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Pete Weighs In

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Leadhead Lovin’

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September 13, 2011

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I just couldn’t bring myself to title this “Getting’ jiggy with it,” or “The jig is up,” but yes, as you may have guessed, the theme for this entry is the lowly leadhead jig.

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 was to fish a jig more. I feel like over the past few years I’ve gotten better at catching numbers of fish, but I’m still consistently getting beaten like a rented mule on the overall size of my limits. Since many of those beatings are coming at the hands of people who are flipping, swimming, dragging or hopping jigs, I figured that an easy way to remedy that deficiency would be to stick with the jig a bit more.

I have utterly failed at this resolution (although I have largely succeeded with my other resolution – to be more honest and forthright with people – and it has gotten me into the occasional cauldron of hot water).

But there will be a chance for redemption on my November trip to the Amazon. Every peacock chaser, from the expert to the novice, dreams of catching the ornery suckers on a big prop bait. I’m no different, and I plan to work my newly-purchased assortment of eggbeaters until my arms are sore. But it was only after we booked the trip that I learned that the jig is often the savior on tough days. Not just any old jig will do, though; like everything else in the jungle, they’ve gotta have TEETH….stout hooks that won’t bend out under the pressure of a beastly tropical fish.

I ordered just under 40 of them from www.ultimatepeacockbassjigs.com. From my internet research, I determined that they’re the best looking version out there. Now I’m having some buyer’s remorse, having been told that the piranhas make short work of the skirts. The credit card will get another work out this week. It’s just a matter of figuring out how many more I need. There’s still time to salvage my resolution in a big way.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 09:32
 

Self Awareness

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September 8, 2011

During my three years of law school, which at the times felt like six years, I watched a lot of television, almost certainly to the detriment of my studies. The bottom line is that I knew more about Beavis and Butt-head than Trusts and Estates.

This has proven to be a reasonable choice. In the 16 years since I graduated, the “rule against perpetuities” has never come up in any conversation, while I’ve had multiple opportunities to cite and quote the songs and videos of artists like Sir Mix-a-Lot and GWAR.

Here’s what I liked most about the Beavis and Butt-head (can anyone explain why the latter’s name was hyphenated?) cartoon series: it was able to make fun of itself. Indeed, the very characters that they satirized were their target audience – metalheads, stoner kids and apparently law students who had too much time on their hands and watched tons of TV. Can you imagine any other corporate media entity so shamelessly (and lovingly) ridiculing those who they hoped to engage? It took cojones the size of Daria’s head to even attempt that, let alone to make it work.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:31
 

Triple-X Hookers

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September 7, 2011

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In case I haven’t mentioned it six- or eight-hundred times, the redheaded wife and I are going on a little jungle safari to Brazil in November to chase big ol’ peacock bass. Not only do I have the anticipation of the trip to keep me on my toes, but there are all sorts of tackle-buying “needs” (not just the typical “wants”) to keep me up at night. Once again, the UPS man is my friend.

We caught some smaller versions of the tropical critters last November in Miami, so we know that they’ve got Herculean strength (Note: as per my own dictum, will not make any mention or comparison to performance-enhancing drugs). This means that for most of the lures – monster prop baits, freakshow jerkbaits, etc. – we have to buy replacement hardware. The bastages are reputed to be not only super-strong, but also mean sonsabitches. Accordingly, I need split rings that could be used at a tractor pull and hooks that won’t straighten out under any circumstances, so I’ve been ordering up 4X trebles by the pallet.

Unfortunately, a little time on the internet is a dangerous thing. Poking around over the weekend I found out that 4X are far from the strongest out there. I found out that Mustad has a 5X (“extra fuerte” in their Latin American lineup), VMC has a 6X, and Daiichi has a ridiculously stout 7X (which comes in red). I never thought I’d ask this after buying up all those meat hooks, but am I a few X’s short?

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:32
 

Rule On This

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September 6, 2011

The bottom line with the recent Nate Wellman scandal-that’s-not-a-scandal is that we’ll never know exactly what happened. There are only two people – and somewhere between 1 and 10 fish – who were privy to the disputed conversation between Wellman and his co-angler and even they may not interpret what was said the same way.

To recap: Wellman, winner of the Northern Open on Lake Erie, was subsequently protested by his Day Three co-angler, allegedly for offering cash for one of that co-angler’s bass. BASS investigated the allegations, left the trophy in Wellman’s hands (along with, I assume, the Classic berth that accompanies it) but fined him $2,500 and placed him on one year’s probation (probably not double-secret probation). Is it safe to assume that any subsequent penalty during the probation period will result in an SMU-like “death penalty” for Wellman’s career or is there an incremental punishment schedule that kicks in?

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:34
 

Viva La Revolucion

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September 1, 2011

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I saw a commercial on late night TV, it said, "Forget everything you know about slipcovers." So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then the commercial tried to sell me slipcovers, and I didn't know what the hell they were.

--Mitch Hedberg

Last year I tried (unilaterally) to implement an industry-wide ban on the term “on steroids.”

Apparently it was unsuccessful, because since that time I’m sure I’ve seen numerous fishing writers compare species including redfish, Coosa River spotted bass and Erie smallmouths to “largemouths on steroids.” [Note: I remain unopposed to the use of those words in relation to Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, many NFL players and most professional wrestlers – even though I have no direct proof that any of them partook.]

Now I have a new word I want banned, or at least used much more sparingly: “Revolutionary.”

As in, “This reel/crankbait/line/stickbait/hook/outboard/tournament circuit/tournament schedule/bobber stop/knot is revolutionary.”

C’mon, when was the last time this industry experienced a revolution in any of its facets? Not saying it can’t happen, but rather that we tend to go a little overboard at times.

Just because something is different from its predecessors doesn’t make it revolutionary.

If I’ve eaten blueberry pancakes every day for breakfast for the past 20 years, each time with exactly 18 blueberries per unit, the day I decide to go up to 19 is not a revolution in pancakes. Nor would it be revolutionary if I went on an austerity plan and decreased the number of blueberries to a mere 15. Hell, even a switch to strawberries would not change breakfast as we know it.

There’s no shame in saying that your new-to-market item takes something bad and makes it good, or takes something good and makes it better. That probably doesn’t get the masses excited, but it buys you a bit of credibility.

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Wakey Wakey Kill Some Snakeys

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August 31, 2011

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Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town this weekend, which means I’ll have to miss the Potomac Snakehead Smackdown. I figured it was only a matter of time until someone started targeting these boogers. They seem to be here to stay. Not only do you see them swimming around, but they’ve become a constant nuisance to tournament anglers, tearing up perfectly good baits and taking away valuable casts.

Now the boys at whackfactor.com are turning the tables on them with a tournament that’s more than just fishing – it includes lectures, cooking demonstrations and beer tastings. I don’t know who these guys are, but they seem to have put together a pretty good program.

Yes, www.whackfactor.com is a safe website to check out from the comfort of your work station. Sounds dirty, but it’s not.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:37
 

Magical Mystery Tour: Quick Thoughts, Questions and Comments about the 2012 Elite Series Schedule

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August 30, 2011

After months of what occasionally seemed like breathless anticipation, BASS released 7/8 of the 2012 Elite Series schedule today.

I don’t know what I was waiting for – maybe a barn-burner of eight new venues – but I found the release to be altogether reasonable, if perhaps perhaps a bit boring. I’ll reserve my final judgments until I’ve had more time to digest the facts (and possibly hear pronouncements from BASS officials, anglers and other pundits).

With that said, here are my initial thoughts on the news release from Jerry and the boys, in no particular order:

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Last Updated on Thursday, 08 September 2011 12:39
 

Stop – Hammertime!

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August 30, 2011

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Where do you buy the Big Hammer Phone Book (BHPB )?

You know the one I’m talking about, the one that many tour-level pros seem to have in their possession, listing all of the top sticks on every local pond, lake, river or mud puddle around the country?

I guess you could mine the reams of tournament results from all of the popular bodies of water -- go back through the standings of every BFL, Weekend Series, Bass N Bucks and fruit jar derby from coast to coast and find out who’s taking most of their buddies’ money. That would require some interweb sleuthing, though. You’d have to dig through results, write down some numbers and then figure out who the most consistent big sticks are. Can’t we gift wrap it a little better than that?

I’m not saying all of the wrapped-and-ready pros seek out help, but a lot of them do. At the recent New Orleans Classic, at least one hot local stick was in early demand and then had to turn down a variety of late arrivals to the party once he’d committed to helping someone else out. Is it like the prom, where you can’t have two dates? If so, is it considered bad form to dump date number one if date number two is shapelier and brings a more morally casual attitude to the dance? Regardless of whether you two-time your date, is it considered bad form if after the big derby is over you continue to write letters to BassFan and other media outlets touting your own abilities?

So who are the big sticks on your pond? Not just the guys who do well consistently, but the ones who pull up at the ramp and everyone else figures they’re fishing for second place. The dudes who everyone has a cheating theory about but who clearly don’t cheat.

Seriously, I’d love to put this directory together.

Send in your nominations. If you want it to be anonymous, I can honor that request. Just don’t nominate yourself.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 08:02
 

Too Interconnected to Fail

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August 25, 2011

It makes me cringe whenever I hear someone say that a particular law/regulation/politician/policy is “good for business” or “bad for business.”

In most cases, it’s just an asinine thing to say. Business is not monolithic. Things that are good for Wal-Mart may be bad for the mom and pop store in your town. Things that are good for the small marina tackle shop may be bad for Bass Pro Shops. And something that helps a multinational conglomerate may harm a corporate empire that operates entirely within the United States.

So what is good for professional anglers?

It depends.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2011 10:19
 

I Wanna Be Sedated

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August 25, 2011

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I’ve been to war zones before in search of finned creatures and if I’m lucky I’ll go again.

Only after we booked our trip to Lake Mateos did I learn that our jumping-off point, Culiacan, was the epicenter of the Sinoloan drug cartel battles. I’d go back.

I’d also go back to Falcon any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I’d fish on the Mexican side, too, although maybe not up the Salado.

But my upcoming trip to Brazil for peacock bass will be the first time I’ve required medical attention (other than psychiatric help) for my fishing addiction.

I’m on day three of a four-day anti-typhoid pill regime. I’ll take the prescriptions for anti-malarial drugs to the pharmacy tonight. And I’ve started my series of vaccinations. Got the yellow fever preventer on Monday, along with the first of three shots aimed at preventing hepatitis A and B.

I asked the doc, and he said there are no preventative measures for Bieber fever, though. I’m a bit worried.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2011 08:14
 


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