by Todd Craig
The first time my dad took me fishing was when I was about 7 years old. He was renting some farmland in central Alabama, which the Coosa River ran through. He packed up the fishing gear, set my line, gave me a few pointers, then went off to work on the farm.
I had the line in the water for only a few minutes, when it was hit by a huge (by 7-year old standards) catfish. I was so excited about catching my first fish that I accidentally reeled the rod in backwards. After I succeeded in creating a permanent backlash, the reel seized. It was at that point that I decided the only way that I’d land the beast was to turn around and run away from the river with the rod, while simultaneously screaming for my dad.
This is where the story gets a little fuzzy. Evidently in the course of running away from the river to beach the monster catfish, I ran into a tree, which knocked me down. I then rolled down the bank, still holding the rod. By the time my dad got there, the catfish, the rod and I were all lashed together, flopping around on the bank like some slimy monster with 4 bug eyes.
It took dad about 15 minutes to cut us all loose. After that, we decided that the fish had been through enough, so we let him go. It was a long time before dad and I went fishing again, and my dad still can’t eat catfish without laughing.