Kelly Bostian: Tulsa's new starting QB may have a future in fishing
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, June 24, 2012
6/24/12 at 4:54 AM
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The quarterback raised his thumb, smiled and chuckled at the sight of the callous on the pad of it like a kid happy to find a shiny new penny.
The bass fisherman's badge of honor formed Wednesday after a full day with his thumb riding the spool of a bait-caster, flipping and pitching docks at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in search of finicky largemouth bass.
Cody Green is a fisherman who plays football, and if the new starting quarterback for the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane plays the game anything like he fishes, the team has gained tenacity in its Nebraska transfer.
I picked up Green at his home at 5 a.m., and after more than 10 hours on the water he was still smiling and talking hunting and fishing as his 6-foot-4, 247-pound frame unfurled from the cramped cab of my Ford Ranger back in his driveway at 7 p.m.
Playing professional football is his dream, but he knows "that ball won't bounce forever." When the time comes for him to walk off the field, he plans to get on the water as a competitive angler and fishing guide.
"I'm not a guy to sit behind a desk," he said. "I don't want to work a day in my life."
He explained: "We call football a job, but it's fun, it's a game. Once it's over with, I want to be able to do my own business and I want it to be something that I love, and with that, you don't ever work. Like Mr. Ivan (Martin) said, 'I've been doing this 20-some-odd years and I've never worked a day in my life.' "
Longtime Grand Lake guide Ivan Martin connected with us at Martin's Landing Wednesday morning and let us know right off the bat the day's fishing may be a little tough. "It was great all winter long, and that was unusual," he said. "Normally I tell people June is the best time, but the bass just aren't where they're supposed to be right now. ... Sometimes I think nature just has its own way of evening things out."
Martin and Green were happy to patiently probe around Grand's many boat docks with a Texas-rigged Biffle Bug in shades of green and some square-billed crankbaits in shad patterns. Martin's forecast proved true and Grand didn't show us its full potential with, on average, a bass boated about every half hour. We had about a 20-bass day in 10 hours on the water, minus a timeout for lunch at Honey Creek and a short foray to scout a white bass hole Martin hoped to use later in the week.
Martin caught white bass on every cast at the secret spot, much to Green's amazement. "No way that's possible!" he said time and again as Martin pulled up fish after fish. Not to be outdone, Green adopted Martin's bait and technique. Then he kept casting and catching even as Martin pulled up his marker buoy and fired up the motor. Green might not have caught the first few fish on the spot, but he caught the last two.
The white bass were a quick aside, but Green and Martin relished the black bass challenge. "I'm really enjoying this," Martin said. "I don't get to fish like this very often."
Martin shared some guide tips, hitting on everything from promotion strategy to fishing techniques that work for clients who "really can't fish a lick." I asked if he planned to become a teacher for Green. "Well, I'd be happy to help him out as long as he doesn't out-fish me," Martin said with a laugh.
Most bass Wednesday hit the Biffle Bug from the dock ends or corners just as the bait slipped below the floating platforms. Green caught one as he cast over a dock, but the 2 1/2-pounder spit the hook as he pulled it up and it landed on the dock. Green leapt from the boat and chased the flopping fish across the planks.
Martin caught a catnap mid-afternoon as he turned over control of the trolling motor to Green and handed a fishing pole to me. Green showed his guide potential, and sportsmanship, as he smiled and seemed to enjoy my own catch of the big bass of the day, one that pushed the 4-pound mark.
At day's end, as Martin prepared to pull the boat from the water, Green continued to fish from shore, pitching a Biffle Bug in and around the docks at Martin's Landing.
A callous on his thumb and a smile on his face, Green appreciated the day at its end. "That's the kind of fishing I like. Where you have to work for them," he said.
The kid may never want to work a day in his life but make no mistake; he works real hard at having fun.
Original Print Headline: Working for it
Cody Green Q&A
When did you start fishing?
"When I was 4. My babysitter's husband took me. I remember catching white perch, and he said catching white perch is like hitting the jackpot and so I thought, 'I must be pretty good at this!' I've been hooked ever since."
When did you really get into fishing?
"An ankle injury my junior year in high school put me out for a year. ... Fishing was my safe haven. I wasn't playing sports, so I just had to get away."
How did you improve most as an angler?
"Nebraska was like going to a hunter and fisherman's paradise. ... It really opened my eyes. ... I made a lot of connections there. When you fish with someone who fishes tournaments all the time, you start out thinking you know something, but then you find out you really don't know anything."
If you had to pick one, would you fish freshwater or saltwater?
"In the summertime, saltwater, in the springtime and fall, freshwater. ... When I'm at home in Texas, that's when I fish saltwater."
Pick one. Swimbaits or crankbaits?
"Swimbaits, always go for the swimbaits."
Lakes or ponds?
"In my situation, ponds, but if I had a boat I would fish the lakes."
Flipping and pitching or casting and cranking?
"Flipping and pitching."
Football or fishing?
Tulsa Golden Hurricane quarterback Cody Green faces his favorite nemesis, a largemouth bass, at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees on Wednesday. KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World