Sizing up muskies of Illinois: A pair of them share Fish of the Week honors

Pat Karpinski and Frank Strand share Fish of the Week honors for big muskie caught in Illinois.

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Pat Karpinski with a big Illinois muskie. Provided photo

Pat Karpinski with a big Illinois muskie.

Provided

Big muskies in Illinois—a pair share FOTW honors—elicit notes like this from Pat Karpinski.

“I got a 48.5-inch out of the Fox Chain yesterday fishing with Ray Cote,” Karpinski messaged. “I still can’t believe it!”

His muskie “fought hard all the way to the boat, staying down the entire fight, right until the end when she showed herself and I knew we had something big! Although I wasn’t thinking 48.5. I am still in disbelief that I was able to catch a fish of that caliber, but couldn’t have done it without Ray.

“I’m happy to get a truly special Illinois musky.”

Chris Strand holds the Illinois muskie his dad Frank got, just before release, at Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Chris Strand holds the Illinois muskie his dad Frank got, just before release, at Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Frank Strand [holding smallmouth bass below] had his own special Illinois muskie while fishing Heidecke Lake on Sept. 28 with his son Chris.

“Before we left he had this ‘ski on my grandfather’s Quick reel,” Chris messaged. “And an old Rapala Rattlin’ Rap.”

It was a quick fight of seven minutes.

“Barely hooked, no blood or anything wrong,” Chris messaged. “Swam away great. His foot it broke, so that’s why I landed it and held it. Didn’t want to get a measure either and leave it out longer.”

The muskie was “super fat and healthy,” estimated at 45-47 inches.

Frank Strand, who later caught a good muskie, with a smallmouth bass at Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Frank Strand, who later caught a good muskie, with a smallmouth bass at Heidecke Lake.

Provided

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the paper Sun-Times. The online posting here at https://chicago.suntimes.com/outdoors goes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on the wide world of the outdoors.

To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

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