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Mike Stevens – KNEE DEEP

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Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Rockcod sinkers on the Titanic
I was working at Bob’s Bait and Tackle in Escondido in 1995 when an unmarked moving truck backed up to the front door. A guy jumped out and immediately revealed himself as a non-angler by asking, “Do you guys sell lead weights?”

When I assured him this was one of the tackle shops that do indeed “deal in lead,” he asks how big were the biggest we had.


“Well, rockfish sinkers come in 1 to 10 pounds, and they’re a buck a pound.”


He does an about face, walks right out and rolls up the back door of the truck. Another guy hops out, and they both come in with a bunch of milk crates and a couple two-wheeled hand trucks.


“We’ll take them all.”


“What do you mean by, all?”


“All of those big ones you said were here.”


I point to the bulk lead area, which pretty much lined the perimeter of the back half of the store, “so, all those, and whatever we have in the back?”


“Absolutely.”


I proceed to help these guys load all this lead into the milk crates, and it took quite a few trips to wheel them into the back of the truck. I even threw in the biggest torpedo sinkers on hand for good measure.


Why it took me until checkout time to finally ask what they were doing with them all is beyond me, but he said, “We are filming a movie in Baja that is going to have some underwater scenes, and we need all this to weight down furniture and other stuff we don’t want to float around and in certain shots.”


“Furniture?” I asked. “Well, what’s the name of the movie, I’ll keep an eye out for it.”


“Titanic.”


Now, even though he said “movie,” when I heard, “Titanic” I figured it was more of a documentary I would be looking for on the Discovery Channel or something, and I didn’t give much more thought to it. At least until a couple years later when I realized that the “Titanic” was indeed that “Titanic” that had the whole country in the grip of its hype storm.


Turns out, a good portion of the filming took place in Rosarito, where they had a huge mock-up of the Titanic on hand for various filming needs.


Now, if you think I might be the type of guy who would have gone on and took credit for the next decade or so (and counting) for assisting in the production of one of the highest-grossing films in the history of the universe, well, that’s where you’re right.


I absolutely hung out to see if Bob’s Bait and Tackle was dropped in there somewhere at the bottom of the credits.


No love.


• • • • •

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