by Chris Millar (The Highlander) -Future Image Dublin Member


For anyone who believes that there’s more to fishing than just choosing the right bait and that being ready with a “tall tale” is just as much a part of being a true angler as knowing how to properly play a fish, here are some great fishermen’s tales.

George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin

In 2007 President George W. Bush took Russian President Vladimir Putin fishing on a lake near the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. According to The New York Times while they were in Bush’s boat Putin caught a bass and was photographed holding it aloft. Now according to most “experienced fishing eyes” the fish appeared to be about 20 inches long. However by the time the leaders had reached the dock and added their own version of “fake news” Putin’s fish was reported to have been a more respectable 31 inches.

The ensuing controversy drew international media attention even with two Russian TV stations joining in and doubting the size of Putin’s fish. Some speculated that Bush had purposely exaggerated the “haul” in an effort to improve U.S.-Russian relations which were a little tense at that time. However one editor:David Benedetto,of “Saltwater Sportsman” lept to the President’s defense saying “We’ve all had a non-fisherman on the boat and added a few inches or pounds to his or her catch” .

Talking fish

This may not be the first instance of a person claiming to have found a talking fish and strictly speaking might not really be classed as a fishing tale in that the guys who described these events weren’t actually fishermen . However back in 2003 two workers in New York City’s New Square Fish Market (one a Christian, the other a Jew) said that they were about to kill a carp to be made into gefilte fish when the fish began shouting ‘Tzaruch shemirah’ and ‘Hasof bah,'” which in ancient Hebrew translates as “Everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is nigh.” The workers then went on to say that the fish carried on by identifying itself as the soul of a local Hasidic man who had died the previous year, and instructed the Jewish worker to carry on with his prayers and study of the Torah. I don’t know how much alcohol had been consumed that day by the two but ultimately it must have made them hungry as they opted to kill the fish and eat it anyway!

When is a Catfish not a Catfish ?

The Shanghaiist were sent a picture of what seemed to be a catfish literally the size of a car that had a human corpse inside with a caption that read “Each year, a few people will be drowned mysteriously in Huadu’s Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently when the brother of a certain official went swimming in the reservoir with his friend and were drowned that the secret was unravelled! It’s a 3 metre long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 metre wide! After cutting up the catfish people were surprised to find the remains of a man inside!”

On closer inspection the Shanghaiist followed up the story by revealing that the creature photographed was actually a whale shark (not a catfish) and being a saltwater ocean creature simply wouldn’t be found in landlocked reservoir. Thus completely debunking the tale.

Fiction over Fact

The Director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Mathematics, Douglas Arnold was contacted by the Fresh-Water Fishing Hall of Fame with an unusual request. He was sent a 1949 black-and-white photograph of a fisherman named Louis Spray holding what was supposed to be a 63.5-inch-long, 69-pound, 11-ounce muskie (also spelled musky), big enough for a world record. Fifty-six years later a rival record sanctioning group questioned Spray’s veracity . Unfortunately as the actual mounted fish had been destroyed in a fire in 1959, it was no longer possible to recheck it so the hall of fame wanted Arnold to find a way.

Now Arnold, who also happened to be an avid fisherman, used Spray’s height of 6 feet and comparative geometry to calculate that the muskie in the picture was most likely well short of the length claimed by Spray and therefore probably below the claimed also. Despite these findings the hall of fame decided to let Spray’s record stand even displaying a replica of the fish in its Hayward, Wis., museum !

The One that Got Away !

With a maximum length of nearly 14 feet and a top weight of around 440 pounds, the pirarucu, scientific name Arapaima gigas, is one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world. The giant air-breathing predator is seldom seen outside the Amazon basin. However, on the other side of the planet, in Malaysia, a few anglers recently claimed they encountered the pirarucu in their country’s Kenyir Lake — although, naturally, the fish got away. Villagers at Kampung Baung, a town that borders the lake also claimed to have seen the giant fish, which the article warned was capable of leaping several meters into the air and capsizing small boats with its “powerful head.” had seen an elderly Chinese man releasing two of the fish, which he said he’d brought from overseas, into a nearby river because they had grown too large for him to manage.

Personally I caught the Irish pike record in Five mile Town back in the late 90’s… “It was thiiiiiiiiisssssss Size”.

TIGHT LIES (Sorry Lines) everyone