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Pete Weighs In

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How to Lose a Blog Without Really Trying

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June 6, 2011

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(Alternate Title #1: Career Suicide)

(Alternate Title #2: The Law of Unintended Consequences)

You may have noticed that Pete Weighs In is part of the larger Inside Line website, which in turn is part of Gary Yamamoto’s fishing empire. Accordingly, when I saw Gary at the dock getting ready to weigh in on Day Two of the recent FLW event on the Potomac River, I figured it would be appropriate to go over and say hi.

When I arrived at the boat, he was already talking to someone else, so I decided to take some pictures of his little canine companion Bella, who was curled up next to his trolling motor. Unfortunately, Bella wasn’t ready for the full paparazzi treatment after a hot and windy day on the pond, so she slept curled up in a ball, facing away from me. I wanted to get a picture of her face, so I whistled and otherwise tried to get her attention, to no avail.

Gary noticed my predicament and started calling for Bella to turn around. Again, no luck. So he stepped out onto the dock. For some reason, this got Bella’s attention and she got up and tried to follow him….and missed the dock completely, landing in the drink.

I’m a dog lover, so my first concern was for the little girl herself. I couldn’t see her. Do Chihuahuas sink? Fortunately, she quickly came swimming out from under one of the gaps in the floating dock and Gary scooped her up. No harm, no foul

Fortunately, Gary didn’t seem too upset by all that went on. “She needs a bath anyway,” he said, then went back to talking about the Hula Swimmer while drying her off.


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Last Updated on Monday, 06 June 2011 09:46
 

Riding in Boats With People You Don’t Know

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June 3, 2011

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Bucket List Item #67: Write and publish a book

 

Major stumbling block: The only book I’m qualified to put together right now is a coffee table volume comprised of pictures of the asses of famous fishermen.

You see, I’ve spent hours upon hours sitting in a boat, unable to fish, while some of the best practitioners of the sport practiced for or competed in major tournaments. Occasionally I garner a tidbit of knowledge. Usually I am compensated financially for the process. Still, it’s a sad exercise in voyeurism without a happy ending. To paraphrase Joe Torre, it’s like watching your best friend eat an ice cream sundae. Have you ever sat in a boat for 8 to 12 hours and not fished? For the most part, it sucks.

The most recent example of my gluttony for punishment occurred this past Monday, Memorial Day, when I rode with Tennessee pro Andy Morgan on the Potomac River for an article for FLW Magazine. Andy is very pleasant, and I learned a lot, but it was 75 degrees at 6am and a balmy 96 at mid-day. Luckily, I had learned key lessons for days like this during my prior trips:

  1. Put plenty of sunblock on the front of your thighs.  
  2. Bring more drinks and food than you think you’ll need.
  3. Learn where the pro stores his food and drinks and learn to quietly get into the cooler and steal them.

Fortunately, it was hot enough that Andy decided a sunup-to-sundown practice wasn’t practical or necessary. I certainly did not discourage him when he elected to come off the water at 5pm.

A sampling of some other tough days on the water:

  • The first time I ever rode with a pro in major competition was the first day of the 2004 Bassmaster Classic. I was in the boat with Aaron Martens, who camped under the Buster Boyd Bridge all day. I brought plenty of drinks, then quickly learned that if you have 20 spectator boats around and people on the bridge above you, you must overcome all modesty when it comes to urination.
  • On the second day of the 2005 Classic in Pittsburgh, I got in the boat with four-time Classic champion Rick Clunn. Rick talked more than I thought he would, but it was still pretty quiet. Oh yeah, the fishing sucked. I took a nap in the boat for over an hour (see lesson #1, above).
  • At the 2008 Classic at Lake Hartwell, I accompanied Kelly Jordon on the first day of competition. It reached a high of 38 degrees and rained fairly hard most of the day. Frankly, snow would have been better and less painful. I had plenty of appropriate clothing, but was still miserable. I ate his sandwich at 10am. Story in hand, I declined to ride on Day 2 and instead ate breakfast with the wife and her friend at Cracker Barrel.

In a future life, I will be a bowling journalist. You don’t have to get up early, the weather’s never a problem, and they let you drink beer while you’re out there. I don’t know what my book will be about, but  I really don’t care. The view from the bar will be just fine.


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Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2011 14:43
 

The Name’s the Same as Ever (Evers)

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June 1, 2011

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Through a little bit of sleuthing on this here interweb, I learned that Edwin is one of the most popular clothing companies in Japan, specializing in jeans and other denim goods. Still, every time I see Morizo Shimizu in his 2011 tournament jersey, my initial reaction is to somehow assume that he’s supporting Edwin Evers for Angler of the Year. From what I can tell, Shimizu (“Big Mama!”) is nice enough that he might do such a thing.

Even if it were true with respect to Morizo, I wouldn’t expect the practice to catch on – in other words, under no circumstances should you be on the lookout for Zell Rowland in a “ROJAS” jersey or Denny Brauer with block letters reading “IKE” across his chest.

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A Day in the Boat With….#1 CLYDE

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May 31, 2011

Sports today suck because we have few meaningful personalities populating the leagues -- just loads of unabashed corporatists with guaranteed contracts.

Nowhere is the lack of originality reflected better than in the world of nicknames. Things that pass for nicknames today would be referred to as contractions in any grade school English class – combos like ARod and D-Wade (as Bill Simmons pointed out, we should be glad that this trend didn’t extend to former Major League Baseball player Manny Ramirez, whose name would have been shortened to the unfortunate Man-Ram).

Sadly, professional bass fishing reflects this trend all too well. Are you really going to tell me that the best we can do for the greatest fisherman of all time is “KVD” or “The Kalamazoo Kid”? Where’s our Ickey Woods? Our Splendid Splinter? Does Andre “Bad Moon” Rison know how to read a depthfinder? If so, we may need to pull him into our ranks.blog-clyde02

Our sport also lacks any creativity when it comes to clothing. The most fashion-forward among our would-be heroes all wear the same plaid oversized cargo shorts, Affliction-styled t-shirts and flat-brimmed hats.

What we need is a Walt Frazier, who could kill at least two birds with one stone. The NBA Hall of Famer had a fashion sense that was questionable at times, but it could never be called anything but his own. It earned him the nickname “Clyde” – apparently teammates thought his hat was similar to the one worn in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde – and it stuck. One word and it summed him up. That’s a badass job. But he wasn’t just a one-and-done fashion plate. Clyde pushed the boundaries throughout his career and continues to do so as a broadcaster – if you’ve got the onions to wear a cow-patterned or leopard skin suit without sensing the irony, you have my undying respect. Today’s NBAers, by contrast, all seem to hit the same tailor to make them the same 17-button pastel-colored suits for draft day.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:29
 

A Day in the Boat With….#2 Winnie Cooper

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May 30, 2011

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Who didn’t cry when Old Yeller died?

And what red-blooded American teenage male didn’t have at least a passing crush on Winnie Cooper?

I’ll admit to having pined for Winnie (played by Danica McKellar) just a little bit. I can’t quite figure out why. After all, she was kind of a shrew to Kevin (Fred Savage), always berating and belittling him, accusing him of being immature, selfish or insensitive. But she must’ve been packing some pure awesomeness beneath her field hockey uniform because he remained enamored of her, even as other teenaged talent like Alicia Silverstone and the always-underrated Soleil Moon Frye tried to lure him away.

Post-Wonder Years, McKellar appeared less-than-fully-clothed in a 2005 pictorial for Stuff magazine. Perhaps more notably (to some), she graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in math and subsequently wrote multiple New York Times best sellers, including titles like “Math Doesn’t Suck.” I bet she could put those talents to use in developing a righteous new culling system.

Honorable Mention, Teen Heartthrob Edition: Mallory Keaton

Not Considered: Velma from Scooby Doo, Thelma from Good Times.

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A Day in the Boat With….#3 Robin Williams

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May 27, 2011

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“Nail them while they're vulnerable, that's my motto.”

--Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting

Can you believe that 30 years ago we thought Mork from Ork was piss-your-pants funny?

Shazbat? Nanno, nannoo? Really?

Watching the episodes now, all I can figure is that we were amazed by the amount of energy that Robin Williams poured into the character — a combination of bizarre dialects, non-sequiturs and obvious ad-libbing that was otherwise rare on TV then as it is now. Mounds of Grade-A Columbian nose candy will do that to you if you have the talent. In fact, even though I’m effectively a teetotaler (save for the occasional beer or three here and there), and don’t advocate the recreational use of cocaine, I’d say that it was the powdery substance that made him so unpredictable (be sure to ask me about my theory that Williams, Lawrence Taylor, #6 on this list, and the late relief pitcher Steve Howe are the three people on earth who should be exempt from the drug laws) and thus so exciting to fans. He was a netless highwire act.

I’m thinking he’d have been good with a chatterbait or a rat-l-trap, something fast aimed at generating a reaction strike.

Here’s the thing about Williams, though: In his prime he was a fastball pitcher, and while maybe his occasional sobriety didn’t take the heater away, at some point he realized he’d have to mix it up with some off-speed stuff — whether that be the disturbing Mrs. Doubtfire, the sappy Dead Poets Society, or Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar. At risk of mixing too many metaphors here, I’ll venture that he’d learned to drag a football jig or doodle a worm, something more deliberate, less overpowering.

When they tell me there’s an opportunity to spend a day in the boat with him, you might as well wipe my calendar clean. Sorry if we have a previous engagement, but “I have to go see about a fish.”

Honorable Mention, 70s Sitcom Star Division: Freddy “Rerun” Stubbs.

Not Considered: Potsie.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 07:25
 

A Day in the Boat With….#4 Mariska Hargitay

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May 26, 2011

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Is it enough of a reason to say, “JUST BECAUSE”?

I’ll be the first to admit a predilection for top shelf cougars. The redheaded wife was born two years before me. I won’t tell you exactly when, but let’s just say she was around during the Woodstock era and I was born in a totally different decade. We don’t have one of those “five exceptions each” lists like Ross and Rachel, but if we did, Mariska would top my list ahead of any of the younger seductresses on the airwaves today.

The Law and Order franchise is omnipresent. I think even those of you with the most basic forms of cable can find some combination of Meloni, Hartgitay, Noth, Orbach, Ulrich, Howard, et al solving crimes at any hour of the day. Here’s a hint: it’s never the first suspect. Of the various spin-offs, Law and Order Special Victims Unit (“SUV” is what we call it in our house, an in joke for fans of The Sopranos) is by far my favorite. My greatest fear in life (other than that dream about showing up for 7th grade social studies in my underwear) is that one day I’ll run out of unwatched episodes of SUV to view.

Besides being drop dead gorgeous, the former Miss Beverly Hills also seems like a good person. As I’ve written in this space before, I don’t pretend that I can judge people from afar, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. She’s active in charity work and my cousin, who worked on the SUV set (among others) told me she was among the nicest and most down-to-earth actresses in the business. That’s good enough for me.

I bet she’d be good with a Carolina rig, too.

Honorable Mention, Crime Fighting Edition: the ageless Kelly Garrett

Not Considered: Neither Cagney nor Lacey

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A Day in the Boat With….#5 Matthew Lesko

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May 25, 2011

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[Sigh] So many overquoted rap lyrics, so little time:

 

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Cash rules everything around me.

 

The name Matthew Lesko might not initially ring a bell, unless you’re an insomniac. The guy in the punctuation-covered suit stars in all kinds of late-night infomercials promising to teach you how to get Federal grant money to pursue your dreams. Want to raise Siamese cats in the inner city? There’s probably a check with a few zeroes in some government warehouse, just waiting for you to claim it. Do you want to get paid to eat Cheetos at home in your boxer shorts while watching Jerry Springer? Lesko, as they say in the biz, has an app for that.

I don’t know whether his offers are scams or if there’s some grain of legitimacy to them – either way, I’m sure many pro fishermen would give their left nut to have a chance to pick his brain. After all, quite a few of them buy into every Acai juice or Amway-type Ponzi scheme that comes down the pipeline. With gas at about four bucks a gallon, the sport ain’t getting any cheaper, either, so you’re going to see more and more creative ways (bank theft anyone?) to finance their efforts to “live the dream.”

One last overused quote: “No such thing as a free lunch.”

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A Day in the Boat With….#6 Lawrence Taylor

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May 24, 2011

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Had Lawrence Taylor not been born, Tecmo Bowl would have had to invent him (shortly after inventing Bo Jackson), and we all would have doubted that such a violent pass rusher could have existed in three-dimensional form.

He was the most fearsome athlete I’ve ever seen, and when he was “on” there was no individual in a 22-player shuffle who could stop him alone. You had to game plan against him much the way opposing basketball teams had to find a way to overcome Air Jordan, despite the fact that in football it’s much harder for one player to dominate EVERY DAMN PLAY than it is in basketball. He couldn’t be confined by the labeling of a position, either. He largely freelanced, picking a side, a stance and a point of attack as he saw fit. There would have been no Blind Side without him, or at the very least it would have taken longer to come to the fore.

Despite all of that talent, and the fact that I lived and died by Taylor’s on-field actions for a portion of my life, the evidence seems to indicate that the greatest defensive player in modern NFL history is not quite so together off the field. There have been suspensions for drug use, multiple incarcerations and most recently a guilty plea related to sexual misconduct involving a minor. The very characteristics that made him so freaking disruptive on the field – the reckless abandon, the lack of control – appear to make him something of a menace in polite society. We didn’t necessarily expect him to knit, spearhead tsunami relief or walk little old ladies across the street, but I think most of us hope that our far-away unknowable heroes will at least leave the game and then blend into the woodwork. That’s the problem with reading too much into the celebrities who we’ll never really know – most of them do not carry the attributes that we assign to them, for better or worse. I’ve had the good fortune to meet many of the top bass pros and I’ve been disappointed by some, pleasantly surprised by others. I don’t expect them to cure cancer or be able to sing opera, just catch fish.

Honorable Mention, Pro Football Category: Conrad Dobler, Babe Laufenberg

Not Considered: Rae Carruth

Greatest (implied) LT Reference in Pop Culture History: Homer Simpson (watching Football’s Greatest Injuries), “Marge, you made me miss Joe Theismann.”

Note 1: Earlier this month, I did indeed fish with Lawrence Taylor. However it was the fishing industry PR guy, not the noted linebacker. To the best of my knowledge, he has never given anyone a concussion.

Note 2: I have shared a boat with two former NFLers, one a quarterback, the other a safety.I have yet to fish with a punter, place kicker or long snapper.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 09:45
 

A Day in the Boat With….#7 Puck from “The Real World”

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May 23, 2011

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Back in 1994, the concept of “reality TV” was still pretty new to most of us. Sure, there had been unscripted shows like “Cops” before, but to the best of my knowledge MTV’s “The Real World” was the first popular show to forcibly bring disparate personalities together in ways likely to produce fights, fireworks and bodily fluids. The show’s third season cast included spiky-haired bike messenger David “Puck” Rainey who generally tormented his housemates until they could take no more of him and kicked him out.

In many ways the early reality stars resemble the experience of the bass pros. After appearing on the shows, guys like Puck were famous, couldn’t go anywhere without being noticed, yet they didn’t necessarily have the material wealth that accompanied stardom. Similarly, I remember going to the home of one of the top bass pros about a decade ago – this guy was one of the all-time hammers – and being disappointed that his home did not match the stature that I’d envisioned he had. He couldn’t go to Bass Pro Shops without being mobbed, but at home he was just a run of the mill, middle-class Joe. There’s a disconnect there that’s still hard for me to reconcile. Of course it has changed somewhat in recent years, as both aspiring TV personalities and some bass pros have gone into their chosen endeavors with an eye toward leveraging their “personal brand.”

Judging from the second picture of Puck I’ve included with this blog entry, he’s has fished a bitblog-puck02 before, although perhaps not for bass. Accordingly, I wouldn’t have the same initial challenges that I’d have with reality stars like Tila Tequila or Kelly Clarkson. Still, if he gets his boogers on my Senkos, let alone my snacks, we’re gonna have problems.

Honorable Mention, Reality TV Category: Any of the Real Housewives of Orange County.

Not Considered: Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.


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Last Updated on Monday, 23 May 2011 08:33
 


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