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

Team Maz: Kurt and his daughter, MeganTeam Maz: Kurt and his daughter, Megan
Then, as my precious topwater nears the boat, I realize it's not floating, but instead hanging neutrally buoyant, 2 to 3 inches below the surface. I swing the bait to my free hand for inspection but I already know what this means. Everything looks fine but somewhere along one of her seams, or maybe near one of the hook hangers, the hard plastic has worn thin over time, and she's filling with water. Money has fooled her last bass.

I hesitate briefly but it's tournament day and my new partner is counting on me. I snip the 14-pound-test monofilament and reach for my topwater box. I select a black Chug Bug that has been producing pretty well for me on non-tournament days. With more reverence and sentimentality than I normally allow myself to feel, I gently position my battle-scarred, bullfrog Money Chug in an open compartment of the Plano box, take one last look and snap the lid shut.

The logical part of my brain knows that I'll still catch plenty of fish. I've worked for a long time to become an effective, efficient, rational angler, and I don't believe the magic of a special lure deserves the credit for my successes. But I do give that lure credit for being part of my passion for this activity. As much as I enjoy the act of fishing, I love the memories, the stories, the legacies and the lore that fishing helps me create. The Money Chug is forever part of MY story. Will I miss it? Of course. Will I forget it? Never. I'll never forget standing on the shore with my future wife the day that lure became part of my fishing story. Time has taught me that these stories and memories are the real magic part of fishing. That was the magic of the Money Chug.

A short while later, the water just ahead of the boat erupts as a school of bass violently attacks a helpless school of shad. I fire into the heart of the commotion and snap the rod tip twice causing my black Chug Bug to lunge and splash seductively. Suddenly she disappears in a violent, frothy spray as a giant largemouth swallows her whole. Megan smiles and congratulates me and a new story begins.

Kurt Mazurek is the author of the bass tournament fishing novel, Personal Best: Fishing and Life. It's available as an eBook, a paperback and an audiobook on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and on his website