UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. — At the beginning of each episode of The Twilight Zone, series creator Rod Serling would warn viewers that they were entering a different realm: “You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop ... the Twilight Zone!”
The A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite Series event on Cayuga Lake, Aug. 21-24, promises to be a lot like that. It’s the penultimate stop in the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season, and the otherworldly connection between this year’s competition and the lake are too great to ignore.
Here are the Top 10 reasons why the tournament might — just might — play out like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
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(10) Cayuga is one of 11 “Finger Lakes” in New York State. From an aerial view, the Finger Lakes look as though an extraterrestrial is clawing his way south.
(9) Though Seneca Lake is the largest of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga is the longest at 38.1 miles and covers about 42,000 surface acres. It’s also the second deepest (again, behind Seneca) at 435 feet — much of which is actually below sea level, where who knows what may lurk!
(8) If you think Twilight Zone creator Serling had no connection to bass fishing, think again. He narrated Glen Lau’s classic bass documentary, Bigmouth, in 1974.
(7) Cayuga and Seneca lakes are the site of an unexplained phenomenon known as “the Guns of Seneca.” People in the area occasionally hear mysterious canon-like booms. Some attribute them to devices designed to scare birds away from crops. Others say they are the sound made when gas from decaying vegetation escapes from the deep lake bottom and breaks the water’s surface. Ultimately, no one really knows.
(6) The tournament is scheduled to end on Aug. 24 — B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott’s 81st birthday, and it is the 81st tournament in Elite Series history.
(5) Serling’s production company was “Cayuga Productions.”
(4) Frontenac Island on Cayuga Lake is one of just two islands on the Finger Lakes and the only island on Cayuga. It’s also the setting of The Carter Girls and the Battle of Frontenac Island, a 2012 novel by Mike LaMontagne. In it, the protagonists are led to a mysterious city full of mythological creatures where they find themselves imprisoned and sentenced to death simply for being human. Hopefully, our Elite anglers can avoid such a fate.
(3) Coming into this event, Kevin VanDam is on the outside looking in as far as qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic is concerned. The seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year and four-time Classic champ is 42nd in AOY points and could miss qualifying for the Classic for the first time in 24 years. Where else but The Twilight Zone could KVD miss the Classic?
(2) And KVD isn’t the only one who needs a good finish at Cayuga. Thirty-two-time Classic qualifier and four-time Classic champ Rick Clunn is currently 52nd in AOY points. The last time that neither VanDam nor Clunn was in the Classic was 1973 — the year Serling’s last television series, Night Gallery, was canceled.(1) Serling’s connection to Cayuga Lake was very real. He owned a summer home on the lake, and his family often vacationed there. He died in 1975 and is buried in Lake View Cemetery in Interlaken, N.Y. The lake that you can see from Lake View Cemetery is — you guessed it — Cayuga.