yawn…‏

Really?  Stretch it out, stretch it out.  How many weeks have we been waiting to pull the mask off of Rod Bassy?  This is getting tedious… and it would seem that the first string illustrators are getting tired of all this, too, as evidenced by the bad close-ups of our intrepid, erstwhile “Father-son” duo…

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I remain terribly confused by the setting as well…  the re-introduction of an urban skyline just serves to disorient this reader.  I mean really.  And do we really need more pictures of boats, motors and “equipment?”  I am speechless.  C’mon, Elrod, let’s get the tension pot simmering at least…

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Ya THINK?!?‏

Something to hide!  What a breakthrough! The case-cracker! I am surprised that Rusty gets to ride in the front seat with Mark… one would think that he would be relegated to permanent back seat status…

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Do people really use words like “however” in normal speech patterns?

Let’s see if we get to meet other contestants with equally improbable fish-related names!

Can’t wait to see the inside of the “Lakeside Hotel.”  I think it more likely that it’s a “MOTEL” without hallways, and room entry from the parking lot…

Finally, however, Mark needs to lend Rusty some of his hair stick-um to tame that cowlick!

Proud? Rod Bassy??

Tinted Windows?  Really! What if what he’s hiding has NOTHING to do with fishing?  What if he really is a better fisherman that everyone else, but there is something else horrible and nefarious going on?  Oh, the mind races…

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And look at the concerned look on Mark’s face.  It appears that he is starting to realize that something strange is afoot!  But then again, fisher-people are known for their secrecy… and the BS that issues forth from their being.  Anything to hide their secrets and what it takes to catch the most and the biggest fish.  But still it would appear that Mark is now sufficiently aroused to go into action!

Rusty showing his paparazzi chops!‏

This young lad WILL NOT BE DENIED!  “Mr. catfish! About those pictures???”  But still, he can’t get “inside the van…”  Nice close up of the male-pattern baldness that afflicts our would-be evil-doer…

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Again, young man, it’s just too messy!  And how would that look to Rod’s fans??  I love the pose he strikes in front of the van- suck in gut, throw out chest.  Thumbs in belt.  Do you suppose that somewhere he read the horizontal stripes make you look more imposing?

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C’mon Bluegill, that’s just one lunker away from contention… You call yourself a fisherman??

But meanwhile, back in the International Harvester Scout, Bluegill stops just short of declaring the “light-up lure” illegal… when Rusty blurts out about his unsupervised activities:

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Yea, that’s “great,” Rusty…  we will waste more ink and paper on them once we get back to Bluegill’s house… But then we start to see the impish, gap-toothed Rusty begin to emerge.  He will have to really turn on the charm if he wants to get “inside the van.”

Is it just me, or am I the only one that derives a sexual connotation from the phrase, “pictures of Rod’s equipment inside <his> van?”

An outdoor writer! Oh no!‏

Apparently an outdoor writer is more greatly feared than an actual game warden with a badge, gun and authority…

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And oh, yea… you think you can DEAL WITH TRAIL???  Pride goeth before the fall, Rod, Pride goeth before the fall…

I wonder what Catfish gets out of this whole deal?  Who has the leverage in this arrangement?  In panel three Catfish is sounding very prescriptive and like he’s the one calling the shots…  Rod, on the other hand, just looks good on the cover of outdoor magazines, with his full head of hair and bravado…

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!‏

“You little squirt…” I love it.  Grabbing Bluegill’s shirt in a threatening manner…  Mark seems happy to be eating his eggs and bacon.  I wonder how he stays so trim?  Good genes, I guess…

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But look at poor what’s his name- oh yea, “Catfish…” He must be thinking “how do I get away from this guy?”

Funny how diminutive Rod appears in his boat and how he puffs up to supernatural size when threatened- just like in the WILD!