Our great American imagination
CHAPTER 1 | CHAPTER 2 | CHAPTER 3 | CHAPTER 4 | CHAPTER 5 | CHAPTER 6 | CHAPTER 7 | CHAPTER 8 | CHAPTER 9 | CHAPTER 10 | CHAPTER 11 | CHAPTER 12 | CHAPTER 13 | CHAPTER 14 | CHAPTER 15 | CHAPTER 16 | CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 18
RICK Well, one of the best bellies of that sort is up in northern Wisconsin in the town of Hayward where there’s an unforgettable fish.
TED That’s a muskie. That’s a muskellunge.
RICK And that’s Ted Dzialo who’s the executive director of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum here at the Big Muskie.
TED As far as I know, it’s the biggest fiberglass structure anywhere.
MARY The kids, every time we drive by, the kids’ll go, “We gotta go see the big fish!”
MATT When I heard about it, it was like “over a block long” is how they plugged it. And then we made our way up here.
JAY We just decided to come here and actually didn't even know this big fish was here. We just came to the museum, and it was like Wooo!
GEORGE Big Fish is OK. I'd... Scare the heck out of me if I hooked one of those things in a boat.
CHRIS He’s big. Somebody had a wild hair at one point in time to build a big muskie.
TED The Big Muskie was put up in 1978 and opened to the public in 1979.
CHERRIE I like it. It’s kind of neat.
TED It's like the Castle in Disneyland. That's our sign of fame, the Big Muskie. It is a beautiful fish.
GEORGE Oh, yeah, it's pretty realistic, looks like a tiger muskie.
MATT But muskies are kind of ugly to begin with, so...
TED It's built out of 500 tons of concrete, steel & fiberglass. The skin on that fish is about inch-and-a-quarter thick.
MATT This is all I knew that was here. But I didn't know they had like a real museum going along with it and all these other fish, so...
CHRIS I could walk around in the buildings and see the sights all day long.
GEORGE I still use some of the stuff that they've got that they call antiques so...
CHRIS I love to look at the antique outboard motors there. They're really fun to look at.
MATT I think it's more about somebody actually building a giant fish out in the middle of nowhere. (laughs)
CHERRIE You can't be inside the belly of a fish too often.
RICK Well, Ted said he'd give us a quick tour.
TED Entering the Big Muskie, the first thing we see is our Jim Beam bottle collection, our memorial tiles, our donor tiles, and the replica of how the fish was built over the years. As we reach the top, we'll be looking over Lake Hayward and the grounds. It's a beautiful view from up here.
MARY What did you guys say when we got to the top? Coool! Look at the teeeth!
TED Well I say we have a woman that brushes the teeth on this muskie twice a week. Keep 'em clean.
RICK Are you serious?
TED No. (laughs)
JAY It's a little stinky when you get in the mouth though. It kind of...
GRANT Oh yeah.
JAY It smells a little like fiberglass.
TED And you can see, as donations come in for the various fish -- we've got eight fish on the grounds up there -- they're all beautifully landscaped grounds. So, it's an enjoyable place to visit.
JAY It takes us out of our everyday life into the world of what's possible, so you know, you can go into a big building anywhere, but where
can you go into a big fish?