Easiest pick I ever had for Fish of the Year.
Ken Maggiorebecame the first person to catch two Illinois-record fish on the same day when he caught the burbot and lake-whitefish recordsMarch 22at Montrose Harbor.
When told of his FOTY honors, he replied: ‘‘I am still in shock I got two state records in the same day. . . . I just hope that they will stay the records for a while.’’
That’s not an insignificant quip. His whitefish record was the third timein 33 daysthe record was set in 2017.
Maggiore comes from a fishing background passed from grandfather to father to son. Maggiore, then 19, began working at FishTech while at Taft High School, which he led to the state tournament in bass fishing.
The morning of the historic day began at3:30, when he metTommy Krysciakso they could be by the ‘‘Seven Trees’’ before dawn.
Maggiore netted coho caught by buddies until around 11.
‘‘The big rod decided to go off, I fed a little bit of line, then set the hook,’’ Maggiore said. ‘‘I thought it was a laker. Saw a little yellow. It was a big burbot. The scale read a little over 9 pounds. But it’s an analog, so I was nervous.
‘‘Once we got it to the surface, I said, ‘That’s a burbot,’ ’’ Krysciak said. ‘‘Everybody was asking, ‘What [descriptive term] is a burbot?’ I said, ‘You’re taking that thing to Henry’s. That’s a state record.’ ’’
The inaugural burbot record (8 pounds, 13.6 ounces) was caught by Capt.Tim Wojniczon April 27, 2012, off Waukegan.
Maggiore then went back to fishing.
‘‘My rod got these little taps, kind of like the whitefish bite,’’ Maggiore said. ‘‘Next thing you know, I pull up a big silver fish. Thought maybe a steelhead, but it was a big whitefish. We were in awe. It was a little over 8 pounds.’’
BuddyNick Pellikanhelped hold Krysciak and Maggiore on the icy shore during the netting of both fish.
‘‘I work at Fortune Fish & Gourmet,’’ Krysciak said. ‘‘I see whitefish come out of Lake Superior. I have not seen any this big. That is the damn truth.’’
Maggiore had been chasing the whitefish record — then 6.55 pounds — that had been set byVincent Chanfive days earlier.
Around2 p.m., Maggiore went to Henry’s Sports and Bait to weigh his fish on a certified scale. The whitefish (27¾ inches long, 14½ inches in girth) weighed 7.5 pounds; the burbot (32 inches long, 17½ inches in girth) weighed 9.3 pounds.
Fisheries biologistSteve Robillardverified both fish the next day.
Maggiore’s whitefish mount is ready for the man cave. The burbot is in progress.
Norm MinasdiedSaturdayafter a long battle with cancer. Mr. Minas and I fished together every year or so. Until last summer, he supplied the Kankakee River report for the Midwest Fishing Report. I was blessed to get out with him one last time, sharing memories around Will and Kankakee counties (Nov. 15Sun-Times). I will post any word of arrangements online.
When I think of the Patriots, I see guys wearing fly vests to perch-fish at Navy Pier.
Follow me on Twitter @BowmanOutside.