Status: Undetermined, but it doesn't look good for Charlie Controversy is swirling
in the world of muskie fishing over the status of Chin-Whiskered Charlie, the muskie that currently holds the title of biggest muskie ever caught, weighing in at 69 pounds, 11 ounces. He was reeled in by Louis Spray back in 1949. But now a group calling itself the World Record Muskie Alliance
is challenging Charlie's right to the title. Based on an analysis of old photos of Charlie (Charlie himself was destroyed in a fire in 1959), they're claiming Charlie's a fraud. They suspect Spray stuffed him with wet sand to increase his weight:
The muskie alliance supplied vintage photos of the suspect fish to Mills, a professional surveyor and former Transport Canada investigator who uses physics and various computer measurement technologies to reconstruct traffic accidents, trace bullet trajectories and discern the height of suspected criminals from video surveillance cameras. "This was definitely my first fish," says Mills. "It was a unique application of the science I use, but I tackled it the same way I would with any other evidence." His findings: the muskie Spray said was 63 inches in length couldn't have been more than 55 inches from snout to tail; and its reported girth of 31.25 inches was not possible given the maximum 10-inch, single-side width calculated by Mills. The Muskie Alliance submitted the results to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Charlie's defenders are claiming this is all a plot dreamed up by people in Illinois to rob Wisconsin of the Muskie title. Since photos are all anyone has to go on to determine Charlie's true weight, the battle will likely rage on for a while.