Playing in the big league

Apparently, these days you can make serious money doing almost anything – especially things that have nothing to do with solving world hunger, avoiding global nuclear war, or talking some sense into the US of A. Case in point: I have just discovered the world of Major League Fishing. MLF (as those in the know like to call it) is a real thing. A thing that you can perhaps win millions of dollars doing if you are a man, a fisherman, a fisherman in the U.S., and in particular, a bass fisherman.

Much like the major league baseball championship is called the ‘World’ series (and by the way, the story that it’s because a newspaper called ‘The World’ sponsored the playoffs back in the day is not true), there is in fact a World Championship for bass fishing, held of course in the centre of the world and universe otherwise known as the U.S.

I would not know this if I hadn’t happened to be in Natchez, Mississippi a week ago. Leaving aside the long story for being in the lower Mississippi river valley in October, I was staying in one of the fine accommodation options in Natchez, the Magnolia Bluffs Hotel and Casino. Luckily, the casino was not actually in the hotel but down by the river. But that is yet another story. Unluckily, this was the official hotel of the MLF elimination round competition for the prestigious 2018 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup (I swear I am not making this up!).

When you are a MLF guy, you have serious gear. It appears you haul your (immaculate and heavily logo encrusted) boat around from place to place via your (equally immaculate and also heavily logo encrusted) Ford F750 truck. Or probably, you have peeps that drive the boat to the next competition location and you show up at your leisure. While the ‘anglers’ (which is apparently what you call fancy fishermen) are catching their private planes to obscure places in Mississippi, their crew sets up a massive tailgate (or tailboat?) party in the back lot of the local hotel. I am pretty sure that in between Busch beers (official beer sponsor) they talked about the ones that got away. And probably about whose gear is bigger and better. The saving grace is that the bread winners had to be up by the crack of dawn to get to the start of the derby so the rowdiness was kept to a minimum.

One advantage I can see of MLF versus other ‘MLs’ (like for instance hockey, basketball or baseball) is that your ‘uniform’ pretty much consists of a baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt (all appropriately MLF branded). No need for bespoke suits for travel days or major bling or (I imagine) trophy wives, but maybe their definition of trophy wife might be a little different. Like for example, that she can gut a fish with her eyes closed and is always happy when you bring home a new trophy (along with your mega dollars) from the MLF competition.

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