Daily Limit: Billy Bass Christmas hookup

Just in time for Christmas, the makers of the original Big Mouth Billy Bass have come out with a new one that should create some functional holiday household fun.

The singing fish trophy mount was certainly a novelty when first introduced in 1999. When a passersby activated its motion sensor, Billy’s head would bend off the wall and its tail flip as it sang ditties like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and “Take Me to the River.” It was shockingly comic.

The twist on the latest and greatest version from Gemmy Industries is that the Billy Bass can be hooked up to Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa. Users can then skip Alexa and give the fish voice commands to other control interconnected devices, sort of a largemouth home automation system.

Depending on your crowd, you can annoy or crack everyone up by having it sing “All About The Bass,” even though it’d be funnier if you could get it to pronounce the last word like the fish. Yet besides asking for music playback, owners can request Billy Bass to perform a number of tasks.

“Billy, give me the weather report.”

“Billy, what’s the fishing report.”

“Billy, add tartar sauce to shopping list.”

You could also set an alarm to go fishing, order fishing products, etc., just tons of stuff.

“This is not your father’s Big Mouth Billy Bass,” said Steve Harris, Gemmy vice president of product development.

You can get a new Billy Bass at Amazon for $40, but make sure it has the official “Alexa Gadget” certification.

Has it really been 20 years?

The idea of the original animatronic singing prop came from Gemmy vice president Joe Pellettieri in 1998 after he visited a – wait for it, yeah you guessed it – Bass Pro Shop. Sales began on Jan. 1, 1999, and were brisk for the next few years.

They were a boon for Al Green, who said he received more royalties from Billy singing “Take Me To The River” than any other recording of the song.

The product line expanded to Travis the Rainbow Trout, Cool Catfish and Rocky Lobster, and the concept even spilled over to hunting with Buck the Animated Trophy. There was even a talking bear head.

Alas, the novelty wore off on many, as batteries were pulled from many Big Mouth Billy Bass after a while and others were banished to the basement then yard sales and donation centers.

There is one place where the kitschy items are more than welcome – they actually fill the walls. Heck, bring one in to any of the dozen Flying Fish restaurants, which range from Houston to Memphis, and they’ll serve you a free meal of catfish as they add to their decor.

That’ll get you singing.

‘Now that’s an Aussie bass’

Say that in your best Crocodile Dundee, because this Australian bass landed by Daniel McCoy might just be the biggest ever submitted to the International Game Fish Assocation for world record consideration.

McCoy caught and released this 9-pound, 12-ounce Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) while fishing Lake Somerset located in Queensland, Australia, in August.

This is what our Australia B.A.S.S. Nation anglers vie for in their “bass” events. There are a few similarities to largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) pursued in the United States. Using 6-pound line, McCoy played this beast for 15 minutes, and like many American tournament anglers, didn’t divulge his lure to the IGFA.

If the IGFA approves McCoy’s fish, meaning they verify his tackle and legality of the fish, it would be the largest Australian bass ever caught, therefore qualifying it for the All-Tackle record, which stands at 8-4.

Honor to speak with Ray Scott

The Daily Limit was pleasantly surprised when Ray Scott picked up the phone, and then he gave a great interview on the passing of longtime friend President George H.W. Bush.

“To know George Herbert Walker Bush, it was quite an honor,” said Scott, who then offered up what might be the quote of the year. “He was never too busy – I could call him in the middle of a war, and he’d call me back.”

Scott was among the many who paid respects to President Bush this week. Footage of Kansas Sen. Bob Dole spoke volumes. Dole, 95, needed help rising from his wheelchair, and he then saluted Bush’s casket in the Capital rotunda.  

That’s the type of respect these formal rivals of The Greatest Generation held for one another, and it would be wise if our society would return to such civility.

Scott was told on the phone that he fit right in with men like Bush. Maybe that’s why they became friends. Yet Scott was magnanimous when asked to put his tremendous impact on the bass fishing world into perspective for the 50th anniversary of B.A.S.S.

“It was really an honor,” he said. “I just feel very fortunate and blessed to be involved with B.A.S.S. It was just a labor of love.”