Boating up some bass

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Looking over the calm waters of Fingers Lake in Lone Star Lakes Park Saturday afternoon, Steve Dunn noticed something moving.

It wasn’t a crappie, the water’s usual offering. It wasn’t a bass, which he was trying to bring in as a participant in the second annual March of Dimes Bass Fishing tournament. Nope, this was something else entirely.

Dunn dropped his line overboard, and the creature quickly went at it. Dunn pulled it onboard, and couldn’t believe his eyes.

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The aquatician was over five and a half feet long, and was covered with fins and seashells. It also had long light brown hair. Yep, he’d snared a mermaid.

Well, not really. In fact, she’d been with him in the boat all along, and she was actually ranger Cheryl Pisani, deep in character instead of water.

&uot;Bass fisherman don’t always have a very good sense of humor,&uot; Pisani laughed, &uot;so we decided to bring some levity to the situation.&uot;

Nearly 20 fishers hit the water to raise roughly $100 for the organization. For Matt Burr, it was an unusual event in a usual spot.

&uot;I always fish here, but this is the first time I’ve ever competed,&uot; said Burr, whose haul of 12.84 pounds of fish was second for the day, behind Alan Willis’ 14.33. &uot;It was for fun, but a tournament is always competitive. I always get a lot of bass and pike out here.&uot;

Mike Buetow’s 5.4 pound catch was the event’s heaviest.

&uot;I’m out here mostly for the charity,&uot; he said. &uot;I fish out here three or four times a week.&uot;

In March, ranger J.R. Rugg-iero’s daughter Ava became the tournament’s poster child – she was born six weeks premature.

&uot;I always knew about the March of Dimes,&uot; Ruggiero said, holding his healthy youngster, &uot;but now it affects me personally. It’s a wonderful organization, and this tournament is going to get bigger and bigger.&uot;