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’Tis season for brown trout

Eddie Hudsholds whmight be greatest brown trout 27.5-pounder caught from shore Thursday by 63rd Street beach. He later released it.

Eddie Hudson holds what might be the greatest brown trout, a 27.5-pounder caught from shore Thursday by 63rd Street beach. He later released it. | For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 25, 2011 12:31AM

A s a South Side artist, Eddie Hudson
understands setting scenes.

On Thursday morning, he created a masterpiece when he landed a brown trout — one of the greatest ever caught from shore on the Chicago lakefront — at the tip of Casino Pier.

‘‘They were jumping around; I had a great audience,’’ Hudson said. ‘‘I fell down and kicked my legs. Guys got the numbers on me this season, but I got the big fish.’’

The 62-year-old, a regular at the pier by 63rd Street beach, caught the brown with a Flicker Shad on 8-pound Cabela’s ProLine on a Shimano spinning setup.

‘‘It fought, but basically it was a heavy weight,’’ Hudson said. ‘‘It was more like a carp strike hitting a night crawler on 4-pound line. It gave me a pretty good run of four or five minutes. He didn’t hit hard, more like running to a strong current with your lure.’’

Other regulars pitched in to help land the brute.

‘‘A guy named Wally, who fishes all the time, he netted it for me,’’ Hudson said. ‘‘James is the guy who had the scale.’’

South Side fishing guru Ray Hinton sent photos and information.

Once landed, it weighed 27.5 pounds on a new hand-held scale.

‘‘I wanted to take him up to Henry’s to get him weighed, but I didn’t want him to die,’’ Hudson said.

Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport has a certified scale that makes the shop the place to weigh record or memorable fish. Hudson chose to take photos and release the brown.

‘‘If I can afford it in the future, I will get [a replica],’’ he said.

His brown was the second caught from shore in Chicago in the first five days of May to earn Fish of the Week honors. On May 1, Vo Lee caught a 40-inch brown weighing 24.5 pounds on a powerline at Montrose Harbor.

That made me wonder. So I called Steve Robillard, the project specialist for Illinois’ Lake Michigan Program, who didn’t think there was anything unusual.

‘‘They do move around; they move in and out because of food,’’ he said. ‘‘I think that is what they do all their lives. You don’t eat, you don’t live.

‘‘Some gobies move offshore during winter. We still found [gobies] out in 120 feet last week out of Waukegan.’’

I couldn’t resist asking, considering that Lake Michigan or a tributary has produced two world-record browns in the last two years, if there was a chance a world-record fish could be caught from shore in Chicago.

‘‘I hate to discourage anyone,’’ Robillard said cryptically.

Turkey talk

Illinois hunters are doing well for turkeys as seasons end. But rebounding from the cold, wet April won’t be enough to produce a record harvest.

Wild-turkey program manager Paul Brewer said the preliminary harvest for the south zone, where the final season ended last week, was 6,171, a drop of 6.7 percent from the 6,613 for 2010.

Through the first four seasons in the north zone, hunters reported 7,063 turkeys. After four seasons last year, the count was 7,822. The final season in the north ends Thursday.

Stray cast

Phil Jackson is to pro basketball coaches what a snagger is to fishermen.

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