J.A. Bolton Storyteller
March 25, 2014
As we continue with the story of Ol’ Whiskers, the biggest, meanest catfish east of the Mississippi, Bubba and I find ourselves hid behind a tree on the banks of the Pee Dee River. We had spotted something huge in the water headed right toward us.
Curiosity always got the best of me and I peeped around the tree to see what was in the water. To my disbelief there rising up out of the water was the biggest catfish I had ever seen, and he was engulfing that large eel I had just caught which was wrapped around a willow tree and was dangling in the water. Why that catfish had a mouth big enough to swallow a small cow, two big eyes that sparkled like the sun and two horns sticking out of his head as big as tree. Why, he even looked like the devil himself, don’t you know. He just swallowed that eel whole and slipped right back down in the water. I just knew he was going to break that old fishing line but that willow was giving just enough that the line didn’t break.
Ol’ Catfish John who was fishing down the river came running up there and asked, “What you boys got out there?”
I said, “John, it’s got to be Ol’ Whiskers. I’ve never seen a catfish so large.”
John says, “Let’s try and pull him in.” But try as we may, we couldn’t budge that fish.
John says, “I got an idea. Brother Ben is plowing his mule, Pat, down in the lower forty, and I’m going to get her and pull that big fish in.”
While he’s gone, let me tell you a little about Ben and his mule Pat. Both were getting on up in age and they had been around so long that they begin to look a lot alike. Another thing was when Ben got excited he would stutter, stutter a lot.
It won’t long before here come John leading Pat, and Ben was following behind carrying the single tree — that’s what you hook a plow to. You could tell Ben was already excited cause he was stuttering up a storm.
Says, “You boys, boys done hung Ol’ Whiskers.”
I told him, “Yes siree. Do you think Pat can pull him in?”
“Why shore she can. Ol’ Pat can out pull two tractors two tractors,” says Ben.
We hooked Pat up to the willow tree that was holding the fish and she stretched that line as tight as a banjo string. Then we cut the tree down with a hatchet. When the tree fell into the water it must have scared Ol’ Whiskers cause he took off down the river and was a pulling Pat into the river behind him.
Ben said, “Help, help me boys!”
We took a hold of Pat’s bridle and tried to keep her from being pulled into the river but all of a sudden that bridle broke and sent us all into the bushes. I be John Brown if that fish didn’t pull that old mule right into the river. The last thing we seen of Ol’ Pat was her two ears going down the river toward Cheraw, S.C.
Now if’en you aiming to do any fishing in the Pee Dee River, and you hang something you can’t get in, get you something bigger than a mule cause you see Ol’ Whiskers is still in that river, don’t you know!