Fishing is a sport that features an awful lot of record catches. There are records for each and every species that swims, for kept fish and released fish, for fish caught on every different available strength of line. There are even two separate organizations that document these numerous record catches. Additionally, every state maintains its own record book.
In addition to the official records, some people cite records for other classifications, such as biggest fish from a particular body of water. A few years back, I unofficially claimed a monster muskie caught on the Fox Chain to be the largest of that species ever caught by a woman in Illinois. Believe me, I took a lot of grief about that one, from other women who claimed bigger catches.
Well, I believe it is time for me to declare a new record, here and now. I declare that 13-year-old Jack Seisser from Algonquin now holds the record for biggest northern pike caught on the Fox River. The beast measured 40 inches in length. It wasn’t weighed until after it was frozen, and it tipped the scales at 18 pounds. It was probably 20 pounds when it came out of the water.
“He’s always fishing,” Jack’s mother, Christina, said. “He goes out before school, after school and all weekend. It’s a great outlet for him. His dad, Todd, is battling severe cancer, and this fish was really a high for him.”
The fish was caught on a creek or canal leading into the Fox, proving that small water can yield big fish.
A couple of adult neighbors, Ken Langford and Anthony Correca, asked Jack to go down to the canal with them one day recently. They usually just fish for carp. Their bait of choice for the carp was balled-up bread slices. They hooked the bread balls and let them sit on the bottom. They didn’t use floats or leaders.
“All of a sudden, I saw my line moving out fast,” Jack said. “I closed the bail and set the hook. The fish began to peel line. I had to adjust the drag. It was all screwed up.
“Ken and Anthony were coaching me and telling me how to play the fish. It surfaced and we were all shocked to see that it was a northern. I got it in close, and the guys netted it and flipped it onto the shore. I was freaking out – screaming and shouting – and so were they.
“It was my first pike and my first fish with teeth, so they taught me how to hold it so they could take pictures.”
Knowing the Seisser family’s situation, Ken and Anthony offered Jack a deal: In return for grass mowing and snow shoveling, the fish will be mounted for Jack.
Proving the monster pike was no fluke, Jack followed with a nice 30-inch northern just this past week while fishing with his buddy, Sean Caldwell, who bagged a 10- to 15-pound carp on the same outing. Nice job, men.
Northern Illinois: Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “It looks like the hot summer weather is turning into cooler fall-like (normal) weather. This will be good news the musky fishermen that want to start dragging a sucker around. Bow hunters will like this also, as they finish cutting lanes and setting seats. Catfishing on the Fox continues to be good with cut bait producing well. Bass fishing at Three Oaks Recreation area is good. Use dropshot rigs or Senkos wacky-rigged for best results.” Call 815-455-2040 for updated reports.
• Honest John from C.J. Smith’s Resort on Grass Lake sends word, “The Chain fishing continues to be awesome. Crappies have been fabulous. Several huge fish were caught on Bluff Lake in front of Steitz’s Resort. Work under piers along lake shorelines to find nice ones. Small fatheads or spikes tipped on a chartreuse or white Mini-Mite jig are working well. Schools of stripers are moving on Bluff Lake. Watch for the seagulls to find the location on the lake. Small fathead minnows or spikes work best. Nice largemouth bass catches, and Spring Lake around the islands and lily pads is the hot spot. Also try the Lake Marie bay along the weedline. Plastics, especially 4-inch black and blue Senkos are working extremely well. Nightcrawlers or medium golden roaches are the best live baits. Bluegills are biting in numbers, especially in the channels and along lake shorelines, tight in under boats and under piers. Muskie action has been very good, with nice action reported on Bluff Lake by the buoys in Airport Bay and also on Channel Lake and Lake Catherine by Bob’s Marina. Try large bucktails, golden roaches or medium suckers. Walleye are fair. Try the sand bars in Lake Marie. Drift over them using XL fatheads or leeches.”
• As of Tuesday, the Upper and Lower Fox River and the Fox Chain were deemed to be open for boating by the Fox Waterway Agency. For up-to-the-minute water conditions on the Fox Chain and Fox River, visit foxwaterway.state.il.us/ or call 847-587-8540.
Lake Michigan: Capt. Bob Rossa of Migrator Charters (www.ALakeMichiganCharter.com) says, “Fishing was good on Lake Michigan out of Northpoint Marina this past week. The catch included kings, Cohoes over 14 pounds, steelheads, and lake trout. Most of the fish were caught in the top 100 feet of the water column in 140 feet of water to 220 feet of water. White Hot Spot flashers with mirage flies tied 24-inches behind them caught most of the fish. Shore fishermen are starting to catch the 4-year-old kings that are coming into the shallows. Moonshine casting spoons and some of the larger Rapalas have been the best baits for this type of fishing.”
Call Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at 414-382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries.
Whitetail hunters should be geared up for the fourth annual Taz Archery buck contest, which began Saturday.
The contest runs through Jan. 19, and all registrations must be in before midnight Sept. 30. An awards banquet will be April 5, at the Taz Archery indoor range in Woodstock.
For information, visit tazarchery.com or call 815-337-0332.