- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 22, 2002

Ah, the fun one can have when somebody sticks a foot smack-dab into the middle of his mouth.
As regular readers know, highly regarded local guide Andy Andrzejewski is a frequent fishing companion of mine, and a couple of weeks ago the two of us were casting for bass alongside a massive hydrilla and milfoil grass bed in the local Mattawoman Creek. The appropriately nicknamed "Fishing Pole" had just caught and released his 10th or 11th bass as he busily worked a topwater popper lure tightly against a line that separated the sodden marine vegetation from open water.
During a brief lull in the action, another boat approached us from a fair distance, properly slowed down, and the friendly newcomer asked if we minded him going around us and fishing a small, grassy spit near us. "Not at all, have at it," said Andy, and the stranger cast his surface lure toward the area and promptly hooked a bass. "Look at that, would you? I guess there's one we missed," said Andy in a congratulatory manner.
And what did the stranger say who had no inkling that between the two of us we had already caught and released nearly four legal limits of largemouth bass before he arrived? "You've got to slow your lures down. Don't jerk 'em so hard," he said quite seriously, no doubt hoping to correct our errant ways.
Wonder what went through that fellow's head when he suddenly realized that he had one of the best bass fishermen on the river in front of him? He eventually recognized the Fishing Pole, but didn't say much other than a courteous hello and what a wonderful day it was.
Along those same lines, several years ago there was a Charles County backwoods lad who listened to the world-famous Roland Martin a man who has won more Bass Anglers Sportsman Society-sanctioned bass tournaments than anyone else, won more Bass Angler of the Year titles and made more money from the sport of fishing than most mortals ever will. Martin was in town to fish the Potomac in a big-bucks contest. The two of us stood in the shade of a gum tree talking about his catches.
"I had no trouble finding good-sized bass right here in the Mattawoman whenever I threw a pig'n'jig at the pads," said the suntanned Martin.
It was bass talk that meant a lead-headed jig dressed with a chunk of pork skin would see action in the spatterdock fields.
The young Charles Countian, his DeKalb fertilizer hat on his head at a rakish angle, listened in on us in the manner of an E.F. Hutton television commercial. Suddenly, he stalked off, telling a bystander, "That guy don't know what the [expletive] he's talking about."
It was wonderfully funny. Even the usually intense competitor Martin laughed about the fellow's gaffe. What's worse, the young man probably didn't know who it was he listened in on. Martin may be a lot of things, but a lousy fisherman who "don't know what the [expletive] he's talking about" he most assuredly is not.
Then there was a big bass fishing tournament in Florida during which parents of young children were asked to bring their little darlings to the event to compete in a CastingKids contest. The children would flip and pitch hookless lures to a target and win fishing tackle if they did well.
One little boy went up to the contest area and did his thing while an adult fisherman helped with advice whenever a child looked bewildered. When done, the boy returned to his mother who asked him, "Well, how did it go?" And the boy said, "OK, but that man who helped me didn't do it right; at least not how dad showed me to do it."
The man who helped was the former world champion of bass fishing, Oklahoma's Ken Cook, a successful touring pro who won the BASS Masters Classic in the rivers of the upper Chesapeake Bay in 1990.
Even I'm not exempt from such embarrassing moments. Some years ago, while participating in a giant bluefin tuna tournament in the waters off Canada's Prince Edward Island, I got into a lively on-boat discussion about law and its shortcomings in many instances. I vociferously disagreed with my boat partner (whom I'd only met at the dock that morning) and his explanation about a particular legal matter. It was later that evening when I sat red-faced with embarrassment as the honorable New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Crahay was introduced at dinner. It was Judge Crahay with whom I had disagreed with earlier that day.
"Good show, Mueller, good show," said my colleague, Art Sullivan of the Boston paper, after I'd clued him in on the day's proceedings.

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