Original Caption: Professional bass angler Melody Tennity makes fast tracks, or in this case wakes, to one of her favorite fishing holes on Honeoye Lake during a recent practice fishing session. She is gearing up for big tournaments later this year. August 1992, Democrat and Chronicle, staff photos by Burr Lewis

The history of bass fishing is filled with stories of hopes and dreams, often of aspiring anglers most of the angling world has long forgotten.  Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo was of one such angler, Melody Tennity.  A farm girl from New York, whose favorite color was blue, Tennity’s passion for bass angling began at a late age when she and her husband accompanied some friends on a fishing trip to Canada in 1989.

Her story was captured on the front page of the local newspaper’s outdoor column in 1992, the Democrat and Chronicle.

In the story, she described herself as “a jump-up-and-down, hugging kind of person. I’ll catch a fish and scream, hug my partner, pull on his shirt…Fishing is so much fun, and most of the guys make it to be so serious.”

At the time, Melody had competed in nine national Bass’N Gal tournaments.  Her best finish to date was 18th at Lake Seminole ($305).  She was also in a local bass club, the Bullseye Bassmasters, and was sitting second in points at the time of the news story.

The early 1990s was also when the ongoing “potty problem,” was still a hot issue.  Women wanted to compete on the national tour level with the guys, but most organizations wouldn’t allow it due to the dark cloud over the bathroom issue.  Melody stated that it was no big problem in her eyes.

“I respect them. I want them to respect me,” Tennity said.  “I take a can along and use it. Just turn your head, please. I’ll do the same for them.

“Eight hours together, if you have to go, you have to go.  That excuse that the men’s Bassmaster guys used to keep women out because they couldn’t relieve themselves was pretty bogus.”

Tennity also recalled some great stories from the woman’s trail, like the time she fished with Linda England.

“Somehow, she’d lost her pole in the water,” Tennity said.  “First thing I know she’s jumped in to retrieve it and is swimming back to the boat.

“I yelled at her, “What are you doin’?  You crazy?  There are alligators in here!”

“She just says, ‘That’s mah fish!’”

“I’ll be darned if she didn’t climb back in the boat, reel it in and land a five-pounder.”

She and her husband Frank, a serious angler in his own right, later acquired guide licenses, hosting clients in the New York area during summers, then heading south to the Orlando area to guide during the winter.  She recently passed away in late December of 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer at the age of 77.