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July 26

The dawg dayz of summer … woof …

Actually, that howling sound you hear in the background is probably the local marlin fishermen crying for the marlin to show up, fercrissakes. As one of my contacts stated glumly, "No reputable marlin fisherman saw anything this weekend." While that’s a little bit of an overstatement, it was a pretty bleak weekend. The marlin right now are a lot like your high school girlfriend – they tantalize and tease, but if you reach for them, they’re gone.

We did get a couple of new reports. Down south, IMPULSE released a striped marlin Thursday while fishing at the the 230 spot (32.14/117.40). It’s in the Release Reports if you want the details. Closer to home, a marlin was released Saturday between the 14 Mile and Avalon Banks. Gotta love those inshore fish! I’m told the boat was the old FIRST THINGS FIRST (as opposed to the current FTF), but I don’t know the boat’s current name or owner. If you do, let me know!

The tuna remain relatively scarce. Boats fishing the BAC alby event had to run all the way down to the Twin 220’s to scratch out a couple of albacore. There are yellowtail under the kelp paddies and along the tide lines, but we’re not seeing the influx of warm water species you’d expect considering the water is over 70 in a lot of places.

What more can be said about Lance Armstrong. He wrapped up his sixth consecutive Tour de France victory yesterday, placing him above the greats of cycling who had 5 – Antequil, Mercyx, Hinault and Indurain. Not only did he win, he pretty much stomped the field. He earned five individual stage victories (six, if you count US Postal’s domination of the team trial), and in the end led the second place finisher by over six minutes. Students of the Tour are already calling it the most dominant performance since Bernard Hinault’s victory in 1981.

Lance picked up a nickname in this year’s Tour (The Boss), and it was clear that he would get exactly what he wanted from the Tour from the outset. He dominated both the flats and the hills, and simply outclassed a field of mostly younger riders. The only real question now will be if he will go for a seventh victory next year.

The Discovery Channel will take over next year as the primary sponsor of Armstrong’s team, and it is reasonable to assume they’d like the publicity generated from his presence. At the same time, one of the biggest criticisms of Armstrong has been his single-minded focus on the TdF while ignoring other significant races. Coincidentally, the Discovery Channel owns the US broadcast rights to the Giro d’ Italia, a tour second only to le Tour in popularity and cycling significance. Of course, should the new Discovery Channel team – and Lance – choose to ride the Giro next year, which race do you think will get the publicity? Only time will tell …

Remember last time when I talked about the great "Our Land" parody of the Woody Guthrie tune? Well, no good deed goes unpunished – the publisher of the song is suing the filmmakers. Never mind that the Woodster has been dead for nearly 40 years, or that parody is Constitutionally-protected free speech. Shakespeare was right – "first, we kill all the lawyers …"

I don’t know how it is in your part of the world, but it’s been hotter than anything here at the Home Office. Apparently, it’s been hot in other parts of the world as well, gauging from some of the opinions demonstrated lately in the Offshore Fishing Forums. Now, I believe in free speech more than most, and I encourage people to speak their mind – even if it’s not necessarily popular or politically correct. i always figure that if someone says something really stupid, facing the slings and arrows of their posting peers is far more painful than anything I could do.

Lately, though, it seems that the vitriol has been running particularly deep, and I’ve had to gently reprimand a couple of posters in recent weeks. Guys, we all have opinions (just like assholes, right!), and all opinions are welcome. But be sure you understand the difference between opinion and defamations. I don’t want to read any more postings questioning sexual orientation or any similarly degrading comments in the future. We’re all big people here – can’t we all just get along?

I was off the water this weekend, but that gave me a chance to enjoy the beach living I pay such a high price for. In between a couple of intense bike rides, I caught a couple of matches each day at the AVP Hermosa Beach Open. I saw Misty May and Kerri Walsh on Saturday, and Karch Kiraly and Mike Lambert on Sunday.

Unfortunately for Misty (and maybe us all …), a pre-existing ab strain caused her to forfeit the title match Saturday afternoon. what to do – you have a full beach stadium of booze-soaked VB fans, and no match. Step in my newest attraction – Rachel Wacholder. Having lost her match earlier in the day, she stepped in on 30 minutes notice and took Misty’s place in an exhibition match for the crowd. Not only did she look fantastic, but she and Kerri came within a couple of points of beating the Athens-bound winners, Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs. Unfortunately, Misty is also an Olympian, and it remains to be seen if she’ll recover in time for the Games, which begin in two weeks.

The combination of warm water, warmer weather and the chance at midweek glory should get a few boats out on the water this week, If they score, you’ll score because I’ll post it in the War Room. Until, then, stay cool!

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