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June proved to be big month for carp in Chicago fishing

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Updated: July 6, 2011 2:11AM



Rick Remington was fishing for smallmouth bass off the rocks by Northwestern University in Evanston last Wednesday with an unweighted Senko on 4-pound braided line.

‘‘I felt something grab the worm on the way down and slowly start swimming off,’’ he e-mailed.

Let me drop the hint that June was a month for catching big carp around Chicago fishing.

‘‘I set the hook and instantly felt a surge of power and weight unlike anything I expected,’’ Remington e-mailed. ‘‘The fish almost emptied my spool of line before slowing down and allowing me to regain some control. I fought the fish for 20 minutes before I sighted it near the surface 20 feet from shore. I fell in the water in my dress shoes and work clothes during the battle and consider myself lucky I did not lose my entire rod and reel.’’

After Remington landed the fish, his friend Greg Maciejewski measured and weighed the common carp at 39 inches and 33 pounds. After a quick cell-phone photo, Remington released it.

That’s nearly the biggest carp caught around the Chicago lakefront. Paul Pezalla of Wacker Bait and Tackle in Broadview thought Max Cottis caught the biggest documented carp on the Chicago lakefront. The famous English angler and tackle innovator landed his 37-pound-plus carp at Belmont Harbor the Sunday after the Chicago Carp Classic in 1999.

But much larger grass carp are caught inland in Chicago, as evidenced by one so big that Tom Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait called to see if I knew the Illinois record.

Leonid Bilyk pulled his 52-inch grass carp from the Humboldt Park lagoon on June 11. It weighed 64.15 pounds on the certified scale at Henry’s. That’s the
biggest grass carp caught in Chicago and weighed on a certified scale.

But it came up short of the Illinois record. That was caught April 12 by Jacob Millichamp of Sherrard on a night crawler while he was bass fishing at Crescent Lake in Alpha, according to Jeff Lampe at Heartland Outdoors.

Millichamp’s grass carp was shorter than Bilyk’s at 49 inches, but it weighed more at 79 pounds on the certified scale at H&H Feed Mill in Orion. You know you have a real fish when it needs to be weighed on a feed-mill scale.

There’s a point in this that Remington put well.

‘‘I have caught yellowfin tuna, snook, barracuda and freshwater muskies, and I have to say pound-for-pound this was the strongest fish I have ever had on my line,’’ he e-mailed. ‘‘I have a newfound respect for this tough fighter that most fishermen consider a nuisance or pest.’’

Parks update

Illini State Park campgrounds are open while permanent repairs are being made. The concession stand will open soon. .  .  . Here’s the latest after the super-cell storm pounded the Zion area last week: The North Unit beach is open at Illinois Beach State Park, as is North Point Marina. .  .  . For updates on site closures, go to dnr.illinois.gov/closures.

Places and faces

LaSalle Brittany Club will hold a pointing-dog seminar Friday and Saturday at Des Plaines Conservation Area in Wilmington. Contact Paul Katzel at (708) 217-3612. .  .  . Podcasts of Steve Sarley’s radio show, ‘‘The Outdoors Experience,’’ are available for free downloading. Go to itunes.apple.com/us/podcast, then put ‘‘The Outdoors Experience’’ in the search field.

Wild things

If anybody has tips on finding pickable wild blueberries nearby, please e-mail me at straycasts@sbcglobal.net. I have plenty of mulberry and raspberry options, but I can’t find wild blueberries. .  .  . Carl Strang from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage
County is one of the most well-rounded naturalists I know. His evolving work, ‘‘Singing Insects of the Chicago Region,’’ is very apt now. Go to the March 8
entry at natureinquiries.wordpress.com. . . . At
7:30 a.m. Saturday, volunteer purple-martin expert and caretaker Ray Feld will speak on purple martins for the DuPage Birding Club (dupagebirding.org) at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton.

Stray cast

Which is truer: Paul Konerko is to professional hitting what a moron is to fan voting, or Mike Quade is to major-league managing what I am to tournament fishing?



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