Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Big Blue Cat May Set World Record Catch"

Joe Potts, Decaturville, was just doing another day's work running his trotlines in the Tennessee River last Saturday, when he was placed into the position of being a possible world's record holder!

For Joe landed a big blue channel catfish which tipped the scales at 112 pounds!

Joe was running the line alone, and landed the monster blue cat by himself. He headed the boat for Perryville, and carried the big catch to King's Fish Market, where it was placed in the live fish tank. As of Tuesday, the big fellow was still alive and doing well.

Joe said that he knew that the fish was a big one when he felt the weight on the line. The struggle to get him to the top of the water and into the boat took about one hour. Joe said, "I knew I could never get him into my dip net, so alter I finally got him alongside the boat, I got a hold in the gill plate, forcing him to open his mouth. Then I put my other hand inside the mouth and just fell back into the boat, pulling the fish with me, and landed with him on top of me. I put him into the live well of the boat, but he made such a commotion that I took him out and tied him into the bottom of the boat."

Game and Fish officials of the State of Tennessee were on the scene Saturday afternoon, and told Joe that they were sure of a state record, and that it was very possible that the catch would be a world's record. Most catfish that get near that large are of the yellow cat, or mud cat variety.

The fish measured 53-1/2 inches in length, and taped 38 inches in girth. The distance between his eyes measured eight inches.

Joe has already had an offer from a man in Indiana to purchase the fish for $1000, provided he deliver the fish and that it stays alive three days after delivery. He hasn't decided whether to accept the offer as yet. In the meantime, he has been trying to find a taxidermist who can handle the big fellow, but so far, everyone contacted has referred him to Florida, where big fish are common from the sea.

In the meantime, the big fellow is the attraction of hundreds of spectators as he lives center stage in the drama of life!

ALL THEY WANT TO LIFT, three men find It hard to hold the big cat out
of the water for the photographer's benefit. Left to right, Jerry Mathis
of the Tennessee Game and Fish CommissIon, Joe Potts, owner of the fish,
and "Chunk" King of King's Fish Market, strain to hold the slippery
fellow for a few minutes.

Fish Come When She Calls

By Lillye Younger

When the fish hear Mrs. Ben Morris, of Parsons, Tenn., calling, they come running, or rather, swimming.

The Morris family has a small lake on their farm. Mrs. Morris's hobby got its start because passing fishermen would drop their catches of small fish into the lake.

"When I went to the plant beds, which are across the drive from the lake," Mrs. Morris explained, "I always stopped by the lake. I noticed the little fish always came to the top when I called them. Then I began feeding them, for they seemed hungry."

Now, she only has to clap her hands and call, "Come on, babies! Come on, babies!" and they come at high speed. They even come when a car drives up.

"They have a lot of curiosity," she said with a chuckle.

Mrs. Morris feeds them at a certain spot late in the afternoon. The fish, which include bluegills, goldfish, crappie, and bass, get crumbs of buns and bread. Crumbs cast on the water soon vanish.

One day recently, Mrs. Morris walked past the lake on the way to a neighbor's house, and the fish followed her to the end of the lake. When she returned she was surprised to find them waiting for her at the same spot. They swam alongside as she walked up the drive along the lake.

"Goldfish find if rather hard to survive in the lake," Mrs. Morris said. "One day, a relative dumped a bunch of goldfish in the lake, and the hungry pets devoured them as they do loaf bread."

The biggest threat to her fish comes from fishermen. Youngsters want to bring their cane poles and catch small fish. Older fishermen want them for bait and can't understand why they are not for sale.

The trained fish attract a lot of attention. Not long ago, a visiting businessman from Memphis, Tenn., overheard a boy ask Mrs. Morris to call her fish. He thought it was a big joke until he followed them to the lake and saw her do it.

"This is too good," he said. "I'll win some bets from my friends when I return to Memphis. No one will believe it."

Mrs. Morris always has an eye for her pets' welfare, even in the winter. Sometimes, the lake freezes.

"We have to break the ice so they can get air," she said. "They seem to survive the freeze quite well."

Jason Keeton (left) and Ed Bivens (right)
are shown here with the 447 striped bass
which they and another companion, Thomas McFalls,
caught at the mouth of Beech River near Perryville.

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