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Jon Zettler’s record hybrid yellow bass

November 03, 2008

Illinois hunting and fishing

Big Fish Info

Species: Hybrid yellow bass

Size: 2.06 pounds, 15 inches

Date: Nov. 3, 2008

County: Franklin

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has created a new category for state-record fish thanks to 18-year-old Jon Zettler of Chatham. On Nov. 3, 2008 while fishing at Rend Lake, Zettler caught a 2.06-pound, 15-inch fish that looked like a yellow bass.

But genetic testing showed the Franklin County fish was actually a yellow bass/white bass hybrid. That’s the first hybrid of its kind reported in Illinois, according to fisheries biologist Dan Stephenson.

Zettler was happy to have a new record for several reasons.

“I was blown away and sure glad I went with my dad (Bob Zettler) and his friend (Nick Shafer) that morning,” said Zettler, who caught his fish on a Grizzly jig. “(My dad and I) don’t spend as much time together as we used to and catching this fish sure made the day that more special.”

Zettler caught the fish on a Grizzly jig (tube) with a Sam Heaton Super Sensitive rod and Pflueger reel.

Said Jon’s father, Bob Zettler, “Just to spend time with my son and see him enjoythe outdoors makes me happy, but when you throw in this particular fish he caught, words cannot do it justice of how proud and happy I am for him.”

Jon Zettler is shown below with Nick Shafer and some of the many fish they caught during their trip last November.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Jimmy Kostoff Jr. holds the current state record for yellow bass with a 2-pounder he caught out of a private Madison County pond on May 5, 1994.

Zettler was in a boat for only the second time in his life.

Noted Zettler’s father, the fish probably lost weight because it had to sit overnight in a plastic bag on ice.

In addition to the big hybrid yellow bass, the Zettlers caught more than 100 fish at Rend Lake. They brought home 31 crappie, two channel catfish, one white bass and the possible state-record yellow bass.

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