How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Monday, March 27, 2006

When it comes to muskie saga, I'm buying Pepsi

March 26, 2006


Every big fish story has holes. They're like jury trials: Whom do you believe?

Did Louis Spray catch the all-tackle record muskie?

Spence Petros believes the late Joseph "Joey Doves'' Aiuppa's tale of catching the world-record muskie, then selling it to Spray. It was Petros who introduced the story of Aiuppa and the trophy muskie on "The Outdoor Writers'' on ESPN in 1991.

Petros is a former bail bondsman and nephew of an old-style Chicago precinct captain. He has a b.s. detector a city-block long.

Aiuppa passed his believability test. "He had the strongest aura of anybody I've ever met,'' Petros said.

He's cynical enough that after he first heard the story, he went home and double-checked the dates Aiuppa gave for catching his muskie. They matched the Oct. 20, 1949, time frame when Spray claimed to catch his 69-pound, 11-ounce muskie from the Chippewa Flowage in northern Wisconsin.

Whom do I believe? Of the three major players in this saga -- Aiuppa's longtime outdoor companion, James "Pepsi'' Buonomo; the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and the World Record Muskie Alliance -- I find Buonomo the most believable.

That's not proof; that's a gut response.

On Oct. 20, 2005, the WRMA filed a 93-page protest against Spray's record (worldrecord I think some WRMA members have axes to grind, but they made their case, and parts of it I'd even call iron-clad.

By comparison, the Hall has zero credibility with me when it comes to defending Spray's record. On Jan. 16, officials at the Hall gave such a fatally flawed response ( to the WRMA protest as to be a joke.

The story lives.


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