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Huntin' and fishin' ... and runnin' and flyin' and travelin' -- notes from the great outdoors.

 

George's most famous fish story

In June 1987, George Seifert was in a boat with two friends, idling in the Pacific off the southwestern edge of San Francisco. Here's the account that appeared in the July 15, 1996, issue of Sports Illustrated:

"Seifert and (Bruce) Hulick were reeling in the day's last fish, and (Ed) Nessel, at the helm, was watching them intently.Without warning, a large wave crept up and slammed the boat, throwing its stunned passengers into the chilly Pacific. The 4,000-pound boat landed bottom-up above Seifert, and he was sucked toward the ocean floor. He tumbled several times, lost his orientation. ... Seifert got to the surface and yelled for his companions, both of whom had also escaped serious injury.

The three men had begun swimming for their lives -- about 200 yards of rough surf separated them from the beach -- when Seifert collided with a large striped bass that he believed had also been tossed from the boat. At 25 pounds, it was one of the biggest fish Seifert had pulled in that season, and he grabbed it in one hand. ... "So I start swimming in with the fish," Seifert recalls, "but now the waves are pounding me, and I'm wearing these rain pants, and they start sliding down over my knees. So now I can't swim. It's the fish or me, and I'm sinking. Finally I had to let the fish go so I could take my rain pants off and swim in. ..."

On the beach the men saw a police vehicle. ... They ran toward it, expecting a helping hand. Instead they got a hostile interrogation, one they did not understand until one of the patrolmen pointed to a lumpy figure underneath a tarp. "There was a dead body lying on the beach, so they thought he was part of our deal," Seifert says. "It turns out the guy had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and washed all the way down there."


Another one that got away

Here's an account from The Cincinnati Post, July 20, 1989:

Summer of 1981. Redwood country in Northern California. Sam Wyche and George Seifert are fishing on a 14-foot dinghy. ... They hook a salmon. Not a big one, but one that should provide a tasty, bite-sized dinner for two wives and a couple of kids who patiently wait by the shore. The families, close friends, are spending a week together in a cottage by a lake.

"George held it by the jawbone over the side to gut it, but the thing slipped through and fell down," Wyche said. "It hit the water, and both of us froze. ... We watched the thing float down with a net right next to us.'' The not-so-happy campers ate grilled hot dogs.


Hooked

From the San Francisco Examiner, July 17, 1995:

Seifert loves adventure, with a special passion for fishing, but goes clamming, abalone diving, poke-poling, hiking, camping, and duck hunting. ... Like most anglers, he never forgets the big ones, and Seifert has had his share: a 35-pound salmon, 35-pound striped bass, 90-pound halibut, 100-pound stingray (as a kid), 110-pound sailfish on a fly rod with 15-pound tippet, 165-pound marlin.

As early as Seifert can remember, he enjoyed the outdoors with his family, growing up primarily in The City's Mission District. "I was a little kid, a munchkin, to the point that the first things I remembered, 3 or 4, was the outdoors," Seifert said. "My dad (Ernie) always fished in the Bay and off the beaches for stripers, then we'd camp up on the Sonoma Coast at Salt Point, and we'd drive through Bodega Bay, buy bait and then poke pole. That's how it started. The reason I think I love doing this myself now is because of the happy times as a kid with my dad."


Pigskin

In January 1996, USA Today asked all the coaches who have won a Super Bowl if they would be watching the Super Bowl XXX. Most said they would watch it -- in person or on TV. Here's what Seifert said: "If I'm there, I will watch it. If I'm not there, I might not watch it. I generally go pig hunting when I don't go there."

In a San Jose Mercury News article Jan. 27, 1989, fellow coach Denny Green said of Seifert: "He's a tremendous outdoorsman. He hunts wild boar on horseback. You use a rifle. I love to fish, but you won't catch me doing that stuff.''


Whole Lotta running

In his book, "Total Impact," Ronnie Lott recalls this about his coach:

"On Monday afternoons, while the rest of the 49ers underwent a light workout, the Taskmaster, who ran several miles a day, subjected us to his training runs. We whipped through the neighborhoods of Redwood City resembling children tagging along with the Pied Piper. We kept thinking, 'He's got to turn back soon,' but then he would turn up another residential street and climb farther into the hills. Carlton Williamson and I always matched him stride for stride down the back stretch, but we never beat him."


Joggin' George

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 1995:

He goes about three miles a day, at least four days a week, and although he talks about it casually, he admits he can be a little compulsive. "I missed a day or two of running last week,'' he said, "and I was feeling horrible (about it). It was right after the (Dallas) game, and you were kind of letting down and sometimes that's when you need it the most."

Now a few years ago, that's when he was really hitting the road. "There was a period, when I was at Stanford,'' he says, "when I was almost fanatic. I didn't know if I was going to work to do my job or to prepare for my run. I was going 11 miles every other day, and six miles on the other days."

From the San Franciso Examiner, May 13, 1997:

He has run (Bay to Breakers) about a dozen times. ... His best time over the 7-1/4-mile course was an hour and five minutes. ...

He eventually shifted his fitness routine, dropping the long runs in favor of morning swims in his backyard pool, long hikes and bicycling -- his mode of transportation at the Niners' training camp in Rocklin. Still, at 57, he does three-mile runs about four times a week.


Winging it

George's son, who has a pilot's license and is in the Navy, arranged for him to ride shotgun in an F/A-18 Hornet during a Blue Angels exhibition in Southern California in February 1996. Here's the account from Sports Illustrated:

George was barely on the ground before he began scolding himself for not enjoying the experience more thoroughly. His ride had been recorded by an in-cockpit video camera, and when the family watched the tape the room was filled with laughter. Linda, Eve and Jason saw George flashing the same sour expressions he displays on the sidelines, complete with body twitches and mouth movements and that steely glare. He looked miserable but Linda and the kids saw it differently. They knew that in his own bizarre way, Seifert was having the ride of his life.


Travel and leisure

From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 1997:

Since January, Seifert has been fishing in New Zealand and Mexico. ... On Sunday (March 16) he's leaving for Chile for more fishing. Later this spring, he and his wife, Linda, plan a three-week trip to Costa Rica. In the fall, they'll load up the car for a month- long driving tour through the Rockies.

From the San Francisco Examiner, May 11, 1997:

The trip to Costa Rica landed Seifert one of the top catches of his life -- a 130-pound sailfish on a flyrod. Of his trip to New Zealand with his wife, Seifert says: "We took a helicopter in to the North Island for 8- to 10-pound rainbow trout, flyfishing. It was the best day of fishing and adventure I'd ever had, and not that I caught all these fish but just the environment."

More on New Zealand, from the San Francisco Examiner, Dec. 14, 1997:

"We were lifting off in the helicopter, and everything opened up below us, a panoramic view, the lakes, rivers and trees, just beautiful country, totally undeveloped. We saw some wild donkeys, vegetation like I've never seen, almost prehistoric looking.

"I was so excited at my first cast," Seifert said. "You stalk the fish, and there are no small ones, just all 8- to 10-pound rainbow trout. When you hook up, they're just screamers, and you're way out there, with no evidence of any other human beings anywhere."


Unwinding

Seifert made a TV appearance in May 1998 that had nothing to do with his new gig as an NFL broadcaster. The "Bay Area Backroads" Web site has a story and video of "Fishing with George Seifert," written by the San Francisco TV show's host, Doug McConnell. The anglers didn't have much luck hooking sturgeon, but, as McConnell says, "For these guys, fishing is about more than just catching fish." A couple of comments from Seifert support that sentiment:

"I go out fishing in the off-season to just unwind and relax," he says. "The last thing I'd think about doing is actually competing."

"It kind of takes you back to your childhood, too," says George. "I mean, this is what I did when I was a young kid with my dad. We'd go fishing all the time."

Tom Stienstra, the outdoors writer for the San Francisco Examiner, also had a report about the trip, which occurred in March 1998.


Sorts of other sorts

George Seifert was playing sports of different sorts during the summer of 2002.

First up was bocce. Seifert let the good times roll June 5, 2002, at the fourth annual Steve Mariucci Celebrity Bocce Tournament in Los Gatos, Calif. Joining Seifert among the past 49ers and other celebs who took part in the charity event were Ronnie Lott, Steve Young and Bill Walsh, actor Danny Glover, Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Mays, and John Madden.

For pictures of George, etc., playing bocce, go here:

http://www.ibocce.com/boccepictures.html

The following week, it was time golf -- miniature golf. Seifert and many other 49ers players and alumni were among the participants in the Third Annual Tina M. Sankoff Fun-dation Celebrity Golf Tournament. The event was held June 15 at Golfland in Milpitas.

 

 


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