The inaugural Bucs on the Bay tournament will pit NFL players against the fish of Tampa Bay in a charity event sponsored by Red Lobster Restaurants
Martin Gramatica may play the angles well, but he's no angler.
When lined up to attempt a field goal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gramatica generally aims at the right upright, in order to correct a possible hook at the end. When the equation starts with a hook, however, he doesn't necessarily have the answer.
Gramatica might be the NFL's best kicker (his Pro Bowl berth certainly puts him in the right company), but he is not, admittedly, the world's best fisherman.
"I can go out and my backyard in the pond and catch brim, but I'm not a big-time fisherman," he said with a laugh. "I haven't been out on the deep sea very often."
But he will be again soon. The inaugural 'Bucs on the Bay' fishing tournament will take place this Friday, July 13, on Tampa Bay and Gramatica will spin the reel once again. Though it will be Friday the 13th, Gramatica hopes to improve his luck.
He's been on deep-sea fishing trips once or twice before, and what has he caught? "Nothing!," he admitted, laughing again. "I've had bad luck, you know. I don't know what it's like to catch a big ol' fish. Hopefully, I'll get one this time."
We all hope so. In particular, his partner hopes so. For the 'Bucs on the Bay' tournament, sponsored by Red Lobster Restaurants, each participant that purchases a spot will be paired with a Buccaneer player or coach for four hours of flats fishing on Tampa Bay. Gramatica, safety Dexter Jackson, linebacker Shelton Quarles, punter Mark Royals, RB Rabih Abdullah and others will test their lines in the name of charity. With the help of Red Lobster, a Pewter Partner, the 'Bucs on the Bay' fishing tournament will raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay and the Glazer Family Foundation.
Several Buccaneers coaches and a few former Tampa Bay players will also plumb the depths of the bay, including Special Teams Coach Joe Marciano, who could be a ringer. An avid fisherman, Marciano previously held his own tournament while with the New Orleans Saints and has only been slowed down recently by the 1999 adoption of his son, Joseph.
Marciano, Gramatica and the rest will be joined by over 40 children from the Boys & Girls Clubs, a group that will meet the Buc representatives at the Bay Side Marina on Friday morning. The players and participants will set out in their various boats in search of fish, and the children will enjoy a short boat ride around the Bay before returning to fish off the pier at the marina.
Buccaneers.com will brave the seas as well to cover the tournament. An effort will be made to circle the seas around Gramatica's boat, if only to see if his luck has improved.
"I've only gone deep-sea fishing twice," said Gramatica. "The two times that I went it was after cold fronts and there weren't many fish around. I think I'll see more action this time."