blue catfish is the subject of more tall tales in Texas than cattle stampedes
or Houston millionaires and last week the old humpback was threatening to set
off a new war between the states—the states of Tennessee and Texas, that
By a coincidence
that could only happen where fishermen are involved, the main skirmishes of the
war are being fought in the counties of Hardin—Hardin County, Tenn., and Hardin
In Hardin County,
Tenn. the immediate occasion of conflict occurred when the prize money in a
catfish contest, held just below Pickwick Dam at the Tennessee town of
Savannah, was raised to $350. That was all right, but then it was announced
that what the Hardin County Boosters club, one of the prize donors, was really
after was a catfish weighing at least 100 pounds. This would be sent, said the
Boosters, to L. G. McClean, a former Tennessean now in charge of the Fort Worth
Botanical Gardens. Mr. McClean plans to exhibit it in a new aquarium and put a
sign up over the tank reading: "Larger than anything Texas can
Well, sir, these
were fighting words in Texas and J. Cullen Browning, editor of the Orange
Leader, fired the first shot for the Lone Star fisherman. The first thing Mr.
Browning called for was a definition of terms.
"When you say
catfish," he said, "what do you mean by catfish? Yellow catfish?
Shucks, we catch yellow cats every day of the week, mostly 100 pounds,
sometimes up to 120. We consider the yellow cats to be puny here in Texas. They
don't put up a fight that amounts to much.
"But now if
you're talking about the big humpbacked blue cats, why that's something else
again. It almost takes two men to land one of those big old blues from the
Sabine River. Two
. I don't know how many Tennesseans the job would
described the humpbacked blue catfish as being the color of brand-new overalls.
"Carries a hump the size of a bison's," he said, "runs to six feet
in length and packs 100 pounds of pure muscular dynamite." Then Mr.
Browning carelessly tossed out the news that just the other day Albert Foddard
from down-the-river Beaumont had landed one of the big blue cats. Required the
help of another Texan. When the two men had driven the fish to town and had him
weighed, the beast tipped the scales at 94 pounds. Says Mr. Browning:
"We know he
weighed at least 100 pounds to begin with. Drying out on the way to town, he
lost a lot of weight. These cats shrink pretty fast. But even so, coming the
same week all this fuss started in Tennessee, we feel the honor of Texas has
thought a minute and then added the clincher: