Streaking & carp: Monthly record in years, Pezalla

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Paul Pezalla knows his streak of catching a carp a month is, well, different.

“It is crazy, no question about that,” Pezalla said. “My daughters are amused by it. But one of them runs marathons and one is taking up boxing.”

We all have off-beat pursuits in life, some just more solitary or singular than others.

Something Pezalla also understands and why he generally fishes alone.

“There’s not a ton of people in January that want to fish,” Pezalla said.

In late January, Pezalla caught his monthly carp at night on the North Branch of the Chicago River to start his 17th straight year of catching a carp a month.

A mutual Chicago fishing friend, who goes by Saul Lipsistic (among other monikers), tipped me off a few days ago that Pezalla had kept his streak going.

It was an 8- to 10-pound common carp caught with the method mix Wacker Zu and Tutti Frutti flavored sweet corn, flavors and baits that come from carp-oriented Wacker Bait and Tackle LLC in Broadview.

Pezalla has had an offbeat life: professor, specialty woodworker, now owning a top carp shop in the country.

His January carp was nowhere near his biggest during the streak. For years, he held the record for the Chicago River system with a 38-pound, 2-ounce carp, until it was edged out.

There are memories of tough moments. There was being shagged out of fishing in Lockport in an area patrolled by multiple policing units.

His closest call came in one tough February.

“Come Feb. 27, I threw a bunch of bait in the [Chicago] River and the next day I managed to catch one before midnight,” Pezalla said.

Toughest month might have been when he had rotator cuff surgery, but he caught his carp for the month.

“I only had the use of one arm and I had a fish on with no way to land it,” Pezalla said. “Luckily, [Lipsistic] showed up and I was able to land it.”

Pezalla will hit his 200th straight month this summer, but he knows that’s not a real milestine. The next big milestone would be 500 months, which would be in 25 years.

Why not?

SHOW NEWS: The crowds for the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo over the weekend had old-timers reminiscing about the big shows at the Amphitheater.

So I asked show manager Tod Alberto if expansion of the Schaumburg Show was possible.

“An option exists for expansion and it is being considered,’’ he said.

There is space to do that at the Schaumburg Convention Center and he said that possibility was thought about the last two years.

MORE IRAP: The Illinois Recreational Access Program has added first-time adult turkey hunting to its options and changed the age for youth turkey hunters to 17 and younger. Click here for the youth information and application. Click here for the first-time adult info and application.

STRAY CAST: The Bulls are like paddlers trapped in a keeper below a low head dam.


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