You saw the pictures, you knew flatheads were famous for feeding on almost anything, and you shook your head in disbelief. But you never knew the true story behind the photo of the huge cat with a basketball stuck in its mouth, did you?
The real story broke on May 30, 2004, when Wichita Eagle reporter Michael Pearce revealed the bizarre scene Bill Driver discovered on Sandalwood Lake, west of Wichita, Kansas. After noticing an 8-inch ball bobbing in the one-acre development pond, Driver went to investigate and found that it was stuck in the mouth of a 50-pound flathead.
He tried unsuccessfully to yank the ball from the exhausted fish’s mouth, then had his wife bring him a knife to puncture the ball. Once the ball was out, the catfish swam off into deep water, far removed from the things of man.
Afterward, Driver mused, “I never considered using a kid’s basketball for bait. Maybe I should have.”