Creator of Viral Striper Cartoon Speaks!

"I Want to Catch a Seal" is the latest Kovacs creation.

Unless you’re a Northeast fisherman who lives in a cave (or beach buggy), chances are you’ve seen the hilarious web-video cartoon “I Want to Catch a 50-Pound Striped Bass,” in which an anime cat explains his obsession to catch a bass of a lifetime to his less-than-understanding spouse. The video, which struck a chord with fishermen all along the coast, was made using a program designed by Xtranormal.com. The site allows anyone to submit a written dialogue, which is then spoken by the characters’ monotone, computer-generated voices. In other words, you type the words and the cartoon characters “act” it out. So far the video has generated almost 70,000 views, making it one of the biggest viral fishing videos in history. It has even spawned a few variations on the theme, including one by boating- and fishing-supply retailer Jamestown Distributors.

Mark Kovacs and family.

New England Boating managed to track down the cartoon’s creator, Mark Kovacs of Maplewood, New Jersey, and asked him to fill us in on the backstory of the original version. As you might have guessed, Kovacs, 46, is an avid surf fisherman. However, unlike the male lead in his video, his wife shares his passion for fishing. “I am not like the character in the video. I am not a troop leader for my kid’s Scout troop, and I didn’t bag out on my parents’ anniversary to go fishing,” he laughs. “I have a very big fishing family, and my wife totally understands the obsession.”

The 2 sometimes fish in the morning or afternoon before picking up their kids from school, and the entire Kovacs family makes an annual pilgrimage to Nantucket each fall to surf-fish for 2 weeks. While Mark loves the island, he is concerned over the growing problem of seals becoming habituated to the local fishermen. This led him to create another Xtranormal video called “I Want to Catch a Seal.” He explains that the video is tongue-in-cheek, but highlights an issue that needs to be addressed (see related news items, New England Boating’s: Seals Overpopulating Cape Cod and Seal Shot Off Cape Cod ). “The seals have learned to follow fishermen on the beach,” he says. “They see you with the waders and a fishing rod, and it’s like ringing the dinner bell. They just hang out offshore waiting for you to catch a fish, then they steal it. I’ve even seen them beach themselves and take a fish that has just been landed. It has really hurt the fishery.”

Kovacs, who owns a video-production company and has a background in film, quickly saw the potential of using the Xtranormal template to create his “50-Pound Striper” video. “The site lets you manipulate the characters and backgrounds quite a bit more than what you see on the video, but I just wanted to keep it simple. It’s all about the dialogue,” he explains, adding that it took him about 3 hours to write the script.

Can we expect more clever fishing cartoons from Kovacs? He’s not saying, but he sure wishes he could have monetized the first one after seeing how popular it became. For now he’ll focus in hitting the fall run along New Jersey, where he is still seeking that elusive 50-pound bass.

Video links:

“I Want to Catch a 50-pound Striped Bass”

“I want to Catch a Seal”

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