“Night fishing? They want us to go night fishing?”, Nick Saban screams into the phone at Alabama AD Greg Byrne. “That’s not in my contract.”
“I’m afraid it is,” Byrne replied. “At least you get to fish on Lake Tuscaloosa and not that scary Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana this year. We don’t have Rougaroos around here. LSU fans will get a break, though. It will be too late for Gary Danielson to stay up and announce it.
“I thought bass fishing on Lake Tuscaloosa was terrible,” Saban growls.
“It is,” Byrne said. “But at least if Coach O brings one of those talented receivers with him, it will limit their catches.”
And so it is on. The ninth annual LSU vs. Alabama pregame fish off, brought to you exclusively on lakedarbonnelife.com .
Nick gets to the boat dock late and finds partner Tua Tagovailoa.
“Sorry I was late, Jalen, I mean Tua,” Nick said. “I had to go help a girl buy a dress on the internet. I’m just glad you are going to be able to fish. Everybody’s been wondering.”
Tua makes a long cast and his bait makes a loud splash, splash, splash noise, making Saban inquire about what lure he’s fishing.
“It’s an Injured Minnow, coach,” Tua says. “I’ve got it tied on with one of those new tightrope knots. I hope it holds if I get a big hit”.
Saban guides his boat around a big pier, looking for some sort of light on the bank so he can find his rod and reel. Up ahead, there’s a low, scary noise. But Saban feels relieved when he finds out it’s just Coach O, not a Rougaroo.
“Hey Coach Saban,” a voice comes from the back of O’s boat. “It’s me, Joe Burrow. One of my Clemson buddies, Travis Etienne, said to tell you hello.”
Silence set in over the night.
“Coach, ya’ll still over there?”, Joe asks a minute later. “Travis told me how to make Alabama cookies. You want to know how?”
“Aaaaiiiiiiight, how?” Saban answers.
“You put them in a big bowl and then beat them for three hours,” Joe says.
The loud whir of Saban’s trolling motor being put on extra high speed breaks the silence of the night and he trolls his Yeller Hammer Bamer boat down the shore about 100 yards.
Coach O makes a cast up by a short little stick on the bank, but then discovers it isn’t a stick. It’s Paul Finebaum.
“Joe, this is a pretty lake in the daytime, but we have the advantage at night,” said O. “We just need to keep the pressure on. Say, did you know it cost $7 million to build this lake. That’s about how much money these people around here pay Saban every year.”
They both have a good laugh. The stick just stands there.
Soon it is halftime and neither team has landed a fish. Saban gets on the headset to Bama Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian rushes over from the nearby One More Lounge and quietly slips Mack Jones into the back of the Bama boat as a sub for Tua, who had spent most of the half peeling pineapples and humming Hawaiian healing chants instead of fishing.
“Mack, just manage this second half, aaaiiigggght?” Saban asks.
“OK,” Jones says. “But hey, look coach. While we were at the dock an LSU fan snuck over into the boat and they put peanuts in your Coke. I guess it’s a good thing you never drink it anyway.”
The third period ends. Still no fish. Time is running out in the fourth when Saban sees Coach O slip over to the bank under a boat dock light. Somebody in a Saints shirt is bringing another fisherman to Coach O.
“Too bad we couldn’t get some AFLAC insurance to cover us if we don’t catch any fish, huh, coach,” Mack says. “Coach…? Hey, maybe all those shiny rings are scaring off the fish.”
“Pay attention, Mack. What’s he doing?” Saban asks Jones. “I think he’s substituting for Burrow. Who’s he got?”
About that time Saban sees the No. 6 jersey.
“Its wide receiver Terrace Marshall, Jr.,” Saban exclaims.
And bam. Within a minute, Marshall makes a huge catch. It’s a game-fish changer! Time runs out. Tigers win! Tigers win!
“Terrace, you got any more of those peanuts left”, Coach O asked, grinning from ear to ear.
“Yep, I brought some candy, too,” the ace catcher says. “I’ve got some fudge, but I had to leave the Divinity at home. But we’ll be okay”.
Saban grudgingly meets O at mid-dock with a look on his face like he just lost to ULM and shakes hands.
“OK coach, you beat me again at fishing. I just turned 68 and I’m getting too old for fishing and football, but hey, we’ll see you Saturday even though they scheduled the game during my nap time,” Saban says.
“You can count on it, O says. “We comin’.”
Geaux Tigers !!