If you’ve ever ventured into the Live Oak Lodge at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, then you’ve likely wandered into Big Murggie’s Den. More often than not guests are taken in by the billiards table and may not even give a second consideration to who, or what as the case may be, Big Murggie is. A clue as to this rascal’s identity can be found right over the mantle of the den’s fireplace.
The plaque reads, “Since 1941, a channel bass ‘Big Murggie’ has fouled both rod and reel in the waters of Broad Creek. Lodgers both young and old tell a tale of the bass never landed.” It goes on to list the individuals who almost got him, the date of the incident, an estimated weight of Big Murggie at the time, and a quote from the fishermen in concentrical fish shaped rings. The four entries are:
M. Merrill (6-5-41) – 15 Oz. “Nice try”
G. Grantham (10-27-48) – 10 Lbs. (Maybe) “Slipped away…”
R. Edmunds (3-14-59) – 22 +/- Lbs. “Bent my hook!”
T. Sparks (7-11-66) – 48 Lbs.? “Broke my line!”
If the name Edmunds rings a bell, that would be because it is his family, as the story goes, that it was Royce’s family that first came to the island and wanted to create this lodge. It just so happens that Royce is also one of those dedicated to the rod and reel who would love to see Murggie up on their wall.
According to the anthology of the resort, “Big Murggie is the biggest, meanest channel bass ever to cross man’s path. Royce was just a youngster when he first laid eyes on him, and from that day on he believed that it would be his mission to reel him in. You are welcome to fish for him yourself, but by now he’s probably as big as a house. The plaque on the wall in the den of the Live Oak Lodge is all primed and ready for him; all that’s missing is Big Murggie himself.”
Considering the last sighting was in 1966 when Murggie was 48 pounds, it’d be easy to believe he’d be the size of a house by now! So if you’re out on Fishing Pole Pier, and happen to see a rather oversized channel bass swim by, know that you’re probably going to need a big fishing rod. As for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if he buried himself in the much and has sprouted one of those beautiful dunes in the marsh. And that’s precisely the type of tale they tell around Big Murggie’s Den.