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Those good ol' boys on the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society circuit surprised both themselves and local folks when they held a tournament last month, their first ever in the Northeast, on the St. Lawrence River. According to popular belief, the best largemouth-bass fishing is down in Dixie, but the 150 competing anglers (including 41 New Yorkers who were there mostly to soak up pro fishing techniques with spinnerbaits and supersoft plastic worms) caught 3,446 pounds of bass in the Thousand Islands area.
That is about twice the poundage fishermen caught this year in each of the B.A.S.S. tournaments on the St. Johns River in Florida, Greers Ferry in Arkansas and Kentucky Lake. The St. Lawrence catch was topped by the 5,816 pounds hauled in from Toledo Bend Reservoir in Texas and Louisiana, ranked by many as the best bass lake in the U.S., but there were 250 fishermen at Toledo Bend who could take up to 10 bass a day, while the daily limit on the St. Lawrence is only six. "I've fished all over this country and in 122 bass tournaments," said Emmett Chiles of Joiner, Ark., who finished 11th with 46 pounds, 13 ounces, enough to win most tournaments, "and I've never seen anything like the bass fishing here in the St. Lawrence River."
The catches stunned guides, resort owners and officials of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "Honestly, we had no earthly idea that this type of largemouth-bass fishing existed in these waters," said Bruce Shupp, a department official. Too bad the department hadn't. Maybe it would have tried to prevent the mercury, mirex and PCB contamination that makes the St. Lawrence fish unsafe for people to eat.
In an effort to attract more readers to the weekly parish bulletin, Father J. Morgan Kelly, the pastor of St. Bartholomew's Roman Catholic Church in East Brunswick, N.J., recently started a one-question sports quiz, with the answer to be given in each following week's issue.
At 2:30 one morning, Father Gervase Walters, the associate pastor who was on duty at the rectory, got a phone call from a man asking the answer to the question: "Among the leading strikeout pitchers for one season who has the best strike-out-per-game record?" Father Walters replied, "Come to church on Sunday and you will learn the answer."
The man did—Nolan Ryan, 383 strikeouts in 326 innings in 1973.
Hunters and fishermen, check your equipment, inspect your library, rummage through your attic. Some of that stuff may be worth a bundle, according to Allan J. Liu of Amawalk, N.Y. Liu, who edited the American Sporting Collector's Handbook, published last year, is now in the business of selling sporting memorabilia and artifacts, the collecting of which, he notes in his first catalog, "has been growing by leaps and bounds the last few years." So have the prices.
Liu offers seven shorebird decoys by Harry Shourds, who died in 1920, for $15,000. A knife, a skinner lock-back folder, made by H. H. Frank last year, but of "truly museum quality," commands $1,450.