The holiday season is a time for fun and reflection. So for a minute, let’s forget about the intricate techniques, patterns and strategies and instead look back on some of the funniest moments from the 2011 Walmart FLW Tour season. As it turns out, these pros aren’t just awesome fishermen – they’re also living, breathing comedy shows. From everyone at FLW, happy holidays to you and yours.
10. “Booger on a hook”
Those who know Andy Morgan on a personal level recognize he’s hilarious in his own down-home way. There could be a whole series of quirky things this guy says and does titled Andy Morganisms; this list entry is just a sample. After the second day of the FLW Tour slugfest on Lake Okeechobee, Morgan was sitting in fourth place after just sacking 30 pounds. During his post-weigh-in interview, he was asked what he caught his fish on. The response was classic Morgan: “It don’t really matter. It’s just one of them booger-on-a-hook-deals right now.”
Several writers paused with a perplexed look and asked the Evinrude pro to explain. Morgan matter-of-factly said he caught some on a Brush Hog, some on a Speed Craw and a few on a Swimming Fluke. But it really didn’t matter what he was throwing; the bite was so good the bass would have eaten a “booger on a hook.” From now on, when the fishing is good I’m referring to the bite as “one of them booger-on-a-hook deals.”
9. “Bullet hair is born”
This one is a jab at FLW contributing editor Rob Newell, the main reporter for the FLW Tour’s on-the-water coverage. Newell had just finished a long day on the water, giving catch updates and shooting video and photography. His boat driver owned a Bullet, which for those who don’t know is a niche bass boat marketed almost exclusively on acceleration and speed. Long story short, those Bullets can fly.
Newell’s hair was a little long and scruffy at the time, and the Bullet’s top speed pulled it back and made the top stick straight up. Several pros including Brett Hite immediately recognized the look – “Bullet Hair.” Hite mumbles those two words every time he sees Newell to remind him how awesome he looked that day.
8. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”
This entire top-10 list could be filled with items from David Dudley – the guy is that hilarious, oftentimes unintentionally. In this instance, Dudley was walking up on-stage on day one of the Forrest Wood Cup, and host Chris Jones was rambling on about Dudley’s remarkable career accomplishments and his recent Angler of the Year win. Meanwhile, Dudley was in La-La Land looking out in the crowd at his wife and children.
Jones continued his spiel until finally pausing and pointing the microphone at Dudley, which is almost always guaranteed entertainment. With the stage set In front of thousands of fishing fans, Dudley looked at Jones and replied, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.” Dudley just continues to march to the beat of his own drum.
Over the last few years, Newell and I have gotten to know Oklahoma pro Jason Christie quite well. He’s an awesome power-fisherman and an even better person. But we hadn’t yet met Mrs. Christie until September, when we ran into the couple at a restaurant called the Butcher Block in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Incidentally, they sat directly in the booth behind us that night. After finishing supper we chatted for a bit before I finally asked Christie, “Aren’t you going to introduce us to your wife?”
With a deadpan look, Christie replied by saying, “I would, but this isn’t my wife.” Unbearable awkwardness ensued for what felt like an eternity. We occasionally hear rumors of infidelity on Tour, and here I was inadvertently stumbling right into the middle of it. Finally, Christie broke the silence and admitted he was kidding, much to my relief. Newell and Christie swear I looked like I had seen a ghost. And Christie’s wife, Amy, played along like an Academy Award winner.
6. “Who throws baits?”
The first morning of the Lake Champlain event I walked down to the dock to snap a few photos of takeoff. While it was still before dawn, I thought I saw Dave Lefebre and Scott Martin arguing, which is odd because they’re known friends.
Upon closer inspection, I see Martin hand Lefebre some lures. They continue arguing until Lefebre suddenly throws the lures at Martin, all but one of which fall short of his boat and land in the lake. To this day, I have no clue what the argument was about, but I know that nobody won, especially considering expensive lures are 100 percent useless when they’re on the bottom of the lake.
5. “Only Ehrler”
Brent Ehrler invented a new way to catch suspended bass this year, and no, it did not involve an Alabama rig. At Lake Hartwell, Ehrler was marking a good school of spotted bass on his graph. Frustrated because he couldn’t get them to bite, Ehrler pressed the foot pedal on his trolling motor to move on. Once the prop spun, he noticed the school would rise toward the surface. This wasn’t a one-time occurrence either; it continued to happen.
Eventually he realized the movement of the water resembled that of a school of blueback herring. Once they came up, they’d follow his Yamamoto Kut Tail worm and shaky head all the way down to 15 feet and eventually eat it. This is probably the only documented instance where trolling motor commotion encouraged bass to eat, and naturally it happened to Ehrler.
4. “Ad-ults on the A-rig”
Perhaps the loudest laugh of the year came from Lake Guntersville champion Paul Elias. In what now is remembered as the Alabama-rig tournament, Elias proved quite the showman. At the day-two weigh-in in particular, all eyes were on the Mississippi pro after he weighed in a giant 29-pound stringer and opened up a 14-pound lead.
Tournament Director Chris Hoover asked the obvious question on everybody’s mind: “What is the difference between what you’re doing out there and what everyone else is doing?” With the tact and polish that only a savvy veteran can provide, Elias responded with, “The difference is I’m catching `adults’ (pronounced add-dults).” The comment drew raucous laughter from the crowd.
3. “I lost my plug knocker.”
Chevy pro Bryan Thrift is about as serious as they come, so seeing his name on this list might be a surprise for some. But at the first Major of the year on Beaver Lake, Thrift went through quite an ordeal while playing a rare kicker fish.
Within the first 20 minutes of the final day, Thrift tied into a hefty largemouth while twitching a jerkbait. Proving that “stuff” happens to even the best anglers on the planet, Thrift couldn’t locate his landing net while keeping pressure on the fish. After digging around for some time with his off hand, he located the net and swung it back over toward the water’s edge. And in doing so he accidentally knocked another piece of equipment to the bottom of Beaver Lake.
“I lost my plug knocker, but I got a big ol’ bass,” said the Chevy pro. Even the stoic Thrift was laughing at himself after the incident.
2. “Rogers’ revenge fish”
Fishing for a living can be incredibly stressful, especially for a rookie pro. So when Dearal Rogers missed the top-50 cut and a $10,000 check at Lake Hartwell by a mere 7 ounces, he took his aggression out on one particularly uncooperative bass.
Rogers spent most of his time during the tournament sight-fishing for spawning bass. And there was one particular 4-pounder that never quite would commit to biting during the tournament. Instead of going home angry, Rogers stayed and fished an additional day – immediately returning to the 4-pounder. This time she bit, and instead of practicing conservation, he filleted the fish and ate it for lunch.
1. “Dudley recommends Castrol for fish care.”
Is it any surprise the funniest moment of the year came from Dudley? At the final Major of the year at Pickwick Lake, Dudley wrapped up Angler of the Year in convincing fashion. It was an impressive performance that was equaled only by what happened afterward. After accepting the award on stage, Dudley dove into a long thank-you speech. It was going well until he mistakenly mixed livewells for car engines while attempting to plug his primary sponsor.
“If you wanna take care of your fish, you gotta put Castrol in your livewell,” he said.
Hmmm. Is motor oil good for fish? I know it’s good for engines, and likewise I’ve heard ice and Rejuvenade is good for fish. To be fair, it was an arduous week and Dudley had a lot on his mind. But it was the perfect ending for a perfectly Dudley season.