Can A Release Be A Musky Record?
Craig Sandell

There have been many articles that demonstrate that there is reason to re-consider the advisability of a record category for Musky that are released.

Indeed, there isn't a person out there reading this that doesn't have access to a computer or to someone who has a computer. Computers make it easy to manipulate data regardless of whether that data is text based or graphic based. The availability and affordability of programs that can "enhance" a graphic image and even produce a photo negative brings into question whether one can actually believe what is seen.

The concept of a record category for released Musky is an interesting thought but it just doesn't work.

The problem is that, tough as it is to admit, there are folks out there that are not above bending the truth of a catch. Why would someone do such a thing? The easy answer is "MONEY". A person who can claim a world record release or a state record release can make a pretty nice piece of change from product endorsements for line, reels, rods, boats, motors and, of course, lures. There is even more to gain if the individual has a line of Musky lures or Musky products or guide services.

Gone are the days when stout men climbed into small boats, powered up their 5 HP motors and set out in search of a personal adventure Musky fishing. Today, the Musky experience has evolved into a very high profile sport/business. You need only look at the plethora of off-season Musky shows that mushroom up from Minnesota to New York to observe the marketability of Musky fishing.

Yes, I know that many will say that not having a record release category will only encourage people to keep their Musky rather than release it. Why does someone keep a Musky? For some who are new to the sport, a first legal fish is a trophy. An accomplished and caring Musky angler will keep a Musky only if there is little or no possibility of a successful release.

For other Musky anglers, its bragging rites or the possibility of a "pay day" that motivates them to keep their catch. These Musky anglers are going to keep a "pay day" fish whether a release category exists or not. They are not on the water for the experience unto itself but rather they are chasing the "pot of gold" at the end of the "Musky Product Endorsement Rainbow".

As I stated earlier, the record release category is a noble idea. The problem is that there are some Musky anglers out there that have less than noble intentions.

Feedback - 1/28/06

I recently received an E-mail that questioned this article...specifically taking exception to the concept of a "Payday Fish". It was evident from that E-mail that the sender has not recently looked at catalogs and magazines that use Musky personages to sell lures, videos, rod/reel combinations and 'How To' fishing adventures as well as Musky books.

Certainly, the folks who are selling their endorsement for money, goods, and/or services would not have been able to encourage a contributor or sponsor or student if they had not developed a reputation from catching Musky in the over 48 inch class. How much more would that 'earning power' be enhanced by a line class record?

The pursuit of a 'Payday Fish' is real.