This story is over 5 years old.

If You Still Have a Big Mouth Billy Bass, Give It to This Restaurant

There are now nine Flying Fish restaurants, and each one of them has a Billy Bass Adoption Center.
Photo via Flickr user Rusty Clark

If you unwrapped a Christmas gift at any point in the early 2000s, there is a 100-percent chance that you had to pretend to be delighted to receive a realistic-looking rubber fish attached to a plastic plaque that moved its mouth in time with cover versions of "Take Me to the River" and Bobby McFerrin's only song. I sincerely hope you haven't thought about Big Mouth Billy Bass in a decade-plus, but if its dust-covered carcass is still under your childhood bed, you should probably give it to one particular Texas restaurant chain.


When ridiculously successful Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne opened his first Flying Fish location, in Little Rock, Arkansas, the restaurant included a wall dedicated to those godawful animatronics, offering a free basket of fried catfish and a wall plaque to anyone who handed their Billy Bass over. There are now nine Flying Fish restaurants, and each one of them has a Billy Bass Adoption Center, which tends to cover the walls, the ceilings and any flat surface where a fake fish can be stapled or nailed or whatever.

A decade ago, Larry Richardson, the co-owner of Flying Fish's Dallas location, said that most of their then-300-piece collection had been donated by women.

"Most of them ask us to please get this out of their attic—or garage, or house—and they all tell us, 'If he comes looking for it, don't tell him it's here," Richardson told the Stateline Observer in 2007.

Photo via Flickr user tpholland

Ten freaking years later, people still seem to own—and donate—those wily anthropomorphized fish on the regular. "Why do we treat 'em that way? It shouldn't be that way," Wynne recently told WFAA. "Right now, in attics all across Dallas, Fort Worth—there are Billy Basses waiting for a home."

Wynne is still willing to give them that home, even though—in his words—"Take Me To the River" continues to "haunt [his] dreams." Fortunately for Wynne's subconscious and for the continued sanity of anyone sitting near a mounted fish, the batteries are removed from each Billy Bass before it is placed on the wall.

Yeah—don't worry, be happy, indeed.