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Pete Weighs In


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Clubbing It

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By Pete Robbins
January 19, 2011


“I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

--Groucho Marx

Clubbing baby seals has been out of vogue for decades.

Clubbing at Studio 54 with your bell-bottoms and platform shoes went out of style in the late 70s.

When did bass clubs become the absolute last refuge for social pariahs and other misfits?

I joined my first (and hopefully last) bass club in the fall of 1995 at age 25, and I’ve remained an active member since then. Back in those days, it seemed like the logical thing to do. I was a relative novice without a boat and joining gave me an opportunity to fish a lot of new waters with people more experienced than myself. On the whole, it has been a good time. Many of my best friendships stemmed from participation in the club. In fact, two of the groomsmen in my wedding were longtime club members.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 09:19

Ripped From the Headlines

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January 13, 2013


We may not be up there with pocket billiards and bowling (inside joke for anyone who’s read Ray Scott’s autobiography), but bass fishing is on the verge of something absolutely goliath in scope. We’re on the cusp of being recognized as a major sport and with that comes a certain amount of notoriety, both good and bad. Despite the latter, I can say with some certainty that the following ten headlines, ripped from sports sections, will not be seen in the wake of the upcoming Bassmaster Classic:

  1. “Send Big Mama to the pound: Dogfighting ring found in Morizo Shimizu’s back yard.” 
  2. “Paul the Octopus accurately predicted Classic winner, is later killed by a vuvuzela.” 
  3. “Kevin Wirth to sit out four tournaments – performance enhancing drug use was obvious, friends say.” 
  4. “Kevin VanDam’s father solicited $180,000 from the state of Alabama – KVD did not know, will not lose eligibility.”
  5. “Classic winner Tommy Biffle, sporting mucho bling, will ‘take my talents to South Beach.’”
  6. “Sexting scandal derails Klein’s latest Classic bid, puts legacy in jeopardy.”
  7. “Fearing effects of league-wide concussion phenomenon, Trip Weldon forces head-butting Ike to wear a helmet.”
  8. “Paul Elias caught up in booster scandal – forced to give back 1982 Classic trophy.”
  9. “Extracurricular exploits in Milledgeville, Georgia doomed season for ‘Big Brent’ Chapman.”
  10. “Julia Kennedy crushes hubby’s Escalade with a golf club.”
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Last Updated on Thursday, 13 January 2011 09:26

Carter's Delayed Response

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January 11, 2011


The people of Arkansas don't see too much snow and they rarely see beautiful royal blue patches, so both of them in the same picture is a minor miracle. The anatomically-incorrect snowman seen here was created by Kyle Carter, another of the McKinnis acolytes.

To Carter's credit, he understands grammar, is slightly better looking than Russow, less gruff than Steve Bowman and more coherent than Overstreet. That earns him a default position on the PWI pro team, despite the fact that he's a non-angler -- as far as he knows the Helicopter Lure is still the pinnacle of angling technology.

I'll see you at the Classic, Kyle. I assume by then Arkansas will be well into its simmering summertime temperatures and my "fan" will be just a puddle in your yard. By the way, the slinky is a nice touch. I have a politically incorrect joke that I could add here, but it might get me canned from the Yamamoto website.

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If It Quacks Like a Duck ...

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January 11, 2011 


Congratulations to the national champion Auburn Tigers.

Is it just me, or did anyone else spend the game wondering whether Oregon’s uniforms were inspired by the Core Shot Senko?

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 09:19

The Frogman Cometh

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January 10, 2011

blog-frog01 blog-frog02 blog-frog03

The package from Lee's Global Tackle that arrived last week included a few products that I'd been eyeing on ebay for quite a while, ready but not quite willing to pull the trigger. I'm not going to disclose all of my secret-squirrel purchases here -- after being described as a "tackle nerd" by Jason Bryant of this week, I'm learning that I've gotta keep a few things closer to the vest. Still, a few items are too cool not to share, like these frogs from OSP and Evergreen.

There's a pretty good chance that I won't catch a frog fish until at least May or June. Still, if they get particular, and they've seen one too many versions from SnagProof/SPRO/TruTungsten, I'll be ready. Take that, Swamp Donkeys.

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Last Updated on Monday, 10 January 2011 08:49

Lucky Craft as a Gateway Drug

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January 6, 2011


Tackle shopping is a high you chase, a temporary fix for the holes in your life that you didn’t know existed.

You can’t buy just one pack of worms or Senkos or crawdads –green pumpkin alone is so unsatisfying. What if the fish want a red flake, or green pumpkin candy or something in a watermelon? They love a Rapala DT10, but sometimes they’re shallower and the DT6 works better, or you need to grind down the lip of a ledge with the deeper-diving DT16. In for a dime, in for a dollar. The full pegboards in my garage are like a heroin addict’s tracks running up his arms.

Of course, this extends not only to quantity and color, but also to the duration of the feeling of satisfaction. Covet that hundred dollar swimbait? The feeling that it produces may not even make it to the first cast. Did I want the trout model or would perch or alewive be better? Hell, throw ‘em all in the bag, the credit card bill doesn’t come for another 30 days. My particular weakness, as I’ve made all too clear, is Japanese tackle. Back when I started bass fishing I had vague notions of what our eastern friends had to offer, but it hit me Mike Tyson caliber hard while watching a Western Invitational on New Mexico’s stingy Elephant Butte in the late 90s, when the Pointer minnow (known as the B’Freeze in Japan) was money in the bank for several top finishers. Had to have it. Had to have several.

The Pointer quickly became a staple of high-end tackle stores, and while I bought plenty of other Lucky Craft products, I also added Jackall, Ima and of course Yuki Ito’s Megabass to the mix. Then there were Deps and Evergreen and Imakatsu and Vagabond. Truth be told, you might be able to catch as many fish with a DD22, but it’s not just about the actual time on the water – it’s also about anticipation, of getting “hand” (as George Costanza would say), any little advantage you can grab. The problem, of course, is that there’s no end game. In that respect, the tackle chase is like fishing itself – as Clunn has said many times, the days that he’s fished at “10” are rare to non-existent. An “8” is tremendous and a “5” is more the norm. Even when you win, you always left something on the table. No matter how much you know, it just raises more questions, more hunger.

My tackle purchases lately had become stagnant. I go through hundreds of Senkos and Flappin’ Hogs and brush hogs a year. I wear out a ton of War Eagle spinnerbaits. But ordering them gets tiresome. The boxes hold no surprises and there’s no loss of bait virginity when I open the packages. So when the Redheaded wife and I recently decided to put down a deposit on a November 2011 trip to the Amazon to fish for peacock bass, it gave this bait junky a chance to feel that crystal clear first high once again. I’ve been scouring tackle shops and ebay for Luhr Jensen Woodchoppers, Peacock Bass Specials and Amazon Rippers. I’m about to send an order to Kermett Adams of for some more topwaters. Rapala subwalkers are definitely on the shopping list. And then I’ll get to work with hyperwire split rings and 4X trebles. So many things I don’t own…and actually need, my only limitation being the 44 lb. luggage maximum of the float plane. I’ve never done crack, and I never intend to, but I can sympathize with the average addict. I wouldn’t necessarily gamble my house or my profession or my other worldly belongings, but my sanity is at issue and to tell you the truth it doesn’t bother me one bit.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 January 2011 08:14

Sweet Musical Interludes

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January 4, 2011


The competitors in the upcoming Bassmaster Classic have not yet been forced to choose the music that will accompany them into the arena. Surely, when that time comes some will choose country, some will opt for hip-hop and some will play it even safer with old school rock and roll.

Skeet will pick something danceable, Ike will choose something tough-sounding. They will have the biggest east-west battle since Tupac and Biggie.

VanDam might be a Metallica freak, but I’m guessing that Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” will be his theme song.

Gentlemen, please. Try to be a little creative.

I have it on good authority that Takahiro Omori once requested that the crooning of Britney Federline precede and follow him onto the Classic stage. One of his kindly peers suggested that wasn’t such a good idea. Tak ended up entering the arena to “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas, an equally bad idea, and possibly a politically incorrect one at that. Still, at least both options would generate a laugh or two.

Creativity shouldn’t be frowned upon (although use of the term “think outside the box” should be punishable by death via a cheese grater). Accordingly, I hope that one of the Classic contestants will do something noteworthy. Look what going against the grain did for Kevin Short (seen above dancing to “YMCA” by the Village People). He established pink as his personal color scheme. Not only did no one question his manhood, but it seemingly increased his Q factor by a fair margin. He also won twice after making the bold statement, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

So while Barry Manilow might not get you jacked up for competition and Muzak might lull your fans to sleep, use your theme music to set yourself apart. This is the biggest stage we have. Why be normal?

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Best Brother-in-law and Nephew in the World

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December 31, 2010


The Redheaded wife put "Operation Faux Children" into effect this New Years. Despite the fact that we've made the collective decision to be childless (I'm 40+ and I've never changed a diaper -- not looking to end that streak anytime soon), she still occasionally gets maternal pangs that force us to spend time with people who are only waist-high.  Accordingly, she decided that we should spend the days spanning the 2010-2011 changeover in the Chicago suburbs at the home of her sister and brother-in-law, along with their two rodents.

Not content to spend the holiday with just two people who shudder when they see a sign that says "You must be this tall to go on this ride," Red invited two other couples and their spawn to join us on the evening of the 31st, bringing the total to "Six Kids Under Six" (not to be confused with ESPN's "30 for 30"). All of this hanging with the Barney set might be enough to put me into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, my brother-in-law Steve is a good egg. With Thursday morning free, he piled me and number one nephew Judd into the family car and headed about 30 minutes away to Lee's Bait and Tackle, where I was in hog heaven.

Lee's doesn't have as much tackle as Bass Pro Shops, just a bit to the north, or Cabela's, also a short drive away, but it's everything a local tackle store should be: staff who know their stuff, lots of specialized gear and (most importantly for my purposes) an informed and extensive selection of Japanese tackle. In the back section of the store Lee's had products from Deps, Evergreen, Ima, Vagabond, Reins, FLT, OSP and a host of other Japanese manufacturers. I gave the credit card a mild workout, but mostly I was just happy to have found the type of place where I am completely in my element, the type of tackle store that no true enthusiast should live without. If you live in the Chicago area, I recommend a visit. If not, check out their website at

As they say in Chicago, order early and order often. I need a sanctuary like this whenever we head up to the great white north. It beats the hell out of Dora the Explorer and the Wiggles.

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Last Updated on Friday, 31 December 2010 11:38

Ten You Can Take to the Bank

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December 29, 2010


As a self-proclaimed Bassmaster Classic Geek, I’ve put in hundreds or perhaps thousands of hours studying past results, astrological charts and solunar tables in my attempt to bring you the best prognostications available anywhere on these here internets. Specifically, I’ve torn apart every known story, spreadsheet and tabloid report dealing with the 1999, 2001 and 2003 Classics, all held on the Louisiana Delta. My legwork should give you a leg up on your workmates when discussing the upcoming Louisiana rodeo around the water cooler.

Bet at your own risk, but the following are ten lock-of-the-week, guar-an-damn-teed predictions:

  • It will not be won on a Bacon Rind.
  • It will not be won on a Stone Jig.
  • It will not be won on a Wild Thang.
  • Rodney Wagley will not run full speed into a gator/sturgeon/gar (insert other oversized prehistoric creature here).
  • The media will use the word “Katrina” no fewer than 54,821 times.
  • It will not be won by Mark Rizk, Jack Wade, Mickey Bruce, Bob Pastick, Chet Douthit, Curt Lytle, Harold Allen, Homer Humphreys, Rufus Johnson or Randall Romig.
  • Despite the Delta being about two-bajillion acres, at least two of the contestants will both find the same small wad of fish -- a “disagreement” will ensue.
  • Cataouatche, Des Allemands, Caervnarvon and Delacroix will collectively be mispronounced 22,597 times.
  • Dave Wolak will not eat a single beignet all week.
  • Someone will forget to “never give up.”
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 09:14

New Water?

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By Pete Robbins

December 28, 2010

Now that the tag team of McKinnis, Logan and Copeland has taken over BASS, I think most of us are expecting (or at least hoping) that big things are forthcoming. The three-headed dragon has a chance to right a ship that many people believe to be floundering. I’m not sure the ESPN reign was as bad as the naysayers claim, but clearly there’s room for improvement.

An easy course of correction involves the tour-level tournament schedule. When the Elite Series started in ’06, BASS promised “the best waters at the best times” and they consistently delivered. With only rare exceptions, we got used to seeing monster sacks at weigh-ins, and not just from the top ten. In some events, the guys who came in with “just decent limits” found themselves at the bottom of the scoresheet, double figures out of even making a check. Despite the slugfests, things became stagnant as they went back to the same bodies of water at the same time of year repeatedly. Additionally, the schedule was compressed. No real late summer tournaments, no fall events and certainly no true winter patterns – just prespawn, spawn and immediate postspawn. They need to stretch her out a bit.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 10:47

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