By: Roland Neaves
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
Why was it the best of times? Easy. It was a clear, crisp spring day in March of 2017 and I was fishing with one of my best friends on a beautiful lake in Central Florida. I had on my new Wroxx hat and Wild Waters fishing shirt. The day marked the 25th annual ‘mini’ college reunion for my friend Gary and two other buddies for life. We gather once a year to enjoy each other’s company, catch up on life, play cards, eat great home cooked meals, and fish. Nothing could be better.
Why was it the worst of times? Easy. We fish (catch and release of course) for Florida largemouth bass and the competition is friendly but fierce. The big prize is a trophy bass replica on my buddy’s card room wall for any bass over 10lbs and I was the only member of the group that had yet to bag a lunker. The pressure was tangible as it had been several years since the last trophy adorned the wall and all eyes were on me.
“It was the spring of hope”. Each year and every day of our adventure was a new opportunity for success, but I was 0 -25. But today everything changed. The tug on my Gary Yamamoto watermelon lure was strong. The clear, spring fed lake water soon gave me a glimpse of the largest bass I’d ever seen and my stress level peaked as I fought the 11.8lb bass into a net – and a trophy onto Gary’s wall.
I guess after all was said and done, it was just the best of times!
Obviously a professional fisherman—at least he dresses like one.
That is one big bass… and a great story. As one of the “two other buddies” in a different boat that day, I imagine it isn’t the last time we will hear that story either.
And that’s the point… it’s all about the friendship, the tradition… the story.