Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Voice from the Past: Larry St. John Part I

Careful readers have already been introduced to Larry St. John, a pioneering fishing writer for The Chicago Tribune for a number of years in the early twentieth century and the author of several important works on fishing. A good sample of the kind of writings that made him popular is found in this article from his "Woods and Waters" column from April, 1921. To save space I have divided the article into two parts, to run concurrently today and tomorrow.

Woods and Waters

by Larry St. John

Catalina Record Fish, Part I

Chicago anglers and anglerettes have taken some unusually large fish at Catalina Island during the past season, among them some record and near record specimens.

A swordfish weighing in the neighborhood of 200 pounds caught on rod and reel by Finley Barrell was said by Keith Spalding to be "pretty good for bait."

And just to prove his argument, Mr. Spalding landed a broadbill swordfish, known as the fiercest monster of the sea, that weighed 258 pounds. His catch, made by hook and line from the Spaldling yacht, Good Will, took one hour and six minutes to land.

This fish gave Mr. Spalding the record for the season as well as the honor of landing the largest broadbill in three years--until Zane Grey, the author, took a look at the catch. Mr. Grey said nothing, but day after day "stalked the deep" in quest of a fin. When he brought in his tropy, his king of the sea weigned 418 pounds--the largest taken on rod and reel in several years.

Then Mrs. Spalding decided that angling honors could be captured by the fair sex as well. The remarkable catch of a 225-pound marlin swordfish made at Catalina last season by Mrs. Marshall Field III, had decreed Chicago anglerettes peculiarly favored by fishermen's luck. Mrs. Spalding started after tuna and the beautiful blue-fin took the count. Her first day's catch was a 111 pounder and a 108 pounder.

-- Dr. Todd

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