To Catch A Catfish
The lake I live on has the biggest, smartest Catfish that exist in any body of water on the face of the earth. There have been sightings of these gargantuan monsters erupting from the surface of the water to snatch aquatic birds in flight. The local canine population will not venture within ten feet of the lake. The Catfish have been seen devouring ducks, pelicans, and any other living thing that ventured into their domain. They even chased swimmers out of the beach areas, showing a definite preference for the female of the species. These Catfish evolved to the point where they have acquired the smarts to shun any bait that had a hook in it.
The size of these leviathans is such that if one were fortunate enough to tempt one to bite, even a smaller one, it would easily exceed the world record. I became obsessed with trying to catch one of these six or seven foot long denizens of the deep.
I fished night and day for months on end using every concoction of Catfish bait I could beg, borrow, steal, or even buy. Every bait; smelly stuff found in Catfish bait shops, chicken guts found in chicken gut stores, and road kill; both fresh and seasoned, proved to be ineffective. My garage is loaded to overflowing with Catfish bait potions I have accumulated over the years, along with their associated, overpowering smell. The local Property Owners Association is threatening to evict me, and the EPA has given me two weeks to get rid of the stuff or they will condemn my property. The acquisition of this stuff took so much money that I am on the brink of bankruptcy. One good thing however; my wife went home to her mother who looks and acts a lot like a Catfish (whiskers and all).
One fine day found me in my Catfish boat probing the depths in my futile quest for a place in the Catfish Hall of Fame. Lo and behold I came upon an old geezer in an older rowboat nailing the nicest cats you ever saw. The water around his boat churned and roiled with giant Catfish in a feeding frenzy. They were fighting to get at his bait. It was awesome! Didn't this dude know that these cats wouldn't touch anything with a hook in it? I had to find out what he was using for bait to turn these fish on.
My trolling motor brought me with in hailing distance. I was nearly overcome by a powerful odor, which forced me to back off, and approach from upwind. The source of the obnoxious odor was his bait, himself, or both. Being out of snuff, I offered him a cool one from my meager supply of six-packs. After a couple of six packs I felt he was relaxed enough to tell me what his bait was. It wasn't; it took another six-pack to loosen his tongue. He finally relented and informed me, but with a wry smile.
The old man looked around to make sure no one else was listening and whispered. The stuff was very special stuff, made in, and imported from the western Oklahoma wilderness. Legend had it that it was a secret Indian creation handed down from Sittin' Bull , Geronimo, and Cochise, which they formulated when they weren't otherwise involved in shooting arrows at one and other. He further informed me that the stuff was extremely rare, and that it was like yeast. It grew, but ever so slowly, which limited the supply resulting in it being high priced. Some of the ingredients were taken from the south end of a northbound Army mule, a skunk in heat, and the scalp of a guy named Custer.
The only way to get the stuff was to pick it up personally in Oklahoma. The stuff was so strong smelling and volatile that the US Postal Service and other delivery companies wouldn't touch the stuff even when packaged in hermetically sealed containers. The smell could not be completely contained. Off to Oklahoma I went after taking out as second on the house to finance the mission.
The magic elixir came in a used white lighting Mason jar that was warm to the touch. It also glowed in the dark with radioactivity; visual evidence of its potential. The stench was so powerful that the lid had to be replaced immediately to prevent passing out or being expelled from the lake. I dipped a plastic worm in the stuff and cast it in the lake in anxious anticipation of snagging one of the leviathan monsters. As soon as the worm hit the water it fizzed and gyrated and a good-sized Bass ate it. Every time I threw the damn thing in the water I was rewarded with a good-sized Bass. I could see the big cats going for it but the Bass kept beating them to it. No matter where I fished the worm the Bass kept beating the less agile cats to it.
What to do? I tried using more of the stuff, fishing faster, fishing slower, and using less of the stuff to the point of not using any. I caught a ton of Bass but not one of the cats, no matter what I tried. The stuff did attract the cats, but was also irresistible to the Bass. Now I know the reason for the old geezers wry smile. He didn't tell the whole story. Is there anyone who knows how to keep the Bass away? I can?t find the old guy. He's probably on some lake somewhere sharing someone's six-pack.
I finally gave up on the stuff and took it to the garage to store it away with the rest of the baits in the garage. In the act of putting it on the shelf the Mason jar fell to the floor and broke. The stuff ate a hole in the concrete floor and disappeared in its ever-increasing depth. The hole kept getting deeper and deeper. It is now a bottomless pit. This solved the problem of getting rid of all the other magic stuff I had; I threw it all in the hole.
The odor disappeared and with it my wife reappeared along with the mother-in-law. I showed them the hole and invited the mother-in-law to lean over and take a good look. She ran screaming, along with my wife. I haven't seen hide nor hair of them since.
The Atomic Energy Commission is going to use the hole to dispose of nuclear waste and the Property Owners Association is off my back. The only thing wrong is I wish my wife would come back as I'm getting tired of eating at the "Road Kill Café".
24 August 2006 - 1132 words
Canyon Lake, Ca