The story of my Money (yes, it's a fishing story)

Kurt and his beloved Money Chug.Kurt and his beloved Money Chug.
I, and many of my closest friends, now know that lure as the Money Chug. We called her the Money Chug because she earned more than her share of checks on otherwise slow tournament days. In fact, for the past several years, Money has been reserved for tournament days only in an effort to prolong the magic. I have owned dozens of other Chug Bugs, but none of them got the job done like Money.

Maybe there's something unique about the exact cup shape of its chugging mouth. Maybe the rattle or the shape of the rattle chamber emits a slightly different frequency than other similar models. I don't think it's the color, because as the years have rolled on, most of the paint has been sanded off by countless bass and their abrasive lips. I think the most likely explanation is that I'm comfortable and confident when I throw that lure. Money and I have made a lot of great memories together, starting with that first fish.

Now it's 2013. The sun is rising on a brisk September tournament morning as I race down the river with my 11-year-old daughter, Megan, in the passenger seat. It's her first tournament. I flash back to the shore of that little pond where I stood with her mother 22 years ago. Back then, I doubt I could have pictured my life in 2013 but now that I'm here I wouldn't change a thing. I can't adequately describe the rush of nostalgia, excitement and pride I feel as I hop to the front deck, deploy the trolling motor and grab my trusty topwater rod. Everything about this moment seems so right – just me, my girl and of course, my Money Chug.

I quickly survey the conditions, the current, the eddies and the shadows, then pick the spot for my first cast. But I remember I will need to coach my rookie partner. I'm eager to give her my attention and delighted that I have hers. I describe the shape of the wing dam and explain where and how a predator will use this spot to their advantage. For the next several minutes, I'm casting but most of my attention is on Megan's presentation. Luckily, the kid's a natural and soon she's casting like an old pro.

Confident that she's found her stride, I turn my attention back to my trusty topwater bait. But something isn't right. I flick my wrist like I've done a thousand times over the years but, instead of the sharp gurgle and spray I know so well, Money responds with a flat sounding splash. Have I picked up a weed? I snap it again to clear anything that may be clinging to her hooks but there's that sound again. That's weird. I reel in quickly, and after a visual inspection I fire out to the edge of the current break once again. I twitch, and Money just slushes ahead. I twitch harder. Slush. What in the world?