Monday, April 10, 2006

The Water Dog

Grenada Lake, MS> (As told by Hershel Howell)
Grabbling is a dangerous sport, but a lot of fun. We used to run logs down on Grenada Lake. Grabbling would involve locating a log in the water with a big hole in it that you could slide into and block off. Then a cane pole with wire is run into the log to force the catfish to come out toward you. When the fish gets to you, you grab it, forced a rope through its’ gill and then drag it in the boat. Sounds easy but it’s not. The fish can weigh 50-60 pounds and can drown you. There are snakes and other creatures in the water too. But the most dangerous one of all is the Waterdog.
I was going up the river that day in the boat with my friend Tom Parnell. We had been easing up the river for a while checking our logs and were heading for a log we called “Fifth of Whiskey” because of a bet on how big a fish we would catch there. It was our biggest log and our best hope to get a really big yellow cat.
We quietly eased up near the log and Tom slipped quietly out of the boat. As he eased toward the log I whispered “Be careful of the WaterDog” He looked at me blankly and headed for the end of the log.
Just before he got to the log, there was a big splash at the end of the log which started bouncing up and down and the water boiled at the opening.Tom froze about 8 feet from the opening. Suddenly a jet of water shot up at the end of the log and a huge stream of water and bubbles headed right at my friend. The trail of bubbles met him square in the chest and tossed him aside like a toy. The stream of bubbles headed out across the lake and toward the bank. As I watched in amazement the Waterdog came out of the water and headed for a big cypress tree. The animal looked half giant black dog with a large head like a catfish and a long fish tail. It reached the tree and started up the tall snag. It’s sharp claws tore into the tree like a panther and as it got to the top it unfurled a large set of wings and flew away! That’s my only encounter with the WaterDog and the last time I ever saw it.

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