Just Call Me "Catfish"!
Over the many years here at Catfish Johnny's, I suppose the most asked question has been - How did you get the name "Catfish Johnny"? Now I'll warn you, some of you may not believe this tale, but to the best of my recollection, this is how it came to be.
By the age of 12, I was already known in and around the lake as a pretty good fisherman. But many years before my time, it was well known that a huge catfish made Lake Panasoffkee his home. Many, many fisherman had hooked that ol' boy, but each time he always broke their line and stole the lures, sinkers, hooks, and swivels, and some even say ate a rod an' reel or two. This story I'd heard since I was a baby.
Well, one day I thought it was time I took big ol' boy to task. My dad had purchased an old army parachute from a surplus store, to make a shade for his pen full of huntin' hounds. Now that's where I came by the heavy cord I was to use as my fishing line. A large hook I borrowed from a friend of dads, who was a gator hunter, completed my rig. Using a marsh rabbit I shot with my trusty sling shot, for my bait. My little wooden boat was just over eight feet long.
I set out from the old Hutchinson camp about daylight that memorable day and fished all day long. No luck at all - until just before dark. The line jerked down with such force that a small amount of water dipped over the side. I knew for sure that I had hooked up with the "monster cat".
Well, he commenced to pull me and my little boat all over that lake. After about three hours or so my arms were so sore, I could hardly hang on anymore. That's when ol' bigun took a break. This gave me time enought to tie my line to the front of the boat.
After that we were off again. All night long we went round and round that lake. He wouldn't give up and I couldn't (too far to swim and to pround to quit.)
Well folks after almost twenty-four hours of steady fighting that ol' boy, he finally gave up. I just towed him back to the fish camp and an elderly feller named Hank hooked his truck to that fish and pulled it up on shore.
I'm telling ya folks that ol' fish had so many hooks and lures, swivels and so many lead sinkers hanging off him , that me and old Hank loaded up the fish, took it to Webster and sold it for scrap metal. From that day to this, folks have called me "Catfish Johnny".