A trophy from the Bank

At the time, there were no professional bass tournaments. There weren't any million dollar prizes to be won by anglers decked out in fancy uniforms speckled with their sponsor's logos.

Bass boats weren't even considered a type of boat. Bow mounted trolling motors and 200 hp motors the size of a washing machine hadn't been popularized.

A bass boat was defined as something that could carry an angler or two and floated. No flippin' sticks or jerk baits. No NASCAR with a propeller.

Back then, bass fishing was simply an alternative to trout fishing. I pursued bass when the waters were too warm for trout. And, I never considered pursuing bass with a flyrod until much later. I just didn't think they would be attracted to a fly.

I was finally introduced to flyfishing for bass by a guest of mine, early in my career.

The gentleman, Mr. C.L. Gaines, Jr., hailed from Birmingham, Alabama, where he operated the Shook and Fletcher Supply Company.

Staying at a local resort on the Saranac Lakes, he hired me for a week to take him flyfishing for trout and over the course of several days, we worked both branches of the Ausable and the Saranacs, the Boquet, the Salmon and the Chateaugay.

By the afternoon of our fifth day on the water, Mr. Gaines asked, in his slow southern drawl, "Have you got any bass in these waters, boy?"

"Yes, sir," I answered, "We sure do. But I thought you preferred trout?"

"Whaaale," he responded, "I generally do. But, by God boy, there's nothing more exciting on the end of a flyrod than a big, ol' bass. Ya'all come by in the morning and we'll fill a boat with 'em."

The following morning, as we left the lakeside resort in a small aluminum rowboat, Mr. Gaines produced a large collection of bass poppers.

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