After classes at Loyola University on Nov. 11, Andrew Ragas took two friends and novice walleye fishermen, Dan Sims of Evergreen Park and John Dyers of Addison, night fishing on the Des Plaines River in the western suburbs.
Beginners luck is not a bad thing. Sims caught what Ragas justily called ``the greatest first-ever walleye anyone could ever imagine:'' It was a 28-inch walleye, estimated to weigh between 6 and 7 pounds and earns Fish of the Week honors.
FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. Photos and extended versions are posted here, usually around midnight Tuesday.
Hang on, Ragas has quite the tale of Sims' walleye, which I enjoy as much for being caught in the Des Plaines as I do for being a notable first-time walleye.
``On Tuesday, November 11, 2008, I met two of my friends after class (Loyola University) at the DesPlaines River for a night-time Walleye wade - Dan Sims of Evergreen Park and John Dyers of Addison. We fished at a venue in the western suburbs from 5-8pm.
``Prior to this evening, both of my friends were complete beginners to river Walleye fishing. For some weeks, they have had the desires to catch one. There was no better place I thought, but to take them down to my local river.
``At the time of our outing, air temps were a chilly 35-degrees with consistent light rain.
``We were all armed and dangerous with one spinning rod in hand, and with a handful of large minnowbaits each - Think Rapala F9 or F11 versions, or anything with similar profile.
``Throughout the outing we had encounters with fish. I caught a pair of 18-inch Walleyes, a Sauger, and a Pike on an F11 Rapala. My friend John Dyers caught nothing but enjoyed being our lead photographer, and my other friend, Dan Sims, caught the greatest first-ever Walleye anyone could ever imagine:
``Sims, who was casting a 4-inch minnowbait with a light action 6-foot rod with 6lb line, had a tremendous snag in mid-river current. . . or was it a hit?
``Due to the light profile of the rod, we could not tell whether a fish was hooked, but upon further inspection, we saw his drag peeling. This was a monster fish!
``Given the time of day and season, and the kind of spot we were at, we instantly knew what kind of fish it was. After a brief fight through the current, I was able to get down into the water and land the beast for Sims.
``It was a 28 inch Walleye - estimated to be somewhere between 6 to 7
pounds, if not more.
``During the past four seasons I have caught many Walleye up to 26 inches
from the DesPlaines River and Salt Creek watersheds, but this fish, by
far, was the largest one I have ever seen caught with my own eyes, and
``This was the first Walleye Simms has caught in his lifetime and the
memory of the event will certainly last for a long time.
``While Dyers and I did not catch anything significant, we were ecstatic
about taking photos for Sims, and happy to be standing there next to
him, assisting with the release process, and enjoying this moment with
``Catching fish, telling stories, helping each other out, and having fun
together in 35-degree rainy weather. It doesn't get any better than
And that is the way to end a story.
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