Posted on October 10, 2005 by

Urban Legends of Fishing

Fishermen have always been great story tellers. I grew up hearing epic tales of the one that got away and stories where the fish got bigger every time the tale was told. When I was about five years old I recall hearing a story about a young girl who used to swim in our favorite fishing pond. She swam there until one day a snapping turtle bit her toe off, and she never returned. As I child I believed it, and I refused to swim on the shore that the story supposedly took place. Looking back on the story now, its seems pretty far fetched, but back then I would have had no way to prove otherwise. Today however we have the internet, and you can look up just about any far out story you hear about. Of course, the internet is probably the main source of urban legends now, especially though email forwards.

My family and friends send me emails about all sorts of crazy fish stories, many of which are quite believable, but I have uncovered the truths for myself, as many have before me. Here some popular urban legends of fishing I decided to investigate.

deep sea viperfishStory: Strange deep sea creatures found on shore after the terrible tsunami of 2004. I got this one in an email that had several photographs of unique fish.

Truth: Not true! Most, if not all of the photographs were taken in 2003 to document specimens collected during the joint Australian-New Zealand NORFANZ research voyage in the Tasman Sea.

There certainly are some amazing looking creatures in the ocean depths.
Check out more crazy deep sea fish on Google.

Hungry catfish?Story: A fisherman and his wife find a catfish with a child’s basketball stuck in its mouth, keeping it afloat.

Truth: This one was true! According to They used a knife to puncture the ball and the fifty pound catfish swam away.
This one really makes you wonder how that ball got in it’s mouth though. That catfish certainly had a big appetite if he was trying to eat that ball. There seems to be a lot of urban legends about catfish.
Most catfish prefer to eat peoples hands rather then a ball.

Huge catfish caught in ItalyStory: State record catfish caught on Lake Texoma in Texas.

Truth: Not true! There really was a state record catfish caught in Lake Texoma, but the fish in this picture was caught in Italy. I came across this story by accident while surfing the best catfish angling site I have seen to date. I bet this catfish could eat a full sized basketball with ease!
You are probably wondering what these guys do with fish this big. Well, some people keep them to eat, many release them for another day, but a select few keep their catfish as dancing partners.

Great white attack helicopterStory: Huge great white shark attacks helicopter.

Truth: Not true! This one was a pretty obvious fake, despite some nice photoshopping. shows the two original photos used to create this urban legend.

I could be wrong, but as far as I know there are no great whites Sharks in San Fransisco. Believe it or not though, many sharks, including great whites, can jump extremely high. Take a look at these incredible photos on National Geographic’s website.

Bush fishingStory: President Bush and his father go fishing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Truth: Not true! This one is pretty recent, and I think its pretty obvious that this one is a fake, although the editing is excellent. I found it on, and it looks like this one was made to show Bush’s lack of caring toward the people of New Orleans.