Professor’s fish story: The one that got away

By Jean Volz

NIU professor Charles Larson has filled his office walls with the trophies, certificates and momentos that highlight his career in academia.

But Tuesday, while conversing with a fellow faculty member, Larson abruptly noticed that his prize accolade was missing—a mounted fish.

Larson, a professor of communication studies, caught the 48-inch Northern pike in 1985, on a trip to Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin.

The fish won second place in a fishing contest and is a highly valuable possession of Larson’s.

This avid fisherman used his precious pike as a visual aid in many of his lectures. With it he illustrated the technique of catching the attention of a speaker’s audience via props.

But the classroom was not the only place that Larson held the fish in high regard. The pike held precedence in his busy office in Watson Hall, being mounted well above his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota, in addition to his Excellence in Teaching awards from NIU.

Although Larson has no concrete leads as to who would steal his 48-inch Northern pike, he did speculate that the theft could be a prank.

He deliberates whether or not the stolen fish was a result of bad feelings toward his now defunct publication, the International Journal of Creature Communication.

It seems that Larson’s love of life that exists in the aquatic world stemmed beyond his fisherman livelihood. He created the journal with the notion of it being a parody of fishing incorporated with academic jargon.

The existence of the publication was involuntarily short-lived, causing Larson’s fleeting thought that the extinct collections of humor were the underlying motive for the theft.

However, Larson does not dismiss any other notions of different catalysts in the pilfering.

He finds it ironic, however, that amidst a room full of items that are obviously worth more money than his fish, the mounted 48-inch Northern pike was the only thing that was stolen.

Larson is willing to offer a reward for the return of his prize possession. Anyone with information regarding the theft should call him at 753-7106, or go to his office in Watson 205.

People with information can remain anonymous if they choose, just as long as this avid fisherman sees the return of the largest fish he has ever caught.