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I just read this in another forum....Just figured I'd share with all that haven't had a chance to read!

By Jim Hannan
Jim/Striper247,Welcome to NJStriper.Com
Glad To Have You Aboard.Please Note
(IM Sent) I had to edit your Website.
Thanks,
NS
Setting the record straight.

The night he caught the devil. The real story.

First a little backround. Al McReynolds is 58 years old. He will be 59 on October 12th 2004. AL and his wife Karen have 3 children. Albert Jr., Thomas and Katey. They have all been and still are tournament fishermen. He is most proud of their accomplishments. They have all won multiple tournaments and Albert Jr. was an american fishermen sportsmen of the year. They live in Beverly Massachusetts.

He is a kind and sensitive man with little more than an eighth grade education. His lack of education and inability to read and write allowed the total exploitation of his record fish.

Al was Born and raised in Atlantic City New Jersey, 3 blocks from where he caught the fish of a lifetime.

He had to quit school all together to support his family when his Grandfather suffered a stroke "in front of me" and died from a ruptured brain aneurism.

Before this time little Albert had woked with his grandfather who was a sea captain. Al did whatever he could do to help. He manned the swabbie bucket, cut bait, wrapped rods, relinined reels, rebaited traps, painted boats, help build docks and "anything I could that would keep me near the water" he said. "I worked my way on from helper to deck hand, first mate and eventually to captain. I have traveled the earth on fishing boats and still love the sea".

He shined shoes in a club in Atlantic city and got to know Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He was not allowed to talk to them while he worked there. "They took a liking to me" he said. "They were very generous. I even got as much as $100 tips for fetching matches for them. I was the richest kid in school". When I took the job working for the Atlantic city lifeguard beach patrol, they tried to talk me out of it. But I was always drawn to the water. He was still working for the beach patrol the day he caught the record. He took the next day off and was docked the days pay.

He has been fishing or working in and around the water since he was old enough to remember. Al was 36 years old when he caught the world record striped bass on September 21st 1982. Fishing in a Nor'Eastern in Atlantic City New Jersey from the Vermont Avenue Jetty the fish took almost 4 hours to land and weighed 78 pounds 8 oz. measured 53 inches in length and 34 1/2 inches in girth.

Albert was born to fish. His years of bad knots, weak hooks, improper drag sets, wrong tides, water temperatures, baits and lures prepared him for the record.

All the mistakes and preparation beforehand had made him uniquely qualified for this remarkable battle with the biggest striped bass recorded and documented to date.

He now feels he was born to catch that particular fish. "Everything was right for it" he said. "

But nothing could have prepared him for what followed.

THE BAD

Al feels strongly that he was cursed with this fish. The accusations of lying and cheating, hate mail and even death threats were just part of the reasons. Both family members and friends turned on him and demanded money from him. He was called a cheat and a liar. The years following the catch were so bad for him that he says without hesitation that had he to do it over again he would have cut the line.
"Would you believe a guy pulled a gun on me? Over a Fish. Over a #[email protected]# fish

It had to do with fish skin mounts and reproductions. A tackle manufacturer agreed to make him a mount of the fish as long as they could keep one for their own. They also offered to give him 2 free tackle boxes filled with lures. None of which he ever received.

"I want people to know the truth, people to get their facts right"


The bait and tackle shop weigh master also received $25,000 for having certified the fish as a world record. I will soon publish more in greater detail to explain why he never received the mount. He was told the fish was freezer burnt and thrown away. Al does not believe this happened, because there were at least two inquiries that he was aware of from the west coast and Minnesota to purchase the fish.
The rumor that was perpetuated in his hometown from these same individuals who swindled him out of the fish is that he sold the mount to pay off a bar tab.

The three other corporate tackle manufactures used Al and took advantage of him. Line, rod and reel manufacturers. After he posed for them in their pictures with their tackle they no longer had any use for him. None kept their promises. One offered him life time tackle and job on the advisory staff to put their reel in the pictures. When He went to the manufacturer to collect on his promise He was told that the representative had no authorization to offer any of this, and was eventually kicked off the premises and told the cops would be called if he didnt leave. The Palm Beach line company promised him a life time contract and when they renegged they stated"that they were just a mom and pa outfit". That they couldnt afford to give him any line. They do now though. The rod manufacturer offered $1500 and then told him some guy took off with the money. Only one tackle manufacturer eventually had to pay him $250,000 and only reluctantly after being exposed by an article written in the New York Times by Nelson Byron a year and a half after catching the fish. Loydds of London had denied the tackle companies claim and they in turn tried to deny AL. Nelson Byron stuck by him and threatened to expose the company if they renegged on the 250,000 world record offer. The owner paid Al personally, fired everybody involved then sold the company.

These groups made millions. They gave him a shirt and a hat. He feels he was treated inferior because he was a fishermen. A tennis player or skateboarder received much more respect. He didnt know how to go about getting endorsements or sponsorships . "I was so miserable. I have yet to sell a hat, beer or a even a frisbee"


THE UGLY

It gets better. Not for Al. Outright lies about the fish was that it couldnt possibly be caught from the surf that it was bought off a passing trawler.
Al says thats just ridiculous. " If it was caught aboard a trawler why wouldnt they have claimed the fish as a record for someone aboard ship."

He still wants to know why ______ pulled a gun on him? (more about this later).

A picture of Al at the bait shop that betrayed him.
Jim/Striper247,Welcome to NJStriper.Com
Glad To Have You Aboard.Please Note
(IM Sent) I had to edit your Website.
Thanks,
NS

He was once married only briefly at age 17 to a Benson & Hedges cigarette heiress. She was now suing him for part of the money.

A cousin was spreading outright lies around his hometown about him. Even assumed Als identity for a time telling everyone that he was a sea captain who had been to Alaska on a crabbing boat in the Aelution Islands, was a sea captain in Hawaii, Florida and Gloucester, I had previously published that this cousin had manged to even sour his once loving grandmother against him. But Al said that was not true. Als grandmother raised him and loved him till the day she died. It was the cousin she couldnt stand she "thought he was whacko".

His childhood friend whom he gave $10,000 to, and was with him when he caught the fish disrespected his wife with a crude sexual comment at an Atlantic City Club that ended their friendship.

The Good

A bright spot for Al was a letter written to him by Bob Rochetta the former world record holder congratulating Al on his record catch. He also warned him about the difficulties that would lie ahead. Al said "it got my attention"

The fish still had to get sanctioned by the IGFA. You only get one shot at it and there is no procedure for appeal. Al was broke and destitute living with his wife and children in a the Blue Marlin motel. Too proud to ask anyone for help. He had just sold a TV set to pay the rent bill. It was christmas eve 1982 when the president of the Internationall Game and Fish association Edward K. Herry called him and said " You are the new world champ". He cried.

Epilogue

He says these days he doesnt have the stamina and endurance that it takes to catch that fish, He no longer "runs like a mullet, I got to walk" The good for him turned into a living hell. Nothing prepared him for what came after.

The experience deflated him and the hate mail broke his heart. When I think about it all sometimes. Was it worth it? I just dont know.

"I didnt catch the devil that night the devil caught me"


Als most recent fishing report. Fishing near the Merrimack river in a place called magnolia rocks with chunks herring. The take was 47 and 57 pounders with a 33 pounder the smallest for the trip.

Al is willing to entertain endorsement offers. If you would like to contact Al you may contact him here. Als mail box [email protected]
Al would love to hear from his fans and plans to respond to each and every email
 

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That's a Shame predators cash in on someones good fortune, then Rip them off! Jealousy and Envy make enemies of your friends and family. That could've been one of the happiest moments of his life to reflect back on everytime he looked at the mount. It's sad that it's Tarnished with Greed and Dispare.
 

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Nice story, it is a shame for Al. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago and he introduced himself to me as " Hi I'm Al McReynolds world record holder for striper". I had read an article about him not 2 weeks before that and a picture and his 'old salt' face confirmed to me it was Al. I was fishing a very secret jetty in Longport and he came down with a bucket and net to land some peanuts for fishing with his lady in AC. we had a nice conversation about his big catch and fishing in general. He was a true gentleman and I felt honored to have had that day as a memory. By the way, not one other netter on the beach could locate or catch any bunker but he left with a full bucket. It is in his blood and he has worked hard at his accomplishments. The big fish is only one.
GO GET'EM AL
 

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I heard about that story, my uncle told me about it. Its such a shame that someone who was born with fishing in their blood was robbed like that. Many of us dream of catching a 50lber, but to catch a 78lber wow. I hope the next person to catch a world record striper doesn't get robbed like that, and actually gets their mount back! And even though I have never met the man, I wish Al the best of luck and that he gets sponsors and gets a good recovery from the mess that he's had to deal with from the past 12 years-nobody deserves that.
Good luck Al and tight lines.
 
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