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Catfish gives youngster ride of his life

By Mike Elswick melswick@news-journal.com
July 27, 2012 at 11 p.m.


Eleven-year-old Mikie Webb has a fish tale that he likely will have difficulty topping the rest of his life.

When neighbors living across a pond from his family's place in Union Grove reported spying a huge fish swimming in shallow water Wednesday evening, Mikie didn't want to take any chances on it getting away.

His father, Jeff Webb, said the youngster went into the pond.

"He's pretty adventuresome - always has been," Webb said.

Mikie said he quietly, but quickly, entered the pond and got behind the catfish, slipped his hand and arm through a gill and held on.

He wasn't expecting what happened next.

"I grabbed it through the gills and it took off and took me under," Mikie said. "But I held on and wasn't going to let go."

Mikie, who will be a sixth grader at Union Grove this fall, weighs in at about 100 pounds.

He said the thought passed through his mind he could drown, but that did not deter him. He knew his older brother, Tyler, 18, was nearby.

"He jumped in and pulled us both out," Mikie said.

That was no simple task as the fish tipped the scale at 51 pounds.

"We'd been seeing and trying to catch it for about three weeks," Mikie said. Prior attempts included a traditional rod and reel and even a net - but to no avail.

His father said while Mikie was in chest-deep water when he caught the catfish, the acre-and-a-half stock pond is 12 to 13 feet deep in the center.

"There were several witnesses or no one would probably believe this," Jeff Webb said.

He said the pond has been in existence since the early 1970s and was stocked with bass and channel catfish a few years ago.

"We've caught some nice bass and some decent sized catfish, probably two or three pounds, but never anything this size - this one had to have been out there a long time," Webb said.

He was not certain why the giant catfish had been seen in shallow water in recent weeks.

"He had to have been in there a long, long time to get this big," Webb said, adding that the big fish has been cut up and will be the source of a big fish fry.

Aside from some photos and the memories, the main remaining momento of the event is part of the fish that won't grace the Webb family fish fry.

"We saved the head," he said.

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