Here Be Dragons—Bonefishing with Bob Knight, By Kevin Koenig (continued)
Photos by Billy Black
The rest of my day was spent on the docks, waiting for Knight to return. There was no word on whether he caught a fish. As the afternoon burned into the early evening, I went upstairs to the picturesque deck attached to the bar, which overlooks the Bimini channel. A PR man for our hotel and one of Knight’s handlers huddled nervously at a high table, glancing over their shoulders from time to time, clearly very anxious about the old man’s return. I pulled up a chair. Scuttlebutt was that Knight hadn’t caught a fish. He had a bone on the line, but one of those knots he had been so worried about, well — it apparently had slipped. Eek. The fish swam free. Allow me to surmise the general sentiment at the table: Would Coach be pissed off? Of course he’d be pissed off! Three days fishing in the hot sun and no fish? Not to mention the long flight. This is bad. This is so bad.
Five o’clock rolled around a bit early, as it does in the Bahamas, and the waiter came by to take our drink orders. The handler abstained, clearly stoning himself for the bad things to come. The PR man ordered a piña colada, choosing to stone himself in a different way. I ordered a Kalik. Knight’s boat came in shortly, and after showering, he came to the bar to join us — ambling slowly, head down, hands in his pockets. We watched in anticipatory silence as he made his approach. Then he looked up and sternly surveyed the table. When he saw the piña colada his eyes lit up. “Oh a piña colada! That looks good!” he crowed. “Miss,” he said, lightly reaching for one of the passing waitresses, “I would like a piña colada, please.”
Havlicek and Apte joined us in the meantime, each ordering beers. With the ice broken a bit, the PR man ventured a hopeful question. “So uh, Bob, no fish, but did you have fun, anyway?” Knight let the question hang there for a moment. Then he leaned forward and took a deep sip from the frosty concoction in front of him. Finally he looked up. “Of course I did! Hell if you can’t have fun fishing without catching any fish, you just can’t have any fun, period.”
Then he took another long sip and leaned back in his chair with a contented sigh. “Hey, have I told you guys about the time me and Ted Williams were trout fishing the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia and we were crammed in this little, single-engine airplane and Ted, he turns to me and says …” Soon the whole table was laughing.
Bob Knight didn’t smirk much that evening. But he did smile.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Anglers Journal, available here ▶