One day, coincidentally, it was April Fools Day back in 1972, me and a couple of good fishing buddies were walking the shoreline casting for Bass. My one buddy says to me, “Hey, what’s that floating out there?”
I looked out and noticed it had some green on it and decided to make a cast with my Mepps and a few split shot. It was at the very limit of my range and on about the third cast I snagged on. Shortly afterward, I landed a 5 1/4 pound Bass although it didn’t put up much of a fight.
Upon further investigation, I noticed it had a belly full of roe. It’s tail was red from raking a bed and its eyes were clear. It was fresh but definitely dead. It must have become roe bound and floated up…
No matter to me though, as I proudly but discreetly, added it to my stringer while swearing my buddy to secrecy. It was the biggest Bass on my stringer that day and, up until that time, was the biggest BASS I had ever caught! Dead or Alive!
At least a dozen other fishermen saw the bass on my stringer that day and I did not let on to any of them. Later, while returning home, I figured that it was a good idea to register the fish at my local tackle shop. The tackle shop owner, Dick, who knew me very well, looked at that BASS and EXCLAIMED, “WAY TO GO PERCH!” Most people called me “Perch” back then.
Of course I accepted his praise and we weighed it in. I even qualified for a Maryland State award, received an embroidered patch to wear on my fishing jacket and had my name put in the Fishing In Maryland Magazine. I don’t think I ever told my dad the truth about that Bass, either. He was too proud of me when he saw it…
I’d like to relay one more tidbit about that Bass if you still have the patience to read on.
I couldn’t afford to have the fish mounted so I went to the library and got a book on taxidermy. I laid paper mache’ over a chicken wire mold and before the mold had completely dried, I wrapped a lightly salted and still wet Bass head and skin over the mold then sewed it up. A week later, the mold still had not dried and the whole apartment stunk.
At the the time I was living in a hippie crash pad, with three of my crazy friends and they were all complaining about the smell. I then decided the best thing to do would be to open it up a little to dry out.
I figured that I would open it at the belly and while doing so I decided that if I opened it up some more it would make an interesting HAT!!!! As things turned out, it was a very interesting hat and I still remember those stupid frat parties with twenty or thirty hippies crowded into that little apartment and me wearing that BASS HAT as some sort of perverted or ritualistic badge of honor.
It was great to be young and go fishing… Now I suppose I’ve matured somewhat but I still love my fishing. I just don’t get a chance to go as often as I would like.
This little narrative might help you understand who you are doing business with when you do business with me. I hope that I don’t lose too much business for just being honest and I think it has been therapeutic for me to finally tell the truth about that BASS.
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