Paradise Lake, near Kissimmee, Florida, is hosting a Professional Bass Association contest. Local bait-shop owner and former amateur champ, Bill Dugan, is in deep trouble: the bank wants $15,000 for the shop's mortgage, he doesn't tell his wife who's angry when she finds out, and his wealthy blow-hard father-in-law wants Bill to work for him. The tournament favorite is Hot Rod Johnson, a crowd-pleaser and ESPN darling who'll do anything to win. Bill's son Scott thinks Hot Rod is cool, Hot Rod opens a huge store close to Bill's, his ne'er-do-well pals are ready to desert him, and Bill may lose it all. His one hope is to enter the contest and win the prize. Time to fish or cut bait.