Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Elite [Print without images]

Sunday, May 13, 2007
Updated: June 14, 8:16 PM ET

Logging into Weigh-in's


By Kevin Short
ESPNOutdoors.com exclusive — May 13, 2007

It's a Love-Hate Thing

Had to endure my first Internet weigh-in this past week. Had a close friend, actually several, who were fishing the FLW Series on nearby Lake Dardanelle. Why wasn't I on the clock and in the derby? Long story that involves a funeral, some unfinished business, and more than we need to go into here.

So my buds are in the big derby. 100,000 smacks on the line. Kev's sitting at home watching the weigh-in on the Dell. Nice. I'm not liking this at all. It's really a love-hate thing. I love it because we have it. Five years ago to get any results we had to call someone at the tournament or wait until the next day to see it in the local news — if the local paper even bothered to print the standings. Now we can sit in out recliner and watch every angler cross the stage. Zona and Sanders even have a 30 minute pre-weigh-in show that runs before each of the Elite Series events. Have we progressed or what?

Before this week I had watched a little of both the FLW Live and the BASS Live Leaderboard. Both are great products for the fans to keep up with their favorite anglers. Both have worked the bugs out (mostly) and work well on a regular basis. I have to say that I like the BASS Leaderboard better.

Before you go slapping me around, saying I'm just smoochin' some ESPN cheek — listen up. I like the Leaderboard because the layout is easier to view. The layout and format they use show more of the anglers on the page and is easier to scroll down through. It also has all the days weights listed, instead of just the total weight without having to search for an angler. Little details make a big difference in the overall package. Don't agree? Fine. Look at both of them side-by-side and decide for yourself.

Back to the story. So my man Al is fishing the derby at Dardanelle. I'm an hour away watching the weigh-in on my laptop. After Day 2, my man is in second place and looking to make the Top 10. I'm already planning a trip to the final weigh-in to see him win it all. But wait; we have to get through Day 3 first.

I get started watching about thirty minutes after the show started. Al isn't due in until one of the later flights. I'm puttering around the house taking care of my business and checking on the progress of the weigh-in every few minutes. I see that some of my other buds have crossed the stage. Some are in good shape to get a Top 50 check and others are going to have a long face on the drive home.

The list of anglers left to weigh is getting pretty short and still no sign of my man. Guess he's sandbagging. Maybe he had to wait a while for a weigh bag. Maybe he has a huge sack and they are holding him to add some drama. A few more anglers cross the stage. Still no Al.

Ooh, maybe he didn't make it back yet. I flip over to the pairings to see what his boat number and partner's name are. Uh-oh, I remember seeing his partner go across the stage a few minutes earlier. I flip back to the weigh-in and find the partner has weighed fish all of the first three days. So my man has a huge, huge sack and they are holding him. That's got to be the reason he hasn't crossed the stage.

Now we're down to the last few anglers. I'm sitting here, glued to the Dell, fingers crossed. Seriously. I am on the edge of my seat with my fingers crossed, waiting to see my man drop a big sack of Dardanelle green on the scales. Pretty crazy.

The emcee has the co-angler leader up on the stage as the last co-angler brings his bag to the scales. All my man Al has to do is come in with 7 pounds to make the Top 10 cut for the last day. He needs about 17 to take the lead. I know he can catch 'em. I know he's around them. Where's he at?

Wait, wait, what's going on here? They're giving the co-angler winner his big cardboard check. They're asking him how he caught his fish. What about Al?

"Where's my man?" I scream at the Dell. "Why aren't you letting Al weigh?" I'm liking this even less now.

The emcee walks off the stage and the weigh-in is over. No Al. No big sack. No Top 10. No trip to the big show for me. What the heck?!

I grab the phone and punch up his number. "I just didn't catch 'em. I stayed in my best area all day and tried to get the bigger fish to bite. Just couldn't make it work."

Whoa, déjà vu. All over again. Rewind to Day 2 at Amistad. "That's all right, brother. You're getting a decent check. I know it isn't the one you came for, but it's more than you had when you put the boat in the water." I tell Al.

"So you watched it on the internet?" he asked. "What do you think about that?"

"Honestly? I love to hate it. Love it because we can watch every bag hit the scales. Hate it because I get way too involved in it."

Man, my fingers hurt. Does this make me a fan?

For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his website at www.kfshort.com.