Pittsburgh Pirates play-by-play broadcaster Tim Neverett grew up in New Hampshire, and spent several years as a National League baseball announcer with the Rockies in Colorado before arriving in Pittsburgh five years ago.
Neverett is an avid trout fisherman, and believes that western Pennsylvania is as fine a fishing area as exists anywhere in the country.
"It's really, really good,'' Neverett said while visiting Altoona recently for the Pirates' preseason exhibition game with the Curve. "There is so much outdoor land to take advantage of for people here. I just love that.''
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Pirates announcer Tim Neverett has fished the Blue River and Snake River in Colorado.
The 2013 Pennsylvania trout season began in 18 of the state's southcentral and southeastern counties on Saturday, March 30. It will open in Blair County and the rest of Pennsylvania at 8 a.m. this Saturday.
Neverett won't be among those wetting a fishing line this Saturday, but that isn't because he doesn't want to be.
"The Major League Baseball season schedule is an everyday thing, so I have to give some things up,'' Neverett said with a chuckle. "I fish when I can, but you can never do it enough.''
Neverett - who lives in the north Pittsburgh suburb of Gibsonia - is in the company of plenty of fishing-crazy colleagues on the Pirates roster. Manager Clint Hurdle, starting pitchers James McDonald, A.J. Burnett, and Jeff Karstens, and first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones are among them.
Neverett's two favorite places to fish in the country are probably the Blue River and Snake River in Colorado.
"Every time the Pirates are in Colorado for a road trip now, I'll take a couple of the players fishing with me there,'' Neverett said. "I've taken [pitcher] Jeff Karstens a couple times, and I took [former Pirates closer] Joel Hanrahan [who was traded to the Boston Red Sox last December] for three years. We usually fish for four or five hours on some private water up in the mountains, and we catch cutthroat and rainbow trout. It's a blast.''
McDonald has been known to take his fishing equipment with him to the banks of the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh's PNC Park and get in a couple of hours of angling before it's time for him to report to the Pirates on game days.
He fishes for trout and bass in the baseball offseason near his Long Beach, Calif. home, and he also caught a tarpon in Florida during a spring-training fishing expedition a couple years back.
"During the [baseball] season, I don't fish much,'' McDonald said. "Last season, I fished for bass when we were on road trips in Detroit and Florida. I enjoy fishing for both trout and bass. I think fishing for trout in the streams here would be fun, if I had more opportunity to do it.''
McDonald gets the same perks from fishing that a lot of folks who will be trying their luck on area trout waters this weekend do: namely, the challenges and solitude provided by the pastime.
"I like the scenery ... being out there is quiet and peaceful,'' McDonald said. "I like the water, and I like nature. Nobody is bugging you, yelling at you, screaming at you. You're just out there.''
Jones - one of McDonald's fishing buddies on the Pirates - has similar views about fishing.
"It's peaceful and relaxing,'' said Jones, who took up bass fishing just last year. "Trying to catch a bigger fish than your friends do is fun. I'm new at fishing. I'm still learning some things about what to do and what not to do.''
Neverett has been fishing for a long time, and has become an accomplished fly fisherman. Like many other Pennsylvanians, he pratices catch-and-release with trout.
"It's a sport where you're luring a living thing,'' he said. "I admire the fish more than anything else, because I don't take any trout.''
Neverett has enjoyed fishing in the trout ponds on the grounds of Somerset County's Seven Springs Resort that is owned by the same Nutting family that also owns the Pirates.
"There are several ponds on the property that you can fish from shore, and I've had success in each one of them,'' Neverett said. "Last summer, I snuck up there for a half a day and caught a 21-inch brown trout. It was a real pretty fish.''
So was the tiger trout that Neverett caught and released at Seven Springs a couple years ago.
"He just came up to the surface and blew the water up,'' Neverett said. "It was such a fun catch. I took a couple pictures of the fish, and put it back in the water. It was a beautiful, beautiful fish.''
Neverett said he has fished the Loyalhanna Creek in Westmoreland County, and said he also plans to fish the Youghiogheny River in southwestern Pennsylvania if he can ever free up some time.
"I like trout fishing, and I love being outdoors,'' Neverett said.