If there were a Fireman of the Year Award for professional bass anglers, Juanita Robinson of Highlands certainly could claim it.
Robinson literally put out a fire while competing in a Women’s Bassmaster Tour event on Alabama’s Neely Henry Lake last weekend.
During the second day of competition, Robinson and co-angler Linda Owens of Brandon, Miss., spotted flames on a pier near where they were fishing. Robinson, who was in second place, stopped fishing and pulled her boat closer to investigate.
“The flames were a foot high, and I saw two bottles of lighter fluid within a few feet of a barbecue grill,” Robinson told tournament officials. “While she (Owens) held onto the pier, I got a bucket out of a compartment, dipped water and threw it on the fire.
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“We kept banging on the pier because there was a boathouse with living quarters, and we were afraid somebody was in there asleep. I could see a house way up high on a hill, but I thought no one could have seen the fire from there. No one came out, so I scooped up more water, got up on the pier and kept throwing water until the fire was out. It had burned a big hole in the pier.”
Robinson said she then called tournament director Deb Wilkinson and told her what she was doing. Tournament rules do not allow anglers to leave their boats for anything other than an emergency situation.
Wilkinson then called local officials who called Robinson on her cell phone. “I gave them my GPS coordinates,” Robinson said.
Despite her lost fishing time, Robinson finished in a tie for second with Lucy Mize of Ben Lomond, Ark.