ANDERSON, S.C. -- When I was a kid, I was completely intrigued by magic.
My dad’s brother (my uncle, my godfather, my paisan) taught me a new card trick every time he came home from wherever it was he was staying at the time. He also had the uncanny ability to spot quarters that, unbeknownst to me, were tucked away inside my ears, and he’d pull a couple dollars’ worth out of there in a weekend.
One year, for a Christmas present, he bought me a magic trick set that included, as I recall, a top hat, a deck of cards, a few collapsible cups, a fuzzy ball and an honest to goodness magic wand that pulled the whole thing together.
It was 1980, and I was gonna’ be the next David Copperfield – and that was before he made the Statue of Liberty disappear, married a supermodel and put a few billion quarters in the bank.
Brock Reinkemeyer is casting a few spells of his own this week. The 27-year old carpenter from Lone Jack, Mo. paired with Joe Bass teammate Brad Jelinek to win the Bassmaster Team Championship on Lake Hartwell on Thursday. Their two-day total of 10 bass that weighed 38 pounds, 10 ounces won them a $20,000 cash prize from Nitro/Mercury, which without a doubt, is plenty enough coin to fill the ears of every kid in Lone jack for a few years.
Now, Reinkemeyer is hoping he can pull the rabbit from his hat again by winning the Classic Fish-Off that concludes here Saturday. He was one of six team championship anglers to advance to the fish-off, and after Day 1 – “Abracadabra!” he’s in first place again with a limit of bass that came in at 13-7 on Friday. He’s also one good day of fishing away from clinching a spot in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk when it’s held on Lake Guntersville and in Birmingham, Ala. in March.
Reinkemeyer isn’t using hocus pocus on his fellow anglers here at Hartwell, though he and Jelenik did boast that a “magic spot” on the water helped them win the team portion of this event two days ago.
By Friday, however, the pixie dust was gone and the magic spot didn’t produce a thing for Reinkemeyer. There were no quarters from ears, no rabbits from hats and definitely no bass on the line.
Reinkemeyer got crafty, though, and he zoomed to an area on Hartwell where he could fish docks. Lo and behold, one of the docks proved to be “magic” too, Reinkemeyer said, and he pounded it for three largemouths that carried his bag on Friday. The wizardry continued when he sacked a pair of spotted bass late in the day to bump him to the top of the leaderboard.
All the talk of magic spots and magic docks is in good humor, of course, but Reinkemeyer’s fishing is no joke. He’s hungry for a win in the fish-off and determined to not let adversity cloud his vision this week. A lesser angler might have ducked under his proverbial cloak and disappeared, given the constant rain that fell Friday, not to mention the 40-degree temperatures that chilled the bones of all six anglers competing in the Classic Fish-Off.
The weather is likely to be much more agreeable on Saturday, with forecasters calling for temperatures in the mid-50s and only a slight chance of rain through the weigh-in, which is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Eastern at Green Pond Landing.
The best bass anglers always seem to have a trick or two up their sleeves, not to mention a little luck on their side. And if Brock Reinkemeyer can conjure up those things on Saturday, he could be in store for the most magical day of his life.
Even David Copperfield would be proud.