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Capt. Tim Wojnicz an avid record collector

Capt. Tim Wojnicz caught his Illinois-record whitefish May 8 less than two weeks after he caught record burbot. | For

Capt. Tim Wojnicz caught his Illinois-record whitefish on May 8, less than two weeks after he caught a record burbot. | For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 14, 2012 1:43PM

Leaning out the window watching customers’ lines was good for Capt. Tim Wojnicz this spring.

With a burbot and a lake whitefish, Wojnicz pulled one of the most improbable firsts in Illinois fishing: two state records in less than two weeks.

A few days after he caught an 8.85-pound burbot on April 27 off Waukegan, I wrote about it likely being the initial record for the species. Well, on May 8,
Wojnicz went one better, catching a 2.49-pound whitefish, again while leaning out the window of his FinQuest charter boat and watching customers’ lines.

Guenter [Kehrhahn] was fishing with me that day,’’ said Wojnicz, who usually charters out of Kenosha, Wis., but in the spring charters out of Waukegan for perch. “We were jigging for perch in 53-54 feet of water out of Waukegan, just north, off Beach Park.’’

It was the basic perch setup: a fathead minnow on a No. 6 hook above a weight on the bottom.

“It hit and it fought like a coho, quick runs and quick circles,’’ Wojnicz said. “I figured it was a coho. It got up and customers moved their lines. It fought exactly like a coho.’’

No coho, rather Illinois’ first record whitefish.

“Most people when they get whitefish, they think they are suckers or shad,’’ Wojnicz said.

This is the first year whitefish and burbot are being recognized for Illinois records. Kehrhahn, one of Illinois’ great fishermen, knew that. Neither fish will last long as the state record. Much heavier (fish records are kept by weight) burbot and whitefish have been caught in recent years in Illinois waters.

Wojnicz weighed both fish on the certified scale at the Boat House Pub & Eatery in Kenosha.

“What are the odds of getting two state records in less than two weeks, especially when you are not fishing for them?’’ Wojnicz wondered.

Historically prohibitive.

On Thursday, a package arrived with plaques for both state records for Wojnicz.

May the race for the next record in both begin.

Hunting notes

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will allow county residents (selected in a lottery) to bowhunt deer. The application and info will be available soon at

◆ Corn harvest in Illinois, as of Sunday, was 21 percent, far above the five-year average of six. Good news for goose hunters (early Canada goose season ends Saturday) and for those scouting deer.

◆ Very variable reports come on teal (season ends Sept. 23).

Youth fishing

Fishin’ Buddies! & FPDCC’s annual youth fishing derby is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Wampum Lake in Lansing. Preregister at

◆ Salmon Unlimited holds its Kids Derby 7 a.m.-noon Saturday at Waukegan Harbor. Go to

Places and faces

Ken Abraham of Lake Geneva Fishing Club said biologist Doug Welch needs help stocking muskies and clipping fins on Geneva Lake, beginning at 2 p.m. today and noon Thursday at the Abbey Springs Boat Launch.

◆ Salomon and REI team for an in-store clinic Friday and a Saturday morning trail run. Register at

Fishing people

Troy Karafa of Hebron and Wally Ciborowski of Spring Grove finished second (18.61 pounds, $3,500) at the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s Leech Lake qualifier.

◆ Marist grads Nick Engel and Nick Kushnerik, took fourth at the Student Angler Federation Central Conference Championship on Carlyle Lake.

Stray cast

Brian Urlacher on Sunday reminded me of the first time I left my dad on a deer hunt sitting in the pines along Laurel Run while I hiked, alone with memories of what once was, up through the hardwoods on Paddy Mountain.

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