In a spirited and far-ranging online discussion about the future of football, writers Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell seemed to agree on one thing: In every major sport, there is a “second conversation,” one that goes far beyond, and may not even intersect with, the activity that occurs on the field of play.
This marks year six of the awards that I’ve named the Peteys and to be honest, I thought about canceling this year’s banquet. It’s been the nastiest year of campaigning in history, with the Twitter wars, the attack ads and that incident where Keith Alan threw a 10XD at Fish Fishburne during the last debate.
When I was fishing a lot of local tournaments, I had a little speech I’d give to my non-boating partner at the start of every day. No, it wasn’t “Don’t cast in front of the console” or the ever-popular “Don’t speak unless spoken to.” Instead, it was a rather simple and fairly polite request that at each stop he make sure that the net was not under, inside or wrapped around anything in such a way that it would hinder us from netting each other’s fish.
Nearly every day of our three-week, five country trek through southern Africa offered up at least one made-for-National-Geographic moment. On our first full day on the Chobe River which divides Namibia from Botswana, we watched for 45 minutes as crocodiles destroyed an elephant carcass. I was sad because I figured that we had 18 days left and there was no way that we’d top that moment. Then we topped it, or at least matched it, again and again and again.
As my November 1st blog entry more or less predicted, our number one fish producing lure in Africa was the double spoon. We didn’t have any of our own, but fortunately our trusty outfitter Steve Yatomi came prepared, and combined with my spare hooks and split rings we managed to limp through to the end of our trip with most of them more or less intact.
Despite taking up angling only a decade or so ago, my wife consistently seems to outfish more experienced anglers, including but not limited to yours truly. When we go to El Salto, she consistently catches fish as big or bigger than those caught by anyone else in our group. When we went to Escanaba a few summers ago, she landed the two biggest smallmouths of anyone in our group of six that week, a group that included two Elite Series pros, one of them a past Classic winner.
While fishing wasn’t the exclusive reason that we just spent three weeks in Africa, it was a big enticement to make the trip across both the big pond and the equator. Tigerfish look like a cross between a bonefish and a striped bass, with vampire-like teeth, and I wanted to see how they’d compare to peacock bass, redfish and the other species that I’ve chased in recent years.
Bassmaster recently released a slideshow of the “Top 100 B.A.S.S. money winners" and while I’m normally loathe to click through three digits of slides I made an exception for this piece. While the top dog will be no surprise to anyone who follows the sport, I was surprised at where some others fell on the spectrum.
A few weeks ago, on a Saturday when 30 mile per hour winds with heavier gusts prevented me from going on the water, I spent a few hours in my garage trying to tame the mess that is my tackle obsession. Fortunately, I have a wide variety of utility boxes dedicated to this purpose, including many built specifically for fishing as well as some general use containers that have been drafted into this fight. If you’ve fished for any period of time and amassed a healthy amount of tackle, I’m sure that you have quite a few yourself.
In preparing for our latest trip of a lifetime, I’ve scoured just about every YouTube video of tigerfishing on the Zambezi, looking for any little nugget of information that I can get that might help me land an extra fish or two. I’ve been able to locate and purchase most of the lures that have been mentioned, but one that has eluded me so far is the “Express Double Blade Spoon.”
One of the other categories of lures that we’ve been encouraged to pack for Africa is the casting spoon. While there are several European and African brands that get a lot of ink, I haven’t been able to obtain any of them yet, so I’ve resorted to the Blue Fox Pixee, which also gets a fair number of recommendations.