By Elliott Stark
“I am a redneck, I eat gas station nachos. Before that phone call, I didn’t even know what a feminist was… and I certainly wasn’t trying to piss any of them off,” says Bobby MacGrath, director of the Marlin Grander Prix. “We’ve just been down here, minding our own business – running a fishing tournament for three decades. Aside from a couple weather cancellations, the events have gone off without a hitch. Then this happened.”
Bobby MacGrath has run the Marlin Grander Prix for the past 30 years. While the tournament has made headlines for big fish weighed through the years, the event itself has never been a focal point of the international news media. That all changed in 2017. “Two days before the 2017 tournament, I get a phone call. In and of itself this is not an unusual scenario. It was a lady on the phone – said her name was Dr. Martha Jones. She said she was the director of some organization. We give lots of money to charity each year, so I figured she was after a charitable contribution from the tournament. Turns out she wasn’t.”
Dr. Martha Jones is the director of the International Female Empowerment Symposium, or IFES. Traditional feminist groups focus on such things as equality of payment for men and women and ending sexual and workplace harassment. IFES’ cause, however, goes far beyond the standard platform of feminism. Dr. Martha Jones’ objections to the Marlin Grander Prix had nothing to do with the Lady Angler division. The following excerpt is taken from a press release published by the International Femalem Empowerment Symposium: “IFES aims to bring about a new world order.
Our vision is for a world in which females – human or animal – are treated fairly, equally and justly. We aim to end discrimination against females of any species, human or otherwise. The Marlin Grander Prix awards prizes for the boat that kills the largest blue marlin. All large blue marlin are female – male blue marlin, in fact, do not even grow large enough to be killed in the tournament. Because the Marlin Grander Prix targets only large, FEMALE blue marlin the event discriminates against women. This is gender inequality that is morally wrong and socially irresponsible. The International Female Empowerment Symposium stands with our blue marlin sisters in opposition to this injustice. It must stop.”
“Dr. Jones was nice enough during our first conversation on the phone, but she insisted on coming by the tournament office at the marina. I thought that was a strange request for someone who wanted a piece of the charity purse, but I told her to come on by. What a mistake that was….” MacGrath says. “I should have called Sheriff Johnson right then.”
“The next morning at 9:30 sharp, a convoy of Subarus pulled into the parking lot. There must have been 45 of them. All of them were the same… black with super dark tints. You couldn’t see who was driving or how many ladies were inside,” the tournament director describes.
“On the road leading to the marina, they were driving single file. When they hit of the parking lot out front of the marina, they spread out into attack formation. They looked like a flock of pelicans flying in a vee. All the Subarus screeched to a halt, spreading out to block all access to the weigh station and the registration table.”
“When they finally stopped, a single car door opened. Out stepped Dr. Jones. She walked over to my office door and knocked three times. I opened it up, thinking she was from the Ronald McDonald House or some place. I reached out to shake her hand… that was another mistake. Her grip was like Hulk Hogan’s… she actually dislocated one of my knuckles.”
“After shaking her hand, she told me ‘Bobby, there will be no tournament this year. Times have changed!’ I was pretty surprised, I still thought she wanted charity money,” MacGrath explains. “As she said this, three yellow Priuses drove into the parking lot. Out jumped eight man-hippies. They were wearing leather sandals and those pants that are half jeans and half shorts. My office is downwind of where they parked… they smelled like lemon balm. It was weird.”
“I am not sure what they thought was going on, but the man-hippies jumped out of their cars and chained themselves to the palm trees that sit out front of the office. They were chanting something or other… Apparently they thought someone was trying to cut the palm trees down for lumber… and they were not gonna let it happen.”
“The Subarus and the Priuses blocked the whole parking lot. Nobody – not the anglers, the vendors or even the band could get anywhere near the registration table. All of a sudden, all of the cars started a synchronized honk attack. They were layin’ on it,” MacGrath says with a look of wild bewilderment in his eyes. “At first I thought they were just trying to annoy us into cancelling the tournament. But it turns out that all the honking was a signal. They were starting their sea attack. It was a blockade!”
“As soon as the cars stopped beeping, I heard a horn blast from what looked like a cruise ship. It was one of them boats that is normally chasing the Japanese whaling ships in the Antarctic. It was backing into the fuel dock at the marina. There were two lines stretched from its bow. Each ran to a sailboat – one to its left and the other to its right. The sailboats were full masted. Their sails had logos of the International Female Empowerment Symposium and a Marlin Grander Prix logo with a big red x on it. That’s when I knew they were serious…”
“If the boats and the lines blocking the marina were not bad enough, they also bombarded our radio communications. Someone on the antiwhaling ship had teevo’d all 13 seasons of The View. They somehow found out that the tournament runs on VHF channel 68. Next thing you know we had the audio of 159 episodes of The View playing back to back on Channel 68! How the hell are you supposed to have a tournament in conditions like that?!”
“What all came of it? You might guess. Long and short of it, for the first time in 33 years, there was no Marlin Grander Prix. All because a bunch of ladies thought we were unfairly discriminating against their blue marlin sisters. Times are a changing I guess… it’s a dismal tide.”