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Pete Weighs In


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I Wish I Had a Pencil-Thin Mustache

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January 27, 2015


Even if you’ve never been to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you’ve probably encountered someone in a flannel shirt and skinny jeans, sporting a carefully-but-not-too-carefully groomed beard, drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon and eating an arugula, goat cheese and pesto sandwich with a bit of artisanal mayonnaise.  Their species: Urban Hipster.

Over time, you’ll notice that among the semi-ironic clothing choices that these young bohemians frequently make is the trucker hat, and more and more I’m seeing them sporting a foam Bass Pro Shops hat with a mesh back. All over the country, people who can’t tell a flipping jig from a swim jig are mockingly repping the Log House that Johnny Built. Keep your eyes open and I guarantee you’ll see it.

As I thought about this, at first it bothered me that our ilk was being made fun of. The more I considered it, though, the more I realized that no one should ever feel sorry for Johnny Morris. I don’t know if he likes indie rock or gluten-free muffins, but at $5.95 per hat he’ll take that to the bank on his Vespa all day long.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 07:23

More Twisted Than Your Sister

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January 26, 2015


It’s silly season in Basslandia, but up until now there have been more sponsors reported lost than gained. That’s why it was cool to hear last week that 44 year old Elite Series rookie Brandon Coulter signed a big’un – Twisted Tea. In a land where every company seems to be betting on the next prodigy or going with the steady returns of the old veterans, it’s nice to hear that someone in my middle-aged peer group is getting recognized.

I have no idea what Twisted Tea is paying him, or how the deal came about, or why Twisted Tea chose Coulter in particular. I do know that the stuff tastes pretty good and just writing this blog entry made me crave one.

I also suppose that he’s going to get hit up for free samples as a result of his wrap more than any other angler since B.A.S.S. discontinued the Cialis boat.

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Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 09:10

Picachos 2015 – The Grass is Always Greener

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January 23, 2015


You’d think that three-plus days of triple digit fish catches would satisfy my need to get bit. Not only could we catch them at will at Picachos, but we could do it pretty much on any lure we wanted. Of course, as any bass fisherman worth his Basil Bacon Decoder Ring will tell you: it’s not the last bite that counts, it’s the next bite that counts.

If we catch an 8-pounder, we want a 10. Catch a 10-pounder, you’re sorry that it’s not 12. Win a tournament by a narrow margin, and we’re sad that we didn’t blow the rest of the field away. Keeping up with that spirit, I regret that we didn’t stay three more days and fish El Salto, too. Our friends Duncan Maccubbin and Amber Phillips made that wise decision, and they’re glad that they did. Not only did they get to avoid the mid-Atlantic cold for a few more days, but they also got to whack on some big’uns. Each session (morning and afternoon for three and a half days) they had at least one fish over 7 pounds, including Amber’s new personal best, the 8-04 pictured above. Memo to self: a short trip is better than none, more days is always better when it comes to fishing in Mexico.

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Last Updated on Friday, 23 January 2015 09:39

Picachos 2015 – Service Truly is Their Focus

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January 21, 2015


Anglers Inn’s longstanding motto is “Service is Our Focus.” Until you’ve actually been there, though, it’s hard to understand what that really means. It’s not just a saying – it’s an attitude and effort that starts at the top and permeates every rung of the organization. Bartenders run instead of walking to bring you the next margarita, usually before your glass goes dry. The guides are truly upset if they can’t get back the deep diving crankbait you hung in a tree 20 feet under the service. Even the van drivers to and from the airport are constantly inquiring about your comfort.

Therefore it should have come as no surprise to us that even the new employees at Picachos had the service ethos drilled into them. When our guide Modesto learned how much we were enjoying the lodge’s corn tortillas, he promised us something even better – the ones his wife made at home. Poor Mrs. Modesto had to get up at some godawful pre-pre-dawn hour each day for the rest of our trip to make them for us – and they were absolutely delicious. We kind of got the feeling that if we’d asked for Kung Pao chicken he might’ve called General Tso himself.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 January 2015 08:04

Picachos 2015 – The Price You Pay

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January 20, 2015


The two biggest fish of our three-day stay at Picachos came waking ¾ ounce War Eagle spinnerbaits around and over flooded timber. As I’ve blogged before, I’m a big fan of the War Eagle products – not only do they attract a lot of fish, but they tend to stand up to a beating. Catch a fish on one, straighten it out, bend it back, and more often than not it’ll run perfectly true again.

Unfortunately, there are few spinnerbugs that can stand up to the fury of Picachos and its inhabitants. My friend Duncan Maccubbin relied almost exclusively on the War Eagles and a few hundred fish later has the broken lures to show for it, as well as some hooksetting bruises to remind him of the fiercest largemouths on earth.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 14:56

Picachos 2015 – Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end?

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January 19, 2015


In her brief and semi-illustrious fishing career, the Redheaded Wife has been fortunate to experience a lot of “firsts” – first topwater fish, first 20 pound limit, first 9 pounder, and so on. Those are the ones we remember and the ones we celebrate. But just as into each life some rain must fall, so too must every reel experience a backlash in order to be truly broken in. In other words, there are negative firsts, too – first lost big fish, first time you stuff a wave, and so on.

Red got one of those bad firsts last week at Picachos, when she pulled a rookie maneuver on the water. We’d probably caught 70 or 80 fish already that session, when a 2 pounder whacked the snot out of her spinnerbait close to the boat. Two cranks of the handle and the fish was within a foot or so of the rod tip. She tried to swing it, high sticking the fish into the boat, and the result was a sickening snap. One Skeet Reese rod, now useful only as a tomato stake in our garden.

Fortunately, she’s got seven more yeller rods, and maybe this little bit of misfortune will prevent her from making bigger and costlier mistakes down the road.

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 January 2015 15:23

Picachos 2015 – Courtesy of the Red & Blue

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January 16, 2015


As I wrote yesterday, Picachos presents the perfect opportunity to throw all of those lures you always meant to try but never did. Such was the case with the red Chatterbait (a “Revenge Viberator,” to be precise) that I bought in some tackle store between here and the Pacific Ocean five or six years ago.

By the time I decided to try it out, I was running low on suitable trailers, and I definitely didn’t have anything matching. Not wanting to throw it “naked,” I picked up the tail end of a black and blue 10-inch worm someone had left in the bottom of the boat.

My guide Modesto, whose English was only slightly better than my very limited Spanish, had a choice English word for this Frankenlure. I can’t repeat it on this family-friendly website. His mind might’ve been changed when it brought back a bass on the first cast. And then another. And another. And so on. I’d never before put a worm on the back of this style of lure, but to tell you the truth it looked downright sexy. I might have learned something.

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Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 09:55

Picachos 2015 – Spending Some Time in the Laboratory

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January 15, 2015


Before we departed for our recent trip to Mexico’s Lake Picachos, I’d heard the stories about two anglers averaging 150 bass a day, and some pairs claiming to catch nearly 300, thumbs be damned. I figured there was probably an exaggeration factor of at least 50 percent, which is still pretty good, but nothing in this sport can be that easy, can it?

Yes it can. Yes we can.

After three and a half days of fishing at this bass angler’s amusement park, I can honestly say it’s that good. I’m not claiming that the fish will hit a rubber dog turd, but I wouldn’t put it past them. Our group of seven fished just about every category of bass lure known to man and caught bass on pretty much anything within reason.

You can go and just enjoy the bite, but if you’re a semi-Type A personality like me, even your vacations have to have some kind of purpose. Accordingly, I tried to figure out what type or types of lures I wanted to get bit on but never had, and fished those for at least part of every day. I’m admittedly pretty scared of the big bait phenomenon and swimbaits generally, so that was one area of focus. In particular, I wanted to get a handle on how to fish the Bull Shad, made by my friend Mike Bucca. It’s not quite a monster big bait, but it’s far heftier than anything I usually throw. I’d heard from numerous pros about how deadly it was and I needed a quick course in confidence.

It took all of one cast to entice a strike and they kept chewing on it thereafter.

I’d say that I need to get some painted in a tilapia pattern, but apparently they liked Mike’s “factory” paint jobs just fine. Every bite at Picachos was a thrill, but those Bull Shad strikes are the ones that I’ll remember most.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 08:33

I Paid Retail (and I’m glad I did) – Jump Around

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January 13, 2015


I am a big fan of batteries that run. That’s why I spend lots of money on good ones for all of my vehicles, boats, tractors and other gadgets. Nevertheless, you can be pretty much certain that at some point during the year you are going to be around a battery failure, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Either they leave a car door ajar, or they didn’t get a good charge, or else the damn things just crap out. Therefore I’m a jumper cable junkie, with multiple sets scattered throughout my possessions.

I also typically carry a jumper box in my tow vehicle. I can’t tell you how many times it’s come in handy. Nearly as many times, however, it has disappointed me. Either it didn’t hold a charge over a long period of time, or else it simply didn’t have the juice to get something going. Also, the things are just plain heavy and unwieldy. Accordingly, I was pretty excited to hear about this new gadget from NOCO Genius, the GB30 boost pack. It weighs just over a pound, seems pretty much idiot proof (I haven’t learned this firsthand, but I’m guessing that sparks around batteries and gas tanks are a bad deal), and will power not just a dead car/boat/tractor battery, but also anything that connects to a USB – and I have an increasing number of those these day. I've had NOCO Genius onboard chargers in my last two boats, and to date they've operated flawlessly. At just over a hundred bucks, this seemed like a pretty good investment. It may not save my bacon, but I bet I'll be bailing someone out with it before 2015 is up.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:59

....And I'm All Outta Gum

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January 7, 2014


There are a great many quality topwater poppers on the market today, including of course Yamamoto's Shibuki, but I still have a fondness for the old Sugoi Splash. I've got a few stashed away because years on the water have told me that they work, even when the paint is ground down and the original hooks are long gone. All of the ones I've seen in person have either been natural shades or chromed finishes, but check out this one I found on ebay from Japan in shocking pink.

My late friend Alden P. "Colvo" Colvocoresses -- a man who couldn't wear a tournament jersey because there was no room for his entire name on the back -- used to swear by a bubblegum-colored Pop-R on the Potomac. I've heard of one ultra-successful pro who made people swear not to tell that he uses an equally bubblelicious pink trailer on his black and blue jigs. And of course my friend Kevin "K-Pink" Short has made a career out of exploiting the color that Aerosmith sang about.

I don't really need it, but need has never been the guiding force behind my tackle purchases. It's all about want, and right now I want to fire up the old PayPal account and add this one to the collection.

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