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Monday, January 23, 2006

Muskie Hall of Fame Statement

The following is the full statement provided by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame on rejecting a challenge to Louie Spray's 1949 world-record muskie.

Fishing Hall of Fame validates Spray muskie

Last October, a group known as the World Record Musky Alliance (WRMA) presented a report to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (NFWFHF) that alleged Louie Spray's 1949 all-tackle world record musky of 69 pounds 11 ounces had been falsified in size and should be expunged from the record books. After a careful and objective review of every aspect of the report during the past 3 months, the NFWFHF has ruled that the report lacks sufficient merit to overturn the Spray record.

The report's primary piece of evidence (which alleged that the Spray musky was only 53.6 inches long) came as a result of a computer software program that relied on multiple assumptions to be inputted before a result could be yielded. Although the software program that was utilized did indeed yield a result based upon the multiple assumptions that it was essentially fed, the arrived at result proves to be — at best — inconclusive. In fact, when asked if a control experiment was done to test the accuracy of this program with a fish of known size, it was learned that such a control test was never conducted.

Clearly, the "scientific method" (which requires any hypothesis to be tested by doing a control test) was not followed in this matter, a hard fact that throws serious question into the validity of the conclusions that were yielded. Because no control was ever done to test the approach that was used and so many assumptions had to be made, there exists too much reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of their result. In fact, while the report's primary photo analysis results prove to be inconclusive at best, other allegations contained in the report prove to be largely speculative, invalid, and, in many cases, outright false.

Countering the report's inconclusive results is much strong documentation supporting the size of the Spray musky. There are many sworn statements by credible witnesses; the mount of the fish was on public display for years; and the photos of this musky actually support–through the use of same plane, direct scaling techniques that were employed by two professors of Mathematics (both of whom hold doctorates in Mathematics)–that the reported length of Spray's musky (63½ inches) is right in the "ballpark" (the approximate range) of where it should be. The two professors who scaled the length of Spray's musky from the photo were, Dr. Joseph Gallian, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota in Duluth whoholds a PhD in Mathematics and is the president-elect of the Mathematical Association of America, and Dr. Dorian Goldfeld, Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University in New York who holds a PhD in Mathematics.

Using the same plane, direct scaling technique: Dr. Gallian's calculation for the visible portion of the length of the Spray fish in the photo was 62.75 inches and Dr. Goldfeld's calculation for the visible portion of the length of the Spray fish in the photo was 63.62 inches. The direct scale techniques that were applied to the Spray photo have also been subjected to a control test, which proved to be accurate to within three quarters of an inch, by the same two (above mentioned) professors. Repeated control tests have also proven this method of using the same plane, direct scaling technique to be highly accurate.

The sworn statements verifying the Spray musky serve as very hard documentation:

1) Postmaster Jack Reinke of the Stone Lake Post Office swore under oath on an affidavit that he had personally weighed and measured Spray's 1949 record musky in the presence of Spray's fishing partners, Ted Hagg and George Quentmeyer (who also swore under oath on their own affidavits that they had witnessed Reinke's weigh-in). Reinke, a man held in high regard in the Stone Lake community, swore that he had personally: weighed the musky in at 69 pounds 11 ounces, measured the fish at 63½ inches long, and measured the musky's girth at 31¼ inches.

2) Another individual who swore under oath that he had also measured Spray's 1949 record musky was Nick Barnes, a carpenter at Herman's Landing who happened to be one of the first people to see Spray's fish after it had been brought in. Barnes swore under oath on an affidavit that, while the fish was there at Herman's Landing, he had personally measured the fish and found it to be 64 inches in length.

3) Six other witnesses who all swore under oath that they had witnessed the Spray musky and that the fish appeared to be a freshly caught fish were Herman and Edna Ceranske, Charlie Pastika, Jake Jordan, Milton Stroner, and Karl Kahmann.

4) The taxidermist who mounted Louie Spray's 1949 record fish, Hugh Lackey, a stranger to Spray who ran a sport shop in the Wausau, Wisconsin area, swore under oath that he had done an internal examination of the stomach contents of the fish and found no artificial weight or foreign objects inside the fish. Lackey completed the mounting of the Spray musky in only 25 days. The mount of the Spray 69 pound 11 ounce world record musky was put on public display alongside Cal Johnson's mounted 67½ pound world record musky at the Milwaukee Sentinel Sport Show in 1950, where it was photographed and witnessed by literally thousands of people. Incidentally, photos taken of the display clearly show that the Spray mount was noticeably longer than the Johnson mount, a fish which is still on display today. Spray's fish remained on public display for the next nine years, until it was destroyed in a fire in Spray's real estate office in Rice Lake in 1959.

In additional to the ten above mentioned sworn witness affidavits, the Hall also conducted a video taped interview with Leonard Dorazio who vividly recalled witnessing Spray's fish at Herman's Landing shortly after it had been brought in. Dorazio stated in the interview that the musky had obviously been freshly caught and that he remembered it being clearly over five feet long because it was as tall as him at the time.

Louie Spray's world record musky is likely the most scrutinized musky ever caught. The additional scrutiny of this fish only serves to further support its validity.

For more detailed information about the Hall's decision to retain the Louie Spray world record musky, please see our website at: or contact Emmett Brown, Executive Director of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame at 715-634-4440.


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