Ocean Springs Fisherman Snags Local Legend

Published: Jun. 13, 2005 at 8:15 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2005 at 8:55 PM CDT
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Fishermen are known for telling tales. But few can top Michael Puckett's story from a recent fishing trip to an Ocean Springs bayou.

Puckett hooked into a local legend while fishing off the Davis Bayou bridge.

"I'd heard there was a lot of good fishing here, especially when the fish are bedding down right now," said Puckett, as he recalled his lucky fishing trip.

He had tried casting for trout in Davis Bayou. Instead of fish, he caught a lucky snag instead.

"And when I started up with it, it was kind of heavy you know. And when I got it up there was a lump of mud and I could tell it was a wallet. And I got real excited and I opened it up and could see the coins in it. And I knew I had something then," Puckett explained.

Five coins dated from 1899 to 1917 provide the monetary treasure. But the leather wallet is the shocker. Puckett cleaned off the mud to reveal the name: Al Capone.

"And that was when I saw Al Capone for the first time. And you can imagine. It just shocked me," he said.

Shock gave way to nervousness, fear and paranoia.

"I got scared you know. I wondered if I could keep this thing. Who do I tell? What do I do?," Puckett said.

He's contacted antiques experts to determine if the wallet really belonged to Chicago's most infamous gangster.

If Michael Puckett's discovery can be authenticated, it would lend credence to a longtime legend in Ocean Springs. Many residents here have heard the stories that a nearby house on the bayou was a favorite hangout for Capone, as the gangster was overseeing shipments of bootleg whiskey to America.

The home is just a fishing cast away from the spot where Puckett snagged his treasure. Authentic or not, it will always make for a good fishing story.

"I had an unfortunate cast. But I snapped it and pulled something out of the water that's pretty amazing," Puckett said.

Michael Puckett has no plans to sell the wallet and coins. However, he admits, someone might just make him, "an offer he can't refuse".

By Steve Phillips