Left to right: Tom Smith, Ray Gresham, Bill Huntley and Sam Moody tell stories of the early days fishing the Tennessee River impoundments, the first bass tournaments, technology of the time and a number of friendly jabs at each other. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Last week we posted the first part in this series on three Tennessee River Legends, Bill Huntley, Ray Gresham and Tom Smith. Today we have Fish Tales – Florence, Alabama Part Two for you.

The event, hosted by the Florence, Alabama Chamber of Commerce at the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Center, was moderated by Sam Moody on 14 November 2014. Fish Tales, as the event was called. Was designed to give credit to three of the most influential anglers at the time when competitive bass fishing was in its infancy and listen to some long-forgotten stories of times past.

In this episode, Ray Gresham, Bill Huntley, and Tom Smith spend a lot of time trash talking each other all in the name of a good time. But amongst the trash talk you’ll see and feel the mutual respect they have for each other’s part in how they helped shape bass fishing to what it is today.

The video starts out with Tom accusing Ray of selling him a broken tackle box and then telling him to take it elsewhere to get it replaced. Then the discussion moves to Ray, Bill and moderator Sam Moody talking about the Quad-Cities Bass Club and how it was the fourth club to affiliate with B.A.S.S. as a Chapter. Bill lays claim to have been a past president and Ray begs to differ.

Tom, who owned one of the most renowned tackle shops in the region, tells the story of how he first met Bill. Anglers far and wide had been coming into his shop asking for Bumble Bee spinnerbaits, so Tom called Bill to get some. What Tom expected while driving to Bill’s “manufacturing facility” was a far cry from what he found himself driving up to when he arrived.

Tom and Bill talk about their first introductions to Ray Scott, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and Bassmaster Magazine. Each encounter filled with words both of them wish they could recount.

Through all the joking and the trash talk are stories of evading the Tennessee Highway Patrol, ringing goose necks with spinnerbaits, catching fish where they shouldn’t be, the pipeline spot that no one knew about, and unreliable wrist watches. Whether or not the stories are 100-percent accurate they give a good look back into the early days of the sport. More importantly they bring us all back to times when good ribbing and comradery didn’t offend anyone, more so it was a sign of respect.

I hope you like Part Two of this series. Next week we’ll have the final episode. We hope you join us.