Last Wednesday, Charlie ``Poorboy'' Patrick was fishing a Lucky Strike goby-imitator, Carolina-rigged, on the Chicago lakefront when he caught one of Illinois' all-time smallmouth bass, earning Fish of the Week honors..
``Normally, you normally get a tick and the line goes left or right,'' the Oak Forest man said. ``I thought I had a big carp on, to be honest. It just nailed it.''
We will never know if his smallmouth was the Illinois record. Patrick released it without weighing it on a certified scale.
``I thought about it,'' the manager for Solo Cup said. ``[Two companions] wanted to go to Henry's and get it weighed. But I wanted to let it go.''
The 23-inch smallmouth weighed 6.3 pounds on a new, stiff Bass Pro spring scale. If exact, that would have been within a couple ounces of the record, the 6-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth caught by Mark Samp from a Fulton County strip pit on March 26, 1985.
Patrick did not want to put his fish, which had the right length to challenge Samp's mark, in his live well, motor back to the Diversey launch, then trailer to Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine.
Henry's, at 3130 S. Canal, has a certified scales and unrelated witnesses, two keys to verifying a record. Joe Egan took his verified Chicago-record smallmouth (6-5), which the Oak Lawn man caught off the Chicago lakefront on April 25, 2009, there to be weighed. Click here for that tale.
Henry's staff over the years have worked with fishermen to try to keep record and near-record fish alive in their bait tanks. Egan's monster, for example, was released at an undisclosed location the next day.
Patrick said he already has a 6-pound smallmouth, caught from Lake of the Woods, mounted, and he was more concerned with his fish spawning. So he immediately released it.
I wish he had it weighed on a certified scales. I think that Illinois record for smallmouth is important enough to have taken the risk.
Plus I had forecast the Illinois record for smallmouth would fall around the April full moon or the May one. Looks like Patrick's may be as close as we come in Chicago fishing.
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