The Goofiest Of All Fishing TripsThe Goofiest Of All Fishing Trips

There are a lot of places in this world where one can go to find solace, peace and tranquility while wetting a line for fish.

Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida is not the first place that comes to mind.

Nonetheless, right there beneath the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, amongst wide-eyed roller coaster riders, a stones throw from Tinkerbell's safety harness, exists one of the prime Largemouth Bass fishing waters you will find anywhere.

Remote? No.

Pristine? Hardly.

Filled with hungry fat Largemouth Bass....YES!!

I'm not really sure what compelled me to book a two hour Disney Bass fishing adventure.

I don't know if I was curious that possibly a rather large mouse might show up at the dock with a fishing vest full of sponsor patches,and a big wad of chew between his cheek and gum. Or, if mechanical alligators might raise up out of the water- jaws agape-while I reached down to pick up my bass by the lips. Or, if perhaps cannonballs might be landing dangerously close to the boat as we all sang yo-ho yo- ho a fisherman's life for me....

Or maybe, just maybe, after wandering around the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and MGM for four days, bouncing off of an endless stream of six year olds with attached parents in tow,eating space burgers,frontier burgers,Yeti burgers, and trying to figure out how to amuse myself in line for 60 minutes while waiting to have the POOH scared out of me.....maybe, just maybe I thought that I might just find a few hours away from the hustle,bustle and silent freakish stares of Chip and Dale.

I must admit, as we were making plans for a family trip to the mother of all amusement parks, I had spotted this fishing adventure on the Disney website. As my wife locked us in for five days of "Disney Magic", I writhed in agony wondering just how many princesses there must be if it takes five days to see them.My six year old daughter was obviously thrilled.

Being a card carrying member of the "I want to go fishing club", I figured this may be my only opportunity to sneak in some fishing on this trip. And if you have ever looked at a map of the Orlando area, you will see that this is an abundant area of lakes, not to mention short drives to the coastal areas and ocean fishing galore. In other words it was killing me, knowing how close to great fishing I was--but unless they had trout swimming along the waterways of Splash Mountain--I was never going to see any of them.

So, after the third day of posing for pictures with oversized rodents, dragons, and perky princesses, I called the Disney central reservation line for "active fun"-as if screaming and doing isometric hand grips on Expedition Everest, or ogling Pocahontas is not considered active fun!- and booked a bass fishing trip for the next morning. Evidently, the line and waiting period for the "largemouth bass ride" is not nearly as long as the wait for Peter Pan, because the nice girl (I think it may have been Cinderella) was able to get us a fishing trip out of the Contemporary Hotel Marina with no problem.

Didn't even have to get a FastPass!!

Best of all, we didn't have to get up early. We were scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

Like all Disney events and productions, great attention to detail and planning is done to insure the perfect family experience. That is why catch and release is the practice on Seven Seas lagoon and Bay lake, (the two primary fishing waters at Walt Disney World) and probably a big reason for the reliable fishery.

AND like all Disney adventures and productions, the perfect family experience has it's price.

$230.00 for two hours of fishing!

That's a lotta rubber worms.

In fairness, that is the rental of the boat and the boat can handle up to five fishermen(four if they are wearing mouse ears.) so really you technically can get it under fifty bucks a person.

AND like all Disney events-it was well worth the price to see the excited look on my daughters face when I told her we were gonna catch us " a messa bass".

Most of the guides showed up at the marina a few minutes early and looked like they had part time roles on The Animal Planet. The boats were spotless, fully equipped and ready to go. Since there were three of us and we had a "little one" on board, we were given a pontoon type boat rather than a bass boat.

I expected Steve the crocodile hunter to be our guide for the day,but as it turned out our guide was to be a lovely lady by the name of Holly.

Guess Goofy had the day off.

After quick introductions we were on board our Tracker and on our way.

Now, for those of you that have read any previous articles I have written, you will quickly realize that I was going fishing with three members of the "e-factor" estrogen fishing society. If you are not familiar with this secret society, let's just say that I had about as much of a chance of outfishing these ladies as getting a date with Ariel or Snow White.

As we motored our way out of the natural waters of Bay lake and into the man made Seven Seas lagoon, Holly, a veteran of over twenty years in the Disney corporation, gave us some interesting facts on her background with Disney World. Having spent the first part of her career with Disney in "guest relations" she had mainly handled "guest" complaints, so the fishing guide position she had held for the last eight years was a welcome relief. She had grown up in Louisiana fishing for bass, and she was well qualified for obviously one of the most coveted positions that the 70,000 or so folks on the Disney World payroll could have. Spending your day out on the water away from the crowds certainly seemed a better tour of duty, than trying to manipulate a pen with oversized paws inside a large fur coat in 90 degree weather.

But that's just me.

We motored on by the big ferry boat loaded with another group of guests ready for a d-day like assault on the Magic Kingdom, and pulled up to the shallows near an island. I knew I would have to catch my fish early on, before the "estrogen" effect would occur and I would be relegated to camera duty.

Even though catch and release is the practice on these waters, live bait is still the bait of choice. Being a steelhead and salmon fisherman from Oregon I was unfamiliar with the little "shiners" that they use down south to produce the big bass, but as if on cue, within a minute of tossing the little fellar into the drink I had my first largemouth on--and it was a nice one too!

I hoisted a chubby four pound bass onto the boat, and as I grabbed him by the "largemouth" I made sure he was real, and not some animatronic Disney bass that was about to break into a chorus of "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog".

Pretty soon Sara, my daughter, had her first bass on and mom was right behind her with her first bass.

Dang, the estrogen had kicked in early.

As promised, Disney had already delivered a great family experience and since most of the fish caught by my daughter had been crappie sized fish out of her Grandpa's pond, the look of excitement that Sara had on her face when she hoisted her first largemouth bass was well worth the price of admission.

We each caught several more bass with the biggest running close to five pounds.

Sara, like any six year old, quickly lost interest in the labor involved with catching fish, and turned her interest to the "shiners" swimming in the live well.

I guess you might say she took a shine to 'em!! HA!

Anyway, she became are unofficial "shiner" go-fer, and kept the little fish in shape, by chasing them around trying to catch them with her bare hands.

After a short dry spell, we headed off to other "pristine" waters. This spot happened to be at the ferry landing, where all the people line up for the d-day assault.Under the watchful eyes of hundreds of Disney patrons and a couple of Herons and Egrets, we went bass fishing. After landing another big chubby in front of the bored line sitters, they all let out a loud cheer and like the shy fella I am, I hoisted my trophy like I had just won Bassmaster's $10,000 first prize on ESPN.

Unfortunately, one of our released fish didn't fare to well and soon was floating belly up near the ferry boat. A Heron made a heroic effort to hoist the big fish from the waters, but the two pound fish was too much and he retired back to his front row seat on shore.

Although there is always going to be a certain amount of attrition, even when you are catching and releasing fish, I think the Disney folks would just as soon their bass went belly up away from the gates to Fantasyland, and we soon had a radio call from Holly's boss telling us to move from the docks-because it was too windy.

Seemed odd since there was only the faintest of breezes in the air.

We still felt bad, and certainly didn't want to be responsible for kids being permanently scarred for life, so we moved.

Not that Disney does anything to ever permanently scar kids!!??

It was just as well, because by now my wife was using her unfair estrogen advantage to outfish me two to one, which was even noticed by the ferry boat- line operator, who made it a point to walk over to our boat and tell us of his keen observation.

Darn estrogen.

By the time we motored our way back into Bay lake our "two hour cruise" was pretty much at an end. Of course there was still the matter of settling up on the bill, and receiving a nice complimentary subscription to a bass fishing magazine---which of course happens to be owned by Disney.....

As we left the boat and headed back into the perfect world of magical princesses, long lines, and the ever present gift shops, I couldn't help but think that I had just got off the best ride at Disney World.

Well-except for the Mad Tea Cups....

by AJ Klott
References and Bibliography

A.J. Klott Author, writer of fishing humor,and "fly tack" peddler.A.J. writes about the people,characters and modern day events that surround the fishing world. His first book is now out and being sold out of the back of a 1976 Opal Cadet.Coming to your town soon. If you need a laugh or a fun gift, visit his website at:

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