Area anglers make some mighty catches
Written by Muskegon Chronicle   
Sunday, 28 August 2005 18:09
This is the time of year when you often hear tall tales of landing a trophy fish, but failing to have the necessary photo support that would help to verify the catch.

But, thanks to digital photography, a growing number of anglers are now able to provide a visual proof of "wall-hangers" both released and kept.

For example:

Brooks Wheeler was casting a jointed Rapala Shad Rap from the shore of the Grand River in downtown Grand Haven when he experienced a heavy jolt.

"Thankfully I was using 20-pound test Fireline or I might not have been able to hang on to that fish," said Wheeler.

For more than 15 minutes, the leviathan put up a fight but Wheeler finally brought it in.

"I usually release all my fish," said Wheeler. "And since I had caught several other Master Angler fresh water drum (sheepshead), including one that measured 30 inches in length, I didn't give it much thought before letting it go. I guess you would call it angler error as I later learned that the state record was only 26 pounds and it's very likely that this fish was bigger."

After seeing the visual proof, few anglers would question a state record was possible.

Several other anglers have caught and released drum that could have been a new state record. Wheeler's fish is still swimming in the Grand River system and the odds are good there are others just a big in Muskegon Lake. Keep a camera handy and be sure to have your catch weighed on a certified scale.

Another trophy fish that didn't get away was the 'wall hanger' chinook salmon taken by Tim Shick while fishing with Captain Chip Klein aboard the charter boat "Hit Man."

The king salmon first tipped the scales at 34 pounds, but later in the day the official weight was set at 32 pounds 15 ounces.

This makes it the largest salmon recorded in Michigan this year and the first to exceed the 30-pound mark.

The huge king was 431/2 inches long and took a No. 3 glow J-Plug fished 16 feet down right in front of the Grand Haven Channel.

It's beginning to look like the Greater Muskegon Area is becoming better known for having a variety of trophy fish. In addition to these fish, we've had a world record walleye taken from Muskegon Lake and a sturgeon netted from Muskegon Lake that University of Georgia biologist Paul Vecsei called the largest he has ever seen in Michigan waters.

Additionally, a brown trout weighing more than 21 pounds was caught two weeks ago, several flathead catfish that weighed more than 35 pounds have been netted and released this year, and we can also boast of having several of the larger white perch (Muskegon Lake) caught in Michigan.

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