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Fit To Be Fried

Restaurant's adopt-a-fish program is an alluring offer.

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Since its invention seven years ago, the Big Mouth Billy Bass has annoyed thousands. Mounted like a real fishing trophy, the animatronic fish seems innocuous enough, but walk past it and you'll wish you hadn't. That is, unless you like cheesy recordings of "Take Me to the River."

Shannon Wynne, owner of the Flying Saucer and its sister restaurant, the Flying Fish, says he was given about six of the singing fish when the product was at its peak.

"People would get them and think they were the first person who'd ever seen them," he says. "Nearly everyone that bass fishes got one. Now that the craze is over, people have got all these fish sitting up in their attics."

This is where the Flying Fish comes in. As a Billy Bass Adoption Center, the restaurant has roughly 20 singing fish hanging on the wall (don't worry; they take the batteries out first). Patrons bring their Billy Bass with them, sign adoption papers giving them to the restaurant, and in return, get a free basket of catfish.

Wynne founded the restaurant with a country fishing shack in mind. The walls are adorned with mementos from fishing trips, and there's even an entire wall dedicated to the amazing catches that customers have made over the years, aptly named "The Liars' Wall."

Memphis isn't the first location for the Flying Fish. There are three Flying Fish in Texas and one in Arkansas, smack dab in the heart of fishing country. "The one in Little Rock is just a mecca," says Wynne. "They love it, they really do."

No word on whether anyone has started adopting Kung Fu Karate Hamster or Buck the Singing Deer yet.

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