Sunday, August 12, 2012

What is Bass Fishing All About?

What is bass fishing really about? Do bass fishing organizations think they can compete with professional sports like baseball and football? Is bass fishing a competitive sport for making money? Should we all quit our day jobs and go pro?

No. I think the answer to all these questions is "no." Somewhere along the way we listened to marketers who pushed bass fishing as a competitive sport in order to sell tackle and boats. Bass fishing should not be about making money or gaining sponsors. It should be about enjoying the outdoors and fishing and showing the next generation how to fish and care for the fishery.

Bass fishing should be showing the next generation the joy of living in balance with nature--not about beating the other guy or making money. The Take a Kid Fishing Foundation has the right idea.

When I was four years old, I made a fishing pole out of a stick and caught fish off the dock. I spent hours there mesmerized with watching and catching fish there. When I was fishing, time seemed to freeze, and I did not think about anything else.That is the core of the joy of fishing.

Read American BeheMouth to learn how we are out of balance in America. Even something like bass fishing can become an obsession or addiction.

American BeheMouth can now be previewed and purchased on Google Play.

Read the story about Kentucky Lake in the 1950s--what bass fishing was like back then.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Clear Lake: A Microcosm of our Economy

I just returned from a bass fishing trip to Clear Lake, California. Clear Lake promoters advertise that Clear Lake is the "biggest lake in California"; however, in reality, the slogan is more like a half-true political ad, since Lake Tahoe is in fact thee biggest, but Clear Lake promoters "disqualify" Tahoe since part of it is in Nevada.

Everything about Clear Lake is half fast and cheap compared to Lake Tahoe. Tahoe is beautiful, clear and has world-class accomodations and entertainment. Clear Lake, namely Lakeport, CA, is a rat hole with a couple mediocre places to eat that are not always open, a couple stores, a K-Mart, and now a mossy and gross lake, where no one wants to water ski anymore.

Clear Lake was not always like this. In fact, it once was thriving, clear, beautiful, and touted as one of the best bass fishing lakes. I would say that is no longer true, and the reason is bad management. In so many ways, Clear Lake is a microcosm of our mismanaged economy.

Several years ago, a new casino came to town, bringing in new revenue, a great concert venue, and tourism. Mismanagement and corruption quickly led to its demise. Along with that, illegal marijuana growers in this poverty-stricken Lake County have ruined Clear Lake with their fertilizer run-off. The fertilizer has led to the prolific growth of algae all over the lake. The nasty algae leaves a green film on your body after you swim. Try getting that stuff in your mouth while water skiing. No fun!

Decline of the Clear Lake, CA fishery

So the lake is too nasty for water skiing, but the fishing is still good, right? Not exactly. The story is not much different there either. At one time, the fishing was superb and B.A.S.S. held their 2007 Elite Series tournament there, with Steve Kennedy breaking the 20 fish limit with almost 123 pounds. Since then, the numbers and size of the bass has been on the decline. Why? Fishing pressure, mismanagement, bass tournament fallout, death and lack of restocking of threadfin shad, and other reasons. The numbers of fish caught is down by more than 50%. The algae is up over 100+%, while fishing pressure remains high. Bass mortality from bass tournaments is up, from the death of hundreds of huge fish in recent years' tournaments.


The solutions to the decline at Clear Lake, California are simple:

1) Better management of the fishery, stocking, and tournament restrictions

a) Restock threadfin shad! There used to be acres of them, and now after a couple of hard winters, the majority of them died off. Bass depend on threadfin as the mainstay of their diet.

b) Reduce the number and size of tournaments at Clear Lake. Do not allow tournaments in hot weather. Make sure that anglers all have a fizz kit and use it when they catch deep water bass.

c) Change creel limits to better manage how many big fish are removed from the lake.

2) Enforcement of illegal marijuana growing/fertilizers and enforcement/replacement of faulty septic systems from the surrounding area. Fertilizer and sewer run-off causes the algae to grow in the lake. People in the community and state and county agencies have to go after those violators to fix the problem. People also need to take individual responsibility.

For more fisheries solutions on creating the world's perfect fishery, read American BeheMouth, where one fisheries hobbyist creates the perfect fish-to-food ratio and raises the world-record bass.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fishermen Search Kentucky for World-Record “Lake of Dreams”

After reading the new book “American BeheMouth” or visiting the website, anglers are searching for the lake in Kentucky holding a 28+-pound largemouth bass.

At first a trickle of poachers started searching, then entire families in SUVs were pulling over at convenience stores asking for directions. One reader of “American BeheMouth” likened it to Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams,” and the lake, full of giant largemouth bass 15-28 pounds, earned its nickname “Lake of Dreams.”

“When I took the job of managing the lake, I thought I would be out there catching huge bass all day,” said Billy Hutchinson, who now secures the lake in addition to feeding the fish. “I did not think I would be crouched in the brush wearing night vision goggles trying to protect the lake with a shotgun, but that’s what it’s come to.”

Billy, who says he has officially fished the lake “just once,” but unofficially, “a few other times,” says his personal record is around 18 pounds, an uncertified Kentucky state record. As for the poachers, he knows of only one who was successful. “I saw him running to his truck by the road, but I didn’t bother firing at him. He only had a 10 or 11-pound fish. We’re taking out some that size now, so I wasn’t worried.”

Jason Covington’s new book, “American BeheMouth,” details the years of research that solves the age-old fisheries question of how to grow fish to these proportions. The formula includes a new fish-to-food ratio as well as the baitfish used and the environmental conditions required. The book tells several other stories along the journey, including a Castaic Lake, California record and state-record Missouri bass.

When asked about his plans for the lake, Covington said, “I originally built it to honor my grandfather, but after it started getting expensive, I was kindof hoping for that million dollars you always hear about for the world-record in order to at least recoup some of my money." No sponsors or endorsements deals have come from the 27-pound bass, which was not submitted to the International Game Fish Association for record certification. Under the circumstances, a record like this would require one huge asterisk, like so many records in baseball, he maintains.

To get the details on the “Lake of Dreams” and the world-record-sized bass, read the book "American BeheMouth," available for sale as an economical EBook on Amazon and in paperback on Amazon's CreateSpace.



BeheMouth website:

Press and Book Reviewers, please contact the author at for an interview or review copy.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cheaters, Poachers, and Thieves

It’s happening in our economy, banks, government, lakes, and forests. Greedy people are breaking the rules to gain spoils. It’s starting to come out in the news regarding banks and the huge derivative “side bets”, such as the $9B loss by JP Morgan. Inside traders and bankers are manipulating the system so that free market forces no longer dictate market trends. Instead, the market has become more like a casino. This is happening on our lakes and in our forests too; if enforcement is low, and someone thinks they can break the law and get away with it, many are making the choice to break the law.

Poaching is when one deliberately breaks the law or local ordinance to catch fish or shoot game to keep. In some places, laws are carefully enforced and fish and game officers protect our resources. In other places, including local waters and vast wildernesses, it’s impossible to enforce laws. In some cases, like on private lakes run by a homeowner’s association, it is difficult to enforce laws since the homeowner’s association in itself is not an enforcement agency.

Take, for example, my lake in Missouri, Lake Tishomingo, a 200-acre lake with about 250 homes. We put in time and money to grow big bass and to protect the fish by instituting a slot limit. In other words, you have to throw back all the big bass. You can keep some of the smaller fish to wean down the population.

A guy at Lake Tishomingo caught a 9.5 pound bass, probably the biggest bass ever caught out of Lake Tishomingo. He bragged about it and even admitted he kept the fish to taxidermy it. This is against our regulations and bylaws, and we are required to throw back these big bass. In a case like this, the International Game Fish Association would not certify this as a record since specific laws were broken in the catch. He could have still broken the lake record by weighing the fish and taking pictures, followed by a release.

It’s infuriating to see someone gain by breaking the rules. You're happy to see people succeed but not when they break the rules or hurt the resources or industry in the process. It’s even more frustrating when the government or regulating authority does not do anything to stop the law breakers. In the case of the Tishomingo bass, the homeowner’s association does not have any power or care about enforcing fishing regulations. On the other hand, the local Fish and Game does not have any authority on private waters either. I don’t like a system that is rigged. No one does. I want to play by the rules, work hard, and find success. In “American BeheMouth” I talk about these types of ethical issues in fishing, life, and government all in a fishing story.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Austerity measures for a balanced economy

It’s easy to look at the problems in the world and take a bleak perspective. Some look at all the problems and see the end with no way out. Some are even prepping for the end of the world. However, instead of falling into gloom and doom thinking, wouldn’t it be better to work toward making improvements in your life and world toward being more balanced?

You can’t prepare for every doomsday scenario anyway. Look at the film, Melancholia. What would you do in the scenario in which Planet X is going to crash into earth? Probably become unhinged! Don’t become unhinged; focus on what you can change here and now. With the economic problems the world is facing, an economic collapse seems almost certain, but it does not have to be.

American BeheMouth is about one man who becomes obsessed with one idea of raising the world-record bass (bigger and better no matter the cost). It's also about bloated government (see the picture of the fat bigmouth bass). Any time you get too out of balance, you can become unhinged. That’s what’s happening in Greece right now. However, further up north, in Estonia, politicians made spending cuts and got their government back under control with good austerity measures, leading to 7.6% growth last year. They are a model for how we should go as a country and as individuals. 

We have to take personal responsibility for ourselves and in our government. We can’t blame others or expect bigger governments or richer individuals to bail us out.

Preview most of American BeheMouth in Google Play.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What’s Wrong with Bass Tournaments?

No one is asking this question, but instead I have heard a lot of bragging about how much these tournament organizations “improve the fishing” and how they positively “impact the local economies.” I don’t disagree that some organizations work at improving fisheries and also probably have a positive impact on the economy, but I want to point out some serious issues that no one raises.

Bass Fishing Tournaments Negatively Impact the Fish and the Fishery
Bass fishing tournaments negatively impact a fishery in many ways—not any differently than heavy fishing pressure affects a fishery. I can list at least two dozen ways tournaments hurt the fish and fishing, but I will try to keep my list concise.

1)     Taking bass off the beds during a spawn. It’s extremely presumptuous and arrogant to believe what we are told by BASS that every released bass will go straight back to the bed and complete the spawn.  We shouldn’t be so brain numb to believe everything we are told by propagandists. Some bass are yanked off the bed while they are trying to lay eggs or protect fry. They are then taken as much as 30+ miles away for as long as 12 hours. They are then released to another location. In that time, the eggs and fry may be eaten. No one goes back and measures the results of that fish’s egg laying. Don’t be fooled.
2)      Improperly maintained live wells. I learned from personal experience that tournament bass fishermen do not know how to properly maintain their live wells. In some cases, the temperature and weather conditions make it impossible to use an aerated live well to keep a fish alive all day. I have seen bass fishermen kill a live well of big fish on several occasions. They acted surprised by the end result, not realizing that 80-90 degree water with low oxygen can kill fish fast.
3)      Extreme water temperature variation. Bass cannot handle extreme variations in temperature change. Tournament organizations are killing bass when they do not consider hot weather and big temp changes. Tournaments should be cancelled when the temps are above 90 degrees; otherwise, most of those bass are in jeopardy of being killed.
4)      Over-handling. Slime coat removal. BASS and other organizations mishandle the fish. Just watch an episode of Bassmaster. They flip the bass into the center of the boat onto the abrasive carpeting, where the slime coating of the fish is removed. They then handle the fish with dry hands then and again later at weigh in. Fish should never be touched with dry or abrasive items. That removes their slime coating and makes them vulnerable to disease and infection.
5)      Spreading disease. Bass transmit disease just like humans. They live in certain areas where they often stay in small groups or schools. Taking one group of fish away to weigh in and then bring them among others in a small tank, then take them back to new areas among other bass allows diseases like Largemouth Bass Virus to infect large areas and kill off the bigger fish.
6)      Putting money ahead of the fishery. BASS and other organizations seem to put the economics of their tournament ahead of the fishery in almost every case. Just take the recent case on Lake Michigan with BASS. The fisheries biologists set a boundary to protect the smallmouth from a couple of the factors I mentioned earlier, namely spreading disease and species preservation. Some species variations should not be mixed with others. Instead of thanking the biologists for protecting the fish, all the pros are complaining about how unfair this is, that they cannot drive 200 miles from spot to spot and take all the fish they want and move them wherever they want later when they cull. Kevin VanDam and others are complaining on the BASS site that this is an outrage and that it will affect the economy. What a load of crap. The fisheries biologists are just doing this to protect the fish. The tournament will go on just fine and you will still get your money in the end. Why are you complaining? Just because some spots are off limits? Who cares?
7)      Low oxygen levels. Bass will die on their own in naturally-caused low oxygen conditions.  This happens all the time. Big bass will die without enough oxygen in the water, and experts will wonder why. Now add to that a tournament situation. Those bass are pulled out, already stressed and struggling. Add to that the additional stress of being caught and hauled around all day. They will die later from the stress, post release. The combination of naturally-occurring low oxygen levels and the stress of being caught can kill fish.
8)      High temperatures. In nature, bass can handle water temperatures in the 90s just fine as long as they have good oxygen levels, vegetation, shade, and deep water. They can adjust as they need, just like humans in the woods. We can find a shady tree and find a cooler spot. In a live well in a boat with a dark-colored carpeting, a bass is fried like in an oven, unless you have some way to cool the fish, such as ice. Most fishermen do not come prepared for these conditions and kill their fish. I have seen it many times.
9)      Deep water conditions. If you catch fish in water deeper than 20 feet, you need to be prepared to fizz your fish with a hypodermic needle. (See an article on this: Bass need the air in their swim bladder to be released or they will not be able to swim back down and can be found later floating. One time I saw one team of anglers slaughter over 100 bass this way. They did not fizz any of the smaller fish under three pounds and were fishing a big school of bass on Bull Shoals. They fished these spots all day until they had the biggest fish, which were also dead on arrival. These anglers made two fatal errors. They fished jigging spoons in 40-50 feet of water without fizzing the fish they pulled in, killing everything they caught. They also did not think of the fact that on a hot day in April in Arkansas, the air temp is 90, the live well temp is 90+, and the water temp of the fish in the school at 40 feet is 57-58 degrees! A fish cannot tolerate a temperature change like that.
10)   Slow/Bad release conditions. In some of these tournaments, they do not release these fish right away. Some of these fish are held in a boat for 12 or more hours. Then they are released from huge holding tanks where disease is spread out in the middle of the lake, where the stressed fish will have to swim many miles back to their homes. The stress of this kills many fish. Instead of admitting this, they tag a few fish with transmitters in a study or two and say all swam home safely. This is not always the case. I have seen the floating fish later. I have seen the dead fish in the weigh in bags.
11)   Heavy fishing pressure, hook sets, break-offs, and gut hooks. Bass Tournaments and heavy fishing pressure kill fish. BASS and other tournament organizations claim a 99% successful catch and release rate, but these numbers are just pure fiction and marketing hype.  These phony numbers just make everyone feel good. The numbers are not true.  Bass are hearty, but some are killed on just hook sets and break-offs. Those fish are never seen. The truth is that there is no way to measure how these released, stressed fish do after they are released. After the many stressors I mentioned in this article, many of them die. If you release a stressed fish back into Lake Toho, for example, an alligator will have that fish for a meal. I have seen a big alligator grab a 6-pound bass and crunch it, bones and all, in one bite. (Read a sample chapter on Lake Toho.)
12)   100% Catch and release is actually poor fisheries management strategy. It’s absolutely asinine to take the biggest fish off beds and think this is good fisheries management. It’s also idiotic to think that releasing all the small fish is good for a lake. Some lakes need the smaller fish weeded out so that there is less competition so they can grow. Implementing slot limits is a great way to solve this problem. Also we should be throwing back the trophies—not skin mounting them. We need to weigh and certify records in the boat and release the trophies. Keep some of the smaller fish to eat when there is a population of stunted fish. Follow the creel limit laws and obey the recommendations of the local fisheries biologists.

Here's a good article that also highlights and admits to some of these problems.

1)      Go to a paper tournament or digital tournament format. We have no reason to take 5 fish back to weigh in. We have the technology to digitally weigh fish on the water and go back with the results. In fact, we have the technology now to use mobile devices to wirelessly send back the results live. We don’t need to hurt the fish! In a simpler system for small bass clubs, do a paper tournament by measuring the fish or weighing them and recording it on paper. Release the big bass back to their homes immediately. Only use wet hands when handling the fish.
2)      Outlaw bed fishing. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Pulling spawning fish off of beds to take them 100 miles away hurts the spawn. All the phony arguments saying otherwise are lies and deception. This is a critical time for bass and they are susceptible when they are on the bed. What kind of sport takes advantage of an animal when they are susceptible like this? Bed fishing is not any different than spot lighting deer at night and shooting them. Local lakes and even states should ban this practice to protect the species.
3)      Cancel tournaments when conditions are going to kill fish. Don’t allow tournaments to kill off the big bass in a lake. Cancel them when air temps are high or there is a high temperature variation between the fish’s water temp and the livewell and air temperature. Otherwise, the fish will die. Be sure to provide all anglers with a fizzing kit if they are going to be catching fish in deep water. Educate them on how to use the kit.

Read more true fisheries science and research at American BeheMouth.  
Buy the paperback.  
Purchase the EBook.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Build it (at any cost) and they will come"

American BeheMouth's "Lake of Dreams" parallels the Kevin Costner film "Field of Dreams" in a couple ways. The themes are still the same, except now, following the housing bubble and other economic turmoil, Americans need to look at wild expenditures a little more carefully. Do we really need a $1.3 BILLION dollar stadium to replace a perfectly good stadium? Do we really want to fire teachers in Santa Clara County, California? The county says "no" but some people still say "yes, we want our new stadium--that's OUR money." The city of Stockton, California is going bankrupt, the biggest city to go bankrupt in American history. Are we headed in the same direction in other cities and in the entire state?

In a couple of places, including the book American BeheMouth, I reference people who have taken the equity out of their houses at peak prices in order to do something like become a professional tournament fisherman, or to build an addition, or (even worse) to build a baseball field in the backyard. I don't need to say why a move like this is stupid and leads to American bankruptcies. In American BeheMouth, the protagonist, Jay, does the same thing in building his lake, going into credit card debt to finance the "dream."

We have to start living within our means. I am afraid we are going to discover more economic bubbles with some of these dumb moves in professional sports, as well as in our cities, states, and federal government.

Read the book, American BeheMouth, in paperback.

Read the EBook.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Economics of Bass Fishing

In retelling all my stories about bass fishing (See the new story about Lake Toho), it makes me want to quit the working life to retire to fishing. The economics of bass fishing keep me from making such a dumb move.

I know a central Florida fishing guide and pro who has won over 100 major fishing tournaments. Do you want to know the difference between him and all the other bass fishermen out there? He actually has his boat paid off, and he thinks he might be able to buy a nice home next year, now that real estate prices are down. He is what all bass fisherman can aspire to. He does not sleep in his truck, and his wife has not left him...yet--he still wins a few now and then. But he tells me the guiding business has been down as much as 50% over the past years compared to what it was before 2008. Tournaments are down in turnout numbers and payouts too. You're not going to make a million dollars bass fishing, especially not in one year--not even if you can catch the world-record bass. The world-record bass is not a million dollar fish, as has been previously claimed. Ask me. Ask Manabu Kurita. Ask George Perry. Let's be real, folks. (Read about the Greatest Bass Fishery Ever--no money is being made here...yet.)

The reality of bass fishing economics is that it costs a lot and does not have much return. For those who are considering making a run as a pro basser--don't kid yourself. In American BeheMouth, I mentioned the couple that Bassmaster featured who exuberantly admitted that they took all the equity out of their house so they could go on the tour. I also mentioned the fact that the follow-up interview never occured. The reason the interview never occured is because it would make Bassmaster look bad that they encouraged a young couple to sell off everything they owned at boom prices before the crash, and now, with no tournament wins, they are bankrupt.

There are only a few pros who make "decent" money in bass fishing and that is because they are good sales people. They can sell their sponsor's products, and they are both lucky and hard working on the water. Don't get me wrong--it takes a lot of skill and hard work. But bass fishing also takes a lot of luck. It's the right place and right time and the right angle of a hook set that win the tournament. No one can make all the right calls on a fishery. The best fishermen I know are not that lucky. There are too many variables.

My practical advice is to avoid bankruptcy and poverty and to keep your day jobs. Contribute to society where you can. Go fishing when you can and enjoy the sport, but don't think you are going to be the next Kevin Van Dam. The odds are about as good as being the next Michael Jordan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

American BeheMouth and Doping in Sports

People have asked me what American BeheMouth, a novel full of fishing stories, has to do with American sports and baseball. First of all, the novel is not just about fishing—it’s about America and what Americans have become. It’s also about what American sports heroes have become with a particular emphasis on baseball. I don’t spend any time talking about the game, but I do talk about sports history and baseball’s fallen heroes, all buried in a fishing tale.

Why fishing?

Other writers have used fishing as a metaphor before me, including Mehlville and Hemingway. The metaphor works as a great story telling vehicle without writing a lecture on the evils of performance-enhancing drugs. I show the subtle way the protagonist makes ethical slips that many of us can relate to.

America has become lazy, trying to find the easy way to success and fame, not by hard work, but by short cuts, be it our bankers, Wall Street investors, politicians, or sports heroes.

The protagonist’s moral lapse is reminiscent of sports heroes and politicians we all know. He uses his credit card to finance the dream, hand feeding his behemouth thousands of bait fish. He also sprays chemicals on the lake to increase the baitfish size. Those who take chemical means in order to set records cause a problem in all sports categories. Having a series of asterisks or various codes to indicate overturned records has become too commonplace.

Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

Recently, with the accusations against Lance Armstrong and others by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, some have realized this issue is not dead. There are many ways to cheat in sports. It’s not just about steroids anymore. In some cases, the doping allegations involve a small medical staff who are working at providing blood transfusions, EPO, testosterone, masking agents, and other subtle ways to cheat the system.

I hope that the allegations against Lance are false, but it is already proven that this has been a recurring problem in cycling and baseball, among other popular American sports. It also goes to show that this problem is not going away any time soon. Let’s look at the core of the problem instead of the symptoms.

In American BeheMouth, I examine the core of the problem in my protagonist Jay. The core is ego and a desire to achieve greatness at any cost. It’s the American way. The problem is that we learned these lessons from the Greatest Generation who often worked for 50 years to make a great achievement. They struggled through the lean years and saved. However, they did not finance or leverage their way to success. There are no shortcuts to true success. The get rich schemes have a price. We need to look to real American heroes and not to those who would bankrupt our economy or sport in order to look good for a season.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

“Certified world-record” bass versus a “world-record sized” bass

Largemouth bass can be world-record sized without being certified as world records by the I.G.F.A. I appreciate the huge bass caught by Mac Weakley, Paul Duclos, and others. I respect their catches and admire that they released the fish back unharmed. They are great sportsmen.

Are these anglers who released the fish without proper documentation and certification inferior to those who certified their fish with the IGFA? No, not really. There is so much luck and circumstance in bass fishing. A fisherman really has to go out there prepared and with the intent to catch a record in order to be ready to certify it properly. If you are serious about certifying a world-record bass, join IGFA, get an IGFA-certified scale, and always bring a witness and various cameras. That way, you can certify a world-record catch.

Was the behemouth bass discussed in American BeheMouth a certified world record bass? No. If someone else caught this fish again, could they certify it with the IGFA and calim it as a certified world-record bass? Based on what I know about IGFA, I think the answer is "yes." Will I catch another world-record-sized bass from the "Lake of Dreams" and try to certify it with IGFA? No, I don't think so. That would be like Mark McGwire leaving coaching to come back to playing professional baseball in order to break the career home run record, building off of his past homeruns count when he was using performance-enhancing drugs.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"I loved American BeheMouth, but I hate the author."

A few people emailed me to say how much they loved the book, but that they hated me personally. “The book was a great and fun read, has some great themes, but I hated you in it.”
My response was “Great. That was what I was going for.” At least, that is, if you mean to say that you hated the protagonist in the book, Jay. Although the book is based on my life story, I fictionalized the characters.Therefore, although Jay has some resemblance to me in the story, I chose his actions based on my goals as a writer, not on actions I would choose myself. For example, some of Jay’s obsessive qualities are several degrees past where I am, although I too have been known to fall out of balance at times.

Let’s take a look at what readers should despise about Jay. On the other hand, let’s also look at his admirable traits.

What you should despise about Jay, the protagonist of "American BeheMouth":

1) He is a cheater and a thief. Nobody likes someone who would cheat or steal to get ahead. Society is full of people like this. Jay should be despised as should others who take this approach to work, sports, finance, industry, or other matters.

2) He is out of balance in life. Jay puts his obsession ahead of all else. He is the antithesis of the model of how to be balanced in life.

3) Jay puts himself and his personal ambitions above his wife and his children. We admire people who put others above themselves.

4) He blows his family’s wealth and goes into obscene debt to finance a vain pursuit, namely fishing, without any tangible benefit. It’s not any different than gambling. It is horrible to see someone spend beyond their means and risk losing everything. Readers should cringe.

5) He in effect “shoots up.” Everyone hates cheaters, but a cheater who also uses chemical means to “win” should be despised. Jay sprays his lake with chemicals to increase the growth of his baitfish; the practice is not much different than sports heroes using performance-enhancing drugs to be more competitive. We all hate drugs and drug addiction.

6) In the end, when the lake’s levy fails, Jay should quit and cut his losses while he still can. Instead, he “doubles up,”just like a poker player. He resembles Ben Bernanke at the printing presses (Jay’s circulating tanks) producing fish like there is no tomorrow, growing the biggest fish. It becomes clear this book is a sad allegory about the state of our country, the economy, and the Fed.

7) Jay is cold and calculating. No one likes someone with this kind of personality. We gravitate toward those who are warm, thoughtful, and kind.

8) Jay is a terrible husband. He does not have any compassion or understanding for his wise and prudent wife, who is the voice of reason and sensibility. Jay does not demonstrate marriage fidelity; he turns to his bass, Elise, as to another woman. The feelings Lauren has about this are the same as if Jay were having an affair. He is in fact having an emotional affair with a fish. Sick, I know.

9) Jay is a bad father. He doesn’t care about his children. He just cares about his lake.

10) I am sure there are other reasons to despise Jay. If you find some, then I believe I am successful with this character. Just for the record, although I have been accused of having an affair with a female bass, the accusations are unsubstantiated.
Purchase the new book, American BeheMouth, in paperback.

Preview 50% of the book on Google Play.

Why we might initially admire Jay:

1) Jay is a creator, producer, and achiever, a true American spirit and innovator. We all admire and appreciate those who innovate and achieve great things. It requires someone who is a risk taker and a hardworker. We can think of people like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, among others. Jay is truly a great American in that respect. He just takes a few wrong turns in HOW he goes about innovating. The fisheries formula he develops works and is accurate. It is proven and can be duplicated. He does not need to steal fish or use chemicals to create the record. He just becomes impatient like so many wanting to find a shortcut to riches. Hard work is the only way to success and wealth—not some get-rich-quick scheme—or grow-big-bass-quick scheme.

2) Jay is an overachiever, which can be admirable in one sense, but it can also be despised.

3) Jay is tenacious, a great quality for a prize fighter, but maybe a bad quality for a fisheries scientist.

4) OK, I’ve been thinking a long time now and can’t think of any other great qualities in Jay. So, your point is proven; Jay is to be despised and is not a hero. The heroine in the story is a static character, but she is the heroine nonetheless--Lauren. She represents the voice of American financial independence and freedom.
Read some excerpts at

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Book Portrays Problems in American Society via Fishing Metaphor

American BeheMouth” tells the story of a fisheries hobbyist who raises and catches the world-record bigmouth bass in the "Area 51 of Bass Fishing," a secret 70-acre lake.
The protagonist's short cuts in fisheries science prevent him from certifying the record fish with the International Game Fish Association. He allows his obsession to endanger his relationships and put him in debt.
It soon becomes clear that the author, Jason Covington, is really talking about the pursuit of the American dream and turmoil in Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street. The protagonist’s moral lapse is reminiscent of sports heroes and politicians we all know. He uses his credit card to finance the dream, hand feeding his behemouth thousands of bait fish. He also sprays chemicals on the lake to increase the baitfish size. The reader can only think of the similarities to our bloated government and the Fed with its money printing, quantitative easing, and $15 trillion deficit.

Other themes in the book include achieving great accomplishments while staying balanced, marriage and the complexities of modern American families, along with many ethical dilemmas, including allusions to economic troubles in American society.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

American BeheMouth: No Clear Line Between Truth and Fiction

The monofilament differentiation between truth and fiction, integrity and ethical lapse.

After hearing about the world record bass caught in American BeheMouth, some fishermen have asked where the lake is. Readers want to know how the story came together and which parts are fiction versus fact.

In Chapter 13, "Back to Reality," the protagonist discusses this:

"After a fishing trip like this, going back to work the following Monday was brutal. It made the fishing experience seem like a fantasy, a dream, and I wasn’t sure it truly happened. Did I really catch the world-record bass? I hooked it, right in the jaw, fair and square.

I knew I could not tell about it—not even Lauren should know about this. Some secrets were worth keeping. That’s how I felt about it. I had created what was like the “Area 51” of Bass Fishing. 

The slogan for my fishery could be 'THE WORLD-RECORD BASS IS OUT THERE.'"

I want readers to experience the protagonist’s journey, from beginning to end, and figure out this question for themselves. That is the beauty of fictionalizing the true content of the book. Yes, the formula is viable, and someone could reproduce what takes place in the book.

However, I want them to think over the ethical questions, issues, and debate first. If we just told them the world-record was caught and released and where the lake is, the mob would be there and ruin it, raising even more ugly ethical issues, like private lakes versus public domain, what records count, how much of a cheater you must be to be despised, etc. Also, if the book were entirely fiction, and the catch was dismissed immediately as folklore, some might miss the important messages raised here.

I want readers to return to a time in childhood when there was still some mystery in the world, when there was hope and wonder in nature, and promise of what man is capable of. Also, I want all of us who have grown up in the “real world” and been hardened by struggle to look at the men who have taken short cuts and ask ourselves, “Is it really worth it? Do we really need to get ahead that bad?” We need to examine our values and priorities. Why are we doing what we do? Why do we need a bigger [bass]? What is this sport really about? What has it become? These questions apply to our careers and personal lives as well.

In American BeheMouth, I have taken my own life story and put it out there--raw and bare--while fictionalizing some parts to protect the guilty and innocent and hold the broken pieces together. So much of life does not work like a novel, so we have fiction to hold the pieces together and make sense of it all.

People who know me understand that most of the novella is true. To those who ask where the lake is, I think have said more than I should in telling that it is in Kentucky. This answer raises more questions than the original question, like "Why not California?"

My response to all these other questions is "Read the book." You cannot understand the enigma and the discovery process unless you follow the protagonist's journey.

In the process of following the journey, you will learn that life is more profound than just fishing, although fishing makes an excellent metaphor for life."

Copyright 2012 Jason Covington

Quote borrowed from Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It":
"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A New World Record Largemouth Bass

A new world-record bass, raised and caught on a private lake, is chronicled in the new book, “American BeheMouth“!

“American BeheMouth” is now available in paperback.

Download the free Kindle app for your PC or other device. Then, purchase the Kindle edition.

What is contained in “American BeheMouth”?

1) “American BeheMouth” chronicles the raising and catching of a 27-pound largemouth bass, providing a scientific formula that can be duplicated. This raises many ethical questions about world records in American sports.

2) “American BeheMouth” shows the epic journey of one man who immerses himself in fisheries science to answer age-old freshwater mysteries while delving into universal existential questions.

3) ” American BeheMouth” shows conflicting values of Americans struggling to do it all while trying to stay balanced. How do we innovate and achieve great things without becoming despicable cheats or taking questionable short cuts in life?

4) The entire novella is a metaphor for the American economic system and American consumerism. The BeheMouth is the giant bigmouth bass swallowing trout whole, but figuratively, the BeheMouth represents America, becoming lazy and fat, waiting for another handout.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Chronicles Raising Record 27-Pound Bass

For the last four years, I have been working on a new book, American BeheMouth. It's finally out, and it already has some great reviews. Field and Stream wrote a blog on it today, and readers on Amazon have nice things to say. Here's the latest:

Book Chronicles Raising Record 27-Pound Bass

Summary: A new book chronicles how a 27-pound bass was raised and caught in a private lake, raising ethical questions. The book contains the story and formula for how the fish was raised and can be duplicated.

 Everyone dreams of landing a world-record fish, and some have even tried to raise the record. A new book chronicles how one man raised and caught a 27-pound bass in a spring-fed, temperature-controlled man-made 70-acre lake.

“Many question the ethics behind raising a fish like this just to catch it,” says Jason Covington, author of the book "American BeheMouth," which gives all the details. “Many fishermen will be searching for this Area 51 of bass fishing.”

Covington’s new book details the years of research that solved age-old fisheries questions with a methodology for growing fish to these proportions. The formula includes a new fish-to-food ratio as well as the baitfish used and the environmental conditions required to raise the behemouth. The book tells several other stories along the journey, including a Castaic Lake record fish and state-record Missouri bass.

The original quest started some 20 years ago by a fisheries wannabe literature student and his fisheries biologist girlfriend who raised the monster fish. The years of research summarized in this book are something that another fisheries team could duplicate. However, it's like the stock market insider trading cheats; we can follow their model, but the question is should we?

To get the details on how it was done, read the book "American BeheMouth," available for sale as an economical EBook on Amazon and in paperback on Amazon's CreateSpace.

BeheMouth website:

Press and Book Reviewers, please contact the author <> for an interview or review copy.