Trophy pike stars on a slow day

Dragisa Markovich caught a 41-inch northern pike, estimated at 22 pounds, to earn Fish of the Week honors.

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Dragisa Markovich holds his big northern pike before its release in Lake County.

Dragisa Markovich holds his big northern pike before its release in Lake County.

Provided

Dragisa Markovich caught “this gorgeous girl,” a 41-inch northern pike with a 19.5-inch girth, on Feb. 19 in Lake County, emailed Sean Whippo.

It came on a Northland Rattlin’ Jig with a medium golden roach.

“All day, the bite was slow and we were not even marking panfish, perch, or anything, with only one other 32.5-inch pike caught, and only Dragisa’s rigs seeing action,” Whippo emailed. “Seven hours later, this absolute bruiser took us for a serious ride and a 10-minute fight. It took all three of us to bring this beast in. We got a quick tape, girth, photo, and sent her off quickly with a healthy strong release.”

Based on girth and length, they estimated the pre-spawn female at 22 pounds, which Whippo noted, “Not Illinois-state record material yet, but certainly a trophy.”

They’re in the same trophy class. The Illinois-record (26 pounds, 15 ounces) was caught Nov. 9, 1989, by Walter Klenzak from a Kankakee County strip pit, now called Monster Lake.

Good friends Markovich and Whippo log many hours chasing big pike.

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 chicago.suntimes.com/outdoorsgoes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on in 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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