“The Dam Divers Work In Shark Cages Because of the Giant Catfish”

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“Did you know there are giant catfish below the Toledo Bend dam?”

That was the question posed to me recently at one of my local speaking engagements.

“And they are so big divers are afraid to go down there and look at the dam. They say they are the size of Volkswagens!”

This story has been told over and over throughout my life and is considered absolute face by man. I have heard it about Toledo Bend recently but also other lakes in the Southeast Texas area and actually throughout the South.

Here are a few points I would like to make about this local legend that has been brought to life again due to photos circulating on the Internet (more on that later).

The author with a Wels catfish caught in Spain’s Segra River.

#I have been investigating these stories since 2005 and have never spoken with anyone who has actually seen the catfish. It is always their brother-in-laws cousin or something.

#The largest catfish in North America are the blue and flathead both of which live at Toledo Bend and other reservoirs in the South. They can attain weights of over 130 pounds and I have no doubt there are specimens quite a bit larger. In my opinion this legend began with a diver seeing a record-sized catfish in murky water and then the story grew from there. A Volkswagen-sized catfish would weigh closer to a ton. Such fish don’t exist here in the United States.

While fishing in Spain I heard a guide tell me the dam workers work in shark cages to protect themselves from the Wels. I have not confirmed that but it is certainly is interesting to consider.

Chester Moore, Jr.

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