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Illinois hunting and fishing

Nick Tassoni holds the state record 14-pound, 12-ounce walleye he caught Saturday on the Pecatonica River with his father, Dave.

Teen reels in state record walleye on Pecatonica River

January 10, 2012 at 05:35 PM

Rockford Register-Star

ROCKFORD — Nick Tassoni has been heading down to fish for walleye on the Pecatonica River with his father, Dave, ever since he can remember.

But no matter how much longer he makes the trek, he’ll never forget the adventure they had Saturday, when Nick reeled in the biggest walleye ever caught in Illinois.

“I think that’s one day I’ll always be able to remember. That fish is just one of the special ones,” Nick said of his 14-pound, 12-ounce record-setter. “When I was little, we used to go down there and my dad would joke around and say, ‘You might catch the record today.’ Well, he was finally right.”

Nick, a 15-year-old Auburn freshman, caught the state record on the Pec between Rockton and Shirland. He shoved off in a 14-foot Starcraft boat at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, and he watched as his father netted the beast just before 1 p.m.

Ironically, Nick was aching to leave before catching a quick nap around noon.

“I caught our first fish around 7 in the morning, but then we went five or six hours after that without even a bite. Yeah, Nick was complaining a bit,” said Dave, a Rockford native and lifelong fisherman and hunter. “But I convinced him to take one more troll, and about two minutes later, he was like, ‘Dad, I think I’ve got a fish here. I think I’ve got a nice fish here.’”

He was right.

They quickly got the cold and sluggish fish in the boat using a 10-pound line, and hurried to the state-certified scale at Pinnon’s IGA Foods in Rockford. It wasn’t long before their hopes were confirmed, and they were told the fish broke the longest-standing gamefish record in Illinois. The milestone of 14 pounds even was set by Fred Goselin back in 1961 on the Kankakee River.

“I still don’t really believe it. I’ve handled some pretty big fish, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It was surreal,” Nick said.

“One thing I’m pretty sure of — I’ll never top that. I guess now I’ll just go out and fish for fun.”

Illinois Conservation Police Officer Brian Alt witnessed the official weigh-in, and the record was verified by regional fisheries biologist Dan Sallee on Monday.

Reach staff reporter Jay Taft at 815-987-1384 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

State Record Walleye
Vital Statistics:

Illinois hunting and fishing

Angler: Nick Tassoni, age 15
Location: Pecatonica River between Rockton and Harrison in Winnebago County
Date: Jan. 7, 2012
Weight: 14 pounds, 12 ounces
Previous Record: 14 pounds, caught on Kankakee River in 1961
Length: 31 inches
Girth: 20.25 inches

Illinois hunting and fishing

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

thats awesome nick,great job and congratulations

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/12 at 12:33 PM

Congrats young man!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/12 at 08:32 PM

Congrats also Nick,nice fish, also tip of the hat to the guide.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/13 at 08:18 AM

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