June 23, 2014 Share

Friendly Fishing Competition Turns Serious

Originally Published on Aug 11, 2011 “From the Docks” NBC Sports

When I moved to my new place last July, my neighbor to the north stopped by to introduce himself. Dave is a friendly guy whose retired. His passions are tennis, sports (played college football at Syracuse with such greats as Jim Brown and Ernie Davis!) and fishing. Fishing was a love he picked up later in life and based on the bass boat he had parked at his dock, he fished often.

I don’t know who started our annual friendly fishing competition, but we soon started reporting catches to one another and one thing lead to another. Admittedly, it’s a male thing.

At the end of the year we tally up the number of muskies we each catch and the one with the most is the “winner.” The prize is much more valuable than money…it for bragging rights.

I must note that Dave has a built-in advantage in that as a retired guy he can (and does) fish virtually every day. Meanwhile, as a working stiff who travels a lot, I am limited in the times I can fish on our home lake. But I have two things going for me…access to the latest tackle and a broader base of fishing knowledge than Dave.

This year I drew first blood with a mid-40-inch fish that I never got to measure or photograph. After unhooking the fish I left it in the water in the mess of my large landing net. It promptly blew a hole in the mesh and disappeared! Dave showed class by believing my story, which was backed up by two witnesses. Than earlier this week, while fishing with my son Pierce, I hooked a small ‘ski while fishing bass. It when only 9-10 pounds, but then size doesn’t factor into the competition. This time, I had photographic proof.

Frankly, I expected Dave to fold after number two, but then the phone rang last night. “I need help,” Dave pleaded. I have a big muskie on and my big net is back on shore. Help!”

That’s when I told him I was miles away from home and unavailable to help. He hung up without saying good bye.

It was dark when I got home, but Dave was waiting for me on his dock with a big spotting light. “Hurry, he’s still sitting where I released him!” he yelled.

And it was—a thick 44-inch monster that left moments later with a broad swipe of its tail.

Dave then shared his story. I was fishing bass near shore using a wacky rig and when I hooked the fish I knew immediately that I had a big muskie. But with my wrist surgery I couldn’t lift it and the net I had with was way too small. So I trolled it back to my dock, ran to get my muskie-sized net, and then jumped back in my boat to net it.”

I am not making this up!

So we now sit Pennaz 2, Appelhof 1, with three months left to go!–_Steve



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