BOOK IT! Friday: How Big Ben’s day last week shapes this week’s winners

Welcome back to Book It! Friday, where Fish Hack is willing to part with a few NFL winners for this weekend so you steelhead bums don’t have to clear the garage of empties to get a little beer money.

Hack was too far away from the Fish Wrap last week for even the Pinkertons to find him, let alone barf out a few picks for you degenerates who look to Fish Hack for Sunday financial help.

Got plenty to offer this weekend, though, and the key game of this week actually played out last week.

When Big Ben hung 51 points on Indy, it made for two good bets for this week.

First, the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh this week for a rivalry game with an inflated over of 47.5 points thanks largely to bettors falling for last week’s Steelers’ anomaly. When these teams met earlier in the season, the total was 32. Take the under and watch the field goals fly.

And who exactly was it to give Big Ben more scores than a Mustang Ranch shift last week? That would be Indy, which has had trouble stopping anyone and everyone this season.

Luck has the skill to score, but look for Eli Manning to find the cure that Big Ben got in Week 8. The 50.5 points as the over-under should fall easily, given these teams’ track records. Take the over.

And then there’s Cincy at home laying 11 points to a piss-poor Jacksonville team that can’t travel across the street to win a game. Cincy is undefeated in more than two years at home, and with AJ Green returning the TDs should roll for the Bengals.

Lay the points.


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BOOK IT! FRIDAY: Layin’ Low But Still Layin’ Coin

This is not the kind of week where Fish Hack excels in NFL picks, but then again, which one has.

With a slate full of low road faves and home dogs, the week is rife with games that don’t instill confidence.

Like Cleveland a two-point fave over Pittsburgh in the Pound. Clevelend had Pittsburgh beat in Steelertown on Week One, but blew it.

Do you really think they can do it finish off their rivals this time at home? Chances are the Browns wi’ll find a way to lose a close one, but how close?

So Fish Hack is backin’ off the accelerator and going with the one pick that looks good…a good team at home.

Seattle is laying 8 1/2 to Dallas at home. The 12th Man is worth 7 of those points right there, and who really believes that a 4-1 Dallas team can hang with a 4-1 Seattle team. Seahawks expose the Cowboys for their fraudulent record, covering the spread before the end of the first half.

They’ll breeze through the second half and only us degenerates will be watching the fourth quarter to make sure Robo Romo doesn’t string together garbage points.


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BOOK IT! FRIDAY: Leave the Returnables in the Garage and Make These Bets

Welcome back to Book It! Friday, when Fish Hack puts the fly rod down to pound out some NFL picks so you steelhead bums can make some money without having to return that garage full of IPA empties.

Remember, the same derelectic interests that make up steelheaders also makes us gamblers.

The world got last week’s Dallas-Seattle game. But every Sunday brings new hopes to cash on wise wagers, so here it goes.

First, Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings’ low-flying air game travel to Buffalo to meet the run-stuffing Bills. Minnesota gets 4.5 points, and though we’re looking at another low-scoring game this is the play. Minnesota couldn’t score at the Mustang Ranch. Lay the 4.5 (which is more than the Vikes scored last week) and play the under-43.

Detroit is in a strange position to be favored by 3 points against a New Orleans team that many considered a Super Bowl could-be laying in the weeds. But they’ve been playing like they’ve been smoking weed, especially on defense.

The answer to the bet here is in the numbers. While Saints are averaging 26 points a game, the Lions are averaging just under 20 a game. But Detroit’s giving up just 13.6 to New Orleans pourous 28.2-point defense.

That’s a 9-point differential in favor of the Lions.

Lion’s D tops the league, and they are much better at home on both sides of the ball than on the road. Make some field goals for a change and cover that 3 points.


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HAIKU MONDAY: On Rogue Bay, Omega 3 Fatties and Oh $#!% Moments

D-Wink, left, B-Wink and the Xed-out eye of a big Rogue chinook.

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is back in the Fish Wrap after a little time trolling the Rogue River Bay, the westernmost leg of Hack’s home waters.

It’s a day chasing meat, and a fruitful one at that.

Turned one chinook’s eyes into X’s and didn’t get in the way of a good bud whacking the biggest Oregon fish of her life.

“Get the net, Fish Hack/And don’t you dare F this up!”./Not Hack’s best moment.

For you Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, with some bad forms of old Japanese poetry as the schtick.

Hit the Rogue Bay with buds Dana and Brian Winkler to spin some ‘chovies for big ‘nooks. It’s the annual Fish Hack and B-Wink trip to stock up the freezer with fresh chinook to last thorugh the winter.

This time, B-Wink brought better-half D-Wink, a one-time Alaskan who has put tahe hurt to all sorts of finned critters over the years, but the best she’s done in the bay to date is a little jack salmon.

The trick on getting bay fish to bite is to rig up an anchovy so it does the requisite death spin in the water, imitating a damaged bait fish that’s easy to munch.

Hack whacked a 10-pounder Saturday and B-Wink caught the smallest hatchery coho this side of Munchkin Land.

You call that a fish?/Hack’s ‘nook craps bigger than that./Coho fingerfood.

With a few extra hours of trolling Sunday, the plan was to get D-Wink some Omega-3 Fatty of her own..

Just as the sun creeps over the clearcuts, D-Wink thinks she’s stuck on the bottom. B-Wink is trying to get her to thumb the spool to get the lead out of the rocks.

Good thing she didn’t because it would have lodged in the reel as a big ‘nook swirls and heads toward Tokyo.

D-Wink plays it like a champ and gets it to the boat for Hack to put on a hero net. Except oneself forgets to put the old polarized glasses on.

Thought Hack was about to stab right in front of its face.Turns out it’s the tail. Goosed that fish for a run, the kind of Oh $#!%! Moment that usually leads to a lost fish and a Facebook unfriending.

Luckily, D-Wink put the wood to that ‘nook again and eventually got it to the boat so tuckered out that it all but begged for a netting…and Hack complied.

A 30-pounder with sea lice fell into the driftboat. Hack glad to be part of the solution instead of all of the problem.

D-Wink gets her ‘nook./Hack avoids laughingstock roll./Great bay memory.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Meat Fishing the Rogue Bay

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is laying low at the Fish Wrap for a few days of R&R before heading down to the Rogue River bay for a weekend of meat fishing.

Chinook and perhaps a coho with a missing fin, as long as it’s big enough.

Fish the bay for meat./Need fillets for the smoker./Bay trolling fills it.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins still out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors, with a few bad forms of old Japanese poetry tossed in as the schtick.

Cuz you need a schticks/To stand out in blogosphere./Too much noise on web.

Fish Hack goes through a few killing fits annually, with one the last weekend in September. That’s when Hack and bud Brian have been making a point to troll the bay for chinook and coho.

Two years ago had a 30-fish day. Last year was one bite, but a 30-pounder in the box.

Expect this year to be somewhere in betweeen.

Trolling big anchovies with the Rogue bait rig set-up is the only way to go. Ask bud Jim Carey from the Rogue Outdoor Store to save a few trays of the big ‘uns for us.

The only thing better than a ‘nook trying to jerk your rod out of your hands comes in November, when Hack fly-fishes for chinook at the mouth of Elk River.Epic takes, for sure.


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BOOK IT! FRIDAY: Bounce-Back Weekend

Welcome back to BOOK IT! Friday, where the only person having a worse start to this-here NFL season than Fish Hack is…Roger Goodell.

But unlike Goodell, Fish Hack can rebound.

Three game-ending field goals tanked Fish Hack’s first three picks and that’s a sucky way to start the campaign.

This week’s feeling better, because at least there are some trends to work with.

Such as banking on the Raiders taking their normal laxatives when the travel to the East Coast, where they’ve crapped out the past 14 straight games. Even laying 13 1/2, there’s no reason to believe that New England will do anything to change that streak. Lay the points and watch Oakland lay an egg.

And then there’s the Saints. Though a surprising 0-2 they do get home cookin’ and the switch-less Vikings don’t match up with New Orleans in any category except felony indictments.

New Orleans need to run it up on somebody, so it might as well be Minnesota, even though the 9 1/2 points is a bit high.

The interesting thing about this game, though, is that the Saints first two games scored a combined 121 points, easily tops in the league. That makes the 46 1/2 over-under look like it should get eclipsed in the third quarter. Take the over.


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BOOK IT! FRIDAY: On Week One Bets, Johnny F-Bomb and Laying Points

Welcome back to the latest iteration of Book It Friday, where Fish Hack steps away from the river and up to the betting kiosk with three NFL picks for the upcoming weekend.

The intent is to give you steelhead bums beer money without having to take all those empties back to the store. And remember, the only difference between gamblers and degenerate gamblers are their records.

Everybody who skipped Thursday’s opening game is undefeated in the season so far. And Fish Hack expects to stay that way for a while.

Two years ago, Fish Hack was up 6 Bennies on $50 bets for the season. Gave most of that back last year, as did most handicappers in what turned out to be one of the most unpredictable gambling seasons in decades.

Time to get Hack back in black..

First, there’s Johnny F-bomb’s first official clip-board tote of his career when the Browns visit the Steelers.

Hard to believe Pittsburgh is just 6 1/2-point faves. Those are some pretty easy points to lay. Take the Steelers, who rarely give Cleveland an end-zone sniff at home.

Another big home fave are the Bears, who step onto the field down 7 points to Buffalo at kick-off.That should be erased by the middle of the second quarter, Cutler to Marshall. Lay the points.

Lastly, there’s San Diego rolling the 10 to Phoenix for the final game of Week 1. Two pretty unlikable quarterbacks on two teams most pundits not called Hack have going to the playoffs.

The interesting thing about Palmer v. Rivers isn’t that ‘Zona’s a field-goal favorite. The over-under is just 45 points. The pick-sixes in this came alone could cover that. Lovin’ that over.



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HAIKU MONDAY: On The Big Spill That Is

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is getting the measuring stick out because the upper Rogue River is finally getting a little extra water.

The releases from Lost Creek Lake to Hack’s home waters of the upper Rogue will inch up day and Tuesday morning, running from 1,500 cubic feet per second to 1,850 cfs.

The change means the fall chinook are coming and the party is about to start in Grants Pass.

More water brings ‘nooks/From the beach to middle Rogue/Many rods will bend.

For you Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors, with some bad versions of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick

The “spike” of water normally released Aug. 10 to draw fall chinook through the hot Lower Rogue Canyon without a fatal disease outbreak among them was postponed because the ‘nooks weren’t moving. Then rain and cool weather dropped the river by 6 degrees, emptying the bay of chinook and the run started coming.

With the spike getting put in place, they’ll be coming in droves.

Here come the chinook./Good time to be Grant Passer/Fall chinook’s backyard.

The early fish head to the Applegate, then the middle Rogue. Some of the best fishing will be in Taylor Creek and Hellgate canyons, where anglers already are running into salmon.

It’s a Kwikfish scene, largely because the pikeminnow snot-out roe faster than a Haiku Monday reader hits the X in the right-hand corner of the computer screen.

Haikus make screen crash./Just too many syllables/To remember right.


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HAIKU MONDAY: On Rogue ‘Nooks, Water and The Spike That Was Not

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where the good fishers of Gold Beach are getting a few extra days of good fall chinook salmon success thanks to a biologist slow-playing his water cards this week at Lost Creek Lake.

The spike of water scheduled for release Sunday into the Rogue River didn’t materialize..on purpose.

So say Thank You, Gold Beach, to Pete Samarin.

No spike of water/Means ‘nooks stay in the Rogue bay./Get popped by locals.

For you Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors, with some bad versions of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

So, here’s the skinny on the low Rogue flows.

Each Aug. 10, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife orders a spike of water release from Lost Creek Lake to draw migrating fall chinook salmon out of the Lower Rogue Canyon where they are susceptible to warm water-related illnesses in August. The spike cools the river, triggering the upstream migration to cooler wates in the middle Rogue..

For Gold Beachers, them’s fighting words. Freshwater temps in the mid-70s keep Rogue-bound chinook in the cooler waters of the estuary, where anglers troll anchovies and whack ‘em pretty good. The spike, however, draw those fish out of the estuary, killing that fishery.

Instead of just turning on the faucet, Samarin — the ODFW fish biologist who weighs in for the agency on water releases — decided to wait this week.

Regular survey seining of the Rogue at Huntley Park shows that the chinook aren’t heading upstream out of the bay much yet. Instead of cranking up the out-flows, he decided to wait until the chinook start showing up at Huntley Park in decent numbers.

Hands off the faucet./Gold Beachers playtime rolls on./More ‘nooks in the boat.

Huntley Park gets netted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during late summer. Today’s pull showed very few chinook.

So no artificial drop to Rogue water temps.

But what Samarin gives, the weatherman may taketh away.

Air temps forecast for 81 degrees Tuesday in Medford means the water could cool the Rogue a few degrees on its own. That would trigger those chinook that it’s time to leave the bay and get inland.

When they do, Samarin will order the spike and the chinook playground shifts from the estuary to the middle Rogue.

GP’ers will get their fish soon./’Nooks are coming on their own./Say “bye” to beach..

Gonna wait for the spikedidn’t

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Making Steelhead Fishing Too Easy

Tom "Anthony Bourdain" Erspke with a Rogue summer steelhead, his second ever.

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is busy ruining the myth that steelhead are tough to catch, one new angler at a time.

Like Medford’s Tom Ersepke. His brain is totally polluted now on what it really takes to get into summer steelhead.

Guy just catches fish./He sits in the boat, clueless/Steelhead come to him.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comse to mind, with some bad forms of old Japanese poetry tossed in as the schtick.

So, Ersepke is an old bud and out Tax Deductions play sports together. Dude never fished til Hack took him to Diamond Lake two years ago and he catches, like, 50 rainbows in one afternoon.

Last year he popped his Rogue River fishing cherry by catching and whacking an 8-pound hatchery summer steelhead, declaring “That was easier than I thought.”

Don’t test steelhead gods./They don’t like rooks kickin” ass./Due to get skunked, Bro.

So Hack takes him Sunday evening on the upper Rogue, Hack’s home waters. Get that bad-karma skunk trip out of the way, Hack says.

Sitting on a plug below Takelma and, BAM, the rod goes down and the acrobatics begin.

A big, bright chromer does a few 4-foot jumps then bee-lines it downstream over the break and into the next chute. Fish Hack gives suit, with Ersepke with the rod butt drilled into his belly-buttom, reeling as fast as he can.

Hack scoops him up — a 10-pound buck that gets a free pass back to the Rogue.

“Not so easy this time, eh?” Hack says.

Ersepke, rockin’ the Anthoiny Bourdain hair, posed for some fish porn.

Next chute and BAM, another monster chromer, but this one cuts Ersepke off on a sharp rock.

He does an epic battle with a fourth 10-pounder before losing it at the boat.

That was in the first hour of fishing, and all before 6 p.m.

Dude fishes the Rogue a total of five hours and gets four steelhead, nothing under 8 pounds.

And all rocking shorts.

No year of casting in the cold rain waiting to get your first bite. The fish of 1,000 casts just come too easy for this former TV foof.

“It’s not supposed to work this way, Dude,” Hack says.

Hack pollutes his mind./Makes steelhead seem so easy,/Dude needs to be skunked.


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  • Blog Author

    Mark Freeman

    I've underachieved as the Mail Tribune's Fish Hack since 1989. I can't help but find a few things to yuk about with pathetic regularity in the outdoors. My most treasured award? An OSHA citation for a messy desk -- Fire hazard. YEAH! Read Full
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