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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Speaking of male cups, they were filling them up at the Ritz Caf�, which is just down the street from the derby's weighing-in station and, to hear the men at the bar, the victory of Mrs. de Somov was unethical and uncalled for.
"The lady," said a red-haired man dressed in foul-weather gear, "took that striper with butterfish bait. Am I right or wrong?"
As a chorus assured him he was right, he went on:
"She threw that line out there with butterfish for bait, and then she just lets it go to the bottom and lay there and stay there!" He jerked up his head and demanded: "Right or wrong?"
He was right.
"Well, sir!" he roared, "I don't call that surf casting! I call that bottom fishing!"
Advised of this male reaction to her victory, Lu-di Bell drew herself up to her full height of 5 foot 2 and said: "Phooey. Men are babies. If they don't get a strike with their little toys, those artificial lures, those jogs and darters and poppers, they think they're not playing the game. A woman goes directly to the point, which is to catch fish. If the bass are going for butter-fish, why try to fool them with a lot of nonsense? I've been entering this derby every year since it started, and those men can't tell me anything about stripers."
Ben Morton, who directs the bass derby for the Chamber of Commerce, said of it all: "There has been a definite trend toward butterfish and the so-called bottom fishing in the past few years and there is nothing in the derby rules to prevent it. I might point out that Mrs. de Somov's husband took third place with a homemade tin jig. Let there be no hard feelings. It was a great derby—22 states and Canada represented, 82 cities—and a total of 1,800 fish caught. Next year's derby will begin as usual on September 15. Come one, come all."
That bizarre profession, the collection and importation of wild animals, occasionally produces something odd and rare. The other day, for example, Peter Ryhiner, a hefty Swiss animal collector, showed up in New York with a 7-foot Indian rock python which, instead of being mottled brown like others of the species, was ivory-white with improbable dark-blue eyes.