The One That Got Away

It’s always the big one. The monster. The one you’ve been searching for all weekend, the one that really fought and gave you the biggest thrill. That’s the fish that snaps your line. Why?

In this video, I know what it was for me. One word. . .  Panic.

I was out on Lake Mary, in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I had caught a trout about the size I expected. A youngster, about 11 inches, lucky if it was a pound.

When the fish in the video started to take me deeper underwater, I knew I had something special on the line. The video starts about a minute into the video. I actually had time to grab my phone, hand it to my girlfriend (your humble cameraperson) and put it into video mode.

The fish, the whole time, was headed up toward the boat, so I didn’t really know how hooked he was, or how big he was.

Once he put up resistance, the fight was great, my heart was pumping in the thin air.  Surprised by the weight on my line but still in fishing mode, I calmly played him and tried to keep him away from the boat. I put my beer in a safe place, and really started to fight him. Then the video starts.

You can see me play him decently, for a reel with too tight of a drag on. I let him take the rod, went with him, but kept the pressure on so he wouldn’t come loose. Then I saw him.

When I saw him, a huge shot of adrenaline hit me like a bomb. He was huge, especially for this lake.  Big green back, beautiful Rainbow trout colors gleaming. Something inside of me spazzed out in pure admiration of this fish, and the luck and awesomeness of me being able to hook him on my own. It was like years of fishing experience were all culminating right there, at that very moment.  All the times my uncles had yelled at me for making mistakes, until I no longer made them, had finally sunk in and I was now doing awesome stuff on my own.

That was when I realized I hadn’t brought a net. I pictured my beautiful big net sitting back at home in my studio. Damnit. I was using light line. I knew that. It was also old. Quadruple damnit!

So in my panic, I considered using a canvas bag I had on the boat as a net, but didn’t move on that thought fast enough. The fish came up, broke the surface with a big splash, and I panicked some more. I went to grab the line, sort of realized what I was doing, and just heard the line SNAP. I’m not sure if it was from when I touched it, or from the fish hitting the side of the boat, but it snapped.

I wasn’t disappointed. I had already had a blast fly fishing in Lake Crowley the day before, and watching my buddy Doug catch this beautiful brown trout. 

That was enough. I always look at any time on the water, as an increase in your odds of catching a dream fish. The couple of fish I hooked were right at the very last 15 minutes of my 4 day stay up around Mammoth. Hooking this monster at the end of my trip truly felt like a reward for my persistence, and patient application of all the things I’ve learned.

In the end, I learned a couple of things. Rather, I had some things instilled in me, that I was already aware of, but never lost a fish to.

1. Never touch the line on a fish like that. I’d heard it a zillion times. I’ll never forget it now though.

2.  Never be caught on any lake anywhere EVER, without a good sturdy net.

2. Don’t panic. A fish will only stay on your line so long. Panicking wastes the one resource you can;t get back. Time. It’s only a matter of time before the fish shakes loose or snaps your line against your boat. I should have grabbed my canvas bag and calmly guided the fish into it. Then I would have had him on a plate, rather than swimming around with a hook rusting in his mouth.

The fish learned a couple of things too, it’s likely. Maybe he’ll grow up to be that bi wiley bastard of Lake Mary that fishermen claim sightings of, but never catch. Maybe I’ll get that punk next year, net in hand. . . We shall see.


Capitol Records Building visit. Post # 100

100th post on this WordPress site.

Woo hoo!

It’s also been a solid month since last I posted, my last one being September 30th. Since then my good friends Amber and Anthony have gotten married, the Dodgers have gotten kicked out of the playoffs, and Sebastian Vettel locked up the F1 championship at the Indian Gran Prix. I’ve also been to Santa Anita Park every weekend since they opened, and got the Volkswagen running again, changing a starter that had been giving me trouble.

It’s been a hell of a month.

One thing I did, that was a lifelong dream of mine, was to have a little meeting at the Capitol Records building. I contained myself, but my excitement level was pretty high up there for a business meeting.

See, the thing is, back in the late 70’s, Capitol Records used to press cassettes in the Glassell Park/Glendale area, by where the old K Mart was off of Fletcher and San Fernando. Kind of around the corner from there, there was an old warehouse and factory back then, and my mom used to work there.

Some of my earliest musical memories involve Capitol Records, going to my mom’s job, and picking up surplus vinyls for 1 cent each. I remember getting the J Geils Band, some Beatles, some 45’s of singles from around the time, and just about anything I wanted that was on the label.

I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever, where my mom worked. The Capitol Building though, was another world. That was where the studios were, and the music was made. I have some cool artifacts from my mom’s days at Capitol, but the office building was for the real jobs.

Well, last week on a Friday, a few of us left the office in Woodland Hills at about noon, and cruised down to Capitol to meet some of the staff. I remember getting into the conference room, and wondering about meetings that were held there, possibly artists or songwriters conducting business, or maybe simple pencil pushers like myself. Either way, the view was pretty awesome. We were on the 13th floor, which is cool because some skyscrapers I’ve worked in have skipped 13 on the elevator button list, stooping to superstition. Not here.

I also snuck a pic of the hallway down to Capitol’s Studio A , and with the pics of the greats that graced the walls there, you could basically feel all the musical mojo and electricity that comes with talent being in the room there. All the biggest names in music, from today’s Katy Perry to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. I have to admit, during the meeting, I paid attention to stuff that pertained to my job function, but when it didn’t, I was pretty much looking out the window.

Of course , I wasn’t there in any creative capacity, or this would have been a whole different post, but it was still awesome to conduct some business in this iconic building. 

Next week is the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita, looking forward to getting some great pics of the massive crowd! From what I hear, the grandstands should be PACKED. Stay tuned for that!

Birthday weekend, and the Nautica Malibu Triathlon

Sept 7th was my 38th birthday.

Friday night Dr. Jones took me out for pupusas and beer, even though I told him I needed to sleep. Turns out I didn’t need to sleep. I thought my brother’s triathlon was on Saturday, but it was Sunday. Hmm,  monkey wrench in plans. . .

Saturday night I planned to go out to Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, but now I’d have to wake up at about 3 am and head to the beach. I decided to take it easy Saturday, going out with about 8 friends to Midori Sushi in the valley.  Ate my fill, then had to head home early.

The morning was awesome. Up way before the sun, mom and I picked up my brother at 4 a.m. and headed straight to the beach. Traffic was a nightmare in Malibu, PCH loaded with Subarus carrying carbon fiber bikes and gear for runners and swimmers. Still no sunshine, waiting in traffic to get into the parking area.

At about 6 or so, we made it into the parking area, and jumped into a bus for the starting area.  Ed went and got ready with his team, his girlfriend, my mom and I went and set up a little camp on the beach. The sun was just starting to peek out over the Santa Monica mountains, and down onto us on Zuma beach. Just in time too, as the breeze and salty wet air was starting to give us all a chill. The warming rays not only exposed everything, but really seemed to energize everybody, and some of the swimmers even started jumping in the water to warm up. I went down and felt the surf, and it was much too cold for me. Reminded me of times I’d been surf fishing, with feet numbed by the cold water.

As the 7 a.m. race start time approached, a frenzy of activity found the racers lined up and ready on the beach. Only a few minutes later, the first cannon shot rang out, and the first wave ran into the surf, first jumping over the waves, then half leaping, half running into the deeper water, where they dove in headfirst and began their swim.

Once the race started, the regularity of the waves of swimmers, and the rising temperature made me want to walk around, so I checked out the booths and sponsors, grabbing samples of energy drinks and bars for future bike rides. So many people everywhere, there were something like 2500 people there for the race, plus their family and friends. 

After about an hour and a half, runners started showing up, and the announcer started calling out names. We judged the time my brother should show up, and took spots along the finish line. We saw a couple of people fall over at the line, lots of guys (no girls for some reason) that were cramping up, unable to continue. Then eventually my brother came around, having run the 4 miles in about 45 minutes, right at the mark he set in training.

After the race, we met a few of his coworkers, and they all got together for a group photo, which I also snagged for myself. Here it is! 

That was, for the most part, the end of my birthday weekend, as I was pretty much exhausted from lack of sleep, and constant celebration. I also went to Ikea, built that furniture, tore up the floor in my front room to install some new tile, and messed with the rear end on the car, which I think is going to get some new rear springs soon. It feels too much like a Cadillac back there. I’m going to stiffen it up with a Hotchkiss Sway bar, and some Extra Heavy Duty Mopar springs.

I was able to take my car out for a big cruise on Saturday morning too, and I really did feel like it was a gift to myself. I’ve been working on that car so long, and to finally be able to just jump in, turn the key, and hear the thing come to life is just an amazing feeling. So satisfying. So Choice. lol 

Well, that’s all for now. It’s Tuesday now, I’m fully recovered, took a nice bike ride last night, hit some golf balls, and I’m taking the day off, so I can run my car into the electrical shop to get my gauges installed after cleaning them up a bit. I don’t want to go poking around in the electrical system, so I’ll leave that to the professionals. And thusly begins, my 38th year.

Yankees vs Dodgers today

The Yankees are in town today. Listening to Vin Scully call the game and talk about people like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle is pretty awesome.
It makes me think about the second time I went to New York. I think it was 2008. We had just gotten Joe Torre as manager of the Dodgers, and I was stomping around in the boogie down Bronx wearing my Dodgers cap,
I was at the Golden Eagle diner in Morris Park, visiting a buddy at Einstein University, but about to head up to the island to explore on my own. I was looking over the subway map when the fellow in charge of the restaurant came over and said “You from LA?”
I said yeah, and the guy’s son comes over, a young kid about 12 or 13 years old. The kid says something like “Man, my dad hates the Dodgers”.
The dad and I got a kick out of it, I laughed it off, and asked them sarcastically, “So what do you think of our new coach?” referring to Joe Torre coming over.
That stung them.
The dad let out a classic New York “Ohhhhhhhh!!” and the son sort of had a sad look on his face, and sat there silently stunned at having been reminded of Torre’s leaving, and the fact that I, the enemy, was here eating egg and bacon, wearing the cap of the enemy.
The kid, after a second, spoke up, and in the most somber tone, said “Well, if the Yankees don’t get one this year, I hope the Dodgers do good for Joe.”(sic)
That’s the kind of story I seem to run into at every turn in New York. that’s also what this game makes me think about.
2008 was the last year for old Yankee Stadium, and Shea. I got to visit them before they closed, and it was really magical. I love the history if both those baseball cathedrals, and to see them in their last year, the feeling was not lost on me.
So, as Pettite cruises along and Puig watches his hero (Cano) play in his yard, all tied up at 2 in the 8th….as Vin would say…

“And now, back to this one”

2013 Kentucky Derby!

Betting notes for the Kentucky derby 2013

Never mind. I wrote my betting notes on the wrapper of a tarragon and chicken salad sandwich I picked up at trader joes on the way over here.

Now I’m at the big bar at the Santa Anita race track, with $100 in bets riding on the Kentucky derby. I know I bet that Gary Stevens would win, and also on a horse named Verrazano, and on my favorite jockey, Raphael Bejarano. The rain made everything a wild card, so I’m just betting on hunches and favorites to sweeten any potential winnings.

I’m also having a margarita on ice, no salt. This is a little tribute to Hunter Thompson, as today is the Kentucky derby, and in his infamous story about the derby, this is the drink you are absolutely not to have at the derby. So naturally I ordered one.

I want to preface this with a “I’m not racist/sexist.”

I do have to say though, there are a lot of Asians here. Tons of Filipinos, lots of others too, but mostly Asians. What’s up With that? Why the prevalence? Do they have a weak resistance to gambling, like the natives alcohol tendency, and the Mexican’s love for orange chicken from Panda Express? Maybe I’ll never know.

One interesting bet I made was on Rosie Napravnik, who hopes to become the first female winner of the Kentucky derby. If she wins, I win, feminism wins, everybody wins! Maybe this will get more than 29 attractive females to come out to Santa Anita to bet on the derby next year, and mix it up with these 5,000 male bettors. The ratio here isn’t even worth talking about. I’m surrounded by the older, burnt out men that make this late 30something nervous. Makes me wonder exactly how much I’m assimilating to these guys. Of course I tell myself I only popped in to make a few choice bets.

Another bet I’m excited about is on Kevin Krigger. If he wins, the jockey would become the first African American to win the derby in over 100 years. Since 1902 to be exact. That’s pretty exciting stuff, and in a W.A.S.P. dominated sport like horse racing, this is the kind of thing I’m ALWAYS rooting for. Not only an underdog, but upsetting traditions, making people question values, etc, all in the venue of sport. Exciting stuff to be sure.

Looking at he screen, I see that my favorite pick, the 3 horse, revolutionary, has gone from a 10-1 good bet, to a 5-1 front runner in no time, the brings the value of my bet down, but makes for a more exciting, harder to call race, in my opinion.

Either way, I’m here. This morning I was watch I the coverage from my couch, but it was just too much. I had to get out here. Then someone weeded the Hunter Thompson article, and that as the las straw. I had to get out here and see some of this stuff for myself. I’m glad I did, and If I win any of these bets, I’ll be leaving a super happy man.

Wish me luck!


Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday 2013

Hello all, your man Fred on the scene, at the Stone brewery beer store in Pasadena, CA asking people who they think will win the Super Bowl?

The consensus thus far has been that the 49ers will win, bringing another championship to California, and glory to the Bay Area enough to shame any Los Angeles fan. After the Giants winning the WS and the Dodgers doing so horribly the last few years, it’s been a tough few years for us SoCal heads.

Anyway, the consensus was that everybody wants to see Ray Lewis win a ring, unless you’re a Pats fan, and have recently had your ass handed to you by said nearly Raven. Otherwise, the respect for the man has been huge, and I have to admit, I can count myself among those wishing Mr. Lewis a victory on the field come Sunday.

I conducted my survey at the Stone brewery in Pasadena tonight, and I also have to say that while most of us want to see Lewis win, we think Copernicus will have his ring. It’s a name too, really, because for a rookie to win so blatanty, his first starting season, would pretty much be an embarrassment for Lewis. Known for his awesome up the middle defense, the bane of tight ends, and punisher of short route receivers, his hits sounding off its that distinctive Ray Lewis crunch, he needs to go out with a win.

Kaepernik is Great, don’t get me wrong, but he will have a decade to get his ring.
Ray Lewis has been bending people backwards for 17 years, already has a ring, but really is the whole reason I’m watch this game.
OK maybe not the whole reason. I do admit, I want to keep an eye on the young SF rookie. He might be something special, and while I didn’t watch the nines enough his year, watching him dominate the playoffs this year as more than enough to convince me that San Francisco has something special on their hands.
I grew up watching Joe Montana play pitch and catch with Jerry Rice as a kid, so I know what a special quarterback looks like. I’ll reserve judgement on CK so far, but it has definitely been fun watching Him and Alex Smith go through what they are dealing with. It has really been amazing.
Tomorrow is the big game, and as a Los Angeles native, I still have no real team to root for, but I still have to admit…..

I’m more excited about tomorrow’s game, than any in recent memory.

Cheers everybody, I went to Stone today, and brought home a growler of great Ale for Super Bowl Sunday. I hope you all have a blast Sunday, live it up, and watch the game !!!!!