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

Record (?) carp for Fish of the Week 11-26-08

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Words you don't want to hear: ``Dale - you should have been there.'' Here's why.

Paul Pezalla had invited me to fish carp Sunday, but I was still sitting in the deer stand.


All he did Sunday morning, Nov. 23, was catch and release a 38-pound, 2-ounce carp from the Chicago River. It is his personal best and possibly the largest doucement carp from the Chicago River.

And a worthy Fish of the Week.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. An extended online version is posted here about midnight Tuesday.

Here's the tale.

A little background first. For those who don't recognize Pezalla's name, he is a carp aficionado, so much so that he eventually started Wacker Bait & Tackle, LLC. It's an epicenter for European-style carp fishing and now based in Broadview.

I got my lines in the water at about 8:00a.m. There were no fish showing, usually I see a few swirls, fish surfacing and bubbles from feeding fish. But it looked cold and dead.

About an hour later, my frequent fishing partner Mirek Malej showed up. He wasn't fishing but had checked out a couple of other spots on the river. These, he said, were thick with active fish. I did think briefly about moving but decided against it.

At about 9:30 I hooked a smaller fish, mid teens or so, but lost it when it wrapped around a large branch in the water. Mirek, bless his foresight, used my landing net to pull the branch a few yards upstream so that future fish could be landed without interference.

I recast in the same spot as the first fish came from and the big one hit hard within 5 minutes. I have lost enough fish in this area to know where most of the submerged logs and other snags are and managed to keep the fish out of them.

Mirek netted the fish for me. Tried to lift it out of the water and said "Wait, the net is snagged on something." Wasn't snagged, just a very heavy fish.

Caught on a D.A.M. Extreme Fish boilie fished over a new ground bait by Wacker Bait & Tackle that is undergoing field testing. My water supply was frozen so I used mainly "Obsession for Carp" from Wacker to prepare the ground bait. Weighed on a Reuben Heaton scale (the gold standard, used in every major carp competition in the world).

E-mail FOTW nominations to

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Here's a YouTube video on the largest common carp caught and released on the Chicago River.... Read More

Andy Klocek caught and released this 38-pound, 7-ounce carp Thanksgiving on the Chicago River.... Read More


Way to go paul!! congrats on that big fish !!

Congratulations Paul that's one hell of a fish. Just shows that the river is getting better every day.
Ken Schneider

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 26, 2008 12:17 AM.

Family affair for Buck of the Week 11-25-08 was the previous entry in this blog.

Thanksgiving perch and ice top the Midwest Fishing Report 11-26-08 is the next entry in this blog.

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