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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

WRMA Rebuts the Freshwater Fishing HOF

Muskie First
Published March 26, 2006

Woodstock, Illinois (3/25/2006) - Attached is the World Record Muskie Alliance (WRMA) rebuttal to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame's "Decision Regarding the World Record Musky Challenge" from 1-16-2006.

The original 10-20-2005 WRMA report provided conclusive proof that Mr. Spray's 1949 World Record was falsified.

It remains the WRMA recommendation that this and all Spray records be immediately disqualified from current or historic record status or consideration by the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, as they represent obvious cases of fraud on the part of Spray and his associates.

WRMA Press Release
Rebuttal to Hall Decision
March 25, 2006
Events in Review

"The hall's report that is posted on their Web site (www.freshwater-fishing.org) does not include thorough, good science, because we were not asked to do thorough, good science. In general, I don't like science to be used as a tool to manipulate opinions," Arnold said. "You should never go to several experts and cherry pick the results you want."

-Dr. Douglas Arnold to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, March 4, 2006

The decades-long controversy over the legitimacy of the 1949 Spray record has evolved into a quintessential conflict between an irresistible force and an immovable object. In this case, the irresistible force is the truth, the immovable object the Hall of Fame and the crown jewel of its vaunted records program, the 1949 Louis Spray All-Tackle World Record. At stake is the integrity of the brass ring of our sport.

On October 20, 2005, the WRMA submitted the groundbreaking 93-page Spray Summary Report to the Hall (www.worldrecordmuskiealliance.com), to date the most scientific and comprehensive report of its kind ever compiled on the subject of historical record muskellunge.

Given the preponderance of scientific and circumstantial evidence to the contrary, the WRMA was compelled to accept the physical impossibility of the current Hall of Fame All-Tackle Record to have weighed anywhere close to the 69lbs, 11oz claimed by Spray in 1949. Therefore, it remains our recommendation that this and all Spray records be immediately disqualified from current or historic record status by the Hall.

Nevertheless, on January 16, 2006, the Hall held a closed press conference to announce their decision to retain the Spray Record. In doing so, the Hall of Fames Executive Board not only voted in clear opposition to established Hall precedent, but also instituted an entirely new voting protocol which plainly favored the Spray record.

Three mathematicians were quoted in the Hall's January 16 Decision Regarding the World Record Musky Challenge, Professor Joseph Gallian of University of Minnesota, Professor Dorian Goldfeld of Columbia University, and Professor Douglas Arnold, Ph.D. University of Minnesota Director, Institute for Mathematics and its Applications.

The Halls Decision document clearly states that the work of these individuals proved that the reported length of Spray's musky (63 inches) is in the "ballpark" (the approximate range) of where it should be (pp.1). Nonetheless, on February 21, 2006, these same three professors came forward to announce that they had sent the following letter to Hall Executive Director Emmett Brown:

We are all three concerned that the Hall did not fully understand the results of our analyses and also are all concerned by the manner in which the Hall chose to communicate with us. On February 1, 2006 we wrote this letter to Emmett Brown, the Executive Director of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, about this. We have not yet had a response from Mr. Brown or anyone else at the Hall. (http://www.ima.umn.edu/~arnold/muskie/):

The professors go on to make the following recommendation to the Hall:

We believe that a much more definitive result can be obtained from the photos which are available. To this end, it is our recommendation that an independent group, including experts on mathematics and photogrammetry, be impaneled. This group should be supplied with the full information available, including all known photos of the fish in original format, and allowed to pursue the evidence as they feel most justified.

In the wake of the February 21 revelation on the part of the Hall’s own experts that their work cannot be used to refute the findings of the original WRMA Spray report, it is clear that the WRMA findings have yet to be properly addressed, much less refuted, by the Hall of Fame.

Therefore, we feel it is incumbent upon the Hall if it wishes to remain a viable record-keeping agency to act in accordance with its own established precedent in disqualifying properly documented” historical records and act immediately to disqualify Mr. Sprays muskies, or turn the matter over to a wholly-independent professional arbitrator for a proper, professional review.

Should the Hall choose to follow their own experts advise and empanel a wholly independent group of photogrammetrists and mathematicians to evaluate all information available, evaluating all known photographs in their original format, the WRMA agrees to unequivocally accept whatever conclusion these independent experts might arrive at.

Therefore, we do not anticipate filing another protest with the Hall at any point in the foreseeable future, as we consider our current protest of Mr. Sprays records unresolved, open and pending. Moreover, given the Halls decidedly less-than-professional treatment of the carefully researched 10-20-05 WRMA Spray Report, the WRMA no longer recognizes the Hayward Hall as a viable international record-keeping entity.

CAL JOHNSON All Tackle World Record

The WRMA now joins the IGFA in recognizing the 1949 Cal Johnson muskellunge (67.5lbs, 60.25 x 33.5) as the WRMA All-Tackle World Record, pending proper authentication and review in accordance with our original mission statement. In the event that another formal protest is required, supporting documentation will be presented to the IGFA alone, without consideration to the Hall of Fame.

Modern day records program

We are also excited by the possibility of the creation of a new Modern-Day Records Program, to be presented and considered at the upcoming April 1, 2006 Muskies Inc. International meeting,

The results will officially be made public by April 3, 2006 by a new independent agency.

The WRMA was founded to resolve the controversy over the legitimacy of the current All Tackle World Record. Sadly, in the short run it would appear that the October 20 release of the WRMA's Spray Report has had quite the opposite effect. Our heartfelt hope is that in the long run, our combined efforts will ensure that mistakes made by well-intentioned record keepers who had no choice but to, in the words of Karl Kahmann, "rely upon affidavits and scaler's record stubs," need not be repeated.

With these thoughts in mind, we now ask the general muskie fishing public to accept the findings as presented by the 10-20-05 WRMA report and this rebuttal as our final word on Mr. Sprays muskies.


World Record Muskie Alliance:
The World Record Muskie Alliance (WRMA) was formed in January of 2004, assembling a dedicated group of muskellunge anglers who felt strongly that the controversy over the legitimacy of the current All Tackle World Record Muskellunge could be resolved by the use of modern technology and unbiased methods of authentication.

Today, the WRMA is dedicated toward using modern technology and scientific methodology to:

(1) Resolve the current controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the currently accepted record muskellunge.

(2) Establish proper controls and record keeping agencies to ensure the legitimacy of all future record muskellunge.

(3) Library and disseminate scientific data regarding world record muskellunge catches.

(4) Promote and maintain trophy muskellunge fisheries throughout the species' native range by supporting ongoing scientific efforts to determine optimal species reintroduction strategies.

(5) Protect vital spawning and nursery habit to ensure integrity of designated trophy waters.

The WRMA is a registered IRS 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, ID #75884. Our employer ID # is 20-1741826. We are also legally registered in the state of IL, CO# 0145457.

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