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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d78e0000We've been gathering your "big fish" stories here at KMUW. You know... the stories passed down through the generations that are true, but maybe not 100% true. Tune in on various weekdays through June to hear some local lore and legend. Or visit us here throughout the month to play the stories at your own convenience. Either way, don't let 'em get away.

A Big Fish Story: Caught By The Hair On Its Chinny-Chin-Chin

Ryan Somma / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic / Wikimedia Commons

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my grandfather was to go fishing, and especially for channel catfish.

One day, when I was about 10 years old, my grandpa and I went out to a country pond and put our lines in. We may have had a few nibbles, but eventually I got a serious bite on my line. It was clearly a big, strong fish. Grandpa coached me as I slowly fought the fish and got it reeled in to the bank.

It turned out to be about a 5 1/2-pound channel catfish, which is pretty good size. But the size wasn’t the amazing part.

The reason a catfish is called a catfish is because there are two big whiskers that stick out of its face right next to its mouth. When we pulled this one in, we saw that the hook was caught, not in the mouth where it should have been, but right through the middle of the whisker. For the size of fish that it was it should have easily torn the hook out of the whisker, but somehow I managed to get it reeled in.

I know it's the kind of story that sounds made up, but for more than 10 years I managed to keep the head of the fish in my mother’s deep freezer as proof. I think I also had secret hopes of having it mounted one day.

I'm pretty sure it's disappeared by now.