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The fishin' dudes

[Times photos: Chris Schneider]
Todd Wood and Bob Puccinelli found a niche by trading barbs with listeners and occasionally veering from fishing topics.

By TERRY TOMALIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 13, 2000


TAMPA -- The caller wanted to talk about sharks.

"He told us that he invented the shark protection suit," recalled Todd Wood, co-host of WQYK's Let's Talk Fishing. "You know ... the kind made of chain mail? He said he had his mother-in-law test it and that it worked pretty well, most of the time."

Sound harsh? Not really. When you are on with the Fishin' Dudes, everybody's fair game ... wives, girlfriends, bosses, friends, public officials, even newspaper reporters.

"If we are not talking bad about you, if you don't hear your name mentioned in a disparaging way, then we don't love you," said Bob Puccinelli, Wood's partner. "It's as simple as that."

The duo, known collectively as Todd and Bob, have staked a claim to the barren wasteland of Sunday morning AM radio. Their irreverent, at times politically-challenged rhetoric has a loyal following that includes everybody from die-hard fishermen to talk radio junkies.

"A lot of our listeners don't even fish," Wood said. "They just tune in because we never know where we are going."

Puccinelli, nicknamed "The Choir Boy," respectfully disagreed.

"We know where we are going," he said. "We just never get there."

For years, Tampa Bay has seen its share of radio shows come and go. Puccinelli and Wood hit the airwaves four years ago and quickly discovered that talking about how to bait a hook week after week wouldn't keep listeners coming back.

"We like to think of ourselves as a fishing show with a pulse," Puccinelli said. "The conversation is always lively."

To get an idea of where these two fishermen, one a fly fishing aficionado, the other a live baiter, are coming from, visit their Web site at www.toddandbob.com. Both men have bios, which they patterned after Playboy's playmate of the month data sheet.

A sampling of Bob's answers: Favorite movies? Animal House and The Godfather trilogy. Favorite authors? Dr. Seuss and Masters & Johnson.

And now Todd: Turn-ons? Ice cold draft, rare steak and a good joke. Favorite quote? "That's going to leave a mark."

Radio fans will notice a striking similarity between Todd and Bob's Let's Talk Fishing and the hugely popular Car Talk on National Public Radio. Just like Tom and Ray Magliozzi (Click and Clack -- The Tappet Brothers), Todd and Bob often stray from the subject of fishing.

"Listeners often apologize for calling," Puccinelli said. "They say that you are having such a good time and they hate to interrupt."

But the show has its regulars. There is Charlie, of the shark suit fame, who also happens to be the sole member of the Todd Wood Fan Club.

"Whenever we start talking about chum, we hear from Charlie," Wood said. "Somehow the conversation always turns to his mother-in-law."

Todd and Bob said they know they are reaching people, just because of the number of cards Bob received recently when he was off the air for several weeks after having acute appendicitis.

"There was nothing wrong with his appendix," Wood said. "But that was the only way he could get a break from the show. So he said, "Go ahead, take it out.' "

Puccinelli, whom Wood calls the Dalai Lama of Research and Development, said he is ready to answer any question a caller may throw his way.

"And if we don't know the answer, we'll make one up," Puccinelli said. "It says so right on our Web site."

But they encourage listeners to call in and try to stump the experts.

However, be forewarned. Everybody is fair game.

"Like I said, if we aren't talking bad about you, then we don't love you," Puccinelli repeated. "It is as simple as that."

-- Join Todd & Bob every Sunday from 8-10 a.m. on Sportsradio 1010. Studio numbers: Hillsborough: (813) 639-1010. Anywhere else: (888) 404-1010.

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