The Striped Bass Fishing Competition

Sep 18, 2006

RAY: The puzzler and I go to a little seaside town for vacation each summer.

My wife comes along. She's not happy about it, but that's the way it is.

Every year, there's a bass fishing competition. Striped bass. You know-- big fish with stripes on them.

Here's the deal. The contest lasts for five days and teams can consist of two people, or you can go it alone if you want. Every day, you go fishing and at the end of the five days the team that's caught the most fish, wins the contest.

This year's contest, which lasted the traditional five days, was won by a team that caught 30 fish. And here's the interesting thing, every day, they caught three more fish than they had the previous day.

The question is, how many fish did they catch on the last day?
RAY: They caught no fish on the first day, and that's what throws people off.

Then, on day two they caught three, and then six, and then nine, and then 12. So they caught 12 fish in the last day, if you add up 12 and nine and six and three, it adds up to 30.

TOM: See what I've been playing with all this time is --

RAY: You've been playing with nothing. You didn't remember the puzzler until eight seconds ago.

TOM: No, no, I've been wondering, why would you want to have only one person instead of two? Can't two people catch twice as many fish as one?

RAY: That was just obfuscation and declarification. You could solve this algebraically, by the way, by saying, " X equals the number of fish caught the first day, plus X plus three is the next day, and X plus six, and so on…. Equals 30. You come up with five X equals the zero.

Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is Stewart Portner from Coral Springs, Florida, and for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Stewart will get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get our new CD, 'Once Upon A Car Fire, The Greatest Car Talk Stories Ever Told.'

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