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Pete Weighs In


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Be sure to check the "Article Archive" on the home page for blogs prior to 2010. There's a mess of 'em!

Brazil Prep -- Situational Skivvies

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September 22, 2011


Two years ago, as we anticipated a trip to Mexico’s Lake El Salto, I bought my wife what I thought was a thoughtful gift – a pair of panties. They weren’t lacy or revealing or otherwise meant to tempt the libido – it wasn’t THAT type of gift. Instead, they were Ex Officio’s Give-N-Go bikinis, which the packaging said were “travel-friendly,” “moisture-wicking” and “quick drying.” Supposedly these overachieving underwear could be washed in the sink and air-dried faster than a gar can skin a minnow.

I figured that the addition of these undergarments to her wardrobe meant that we’d have more room for big Senkos, Fat Free Shads and Zara Spooks in our luggage. That idea was shot down almost immediately. She had to have her full complement of drawers with her, no negotiations allowed, no arguments considered.

Fortunately we had plenty of room in our luggage for lures. If I’d been short even a worm weight on that trip I would never have forgiven her. I would have mercilessly compared her to Lovey Howell from “Gilligan’s Island,” who brought along 17 steamer trunks of clothing for a three hour tour.

But now that we’re going to Brazil we’re in a gen-u-ine luggage crunch. You see, the third leg of our journey will be on a float plane, limited to eight people and 44 pounds of luggage per person. That’s TOTAL luggage – not just your big bag, but your carry-on items, too – reels, camera equipment, all that good stuff. Even if I thought I could get away with more weight, I don’t think it would be a good idea. While the plane by definition is a floater, we really don’t need any troubles getting off the ground or any premature landings amongst perplexed Amazonians.

So now the shoe’s on the other foot, so to speak [I tried to come up with an underwear-related analogy, but they were all either NC17 or just a bit off].

Being the giving, caring sort of person that I am (and also very much a person who is afraid of plunging to my death in the jungle), I bought not just one, but two pairs of these specialized underwear. The boxer shorts, that is, not the bikinis that left Red so underwhelmed – I’m not a banana hammock kind of guy. They promise to do laundry back at camp every day, and I’ll certainly bring some other more conventional boxers along, but I think these anti-microbial wonders may end up being the unsung heroes of our trip.


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Brazil Prep -- Who Dat?

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September 21, 2011


I've been eating my spinach, but unless you've been on a six-month Paul Elias type kneel-and-reel exercise regime, I'm guessing no man can continously rip big Woodchoppers for six and half days. Peacocks like their baits presented fast and in 90 degree temperatures that's going to require every little bit of help I can get to keep going. Thus I was excited when my friend Cal Shew told me about the handmade prop baits from K Lures (www.klures.com). He said they have every bit as much action as the originals, but don't resist quite as much. That means more pullng time for Pete.

Based on Cal's recommendation, I immediately shot an email to K Lures owner, Kermett Adams, who proved to be a delight to work with. He said that there might be a backlog of the lures I wanted, yet they still showed up at my door in about a week, ready to rip straight out of the package -- good, strong hardware and great paint jobs. One other little touch I liked is that he inscribed my name along the bottom of the tail end of each lure -- why shouldn't my lures match my underwear and my tournament jersey? Either way, Mr. Peacock will remember my name.


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Brazil Prep – Balboa

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September 20, 2011


As I wrote a few days ago, I’m going to be severely disappointed if we don’t catch some big peacock bass on topwaters when the redheaded wife and I venture to the Amazon in a few weeks. We may end up whacking the snot out of them on jigs or other subsurface baits, but that’s kind of like going to a great steakhouse and settling for a salad and a piece of fish – even if they’re good, they’re not quite the main attraction.

My friends from TackleTour.com made a similar trip last year (in fact it catalyzed my decision to go) and struggled to get on a good topwater bite. But when they did, the key bait was a big ol’ Luhr-Jensen Woodchopper in the black and red pattern known as “Rocky.” Their reports featured pics of one poor bait that looked just like Sylvester Stallone after 15 rounds with both Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang – paint chipped, hook hangers pulled out, looking very much like it had been rode hard and put away wet.

That’s the goal on this trip, to take some lures to the point of exhaustion.

Accordingly, once we booked the trip last November my first Ebay purchase was the grande-sized Woodchopper with a Rocky paint job.

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Check Out My New Michael Vick Signature Series Crankbait

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September 19, 2011

About a decade ago, a prominent Bassmaster writer referred to one northeastern pro as “the Yankee even the other Yankees don’t like.”

It’s pretty safe to assume the pro in question was Mike Iaconelli, and while he’s certainly engendered a fair amount of hatred over the years, some of it spurred on by very public lapses in judgment, the analysis doesn’t hold up: Most people who’ve met Ike think he’s pretty damn likeable and he has a lot of friends from both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

But let’s suppose for a moment that he or some other top-flight bass pro were truly a hideous human being. Would that be so bad for the sport? Stupid question? Maybe. But I’m not so sure. If we really cared about generating interest in professional bass fishing, does the presence of a competitor who is widely reviled serve that purpose better than having a full field of swell fellas?

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2011 08:45

Brazil Prep -- Dry Flies for All My Men

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September 18, 2011


We may end up catching all of our fish in Brazil on jigs, jerkbaits or glide baits (there's a category your average bass angler doesn't regularly use), but no one DREAMS of catching big peacock bass on subsurface baits. In my sleep, and when daydreaming at my desk, all of the images my slightly off-kilter brain conjures up are of big colorful fish smashing topwater baits. Accordingly, in the 10 months since we booked our trip I've amassed a bunch of big surface bombs to deploy in the Amazon. Where necessary, I've swapped out the hooks with stouter models.

The Falcon bass smoke a topwater pretty hard. When the fish at El Salto crush a popper, the strike resembles nothing so much as a piano falling out of the sky. I'm expecting big things from these tropical fish.

I hope to come back with some paintless baits, stout hooks strained but not straightened.

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Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2011 06:15

Polly Want a Cracker….Poly Catch a Cheater?

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September 16, 2011


[Reprinted courtesy of our good friends at Bass East – www.basseast.com – check ‘em out.]

In the days since the Nate Wellman controversy first surfaced, there has been substantial outcry from fishing fans that he should have been penalized more severely for his “joking” statements to his co-angler.

Some have argued that he should have lost his day’s catch. Others assert that he should be DQed from the tournament. Either of those penalties, of course, would cost him his berth in the upcoming Bassmaster Classic. Still others believe that he should be banned from tournament fishing altogether, either temporarily or permanently.

While the members of this squeaky-wheel contingency may favor differing penalties, they’re all in agreement that this was a systemic failure. Many believe that this crisis, and others, could have been remedied (either prospectively or retroactively) had a polygraph test been required of Wellman. Indeed, no less a figure than Ray Scott has suggested that Wellman should “contact B.A.S.S. and insist that they give him a polygraph.”

Bassmaster Open rules do indeed provide for a polygraph in some situations (see, http://www.bassmaster.com/sites/default/files/imce/Opens_Rules_2011.pdf). Rule 3(vii) reads, in pertinent part

(vii) Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director immediately any violation or infraction of any tournament rules. Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that they violated these rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms, will be cause for disqualification. OFFICIAL PROTESTS MUST BE FILED IN WRITING AND ALL PARTIES OF INTEREST WILL BE PROVIDED A COPY.By his/her signature on the official tournament entry form, each competitor agrees to submit to a polygraph examination and abide by its conclusion should he/she be accused of any rule violation. The BASS Tournament Director, rules committee, or such person designated by the Tournament Director, shall have the discretion to determine the need for a polygraph examination. The BASS Tournament Director or his/her designee shall be responsible for selecting an independent expert to administer and interpret the results and establishing, in consultation with the expert administrator, the scope of the questions which may be asked during the polygraph examination. The BASS Tournament Director, or his/her designee, shall attempt to have the location of such polygraph examination as close in proximity to the angler’s permanent address, or such other mutually convenient location as possible. The competitor shall make himself/herself available at the location selected by the Tournament Director and shall cooperate in all respects with such examination. Anglers taking a polygraph examination may be responsible for any and all costs incurred.

OK, so the rule exists. But I’m not sure that the use of a polygraph would help in the Wellman situation specifically or as a general matter. I’m not necessarily saying it won’t but the idea that you make a guy take a polygraph and that results in 100 percent certainty seems to have a few holes.

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Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 10:14

Leadhead Lovin’

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September 13, 2011


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


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

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