Fishing as life: Carey Pinkowski’s muskie

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Maybe it was the snow flying Monday or the universality of fishing, but Carey Pinkowski wanted to talk fishing.

We were supposed to be on point about the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, coming Sunday in downtown Chicago.

In early November, Pinkowski (left in photo) went to northern Wisconsin to fish for muskie with John Gescheidler (right), “friends since we were 5 years old,’’ of Hammond. They drifted with suckers on Wildcat Lake in Vilas County with Kenny Jackson, guide and fishing author.

Sure enough, a muskie took off with the sucker.

“When I set the hook, it was about 20 feet away,’’ Pinkowski said.

A short battle ensued.

“He got it just before a pretty good snow squall on Friday, November 7,’’ Jackson emailed. “It hit a 12-inch sucker in 11 feet of water. The muskie grabbed the sucker and stripped off 30 feet of line in about 10 seconds, which is a pretty quick run, especially in the 40-degree water that we had that day. He fought the fish less than a minute. As soon as it got near the boat, I scooped it up as fast as I could.’’

“I got him in the boat and I had hooked him in the corner of the mouth,’’ Pinkowski said. “We got the photo, then released him. He slapped the water with his tail and and off he went. It was a very economical fish.’’

Pinkowski’s first real muskie was 44 inches and 22 pounds.

“Despite his neophyte muskie status, Carey did everything right,’’ Jackson said. “It was his first real attempt at muskie fishing and he got one within three hours. His buddy John Gescheidler lost a bigger one than Carey about an hour later. The wind picked up just after that and the snow started.’’

“Now I feel like I am an accomplished muskie fishermen,’’ Pinkowski said.

He is executive director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The fall trip is a way to unwind after the marathon in October. This year was extra stressful. His father died the morning after the race.

Sometimes, fishing is more than fishing.

“It was great therapy,’’ Pinkowski said.

ARCHERY: Clemente finished third in the National Archery in the Schools Illinois State Tournament Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield with 3,288. Champaign Centennial won with 3,336.

ILLINOIS SAUGER: Bill Guerrini said the Spring Valley Walleye Club has spots remaining for the inaugural Illinois River Walleye Classic this weekend out of Barto Landing in Spring Valley. Details are at . . . Mark Meravy of Shorewood won his third Masters Walleye Circuit tournament on Sunday in Spring Valley with 30 pounds, 4 ounces. His teammate was Iowan Terry Carr. They targeted prespawn females with “¼- to 3/8-ounce jigs tipped with 3-inch, slender soft-plastic trailers,’’ according to the MWC.

STRAY CAST: James Shields looks like a poster child for a week-long hunting trip. (That’s a compliment).

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