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Barbie rod used to land record catfish

August 22, 2008 |  9:51 am


Outposts on Thursday opened a veritable can of worms by publishing an item about hunters and fishermen preferring John McCain to Barack Obama in the presidential race.

The comment zone became a war zone between Republicans and Democrats.

So, in the aftermath, this blog, seeking quietude, cyber-visits the Mayberry-like town of Elkin, North Carolina, to report on a simple tale involving a 56-year-old man who used his granddaughter’s pink Barbie fishing rod to land a state-record catfish.

No political overtones (although for what it’s worth, Elkin sits in Surry and Wilkes counties, which supported George W. Bush in the last two presidential elections). Just the story, which is making the rounds on Yahoo news after first appearing in the Winston-Salem Journal.

David Hayes became the town celebrity after landing the 21-pound 1-ounce catfish in a farm pond behind his house. He’d agreed to hold the rod for 3-year-old Alyssa, who went inside for a potty break.

Alyssa came out screaming that her grandpa was going to break the rod. The catfish measured 32 inches with a 22 ½-inch girth. It was two inches longer than the Barbie rod and beat the record by nearly three pounds.

Hayes and his granddaughter drove to Thurmond Grocery to weigh the fish and, according to the Winstom-Salem Journal, “People gathered to see. They whooped and hollered when they figured up just how heavy that old catfish was.”

(This is somewhat reminiscent of the 1966 “The Andy Griffith Show” episode involving Howard Sprague and his catch of a giant carp, except the removal of such a beauty broke the town spirit until Sprague ultimately released his prize.)

Hayes is still a big shot. He said he even received a call from CBS, which asked if he’d be willing to fly to New York to discuss the catch on TV.

His response: “I’m not going to New York for a fish. That sort of surprised me there. I didn’t think it was that big a deal.”

It definitely is a bigger deal than whom he will vote for to be president.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: David Hayes holds a monster catfish he  caught using a Barbie rod-and-reel owned by granddaughter Alyssa (left). Credit: North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission