Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Legend of Kitty Branch Ethel

     A wise man once said, "If you're lucky enough to be fishing, well you're lucky enough."  I said that, but the idea was borrowed from a T-shirt I saw in Orange Beach, Alabama.  The shirt's message had to do with being lucky enough to be at the beach, but I twisted the message to serve my own purposes.  That's just how I roll.  I'm a creek bank fishing savant.  There's not many places I'd rather be than propped up on a creek or river bank with a fishing pole in my hand hoping a fish will rise.  Yesterday, I decided to pursue my love of fishing with my favorite fella, Jesse Christopher Perry, and I would not be denied.  My will would be done!  At least if the women in my life signed off on it.
     The morning started off with work, and lots of it.  I had to write a few pages about ethnic cleansing in post war Europe, study Environmental Science for an upcoming test, and master an ancient map of Rome and the Mediterranean world.  Once the mission was complete, I knew what had to be done.  I had to go wet a hook.  I was jonesin' for a fishing trip.  Both Cheryl and Maddie had prior obligations, but Jesse and I were free and willing.  I got on the horn, and contacted my older brother Frankie, who is a fish-whisperer in his own right.  The plans were made, and I began to ready myself for a Fishing extravaganza.  Rod and reels rigged up, tackle gathered, and hot dogs put in the sun to thaw.  It's a universal bait, and like the "master key" of the water.  I've caught many species of fish on hot dogs. (Species is on my Environmental Science test by the way, so I know what I'm talking about here.) I began to go through the house like a man on a mission barking orders for my fishing partner to ready himself.  Cheryl in her usual wit said, "Just chill for a second.  We didn't know you were gonna mobilize that fast."  I did mobilize quickly however, and now my master plan was in place!
     Witty wife aside, Jesse and I started our journey to the Warrior River where the mythical "Monster Cats" reside.  Legends abound, and stories have been passed down for generations about these Warrior River catfish.  My brother claims there is a River Monster named "Ethel" that will break your rod in two, and is uncatchable.  Challenge accepted, Ethel.  Your days of running "Kitty Branch" are at an end.  You tell Ethel, "I'm coming, and I'm bringing Hell, and Jesse, with me!"  This place is called Kitty Branch for a reason, and there are catfish aplenty to be sure.  We stopped in Rock Creek for night crawlers (big ole worms, if you didn't know), mainly for Jesse to catch some bream.  Tough youngin' J-Jam is, but he's not Ethel ready just yet.  The place we stopped at was all out of night crawlers, and I wasn't sure what the "Fishing Spirits" were trying to tell me.  Either go home now, you can't handle Ethel or nobody's been fishing lately that's why they don't have any worms.  The Autumnal Equinox guided me to the next stop in West Jefferson County for two boxes of night crawlers.  Yep, it's on Ethel.  I will not be denied.  Upon arrival at Kitty Branch, my brother in true "Ancient Fisherman Mojo" called to the fish with what he called a "Message from above."  He threw bread into the water to stir up the fish.  This is like Emperor Palpatine saying, "Rise, Lord Vader, Rise." to a young Jedi formerly known as Anakin Skywalker.  We spotted a Cat the size of a small boat!  Would I lie about something like that?  The quest for Ethel had begun.
     It was tough going for a while, and we didn't catch anything for about an hour.  At this point, I pulled an old school rabbit out of my hat.  Spitting on the hot dog along with the "Fisherman's Prayer" are two parts of the guaranteed catching a fish Triumvirate.  The third part involves stirring up the water with something that will definitely get the attention of the fish.  It's an ancient fisherman secret, but if you've drank a cup of coffee, a diet coke, and two waters you should know where old "Iron Bladder" is going here.  My trifecta of fishing brilliance worked and we started catching fish.  I then employed my boat house maneuver and hooked my first monster cat!  These are blue-channel cats, and they put up quite a fight.  Once you get them on land they'll talk to you too.  As a "River Bank Master" I know exactly what they're saying, but I'll never tell.  Would I lie about something like that?  Now, I'm going to skip ahead a little bit here, and get to the star of our show, Ethel.  That's right, I hooked her.  I caught her inside the boat house while trolling the bottom with my spat on hot dog.  The waves the fish produced moved the whole boat house, muddy water boiled up and splashed my legs, and the roar was deafening.  This was gonna be a fight!  I set the drag on my reel, and here we went!  Like riding a wild bull, I dug my spurs in and held on for the full eight second ride.  Ethel fought, thrashed, and rolled.  I used all the fishing magic that I have learned from my father and brother before me.  This was my moment.  This was my time to take my rightful place in the pantheon of River Masters!  I saw the white of Ethel's belly and the size of the monster as she broke the water, and it was a gargantuan sight.  I knew that I had her, and as I reached down to grab the line to pull her from the watery depths.  The line broke.  Broke with my hook still set in Ethel's massive mouth.  It was the line that broke, but it may as well have been my heart.  I was crushed.  I looked around for my brother and son, but no one was there.  Jesse was inside eating Kit-Kat's, and Frankie was watching Football.  As these things normally go, I was alone.  The only witness to my exploits was Ethel herself.  I'm sure no one will believe my story, but Ethel knows.  She knows I had her.  I was this close to catching a monster.  You can't say that every day.
     That's the story of Ethel the River Monster.  She has earned my respect, and I have to admit defeat.  I lost the fish, but let that hook in your mouth be a reminder of the day you came up against the PerryDawg.  I'll be back to get ya!  Demon Cat beware.  This is not over by a long shot!  You may have won the battle, but I'll win the war.  You will be mine Ethel!  Oh yes!  You will be mine!  Well that's about all I got. I have to make my witty wife happy here and say, "No animals were harmed in this adventure.  We catch and release.  Most of the time."  Ethel got harmed just a little, didn't you hook mouth.  I want to thank Frankie for being my River guide and Mark and Peggy for purchasing property on the legendary Kitty Branch!  Next time, victory will be mine!  I'm out.