Orioles' Luke Scott is star of cast in fishing tournament

April 15, 2010|By Candus Thomson | The Baltimore Sun

He has been striped bass fishing off Brooklyn, N.Y., and largemouth bass fishing under a pier back home in Florida, but one of the places where Oriole Luke Scott remains a rookie is the Chesapeake Bay.

That shortcoming will be remedied May 1, when the designated hitter-first baseman will fish the 27th annual Championship on the Chesapeake, the long-running contest sponsored by the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association. On board with Scott will be the winner of a World Fishing Network contest and a friend.

"Hard to believe, but I haven't fished the Chesapeake," said Scott, 31. "I'm looking forward to it."

Tournament organizers are thrilled.

"Anytime you can get a local celebrity, it's a great thing," said Dave Smith, MSSA executive director. "I think other anglers will be pumped up knowing they're fishing against an Oriole."

Scott, a career .264 hitter, had hit 50 home runs over his two-plus seasons with the Orioles entering Thursday. Used primarily as a DH, Scott hopes to get some playing time at first base and left field.

In the offseason, he traveled to Texas for 10 days of fishing and enjoying nature -- just the way his parents raised him.

Scott and his brother learned to fish from their father and then honed their skills on their own. His mother and sister also fished.

"Those were priceless times, hanging out as a family, being out on the water together, telling stories," he said. "Being outdoors ... is a great way to relax, to get away from all the pressure. Peace and quiet and enjoying God's creations."

As a 10-year-old, Scott perfected a largemouth bass fishing technique that, on paper, would seem doomed to fail. Sizing up a dock that had a protective wooden skirt at the waterline, he decided there had to be fish underneath. Reaching under the water and jamming his rod up under the dock, he hit the release button on his reel and let the rubber worm float free. A few twitches of the line, and Scott suckered in one fish. A little while later, he scored another one.

"Whatever works, man," he said, laughing. "Put the bait in front of them and see what happens."

Even though the baseball season overlaps with prime fishing time in Maryland, Scott has been able to recoup some of his lost time back home in the winter months, targeting redfish, tilapia and largemouth bass.

"Do fish fear me? Absolutely, because I eat them," he said, chuckling. "If they take my bait and I get them in the boat, absolutely they should fear me."

He's not afraid to take his turn in the kitchen either.

"You can never go wrong with lemon, butter and garlic," he said. "I don't need fancy cream sauces and all that jazz."

Scott will be taking part in the Chesapeake's largest tournament, which attracts more than 3,000 anglers and 650 boats over three days. Chuck Falter of Middle River won last year's contest with a 47.2-pound rockfish. This year, anglers will be going for an estimated $200,000 in cash and prizes.

His day on the bay is part of a promotion by the World Fishing Network, a television outlet geared toward anglers. Contest details are at wfnchesapeake.com. The deadline is April 20.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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