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COPS AND BOBBERS; POLICE SPLIT TIME - HOOKING CROOKS AND HOOKING FISH.

Byline: Rob Wheat Special to the Daily News

The stresses of law enforcement are many, and, like other professionals, many police officers turn to fishing for release and relaxation.

But a number of cops and former officers have parlayed their love of angling into lucrative businesses or have otherwise established marks for themselves in the sport-fishing industry.

``When I take off my police detective's hat, I put on my fishing hat and try to focus on that,'' said Ron Cervenka, a Burbank homicide and robbery detective from Saugus who directs the Southern California division of the Western Outdoors News Bass team-tournament circuit.

Going to work to Cervenka can mean confronting an armed robbery. He balances that by registering anglers for the bass contests or baiting a hook on the weekend.

``Sometimes it's harder to catch the bass than the crooks, and sometimes it's harder to catch the crooks than the bass,'' said Cervenka, who also fishes tournaments professionally, guides other anglers, teaches ``Introduction to Bass Fishing'' at College of the Canyons and coordinates the annual ``Bassing for Abused Kids'' fund-raiser at Castaic Lake. He plans to write an instructional book about his experiences titled, ``Hookin' & Bookin'.''

Despite his best-laid plans, Cervenka occasionally takes his work with him and has at times had to cancel out of bass tournaments because he's had to prepare for or go to court.

``That can be devastating to your point standings and money totals, which are added up at the end of a tournament season,'' he said. ``These are the things that qualify you for larger events, and you can be eliminated if you miss one or a couple events.

``But the bottom line is that my No. 1 job is being a police officer. And I still get a little time to do some hookin', as well as some bookin'. ''

Disaster struck in January 1994, the day Bill Mulvihill was ready to open shop.

Mulvihill, who retired last month as a Los Angeles Police Department traffic officer after 29 years, was looking forward to opening his jig-making business. But the Northridge Earthquake hit and he found himself picking up the pieces of his dream instead.

Mother Nature didn't deter him, and today his fishing lures are in four stores around the San Fernando Valley. He works closely with bass-angling guru and industry icon Don Iovino on tapping the overseas market.

``I started making jigs for myself and it grew from there,'' he said. ``Things really got going when I got a couple of Japanese orders after I first opened, and had to work a lot of hours making jigs while working light duty on the force.''

Mulvihill was designated to light duty after his 15 years of motorcycle work wore down the tendons and nerves in his arms, shoulder and hands. Despite those troubles, he and his wife hand-tie each jig in his Reseda garage. They are wary about expanding the business.

``Sometimes I think about branching out, but I think I'd better keep it small and manageable,'' Mulvihill said. ``That way I'll still have time to do what I love: fish!''

Bob Crupi seemingly has answered the question every day since March 12, 1991: Why'd you throw it back?

That's when Crupi, a 24-year veteran LAPD motorcycle officer with the Valley division, caught a 22.01-pound largemouth bass at Castaic Lake. It is the second-largest recorded bass in the world. Crupi let the fish go . . . and would do it again in a heartbeat.

``The guys at the station understood, but a lot of people asked, `Why'd you let it go. How much was it worth?' '' said Crupi, who resides in Castaic. ``You tell me, because at the time there wasn't any sponsor who was stepping to the plate with the money, until recently.

``Now there's a place to go and collect I think $5 million for the world record bass.''

He'll have to settle for the image as catch-and-release poster boy . . . and a cop who today runs a successful bass-fishing guide business and hunts big game in the wilds of Africa.

``Fishing is like being on a stakeout,'' Crupi said. ``Just like the bad guys, you learn the fish's MO or how they operate, their `perp time' or when the fish are most active and anything else that might help you.

``Law enforcement has taught me to be patient and to wait on the big fish.''

Mickey Daniels said it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.

One of Daniels' customers on his mackinaw trout charter boat at Lake Tahoe got pulled over for speeding. Daniels, then the town constable for Carnelian Bay, listened with amusement.

``He was a talker and a half and he told me all about this jerk in green who pulled him over and how he'd like to give him a piece of his mind,'' Daniels said.

``Well, I knew who the (the Placer County Sheriff's deputy) was and it just happened that the same deputy was hanging out by the dock to say hello. So I yelled, `Hey, `Joe,' is this the jerk who pulled you over that you wanted to talk to?'

``Now, this particular deputy was a big, heavy-set guy. He was clued into the joke and said, `Yeah, Joe, you got something to say?' Joe had to go back to the (restroom) to regain his composure for a few minutes and we fell about the dock laughing.''

Daniels of nearby Agate Bay retired in 1997 after 29 years in law enforcement - first as a deputy, later as a highway patrolman and then as a constable.

``It's the law-enforcement job that allowed me to be a fisherman,'' said Daniels, who opened his charter business in 1969. ``Of course, being a constable is a one-man operation, but the courts aren't as busy as they are in L.A. So I could fish in the morning because of the lighter case load and I had other duties in the evening - evictions, wage garnishments, serving papers and patrol work.

``I know that probably both jobs - fishing and law enforcement - are the best ones that a guy could have got.''

Pete Haynes said no two occupations lend themselves to greater stories than his - LAPD motorcycle officer and Izorline fishing line representative.

``This is probably the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen, but it's true,'' said Haynes, who retired in 1989 after a quarter-century on the force and now resides in Malibu's Trancas Canyon. ``This guy was fishing using a kite, where you have the line dangle on the surface of the water. Fortunately for me, he was also using my brand of line.

``The fish surfaces but comes up tail first, which really didn't make sense. Well, this guy caught a 100-pound tuna with the hook, but the line had collected on the water when it was released from the kite and a second fish was unlucky enough to be swimming by at the same time.

``So a second fish got snagged on a half-inch knot that had tangled on the surface, and he ended up bringing two 100-pound tuna on board, both caught with the same line.''

Haynes said he loved being a police officer, ``But when you have an opportunity to earn money doing something you love, something you don't mind talking 24 hours a day about . . . well, it's like I've died and gone to heaven.''

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos

PHOTO (1--2--Color) Above, Burbank homicide Det. Ron Cervenka casts for bass at Pyramid Lake. Cervenka, left, and retired LAPD officer Bill Mulvihill unhook a two-pound bass. ``Sometimes it's harder to catch the bass than the crooks, and sometimes it's harder to catch the crooks than the bass,'' said Cervenka, who, apart from his policing duties, also directs the Southland division of the Western Outdoors News Bass team-tournament circuit, guides other anglers professionally and teaches ``Introduction to Bass Fishing'' at College of the Canyons.

David Crane/Daily News

(3--Color) DANIELS
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 24, 1998
Words:1323
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