No Catfish and No Catalytic Converter

If you haven’t figured out by now, I make some poor decisions. On Friday, I continued this trend. With a tropical storm heading toward Mississippi, I thought it would be a great time to go check a log on the river. In my defense, I figured the river was going to get too high for the next week or so to be able to go, so I thought I’d beat the weather.

Around this same time last year was when I pulled a 47 pound flathead catfish out of a log in the Bouie River, so I was anxious to return. I remember that it was around the same time of the year because catching that fish made me late for anniversary dinner with my wife. I decided to try and keep the trend alive on Friday and catch another fish before we went to dinner.

My neighbor, Master Sergeant Dave Brooks, has been wanting to make a grabbing trip with me, so I made a quick call to see if he wanted to try and beat the weather. He agreed and we loaded up and headed toward the river. I normally put in at the Pep’s Point landing on the Bouie for this particular trip, but when we arrived the ramp was completely covered in sand. There was no way to launch a boat from here, so we went to another ramp just off of Highway 49. The ramp was a little silted over, but I brought a shovel in anticipation of this. We took turns digging out trenches for the truck and trailer tires, and it wasn’t long before we had the ramp functional. I backed the boat in and we were free.

This is an area of the river that I haven’t been on in over 25 years, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The beginning of the trip was deceiving. The river was a little low, but manageable. After going around a couple of bends everything changed. The river got incredibly low in spots and other spots were almost impassable with debris. My boat is a little big for the Bouie River, but most of the time I can maneuver it up and down with just a few obstacles. This time was different. We got stuck on logs on more than one occasion, and at times I felt like there was no way we’d ever be able to make it back up the river. I kept checking my radar to see where the tropical storm was, while at the same time watching my clock to make sure I made it back in time for dinner. After getting stuck on a log for the thousandth time, I checked our location and we were nowhere near the fishing hole. Time was running out with the storm coming in and a potential ticked off wife at home. We made the reluctant decision to turn back and give it a whirl another day.

As we slowly picked our way back up the river, I became a little angry. I was angry that my usual ramp was silted over. I knew it would be. That’s why I brought a shovel. I’ve seen too many ramps in south Mississippi that aren’t taken care of. It’s a shame that our tax dollars are wasted on so many things, yet we can’t keep a half dozen ramps readily available to the public. Beating my boat to death back up the shallow Bouie River just added to my frustration. Little did I know, all of that was about to be the least of my worries.

In what seemed like three days, we made it back to the boat launch on Highway 49. We pulled the boat ashore and I walked up the ramp to get the truck while feeling defeated. I hopped in the truck and turned the ignition. It made the most awful sound that I’ve ever heard. There was a truck parked next to me, and I thought they cranked theirs at the same time thus causing the awful noise. Nope. Nobody in the truck next to me, so it was mine. I backed up into the dirt road to be able to get a better look at the truck. This is where my Friday meltdown really hits its peak. I crawled underneath the truck and noticed that something was missing. I don’t know much about vehicles, but I was pretty sure that the pipe leading to my muffler was supposed to attach to the rest of the truck. Some jerk had sawed off my catalytic converter while we were on the river.

I sat next to the truck for a second trying to process what I had just seen. I walked down the ramp and told David what I thought had happened, and he was just as shocked as I was. We called the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, and they sent a deputy out to do a report. He told us that this was rampant right now, and many churches had converters stolen off of church vans. What in the heck is going on in this world when you can’t go to the river without your truck getting sawed on?!!

I hope this week’s article will bring some awareness to someone like me. The officer also told us that a boat trailer had been stolen in the last two weeks from that same location. These are things that I don’t usually think about when I’m heading fishing, but will be vigilant about now. If you see suspicious activity, make sure to report it to local authorities. Also, if someone tries to sell you a catalytic converter in the next few days, I’d probably take a hard pass. The good news in all of this, my wife let me slide on being late for dinner…this time.

Master Sergeant David Brooks guides us up the Bouie River

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