John Henry’s 16-pound hybrid striper
Big Fish Info
Species: Hybrid striped bass
Size: 16 pounds
Date: March 17, 2009
John Henry had spent some time fishing around the bridges near the hot-water arm of Clinton Lake in mid-March this year.
He knew the hot water of the nuclear power plant cooling lake often held big fish during March. But on this day, he didn’t have much luck. A few white bass and crappie were all he could muster.
But before returning to his home in Rantoul, Henry decided to make a stop at the spillway below the dam. At the right times of year, the Clinton Lake spillway can produce some nice catches. At first glance, this did not appear to be one of those times.
“Water was up and running fast, so it didn’t look so good,” Henry said. “But I figured since I was there I’d throw a few casts.”
He decided to use a 1 1/4-ounce Bomber Slab Spoon. After only three casts, he hooked into a fish. A big fish as it turned out.
“I had no clue of the size until it got down river of me and decided to fight,” Henry said.
Still he was able to land the large hybrid striped bass. After landing the fish, Henry stuck around for another hour with no luck.
Curious about the weight of this striper, he put it on a long stringer, ran back to his truck, grabbed a scale, weighed the 16-pounder and then released it to “fight another day.”
“I have caught several in previous years in the mid-teens and the largest was a 19-pound, 4-ounce monster that I caught and released last December after taking a quick picture with my cell phone,” Henry said. “I personally believe the state record will be broken out of there. And I’m pretty sure some bigger than it have been caught and people haven’t realized it.”
The Illinois record striper weighed 31 pounds, 7 ounces and was caught on May 23, 1994 by Eric Shivers of Taylorville out of Sangchris Lake in Christian County.
To read more about striped bass and hybrid striped bass in Illinois lakes, check out this 2009 status report.