Zach’s Killer Catfish or The Idiot Fisherman

Great White Shark

I was reading a news story about a kid taking a catfish barb to the neck and it reminded me of the following experience. I know it has nothing to do with politics but while typing it up for the comments section I couldn’t stop laughing so I figured I’d share it here.

The shocking account you are about to read is sadly totally true.

My oldest son Zach was about 7 or 8 years old and he and I went out cat fishing one afternoon.

Almost immediately after his first cast Zach’s pole starts going crazy and he pulls in the biggest fish he’d ever caught up to that point. Pretty small for a cat, maybe 14 or 15 inches but his biggest and he did it all by himself with me coaching him all the way. The kid couldn’t have been more proud and I had to be beaming myself.

He’s crazy excited, I’m crazy excited, we’re both just beside ourselves, high fiving and cheering. It was awesome…until I grabbed the fish and proceeded to attempt to remove the hook from its mouth.

Somehow while I’m holding it, this thing finds a way to stick its dorsal fin straight up and I take a spike in the palm of my hand. It hurt like hell but I sucked it up and continued to try and remove the hook, a little gun shy now to hold his dorsal fin down with my palm.

The next thing you know this fish does a little twist and slips out of my hand but not before I take another hit from one of his side barbs in the back of my hand right at my first thumb knuckle. That one REALLY hurt and now I’m bleeding like a stuck pig from both wounds. In addition, the fish is now on the ground and squirming and flopping all around and getting dangerously close to the water’s edge.

At this point I’m borderline afraid to touch this thing again and my left hand is throbbing in pain and bleeding profusely. So I grab the fish by his tail just before he makes his way to the water and toss him up by a large rock.

Now I’m pissed and Zach is kind of freaking out from all the blood I’m oozing everywhere. Thinking I’ve got this thing right where I want him I walk over to the fish, put my heels together and spread my toes apart making a sort of “V” with my feet corralling this thing between my feet and the rock and wondering what the hell I’m going to do next because at this point I am in fact afraid to touch this stupid fish again.

Well, I didn’t have to wonder for long, as while I’m standing there regaining my composure and bleeding to death, this little S.O.B. flops yet again and sticks a barb right through my boot and into the very thin skin on the side of my foot.

I immediately jump back from the pain and utter shock of being attacked yet again, and hit the ground right next to another rock just a bit smaller than a bowling ball.

Now I’m absolutely crazed with rage and reeling in pain but I refuse to let this tiny fish kick my ass. How could I? My son is standing there watching the whole thing and probably wondering at this point who is going to come out on top in this battle between man and beast. Not to mention how he’s going to get home if his fish kills his dad.

At this point I’m not thinking at all. All I’m doing is bleeding, likely screaming some choice words, though due to blocking the moment out I can’t say for sure, and wanting this fish dead as I’ve NEVER wanted anything before.

So I jumped up, grabbed the rock, raised it over my head and smashed that fish’s head…and about half of its body.

The next thing I know I snap out of my pain induced rage and look at my son who is standing there utterly speechless, staring at what’s left of his catch.

I limped over to him, put my arm around him, careful not to get any blood on him and said, “Nice job son. That is one hell of a fish. Biggest one you’ve ever caught. But I think I picked a bad week to quit chewing”. I gave his line a little tug and the hook came right out of what was left of the fish’s head as if mocking me. I dropped the mangled half fish in our basket and we left all of our gear right there on the jetty as we drove to town so I could get a can of chew before returning and catching a few more far less deadly specimens.

When we walked into the house that night, me all bloody and limping and Zach still pretty proud of his mangled half fish, I explained to my wife what had happened and she thought it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. I on the other hand attempted to block the experience out and it’s taken me years to recover to the point where I’ll speak of it.

Zach is in college now and I’m happy to say he wasn’t too terribly scarred by this experience. As a matter of fact, he’s by far the best fisherman I personally know having surpassed any skill I might have had LONG ago.

Ishmale, The Old Man and the Sea, these guys have got nothing on me. For I have battled the meanest, most vicious man eating fish stick to have ever lived and somehow I survived to tell the tale. And Zach and I still laugh ourselves silly whenever we talk about his killer catfish.