Chicago Sun-Times
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Twin pikes: Fishes of the Week

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Northern pike are becoming more of a fish of note in the Chicago area. Again, we pair two beauts for Fish of the Week honors.


Ross Tornabene sent this one his buddy Sporto Johnson caught near Belmont harbor on Saturday.


And this one was caught Sunday by Scott O'Connor on a harbor off Grass Lake on the Chain.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Sun-Times. The extended online version is usually posted here by midngiht Tuesday. E-mail nominations to

First Tornabene's story:

Long time since we have talked. its funny, i originally spoke with you about 5 years ago when i was a new to the city scene...i just moved here and contacted you about city limits smallies.

My name is Ross Tornabene and you wrote an article about me and my quest to catch em from the shores and harbors of lake michigan. Its funny, because 5 years later, im still rolling my sleeves up and going to work on the lake whether it be tournaments or just plain for fun. Today was a just for fun day, to get the boat out and enjoy a warmer day out on the lake. While fishing for bass at belmont harbor, from my ranger, my buddy Sporto Johnson hooked into a massive fish. He was using a 7 foot medium spinning rod with 8 pound test mccoy line. We had just entered the harbor and he took a cast with his tube in the mouth of the harbor.

Before he knew what happened, it was too late. The battle forged on and it took over 10 minutes before we could see what we had. i was thinking carp for sure, maybe a brown trout. i just kept telling Sporto to watch your drag, watch your drag. i think he got pretty excited because he almost spun the drag top off the reel all the way! :)

So then she surfaced and i could see the brownish color and the body of what looked to be a 15lb or so carp....or was it.....then it came up some more and i realized it wasnt a carp, it was a brown trout right?.......Wrong!!! It was a HUGE PIKE I was surprised but not shocked, i had seen big pike in belmont before but this was the first one i saw on....the fight continued and the pike made for the back of the boat. Here was my chance to land her....I kneeled down and got ahold of her....sorta, then she flipped back into the water and fought for 5 more minutes. This fish was tough to say the least. Sporto is a big guy at 6'1 235 and he was worn out....the fish made a couple more runs and came up again...this time i grabbed the small bass net. I figured i could get her halfway in and grab her tail, and thats what we did.

The fight was over and there laying across the back of my bass boat was a 38" 16LB Northern Pike. Wow, what a fish. If you think she's worthy, I know Sporto and I would appreciate if you could write up a short article and post the Picture i attached in the suntimes! You can call me to talk about the fish if you like at 708.935.5553. Either way, its a great fish and a pretty cool story! Just goes to show that you never know what your going to catch, thats why we fish!!!!

Talley of the day: Zero Bass and 1 Alligator

And that is why we fish, you never know.

As O'Connor showed: Here's his story:

I caught this awesome Pike on a large roach with 10lb Trilene XT without a leader or a net on Sunday 03/22/09 in my Harbor off of Grass Lake on the Chain. I had a slip bobber rig set up with a large golden roach.

When I got this fish up to the peir I realized it was "Do or Die" to get it up on the pier so I wrapped the line around my hand and yanked it up on the pier and naturally the fish bit through the line as soon as it hit the deck. Naturally it was a wrestling match from there on. Thankfully I was able to hold on.

The fish was later released. It was approximately 35 inches long and 14 inches in gurth. No weight measure was taken but probably every bit of 15+ LBS. I hope this is good enough for fish of the week.

Works for me.

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Was the Belmont Pike released? What a monster, biggest I've seen out of Belmont over the years.

I do not believe this story. If you look at the photo in the background you will see sailboats. I do not believe there are sailboats out on the lake in March. This seems like the work of photoshop to me.

Bob, if it is possible to launch a sailboat in March when the air temps are 70 degrees or more, then it is certainly possible...don't you think?
I often work on projects within sight of Lake Michigan, but didn't think of it until now.
When do the first sailboats appear?

Those are the small sailboats from the school at Belmont Harbor. They store them right in the harbor over the winter so they would certainly be out there now.

I'd still like to know if it was released.

Sorry, should have answered before. Ross said, ``100 percent yes, we released it.''

Sailboats are part of the routine at Belmont, especially on weekends.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 24, 2009 8:17 PM.

Perch poaching (or have a brain) was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report: LaSalle, perch issues, coho derby and MWC is the next entry in this blog.

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