Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Fish of the Week 9-10-08: How big a smallmouth

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The question Mike Lovinger had was how big a smallmouth was it he caught Sunday off Chicago.


The fish in question was good enough to earn him Fish of the Week honors.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.

From Lovinger's description and photo, I am guessing he had a 5-pound-plus smallie, maybe a pound under the Illinois record (6 pounds, 7 ounces), caught by Mark Samp from a Fulton County strip pit on March 26, 1985.

Here are the details of Lovinger's catch.

He was fishing out of his friend Jeff Hozel's 30-foot Sea Ray. Hozel of Jeff's Marine Services has a a slip at Belmont.

Lovinger was casting a white, tandem (Willow and Colorado blades) spinner bait on the lake side of Chicago Light about 5:30 p.m. Sunday when he latched into his monster.

The Harwood Heights pipefitter (Local 597) must be able to handle a big fish well. With 8-pound line on a Shimano rod and reel, he brought the fish in.


``From Lake Geneva, I have pulled out some nice ones, but this is probably the biggest I ever caught,'' he said.

It was somewhere around 20 inches plus. To legally keep any black bass on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, it must be 21 inches.

With its girth, Lovinger thought it might have a shot at a record. He tried calling Henry's and even the IDNR to see if it could be weighed on the boat.

Finally, they took some photos with the cellphone, which Amy Trudeau was able to download later and send. And released the fish.

``I always release them,'' Lovinger said.

I think the Illinois record smallmouth swims in Lake Michigan. Not sure if this was it, but that's certainly a spot that might produce it.

E-mail FOTW nominations to

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 10, 2008 9:10 AM.

Illinois hunting report 9-9-08 was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report 9-10-08 is the next entry in this blog.

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