Keith Sutton: The big ugly

Looking at this fish, one feels instinctively that even others of its kind would find it repulsive. Such may be the case, for flatheads are inveterate loners.

Updated: June 6, 2010, 1:28 PM ET
By Keith Sutton | Special to ESPN Outdoors.com

"Don't judge folks by appearances alone," my mother used to say. Such is my advice to anyone getting acquainted with the flathead catfish.

The flathead is a brute of a fish, muscular and stream-lined, but ugly by all accepted standards. Viewed head-on, it looks like it was pulled through an old-style washer machine wringer and then run through a trash compactor. The beady eyes are wide-set on the flattened cranium. Its thickened under-lip protrudes in a perpetual pout, worm-like barbels ...

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