March 13, 2012
Remember that story we ran a couple months back about the Illinois record walleye that broke a 50-year-old state record? It's already been broken.
Just two months later, Wisconsin native Jim Zimmerman has reeled in the first 15-pound walleye from the Land of Lincoln. Zimmerman, 52, of Beloit, Wis., caught a 15.08-pound walleye while fishing at the Pecatonica River on Sunday, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Zimmerman's catch measured 31 1/2 inches long with a girth of 20 3/8 inches, and was caught with a Northland fireball jig with a 3-inch Berkley Power Grub and a minnow.
''When it came up, I knew it was big one,'' Zimmerman told the Sun Times. ''But it wasn't a vicious hit, just a normal hit. Set the hook. It was over in 25 seconds.''
After landing the lunker, Zimmerman and his friend, Larry Stangl, weighed the fish at 15.5 pounds on a hand scale, then got back to fishing for another 2 1/2 hours. When the pair left, they headed straight for Blackhawk Meats in South Beloit, Ill., to weigh the fish with two conservation officers as witnesses. The fish and paperwork were certified by regional fisheries biologist Dan Sallee.
Zimmerman's walleye is just 5 ounces heavier than the one caught by 15-year-old Nick Tassoni on Jan. 7. Tassoni's walleye -- also from the Pecatonica River -- weighed in at 14 pounds, 12 ounces, breaking the state record set in 1961 by Fred Goselin, who landed a 14-pounder at the Kankakee River. According the International Game Fish Association, the world record walleye was a 25-pounder caught by Mabry Harper on Aug. 2, 1960, at Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee.