Reel Serious

March 16, 1998

There's nothing like sitting in a golf cart doing a little
fishing. That's a bonus at tournaments like the Doral-Ryder Open
and the Players Championship. The Tour's fishermen--guys like
Paul Azinger, Billy Ray Brown, Brad Bryant and me--can back our
carts up to lakes on the courses and fish. When people ask what
boat I use to fish in Florida, I say it's an E-Z-Go.

At Doral there's an annual prize for the largest bass. We'll
take laundry bags from our hotel rooms, fill them with water and
put our catches in there. Then we take them to a fish scale
that's kept at tournament headquarters, weigh them and let them
go.

There's more to the sport than just throwing a hook in the
water. Four years ago, when I got into fly-fishing, I learned
that there's an art to it. It's a thrill to fool a fish with a
collection of feathers you tie yourself with needle and thread.
The idea is to give the fly the silhouette of something the fish
wants to eat--a shrimp or a crab. You also have to learn what
times of year to fish at various water levels, and which lures
and flies to use under which light conditions. Fly casting is
like golf in that way. It's so hard to get it just right. When I
was starting out, my wife used to say, "If you spent as much
time on golf as you do with that fly rod, you'd play better."
Now I keep my priorities in line. I'd much rather win a golf
tournament than catch a world-record saltwater spotted trout.
Honest.

Recently I took my two sons out in my boat near our home in
Corpus Christi, Texas. Mark--he's five--mostly ran around and
talked about having lunch. Nine-year-old Philip said, "I didn't
come out here to eat, I came out here to fish." That's when I
knew we had another fisherman in the family.

Phil Blackmar has won Doral's annual fishing tournament twice.

COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND He's hooked For Blackmar, the 19th hole is the one with the fish in it. [Phil Blackmar holding fishing rod and fish]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)