Saturday, October 30, 2010
Crazy Bass Fishermen
Friday we left Wheelers after our wonderful two week visit. We had such a wonderful time, but we were itching for a new adventure. We decided to travel only 20 miles to Florence and through two locks. One of the locks, Wilson Lock, drops the boat 93 feet. Since it is such a large lock, it is different from other locks that have opening and closing doors. The Wilson Lock has a door that rises on the upriver side. The bottom part of the "gate" does not move as the level of water in the rivers at pool is typically 25-35 feet.
Florence is an old river town with an extensive history, but it is alive with activity. As we "paddled down the river", as the tow captains say, we heard Fred and Joanie Meyers behind us in Liberty Belle. Fred is the author of two reference books for the Tennessee and Tenn Tom. He is foremost authority in my mind. Interesting fellow and charming wife. We enjoyed dinner with Fred and Joanie at Ricatonis, in downtown Florence. Fred and Joanie live in Florence and their recommendation was excellent!
Another boat traveled with us and he radioed to say there was a Bass Tournament going on in the Florence Harbor, so I called the Harbormaster and she suggested that if the bass boats got in the way, we should just "mosy on in and they will move out of the way - we are bigger". When we arrived, the tournament was underway and they were weighing fish and announcing the weights. The boats and trailers were pretty impressive. Don't know why they need 255 horsepower to go fishing, but they all do! Some of them even need helmets!
The prize money apparently is significant for this type of event and the competition is fierce. I awoke at 530AM to a LOUD speaker announce that all boats were required to check in before the event. I looked outside and did not see much, but fog, so I stepped outside to see more than 100 boats circling the harbor with other boats attached to our boat as they waited. The fog finally lifted about 9AM and the boats were released. We left the harbor soon thereafter and saw fishing boats for miles.
Interestingly there was only one woman entered. This was a qualifying tournament and she is the only woman who has won certain of these events. (You can easily tell I don't know squat about bass tournaments!)
Wonder who won......