Although I never did get so much as a bite, my father finally landed his keeper with, of all things, a No. 2 hook and a night crawler. When he brought his muskie into the bar at Herman's Landing and gave the bartender the vital information, including the bait and tackle used, which was dutifully recorded on a blackboard set up for this purpose, he received only scowls from the seasoned muskie veterans. Only a couple of college students, swigging beer, appreciated the irony and howled with laughter.
Your article on muskies is by far the best I've ever read in the eight years my family has subscribed to your magazine. Living near Chautauqua Lake, I've seen some big muskie catches—the longest fish having been 62 inches. But rumor has it that there's a six-foot monster lurking in "the deep."
KELLY L. KILMARTIN
Eleven pages! I couldn't believe it. You spent 11 pages on a fish story.
RUSS OF ALL TRADES
E.M. Swift's fine article on the incomparable Russ Francis (A Tight End Who Hangs Real Loose, May 12) gave short shrift to the facts of Francis' javelin career, while at the same time adding a legendary element to his javelin throwing that just doesn't wash.
Saying that Francis "set the national high school javelin record" is like saying that Bob Beamon was a good long jumper. In a sport where records don't last long, Francis' still stands, the oldest prep field-event record on the books. More remarkable is the manner in which he set the record. Russ had "never seen" a javelin until March 29 of his senior year in high school (1971). In his ninth meet he threw a high school-record 253'1" (no other high schooler has reached that distance yet). Between that and his ultimate throw of 259'9" came another record of 254'11".
It's there that Francis' notable javelin successes end, however, as he never again threw more than 250 feet and never qualified for the Olympic Trials, much less "just missed" the Olympic team, as Swift reports.
Track & Field News
Los Altos, Calif.
I enjoyed the story about Russ Francis learning to freefall. However, you made a mistake in the picture caption. The man shown freefalling with Russ is my son, Merle Clawson, not Mike Gennis.
MERLE CLAWSON SR.
READIN' 'N' 'RITHMETIC
Thank you very much for Ralph Graves' fine NOSTALGIA piece in the May 12 issue. Although I learned to read before I became a baseball fan, batting averages and ERAs played an invaluable part in my early math training. My childhood, though it was not so long ago, was in the days before electronic calculators, so I became handy with a slide rule while most of my friends were still struggling with the intricacies of the multiplication tables.
By the way, I can sympathize with Graves' frustration. The ineptness of his beloved Nats is matched only by the futility of my Indians. Had I been born two years earlier, I would at least have been able to claim that I was alive during the Tribe's last pennant-winning season (1954). And please don't mention the World Series.
EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL
In his letter (19TH HOLE, May 12) David Prybys said that South Orange-Maplewood, N.J.'s Columbia High may have been the first high school in the U.S. to have an indoor swimming pool—installed in 1936.