After beginner angler Howard lands legendary carp "Old Sam", he discovers he has spoiled fishing for everyone by catching The Big One.



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Episode cast overview:
Opie Taylor (as Ronny Howard)
Sam Reese ...
Photographer (as Sammy Reese)
Old Sam ...


It's opening day for the new fishing season and Howard, who has never gone fishing before, wrangles an invitation to go along. Sure enough, the rookie fisherman catches Old Sam, the biggest and most elusive fish in the lake. It also turns out that he happens to be a rare species for the area and Howard is flattered when the Fish and Game Department want to put Old Sam in the Raleigh Aquarium. It soon becomes apparent however that with Old Sam no longer available to catch, the regular fisherman - Floyd, Goober and Opie among them - have lost interest in the sport. It's up to Howard to do something about it. Written by garykmcd

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Comedy | Family





Release Date:

28 November 1966 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the first shot of the lake, there are no trees as you look from Floyd & Goober to Howard and then on to Andy & Opie. Although no one changed positions, from other camera angles there are clearly trees to the right of Goober and all around Howard. See more »

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User Reviews

One of the few times I actually found myself liking Howard.
24 October 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Since Jack Dodson is dead, I don't feel so bad voicing my contempt for his character, Howard Sprague. While Howard was not an annoying and evil character (like Warren), he was tremendously dull. He, Emmett and Goober were sadly completely unable to kill the void left by Barney Fife's departure. Despite this dislike of Howard, however, I must admit that he was, occasionally, a good character and not always duller than unflavored gelatin.

This episode is about a legend in Mayberry (though it's never been mentioned before) of 'Old Sam'--a giant of a fish that people have been trying to catch for years in the lake. Surprisingly, the wimpy Howard (who knows nothing about fishing) manages to land Old Sam and has a chance to be a big man in town. But, in a nod to his character (at least the interesting part) he decides to release the fish as he can't stand the idea of killing off the legend.

A great chance for Howard to shine as a character--too bad there weren't more like this. While it was far from comedic, it helped you understand why Andy liked him--something previously inexplicable.

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