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Catfish bites boy

EUFAULA, Okla. -- Tommy Stanton, 11, isn't sure anyone will believe the story about the big one he caught -- or that caught him -- in Lake Eufaula.

'He was screaming, 'Daddy, he's got me' and then he went under again,' said Barbara Stanton, the boy's mother.

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She said her husband, Michael, jumped into the water to help the terrified boy, who had been pulled under twice, apparently by a large catfish.

'He was water-skiing and fell. We circled back around to pick him up again and I heard him scream. He screamed real loud and went under. My first reaction was he was drowning. I thought we had the rope around him,' she said.

'There was a mouth print and teeth marks all the way down his leg from his knee to his ankle,' she said.

She said the teeth on a catfish aren't long, but they are sharp. Tommy's leg was bloody, bruised and scratched, but the wounds were not serious.

'It grabbed me and pulled me under the water twice,' Tommy said. 'I couldn't think fast enough to know what to do. I was scared.'

Stanton said the attack occurred Sunday in Holiday Cove on Lake Eufaula.

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A writer for Outdoor Oklahoma magazine examined the bites and concluded it was 'definitely a flathead catfish.'

'The man said the fish had swallowed the leg and started chewing. He said Tommy's kicking probably scared the fish off,' the mother said.

'If he hadn't had his life jacket on it could have dragged him to the bottom. Tommy weighs 95 pounds, so he had that on his side,' she said.

The Stantons, who live in Perkins, Okla., said since the accident they have learned catfish can grow to over 100 pounds and more than 5 feet long.

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