Scott Garrison caught the one and only fish Sunday, but it was one of a lifetime, a brown trout just short of the Indiana record.
The 31-year-old plumber from Hobart, Ind. earns Fish of the Week honors and kicks off the 2010 quest for record fish around Chicago outdoors with style.
It didn't start that way on Lake Michigan. He and three buddies began at the stateline power plant, then the Amoco discharge, with only a snagged carp to show for it.
So they trailed their boat to the Ditch, then relaunched about 2 p.m.
``We were just out there fishing salmon,'' Garrison said.
He was using a orange and silver K.O. Wobbler.
``One tap and that was him,'' he said.
``Once we caught the fish, it was, `Oh, my God, measure that thing,' '' Garrison said.
It was 38.5 inches long with a girth of 25 3/8 inches.
``We ran into two DNR conservation officers,'' Garrison said. ``They only thing they said was, `You better go get that fish weighed.' ''
So they did at the Bass Pro Shop in Portage, Ind. It weighed 27 pounds, 7 ounces on a Berkley scale.
That was close enough to the Indiana record brown (29.03 pounds), caught by Glen Duesing on April 2, 2006, that they took the fish to Town & Country Food Market in Portage. It weighed 27.28 pounds on their certified scale.
``I don't think it would have made the record book, but it is as close as I have ever got,'' Garrison said. ``It is a big fish, it will be the first fish I get mounted on the wall.''
Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet in Hammond, Ind. set Garrison up with Nature's Way Taxidermy in Steger, which did a wonderful job on Duesing's brown, to put the finishing touches on Garrison's.
``That was pretty much a kick in the pants,'' Garrison said. ``That was a good one.''
All around, it has been a good year in the outdoors for Garrison, who also shot a 10-point buck in hunting season.
On a broader level, I think this is just the beginning of a quest for record fish--perch, smallmouth, walleye and browns--on Lake Michigan in Indiana and Illinois in 2010.
I look forward to it.
If you have nominations for FOTW, send them to email@example.com.
FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report on the outdours page of the Sun-Times each Wednesday. An extended online version appears here, usually by midnight Tuesday.