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Long-awaited fishing trip to Manitoba does not disappoint

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Long-awaited fishing trip to Manitoba does not disappoint

LOCKPORT, Manitoba — Two years had passed since I had last wet a line in Canadian water, and I was looking forward to changing that last Saturday morning, Sept. 11, when I pulled up to a Manitoba border crossing with a mix of anticipation and apprehension.

Anticipation, because one of my favorite fishing holes — the Red River below St. Andrews Lock and Dam in Lockport, Manitoba, known for its trophy catfish — once again was within reach.

Apprehension, because I was attempting to cross the border during a pandemic on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Crossing the border is stressful during the best of times, but there’d been more anxiety than usual as the day of the trip approached. Canada requires fully vaccinated Americans to provide results of a negative COVID-19 PCR (short for polymerase chain reaction) test taken no more than 72 hours before crossing the border, and the clock on my test was ticking.

I took my test Sept. 8 and the 48-hour mark came and went Sept. 10 without any results. Morning turned to afternoon, which turned to evening.

Still no results; the 72-hour time limit was ticking ever closer.

Knowing my best bet for crossing the border in time would be to spend the night at the family getaway in northern Minnesota, less than a mile from the Manitoba border, I headed north last Friday evening, fully expecting my anticipated Canadian fishing trip wouldn’t be happening.

I support the testing requirement, and I had a solid Plan B in place if my results didn’t arrive on time.

My visions of monster Canadian catfish had all but faded late last Friday night when my phone beeped, first alerting me to a text message and then seconds later to an email message.

That could only be one thing, I knew, and sure enough, I was right: my test results. If all went according to plan, I’d make it to the border with 14 minutes to spare in the required 72-hour testing window.

Whew. Back to Plan A.

I had crossed the border Aug. 9 — the first day Canada allowed nonessential American travelers to enter the country — as part of the Grand Fork Herald’s coverage of the border reopening, so I was familiar with the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN app and the information that must be submitted before attempting to cross.

Seeing I had my ducks in a row — including passport, proof of full vaccination, a negative PCR test and a quarantine plan in case I was flagged for random testing and tested positive — the Canada Border Services Agency officer cleared me for entry into Manitoba, and I was on my way north within minutes.

Apprehension had given way to full-blown anticipation.

My original plan had been to drive to Canada last Friday to spend the weekend with friends who live near Lockport. That would give us two full days of catfishing on the Red River before I headed back south to Grand Forks on Sept. 13.

Waiting for test results delayed my departure until the next morning, but the impact was minimal.

Fishing in my Canadian friend’s new boat, we launched at Selkirk, Manitoba, early Saturday afternoon and landed 31 catfish up to 29½ pounds in four hours on the water. Sunday, we fished six hours and released 40 catfish, a tally that would have been even higher if we’d landed every fish we hooked.

There’s something about the pull of a Red River catfish at the end of the line that never gets old. With access to massive Lake Winnipeg, catfish on the downstream side of Lockport Dam grow larger than their counterparts upstream.

Anyone who says fishing isn’t exercise has never tangled with a big Red River catfish, especially a Lockport catfish. As per usual, several of the catfish we landed last weekend weighed 20 pounds or more.

I’ve fished the Lockport stretch of the Red River numerous times in the past 20 years, and while I’ve had tough days, the good ones have far outnumbered the bad. In catfishing circles, the Lockport stretch of the Red River is called the “channel catfish mecca” for good reason, and on this trip, the fishing definitely didn’t disappoint.

This trip was about more than fishing, though — much more. The leaves were beginning to turn, there was a fall bite in the air and a glorious Saturday evening by the fire with good Canadian friends included plenty of laughs and conversation as geese noisily flew overhead somewhere in the darkness.

It almost felt normal.

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3 keys to a Giants win over the Panthers in Week 7

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

1) RUN THE BALL EFFECTIVELY

The best way to protect a bad offensive line is to run the ball well. Daniel Jones’ legs will be important to controlling this game for the Giants. So will downhill backs Devontae Booker and Eli Penny.

2) DON’T TURN IT OVER

Sam Darnold and the Panthers offense have struggled and turned the ball over without top back Christian McCaffrey. Jones can’t turn the ball over and give Darnold short fields like he did with four giveaways to the Rams.

3) STOP THE RUN

The Giants run defense is giving up 137.2 yards per game, fourth worst in the NFL. Panthers coach Matt Rhule publicly said he wants to recommit to the ground game and run it 30-35 times. The Giants view that as a direct challenge. Stopping that may decide the game.

©2021 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Ex-Patriot Martellus Bennett rips QB Jimmy Garoppolo, credits Dolphins’ Jacoby Brissett’s toughness on podcast | Video

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Former New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett tore into 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, saying the ex-Patriots quarterback bailed out on the Pats hours before a 2016 game against the Buffalo Bills during the four-game Tom Brady suspension that began that season.

Bennett joined Miami Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourty and his twin brother, Devin, on their Double Coverage With The McCourty Twins podcast, and, during a wide-ranging stream-of-consciousness soliloquy, had an expletive-laced screed against Garoppolo, who played in New England from 2014-17. He also spoke about current Dolphins backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who also played for the Patriots then.

Said Bennett of Garoppolo and Brissett: “Bro, we lost two games [in 2016]. One of ‘em was because Jimmy Garoppolo was being a b—- and didn’t, and tried to quit, he quit for us on the last… decided not to play right before the game. So we went out there. Jacoby came out and played with a f—ed-up thumb and gave his … played his heart out. … You can’t win with a b—- for a quarterback. … He didn’t want to come out and do anything because his agent was trying to protect his body… which I can’t fault him for that, but, like you should have made that decision on Thursday, not Sunday.”

Talking to Jason McCourty, Bennett went on to savage the Dolphins for losing to the Jaguars: “Sometimes you get these losses where it’s just kind of like, ‘Damn.’ … Just like y’all losing to Jacksonville, right. Y’all lost to Jacksonville recently. Like, losing to Jacksonville has to hurt. ‘How are we the team that loses to Jacksonville? Like, everybody else, Jacksonville has lost [sic] 30 games in a row, and we will be the ones to break the 30-game losing streak?’ Like, come on, man! Nobody wants to lose to Jacksonville.”

With the conversation often referencing the Patriots, Devin McCourty, who has been with Bill Belichick for all 12 years of his NFL career, generally remained quiet as Bennett went off, allowing current Miami Dolphin and ex-Patriot Jason McCourty — who played in New England from 2018-20 — to respond and move the discussion forward.

Bennett also colorfully critiqued Jason Garrett and John Fox, his former coaches with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears respectively. Bennett played for five teams in a 10-year NFL career from 2008-17.

©2021 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Virginia Beach’s Bruce Smith scared NFL quarterbacks to death. He has the tombstones to prove it.

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Bruce Smith was known for striking fear into opposing quarterbacks during his playing days in the NFL.

Now, as Halloween approaches, Smith’s neighbors can see just how many QBs he terrorized during his hall of fame career.

Inspired by a Twitter post from Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, Smith’s friends — Paul Holley and Mike Hillier — got the idea to come up with a similar Halloween attraction.

Holley and Hillier arranged a slate of gravestones painted with the name and number of the NFL quarterbacks Smith sacked during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and four with Washington. Smith is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200, and 76 different quarterbacks — some many times — were his victims.

“We were playing golf with Bruce and we saw where someone had tweeted a picture of his graveyard with seven or eight tombstones of quarterbacks he had sacked,” Holley said, referring to Garrett. “I showed Bruce and asked him how many had he sacked. And he said, ‘76.’ So we said, ‘Let’s show him what a real graveyard looks like.’”

It only took a few minutes to convince Smith.

“Myles Garrett actually gave us the idea, and they thought it would be pretty cool for Halloween, for football fans, for kids to come by and take pictures and maybe get a football card or some candy,” said Smith, who played at Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High and Virginia Tech and now lives in Virginia Beach. “You think of the number 200 sacks. And that’s just in the regular season. But then when you see the number of tombstones that have been amassed, and some of these guys I got to multiple times, then you kind of get a better picture and understanding of the career and of the accomplishments. And just an appreciation for the longevity that took place. “

Smith’s planted a who’s who of NFL quarterbacks, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, Warren Moon, John Elway and Troy Aikman.

But there is one legendary signal-caller who stood out to Smith.

“I don’t care too much for quarterbacks,” Smith said with a smile. “But for me, it was always Dan Marino. He was in the AFC East. He was the least sacked quarterback in that era because of his quick release. So it always gave me a great deal of satisfaction to get through some of those blockers and be able to get to him.”

Smith said his yard attraction couldn’t have been possible without the amazing work of artist Sam Clayman.

A lifelong Washington Football Team fan, Clayman was honored when Holley reached out to him about designing the styrofoam tombstones two weeks ago.

“I had other commitments and responsibilities throughout the week, so I had the weekends to do it,” he said. “I would wake up at 6:30 in the morning and work until I didn’t have any light left. Two very full weekends. But it was fun, though. And it was a challenge.”

Clayman said he’s used to doing paintings and clay sculptures, but this was a different challenge.

“But this was fun because it was something different outside of what I ordinarily do,” said Clayman, who also had help from Paul Ceballo. “It’s humbling. I’ve done a lot of work for some pretty high-profile talent from the area. It’s just icing on the cake when they happen to be a legend in their career.”

Larry Rubama, 757-446-2273, [email protected] Follow @LHRubama on Twitter.

©2021 The Virginian-Pilot. Visit pilotonline.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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