An Unusual Pet

My first trip to go Speckled Trout fishing out of Suwannee, Florida, provided me with a most unusual sight! At the time, mid 1970’s, Suwannee and the one bait camp and motel reminded me of Port O’Conner, Texas in the 1950’s when I went there several times with my Dad. Not many creature comforts, but marvelous Trout fishing. Suwannee had one up on Port O’Conner, the Suwannee bait camp has a pet Bass! Yes, Bass will live and do well in salt/fresh, brackish water.

On my first trip to Suwannee, walking out of the bait camp along a rickety pier to the guide’s boat, the proprietor said, “Sir, watch this and look down into the water right below us.” He picked up an old oar that was leaning against the side of the building and banged it three times on to the pier. Looking down I saw a big fish come floating to the surface, a huge Bass.

The proprietor then took a coffee can of dead shrimp and fish cleanings and dropped them beside the Bass, who promptly inhaled them. The Bass continued swimming around and he continued, saying, “We scooped her up in a long handled net this past spring and she weighed a little over 14 pounds. Ha, Ha, I think we’ll just grow us a new record here.”

I had kept my boat down there for the fall and winter fishing and in early March of 1979, prior to my move back to Texas, came down to Suwannee for one last fishing trip and to take my boat back to Atlanta. Walking in to the bait camp I exclaimed, “How’s everybody?” The proprietor smiled and said, “We’re all fine, but I got some bad news.”

Thoughts of a fish kill or a fishing ban flashed through my brain as he continued, “Some bastard snuck up the canal here Monday night two weeks ago and caught our Bass. I hope he chokes on the bones!”