Bob Stroud, my father-in-law (par excellent fisherman and world class story teller) and I went fishing on my lake in Madison County. We took the pontoon boat out to the middle. Bob hooked a big one right off. He started to reel it in, but the fish was strong. He could make no progress, so he stopped trying to reel. The fish took over and pulled the boat all over the lake. As you know, even a big fish runs out of fight in a few minutes. Not this fish. I grabbed the line after about 15 minutes and tied the anchor on it and threw it in the water. It made no difference. I looked at our speed. The fish was pulling the boat faster than my motor could. We got one look at the monster and tried to identify it. It looked kinda like a gar, but also had some resemblance to a bass. In a flash it came to Bob.
With a big smile on his face he said, "It looks like the mythical GarBass from Poland." I thought Bob was just pulling my leg. He was a real joker. However, at that point I remembered my trip to Krakow, Poland. A little old man gave me a small vial of liquid to take home. He said it contained an important part of Polish posterity that had to be taken to America for safety. I had no idea what he was talking about what with the language barrier, but he was so insistent that I agreed to take it home. One day, I accidentally dropped the vial in the lake. That must be how the fish got there.
After about 45 minutes of being towed around the lake, Bob decided that out of respect for the monster's strength he would let it go. So he cut the line.
We went back to the house and tried to print the one picture I took. All we got was a very small part of the tail. We went to Kinkos and put it on the big printer and all we got was just a little bit more of the tail. So we called the Vicksburg Corps of Engineers and got permission to use their supercallifragilisticexpeealladosious printer, that can print miles of the Mississippi River. Finally, we had a life-sized picture. The picture was 30 feet long and 10 feet high and weighted 100 pounds.
We put it up on the wall of my barn. There was no doubt. It was a GarBass. Unfortunately, only Bob and I ever saw the fish. Mysteriously, the barn burned down that night, my cell phone disappeared and the Corps lost the record of the print.
Bob was well-known for his enthralling stories and is now waxing elegant in heaven. He inspired me to write down this factual account of his fishing exploit for family, friends and anyone willing to listen to an unembellished account. I am the only one who can attest that he caught one, big GarBass in my lake and that the fish still lurks there. As further proof, whole flocks of Mississippi/Canadian geese have vanished, leaving behind bales of feathers. After all, the fish has to eat and those geese are just messing up docks and yakking in our faces anyway.
Come on by some time and maybe you can catch a glimpse of the mythical fish from Poland that came to life in Mississippi.
Christopher Garbacz (firstname.lastname@example.org) was a professor of economics for 25 years. He has been directly involved in the regulatory arena for decades. His publications number over 50. He lives near Flora on a lake that has a very big fish.