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:
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."
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:
From the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 1995:
From the San Franciso Examiner, May 13, 1997:
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:
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."
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:
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:
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.