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The angle on Griz anglers

The angle on Griz anglers

Who's the best, who's the worst? Players' agent answers

There is an epidemic of major proportions running through western Montana. Nearly everyone I know has come down with the bug. No, it is not mad cow disease. It's Griz fever! Yes, you probably have it. With every Griz playoff win, the fever gets worse.

It will get to the point where head coach Joe Glenn could become a pitchman (remember Super Dave from 1995) for just about anything from cars to tennis shoes to hamburgers and we'd buy 'em, no questions asked. Right now, folks can't get enough of the Griz. That is why I thought you might want to know a little about how some former Griz football players would ranks as fly fishermen and/or hunters. After all, this is supposed to be an outdoors hunting and fishing column.

Now I have one huge disadvantage when talking about former Grizzly greats. I personally don't know any of them. However I do know the man who sells their services to either the CFL or the NFL. His name is Ken Staninger. Staninger has been representing former Griz football players as their agent for a while now and every time I see him, he is always more happy to line up one of his clients for my radio show, or in this case, help feed your Griz fever with my column this week.

Staninger, an avid angler in his own right, says he doesn't know much about the hunting side of his clients. That's mostly because they pretty much have their falls tied up with football.

Fishing, however, is a different story. If they are going to pick up anything in the outdoors, fishing makes the most sense to Staninger. "They can fish during the late spring and summer months. For the most part, fishing is injury free and gives them a time to get away from the everyday grind of workouts."

Staninger said Scott Gragg, who now is with the 49ers of the NFL, "may not have the best technique, but he approaches fly fishing with a great deal of desire." (Sounds like agent-speak to me.)

What about Tim Hauck, who is playing for the playoff-bound Philadelphia Eagles? Ever the diplomat, Staninger paused for a moment and said, "He enjoys fishing as much as he does playing football, but he is not the best."

OK, lets get right down to what every Griz fan wants to know. Who is the best angler that used to wear a football uniform and played for the University of Montana?

"I can only speak from my personal experience …" I then interrupted Staninger and reminded him that he wasn't running for any public office and he could just give me his humble opinion. I then assured him that nobody was going to hold anything against him if he didn't mention their favorite player as being the best Griz fisherman of all time.

"I know they won't," he said, "I am just thinking it would be Mike Trevathan or Kirk Scrafford." Staninger went on to say he would give Scrafford the edge simply because he has been fishing with him and says he knows how to read the water, ties his own flies, and has a great presentation.

"OK, now tell me who in your opinion is the worst?" I said. Without hesitation, Staninger said, "Rocky Klever, he has no patience and no rhythm."

Well, I hope this helped feed your Griz fever. As your self-prescribed doctor, I can tell you the fever will be the highest the next three Saturdays, so don't be alarmed. After Dec. 16, you can take up ice fishing. I know an agent with one less client that will be happy to go!

Mark Ward is known as Capt. Bucksnort on his Friday radio show that airs from 8 to 9 a.m. on KGVO 1290AM. His statewide show, the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, airs Saturdays from 6 to 8 a.m. in Missoula on KGVO 1290AM; in Hamilton on KLYQ 1240AM; in Polson on KERR 750AM; and in Kalispell on KJJR 880AM. E-mail any comments or suggestions to or visit his Web site at

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