About five years ago, we took an air boat ride on the Mississippi River at Tunica.
The story is about the boat ride.
But we literally ran into the "Kudzu Fish of the Mississippi," Asian Carp.
I call them Kudzu because they spread so fast and are absolutely useless.
And I run this story again because, as I understand it, these worthless fish are now as far south as Vicksburg.
It is to river travel what a helicopter is to air travel, up close and fast.
The air boats at Tunica run during the warm months, April 1st through October, depending on the weather.
Our pilot was Captain Don Lancaster.
Walt: Don, how long have you been doing air boats?
Don: This is my first trip. (laughter)
Air boats about 15 years, I've been running passenger boast about 30 years.
Walt: What got you interested in air boats?
Don: I made the mistake of ridding one about 15 years ago and have been in love with them ever since.
Walt: What is it you like about them?
Don: They'll go anywhere you want to go and they'll even go some places you don't want to go.
Walt: Tell me what you're thinking when you're out there on the river?
Well, safety's first. But I go out by myself a lot of times. I'm out there where Samuel L. Clemens used to be, that's Mark Twain. That's the same river, the same spot that he passed by quite a few times a month. That's what I think about. The Old days, the steamboat days.
Walt: How do passengers take to the air boat. I'm sure they must love it.
Don: They are crazy about it. We've never had a complaint. They love it. Some man will come down here on Saturday to ride the boat and her he comes on Sunday with his wife and two kids to do it again.
Riding the air boat isn't hazard free, however.
There is a pesky fish that has taken over the Mississippi River, that's fun to watch off at a distance, the Asian Carp.
Can't eat them.
Their natural defense when alarmed is to jump out of the water.
Boat motors alarm them.
And sometimes they jump right out in front of you.
And in with you.
But then again, if the fish just flies over you and hits someone else, then its all the funnier.
Mark Twain, as a young boy, had his rafts to explore the Mississippi with.
We have them, too.
With 500 horse power motors to get us there and back quickly.
But, carp or not; ultimately, its still the river that's the draw.
Skimming across the back of the mightiest river in America matches the rush of the boat you're doing it in.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:13 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:13:14 GMT
Two elementary school girls were allegedly sexually assaulted by another female student. One incident happening while the two girls were at school. Two mothers are now speaking out about their daughters.More >>
Two Jackson mothers are speaking out after they say their daughters were sexually assaulted by another female student. One of the incidents allegedly happened at school.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:31 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:31:22 GMT
The pastor and members of a Jefferson county church make the gruesome discovery of a body on the way to Bible study Wednesday evening. Sheriff Peter Walker said a woman's body was found just before 6:30More >>
Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker has identified the woman found dead in the cemetery of East Mount Olive Baptist Church Wednesday night.
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:05 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:05:30 GMT
A Jackson Public School district principal has had her license suspended for one year. Dr. Lisa Andrus-Johnson is the principal at Watkins Elementary school.A spokesperson for the Mississippi DepartmentMore >>
A Jackson Public School district principal has had her license suspended for one year. Dr. Lisa Andrus-Johnson is the principal at Watkins Elementary school.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:34:55 GMT
Chokwe Lumumba covered a wide range of issues in a one-on-one interview Wednesday evening. Lumumba is the winner of the Democratic Primary runoff for mayor of Jackson and he has a strong chance to winMore >>
Chokwe Lumumba covered a wide range of issues in a one-on-one interview Wednesday. Lumumba is the winner of the Democratic Primary runoff for mayor of Jackson and he has a strong chance to win the June fourth general election.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-24 00:00:32 GMT
We've taken numerous calls from taxpayers who are still waiting on their state tax refund. Three on your side went straight to the source to find out why. While 75% of the refund checks have been mailedMore >>
Mississippi's state income tax refunds are a little slow this year. While 75% of the refund checks have been mailed out, thousands of Mississippians are still waiting.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:45 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:45:01 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A baby fights to survive at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in critical condition after being hit by an SUV with his mother behind the wheel, according to police. An orange circle marks the pointMore >>
A baby fights to survive at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in critical condition after being hit by an SUV with his mother behind the wheel, according to police.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 21:38:18 GMT
The picture of a George County dog set on fire is disturbing. Authorities say the circumstances surrounding how fire consumed the dog are shocking. According to George County Sheriff Dean Howell, 20-year-oldMore >>
Socks, the dog reportedly burned this week by his owner, has died. That word comes from a George County Sheriff's deputy. Socks succumbed to injuries suffered after 20-year-old Brandon Pierce allegedly set his dog on fire Tuesday night. The suspect told deputies he torched the dog because he "wanted to help the dog go to heaven."More >>