Boiling over fish, time to let off steam

OUTDOORS

September 01, 2002|By CANDUS THOMSON

A neighbor's kid has a T-shirt that says: "Warning. I have my cranky pants on."

Well, I not only have the pants, I've got the whole outfit.

So, it's time to open a vein and lower the old blood pressure. Things will be back to normal after Labor Day. Promise.

First, to the guys who run ESPN:

Put fish back in the BASS Masters Classic. Fish, as in fishermen, and Fish, as in Fish Fishburne.

Having watched the Classic final weigh-in in person this year and a tape of the live show, there's only one conclusion: The only thing flatter is an Ocean City flounder.

You guys bought Bass Anglers Sportsman Society a little over a year ago, promising to do for bassin' what you did for stock car racing.

Last year's Classic show had signs of promise. But instead of advancing this year, in the words of Chris Berman, you guys have gone "back, back, back, back, back."

You could have driven nails with Tommy Sanders, who bumped Fishburne as host for the final day of the Classic. He was stiff. He looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. He was Fish out of water.

What's wrong with Fishburne?

Women love him. Kids treat him as they might treat a goofy uncle who makes family reunions fun.

Fishburne competed in four Classics, so he knows what he's talking about. He draws out the anglers and reminds everyone that fishing is supposed to be fun. At BASS events, he pals around with the crowd forever.

In short, Fishburne is your perfect am-BASS-ador.

But, come to think of it, the host might have been the least of your problems.

That set. What was someone thinking?

It looked like a cross between The Iron Chef and the Academy Awards. Cheesy special effects (faux rain and teeny tiny fireworks) abounded.

You ESPN guys said you wanted to attract non-anglers, but then did nothing to welcome them. You never explained the rules, never explained how the "Super 6" anglers left standing at the end got to be there and never explained how dead fish led to a weight-deduction penalty.

Where were the baseball-style graphics, a short piece explaining why the Classic is a big deal and how the anglers got selected? What happened to pictures of the lures and video of the different styles of casting?

Then there's the whole credibility thing. On the one hand, you're pushing the suspense of a "live" final weigh-in. On the other hand, you obviously have a pretty good idea of who's won, given the "Super 6" formula.

So which is it going to be, the real thing or a re-creation?

And about the music, guys. Repeat after me: "Save the best talent for last. Save the best talent for last ... "

What genius bypassed rising country star Phil Vasser, who performed earlier in the week, and picked "The World's Greatest Fishing Band" to play at the final weigh-in? Who were they, Dan Patrick's relatives?

Here's some NASCAR-style advice: Try pushing in the clutch, putting it in first gear and pushing the pedal under your right foot.

Second on my hit list are the jokers who make Mosquito Deleto, the $200 device that won't kill skeeters, but may burn your house to the foundation.

You may recall that my buddy who tried it out found it to be no more effective in killing mosquitoes than a popcorn popper. He also noted that the outside of the propane-fueled device got hot.

On July 1, a spokesman for the Coleman Co. swore that there were no defects and no recalls planned. Two weeks later, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued just such a recall, citing three serious problems.

Scott Wolfson of the CPSC says of the 136,000 units sold, seven were found to have damaged hoses, 28 were involved in fires or propane leaks and, in one case in North Carolina, a $400,000 house was destroyed.

"This is a serious fire hazard," Wolfson says. "If you are a consumer and you have one of these units, you need to call Coleman."

Also, it seems that Coleman officials were within their legal rights when they declined to give a heads-up on the pending recall. How nice for them.

By the way, Coleman's number is 800-257-5299.

While on the topic of moral high ground, a big raspberry for bait shop owners and others who are pooh-poohing the caution about the nuclear worm.

If scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to take it slow and investigate their health and origins, why not play it safe with the 5-foot, hot-pink worm imported from Vietnam?

I just love folks who say, "I use them and I've never had a problem."

They remind me of voters at New Hampshire town meetings who don't want to spend money on new textbooks and use the argument, "My brothers and myself didn't get new books and we turned out good."

Let's take a little closer look in the mirror, shall we?

Maryland charter boat captains, you're next.

You guys do tons of good deeds for sick kids and disabled people and food banks (Capt. "Walleye" Pete Dalberg, Capt. Skip LaBella, Capt. Skip Slomski, Capt. Buddy Harrison, Capt. Jim Brincefield - I love ya).

But sometimes you come off as a bunch of whiny, paranoid old poops. And nothing is ever your fault.

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