Originally created 07/12/98

It's just a fluke, but catch leaves her floundering



Maretta Dabbs of Clearwater, S.C., has been fishing in the Savannah River since she married to Lemuel (Bud) Dabbs in 1960, but her Fourth of July "fluke catch" topped everything she'd previ ously hooked.

What Mrs. Dabbs and a crowd of witnesses would like to know is what was that 14 1/2 -inch flounder doing more than 100 miles up river from its usual Atlantic Ocean home?

"I was fishing for mullet off the dock in front of our house at Stoney Bluff South (near Girard, Ga.). I'd baited my No. 6 hook with a bit of red wiggler and using a Fiberglass pole when it struck.

"People think I'm lying, but I swear I'm not, and I've got lots of witnesses," she said, naming a few: Jeannette and Hobby Coleman, Roger and Barbara Bazemore, Mack and Arvita Arrington, G.W. and Pat Holmes, Mickey and Jan Seigler, Melvin Mobley, Tom Mobley and Mary Alice Dykes.

East Central Georgia Regional fisheries biologist Jerry Germann said it's not too unusual for salt water species to be found far from their normal habitat, even in fresh water.

"When I was stationed in Brunswick, we'd be doing some electrofishing near Doctortown on the Altamaha River near Jesup and occasionally a flounder would be shocked up," he said.

Other salty species the biologist has seen in fresh water are Atlantic needlefish and tiny flounder-like hogchokers.

Huge schools of mullet move from the ocean up the Savannah River and other fresh water streams to feed during the hot summer months.

Several years ago, there was a report of a hammerhead shark caught at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, but it turned out to be a fish tale.

Mrs. Dabbs plans to have her fish mounted.