My grandfather, dad and brother thought it was big fun to go out to one of E.W.'s lakes in Mississippi to spend the day fishing.
Me? Not so much.
Inevitably, I would be dragged out of bed, drenched from head to toe with toxic mosquito spray, forced to wear some nasty ill-fitting clothing, driven out to the edges of the universe and dumped into a bass boat on a dark, muddy lake to cast worms into their fate. In Mississippi. In the Summer. Good times. Good Times.
One this particular day, the gar were swarming the shallow boat, flipping on their backs to display razor sharp rows of shiny teeth. The intimidation worked. I proceeded to whine about returning to civilization. E.W. cleverly proffered a solution to assuage my constant mewing. He suggested a contest between Michael and me. The first of us to catch a ten pound bass, would get twenty dollars.
Now, my grandfather stocked that lake himself every Spring. He knew that the waters were so thick with gar that no Bass, Crappy or Spot could ever dream of achieving such a wondrous girth. We, however, were fooled. It was game on!
Michael hit first, reeling in the largest snapping turtle I have ever seen. As my father realized what it was, he grabbed a paddle and shoved it from the boat. The giant jaws clamped down and left a bite mark as large as my head. He shot it with his pistol. The beast sank to the murky bottom. The gar disappeared for the unexpected feast. The fish started jumping.
I left my first worm dangling from a tree. The second cast landed by some snags. The hit was quick. It was so powerful that instead of reeling the fish to the boat, we were headed towards it. Suspecting that we had nailed the second Snapping Turtle of the day, E.W. moved to the front and assisted. The closer it got to the boat, the more excited my cries. It wasn't a turtle, gar or snake, but a TEN POUND BASS.
My father was so proud, he took me straight to the newspaper in the center of West Point. My other grandfather worked as a pressman there. The photographer took my picture. My giant Bass and I appeared the following day. E.W. reluctantly handed over a ten. The fish was slightly under ten pounds, he said, so I didn't make the bet.
It's amazing what a fish will bite if it gets hungry enough. For example:
These photos appeared in the Wichita Newspaper in 2004. A fisherman saw a ball bobbing erratically in the water. As he approached, he realized that it had a catfish attached to it. He stabbed the basketball with a fishing knife to free the poor creature.
Like E.W. that day, it seems that he had bitten off more than he could chew.
* I checked this story with www.snopes.com . These are not photoshopped. It is real.
Thanks, Vickie, for sharing these with me!*