Caught by a Catfish! (About 1985).
My new (1978) farm in Davis, California, had a huge exploited gravel pit,
Crossing North to South through the whole 37 acres.
The Yolo County Airport land across the road (95) was originally confiscated by the US government
To build a facility to train bomber pilots for World War II and was the recipient of my gravel pit.
The long pits were there on the farm ready for me to create a series of fish ponds.
First six, then more ponds over the years were created--up to fourteen.
On one occasion (1985), using a 100 foot long seine and dragging the net from bank to bank (as always).
We brought in a large number of catfish to harvest by the pond's edge.
The top of a seine has cork floats and the bottom has a thick gathered rope mudline.
As I was in my waders and working some snags away from shore,
I suddenly felt a piercing pain in my right foot.
Immediately I knew exactly what had occurred:
A fish was caught sideways in the mudline, a barbed pectoral fin projecting straight upwards!
Indeed, the fin had pierced my boot's sole, through the sock and into the ball of my foot.
Instructing the student on the shore's end, to pull slowly as I limped in,
I reached the bank, the fish connecting me with one fin to the line and the other in my foot--
Too painful to pull out, I reached down and snapped the bone,
Thus freeing me from the fish and net,
But still with a bone, locking the boot, sock, and foot together.
With great pain, the boot was dislodged, leaving a bare sock and foot (and fishbone)!
A trip to the nearby hospital, very painful anesthetic shots to numb the foot's pain,
And the bone was removed, leaving a very sore, 'un-numbing' foot!
After a drive back to the farm and to the evening chores,
I started in limpingly to finish the end of the day's work.
Such was the then life of a peasant on a farm with a Ph.D!
Frank Maurer 28 February 2023
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