Bass club fishermen are normally pretty thin skinned when it comes to their ability to catch fish. When things are working you are full of confidence, but when things don’t go your way it can be a real blow to your ego. Years ago, I was a member of one of the oldest bass clubs in Florida. This was back in the sixties when tournaments were just getting started. The club was like most bass clubs with a wide cross section of members; a few professional people, some businessmen and mostly just regular guys. The competition was fierce and bragging rights were held in high regard.
One member was a real character and loved to pull practical jokes and basically just get people stirred up. To make matters worse, he was one of the best bass fisherman in the club, so when you were the blunt of one of his jokes it was especially bad.
One weekend we had a tournament on West Lake Toho. The fishing wasn’t especially good and everyone was running around the lake trying to find a few fish. About 11:00 AM the joker came around the bend at Brown’s Point and found one of the younger guys sitting on his fishing hole. The joker pulled up about 50 yards from him and began to fish. They sat there fishing for about a half an hour with nothing much happening. The tension was pretty high because fishing next to someone is not against the rules, but it is not usually done out of courtesy. When the younger fisherman wasn’t looking, the joker quietly snuck a bass out of his live well that he had caught earlier, hooked it on his line and slipped it over the side. After the bass swam off about 50 feet, the joker stood up and set the hook with a loud yell, fighting the bass back to the boat with a lot of noise just to make sure the other fishermen saw everything. After 10 minutes he repeated the process and landed another bass. By this time, the younger angler was going crazy trying to figure out how the joker was catching fish after fish when he hadn’t had a bite. It eventually got the best of him, so he fired his big engine and left in a cloud of spray.
After the young fisherman left, the two men could hardly contain themselves laughing out loud about catching the live well bass over and over again. Now here’s the funny part. As they settled down and continued fishing, they both felt the bump bump of a bass bite. It seems that all the commotion of the live well bass fighting and splashing had turned on the other fish in the lake! The two anglers fished in astonishment as they culled out their limit and won with ease.
This is a true story and I was the victim of the joker that day long ago, but it still makes me laugh today.