Teen Lands Illinois Record Walleye

A 15-year-old angler has taken down an Illinois' gamefish record that's stood for 50 years.

Rockford, Ill., native Nick Tassoni, 15, reeled in a 14-pound, 12-ounce walleye on the Pecatonica River between Rockford and Shirland, according to the Rockford Register Star.

"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 told reporters. "One thing I'm pretty sure of — I'll never top that. I guess now I'll just go out and fish for fun."

Nick and his father, Dave, set out at 5:30 a.m. Saturday on their 14-foot Starcraft. The duo nabbed one fish about an hour-and-a-half later, but couldn't get a bite in the next few hours.

"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," Dave said. "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.'"

After landing the 31-inch-long fish at about 1 p.m. with the help of Dave's net, the two quickly took the fish to a local grocery store to be weighed, confirming the new record.

The previous record was set in 1961 when Fred Goselin landed a 14-pounder in 1961 on the Kankakee River. The world all-tackle record for walleye, according the International Game Fish Association, was a 25-pounder caught by Mabry Harper on Aug. 2, 1960, at Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee.

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