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For the record, fishing in Illinois is certainly worth it

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Progressive Insurance Chicago In-Water Boat Show: New boats, nautical accessories, kayaking, paddleboarding, banana boat rides, Hobie Kayak spin classes, boating lessons, scuba diving, Flyboard, 31st Street Harbor, Thursday-Sunday,

‘‘Fishin’ Buddies!’’ Hike-a-thon: Art, fundraising, hiking, Governors State University, University Park, begins 10 a.m. Saturday, or (773) 980-9350.

Little Calumet River Cleanup: Saturday, experienced paddlers, South Holland, 8:30 a.m.; inexperienced paddlers without equipment, Riverdale, 9:30 a.m.; register at

Updated: June 3, 2014 9:49PM

Ihave almost given up on the Illinois record smallmouth bass being caught from Lake Michigan, even though I am certain it swims around the Chicago shoreline.

It’s been more than five years since Joe Egan came close. On April 25, 2009, the Oak Lawn man caught a 22-inch smallmouth off Chicago and weighed it at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, two ounces short of the Illinois record, on the certified scales at Henry’s Sports and Bait.

Back then, Egan said, “We fished our [butts] off. I can’t believe this. I am so mad it was not two ounces more. God, it was close.’’

Mark Samp holds one of Illinois’ longest standing records with the smallmouth (6-7) he caught from a Fulton County strip pit on March 26, 1985.

Lake whitefish, burbot, rock bass and yellow bass seem more likely for Illinois records in 2014.

George Nielson of Crestwood caught Illinois’ record rock bass (1-10) on May 5, 1987, from Aux Sable Creek, though some wonder if the dedicated river fisherman caught it from the Kankakee River. I am certain bigger ones have been caught on the Chicago lakefront but not weighed.

Jimmy Kostoff Jr. caught Illinois’ yellow bass record (2 pounds) on May 5, 1994, from a farm pond in Madison County. Fisheries biologist Rob Miller thinks a bigger one was caught from Heidecke Lake several years ago but was filleted rather than weighed.

Lake whitefish and burbot — recent additions to Illinois’ list of record fish — that are bigger than the records are routinely caught.

Capt. Tim Wojnicz established both records, out of Waukegan Harbor, within weeks of each other. He caught the first record burbot (8.85 pounds) on April 27, 2012, and the first record lake whitefish (2.49 pounds) on May 8, 2012.

I thought both of those records would be surpassed last year, but they were not.

I doubt salmon or trout records will fall, with the exception of brown trout.

Two world-record browns have been caught in Lake Michigan or its tributaries in the last five years. So Deva Vranek’s Illinois-record brown (36-11.5) might be within range. Though that record has stood since the Palos Hills man caught it east of Burnham Harbor on June 22, 1997.

World, state or personal, chase a record.

Free fishing days

Illinois’ free fishing days are Friday through Monday. Wisconsin and Michigan have their days on Saturday and Sunday. For those states, no licenses or stamps are required, but other regulations apply. Wisconsin also has free entry to state parks and forests.

In Wisconsin, the Lake Geneva Fishing Club celebrates its free 25th annual Kids Day on Sunday at Big Foot Beach State Park. Check with Ken Abraham at (847) 524-8623.

Indiana’s free days on Saturday and Sunday apply only to residents.

Stray cast

I tilt on quixotically against the inanity of frame and bump when inning and mound are meant; against bronzeback and bucketmouth when smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are meant.

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