Hayward, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - Like any North woods fishing town, Hayward has its share of records, and fish stories.
"I caught the same musky four times in four days. I know it was the same one, because he was sitting in the same log—not a monster. They claim they're pretty smart, but that one bit four times," said Semi–Professional Bass Fisherman, Bob Richards.
Richards claims he caught his fish on the Chippewa Flowage... the same area an alleged world record monster was caught in 1949: a 60 and 1/4 inch long, 33 and 1/2 inch wide musky, which is currently on display at the Moccasin Bar, in Hayward, for all to see.
"[It's] the quintessential king of freshwater fish. Throughout North America, let's face it, the musky is king. Its line–breaking capabilities, the fish of 10,000 casts. It brings about this myth of fishing, Jonah and the beast, and everything like that," said Emmett Brown, Executive Director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, in Hayward.
According to Brown, while the mystery of the musky is alluring all its own, Hayward recognizes the significance of fishing to the region's tourism industry. Brown says it's a pastime with which everyone can get on board.
"It's all here, for the novice and for the experienced. You don't need a ton of money to get set up. Tackle companies probably don't want to hear that," said Brown.
Brown also says Hayward is home to more than one world record fish: "Hayward is also the holder of four world–record muskies."
But, just like the elusive musky, not everyone takes the bait when they hear the figures. In fact, there are those out there who believe, somewhere between truth and exaggeration, the whole thing became just another fish tale.
"I've heard that [rumor], and I don't buy it for several reasons. The actual catching and landing of that fish is very well documented, and the mount is very well–preserved. It's a 60 inch fish—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Let's put that rumor to bed once and for all," said Brown.
No matter what side of the world–record story locals and tourists find themselves on, one can be almost certain that there's another record out there, in one of the 54 musky lakes in Sawyer County, that will keep tourists coming back every year.
After all, aren't world records meant to be broken?
The Moccasin Bar isn't just the home of the alleged world record musky. It was recently recognized by the Trivial Pursuit board game as having the only known set of yodelling chipmunks... stuffed, of course.