Austin Wiggerman, a 17-year-old from Lake in the Hills, says he is addicted to catching big fish with sharp teeth – muskies and northern pike.
The son of Kirk and Doreen Wiggerman began fishing with his father when he was a 3. They’ve spent a lot of time at a summer cabin the family acquired seven years ago on Wisconsin’s Waupaca Chain.
Like most kids, Austin first learned how to catch bluegills and then moved up to bass. It wasn’t long before the allure of muskies and pike took over in his list of favorite fish.
“Muskies are harder to catch,” Austin Wiggerman said. “Pike are a lot of fun. They both give you an incredible fight. They’re the most exhilarating fish to catch.”
Locally, Austin chases his beloved muskies and pike on McHenry County’s Crystal Lake. He fishes with his best friend, Corbin Pennino. They’ve been hitting the water together for the past couple years. Corbin was in the boat when Austin recently caught his best muskie ever, a beautiful 41-inch beast on Crystal Lake near the West beach.
Pennino and Wiggerman love fishing on Crystal Lake. They attack it in the Pennino family’s 21-foot Lund Pro-V with a 225-horsepower motor. The boys know there are much bigger fish in the lake, claiming to have had fish over 50 inches follow their baits to their boat.
Wiggerman has accompanied Pennino and his family on a Canadian fly-in adventure though Pipestone Outfitters in Ontario the past two summers and already is packing for his next trip in July.
Wiggerman isn’t your average teenager. He doesn’t play video games, spending his leisure time on the water. Do his classmates and peers think his behavior is odd?
“Not at all,” Austin said. “They know that I am totally obsessed with fishing, but they think it’s cool. Kids love the outdoors, but they’re not into fishing because their friends and families haven’t taught them. They’d love to do it if they could get someone to teach them.”
Wiggerman has just graduated from Crystal Lake South High School and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall. He plans on studying business management.
In the fishing world, Wiggerman’s goals include fishing for muskies and pike on Canada’s legendary Lake of the Woods. He also aspires to one day be able to reel in a muskie of 50 inches or more in length. With the early start to his career and his tenacity and determination, he should break that mark soon.