<
>

Moss on board for charity bass tournament

6/23/2005

At first blush, they appear to be Minnesota's odd couple in a
fishing boat, Randy Moss and John Laub.

Moss (yes, that one) is a 28-year-old flamboyant football player, a
former Viking who is paid millions because he can catch footballs like
nobody else in the NFL.

Laub is a 54-year-old pro angler and guide who, when he's not
fishing, sells fishing boats in Chisago City, Minn., at Frankie
Dusenka's place.

But it turns out they do have something in common: fishing. Next
Wednesday, June 29, they will launch the Randy Moss Celebrity Charity
Invitational Bass Tournament, a one-day event on Lake Minnetonka.

If Laub's predictions are correct, a day of fishing with Randy and
friends has the makings of a winner for the Smile Network charity …
even if the bass don't bite.

Fifty pro anglers will be paired with sports and media celebrities
and corporate sponsors to compete for heaviest total catch. First
place will be worth $50,000 in cash and prizes.

A 3 p.m. weigh-in will be held at Lord Fletcher's Restaurant.
Country singing star Tracy Byrd will be emcee.

The public may attend the weigh-in for a $5 donation to Smile
Network, a charity that offers financial assistance to poor children
with treatable mouth problems, such as cleft palate.

"Our motto is fish for a smile," Laub said the other day.

Randy Moss also is smiling (not because he was traded).

"Randy's passion is children," said Laub, who began a fishing
relationship seven years ago with Moss, then a Vikings rookie.

"We talked about a children's charity for years. When I mentioned
the Smile Network and what it does, Randy said, 'I'm in.' This is the
biggest thing he's ever put his name on."

Football fans might be surprised to know Moss has a passion for
largemouth bass fishing.

"Lots of people know who Randy is, but so few know him," Laub said.

He and Moss fished together for two years before their
friendship began to grow. "He values his friends," Laub said of
Moss.

While millions of Americans have watched Moss pull in a spectacular
pass catch, few can say the same about a Moss bass catch.

"So what kind of fisherman is Moss?" I asked Laub.

"He's pretty good. He's got the touch. He's competitive," Laub
said. "Tell him to cast to a quarter, and he'll put his lure on a
dime."

Now, in his first season away from the Vikings, Moss is stepping up
as a Minnesota angler.

Better late than never.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News services.

For more articles about jocks who fish and hunt, see "Athletes in the Outdoors."