Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::

Scattershooting

Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


Print
Illinois Outdoors

A record-setting log

May 09, 2008 at 06:39 AM

At first Darin Opel thought the huge shadow he saw underwater was a log.

But when the log kept coming closer, Opel decided it was a fish. Oh, what a fish.

The “shadow” he shot last Sunday while bowfishing in a Mississippi River backwater was a bighead carp weighing a record 92.5 pounds. And the 62-inch Asian carp with a 30-inch girth gave Opel (6-foot-4 and 300 pounds) all he could handle.

“He was so far out when I shot him that I only got about three inches of arrow into him. Usually the arrow goes right through the fish, which will help you keep him on,” said Opel, who lives in the southwest Illinois town of Worden. “I was worried he was going to get off so I jumped in after him, got one hand in his gill and wrapped my other arm completely around him.

“Then it was inch by inch getting him up on the bank.”

From the backwater near Alton where he was fishing, Opel headed to a certified scale and into the record books. His fish shattered the Illinois bowfishing record of 35 pounds, 5 ounces and is the largest bighead ever taken by a recreational angler.

That’s according to Duane Chapman of Columbia, Mo., one of the country’s top Asian carp researchers who helped put on a carp symposium in Peoria two years ago. Chapman knows of only two bigheads larger: a 93-pounder netted in Texas and a 100-pounder caught by a commercial angler in Pakistan.

So among anglers, Opel is No. 1. Maybe not for long, though.

Since they invaded Illinois waters in the 1990s, numbers and sizes of non-native Asian carp have steadily increased. Silver carp grab most headlines because the so-called flying fish leap out of the water when boats approach.

Bighead carp are not so acrobatic. But that a bighead could earn headlines for its size is not unexpected, since they grow larger than their silver cousins.

More unlikely is a lone bowfisherman shooting from shore and finding a way to land a fish this large.

“There were two guys fishing near where I shot this and I bet they said ‘Oh my God! Oh my God! about 100 times,” Opel said. “I was hoping one of them would say, ‘Do you need some help?’ But I never heard that.”

Opel uses a compound bow that is custom-made for fishing and fiberglass arrows that are tied to 200-pound test fishing line. Even with proper equipment, Opel said he was fortunate to hit his big bighead in the skull above the eye.

“I think hitting him in the head knocked half the fight out of him,” Opel said. “That was lucky, because even at 50 percent he was hard to get in.”

Now the question becomes, will a bighead in Illinois waters surpass 100 pounds? Opel thinks that’s likely.

“I can’t believe this one fish is the biggest. I think it’s a matter of time before somebody shoots a 100-pounder,” said Opel, who is allergic to fish but uses carp meat to bait raccoon traps. “There’s so many bigheads out there. Some nights we shoot 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of fish. And they’re getting bigger.”

SAD REMINDER: For years Vern Blumenshine and I talked about fishing together. But something always got in the way and besides, there was always going to be another chance.
In a blink that chance is gone. Blumenshine, 68, died unexpectedly Tuesday during what had been one of his best springs of bass fishing.

A Bartonville resident known for his fishing prowess, his pony tail and his chihuahua, Matty, Vern defined the phrase “diehard angler.” He had an uncanny wealth of knowledge about local strip mine lakes and won one of the last tournaments he fished last Saturday at Banner Marsh.

Vern’s passing is another sobering reminder to make time for people now, rather than to have regrets later.

BIRD BLITZ: Just in time for Saturday’s celebration of International Migratory Bird Day, songbirds of all sorts are passing through the area.

In recent days central Illinois has seen and heard grosbeaks, indigo buntings, orioles, wrens, hummingbirds and a wide variety of warblers.

The timing is good. Levees at the bird-filled Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana will be opened to auto traffic Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Area spring bird counts are also being held Saturday.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sorry to hear about Vern and you unable to do some fishing with him. Used to fish with him quite often around 40 years ago. If there was only one fish in the lake he would catch it.

Posted by fishinpals on 05/09 at 11:22 AM

Vern was the best!I had done quite abit of fishin’with him through the years.I had learned alot from his knowledge in the outdoors that he had “shared”.Always was willing to teach his knowledge to anyone who would listen.A great loss to the area.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/10 at 07:43 AM

Comment Area Pool Rules

  1. Read our Terms of Service.
  2. You must be a member. :: Register here :: Log In
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Stay on topic.
  5. Be civil, honest and accurate.
  6. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Log In

Register as a new member

Next entry: Morel mushrooms do grow

Previous entry: Missouri fishing report 5-7-08

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

November 2017
S M T W T F S
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons