ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ - Ramsey Outdoor located in Succasunna, N.J., celebrated its annual Cabin Fever Day and Cast & Blast this past Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event catered to hunters, fisherman and outdoorsman alike with seminars, raffles and vendors from the top leading outdoor names in the industry including: Shimano, Daiwa, Eagle Claw, and St. Croix.
Lou Marcucci gave a seminar on fishing in Lake Hopatcong from January to December.
“I have been fishing since 1974,” said Marcucci to a crowd of guests who had voice recorders or a pad to write notes on. “I got to know the lake pretty well.”
Marcucci explained that, “Hopatcong is the only true multi-specie lake in the state. Other lakes do not have the fish Hopatcong has. We have a phenomenal wall-eye and musky fishery. There are fish and stripers being caught in the ice right now.”
Marcucci normally uses a technique called jigging, which is a lure on the end of fishing line that is motioned up and down for a fish to bite.
“Most of the ice fishing is done in the shallow area of the lake, it ranges from eight to 12 feet,” explained Marcucci, “December from the middle of March is acceptable to ice fish in under circumstances, it must be safe. February and March both get hot days, and fog which eats away at the ice.”
Marcucci, who is also involved in the Knee Deep Club based out of Hopatcong, educated others on joining the organization.
The Knee Deep Fishing Club on Lake Hopatcong was established in 1947, and a monthly membership meeting is held the second Friday of every month through March to October at the Hopatcong Civic Center.
“We hold three children’s events during the year,” said Marcucci. “A junior derby at Mount Arlington the second Saturday in June with a barbeque and that same Saturday we hold a handicapped children’s outing. We run eight or nine fishing contests a year on the lake.”
Poles and other neccessities for fishing are provided by the club, which anyone can attend too without paying a fee.
“It is donated by the club to promote fishing,” said Marcucci.
New Jersey Search and Rescue based out of Bergen County also attended the event.
The organization had asked all the fly tier’s who attended the event to use dog hair to create their flies for a limited-edition set of flies made from the hair of real search-and-rescue dogs. All proceeds went to benefit New Jersey Search and Rescue (NJSAR).
“It is a silly way of saying search dog flies find fish,” said Kristen Ryan, a volunteer for the organization. “It was my idea because it is something my father used to do.”
In a 2012 interview with Chris Kempey, one of the leading volunteers for NJSAR, he stated that the program specializes in training dogs to find mainly lost or disoriented, hikers, hunters, cyclists, ATV's, and climbers.
To become certified, the dogs must train three to four times a month for an eight hour shift by placing human remains or a live person to be found. They must also go through a series of evaluations, subject scenarios, and be trained in every weather condition, any terrain, and any time.
Ryan and her team did a demonstration for The Alternative Press to show how a dog can find another human.
Micah, a 12-year-old white German Shepherd, was able to track down Ryan’s scent immediately as she hid behind a rain jacket on display in the store.
The dogs are trained to follow a human by air scent, not ground tracking. Once the human is found, the dogs are rewarded by playing a game of tug.
“They will work for eight hours just to play tug,” said Ryan, “It is a fiesta when they find us.”
NJSAR is currently looking for a variety of people to come out and hide for the dogs. Anyone can sign up and participate in the event.
For more information and to see how the dogs find another human by air scent, visit the YouTube page for NJSAR and watch their introduction video titled, “Meet The Dogs.”
Jeffrey Altschul, author of “Gourmet Cooking In the Wild,” gave two cooking presentations at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. showing off his recipe, “Mystery Spam.”
Altschul, from Parsippany, always wanted to be a chef, and it took him seven years to write his cookbook.
“I started in ‘05 editing recipes, and edited out 142 pages,” explained Altschul. “In 2012, my book came out.”
Ramsey Outdoor camping buyer, John Lopes bought the book, and Ramsey was the first store to sell it.
Altschul was a scout master for years and always loved cooking in the outdoors, he is currently working on his second book titled, “Staying Fit After Sixty.”
“I wrote this as my legacy to help people,” said Altschul. “It is very important to give back to people, the community and help out young people.”
Altschul’s “mystery spam” recipe consisted of: a yellow onion, three garlic cloves, three large apples, two potatoes, black pepper, red hot sauce, oil and of course, spam.
The Sussex County Federation of Sportsman Club attended the event.
“Every county has a group and we meet with local fishing, hunting and trapping members to take the information to the fish and game council,” said member, Jeannette Vreeland.
The organization runs fishing derby’s, helps sponsor 4-H shooting to national tournaments, holds archery school programs and sells raffle tickets for youth education.
“We are not just out there for ourselves we educate, teach and help,” stated Vreeland.
Kids On The Fly, an educational organization which teaches children how to tie flies, attended.
“We try to keep it low cost,” said Paul Reithmeier, vice-president. “We just get together and show kids how to fish.”
Ramsey Outdoor holds this event every February.
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