Whizbang Red was the luckiest fisherman I ever encountered on a golf course in my life. I’ll tell you why.
Whiz was trying to retrieve a lost golf ball that he had sent to a watery grave when he hooked a seven and a half pound bass, and actually landed the thing, much to the chagrin of Rick Archer, our resident pro fisherman at MapCo out in West Texas.
Whiz wasn’t a bad guy, he was just awfully hard to be around, what with all his bitchin’ and crying. I think that Whiz would gripe if they were going to hang him with a new rope, or at least be opinionated enough about the whole mess that he would give you second thoughts about hanging him. You’d just want to go home and relax with a tall glass, rather than go through with the hanging.
And the man was an awful cheap golfer. He’d slice one out-of-bounds and then spend 15 or 20 minutes looking for the ball, cussin and slashing weeds and whatever greenery that was growing along the golf course. One thing, Whiz found a lot of golf balls no matter if they were beaten, scuffed and worn.
I was playing with Red that beautiful April morning, I had him about three holes down with but one hole to play on the front nine of Huber Golf course over near Borger, Texas. To say there were a few obstacles on the course would be an understatement. You may have to dodge a well-servicing crew working on one of the four oilwells on the course, or you could lose your ball to an armadillo family rustling around the sand dunes where they like to burrow.
Whiz and myself came to the ninth hole, a medium long-par four. It’s one of the three holes on the course in which water comes into play. The hole played easy if you could turn the ball over—there was a nice level place down by the water that we called the “sweet spot”. If you landed there with your tee-ball, you had an easy flip wedge shot to get home.
I hit a good tee-ball, and had maybe a 75 yard shot to the green and Whiz cut his ball out to the right and 140 yards over some big willow trees. He tightened up visibly on the shot and dumped his tee-shot, “ker-plunk,” right in the greenside pond that fronted the ninth hole.
I put my ball on the green and two putted for a routine par while Whiz went on one of his world famous cussing sprees. “Blankety-blank #&$!*#(#@#$%$#%%^^!!@$%$” This was why I hated to play with Whiz, he was an embarrassment to be with.
Whizbang was playing a fairly new orange ball of some kind, one that he had found on the eighth hole, when he had hooked his teeball wildly out-of-bounds. I didn’t know when he’d pay me the buck that I had coming, so I just said Adios and went home.
Early the next morning I had a game with a long-knocker by the name of Cryer. Longcryer was a lefty and was armed with a driver that had crippled more people than polio. We were both on the driving range warming up when the Frito-Lay panel truck that Whiz drove came clamoring up and parked right next to me and Cryer’s pick-ups. We had all had experience dealing with higher ups and we frequently hid our vehicles next to the honeysuckle vine hedges and the sunflowers over by where the clubhouse was separated from the clapboard building. This was where old men drank beer and wiled away the hours playing moon for 25 cents a game and 25 cents a hickey.
Whiz immediately started in on the lost ball: “That was no ordinary ball. It was a new Pro Staff—you can see that ball from anywhere on the course. Everyone is trying to buy one, you can’t find them just anywhere.”
“So what’s that got to do with that fishing equipment?’ asked Cryer, sensing another pigeon. I moved closer to add my two cents worth, since I’m not adverse to cutting someone up like a boarding house pie when it comes to a golf match, especially a lame like Whiz.
To say Whiz was not a fisherman, is like saying Mr. Ed is not a Kentucky Derby hopeful. Whiz said that he broke the “twine” twice while tying on the huge orange rapella lure onto the rod. Twine hasn’t been used in fishing since the invention of safety pins.
Orange ball, orange lure; a coincidence, who knows? They were both orange and that was good enough for Whiz.
Whiz stalked over to the ninth hole like a man on a mission with me and Cryer tagging along still hoping that Whiz would give up on trying to snag the ball and come play a little golf for a quarter a hole.
Whiz lined up the flag stick with the aforementioned oilwell, and started to make cast after cast, pulling out great gobs of moss each time.
On about the ninth cast the plug stopped dead in the water. “Shucks, (that’s about as strong a word that I can think of to use in a family publication), I’m hung up,” Whiz exclaimed.
Just about then, the drag started to screech and the line started to smoke as the fish headed for deeper water. Whiz, not knowing how to play a fish, just horsed that bass right out of the water.
Whiz wrestled the fish for awhile there on the ninth green with Cryer and myself not helping matters any by trying to get our hand on the fish.
It was a sure thing that no one at this Great Track that we called home had ever seen a fish like that come out of those waters.
By the time we got the bass hogtied and loaded, we drove the thing up to the hi-way to Big Tom Little’s feed store where we weighed, measured it and took a photo with a Polaroid for a keepsake. The fish weighed 7 and one half pounds.
Rick Archer, who had loaned Whiz the rod and reel that he caught the fish with, was so sick of Whiz’s good fortune, that he took a week off from the welding job he held. Archer fished the water hazard for a week and never got a nibble.
Whiz fishes all the time now. “I used to not like fishing, but now it’s my favorite sport,” he said.
Me and Longcryer lost a producer when Whiz traded vocations. He did go back to Huber Golf Club once more. He waded out and found the missing orange golf ball. It was about twenty feet from where he’d been fishing.