The 'Report on Accuracy and The Associated Press' contained this piece from the Sept. 19, 1979, edition of The Miami Herald:
It Proves Just a Good Fish Story
Captain Wayne Scambler at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's office said there is no truth to the story about a 95-pound woman drowning after a large fish pulled here from the bank into the water after being hooked.
According to Scambler, Catherine Clark, 56, of Port St. Lucie, was fishing near the spillway at C-24 Canal with husband John.
"There are big rocks on the discharge side of the spillway," Scambler said. "The spillway gates were open, causing a strong current in the water and a mist which made the rocks slippery. Mrs. Clark slipped on the rocks and fell in. She was not pulled in by a fish."
Dan Sewell at The Associated Press in Miami said AP carried the story on its radio wire. "It was an unsubstantiated story so we didn't move it on our regular wire," he said. "We routinely move unsubstantiated stories on our broadcast wire."
It is true that the Clarks were fishing. And it is true that tarpons in the 100-pound class live in those waters at C-24 spillway, and such a fish could pull a person from a slippery rock. But in this case, no one was pulled in by a fish.