Friday, February 19, 2010

"Liveblogging" My Favorite TV Show--"The Hunt for Big Fish"

Wow! I’m excited. It’s time for my favorite TV drama. It’s full of action.

I’m getting ready to settle in right now coffee mug in one hand, remote control in the other. I’m flipping the channel to 60 and cozying my butt down into the couch cushions in anticipation. It’s Saturday morning and I don’t have to work today so I can really enjoy my show. At the first commercial I’ll get a bowl of Cheerios to enjoy while I finish watching.
OK, here it comes. The commercial is about over. It’s for Jack Link’s Jerky, a prime sponsor. I wonder what the show is about today.

Yes! It’s Larry Dahlberg. Bald, short, ropy-muscled arms. Unassuming but he always succeeds in his “Hunt For Big Fish” right here on Versus.

What’s he doing? Oh yeah, he’s standing on the bow of the boat with a huge baitcasting rod. Obviously he’s going after something hefty. What? He’s in Brazil along a tributary of the Amazon. He’s going after really aggressive and huge Amazon River catfish. They eat piranha. He’s got a live piranha hooked through it’s toothy lip and flopping around. He tosses the bait out, reel spinning and throwing a cascade of droplets into the air. You hear the “zing” as the line goes out to plop a good 50 yards away in an eddy.

He’s explaining what he’s doing. “It’s going to be a little bit harder to catch these big fish today. The river level is way up meaning that the holes where these big cats usually hide out have more water running through them. So we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens.”

We wait. Larry talks about how he rigged his bait. Then you hear a click. Kind of reminds you of the scene in Jaws where the line makes a single ominous “click” and Robert Shaw suddenly gets a mad glint in his eye. My hand stops halfway to my mouth, milk from my spoonful of Cheerios dripping plop, plop, plop back into the bowl.

Larry scrambles to remove the rod from its holder stubbing his toe on his tackle box. He lifts the rod and his ropy arm muscles come to life as he feels for the fish. He hushes his voice as if the fish can hear him and says “He’s playing with it first. Let’s let him really get it in his mouth,” as he free spools line from the reel. Larry locks the drag down, takes hold of the rod above the reel, drops the tip to his waist level and then, POW! POW! POW! He sets the hook hard 3 times each time jerking the rod up about 2 feet.

The tip starts sawing back and forth as the lunker lunges from side to side in its desperate tug of war with the foreign hunk of steel attached to heavy mono line jabbing him through his lip.

The fight is on. Man versus fish. Who’s going to win? Larry’s fights tend to be short. He’s after big fi
sh and he uses big tackle. He’s tremendously skilled and experienced. He shifts the rod from side to side keeping up with the struggling fish’s furious frenzy. Suddenly, we can see the gargantuan Amazon River catfish. It’s longer than Larry is tall. It’s a behemoth. Larry is breathing hard. He whispers hoarsely, “This is a monster. It’s got to go close to 300 pounds! Let’s land him and take a look.”

Larry and the guide struggle to get hands on the fish. They grunt as they heave the monster aboard. The camera zooms to get a close up of the lunker. Larry doesn’t gloat or exclaim or shout when he catches a fish. It’s as though he is far more respectful of the creature which to him is both a challenge and a science project to discover more about these animals and how they’ve managed to grow so large. The monster is gently released back into the river to continue to grow. Larry offers his bag of Jack Link’s jerky to the native guide who plops a handful in his mouth and proceeds to merrily gum it. The jerky is always present as a sponsor’s prop reminding us of the need to pay the bills.

More commercials. And then it’s time for this week’s show to end with a promise of more action in another exotic location next week as he goes on his next “Hunt for Big Fish”.

Wow! Maybe next week I’ll liveblog my other favorite show, “Antiques Roadshow” or “Ask This Old House”. This could be a whole new trend and, at least to my way of thinking, more enjoyable than recaps of “Lost” or “American Idol”. But who knows, my mind conjures up all sorts of goofy stuff.

My apologies to Larry Dahlberg if it seems as though I were poking fun at him. I’m not. This is one of my favorite fishing shows. He’s far more enjoyable than most of the other guys like Babe Winkelman or Bill Dance or Roland Martin who are little more than commercial shills for their sponsors and are tired caricatures of Gadabout Gaddis. And “hoooooooey boy!” he can sure catch him some fish.

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