and release) and thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. I am not a hunter or “catch and keep” angler, but do not begrudge anyone who is, as long as they hunt and fish responsibly and consume what they kill. This represents the large majority of hunters.

The two young men who killed this turkey, that was essentially considered a neighborhood mascot, are not even close to hunters. From what I have read about these two, they are essentially the neighborhood delinquents that even when confronted after shooting the turkey made snide remarks about the event. They received multiple tickets and summons from Rutherford and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and the case will be heard in court soon.

Since the event, the court has received hundreds of letters from citizens outraged over the event, urging the judge to give out the maximum possible sentence. The two are also receiving harassing phone calls and people are standing outside their homes with signs.

When Jolyn Garner, one of the boy’s mothers, was recently interviewed, she said the following; “It’s just been nonstop harassment for four months,” she said. “I’m sorry the turkey was killed, but it was a just a turkey.”

Wow…good parenting example. Now I know where her boy gets it from.

The kicker to all this is while being interviewed, young Garner also informed the reporter he is a vegetarian for “personal and moral reasons.” Is he serious? Killing a turkey, or any animal, in a public place, for fun, is moral? He was in a park. He could’ve missed the turkey and shot a child!

In case you can’t tell, I’m furious. I hope these kids get whatever the maximum they can receive. What they should really do is give them community service with Fish and Wildlife helping with wildlife management of the state turkey population. That should help them understand what nature in New Jersey is all about.

It is because of idiots like this people have such a low opinion of Jersey.

August 21, 2010

Fishing Licenses ARE Important!

Filed under: Laws,New Jersey,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 2:08 am
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Don’t remember if I ever mentioned it here before, but I am quite the avid fly angler. I fish with my husband whenever we have some spare time. From ponds, to streams, to lakes to rivers…we love them all!

Now why am I telling you all this? Because the last few times I have been fishing, the only individuals I have seen displaying fishing licenses are the other anglers I know.

NJ Fishing License Information…

“Anyone age 16 and older must have a valid license (see Exceptions) to fish the fresh waters of New Jersey with handline, rod and line, or longbow and arrow. This includes privately owned lakes and other waters. New Jersey does not require a general saltwater fishing license but there are a limited number of saltwater licenses and permits required.”

What are the exceptions you may ask? Anyone younger than 16, older than 70 or farmers and family members that live on a farm do not need a license to fish on their farm, but must obey all fishing regulations.

While some complain about the cost of the different licenses are too high, they have no problem complaining when fish stocking is reduced or state parks have reduced hours or are closed completely. I also know some that copy their license from year to year and just adjust the year to avoid paying the license fee each year. Well, where you do think those funds come from???

So, I say suck it up, teach your kids how to follow the laws and buy a fishing license. And while you are at it, trying following “catching and release” laws.

June 30, 2010

A Love for My State

Filed under: New Jersey,New York,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 11:15 pm

For the last few days, my husband and I were at the famous Jersey Shore. We stayed in Wildwood Crest in one of the classic motels just across from the beach. We spent days “walking the boards” having pizza, Kohr’s Frozen Custard and having salt water taffy. We went to the Lobster House and then headed into Cape May, my absolutely favorite shore spot!

I am sorry to say this was my first trip down the shore in years. I forgot how much I loved it. Glenn and I even had a discussion about if we had to choose one – the shore or fishing in New York State – it would be tough. I love the Catskills and Glenn loves the Adirondacks.

What was the most interesting part? The Wi-Fi signal was a bit weak so I wasn’t able to use my computer. What did I do? I relaxed on the deck outside our room. I read…for pleasure! Not computer manuals or best practices books. I got half-way through The River Why. So far, it is great! I relaxed. I wasn’t physically attached to my computer. I can’t remember the last time that hasn’t happened.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to remind everyone how great New Jersey really is. Yes, we are the butt-end of plenty of jokes, but we who live here know better. Get re-introduced to your state and remember why you love it.

Signed, a proud Jersey Girl

April 4, 2010

Short-Sided Thinking in New York State

Filed under: Finances,New York,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 10:20 pm
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In case I never mentioned it before, I love fly fishing. It one of those passions in my life that is hard to explain to those who don’t enjoy the outdoors, especially fishing.

Well, this past weekend was opening day in New York State, so Glenn and I headed up to one of our favorite places to enjoy some fishing…Roscoe, NY. This is a great little town where people stop and say hello to strangers and everyone talks about the big stonefly hatch. Like the Jersey shore towns in the summer, Roscoe survives on the fishing season.

This is why I was so shocked when an annual non-resident fishing license has increased by $30 to a whopping $70 a year! That means just to fish, my husband I spent $140 on licenses. To put this in perspective, we stayed in a great resort that had an opening day special for $120 per night. So our licenses cost more than one night’s stay.

Now, you may think I am just complaining about license fees, but I’m not. As usual, like most state governments, and our federal government, the New York State government has decided to raise fees on hunting and fishing licenses instead of belt tightening like many families are doing right now. I was chatting with the woman who was issuing the licenses told me multiple times she has had to cancel out the license and each time she would, she would make a note “canceled due to price increase.” She wants the state to see how many licenses are not purchased due to the new cost.

In my opinion, this is short-sided thinking. Ultimately, fewer people will purchase hunting and fishing licenses and ultimately, fewer people will visit towns like Roscoe. It is those towns this will hurt more than anyone. Fewer people will go to the Roscoe Diner for french toast, fewer people will visit the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and Center, shop on the main street of Roscoe and stay at the small individually-owned hotels in the area. Like I said, it is the outdoors that keeps this town going. That’s why it is known as “Trout Town, USA.”

So, I say shame on New York State’s short-sided thinking. Not only will less license fees be collected, fewer taxes on hotel rooms, meals and impulse purchases will also be a result of this ridiculous increase.

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