You can#039;t cook the fish you can#039;t catch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2003

I'll admit I'm a bit skeptical about "fish tales." Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I heard my share and even took part in retelling a few.

Since then I've seen first-hand the state record bass,

caught at a nearby state park many years ago. "Look, I can put my whole fist in his mouth," the proud fisherman said.

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I laughed aloud as I read the story about the fisherman whose bare foot got tangled in the fishing line and actually helped him land his fish.

And, I was there when my son caught his first fish – a catfish – at the ponds behind Kersey's in Troy. As dozens of cub scouts ran around with cane poles and worms, the 5-year-old little brother beamed at the camera with his fish on the line. "Do I have to throw it back?" he asked, wondering if he could just keep it at home.

But something always makes me smile when someone says, "did I ever tell you about the time I was fishing and …"

So this little story, submitted by Leamon Lee, a reader in Dothan, is worth sharing this morning. It's titled,

"A True Story About Fishing."

"Several years ago I visited some of our relatives in the Fairgrove, Mo., area and fished in Fellows Lake, which was about 100 acres of good fishing in good medium clear fresh water.

"On this Friday afternoon in June, I was fishing a little later than usual and the sun was setting fast. As I was fishing from the bank I had a few other fishermen close by. They noticed that I had hooked what we all thought was a large catfish.

"I would reel in a little then give some slack, as I didn't want to break my line and lose him.

"About this time, two or three people told me how to land him. I did what they said, as they knew the lake better than an Alabama visitor.

"After I had wrestled with the suspected catfish for about 15 minutes, an old man patted me on my back and said, 'Young fellow, you might as well cut your line or break it because you will never get it in.'

'You see, I've caught it several times and I always lost the battle, because you have hooked that cable that runs across this area, and you are pulling it toward you, then the weight of the cable would make it seem like a fish pulling it back.'

"The moral of this story is a very old one," Mr.

Lee writes. "You can't cook the fish that you can't put on the bank … and no cables at all."


Graning is publisher of The Messenger. She can be reached at 670-6308 or via email,