Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

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Friday, October 19, 2018
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Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Gem of Diego

A well-placed (pod) cast
Grass roots. It’s the very place where the serious fishing bug is continually born and/or caught, generation after generation, and it is most certainly where it most consistently spreads and how the seed is nurtured to foster further growth. It’s teaching a kid how to rig up and make a solid cast. It’s talking to the folks at your local tackle shop and asking a bevy of questions. It’s geeking out with a fellow fisherman over the endless stream of baits out there and the plethora of different ways to rig and fish them.

It’s where the legitimate heart and passion of fishing lives and thrives, and where it’s passed on down the lineage.

One recent example of this is in the upstart weekly fishing podcast, “ Cast and Crank,” which initially launched in late August and is now up to its 25th episode venturing further into the New Year.

If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s headed up by co-hosts Nick Trujillo and Justin McTeer, two guys — both of whom I’ve yet to meet in person — who come off on the podcast merely as two dudes that are just into fishing and want to delve deeper into the angling rabbit hole. Sound and feel familiar?

And how else do you dig deeper and get closer to fishing Wonderland but to kick around ideas, theories, techniques, back­grounds, etc. with other guys who are already well on their way down the El Chapo escape tunnel of the proverbial fishing rabbit hole?

Cast and Crank has an easy-listening feel. It’s not over-produced with any real bells or whistles and it’s pretty rudimentary and straight-forward: just sitting around and talking fishing. The guys are still feeling their way into it and adding and adapting things as they go along, but for the most part, it’s just fun, and interesting.

Of all the noise that pounds our ears on a daily, minute-by-minute basis, I for one would personally prefer having that noise be fishing noise, or something else I’m legitimately interested in rather than the 90 percent of practically-unavoidable noise we’re pelted with that usually amounts to all but nothing in the end game. At this point in life, I’m convinced: simple IS best in the majority of cases. Pick your poison.

The podcast has mostly — with a handful of exceptions — focused on the bass scene to this point, both the saltwater and freshwater varieties. Which is fitting, especially with the relatively new wave of innovative and inevitable crossover between the two in recent years. There’s a bit of focus on the tournament fishing scene — both fresh and salt — along with a good bit on particular baits / gear and techniques, and the personal stories and experiences of the guests and their backgrounds, including how they first put their heads and arms down this vast and endless rabbit hole of fishing that many of us find ourselves immersed in today.

Perhaps the biggest early takeaways from the young podcast for me is the simple notion — which is always a good and helpful reminder — that there truly is no particular one way to fish or how to go about things, and that the myriad subtleties and possibilities in this sport of ours, just as in life itself, are practically endless. You can pick up on this in just listening to a handful of Cast and Crank episodes.

Take a half dozen guys who are true-and-true, dedicated calico specialists, and each of them are most likely to have their own preferred approaches and styles of fishing. One guy leans heavily on big weedless swimbaits, while the next dude might be a die-hard crankbait chucker.

And in between it all, there are those countless little nuggets in all the details about just how exactly each guy goes about it. Pay close enough attention and it can be pretty enlightening in a number of different ways.

Most of the guests thus far have offered up plenty of insight to chew on from each of their deep wealth of knowledge and vast experience of time on the water, which is clearly the ultimate teacher in this game when all is said and done. As far as any angler’s learning curve is concerned, you can only read about it, watch videos online or talk about and pick other folks’ brains so much — ultimately, you just have to get out there and continue casting away to keep ascending to that next level on the learning ladder.

But that’s not to say that you can’t absorb ample insights without having a deck under your feet, because you most certainly can, especially when it’s coming from guys who’ve logged more hours on the water in the last 10 or 20 years than the rest of us could ever hope to accumulate in a lifetime, even if we make an honest and valiant effort at it.

From Eric Bent reminiscing about the early days of saltwater bass tournament fishing to Chris Lilis breaking down the nuances within the nuances of a particular calico bite on a kelp line.

From Eric Landesfeind recalling a once-in-a-lifetime teener calico boiling on his bait just like a 25-pound yellow and the heartbreak of the trophy bass getting away, to Captain Jimmy Decker giving advice on how to get the most out of any given seminar you attend, and Ben Secrest advising all the SoCal skiff “captains” out there on simply how to avoid being a “ kook” while out on the water.

There’s a lot to be gleaned by one with keen and open ears who’s mining for gold nuggets of information, insight and possibly some new ideas to incorporate into your game.

All in all, it’s something that has likely been wanted and needed in the sportfishing community for a long time now. It’s definitely worth a listen or three to at least check it out for yourself and see what you might be able to glean from it. It certainly beats the perpetual droning on of the nightly news or scrolling through the perceived and exaggerated, overhyped glitz and glamor of social media.

After all, it is grass roots. And one very well-placed (pod) cast…

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