July 23, 2009
Dear Joe, They Stole My Muskie
By Joe Cermele
Last week, I got an email from loyal F&S reader Butch Cole. The photo you see below was attached. Butch writes:
"I was wondering if I could trouble you to post a picture of this 50 inch muskie somewhere for the world to see. It was stolen from me. I had it on display in a local motel and apparently someone decided they needed it more than I did. I am offering a no questions asked reward for the return or the location of it. It was stolen in Park Rapids, Minnesota."
In my opinion, you've really got to suck at life to steal another man's fish mount. The cost is really irrelevant. What matters is that fish mounts have personal meaning. Assuming whoever stole Butch's trophy is telling folks he or she caught it, then they have gone well beyond standard fishing lies to a wicked low point. They don't deserve to call themselves a fisherman.
I own 6 fish mounts, and though each one is special to me, it's not the fish as much as the story behind them that holds meaning. For example, my first mount was a 20-inch brown trout. While that's no great shakes as far as brownies go, it was my first 20-inch trout on a fly rod using a fly I tied. I also have a 200-pound tarpon replica, and although my fiance says such a thing belongs only in a seafood restaurant and not in a residence, I'm fairly certain I'll never catch one that big again. So that 7 1/2-foot fish resides on an 8-foot wall in my house.
Point being, without the story, mounts become meaningless objects, and to take that away from someone and create a false tale because you don't have the know-how or patience to gather you're own epic tales on the water is a sad atrocity.
Butch, I think it's a long shot, but hopefully you'll get your fish. If nothing else, I'm sure the people on this site will have no problem expressing their feelings for the muskie thief. If you do see this muskie, Butch's email is email@example.com - JC