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Old 09-16-2020, 09:16 AM
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Doug Vitale Doug Vitale is offline
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Default A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

With a heavy heart and in deep respect I must announce the passing of my father, Bruce Vitale, known affectionately by his friends and on this board as "Cuz". Though always tough and resilient, his time had undoubtedly come and he passed on 9/12/20.

Bruce learned to fish on Catfish Pond (Blairstown) while a Boy Scout in the late 1950s. After returning from the Navy in 1966 and settling in the Green Brook/North Plainfield area, he struck up friendships with many sportsmen who passed their knowledge on to him. Over the following decades Bruce spent thousands of hours in New Jersey's woods, fields, lakes, streams and coastline. He also fished and hunted quite often in Pennsylvania, New York State, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Maine, and New Brunswick, Canada.

During the 70s, 80s and 90s Bruce was a beagler and frequently pursued rabbits and pheasants, and he often attended beagle trials. He was taught this skill by an aged hunter, Herbert Hannah, who lived on what is now the Bamboo Brook Outdoor Educational Center in Far Hills where the two of them hunted.

He was frequently seen at Ray's Sport Shop and Efinger Sporting Goods where he had many friends and acquaintances. He was a member of the Jersey Coast Angler's Association. Over the decades his outdoor exploits were often mentioned in newspapers such as the Star-Ledger and Courier-News.

While a resident of Warren Township, Bruce pushed for and became the main organizer of that town's annual fishing derby for children. From 1985 - 2019 he annually stocked the Dealaman Pond and taught hundreds of kids (and their parents) how to tie lines, bait hooks and cast. See for example:

Warren Township Recreation Department's 34th Annual Fishing Derby

32nd Annual Fishing Derby With Bruce Vitale

Most importantly to me, as a child Bruce often took me fishing and scouting in the woods for new hunting spots. Together we fished several ponds, Spruce Run, Lake Hopatcong and Round Valley (as a matter of fact, he was the first ever ice fisherman on Round Valley). When I was eight he took me on a week-long vacation in New Brunswick, CA where we stayed in a cabin on Lake Magaguadavic.

As I got older he taught me how to fish for trout in streams, ice fish, and often took me out in the ocean either on his boat or on party boats. He also taught me how handle firearms and hunt deer and small game. All of these experiences infused me with a deep affection and respect for nature.

The fellowship he enjoyed with his sportsmen buddies was undoubtedly one of the foundations of his life. Dozens of these men have already passed away and dozens remain.

I am making this post not just to help memorialize him and commemorate his achievements, but also to inspire all sportsmen who read these words to continue enjoying the woods and water, and to keep learning and honing their skills. Life's pressures can chip away at the time we devote to hobbies. Since being outdoors is undoubtedly very important for people's overall well-being, it's really important to keep setting aside time to be outside doing what we love. Despite pain that would leave most men bedridden or on the couch, over the past several years Bruce took many fishing and hunting trips although he was severely physically weakened.

I request that when you next go fishing, please make your first cast in Bruce's memory; he would be flattered and honored by that. As he would say - tight lines to you all!

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Old 09-16-2020, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

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Old 09-16-2020, 09:45 AM
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Hookmanski Hookmanski is offline
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

A beautiful tribute, my next cast will undoubtedly be in his honor. Rest in peace Bruce!
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

He will be missed, my condolences.
A very sweet and honest man, always looked forward to his reports on NJF.
From one sailor to another we say, "wishing you fair winds and following seas."
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

My condolences,
I think one of the first spots my dad brought me to was Dealaman Pond in warren township.
I still remember that day with my siblings. That pond is a blast to fish and very fun, relaxing, and gentle for the youngest of new anglers. I thank Bruce for contributing to that pond Tight lines, my next cast will be in his honor.
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:44 PM
Capt. Lou Capt. Lou is offline
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

Well said Doug as you know we spent hundreds of hours on the water on both salt and fresh ! He never wanted to quit many time we would be 25 miles or more to my dock and returned in pitch dark often !
Hard fisherman , and his never complain ,never quit attitude allowed him in the past few years to overcome severe discomfort brought on by his progressing illness to keep going !
Rest In Peace my buddy of 50 years of fishing enjoyment . I hope there always biting!

Last edited by Capt. Lou; 09-17-2020 at 06:40 AM..
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:19 PM
RWole RWole is offline
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

A great tribute ! I am sure there are many Anglers out there that will dedicate their next cast to him ad are thankful that they know how to fish hanks to his teachings. I will be taking part in this tribute!!! The world needs more people like him and is a better place thanks to him.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:54 PM
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Gerry Zagorski Gerry Zagorski is offline
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

WHAT????!!! I can't believe this... Fished with your Dad a few times and always enjoyed his company at our NJfishing.com Christmas parties...

Still have the dollar I won from him on a winter ling trip.. I was trying for tog and he says "anyone can catch a tog, not everyone can catch a ling" I said "you want to bet?" I got a ling before him and the resulting dollar I practically had to pry out of his hands

Thoughts and prayers to you and your family and RIP Cuz, you were one of kind.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

My condolences. He sounded like a great man and sportsman. My next cast will certainly be dedicated to him.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:58 PM
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Parker Joe Parker Joe is offline
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Default Re: A legendary NJ outdoorsman has passed!

Very sorry for your loss, my condolences to you and family.
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