Back to Lost Forest… *sigh*

Love the fact that they killed the fatted Chicken in honor of Mark and Rusty’s return!  And also pulled out the “small portion green glob food stuff” for everyone!  Andy is sitting in rapt attention wondering what all the hubbub is about… “hmm. Large, angular man and smaller version of same return to pack.  Need to make sure I am not stuck with the old man with Lockjaw and the female again…”


But really, what could be more perfect?  Saturday prediction:  Mark takes walk with Cherry and explains (again) that travel is “part of his job…”


Meanwhile, back at Bluegill’s house…‏

…preparations are being made to return to Lost Forest!  Rusty is checking boundaries…  in the spirit of the age-old maxim “what happens at fishing camp stays at fishing camp…”

“Can I tell Cherry and Doc that I was snooping around in other people’s private property and got myself in a real pickle as a result?”  “Sure, Rusty, as long as you help me maintain my mystique as ‘the one who time and again saves other peoples’ bacon…’  and deflect any thoughts or notions that I basically ignored you for hours at a time and allowed you to get into harm’s way…”

And Mark, I think you are giving Rusty a bit too much credit to suggest that he purposely “dropped his camera…”


But with another mystery solved, all is right in the Trail-verse.  We can now breathe easy as life returns to normal… But oh, wait… a deadline looms for Mark, assuming he actually turns in any of the articles that have been assigned to him…

The evil “Rusty will never actually fish” theme continues!‏

Looks like Bluegill’s hat has settled down and returned to base… 04032013 hat  But now what of the future?  What of Rusty’s continued desire to wet a lure and land a lunker?  For students of the Trail milieu, we know full well that this was but another close call in a series of plots that begin with Rusty so excited and the prospect of “going fishing” he could pee, only to be denied again the chance to engage is said activity… Sort of like Lucy Van Pelt holding the football for Charlie Brown only to have her snatch it away as he drives his kicking leg forward, with Charlie Brown ending up on the ground, cloud of dust and a resounding “whump!” Yet he returns… no wiser for his disappointment.


Mark will return to see Bluegill only if Editor Bill Ellis sends him, so Rusty and Bluegill, don’t get your hopes up!  Now it’s time to return to Lost Forest to kiss the dog, the wife, recount lusty tales of farmed fish, light up lures and ambition gone bad…  No sign of Bassy or Catfish…  no headlines… no future scenes of Rusty being forced to testify for the prosecution at his own kidnapping trial… No public service message with Rusty’s face on a milk Carton… “Have you seen this boy?? He likes to fish…”

Well. That was Fast!‏

How exactly do “Tournament Officials examine” bass?  Is there a mobile lab on site?  Gene sequencing in a trailer?  One would think that a sample would have to go off to a heralded state college for such work… And what, exactly, marks a fish as having been “farm raised?”  Evidence of corn-cob pipe and overalls?


I love the sequence of expressions on Bluegill’s face… but wonder about the hair on the tournament official- it goes from combed back to tight afro in a wink, sort of a Tom Jones look…  And Bluegill’s hat is at least as happy as he is.  Rich, though?  Perhaps not.  Reminds me of the classic, “Norton, we’ll be millionaires!” from Jackie Gleason days… and good for Elrod to play this out, and not cut immediately back to Lost Forest for another round of sad, weepy, unfulfilled Cherry.  I can stand a few more days before Mark dashes her hope against the rocks of experience…

And where the heck is RUSTY?  Once again, the lad has managed to stay out of the frame-shot…  I worry about him…

Legal and Safe?‏

Just how many instances in the history of Bass Fishin’ can compare to two guys hatching and executing a diabolical plan to build an empire on a foundation of sand- one that only awaits the keen eye of a nature writer before all is revealed??  But seriously, once again we are focused on the small potatoes of catching more fish than anyone else- what of the abducting and holding against his will one Rusty Trail, the ultimate pawn in this whole story…


“We didn’t know Rod was cheating…”  Of course you didn’t, since you never got out of that cushy zero-gravity chair or out from under your “Tournament Official” shelter to see what was really going on… And really, what’s to become of Rod and Catfish? Do they take the offensive and try to rescue their now threatened empire?  Think of all the jobs Mark just cost in terms of Chinese labor, now that the “Rod Bassy Killer®” is no longer a force on the market…  Never mind the mortgage on the fancy co-op in the city… Rod will surely have to move to less opulent digs…

Yes, Mark, guys like Rod are the “exception…” and without you, they would continue to run rough-shod over the trusting landscape.  Well done!

Wrappin’ it Up! With a Bow!‏

No waiting ‘til Monday!  How considerate of Mr. Elrod…

You know, without pictures, if one just had the dialogue, this gets even funnier… “Talk, Catfish!”  “Gurgle, glug, glug…” And apparently, the helicopter being employed in the take-down is of the stealth variety…  making only a whisper of  sound over which Mark can be heard to deal the verbal death knell to Ol’ Rod Bassy… “Your fishing days are OVER!”  Ha!  And Rod just stands there like a statue, the errors of his crooked life racing through his mind…


The fact that Rusty has been tied up and kept in the same position for well on 48 hours, the poor lad by now must have lost all feeling in his hands and his back side…  but then one gets the feeling that he likes it that way…  And Mark, oh Mark, thy Trail be done!  With your hair all mussed up , you almost look human.  What’s that again, Rusty? “MMMPHH!” And Really Mark? Does Cherry REALLY need to know what went down when Rusty was in your charge?  Stay tuned everyone!

Carl Lewis? Usain Bolt? They got nothin’ on me!‏

“Run,  Run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Catfish man!”

Ha!  Catfish is running the 200 meter high hurdles, wearing fins!  Little fins, to be sure, but fins nonetheless…  I really wanted to see an underwater chase and struggle, but alas, it wasn’t to be.  Mark hasn’t made a good open-field tackle in months!  That must feel really good!

And Rod’s posture is great!  You can almost see the look on his face!


And a helicopter?? That wasn’t part of the plan!  Whose side do we think it’s on?  Could be that Rod Bassy is being supported by Big Business, and they certainly won’t cotton to any meddling by a Nature Writer… Maybe this conglomerate is holding Rod Bassy’s family hostage, forcing him to go out and win tournament after tournament through these nefarious means, lest they do certain bodily harm to his precious wife and fair-haired children… Or it could be that Bluegill finally came to his senses and called in the real authorities- the kind that actually care if another human being is abducted and being held against his will…

Oh, Justice be done!!‏

What would we ever do, if in one of these protracted stories, Mark did not prevail?  What would that say about the order of things, the natural laws that we have come to rely upon? That Ice floats… rocks sink, and Thy Trail be Done!!


I am laughing at Catfish’s reaction- not the usual “What the ___?” but rather “Trail?”  As if he knew in his heart that the gig was up, that Mark was on the trail, and that it was only a matter of time before this whole “Rod Bassy Light up Lure” sham would be brought to an ignominious end!  Good thing Mark ditched his PFD… the kind that inflates upon contact with Water- otherwise he wouldn’t be descending to make sure Catfish meet his fate!

glug, glug…‏

Again, the plausibility of this entire scheme is being called into question…  the logistics alone are daunting- I mean where in the H*ll does Catfish keep these lunker bass?  And when they are hooked onto Rod’s line, do they show any signs of life?  We see only one bass in the second panel- does Catfish have a holding pen off camera?  At least we are seeing some bubbles coming off the respirator…  Clearly I am over-thinking this…


Don’t you love Mark’s expression in the first panel?  “Uh, OK, if you say so, Rod… but really, I am on to you.”  Does Mark dive in and tackle Catfish, tearing off his mask and breather?  Is it to be fisticuffs in the water? Sort of like when my mother tried to spank me in the tub? OOPS, TMI…  Wait and see!!

It’s only a matter of time now…

Sort of like watching the movie Argo or the Spirit of St Louis…  You KNOW how this is going to end, but the tension still mounts!!  And the thought balloons!  Amazing!  Mark is managing to hold dear his thoughts… his plan of attack!  “Heh, heh… this is a deep spot… better use my LIGHT UP LURE®…” Ol’ Rod thinks he’s so smart.  Little does he know that Mark is on the <ahem> Trail…


Still I ask, though, whither the bubbles?  A Scuba rig lets off scads of ‘em, and there’s nary a blip… I am picturing Catfish underwater, though, with a net-bag full of bass waiting to find the LIGHT UP LURE®…” This is so preposterous as to be amusing…  Let’s see, it’s only Tuesday.  We should have this wrapped up by Saturday, don’t you think?