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Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass Paperback – Bargain Price, February 28, 2006


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Paperback, Bargain Price, February 28, 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452287154
  • ASIN: B000VYSS5O
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,907,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Burke, "a devoted angler" and a Forbes staff writer, chases down the most famous characters in the years-long quest to top the world record for biggest largemouth bass, at 22 pounds, four ounces, set in 1932 by a 20-year-old Georgia farmer under now-questionable conditions. Burke admirably brings to life the people who enter into such a chase, and he finds good drama in the techniques and sacrifices necessary to pursue such a goal. Readers meet Bob Crupi, a Los Angeles cop whose single-minded pursuit of the record provides an escape from his stressful job, but also threatens his marriage and makes him a stranger to his kids. There's also Mike Long, whom Burke calls "the best big-bass fisherman alive, period" because of the number of largemouth Long has yanked out of the waters of Southern California. Long's fame and reputation have allowed him to cast with the likes of Robin Williams and Nick Lachey, but that fame comes at a price, as would-be record-breakers clog the lakes and ponds Long frequents, threatening to steal his big haul. Throughout, Burke sprinkles ruminations on the science and details of bass fishing, nicely sewing together a well-paced tale about "what we humans will do, what we will gain and what we are willing to sacrifice, in attempting to reach a goal." (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Those who think largemouth-bass fishing is a minor hobby should explain that to the 11.3 million "hard-core" bass fishers in America (those who spend at least 15 days a year fishing). Some observers compare largemouth-bass fishing today to the status of NASCAR just 10 years ago--on the verge of exploding into national awareness. Burke's engaging, informed account of the sport, which began as an article for Forbes, explains just why bass fishing has become so popular: the proliferation of largemouth bass in lakes nationwide, their fight on the rod, and a professional circuit that supports some 500 bass fishers. There are also the fame and cash that come from landing the Big One, the record fish having been caught in 1932 at a whopping 22 pounds, 4 ounces. While Burke profiles several of the thousands of deadly serious bass fishers fixated on the record, he points to the loopy way that that fish might be caught: "Anyone could break it. Whereas you or I will never top the single-season home-run record in baseball, we could land the next world-record bass." Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very well researched, and written.
Allen
I would recommend this book to anyone, especially if you like bass or fishing or the outdoors.
jason preslar
Finished it in two nights, but I am fixing to read it again.
C. S. Wolfgram

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gary Clark on April 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is simply one of the best, most well written books I have ever read---on any subject! My highest compliment is that I wish it had gone on and on. If Mr. Burke decides to write another book, I shall be the first in line to purchase it. Great job, Monte!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hawg on April 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Monte Burke's book Sowbelly, which chronicles the pursuit of the world record bass, is a great read that should appeal to all types. In addition to being a great fishing tale, it also looks into the depths of some very interesting lives.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Chinchar on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine gave me this book a few months ago. I rolled my eyes and laughed, but he swore I would like the book. I'm a non-fish eating vegetarian and I have been for 16 years. I'm appalled by dead animals hanging on walls. If I want to relax, I think restorative yoga, not fishing. "Just read it." He said. I took it, but I knew I wouldn't read it.

Then this past weekend I was somewhere out in the middle of nowhere where I had read all of the books and magazines except for this one. And it was raining. And there was no TV.

So I picked it up. I figured I'd either kill an hour, or, more likely, end up napping. Three pages into the book and I was riveted. RIVETED. I finished the book last night, just a few days later. I don't think it's so much that this is a great book for people into Bass fishing, though I'm sure it is, but it's a great book for people who are interested in characters, in stories of drive, determination, ambition, guile and creativity. And that's everyone, isn't it? This story could have easily been about Olympic athletes or internet start-ups or anyone else who tries to be the biggest, the best or first. It's about how a quest shapes a person and effects everyone around them, including, and especially, their competitors. It's also extremely well written. While I'm sure he knows his fishing, Monte Burke writes in a voice that is friendly to the fishing ignorant. Sowbelly shouldn't just be marketed towards fishing people -- that completely turns someone like me away and I absolutely loved this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ed Harp on April 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The opening line from Melville's Moby Dick says it all.

This book is not about catching the biggest largemouth bass in the world. It's about the men who try to catch the biggest largemouth bass in the world. (Don't worry though; Burke recites plenty of fishing tales.)

Their stories are all a bit different but, at their core, have many of the same elements. No matter if it's the anger and frustration of Bob Crupi or a desire to be the "biggest dog" like Mike Long, each and every angler - addict might be more accurate - displays a single-minded purpose; to catch the biggest largemouth bass in the world.

Sowbelly is a great read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Basore on April 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A fantastic read! As the owner of the Creek Chub factory display of the World Record Bass and having fished with some he writes about including Porter Hall in Florida and Dan Snow in trips to Cuba in 1979, and closely following the exploits of others who persue big bass, I know that this authors reporting is accurate.

He also has dug deeper than anyone else uncovering a lot of information that no one knew, pulling it all together in a compelling way that helps us to understand the sacrificies made by those who strive to be the best or set a world record in any endeavor.

I will read it again and again and am highly recommending it to all my friends and you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. S. Wolfgram on June 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just have to say, this is the most accurate account of the trophy bass scene, I have ever read. Riveting ! I picked it up, and could barely put it down. Finished it in two nights, but I am fixing to read it again. This book confirmed some things that I already believed, and it taught me much more.

If you are even slightly interested in the key players of the race for the world record Lagemouth bass, you should probably buy this book. If you are a trophy bass angler yourself, such as I am, this book is a flat out neccessity.

Fish Chris [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Customer on April 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Just this past March, about a year after this book's publication, Mac Weakley (who features prominently in the book) brought in an almost certain record-breaker--a bass just over 25 lb out of Lake Dixon near San Diego. He ended up releasing the fish, and, to my knowledge, he is not going to pursue a world record certification (the fish was apparently unintentionally foul-hooked). On top of that, the fish was the same one that had been purportedly caught twice earlier at sub-22 lb weights, once by Mike Long and once by Weakley's friend Jed Dickerson. This was all just another chapter in this fascinating story, and this book is not only a great read--as others have said--but also a thorough background for someone who wants to understand the origins of the CA bass scene after hearing about Weakley's sensational catch.

I'd recommend that those who are interested in Weakley's potential record-breaker read this book--and that those who liked this book follow the ongoing story of record-hunting fishermen.

I remember seeing Bob Crupi in In-fisherman magazine years ago, when Lake Castaic was gaining national notoriety. This book closes the circle between those days and the present with a perspective that, though not completely an insider's, is very close to the action.
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