During everyone’s lifetime, there are events that shocked the world. September 11, 2001 was one of those days. For hundreds of millions of people around the world, time stood still. Everyone, short of amnesia, remembers where he or she was and what he or she was doing when that first plane flew into the World Trade Center in New York City.
As for me, you might be able to guess. I was fishing. Many pros and aspiring pros were fishing that week in September. The FLW Tour had their Championship that week on Lake Champlain in New York. I hear those guys were catching giant bags of smallmouth and big largemouth before the 9-11 attacks. Their tournament was cancelled. I was not fishing that event because I had not started fishing the pro side of the FLW.
It just so happened that I was also in New York fishing but was on the other side of the state. B.A.S.S. was having an invitational event on the 1000 Islands area of Lake Ontario. The fish were biting over there as well. The morning of 9-11, I landed a smallmouth over 5 pounds that blasted a Leverage spinnerbait being burnt over a shallow shoal. It is still one of the biggest smallies I have ever caught. I thought the event was going to be special but I did not know for what reason.
About noon, one of my roommates at the time, Ben Parker (one of Hank’s boys, not the Elite angler), saw me on the water and told me something about a plane crash. He said people are stopping him and saying the US is being attacked. I was so focused on the tournament that I said, “wow that is crazy. So did you catch any good fish? I caught a few nice ones and a 5 pounder on a spinnerbait.”
He looked at me funny. Ben said, “no, we are being attacked or something. Everyone is getting off the water. We might not fish.” We argued back and forth. I said that we need to figure out how to get a top 5 in this event. He said that he wanted to see what was going on. We did not have iPhones to check out all the latest news on. He went back and I fished the rest of the day.
Normally I practice until either dark or close to dark. About an hour or two before dark, I rode past the boat ramp where about 40 or 50 anglers usually put in. There was nobody there. Then I thought about it. I had not seen another boat on the water for the last couple hours. I started to get a little freaked out. Then one of my other roommates drove back to the ramp to see what was taking me so long. He said I would not believe my eyes.
I did not believe my eyes when I saw the footage of the plane crashes. Nobody really knew what to do. The tournament was cancelled. I did what most people would have done. I kept fishing. My guess is that about 15 or 20 anglers stayed and fished the next day or 2. I fished for 2 days. The first day, my roommates and I had a little jack pot tournament. Steve Miller and I had about the same weight but I really don’t remember who won.
The wild part about that week is that I found some really good off the wall places during that practice week. Some of them were stacked. Not sure I would have won or anything but places that you can never find again. All those waypoints got lost. I had a problem with that GPS unit and adios. Now I always save my waypoints periodically during the year and have multiple back up chips.
When ever I think of the 9-11 attacks, I think about that week on the 1000 Islands area of Lake Ontario. My family was fine. All were safe. They knew I was good and in a remote area that would likely not be another target. So I fished.
Where were you?
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