Occasionally, good ole boys take a tiny step outside the legal arena of fishing, and I don’t mean catching one over the limit, or keeping the ones that are too little, or even fishing without a license. Although, Catfish and Cutbait are not habitual fishing criminals (Oh heck, yes they are!), they frequently use methods to obtain their limit, plus many more by, shall we say, “Technically Illegal Means!” This is evident in their use of explosive devices, tossed from their boat into the Tennessee River, causing large numbers of fish, and often divers, to float to the surface. They collect the fish, but usually throw the divers back. This article of superb penmanship (sure!), reflects on one of their explosive fishing events.
The weather was unusually warm, and the fish weren’t biting, so Catfish and Cutbait decided to use one of their most effective fishing methods; high explosives. You see, one of their cousins, three fingered/one hand, mentally addled, Gornsey Butock, had started himself a military salvage business, and he thought if he obtained some World War I army surplus explosives, he could save some money and pass the nest eggs on to his one-armed comrades, whom he sold to frequently.
Catfish and Cutbait made all the necessary arrangements in preparations for their fishing trip. They even stationed their good buddy, Spiderbite on Eagle Nest Bluff to watch out for Tennessee Ranger, Bob Gotchu, who was determined to catch them doing something illegal. What they didn’t anticipate was Spiderbite’s eagerness to please them. He had climbed a tall tree on the bluff, and found a great seat in some branches and leaves that formed a perfect chair. He knew he could see further from this vantage point, but he had not realized he was sitting in an eagle’s nest, until he felt a little pecking sensation on his hand. He understood that he had made a grievous error, even before he peered into the sweet eyes of a baby eagle, that seemed to say, “Why Mama, you’ve grown so big and ugly, but I still love you!” That was not the same sentiment he received from the baby’s mother, as she broke the sound barrier, headed for Spiderbite.
When the two fishermen in the boat heard the sonic boom, Cutbait said to Catfish, “You see, we are not the only ones fishing with explosives!” The thundering noise of the branches breaking as the mother eagle assaulted the top of Spiderbite’s head, and his shrill screaming caused the two lawbreakers to look at each other and grin. “Whoa, boy, somebody’s having a good time fishing,” Catfish said to Cutbait. “Yeah, let’s join ‘um!”
As they readied their first vintage World War I grenade, with an unusually short fuse, Ranger Bob came flying around the point in his special, self modified, propeller-driven air boat, which he had lovingly named, “One of These Days.”
Ranger Bob was grinning as he pulled up alongside Catfish and Cutbait. He said with a little levity in his voice, “Got you boys now; fishing with explosives!” Cutbait immediately replied, “We ain’t a fishing with explosives; you are!” “Huh?” Ranger Bob said in a moment of total uncertainty and disbelief, as Cutbait handed him the live grenade and said in a questionable voice, “Are you gonna talk, or fish?” The rest is history.
Be sure to watch the video and slideshow! They “Make the Article.” Also, check out the two previous stories about the two unusual fishermen at: ‘The Misadventures of Catfish and Cutbait:’ Weekly visit to “Fishing Americana” and The Misadventures of Catfish and Cutbait: Using “Neanderthal” for bait.
If you enjoy these stories, please let the writer know at Gerry Glenn Jones, Examiner Writer.