It's A Question Of Trust

By: Craig Sandell 2006

The article below is a reprise of an article I did in 1997. It is presented again because the questions and concerns raised by the circumstance that prompted the article have never been adequately explained or competently addressed begging the question:

"How many other misrepresentations, in fact or photo, have slipped through the editorial crack at Musky Hunter Magazine?"

You pay good money for your magazine subscription with an expectation of getting quality editorial and article content...are you sure that you are getting your money's worth?

Reprised Article

In the November, 1997 issue of Musky Hunter Magazine, there is a feature article on page 16 by Mark Maghran that tells the story of an "explosion" of 50 inch fish on the Niagara River. Although the article is well written, there appears to be a little problem with the photographic documentation presented in the article.

The picture on page 16 shows a fish being proudly displayed by the article author. The fish is identified as a 50 incher (shown here at the left).

On page 17, there is another photo of a fisherman proudly displaying another catch. This fish is identified as a 51 incher (shown here below).

The little problem is that apparently both fishermen are proudly displaying the same fish. We know from the analysis done regarding the disqualification of the Art Lawton Musky that the markings and body irregularities of a particular Musky are as distinctive as finger prints are to human beings. Please note that on each photo the gill plate is marked with a red circle. If you take a close look at the gill plate in each photo, you will notice a distinctive irregularity. Under closer scrutiny, one can see that the gill plate irregularity on each fish is exactly the same. The enhanced view of both photo gill plates can be seen below.

50 Incher Gill Plate

Notice the distinct ripple
in the gill plate.

51 Incher Gill Plate

The gill plate of the
51 incher is the same.

It is highly unlikely that two different Musky would have the same exact gill plate irregularity. This leads one to conclude that either the same fish was caught by different Musky anglers or that the fish was passed between two Musky anglers for photographic bragging rights.

Regardless of which circumstance is correct, the fact that the same fish has been represented as two fish of different sizes is inescapable. Apparently, the good folks at Musky Hunter Magazine were unable to recognize the obvious.