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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Professional Bass Fishing Tournament

I once had the privilege of fishing in a professional bass tournament as an observer. It was the final one of the year and had all the winners of those who won tournaments throughout the season seeking to see who was the best. Over the four day tournament I was paired with different professionals. I was president of the local bass fishing club and our entire club was given the opportunity to fish as observers. The observers were allowed to fish and which ever one of us caught the largest bass won an all expense paid fishing trip to Lake Guerrero, Mexico. I had led the entire way but another observer won on day four by one once. Close only counts in horse shoes.

Our guest celebrity was none other than Junior Samples of Hee Haw fame. Hee Haw did not do his wit and humor justice as he was one of the funniest guys I have ever met. He kept us in stitches for all four days. His humor was clean, funny and I probably shed more tears of laughter those four days as I have my entire life. My sides hurt from laughing at Juniors jokes. Junior was one funny guy.

Day two of the tournament I fished with a guy named Dick Busby and he asked me if I knew of a short cut from the St. John's River to Little Lake George that he heard of. I did and guided him through the cut which shaved several minutes off our travel time. I warned him that when he came from the other way to be very careful as the turn off was sudden and he would need to slow way down. Dick remembered everything but the last part about slowing down at the cut off. We were fishing in bass boats fully equipped that would go upwards of 80 MPH and it took skill to handle those powerful boats. Dick only knew two speeds anyway, idle and full out.

The next day he drew Junior for his partner and when they were coming back to weigh in he forgot the slow down part. He missed the cut off by going too fast and went right through the cypress knees and trees onto a small island. He stopped suddenly and when he looked back he saw Junior hanging from a branch with his feet dragging the water yelling 'get me down'. Dick said he jumped out of the boat into the muck and pushed the boat back out into the water where Junior could drop down into the boat. The area was well known for the large alligators and snakes. He said Junior never said a word to him the rest of the tournament.

Can't say I blame Junior at all because he probably thought Dick was using him as bait for alligators. Even when Junior was not trying to be funny he ended up being funny. You have to admit that seeing Junior hanging from a limb yelling to 'get me down' isn't funny but Junior being Junior made it funny. Junior was one funny guy who left us way too early in life. If he couldn't make you laugh uncontrollably nothing could. RIP Junior and leave a big un for me when I join you one day.


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