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Fishing Line Banned -- April Fool's Day, 1978
Dave Heberle, outdoors columnist for the Erie Times-News, reported that monofilament fishing line (a popular type of line used in trout fishing) was being banned in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania after an EPA researcher, Dr. Ayper Ilfu, found it caused cancer in brook trout. Dr. Ilfu conceded however, "We're not 100 percent sure about rainbows or browns." Violators would be fined $50 on a first offense and $75 for repeat infractions.
The Pennsylvania Fish Commission was flooded by calls from concerned fishermen. Also, anglers rushed to tackle shops to stock up on the popular line. Robert Herbert, owner a tackle shop south of Erie, said, "I'll tell you, it was brutal. People just panicked."
The newspaper subsequently printed a retraction, "we're truly sorry. The article that appeared... was a joke that turned out to be a nightmare. It was a false story, supposed to be an April Fool's Day joke, which backfired louder than a 1930 vintage car." Heberle was fired from his job.
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