Chapter 2: Not the only one on Galloway Branch


The historic Wisdom Plantation is an abandoned and forgotten two hundred and thirty- five acre farm located in rural Bibb County off Highway 5. The small town of Ascertain Bend was named for the owner of the plantation, Ascertain Wisdom. He was one of many settlers of Bibb County in 1820. He was also one of the prominent farmers of rural Bibb County. The large Galloway Branch is located in one of the many bends in Schultz Creek, as it turns to flow into the Cahaba River.


The silver boat trailer and dirty brown truck noisily entered the almost abandoned town. Jackie slowly drove the truck and the small bass fishing boat down the gravel road leading to Galloway Branch. As Jackie drove over the first hill, he caught a glimpse of the Galloway Branch and Schultz Creek. A few minutes later, the truck carefully turned down a small well-driven path to a spot where they could put the boat into the water. Jackie turned the truck in a tight semi circle pattern and shifted the transmission into reverse. Slowly he backed the boat trailer to the edge of the bank of Galloway Branch. The boat trailer jerked to a halt with the rear tires slightly submerged into the water.


"This is a perfect day for fishing. Stephen, take the tarp off the boat and I will get the gear," Jackie said aloud as he looked at the time on his watch. It was now 9:30 a.m. and the sun was just rising over the top of the trees. Jackie grabbed his rucksack and their fishing gear from the bed of the Dodge. By this time, Stephen had jumped out of the truck and had taken the tarp off the boat. This was the first time Stephen saw the boat. "Wow, Jack how much did you pay for this boat. It is beautiful." Jackie placed the stuff in the floor of the Allison XB-2003. They slowly pushed the red boat off the trailer and into the murky water of the creek. Using the heavy oak oars, the two brothers paddled the boat away from the shore. The Mercury 200 quickly came to life and the red fishing boat headed for a day of fishing. The view was magnificent as the Allison rapidly traveled across the swollen Galloway Branch.


Galloway Branch is just one of the many famously unknown fishing spots in Bibb County. Somewhere in the sparkling blue waters of Schultz Creek and Galloway Branch lived a gigantic blue catfish named Big Old Joe. The gigantic fish remained uncaught for many years. Hundreds of great anglers have traveled to Ascertain Bend trying to catch Big Old Joe. The legendary fish was thought to be at least 90 pounds and maybe more. He was the biggest catfish ever spotted in Galloway Branch or in this part of Alabama. Everyone has returned with unwanted tales of failure and defeat. Some have been lucky to get Big Old Joe to bite their hook. However, he would just bite and run quickly to the bottom of the lake and break the line. As of the summer of 2008, Big Old Joe remained uncaught.


As the boat came upon the center of Galloway Branch, Jackie noticed that they were not alone. There were a few other anglers out on Galloway Branch this morning. Jackie stopped the engine to let the boat drift. He retrieved the Browning rod and reels from the floor of the boat, and carefully walked to the rear of the boat. After baiting his hook, he cast the enticing bait as far as he could to a spot near a fallen tree in the dark waters of Galloway Branch. The bait flew quickly away from the boat. He quickly reeled in the slack, held the rod high to let the lures sink and watched as the float drifted aimlessly upon the top of the water.


The time went by slowly as the two brothers waited for a nibble on their lines. Jackie retrieved two cold beers from the small ice chest that he kept on board and tossed one to his brother. Later, he inserted a CD into the Pioneer radio on the boat and adjusted the volume as the sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire flowed out of the speakers. The bait had not been in the water for 10 minutes before a school of blue catfish swam towards the meal bait. The shadows of the fish became visible through the water as the sun reflected off the surface. Suddenly, Stephen could hear the load whirl of his reel. The Remington 75 pound test fishing line was quickly shooting out across the water with tremendous force.


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