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Really big king for spring: Early big surprise for Fish of the Week

Capt. Ralph Steiger had a moment fit for a king on Monday.

While he and clients were following bait and casting a Northland Thumper jig and Northland Tackle Impulse grub for coho and brown trout on southern Lake Michigan, he latched into something special and big.

“It hit boat-side and only 15 feet of line was out,’’ Steiger said. “I thought I had a state-record brown. It had me around the boat five or six times. It was a helluva fight, I will say that. I wish I could do that every day.’’

When it was netted, he had the surprise of a big spring Chinook salmon, weighing 16 pounds, 11 ounces, caught shallow.

“I’ve only caught one other [king in spring] casting like that and it was 9 or 10 pounds,’’ Steiger said.

His king is one of several big ones in recent days on southern Lake Michigan.

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and good stories around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times’ outdoors pageSubmit nominations on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or by email (straycasts@sbcglobal.net).