Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Art Lawton--Musky Angler by Mike Kaligordis

A few weeks ago, Michael Kalogridis posted an interesting story and pics on Joe's Board. With his kind permission, I've reposted it here to preserve this great piece of musky fishing history.

Several years ago I got a call from a woman living in Clarksville, N.Y., a small rural town about 10 miles South of Albany. She and her husband Paul grew up on the same farm road as Art Lawton. Art was a proficient "Musky Hunter" from the 1930s - 1960s. His prey were often subject of his prowess on the St. Lawrence River, near Clayton, NY.

Art Lawton with his disavowed record muskellunge.

His wife Ruth most always accompanied him on his outings, fishing their secret areas and applying his shielded techniques. In one article I read about him it says "the wooden diving lures, specifically the Creek Chub Pikie Minnows, were their favorites. Lawton was very much into color patterns, emphasizing the use of different colors depending on water clarity."

Picture of a CCBCO Giant Pikie known to have belonged to Art.

He probably painted the above lure to suit the conditions he was fishing at that time. I wonder where all the rest of his tackle ended up!

Art once held the world record Musky title for a 69 pound 15 oz. (64 1/2") catch in 1957. In the October/November 1992 Musky Hunter Magazine historical editor, John Dettloff's article, summarizing his research which overturned Art's record, appeared. In addition to the bait, copies of photos and the magazine, I was fortunate to also get the original letter John Dettloff wrote to the neighbor (requesting photos and information).

The other side of the Lawton Pikie Minnow; appears to be a Silver Flash factory paint shceme overpainted with a Black Flash paint.

Letter from Detloff.

I was so happy to procure this important artifact of Art Lawton's. There are so many more details about this that if interested you can locate on the internet.

-- Mike Kaligordis

As a Hayward boy, I grew up believing Art Lawton was the devil. All I heard from the boys at Pastika's and other tackle shops was how they absolutely knew that Lawton's record was a fraud; apparently they were right! This does obscure the fact that Art Lawton was an incredibly talented musky angler. These are neat pieces of musky fishing history, and many thanks to Mike for sharing it with us!

-- Dr. Todd

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on this ongoing debate about the authenticity of the famous "Art Lawton Musky". I cannot recall at anytime anyone approaching the family of Mt. Lawton's fishing guide from his "secret location". I am the 48 year old grandson of the above mentioned fishing guide Mr. Louie Bush that caught Mr. Lawton's record fish. I remember as a boy Mr/Mrs. Lawton, their big white convertable car, their big white boat that I believe was awarded to Art for winning the tournament and the 10 hp black Mercury outboard motor without reverse that Art gave to my grandfather for his help.

SURPRISED? You bet! Here is another bit of historical information; The musky was NOT caught in Clayton, NY but near a small village along the St. Lawrence River. The village is on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation straddling the Canada/USA border in Upstate NY.

The musky was not caught in a net, was not purchased from an Indian fisherman as stated in earlier reports. The truth is Mr. Louie Bush caught the musky on a fishing pole and lure that the Bush Family still possess, along with the actual events on that historical day.

My grandpa and grandma are gone now, and are resting in our community cemetary overlooking the beautiful St. Lawrence River. Engraved on their dual headstone is the word "Musky King" along with the data of "HIS WORLD RECORD MUSKY". So if you have an inquirying mind and want to know about this story from the family and community of the Musky King, take a trip and hear it first hand.

It's time to set the record straight.

Thank you