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

Fish of the Week: A muskie with memories

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Some FOTW deserve more than the quick treatment, such as Joe Collette's 47-incher.


In mid-April, Collette made a couple casts at Independence Grove with a classic spring bass lure, a black and blue jig, then hooked up. It was no bass.

``He came out of the water, it was like a tarpon,'' the Hoffman Estates man said. ``He came out four or five times.''

He had no net and was using 10-pound monafiliment.

``I got it up to shore,'' he said. ``I couldn't believe it. I was really shook up and happy. All my years of muskie fishing, all over, it was so sweet because it was unexpected. . . . If the jig wasn't in the corner of his mouth, I would never have caught it.''

Collette has fished muskie for 30 years, from Canada and back, and has a reproduction of a 52.5-inch muskie he caught from Lac Vieux Desert in Wisconsin in 1999 on his wall.

But to catch a 47-inch muskie while bass fishing for the first time with a group on an April outing at a forest preserve lake in Lake County is unique.

``I think the last muskie stocking was somewhere around 2000 or 2001 so the fish is just about the right length to be from those stockings,'' district fisheries biologist Frank Jakubicek said.

Irwin Dubin helped handle the fish, then his brother Don Dubin, the Hall of Famer from Lincolnwood, took a worthy photo. Jakubicek thought it could be the biggest one caught there, but Dubin had heard rumors of bigger ones.

``Then the release, to see that fish swim off . . . ,'' Collette's voice trailed off in joyful memory.

Email nominations for FOTW, the weekly celebration of big fish stories around Chicago fishing in the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays, to

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 24, 2012 10:55 PM.

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