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Frank Ruczynski

I've spent the last twenty-five years chasing the fish that swim in our local waters and I've enjoyed every minute of it! During that time, I've made some remarkable friends and together we've learned a great deal by spending loads of time on the water.

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January 29, 2016

Winter Show Season

by Frank Ruczynski

With a fresh 12 to 24 inches of snow and most of our waterways iced over, it's the perfect time to get ready for the upcoming fishing season. I don't know about you, but I'm already feeling a slight case of cabin fever so I've started checking off some of the chores on my offseason laundry list. Lubing reels and organizing tackle does little to lift my spirits, but I do look forward to the winter fishing shows – catching up with old friends and buying new fishing equipment is almost as good as being on the water.

This winter, I won't just be walking around the shows; I'll be working a few of them. I'm happy to announce I just signed on with the great staff at Wilderness Systems. Kayak fishing is growing by leaps and bounds and I couldn't be more excited to represent such a great company. There in no place I'd rather be than in my kayak and I have big plans this season. As one might expect, I'm looking forward to the winter shows more than ever!

Look for me at the Atlantic City Boat Show next Thursday and Friday, February 4 and 5. I'll be at booth #724 with Jim Markel from Bel Haven Paddlesports – we'll be ready to talk about kayaks and fishing the local waters. I'm looking forward to an Atlantic City mid-winter getaway more than I thought I would – between the AC Boat Show, Bass Pro Shops, great hotel rates ($39 weeknights at Harrah's) and a beautiful heated pool, what's not to like? If I could just find a way to get Bass Pro Shops to let me drop my kayak in their over-sized aquarium.

With so many shows coming up, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of winter shows within an hour or two ride from South Jersey. The venues offer a little of everything – from top local-angler seminars to great deals on boats, kayaks, rods, reels and all kinds of fishing tackle. If you would like to add an event, please feel free to comment in the box below.

January 29 – 31, 2016
The Fly Fishing Show
Garden State Exhibit Center
50 Atrium Drive
Somerset, NJ 08873
Admission $18

30, 2016
Southern Ocean County Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation Fishing Flea Market
Little Egg Harbor Community Center
319 West Cala Breeze Drive
Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087
Admission $3

February 3 – 7, 2016
Progressive Atlantic City Boat Show
Atlantic City Convention Center
1 Convention Boulevard
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Admission $16

6 – 7, 2016
Kayak Fishing and Outdoor Adventure Expo
Parsippany Pal Center
33 Baldwin Road
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Admission $7

13, 2016
Southern Regional High School Fishing Flea Market
Southern Regional Middle School (Cafeteria)
75 Cedar Bridge Road
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Admission $4

13, 2016
Hi-Mar Striper Club Fishing Flea Market and Seminar Series
Middletown VFW Post 2179
1 Veterans Lane
Port Monmouth, NJ 07758
Admission $5

14, 2016
Palmyra Fire Department's Annual Fisherman's Flea Market
Charles Street School
100 West Charles Street
Palmyra, NJ 08065
Admission $3 at the door - $10 early admission

18 – 21, 2016
New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo
New Jersey Convention and Expo Center
97 Sunfield Avenue
Edison, NJ 08837
Admission $8

20, 2016
Surf Day
Brookdale Community College
765 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738
Admission $10

25 – 28, 2016
Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sports Show
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Avenue
Oaks, PA 19456
Admission $12

28, 2016
Ocean Fire Company's Annual Point Pleasant Fishing Flea Market
Antrim School
401 Niblick Street
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
Admission $3

5, 2016
Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County Fisherman's Flea Market
American Legion Post #170
33 West Passaic Street
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Admission $3

5, 2016
Ocean City Intermediate School Annual Fishing Flea Market
Ocean City Intermediate School
1801 Bay Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226
Admission $4

5, 2016
The South Jersey Bass Club's Annual Indoor Fisherman's Flea Market
Millville Elks Lodge
1815 East Broad Street
Millville, NJ 08332
Admission $2

6, 2016
Berkeley Striper Club's Annual Fisherman's Flea Market
Toms River Intermediate School North
150 Intermediate North Way
Toms River, NJ 08753
Admission $4

11 – 13, 2016
Greater Philadelphia Annual Boat Show
Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Avenue
Oaks, PA 19456
Admission $8

12, 2016
Kayak Rigging Party
West Creek Kayak and Canoe
224 Main Street
West Creek, NJ 08092
Admission is free

13, 2016
Asbury Park Fishing Club's Annual Flea Market
Convention Hall
1300 Ocean Drive
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Admission $4

18 - 20, 2016
The Saltwater Fishing Expo
Garden State Exhibit Center
50 Atrium Drive
Somerset, NJ 08873
Admission $12

20, 2016
Sergeantsville Volunteer Fire Company's Annual Fishing Flea Market
Sergeantsville Volunteer Fire Company
761 Sergeantsville Road
Stockton, NJ 08557
Admission $4

2 - 3, 2016
Pequest Open House and Sportsmen's Flea Market
Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center
605 Pequest Road
Oxford, NJ 07863
Admission is free

10, 2016
Cape May Fishing Flea Market
Cape May Elementary School
921 Lafayette Street
Cape May, NJ 08204
Admission $4!cape-may/c4y9

January 28, 2014

Winter Woes

by Frank Ruczynski

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of the winter season. I'm tired of hearing about single-digit temperatures, below zero wind-chill factors, snowfall predictions, and that ever-popular catch phrase, "Polar Vortex." I can deal with thirties and forties, but days in the teens and nights around zero are a bit much. The little time I've spent outdoors this week consisted of shoveling the porch and driveway, cleaning off our cars, and freezing my tail off. When I checked the weather the other night, it was 8 degrees in my backyard and 40 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska. You can keep your three layers of clothes, hats, and gloves; I'm done with winter!

Sunny Snow Squall

It may be hard to believe, but this time last week, I was wading at a local lake, tossing soft-plastic baits to largemouth bass and pickerel in nothing more than a hooded sweatshirt. It felt great to land my first few fish of the 2014 season. I definitely made the most of the brief January thaw. You'd think a little rod-bending action would help ease the cabin fever, winter blues, or whatever they call it. The truth is, it did help, but it was short-lived and left me wanting more!

First Fish of 2014

Since my last fishing trip on Monday, January 20, we've had close to a foot of snow and glacial temperatures. All of the local waterways have completely iced over; however, I'm not certain they're safe for ice fishing. With temperatures forecast to be above freezing this weekend and a possible big storm headed our way next week, I'll probably end up poking around for pickerel at a few of the nearby spillways.

Spillway Pickerel

Looking for some signs of hope, I checked a couple of the long-range forecasts and it appears that the worst of the frigid temperatures may be over, but there are some very real chances of big snow storms through early March. I keep telling myself, just one more month. Hopefully, a few fishing shows will help pass the time. I'm looking forward to the Atlantic City Boat Show on February 5 to 9, Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sport Show on February 13 to 16, Southern Regional Fishing Flea Market on February 15, Surf Day on February 22, and the Ocean City Intermediate School Fishing Club Flea Market on March 1.

At times like this, when I can't fish, sometimes shopping for fishing-related gear works as a quick pick-me-up. Over the last couple weeks, I've been in the market for a new pair of Costa sunglasses and found the selection lacking in much of the South Jersey area. It's not like you can order a pair online because you need to try them on before you purchase them. After a bunch of phone calls and a couple of disappointing visits to local optometrists' shops, I was about to give up until a friend told me about Vutt Sunglasses at the Burlington Center Mall. On Sunday, I stopped by Paul's shop and was pleasantly surprised by a great selection of Costas along with many other brands. Paul spent a great deal of time answering my questions and making sure I'd be happy with my choice. I left his shop more knowledgeable about eye care and feeling good about my selection. If you're going to spend a lot of time on the water, it is imperative to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eyes, but they enable you to catch more fish. They are of utmost importance to me as I spend lots of time sight fishing on shallow flats.

Shopping for Shades

With most of my shopping list completed, I've begun my countdown for the 2014 backwater striped bass season, a little more light at the end of the tunnel. We're only a month away and it looks like we're going to need a substantial warm-up to get things going by March 1. A quick glance at NOAA's coastal water temperatures shows readings of 33 degrees in Atlantic City, 34 degrees in Cape May, and the Delaware River checked in at an icy 31 degrees. I haven't seen water temperatures that low in a few years. I'm looking forward to starting the season off right; even if I have to join the masses at the warm-water discharges.

Striped Bass Countdown

I've tried to make the best of the winter weather, but it's just not good enough. Sledding with the kids was fun for a day or two, but they enjoy being outside when it's 5 degrees even less than I do. Off-season maintenence is complete as my fishing equipment has been thoroughly cleaned and organized. I have a bunch of new toys that I'm dying to try on the water this season. Spring can't come soon enough!

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