On Sunday, Aug. 14, B.A.S.S. member Mike McCoy was fishing on Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, practicing for the Aug. 25-27 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open. It was the first Bassmaster tournament he’d entered as a pro.
About two hours’ drive away in Mentor, Ohio, a storm pounded his split-level home. Hail ripped a hole in the roof. Rain poured through the hole; three inches of rain fell in less than one hour. Unseen, water seeped through walls and crept under flooring.
The first sign of trouble was when McCoy’s wife, at home that Sunday, stepped on the downstairs carpet.
Water welled up around her foot. As the storm raged, the water rose to above her ankles. She frantically tried to move everything that was downstairs to the upstairs level. She called for help from her family nearby, and she called her husband.
“I came home to devastation,” McCoy said.
He and his wife had purchased the house only two weeks before the storm. They were in the middle of painting walls, unpacking and settling in. Now their spare time is spent dealing with insurance matters and taking up drenched carpet, scraping up sodden tiles, pulling up subflooring and positioning huge fans in hopes the walls will dry.
Meanwhile, McCoy, a 42-year-old Florida native who was a Marine until 2004, has been reporting in at his relatively new job as a personnel recruiter for light industry. Up until last weekend he still had hopes for his debut as a fishing “pro,” but he finally decided something had to give. He withdrew from the Northern Open.
“I was going to make the step up to pro in this tournament, then fish all three Northern Opens next year,” said McCoy, who has competed, mostly as a co-angler, on and off since 2004.
It wasn’t meant to be this year,” he said. “I’ll get back to it.”