PINTLALA, Ala. (AP) _ President-elect Bush’s bass fishing excursion today takes him to a crossroads community that once played host to another vice president - Aaron Burr.
Bush’s itinerary calls for about four hours of fishing with prominent Alabama sportsman Ray Scott, whose 55-acre private lake is set in rolling countryside about 15 miles south of Montgomery.
″We just want to get in some fishing,″ said Scott, who became a friend, political ally and infrequent fishing partner of Bush in 1978. ″His fishing is so token, he doesn’t have a chance to get at it much.″
Scott, who founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society two decades ago and sold the publishing enterprise for $15 million in 1986, is an outspoken conservationist who predicts Bush will rival Teddy Roosevelt in supporting America’s outdoors.
″He feels we’ve spent enough money on research ... and it’s time for action,″ said Scott in an interview. ″He’ll be reasonable but firm″ in protecting the environment.
Scott, who got a Thanksgiving Day call from Bush to arrange the bass fishing outing, has brought attention to a farm community that is composed mainly of a small elementary school, a library, a fire station and Mosley’s store and service station at the junction of U.S. 31 and Federal Road.
Scott, who also has a whitetail deer research program on his land, enjoys talking about the legends of Pintlala, including visits made by White House figures prior to Bush.
He said the old Federal Road that crossed through Pintlala - a paved portion of which now runs in front of Scott’s gate - was the route taken by Gen. Andrew Jackson on his way to New Orleans for the battle of 1812. Scott and historians also say Burr, the vice president who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, paid an unplanned visit to Pintlala in 1807.
Burr was was captured in southwest Alabama on treason charges in Februrary 1807 and was brought up the Federal Road. Scott said Burr spent one night at Manac’s Tavern, which was located at a site about a quarter-mile from Scott’s property at Pintlala.
″Pintlala is a Creek Indian word that means ‘fish swamp.’ It once was a heavy Creek settlement,″ said Scott. ″Manac’s Tavern was owned by Sam Manac, a Creek with large landholdings.... Manac’s son, David, was the first Indian ever to graduate from West Point.″
The news media descended on Mosley’s store and service station in anticipation of Bush’s visit.
″It’s been a three-ring circus around here,″ said Mary Meadows as she prepared hot dogs for the lunch crowd Wednesday. Scott said Secret Service agents had checked out ″every squirrel nest and deer stand″ on his property.
The only overt indication that the president-elect was on his way was a sign outside the Pintlala Baptist Church. It read: ″Welcome President Bush. Godspeed and Good Fishing.″
Scott, who remains as a figurehead of the B.A.S.S. operation, plays host at its fishing tournaments, some of which are carried on cable television.
Scott said he met Bush in Montgomery about 10 years ago and was asked to manage Bush’s 1980 campaign in Alabama. ″I’m not sure his pickin’ was too good, otherwise he wouldn’t have picked me,″ said Scott, recalling their loss to Ronald Reagan in the state’s primary.
″But I’m a good salesman. That’s about all politics is anyway,″ he said. ″We just always clicked.″