A criminal complaint released Tuesday morning in the Pittsburgh catfish tossing gave a brief summary of how the crime was committed but it omitted all the best details.
Jacob Waddell, a 36-year-old Tennessee man, fessed up to the cops that he threw the dead fish but the police report didn’t give the whole complicated story. Waddell went on Nashville radio station 104.5 The Zone on Tuesday afternoon to lay it all out. What follows is a timeline of Waddell’s journey to the fish toss.
Waddell first needed to acquire the catfish. He said he purchased it back home not because Pittsburgh fishmongers were refusing to sell them to Tennesseans but because he thought it would be more fitting to throw a Nashville catfish.
This created a problem for Waddell: How is he supposed to transport a rotting fish 600 miles to Pittsburgh? The solution was to put it on ice in a cooler and drench it cologne and body spray.
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The next issue was finding a way to sneak the fish into the arena. His initial plan, being from Tennessee, was to slip the fish down the leg of a cowboy boot.
“I tried putting it in my boot but the head was too damn big,” Waddell said. “No matter how much I ran it over with the truck, the head was too damn big.”
Oh yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention the part where he ran it over with his truck. In an attempt to make the fish a more manageable size, Waddell brought it over to his cousin Troy’s place. Troy filleted it and cut out half of the spine, which is why it looked so mangled on TV. Waddell also attempted to flatten the fish by running it over with his pickup truck, “so it’d fit down my crotch.”
When the boot scheme failed, Waddell decided to put the mutilated fish down the front of his pants.
“I had two pairs of underwear on,” he explained. “I regular underwear on, put compression shorts on, slipped that between the two and walked right in [the arena].”
Getting close enough to the ice to actually throw the fish proved to be another challenge. Waddell and Troy bought a pair of tickets in the upper bowl for $350 each but needed to get down into the lower bowl so Waddell could sprint down the aisle and toss the fish. That’s where Troy’s military training came in.
“Troy’s an Army vet so he’s pretty good at scoping it out,” Waddell explained. “I almost got caught once, had it hightail it out of there, went to a different section. I find two Predators fans that came out during intermission who had e-tickets. They screenshot their tickets and text them to me, it’s that simple, which is beyond imagination to me. They send those to me, I go down to the section. Turns out I didn’t even it because they weren’t even checking.”
Then it was the moment of truth.
“As soon as there’s a break in the play, they get that faceoff, I just hightail it right down to the ice,” Waddell recalled. “I take the shirt [that was covering the fish] off, take the towel off, almost dropped it backwards—you can see me kinda re-grab it—and just hurled it on the ice.”
Waddell was apprehended by stadium security pretty quickly and now faces three misdemeanor charges, though he called two of them “trumped up” and believes they’ll be dropped. And he doesn’t regret a thing.
“It was absolutely 10 times over worth it, and I would do it a thousand more times.”