Big Fish

There are some fish that cannot be caught.
It's not that they're faster
or stronger than other fish.
just touched by something extra.
Call it luck. Call it grace.One
such fish was The Beast.
By the time I was born,he was already
a legend.
He'd taken more hundred-
dollar lures
than any fish in Alabama.

Some said that fish was the ghost of
Henry Walls,
a thief who'd drowned
in that river 60 years before.
claimed he was a lesser dinosaur,
left over from the Cretaceous period.

I didn't put any stock into such
speculation or superstition.
All I knew was I'd been trying to catch that fish
since I was a boy no bigger
than you.
And on the day you were born,
was the day I finally caught him.
Now, I'd tried everything on it:

worms, lures, peanut butter, peanut
But on that day I
had a revelation:
if that fish was
the ghost of a thief,
the usual bait
wasn't going to work.
I would have
to use something he truly desired.
I tied my ring to the strongest line they made,
strong enough to hold
up a bridge, they said,
if just for
a few minutes, and I cast upriver.
The Beast jumped up and grabbed it

before the ring even hit the water.

And just as fast, he snapped clean
through that line.
You can see my predicament.
My wedding
ring, the symbol of fidelity to my wife,
soon to be the mother of my
was now lost in the gut of an
uncatchable fish.
I followed that fish up-river and
for three days and three
until I finally had him boxed in.

With these two hands, I reached in

and snatched that fish out of the
I looked him straight in the
And I made a remarkable discovery.

This fish, the Beast.
The whole time
we were calling it a him,
when in
fact it was a her.
It was fat with
and was going to lay them any day.

Now, I was in a situation.
I could
gut that fish and get my ring back,
but doing so
I would be killing the smartest catfish in the Ashton River,
soon to be mother of a hundred others.

Did I want to deprive my soon-to-be-
born son
the chance to catch a fish
like this of his own?
This lady fish
and I, well, we had the same destiny.
Now, you may well ask, since this
lady fish
wasn't the ghost of a thief,

why did it strike so quick on gold

when nothing else would attract it?

That was the lesson I learned that
the day my son was born.

Sometimes, the only way to catch
uncatchable woman
is to offer her a
wedding ring.