A mother, a really big flathead: The surprise of a family fishing trip

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Mother knows best on all kinds of things.

Take Loni Homa. She was doing better crappie fishing on Lake Marie Sept. 19 with crappie minnows than her son Adam Homa was with soft plastics on a 1/10th-ounce Ned Rig.

Her son switched from soft plastics to minnows. It paid off big with the surprise of a 44-pound, 45-inch flathead catfish, biggest of his life.

“I thought I had hit the crib,’’ said Homa, who had found the crib while drifting Marie and locked on the spot. “Then the line started going out.’’

Did it ever.

“I thought for sure it was a big muskie,’’ Homa said.

Instead it was a flathead bigger than any Illinois muskie.

Considering he was fishing with a medium light spinning rod with 8-pound braided line, it was no surprise that it took more than 40 minutes to land the flathead.

“[My mother] said she was more nervous than me,’’ Homa said. “She thought she would knock it off [while netting]. Tried to net it twice, but [the flathead] wasn’t having it.’’

When finally netted, the flathead was kept along side the boat, like muskies are, in part because Homa didn’t think the net could handle hoisting the big fish into the boat. They took photos and released the flathead.

Homa, a DuPage County deputy sheriff from West Chicago, had a new depth finder on the 14-foot Lund his late father, Dennis, had passed down. Homa wanted to try something different with his mother, which is why they went to the Chain O’Lakes.

Considering that Homa was raised a walleye fisherman by his father, including going to Minnesota’s fabled Cass Lake twice a year, it was quite the varied day.

Homa and his mother kept a good batch of crappie, too, including some reaching 12 and 13 inches.

HUNTING: I saw my first harvesters working on Monday, worth noting with archery deer season opening Sunday. Statewide corn harvest was 11 percent through Sunday, compared to 22 last year, though it will pick up rapidly this week. . . . The new regulations allowing general crossbow use will be in effect. . . . I’ve been getting photos of some big bucks in drier areas, especially Jasper County, falling to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).

STRAY CAST: Trolling to stir social discord is to the presidency what snagging is to the art of angling.

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