I just read The persuit of Catfish Hunter by Kaw River Killer ( great read btw) and it reminded me of an incident when I was 16 and was enjoying my spring break on the banks of Sandy Creek in Silverton WV. After snagging some hefty shad fron the spillway at the local water treatment plant (we called the poopy pond) I would set there all day dippin and dunkin until I was almost too tired to pedal my bike home. On this particular day I brought my Daisy Pumpmaster BB gun along because the day earlier I seen a couple snakes and wanted no part of them. A kid has to defend himself. I must first clarify I was tought the art of catfishing by my uncle Bill who lived in Mississippi, and cut bait was the only way to go in a lake full of blues and channels. I on the other hand didnt really know that big flatheads prefer live bait and waisted a lot of time trying to catch them in a big creek with probably no blues, a bunch of channels and flatheads galore. Anyway after about 3 hours with no luck I began to get bored and ornery so I opened the bails on my 2 junky spinning rods and walked the 30 yards to the bridge underpass and was watching some pigeons land and take off from the large I-beams. I know it was wrong at the time but I got a good bead on a big brownish grey pigeon and pulled the trigger. FWAPPP... The 10 pumps I had jacked into the gun sent the bird spiraling downward into the water with a wing shot... I felt horrible cause it was flapping its good wing making a circular pattern in the water. The horror of my deed was instantly replaced by an unholy SLURPSLOOSH as the bird disappeared before my eyes. I seen the width of the mouth as the mighty flathead inhaled the helpless animal and curled back tward the deep with one fluid motion of its huge tail... I couldnt breath for what seemed like forever. My mind raced as the initial morose of killing a bird turned to how can I catch this monster. After a few minutes of pondering I had an idea. I gathered up a bunch of feathers that were strewn about the bank, gathered up my gear and headed home. Later that day I fashioned a makeshift top water lure hot gluing the feathers to a small shampoo bottle (borrowed) from my sister. I used all the splitshot I had and dumped them into the bottle. I ran a steel leader (borrowed) from my dads muskie tacklebox thru the bottle and used caulking to seal the holes. It probably weighed about 2 ounces when all was said and done. I attached a 4/0 treble hook to the underside where the steel leader protruded. I knew I didnt have a rod and reel big enough to handle the goliath fish and didnt know how to operate a big baitcaster of my dads so I had to resort to (borrowing) a surf rod from my neighbors shed the next morning cause by now night had almost fallen. My sleep was an understated restless torture. When I did awaken I had my lure and surf spinning reel on my bike and was heading to the creek within 10 minutes. Standing on the bank I put together the 9 foot rod, threaded the 20lb line thru its eyes, attached my ugly duckling lure and prepared for a cast. Looking back I should have made a few practice casts because it went way farther that I anticipated and hit the concrete bridge piling and rattled a few feathers off my lure. I figured all the noise of the splitshot rattling and the smack of plastic on concrete would spook any fish within a mile... NOPE!! As soon as I began the twitch retrieve the dejavu of yesterdays endeavor replayed almost exactly. The mammoth flatty sucked the feathered shampoo bottle into its mouth and headed down, but this time there was a big treble hook to deal with. I gave a might rip on the surf rod and it was on. Never before had I felt such brute strength in a fish. It peeled off who knows how much line on the initial run and it all turned into a wierd tunnel vision dream reality as I wrestled with the beast. Time meant nothing as the seesaw battle went on and on. Suddenly I realized I was gaining on the brute and kept it up til it surfaced about 15 feet in front of me. With my 9 ft pole held high the immenseness of the animal was almost too much to comprehend. I stared in amazement then slowly leaned on him sideways to get him closer to shore, and when its belly hit the rocky bottom it shot off for another run, but this time up the creek where it headed around the bridge piling. It zipped off more mono against the concrete and I held on as long as I could but there was nothing I could do. It broke me off, and left me standing on the bank shaking and short of breath defeated. I tried catching that fish with about everything imaginable from that spot under the bridge, even another ugly duckling but to no avail, and with every run I got my heart raced and in my mind it was the beast again. I caught some good ones there but nothing over 25 lbs and learned tricks and tactics I still practice today. That was the day I forsake any other fish and held the flathead dearest of all. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of pictures of big flathead and looking back with an impartial view it would have went between 60 and 65 lbs. Even today my biggest is only 45 but I will never stop trying to catch the beast from under the bridge.