Big Fish

Clair Winship holds a muskellunge he caught in Hadley Bay, Chautauqua Lake, in September of 1955. This will give you an idea of what my grandfather could do with a bamboo fishing pole from a rowboat. The news account noted that the fish was 51 inches long, weighed 32 pounds, and was hooked on a “silver flash pikie.”

One of my favorite things about this picture is the bandage on the index finger of his left hand, probably from a fish hook, although it could have been from the teeth of the fish itself.

Grandpa used to cut off the fish heads and mount them above the garage doors of his cottage; he painted the heads silver and the teeth red. They were some amazing pieces of folk art; I wish I had one.

This fish hung on display in the window of Sloan’s New Room in Bemis Point. Grandpa then brought it home, dropped in across the kitchen table and said to his wife, “Abbie, clean this.” She replied, “No, Clair, you bury it.” Which he did.

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