Using a homemade mix of Wheaties and strawberry gelatin he brewed himself, 12-year-old Bryan McDonald won the third Mayor Daley's Spring Carp Derby on Saturday with three carp totaling 39.5 pounts.
At the final horn, the Southeast Side kid landed the day's big fish, a 23.75-pound carp. That earned him Fish of the Week honors.
FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Chicago Sun-Times each week.
There's all kinds of angles to this story.
The epicenter of Carp Fishing in America (with apologies to Richard Brautigan) is Chicago.
I not completely sure why Chicago is so central to carp fishing, but I suspect it is some mix of we have the carp (our urban rivers and on the lakefront), the continued melting pot nature of Chicago and probably some of it is the byproduct of the preachings of bank fishing prophet Mick Thill.
Paul Pezalla, who honed his carp fishing skills on the Chicago River, even opened Wacker Bait and Tackle in Oak Park to import the latest sophisicated European gear.
The area on the south bank of the Chicago River downtown around Columbus and Wacker is considered one of the primo settings in the world for carp fishing.
McDonald made the most of the carp swimming in the primo setting.
He gobbed his concoction on a No. 10 treble hook. One other trick he used was putting it about 6 feet under a float.
Even his second fish was a beaut.
BTW, thanks to Chris Taglieri for the photos.
But the monster fish came last and he had plenty of help from his dad Jim in the 15-minute fight.
Carp fishing has become more specialized and sophisicated than fly fishing, see some of the gear offered at Wacker Bait.
So there was something wonderfully throwback to McDonald's gear. He was using an inexpensive Shimano reel and rod with the first guide missing, as you can see from this shot.
Steve Palmisano from Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine said the bite was tough early with big spawning carp swimming around. Then about 10:30 or 11, the catching started.
Ivan Ortega was second with two carp weighing 16 pounds. Daniel Szorc was third with one weighing 11.95 pounds.
E-mail FOTW nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.