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Monsters of the Mississippi

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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Monster alligators are being killed this alligator season. The gators bagged so far  have broken long standing records.

But are there gators and creatures that big roaming the Mississippi River near Memphis?

You talk to local fisherman, and if you believe all the tales they tell, there are plenty of reasons to stay out of the water. Some of the stories they tell you will keep you out of the water permanently, and none of what they tell you seems anything but believable.

MORE: Big gators bagged on Mississippi season's 1st day
MORE: Third gator record in a week set at 741.5 pounds

Tunica Lake Cutoff, an ancient Yazoo elbow of the Mississippi River. About 20 miles south of Memphis.

Billy stearns is heading out on the water, with his fishing buddy, his dog Slick. They're out here all the time. In the boat with Billy as well is his good buddy Larry McMullen, and his lap dog Darla.
"The old story goes that everyday fishing they don't take it off your life," Stearns said. "Like I told you, if that holds true I'll live to a ripe old age."
They take it slow across the water. Among their concerns, flying monsters, big fish, that will take you out.

"We have a serious problem with these flying carp, Asian Carp, whatever the species maybe," Stearns said.
The fish are so bad, Larry has outfitted the boat with a cage to stop the fish from flying in.

"It's saved me from being injured several times," he said.

Billy's dog Slick has had a few scraps with fish that have landed on deck.

Among the fish out here that Billy and Larry would much rather catch are giant catfish.

"Well we've had 100 pounders come out of the river."
"Oh I've heard of them 100 pounds. I've caught the biggest one I caught is 43 pounds."
Toothy Gar fish, a bony prehistoric monster of a fish, friends have told them of Gar so big, the boat couldn't drag them. Billy says a friend caught one he couldn't get in the boat.
"He was between 250-300 pounds, said his eye was as big as a silver dollar, and he couldn't even pull him with a 12-foot John boat up stream," he said.

Another area fisherman, who doesn't want to go on camera for fear of being called crazy, said at this very stretch of river in Tunica County, Miss., during this year's flood, he saw a 15-foot alligator.
That would mean an alligator as big as the one caught in the past weekend that set a Mississippi record was roaming the river in Tunica County. Now give that some thought.
"He doesn't have any enemies, he eats anything he catches - dogs, cats, fish, ducks, anything."
"Oh I am sure there are alligators around here. Said he seen one and paddled up to him and he just went under and took off into deeper water."
Then there are talks of a fishy monster in the Mississippi so big it has local fisherman screaming "bull shark!" According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in the 1930s two fisherman in Illinois caught a five-foot bull shark in the Mississippi River.

Bull sharks can survive in fresh water and are dangerous sharks with man-eating reputations. The bull shark was caught 1,700 miles upriver from the sea in the 1930s. Bull sharks have been known to swim as many as 2,500 miles inland in fresh water.
"Oh I have never seen any of those. No I haven't."
"Lewis and Clark went all the way to the ocean, so maybe that bull shark just traveled to find him a girlfriend? I ain't got any idea."

It's a wonder we don't have more encounters with these monsters, but maybe it's because we don't spend much time on the sunny sandy shores of the Mighty Mississippi. Still we are told, the monsters are out there, monsters of the Mississippi.

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