Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 11:57
September 14, 2010
Talk about pressure -- imagine you're a cat living on death row, caged heat hoping for a better life. If you don't act cute and get adopted, the Texans have another plan to put you to use. According to these juxtaposed signs, they'll put you on the smoker for 8-12 hours and serve you on butcher paper.
Setpember 13, 2010
C'mon, what are the chances that someone named Bubba drives a Prius?
I'm told that former Inside Line editor Jerry "Bubba" Puckett drove a Yugo at some point in the 80s, but we try not to advertise that around here.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 September 2010 09:37
September 10, 2010
GEORGE COSTANZA: It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong. Everywhere.
WAITRESS : Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.
GEORGE COSTANZA: Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing's ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast. Chicken salad, on rye, un-toasted with a side of potato salad ... and a cup of tea. (laughs)
Here’s how I know I had a good time this past week in Texas — I turned down an opportunity to go to Cabela’s.
The company has one of it’s stores in Buda (pronounced (“b-YOU-da”), just south of Austin. We passed it on our way to San Antonio on Friday, again on the way home, and once again on Monday. Each time the redheaded wife offered to stop and each time, despite my natural tendencies, I declined.
I probably wouldn’t have been so willing had there been a small mom-and-pop shop, but normally I can’t pass a tackle store of any size or ilk, so all I can conclude is that I was content (or that I was suffering from a case of transient amnesia).
Complicating the diagnosis somewhat is the fact that the wife was looking for a new pair of boots and that quest took us to several western wear stores. She bought nothing but I bought a pair of jeans in one and a shirt in another. Further evidence that the stars were misaligned is that when I finally insisted that we stop in an Academy Sports and Outdoors she made a purchase and I did not.
I don’t know what that all means, but it’s weird enough to be bothersome.
Speaking of Academy, why won’t they expand to my part of the country? Bass Pro and Cabela’s, the outdoor superstores, are a different breed of cat, but in the category of run of the mill sporting goods shops all we have are the Sports Authority and Dick’s. The former has less tackle than Wal-Mart and worse prices. The latter has slightly more tackle but an uninspired selection. Academy, on the other hand, seems to have competitive prices and the right tackle for the region.
Won’t someone at corporate HQ heed my call and bring them north and east?
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 13:24
Sept. 9, 2010
The city of Lockhart, Texas refers to itself as “The Barbecue Capital of Texas” but to the best of my knowledge (and I spent exactly zero time researching the matter), they don’t have a town motto. I’m here to give them one:
“Lockhart: We’ve Got Wood.”
I’m feeling so generous right now that I’ll let them have that piece of intellectual property for free (although I’m hoping that they’ll feel equally generous and ship me a few pounds of brisket for my effort).
There are several things you should know about barbecue. First, the word is a noun, not a verb. Second, you don’t make barbecue in your oven, in a crockpot or on your grill, and certainly not in your microwave. The Texans and the North Carolinians and the Tennesseans may not agree on whether it’s beef or pork or wet or dry, but they all know it ain’t cooked quickly (and they’ve all agreed to hate the heathens from Kansas City). The not-so-secret secret is indirect heat generated by quality wood and the types of pits that are violative of local ordinances in most urban and suburban places.
The chances that you’ll find good barbecue when you’re lost on a rural road are greater than the chances that you’ll find it on purpose in a suburban strip mall or any place where they serve drinks with umbrellas in them.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 08:49
Sept. 9, 2010
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?
Or, in this case, when I weigh 364.
I don’t know who these people are, what their names are or where they’re from. If they’re refugees from the Bronx, up until now firmly esconced in the witness protection program, I apologize in advance for blowing their cover.
Somehow I’m guessing that they’re from Lockhart, Texas, which is where I took their picture, dining on a Friday afternoon at Smitty’s Market.
I’m pretty sure that they’re what I want my wife and I to be a couple of decades down the road. I bet he still fishes. I’m pretty sure they’re self-sufficient, too, able to mend fences and fix things that break, without calling for help. Clearly, as demonstrated by this picture, they still eat well (and somehow stay thin). They get dressed up, sit on the same side of the table and slowly make their way through brisket so tender you don’t need teeth to chew it – although I’m betting they still have their original choppers.
I’m afraid as hell of getting older. Not necessarily of being old, of losing the hair off my head and gaining it back in my ears, but rather of being unable to do the things I enjoy. I’ve seen too many people work hard all of their lives, then retire and be unable to enjoy it for one reason or another. It’s not necessarily about trips down the Amazon or hiking in Nepal, although those would be nice, but rather about still being able to hook up the boat and go fish whenever the mood strikes or to help your best girl into the passenger seat of the truck and head into town for barbecue.
Somehow I’m guessing this guy still gets a little a few times a week, too. Good for him. Good for her.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 13:39
Sept. 8, 2010
Homer Simpson may have claimed to have “discovered a meal between breakfast and brunch,” but we in the Robbins family do not allow ourselves to get sidetracked by those sorts of semantic exercises. That would just get in the way of valuable eating time. Put another way, if we were Italian mobsters, there’s no doubt we would leave the gun and take the cannoli.
So when the redheaded bride and I found ourselves, not quite by accident, in Lockhart, Texas at the end of last week, we turned a hard choice into an easy one. Rather than pick one of two famous barbecue joints in town over the other, we instead elected to double down on lunch.
Actually, for the fact-obsessed among you, there are four barbecue restaurants in Lockhart, a town of approximately 12,000 less than an hour south of Austin. They include Black’s and Chisholm Trail, but for historical purposes the two heavy hitters are Kreuz Market (pronounced “Krites”) and Smitty’s Market. They are run by two different branches of the same family tree. Not so long ago, a family feud raged and the eventual settlement was that one faction got to keep the building (Smitty’s) while the others got to keep the name (Kreuz). The latter relocated to a new building just a stone’s throw away. In both, the basic modus operandi is the same. First you go to the smoke-drenched meat pit where the counterman slices the meat you request in front of you. Choices include brisket and shoulder clod (a bit leaner), as well as pork chops, prime rib and sausages. They weigh it, place it on butcher paper and you pay for the meat. Crackers and/or white bread are provided gratis. Then you progress into the next room where drinks and a limited number of side dishes are available (whole avocados were a great complement to the meat).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 10:06
Sept. 8, 2010
Fifteen years ago this month, I had two semi-momentous beginnings: I started my first job out of law school and I joined my first bass club.
The people I’d meet through the practice of law were pretty predictable and surprisingly homogenous. Those who’ve never fished competitively or as part of a group might suspect the same to be true of the anglers I’d meet, but they’d be wrong. It has been an unbelievably diverse group. More important than the diversity, though, is that through our shared experiences – long drives, dawn to dusk days in the boat, successes and failures – we’ve become a part of each other’s lives. Two of the groomsmen in my wedding were in bass club. None of the attorneys from my first law firm were even there, nor did I want them to be.
I’ve likely spent more time in the office than in a boat over the past decade and a half, but of the dozens of lawyers I’ve worked with and against during that time period, none stand out as memorable personalities for the right reasons. Sure, there were some I liked, a few I trusted and some I’d even want to socialize with, but that’s it – none I wanted to make a part of my life, no matter how similar our demographic characteristics might’ve seemed. By contrast, through fishing I’ve met many people I’d seemingly have nothing in common with, but who turned out to be like family. One such friend was Harold Pack, who I’ve written about in this space before. After a battle with various stomach ailments, Harold died last week.
The bride and I got the news from Harold’s daughter Sharon while we were tooling around Texas last week. It was an expected call, and with miles of Lone Star state highways ahead of us it gave me hours to bask in the reflected glow of my good friend’s memory. A decade or so ago, as I entered a period where I hated my job, was entrenched in a bad relationship and wanted to move, I found sanctuary in the home of Harold and his wife Gail, which just happened to be on a local power plant lake. From November through March, I was there early every Saturday morning, boat in tow, and left late Sunday night, ekeing out every last bite the lake had to offer.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 06:41
By Pete Robbins
Mid-Atlantic Staff Writer
Sept. 8, 2010
If Gershwin had written lyrics to describe my past two months of fishing, no doubt they’d start off “Summertime, and the fishing’s crappy.”
If 20 years from now a still-youthful Denzel Washington agrees to play me in a film about my fishing in July and August of 2010, it’ll probably be called “Remember the Suck Truck.” In short, it’ll be the story of how some talented fishermen and one angler who apparently doesn’t know which end of the fishing rod to hold integrated the tidal rivers of the mid-Atlantic.
If my July and August tournament results had a Facebook page, the only ones who’d be pressing the “Like” button would be the fish, who have up until now largely ignored me.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 September 2010 09:34
Sept. 2, 2010
On Day Three of the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Falcon Lake, I had the good fortune to draw out with North Carolina’s Marty Stone, who at that point in time was driving a BassCat Cougar FTD. Thanks to the fish he found, it was one of the best days I’ve ever spent on the water: I caught my personal best largemouth, 8-12, which made up a substantial portion of my personal best 22 pound tournament limit.
On the pro side, they wouldn’t have even weighed that fish for big bass and the limit would’ve come in somewhere around the Mendoza Line, but it was memorable to a once-a-week warrior like myself.
I had no idea if I’d ever get back to Falcon (I’ve been back twice since). I also had no idea if I’d ever see that magic boat again. Marty found the fish. I caught the fish. The boat got them back across a choppy Falcon to be weighed and released. It played a role just as we did.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:12
August 26, 2010
- When in doubt, go with green pumpkin.
- If you’re not sure you can get the boat into an area, leave plenty of time to get out and get back to weigh in.
- Don’t use cheap outboard oil.
- No socks with sandals.
- When in doubt, put on new line.
- If given the choice, don’t ever use the middle urinal.
- Don’t wear the dye-sublimated tournament jersey to dinner.
- Don’t assume your partner knows how to net fish.
- Don’t eat Mexican food the night before a tournament unless you are in Texas or Mexico (quesadillas are excepted from this rule).
- Always bring the rain suit.