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Teen catches largest walleye in Illinois history

Nick Tassoni his father Dave show off Illinois record walleye Nick caught PecatonicRiver Saturday. Phocourtesy Illinois Department Natural Resources.

Nick Tassoni and his father, Dave, show off the Illinois record walleye Nick caught in the Pecatonica River on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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Updated: January 9, 2012 2:48PM

Nick Tassoni caught a 14-pound, 12-ounce walleye Saturday to break the longest-standing gamefish record in Illinois.

The 15-year-old freshman at Rockford Auburn was fishing the Pecatonica River with his father when he latched into the walleye.

``I couldn’t believe it,’’ his mother Tammy said Monday as Tassoni raced to catch the school bus. ``He’s always kidding around. He texted me he had a record.’’

Conservation police officer Brian Alt went along to verify the weighing of the fish at a meat market and printed out the necessary paperwork to submit a state record.

The female walleye was 31 inches long with a girth of 20 1/4 inches. Regional fisheries biologist Dan Sallee, who verified the fish Sunday, said it was still green and, in a couple months nearer the spawn, would have easily topped 15 pounds.

``It is absolutely gorgeous,’’ Sallee said. A lot of times you get those big old fish and they get gnarly looking. This was a beautiful fish.’’

Fred Goselin caught the Illinois record walleye (14 pounds) from the Kankakee River in 1961.

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