Angling Right: Fishing in Occoquan Reservoir

My dad and I ventured to Occoquan Reservoir for the first time yesterday morning.

Below is a picture I captured at Lake Ridge Marina prior to fishing.

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Occoquan Reservoir is a 2,100-acre body of water that forms at the border of Fairfax County and Prince William County. It’s about a 25 minute drive from D.C. without traffic. This place is known for largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, northern pike, bluegill, and perch. Moreover, it’s been dubbed one of the best places to go bass fishing in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here’s another shot of the mighty Occoquan.

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Compared to other fishing spots I’ve been to, Occoquan was more picturesque and tranquil. There were plenty of opportunities to see and hear wildlife. Blue herons (pictured below) are quite common at Occoquan Reservoir.

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My dad and I fished for about four hours. In the process, we caught nine crappie/bluegill fish collectively. (Pictured below.) Although we didn’t catch any largemouth bass and lamented over a lost catfish, we weren’t disappointed with Occoquan Reservoir. In fact, I enjoyed the frequency of bites my rod had. It’s a good indication that this place is replete with fish. (Arriving early morning is recommended for catching big game fish.)

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Before you decide to go fishing at Occoquan Reservoir, note several things:

1) Always have your Virginia Freshwater Fishing license on you. Yesterday, the local Virginia Department Game and Inland Fisheries warden made his rounds at Occoquan Reservoir to ensure all anglers were licensed. They will check up on you. Don’t forget to have it with you!

2) Rent a boat. It’s worth the $39.

3) Note limits on fish you can catch and keep.

Largemouth Bass

The daily bag limit for bass is five per day. There is no minimum size limit.

Bluegill

Bluegill (bream) and other sunfish may be harvested without size restriction. Anglers are limited to 50 per day in aggregate (combined).

Crappie

Black and white crappie may be harvested without size restriction from Occoquan. The daily limit is 25 per day in aggregate.

Catfish (Channel and Flathead)

There is no minimum size limit for catfish, but anglers are limited to 20 fish per day of each species.

Northern Pike

The minimum size limit for northern pike in Occoquan Reservoir is 20 inches and anglers are limited to 2 fish per day.

4) Don’t bring alcohol on your boat. (It’s a no-no.)  Instead, have water and light snacks.

 

I foresee myself coming here again in the future. Fellow Virginia residents should make the trip to Occoquan Reservoir if they are looking for good fishing, opportunities to kayak/paddleboard, and nature.  Undoubtedly, this is a great escape from the concrete jungle.

I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from fishing for a few weeks, so expect my next “Angling Right” post in early or mid-August.  Happy fishing!

New Townhall Column: Going Green In The Name of Tyranny

I’ve penned a new column at Townhall.com called “Going Green In The Name of Tyranny” today.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s undeniable that most, if not all, Americans want to preserve and protect the environment.

No one truly wants to live in squalor or breathe in dirty air. No one truly intends to destroy nature or kill all wildlife. No one truly desires to harm the planet.

Modern-day environmentalism is perceived as a benign, “hip” cause. All the celebrities are doing it, so it must be great—right? On the surface “going green” seems harmless. We’re told that “going green” will absolve us for our supposed transgressions against the environment. Certainly Mother Earth will forgive us for developing our beautiful planet while creating opportunities for prosperity and social advancement!

What could possibly be wrong with the green lifestyle?

Continue reading at Townhall.com.

Stop Disparaging Female Anglers and Hunters

“Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.” - W.C. Fields

The relentless attacks on female anglers and hunters have gone too far.

From threats targeted at 19-year-old huntress Kendall Jones to 17-year-old Belgian teen Axelle Despiegelaere, anti-hunters–usually insecure leftist males–are calling on others to inflict harm onto young women who are self-reliant and independent.

This guy, who calls himself an “Agitated Texas Republican,” says women who hunt are ignorant and blood-thirsty. (Talk about elevating women!)

Another tweeted that hunting is out-of-date: “Hunting is so 1914! It stopped with Teddy Roosevelt!”

Attacking women who choose to fish and hunt hurts, rather than helps, females realize their potential. What happened to being pro-choice?

New York Post’s Eliyahu Federman wrote an article titled “The ignorant, sexist attacks on female hunters” to showcase the hypocrisy of guys who disparage female anglers and hunters. Here’s an excerpt:

1) Their hunting was perfectly legal. As a spokesperson for Jones pointed out, “All of Kendall’s hunts in Zimbabwe and South Africa were 100 percent legal, with proper tags and licenses awarded on a pre-approved quota by the countries’ officials and wildlife department.”

No, “legal” isn’t the same as “moral,” but attacking these young women in personal terms for lawful hunting is pointless. If you have a problem with big-game hunting, change the laws, don’t mindlessly attack individuals.

2) Hunting helps support poor local African communities. People magazine reported how Jones paid $160,000 in fees and services “provided by local trackers, skinners and assistants.” That money went to provide jobs, incomes and food in destitute parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Trophy hunting provides meat to local villagers and generates an estimated $200 million a year in revenue in poor countries in Africa and elsewhere.

3) African hunting helps conservation. It is poaching that poses a threat, not lawful hunting. In fact, the operators of hunting conservancies fight poaching to “protect the wildlife resources on which they depend.”

….

4) Animals aren’t people. Sport hunting isn’t murder, no matter how much some detest it.

5) Hunters are often middle-aged men, but the brunt of online outrage seems directed at young attractive women like Jones, Despiegelaer, Melissa Bachman, Olivia Opre, and Sarah Palin, not the male “Duck Dynasty” types. Sure looks like sexism.

Fishing and hunting are essential to sustainability and conservation. These activities promote the environment and encourage stewardship. The majority of fishermen and hunters abide by laws. Our license fees and investments in gear/equipment support charities and wildlife conservation efforts. What’s the harm in revering and replenishing nature? (Answer: Nothing!)

Even left-leaning National Geographic has praised and acknowledged the rise of female hunters:

Hunters are also quick to note that funds from purchases of licenses, equipment, and ammunition go to support conservation efforts for a variety of species. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, every year nearly $200 million is distributed from the federal taxes associated with hunting to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of lands for habitat conservation, and hunter education and safety classes.

There’s another factor, too: fun. Hunting is a way for women to be outdoors and enjoy nature while spending time with husbands and children who hunt.

“Women are realizing how much fun hunting is and how close it can actually bring them in their relationships with their families,” says Tiffany Lakosky, co-host of the Outdoor Channel hunting show Crush with Lee and Tiffany and a top bowhunter. “The whole concept is that I am shooting my family’s dinner tonight and we’re eating something I shot. I would say probably 90 percent of the meat we eat, we hunted.”

Whether or not you agree with fishing or big game hunting, be mindful that anglers and hunters are people too. We have feelings, compassion, and are fallible. (After all, we’re human.) Despite what the naysayers say, we respect our surroundings. We love nature. We want more empowered women and men. We don’t appreciate being pidgeonholed and threatened by jerks who have little to no regard for personal safety or tolerance of different beliefs. In fact, these attacks only encourage us to take up gun ownership and continue to speak out in favor of our beliefs.

Fellow female anglers and hunters: Don’t become disheartened by our detractors. Instead, go confidently in the right direction to enjoy the outdoors.

Good News: More Females Are Purchasing Firearms

19-year-old huntress Kendall Jones posted this interesting graphic on the rise of female gun owners:

girls--guns--the-rise-of-women-carrying-concealed-weapons_502917c2111e4_w1500Source: http://www.nyasianoutcall.com/girls-guns-rise-women-carrying-concealed-weapons/

Here are some interesting stats based off of a 2011 Gallup poll on the rise of female gun ownership:

  • 73% of gun owners noticed a spike in female gun ownership
  • 43% of women reported household gun ownership
  • 41% of Republicans, 27% Independents, 23% of Democrats identified as gun owners
  • 16.4% of hunters are female

Even leftist rag Rolling Stone printed an article today detailing this very encouraging trend. Here’s an excerpt:

Over the last decade, the percentage of armed women in America has risen quietly: according to Gallup, the numbers went from 13% in 2005 to 23% in 2011. By last year, that rise wasn’t so quiet anymore. Women’s interest sites declared “The Rise Of The Female Gun Nut.” A Girl and a Gun-type shooting clubs, like Babes with Bullets and The Well Armed Woman, bloomed. And a staunchly, proudly masculine industry at least attempted to keep pace. Walk around a gun show these days, and you’re more likely than not to find at least one table piled wide with .223-caliber AR-15 assault rifles rendered in hot pink.

Strong, independent women don’t rely on the government for empowerment or security. We take it upon ourselves to prevent and deter harm unto ourselves by arming ourselves with facts and firearms. Complacency need not apply, unless you take your cues from the female establishment.

This news is very promising. Here’s to hoping more females take up self-defense and firearm safety!

Angling Right: Fishing in the Potomac River

 

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Yesterday morning, I ventured out to a new fishing spot on the Potomac River. I typically fish at Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia, which is replete with catfish, bass, and crappie. Burke Lake is a great fishing spot, but my dad and I have wanted to explore new places to test out different bodies of water. So we decided to try Little Hunting Creek in Fort Hunt, VA–which is very close to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. (Both of these spots are in Fairfax County, VA.)

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Little Hunting Creek can be found near Riverside Park at the mouth of the Potomac River. It’s known as a great spot to catch largemouth bass, perch, and catfish.  The Potomac River usually gets a bad rap as dirty, polluted, and icky. Although not forbidden to catch fish, most fishermen aren’t encouraged to catch and keep their fish. (Use discernment when fishing in the Potomac. Avoid areas near the Capitol.) The area where Little Hunting Creek flows into the Potomac is generally safe, so there’s no need to panic.

Below is our final catch: one decent-sized catfish, some crappie, and some small bass/perch.

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Best conditions to fish: I recommend going early in the morning between 7:00am-9:30am. The fish were actively biting when the river was overflowing. (Courtesy of a full moon the night before.)

What to bring: I suggest packing water, light food (jerky), chairs (depends on the surface you’re fishing from), and of course, a tackle box.

Recommended equipment: Essentials I recommend using are a rod (Shakespeare), hooks, weights (lightweight, not too heavy), bait (smaller night-crawlers), a net, and a bucket.

Appropriate attire: I recommend wearing pants (preferably jeans), t-shirts, hat, sunglasses, boots or sneakers. (Avoid nice clothes!)

If you’re fishing here in Virginia, remember to have a fishing license on you. Permit rates are quite reasonable (i.e. $23/year for freshwater fishing), so it’s a great investment valid a calendar year from the purchase date. Always have a fishing license on you. Reminder: it’s imperative to follow the laws and practice conservation while fishing. As fishermen, we must do our part to protect and preserve the places we fish. (Thankfully, we don’t rely on the government to conserve our surroundings!)

Next week, I’ll post about an upcoming fishing excursion in Prince William County.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Angling Right: Making Fishing Cool for Females and Millennials

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“Everyone should believe in something; I believe I’ll go fishing.” –Henry David  Thoreau

As many of you know, I’m a young conservative activist and blogger. I dedicate my social media platforms to conservative politics on a daily basis. And yes, I’m unabashedly proud of being a young conservative female. (Haters gonna hate, statists gonna state!)

Sometimes politics can be overbearing and contentious. (Ask any politico and they’ll tell you that.) We need breaks to keep our sanity in this blood sport as politics can be vicious. We need to learn to enjoy the finer things in life without losing our soul or feeling stressed all the time. As a result, I’ve decided to expand my writing portfolio to include posts about fishing.

Some of you might be thinking, “What girl wants to spend hours holding a rod waiting for a fish to bite?” Answer: I do! (And so do millions of other women.)

I started actively fishing about 11 years ago when I was 12. My dad is an avid fisherman, so naturally fishing came to me. Admittedly, I used to find fishing boring and confusing. “Ew!” and “gross!” were first thoughts that came to mind when I saw my dad place worms on a hook. Then I saw him catch different types of fish–catfish, bluegill, rainbow trout, seabass, small and largemouth bass–and I became curious. On Memorial Day 2003, I hooked in my largest catch to date–a 8.9lbs, 28-inch long catfish-and been hooked on fishing ever since.

Now as a young adult, I frequent lakes and the high seas whenever afforded the chance. Fishing soothes the soul. It teaches one patience, bolsters one’s gratitude, and teaches one resourceful skills. I hope my posts about fishing encourage more women and Millennials to cast a line and catch some fish.

Stay tuned for my first post on July 13/14!

-Gabriella

 

Earth Day Rant: Green is the New Red

How interesting that ‪#‎EarthDay‬ coincides with Vladimir Lenin’s birthday. Bolshevik terrorist Vladimir Lenin and Earth Day founder Ira Einhorn have a lot in common. The former pioneered a movement that led to Russia’s collapse, global chaos, and death to millions; the latter killed his girlfriend and made a composite out of her.

Green is the new red, after all. Why? Big government and cronyism thrive on these environmental schemes to profit off of fear-mongering, foster group-think, and impose more regulations on businesses for the “sake of the environment.” I don’t know about you, but I’m certain everybody likes to have clean surroundings. True conservationists promote the environment through sustainable activities like fishing, hunting, and fracking/drilling. And if you suggest that “climate change” is not caused by humans or don’t believe the hype exaggerating natural changes in climate, you should apparently be imprisoned. Crazy! Modern-day environmentalism promotes technologies that are more expensive and truly harmful to the environment. Human life is expendable in the name of population control and abortion because we need to lower our carbon footprint! Fossil fuels are icky! Meat is gross!

ENOUGH. This movement is rooted in control and power. Don’t buy the hype and don’t consult bureaucrats if you want to protect and promote the environment.

You-the individual-can better the environment best.

New Townhall.com Column: Ladies – Less Selfies, More Time Outdoors

While promoting her new Sportsman Channel show “Amazing America” in California last week, Sarah Palin told reporters her show will inspire young women to discover the outdoors.

She said, “I think this world would be better off having more young women holding a fish in a picture and fewer of them holding their camera in front of a bathroom mirror doing a selfie.”

The former Alaska governor is absolutely correct.

In a time where female empowerment is exuded by championing so-called “reproductive rights” and support for cradle-to-grave government, being self-reliant is the contrarian thing to do. Thanks to poor role models like Miley Cyrus, a hypersexualized culture, and radical feminism, young women are craving alternatives to the status quo. Many women are tired of subscribing to groupthink and seeing their femininity undermined in the name of “equality.”

What better way to break the mold than to escape to the outdoors?

Continue reading at Townhall.com.

Update I:

Miss Kansas 2013 tweeted praise for my article. (Pretty cool!)

UPDATE II:

Girls Just Wanna Have Guns reposted my column.

UPDATE III:

NRA News linked to my article.

Interview on NRA News: January 20, 2014

UPDATE IV:

RightWingNews linked my article to their site.

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Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!

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Goodbye 2013, hello 2014!

Hope everyone had a great New Year.

What a great year of personal and professional growth 2013 was. I never thought my 22nd year on Earth would be so eventful. From being featured in a headlining news story to being mentioned on Rush Limbaugh’s show to getting published in a book, I was blessed with many opportunities as a young conservative activist last year. I’m truly grateful for all that has happened to me. Thank you for the continual support!

While I’m proud to gloat in my accomplishments, they wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support from family and friends. 2013 reminded me to stay true to my roots, be diligent, and remain optimistic. I can’t thank my activist friends and friends from back home enough for making 2013 enjoyable and worthwhile.

A lot happened in 2013. I trained and met lots of right-minded students in the Northeast and started writing for notable publications like Townhall.com. (I’ll resume article writing shortly – stay tuned!) Moreover, I traveled to several states for work and fun including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and most of the Northeast. Through networking and hobnobbing, I was able to meet more conservative activists and strengthen existing friendships. And most importantly, my family and I were back together again after splitting residence between the West and East Coasts. I’m happy we’re together in the same state again!

Where do I begin with New Year’s resolutions? I, like so many of you, want to start 2014 off on a clean slate. I write down the things I want to improve upon but never follow through with them. Maybe it’s lack of effort or maybe it’s sheer laziness that prevents most of us from fulfilling our goals. It’s time for a change.

Why not be bold in 2014?

Here’s what I plan to improve upon this year:

1) Read more books: I toil with this every single year. I love reading books but never find the time to tune out from social media or my busy work schedule to dig into a good book. With the help of Goodreads, which has become my go-to organizer for books, I plan to set a goal for myself and read at least 2-4 books every month. Put down the remote and iPhones – indulge yourselves and read some good books!

2) Less technology, more reality: My friend Ashley Crouch of Verily Magazine wrote about the excessive use of social media and how it’s stifling our interpersonal interactions:

“It’s no secret that we’re spending more and more time plugged into digital outlets. But all is not rosy according to researchers from the University of Gothenberg; out of the 4,100 young adults they studied for a year, those who used computers four or more hours per day reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.”

Like so many of you who are young and career-minded, I’m guilty of wasting time on social media. I’ve realized I could put my free time to better use. I want to relish the remainder of my youth by using social media more effectively and in smaller doses. Over the last three months, I’ve toned down the amount of Facebook posts and tweets by unplugging most evenings and weekends. It’s allowed me to be less distracted overall and more attentive to friends, family, and coworkers. Don’t be that person who spends every social gathering hooked on your phone. It’s really rude and off-putting. (Some people I know are guilty of this. Guys and gals: We want our friends back!) Tune out from social media and tune into reality!

3) Travel more: I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to make frequent trips to the Northeast. I love sight-seeing in NYC and Boston whenever I get downtime from student meetings or trainings. Sometimes I travel to blogger conferences and go on family vacations. I’d love to make a return to Europe; I haven’t been since I was 8! Whether near or far, explore your surroundings. Explore historical sites around you, visit a major city, or find your nearest beach. Get outside and breath some fresh air!

4) Spend more time outdoors: Last year, I spent many weekends at the gun range and our local lake to clear my head. (It’s a curse and a blessing to live in the D.C. area, so I use every chance I get to escape Washington and go to the Virginia countryside.) I’ve become more adept at shooting guns and am working on getting my CCW license soon. Also, I discovered how unique East Coast fishing is with freshwater fishing in Northern Virginia and saltwater fishing in Ponce Inlet, FL. My goal this year is to explore more freshwater fishing spots in Virginia and to go deep sea fishing in Virginia Beach, VA. Also, I hope to go hunting for the first time this year. (We’ll see if that materializes!) If you are craving excitement and time away from technology, I highly suggest you try the aforementioned outdoor sports.

5) Always exercise: Politics can be draining and all-consuming causing us to sit for 8+ hours each day. Thankfully I rediscovered how essential exercise is with gym membership and after running my first 5K in September. (I used to play tennis in high school, so I’ve always been one to value exercise.) A dear friend of mine even convinced me to join her in running longer distances. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Practice greater personal responsibility and get in shape this year!

6) Have fun in the kitchen: Contrary to popular belief, baking and cooking aren’t oppressive. They’re actually quite enjoyable. I plan to find more time to bake desserts and cook up some of my favorite food items. After reading several food blogs last year, I want to experiment with more recipes for food, desserts, and drinks. My family generally frowned upon junk food in the house, so this shouldn’t be difficult to pull off. Ladies, channel your inner domestic goddess this year! And fellas – don’t be afraid to cook up a storm.

7) Donate to private charity: I like to support causes I believe in without coercion from the government. Last year, I made a contribution to a local pregnancy crisis center in Leesburg, VA. (I hope to contribute to more charities this year.) I wholeheartedly frown upon benefits and welfare that foster cradle to grave paternalistic government. Private charity best uplifts people. Find a charity you believe in and give back to your community!

And last but not least, this is a goal we on the Right must fulfill this year:

8) Promote and help elect constitutional conservatives in the 2014 election cycle: Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined:

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

Democrats are very vulnerable this year. The president and his administration boast high unavailability ratings, especially with the failed Obamacare roll out. We must use this to our advantage and provide a contrast to the Left’s failed policies. Alas, this won’t be easy with GOP elites and cronies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce undermining constitutional conservative candidates in primaries. I’ll do my part as a blogger and activist – column writing, tweeting, and grassroots organizing – to help elect sound conservatives to office this year. Please do yours!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to improve upon? Craft a list and follow through with your goals.

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Gabriella

Counter Cultured Article: Duck Dynasty Quacking Its Way to the Top

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I’ve penned a column at Counter Cultured about the new season premiere of Duck Dynasty on A&E. The show is truly quacktastic! Read below:

Last Wednesday, the fourth season of Duck Dynasty premiered on A&E. The hour-long season premiere documented the “Redneck Renewal” between Robertson family patriarch Phil Robertson and his wife Miss Kay. It was watched by nearly 12 million viewers–becoming the most watched nonfiction series in cable history.

What best explains this?

Duck Dynasty departs from conventional TV shows by focusing on the importance of family, outdoors sports, small business, and Judeo-Christian values–the very things that make this country great. The beard-donning Robertson men along with their sympathetic wives and good-natured brood should be celebrated in American entertainment and culture. If the Robertson family continues to expand their brand and message, we’ll be hearing less from the Kardashians. (Thank goodness!)

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.