Angling Right: Gear Up for Fishing Season!

Who else is excited for fishing season to start up again? I know I am!

I’ll be returning to the water this Sunday. (Post to follow!)

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Last spring, I launched a series of blog posts called “Angling Right” to help generate interest in fishing among members of my generation. I’m happy it’s been well-received by my fellow Millennial anglers and those curious about becoming anglers!

Starting March 15th, this Sunday, fishing weather in Virginia is slated to be off-the-hook (pun-intended)!

Need more reasons to go fishing? Take Me Fishing’s Debbie Henson explains below:

  1. Fishing is a physical activity that can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. The sports of fishing and boating encourage you to use your arms to cast and your legs to walk from one spot to another or to steady yourself on the boat deck.
  1. Fishing uses brain power. When you start getting into fishing, you use brain power to research things like tides, weather, water conditions and areas of structure. Every time you go fishing, you can learn something new.
  1. Fishing can give you a rush of happiness that is much more sustainable than a sugar rush. When you catch a big fish, you are on “cloud nine” for days, and smile from ear to ear every time you think about the good fishing memories you have made.
  1. The feelings of accomplishment that come from learning new fishing skills are sweeter. Think about how good it feels when you master a new skill. When you learn how to throw a cast net or tie a new fishing knot, you get those sweet feelings of accomplishment and success.

I couldn’t agree more!

Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a lot of untapped fishing spots to explore.  This may sound sacrilegious to write, but I’ve found more fishing opportunities here in Virginia than in Southern California. (Sorry, home state!)  I’ve been doing extensive research on local fishing spots to see which ones are good and have optimal returns on investment. Luckily for my family and I, there are plenty of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans spots to choose from within a 50 mile radius–even as close as two miles!

Here are some places I’ll be visiting and/or blogging about this fishing season:

  • Riverbend Park – Great Falls, VA (Loudon County): This fishing spot is located just north of Great Falls Park in McLean/Great Falls, VA. This area is known for its hiking spots plus decent fishing. Crappie, perch, and small bass are common
  • Pohick Bay – Lorton, VA (Prince William County): Pohick Bay is located in Prince William County, which neighbors Fairfax County to the southwest.
  • Little Hunting Creek – Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County): This is my new favorite fishing spot. It’s easily accessible and is a unique body of water since it’s the intersection of the Potomac River and Little Hunting Creek. My dad and I have caught catfish, eel, and perch/small bass here. People reportedly catch largemouth bass and shad (herring) here.
  • Occoquan Reservoir – Occoquan, VA (Prince William County): I also discovered and fell in love with this fishing spot last year. It’s huge and surrounded by beautiful nature. Plus, the fish there actively bite.
  • Naples, FL – I look forward to deep-sea or backwater fishing here later this year.

I hope you join in on some fishy fun this year! If you haven’t gone fishing before, it’s never too late to start.

Check out Take Me Fishing, Field and Stream, North American Fishing, Keep America Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Gander Mountain to get started.

Do you plan to fish this year or introduce someone to fishing? Comment below!

New Counter Cultured: Take Your Valentine Fishing

I’ve penned a new blog post up at Counter Cultured today called, “Take Your Valentine Fishing This Year.” Below is an excerpt:

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Though love can be celebrated any day of the year, why not make this February 14th especially memorable?

As many couples scramble to plan innovative dates, they shouldn’t feel obligated to watch films like Fifty Shades of Grey. A film that promotes sadism, narcissism, and sexism doesn’t bring couples together. Other activities do.

On that token, I recommend all those celebrating Valentine’s Day go fishing if weather permitted.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Happy 2015!

nye 2015

Welcome to 2015, everyone! Hope you had a great and restful holiday season.

In the spirit of making (and fulfilling) New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll continue to use this platform-my personal blog-on a more regular basis. Without getting too personal here -I’m proud to say I’ve successfully maintained some semblance of privacy in the digital age- I’ll blog about my travels, conservative things, fishing/guns/hunting, D.C. happenings, and culture.

What are my 2015 resolutions?

  • Travel more in the U.S. and aboard
  • Go on more fishing trips and take friends with me
  • Spend more time outdoors
  • Shoot more guns
  • (Finally) learn how to hunt
  • Cook/bake more
  • Read more books
  • Spend quality time with good friends
  • Get involved with the local American-Lithuanian community more
  • Do my part to better the conservative movement.

(Who knows – maybe I’ll be in for some wonderful surprises this year!)

Additionally, I hope to meet more of my fellow young conservatives this year! There are two upcoming opportunities to meet and chat: First, I’ll be speaking at Maryland Citizen Action Network’s Turning the Tides conference in Annapolis, MD on January 10, 2015. Second, I’ll be blogging LIVE at SHOTShow in Las Vegas, NV from January 19-22, 2015. Hope to connect with many of you at these two functions! For those of you attending college in the Northeast: I’d love to meet with you on campus and help you start conservative/libertarian groups! (Contact me here.)

As I enter my 24th year in life, I will continue to do my part to help make a difference locally (NoVA), statewide (VA), and nationally. You will find my musings here, at Counter Cultured, at A Taste of Patriarchy, at Townhall.com, and hopefully at Richmond Times-Dispatch again in 2015! Looking to make a difference this year? Take a Leadership Institute training in D.C. or in your town to get started!

Want to be connected more? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. (Just don’t be a creeper.)

Happy New Year!

Best,

Gabriella

All-American Girl for the Restoration of Values

Happy 5th Birthday to My Blog!

Hello readers!

On December 24, 2009, I decided to launch a personal blog where I could share my political musings with friends and fellow activists. Little did I know that it would help launch me as a conservative activist and blogger. Thank you to everyone who has read or shared my blog pieces over the last five years. I look forward to writing more about politics, guns, fishing, and other interesting topics! Here’s to many more years of blogging.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Gabriella
All-American Girl for the Restoration of Values

Angling Right: Deep-Sea Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

Hello readers! This is my final fishing post of 2014. I just returned from sunny Florida and am excited to share details about my recent trip.

We decided on Ft. Lauderdale for many reasons, especially for its world-class fishing. While most of the country experiences colder weather and grim fishing conditions in December, Florida bucks the trend and remains consistently warm. After looking at TripAdvisor, glancing over Ft. Lauderdale fishing charters, and seeing who catches the most fish, my dad and I opted to go fishing with Fishing Headquarters on their “Catch My Drift” head boat. (FYI: Fort Lauderdale is a neat place to visit. I highly recommend you go!)

The staff aboard “Catch My Drift” were friendly and helpful. Despite fishing lines getting tangled, drift fishing doesn’t deviate from conventional saltwater fishing that much. (“Drift” fishing doesn’t leave a boat anchored, therefore you drift.) Fishing Headquarters’ social media outlets showcased lots of fishing pictures, so we assumed big game fish were actively biting. Despite warm weather and tame wind conditions, our return on fishing wasn’t as fruitful as we had hoped. My dad caught a decent 20-inch filefish (which he later fried) and I sadly ended up with nothing more than a few bites.

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Here’s my dad with his 20-inch filefish. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch anything.

One popular saying suggests a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work. Fishing is not simply about catching fish–although it would be nice to land some fish. The late president Herbert Hoover once famously opined, “Fishing is much more than fish.  It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” Fishing brings one peace of mind, promotes tranquility, and provides quality bonding time with loved ones.

Before going deep-sea fishing in Fort Lauderdale, take the following into account:

1) If you decide to fish on “Catch My Drift,” purchase a half-day ticket priced at $40.00. This price includes bait, tackle, one-day saltwater fishing license, rod, and reel. Trips are offered three times a day all year-round. If you find a Fort Lauderdale coupon book, you can even save $5.00 off your ticket!

2) If you’re prone to motion sickness, have Dramamine on hand. Take it an hour before you board the head boat. It’ll spare you sea sickness!

3) Wear some sunscreen. Florida is a warm, tropical climate–so protect yourself from the powerful rays!

4) Use heavier weights for drift fishing. The lighter the weight, the less likely you’ll feel bites on your rod.

5) Pack a lunch and some water. Your stomach (and wallet) will thank you.

6) Have your camera handy. You never know what fish you’ll catch or sea creatures you’ll encounter!

7) Enjoy time out on the water. Breathe in the salty air, take in your surroundings, and deplug. Trust me, it’s worth it!

As 2014 comes to a close, things are looking up on the fishing front for 2015. I’ll be revisiting some of my favorite local spots here in Virginia and will hopefully explore some new ones too! Stay tuned for some more “Angling Right” posts in the coming months.

Merry Fishmas and Happy New Year!

Bucking the Trend on Halloween: #FlannelFriday-Inspired Costume

There’s this bizarre expectation for women to wear “sexy” costumes every Halloween. There’s the “sexy” maid, “sexy” nurse, “sexy” witch, “sexy” whatever. “Sexy” suggests one has to be provocative, sleazy, or slutty (oooo, I said a dirty word!). Why can’t sexiness be seen in being wholesome, creative, and modest? (And no–don’t assume this means you have to be frumpy!)

Admittedly, I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I was 18 during my freshman year of college. I feel as if I’ve outgrown the holiday as I’ve gotten older. However, a work-related party calls for dressing up. (Why not have fun?) So I decided to channel a #FlannelFriday look for my office party today.

Happily bucked the #Halloween trend and dressed up as a female angler. American flag, fish net, and boots in tow. #FlannelFriday

A photo posted by Gabriella Hoffman (@gabriella_hoffman) on

Can you guess what I am? (Hint: it involves fishing!) Why did I choose this outfit? It’s comfortable, it’s classy, and it reflects who I am as an individual: an outdoorsy girl to the core.

Girls who fish are cuter than girls who twerk, they say. #vscocam #girlswhofish #flannelfriday #HappyHalloween

A photo posted by Gabriella Hoffman (@gabriella_hoffman) on

I have to give credit to Bass Pro Shops for inspiring this Halloween getup:

There are other fantastic DIY Halloween costume ideas out there from others who are FAR more creative than I am.

I love reading fashion blogger and fellow OC native Lauren Conrad’s blog posts, especially her Halloween posts. She designs classy costumes each year and really outdid herself with a mermaid costume this year. Verily Magazine also profiled some great Halloween costume ideas in a post “Clever No-Sew Halloween Costume Ideas.

Are “sexy” Halloween costumes passe? Do they tire you? Weigh in below.

Happy Halloween!

Go Where the Wild Things Are With the Help of Outdoor Retailers

gab cabela's

 

Last week, I made my first trip to Cabela’s in Delaware after assisting University of Delaware’s newly-forming gun club at their Criminals for Gun-Free Zones event . This Cabela’s store is the closest location to the D.C. metro area, so I couldn’t resist making a pit stop there.

While some women go crazy for shoes, I – like so many others – go crazy for outdoor gear and supplies. (Don’t fret–I like fashion as much as the next girl, but there’s much more utility in the latter.)

I’ve been aware of this outdoor retailer for several years and have followed their activities over social media. Prior to Friday, I had only ventured to Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, MD  which is just outside of Baltimore, MD. (Sadly, back in California, the closest Bass Pro Shop was located several hours away from Orange County, while Cabela’s hasn’t open shop in the formerly Golden State yet.) Now that I live in Virginia, I can choose from three nearby Bass Pro Shops locations (Hanover, MD; Hampton, VA; and Ashland, VA) and two future Cabela’s stores in 2015 (Bristol, VA)  and 2016 (Henrico, VA).

As a recreational female angler, Bass Pro is certainly a better fit for me since it caters to fishing more. However, fishing is a gateway activity that has lead me to embrace guns–I expect hunting to follow suit! As a proponent of free markets, I like consumer choice and will shop at Cabela’s too.

“Go fish and hunt far and wide day by day – farther and wider – and rest three by many brooks and hearth-sides without misgiving. Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures. Let the noon find three by other lakes, and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. There are no larger fields than these, no worthier games than may here be played.” – Henry David Thoreau

Though colder weather is imminent, get outfitted with the latest clothing and  fishing/hunting accessories, or just explore these outdoor retailers for fun.

Fellow D.C. area transplants who fish and hunt: do you plan to visit Bass Pro or future Caleba’s shops here? Weigh in below!