Announcing The 3rd Edition of A Compendium of Muskie Angling History

Category: press release

 Jan 17th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

VOLUME IAbstract:This 3rd edition of A Compendium of Muskie Angling History, Volume I is like reading a murder mystery, with some strange twits of fate, where you know who did it but you dont know how and you just have to find out! Finally, the complete truth of muskie angling world record history is revealed for the first time and past revisionist history corrected. There is a gaggle of historic photographs within, including many new photographs never before published. A must read for muskie junkies and fish historians everywhere. A Compendium of Muskie Angling History: Volume 1 by Larry Ramsell ExcerptDue to the massive amount of new information that makes up our sports history, this revised, updated & expanded 3rd Edition will consist of two volumes. Volume I, which you are about to peruse, deals only with the largest documented historic muskellunge, including the sanctioned world records and a number that werent sanctioned. Detailed completely will be the world record wars, containing everything you wanted to know including a considerable amount that has never been shared with the general public. You will find tons of new information contained herein to not only correct the errors of the past but reveal a considerable number of recently obtained historic photographs among the over 200 to be enjoyed.Readers of Compendium 3rd Edition, will discover that some of the fish of the past two editions have been upgraded to their rightful place in world record history and that there are several new additions to my Chronological List of World Record Muskellunge, as well. As was the case with my first two editions, my sole purpose for this 3rd Edition is to set the record straight…again. I do it as a Labor of Love and a desire to gather our sports history in one place for all to enjoy.Information on fish caught prior to 1911 is sketchy at best. In 1911, Field & Stream magazine started an annual fishing contest to recognize the heaviest catch of several sport fish, including muskellunge. Soon, the heaviest fish of each species sanctioned by Field & Stream were recognized as world records.In addition to Field & Streams records, the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (NFWFHF) established a freshwater angling records program in 1970. More comprehensive than Field & Streams annual contest, the NFWFHF records program provided anglers with additional opportunities for recognition. Eight years later, Field & Stream gave its costly and time-consuming annual freshwater fishing contest to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA); salt water anglings record keepers since 1939. Importantly, both the IGFA and the NFWFHF independently utilized and became stewards of Field & Streams records.Muskellunge world records have long been both a source of enjoyment and controversy for muskie anglers. Large muskellunge have made news since the mid 1800s but prior to Field & Streams Annual Fishing Contest in 1911, there was no official program to list and recognize them. Formal world records became an offshoot of Field & Streams Annual Fishing Contest. Although record keeping was not the original intent, the annual contest results recognized a new record whenever a catch at years end exceeded the previous top contest fish by weight. Only the largest fish entered in the Field & Stream contest made the world record list even though several times multiple fish beat the previous listed record in a given year. For example, even though Percy Havers June 29, 1939 Field & Stream fishing contest entry exceeded the weight of the standing world record, and Louis Sprays July 27, 1939 entry exceeded the weight of Havers, only John J. Colemans October 3, 1939 muskie, which exceeded the weight of both the Haver and Spray fish, made the world record list. Fish that were not entered in the Field & Stream contest were not evaluated or considered as records, even though they may have been legitimate and in many cases were. In the late 1930s, the American Museum of Natural History became involved as the official record keeper for both fresh and salt water catches. In 1939, the IGFA took over the duties of keeping salt water records. After the American Museum bowed out of record keeping, Field & Stream continued to list world records for freshwater catches and when a previous best was beaten in their contest, it was written about in the magazine.Field & Stream turned their freshwater angler record program over to the IGFA in 1978. In 1970, the NFWFHF introduced an independent world freshwater angler records program. In 1980, the NFWFHF and IGFA merged the two programs but differences arose and the NFWFHF began their program anew in 1981 under the direction of NWFHF founder, Bob Kutz. Notably, both the IGFA and the NFWFHF accepted the world records sanctioned by Field & Stream and independently became stewards of historic records in addition to sanctioning new records. My Chronological List of Muskellunge World Records is based on archival reports, Field & Stream contest records, IGFA and NFWFHF records, correspondence, affidavits, discussions with anglers and their friends and ancestors, interaction with record stewards and the perusal of popular and technical literature. The list of world records, including fish sanctioned by the record stewards, is largely predicated on angler honesty. Although the record stewards had rules for record application, they were often difficult to implement and at times cost prohibitive to completely document, particularly in the early years of record keeping.One does not write a book of this type, rather one attempts to compile the multitude of facts, photographs and information into some semblance of order…ENJOY!VOLUME IIAbstract:This 3rd edition of A Compendium of Muskie Angling History Volume II is like picking up a good novel that you just cant put down. Much sleep was lost to readers of the first two editions and much more will lost with this one! There is a gaggle of historic photographs within, including many never before published in modern times. Historic information basically lost in magazine and newspaper archives has been reborn. A must read for muskie junkies and fish historians everywhere. A Compendium of Muskie Angling History: Volume II by Larry Ramsell Due to the massive amount of new information that makes up our sports history this Revised, Updated & Expanded 3rd Edition has taken two volumes, including a Volume I that alone was nearly twice the size of the 2nd edition! Volume II, which you are about to peruse deals with everything else not contained in Volume I. Detailed completely will be the legendary information from histories archives. As with the first volume there will be a considerable amount that has never before been seen by the majority of the general public. Volume II completes the updating of A Compendium* of Muskie Angling History.*Compendium: A compendium gathers together and presents in concise or outline form all the essential facts and details of a subject.As I noted in the first volume, the compilation of muskie angling history is an ongoing pursuit that I hope never ends! My unending search for ancient muskie history bears enough occasional new fruit to warrant my continued effort…I love it!! You will find tons of new information contained herein. Revealed for the first time are a considerable number of recently obtained historic photographs.The Muskie Mystique- In trying to decide chapter order for this Compendium, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to set the stage by learning the different viewpoints from throughout the historical years of the sport as to what has caused anglers to become so interested and excited over this torpedo-shaped fish that has a propensity of following an anglers lure to the boat, turning his or her legs into jelly. I felt it best to include as many viewpoints as possible for two reasons. First, they are all accurate (I love ’em); and second, to reinforce my conviction that the muskie has, over the years, created more romance and insanity than any other of Mother Nature’s finny creations in North America!Just what is this thing called “Muskie Mystique”? What is it that turns normal people into maniacs? What is it that causes many anglers to dream of catching a muskie, even though they have never ever seen one? Why do outdoor writers consider the muskie a glamour fish? As all knowledgeable fishermen know, a muskie is a fish governed by the laws of nature, isn’t it? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. Let us delve back into the archives starting in the 1920s when muskie angling was fast becoming popular, angling equipment was improving, and outdoor writers found an exciting subject to write and, of course, exaggerate about.RECORD MUSKIES? The Could-Have-Been, Should-Have-Beens, Might-Have-Been, Legends And Hoaxes.One of my favorite pastimes in the slow part of the muskie season is to dig through the archives of the old muskie literature. Particularly favorite times are prior to 1911 when no formal records were kept and extant literature is hard to find. Additionally, the early days of record keeping (1911-1940) when several record size fish were taken but not officially recognized, too are interesting. Many legitimate record class muskies never made the “official” record list because those fish were not entered in the annual Field & Stream fishing contest.I marvel at the legends as well as the verified tales. The legends often have much imagination, but the sad tales are the near misses. Most often angler ignorance of record application procedures (certification of scales, etc.) was the primary cause of record fish not being accepted, including failure to enter the Field & Stream magazine contest after its inception in 1911, which prevented the fish from making their official list. As we travel back in time I will give you as much information as is available to me on each potential record fish, hoax, etc. Undoubtedly I will still miss a few and lack full information on others (please let me know of any not in this book that you good readers may know about). In addition will be the stories of other historic giant muskies regardless of legitimacy. I will start in 1774. I will list the year and if it is a legend, a reference, not verified, not sport caught, poached or just a plain hoax.Big Muskies: When? Where? Why? During my many years of researching muskie history one thing became painfully obvious to me. Verified fifty-pound and over muskies were and are not caught very frequently. In fact far less than 200 have made my list. Of course more have been caught but for one reason or another were never officially verified. Where credible I have included them starting in Volume I which included their catch stories. Catch stories for as may list 50-pounders will be included in this chapter. Since publication of my books first edition in 1982 and second edition 1997 I have learned of a few more early historic catches as well as several that have been caught in recent years and these stories where available will too be included. Of course catch and release is making it more difficult to document giant muskie catches as the vast majority are released un-weighed. Those potential 50-pound class fish will be addressed in Chapter Six.Over the years a number of legitimate 50-pound plus fish were caught that for one reason or another were not entered in contests and therefore not verified and of course prior to the Field & Stream contest which began in 1911 there was no official sanctioning body. Therefore it is impossible in most cases to verify those catches valid or not. If true however they should be recognized and I have attempted to do so in this book but take no responsibility for their accuracy. At the very least they all help add to the mystique!Wow! What a change in the North American muskie picture for BIG fish since the publication of my second edition in 1997.

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