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Mississippi River surrenders 110-pounder

This 110-pound blue catfish was pulled out Mississippi River near St. Louis. | SPECIAL TO SUN-TIMES MEDIA

This 110-pound blue catfish was pulled out of the Mississippi River near St. Louis. | SPECIAL TO SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: August 15, 2012 6:04AM

Picture here is one giant of a blue catfish, caught at the beginning of this month on the Mississippi River near St. Louis by three Springfield men who were just about to stop fishing for the night when the big boy hit.

This first caught my eye on the Prairie State Outdoors web site ( and the story by Chris Young of the The State Journal-Register newspaper. The fishermen in the picture are Jeremy Leskovisek, Mike Douin, and Devon Loftus, and they caught a 110-pound 2-ounce blue catfish.

Leskovisek hooked the fish at 2:55 a.m. using mooneye shad for bait and had help landing it from Douin and Loftus in all of 10 minutes. The fish was 54.5 inches long, and 42 inches around.

If “blue catfish” sounds familiar, that’s because the annual Northern Illinois Conservation Club’s annual ice-fishing derby, the longest continuous outdoor event in Illinois, has been won by a father/son team the last two or three years by them hauling in bug blue catfish, although their huge fish caught on the Chain O’ Lakes would probably be a meal for this giant.

The state record is a 124-pound, 4-ounce blue catfish hauled in by Tim Pruitt of Alton.

I had my own catfish experience when I was very young and the family was fishing a farm pond off of Hunt Club Road near Route 173 outside Antioch.

I was using a Rapala and was jerking it, letting it flutter, then reeling again, when suddenly something struck and it felt big. I set the hook and started reeling like mad, but there was no resistance. I thought maybe I lost my lure on the strike and started reeling it straight in.

Well apparently the catfish didn’t mind following my lead until it noticed the shoreline and suddenly turned around headed back out.

The sudden tension on the line surprised the heck out of me and I was standing in bare feet on the muddy shoreline and that cat dragged me about three feet into the shallow water.

I can’t remember how big it was, but it was pretty big. We had it for lunch and I will always remember how my father said he heard the best way to fillet them is by nailing their head to a board because they don’t die and won’t quit moving.

Well, we were eating that catfish (I think it was a channel cat, not a blue) and the rest of the fish on the board was still moving.

I’d love to fish that pond again some day, but the owner we knew sold it long ago.

Campout nights ahead

Both the Gurnee Park District and the Vernon Hills YMCA are offering campout opportunities.

The Gurnee Park District will offer a family campout on Friday, July 27 through Saturday July 28 at Viking Park, 4374 Old Grand Ave., Gurnee.

Bring your own tent and set up is Friday night at 6 p.m. with outdoor games and activities, dinner by campfire, and a family movie to round out the night. There’s a light breakfast in the morning. Cost is $25 for a resident, and $31 for non-residents with up to six people in a group. That is a group fee.

This event is for all ages but parents must stay overnight with children. Pre-registration is required and last day to register for the campout is next Friday. For more information, contact David MacDonald at (847) 599-5453 or e-mail at

The Central Lake County YMCA, 700 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills is having their family campout from 3 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 4, to 9 a.m. on Sunday Aug. 5.

There will be outdoor games, hike the park, swimming, a cookout, s’mores by campfire, and breakfast Sunday morning. Bad weather means they will move inside.

The cost is $25 per family for YMCA members and $35 for community members. For information, call Jaclyn Kling at (847) 367-6797.

Picture this

A ‘Get Caught’ summer fishing photo contest is being held by the Round Lake Area Park District.

Snap a photo of you, your family or friends fishing this summer and send it to, for your chance to win some fishing equipment.

Photos may be used for marketing future programs. Deadline for photos is Aug. 31, 2012.

If you think about it, send me a copy as well. You can always send any outdoor photograph my way by e-mailing me at

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