Illinois Man May Have Record-Breaking Rock Bass Catch

by TK Sanders
Calm fall day at Wonder Lake, Denali National Park and Preserve, Illinois, USA - stock photo, Getty Images

An Illinois man caught a record-breaking rock bass during a rainstorm near the Wonder Lake dam over the weekend. Jacob Caso almost quit for the day when the storm clouds blew in, but he and his wife, Jess, decided to stick around for just a few more casts.

About ready to give up and get dry, Caso saw his bobber dip quickly underwater. Immediately, the experienced angler knew he was dealing with something different than the typical Illinois lake fare. A few minutes and a good fight later, Caso pulled out a two-pound rock bass — an Illinois record, according to the Northwest Herald.

“I realized that I have a monster here,” Jacob said.

The Casos didn’t know what kind of fish they had caught or that it was a record size at first. Jacob even thought about throwing it back, but Jess encouraged him to keep it and do some research. The couple then sent some photos to friends and perused the internet for answers. A couple of hours later, Jacob and Jess realized they were holding the new Illinois record rock bass. Angler George Nielson set the original record at one pound, 10 ounces back in 1987.

To officially accept the new record, the Casos have to submit the fish for certification with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The representative will have to review pictures, as well as weigh the fish on an official scale. Jacob will also have to sign some forms and mail them to Springfield.

The couple said they plan to mount the fish on their wall as a memento.

“That’s how good he is at fishing,” Jess said. “He’s like ‘I got something but it’s fighting me different.’ It wasn’t a common fish and he knew that before he got it out of the water.”

Two Kentucky fishermen didn’t set any records like the rock bass in Illinois, but they pulled in a monster nonetheless

A few hundred miles southeast of Illinois, two Kentucky anglers also caught a monster fish three weeks ago to keep a remarkable streak alive. Their blue catfish weighed in at a staggering 95 pounds; and it was the fourth year in a row the pair reeled in a monster in mid-March.

Including the 95-pounder from this year, Michael Robinson and Terry Raymer also netted an 82-pounder, a 80-pounder, and a 75-pounder on the same day — March 15 — the past three years. Raymer said they hooked the fish at one of their favorite spots near Louisville.

“The fish swam straight to the boat like it didn’t know it was hooked. Then it got under the boat and peeled,” Raymer said. “It was about as hard a fight for five minutes at the boat as a blue can give, which was surprising considering the water was 45 degrees.”

After a friend at the dock weighed the catch, Raymer and Robinson released their prize back into the water, hoping to see another like it again next year.

“I was pretty excited to be part of Mike’s catch. I take a lot of satisfaction being able to put my friends on some trophies,” Raymer said. “They appreciate all the time I’ve put on the river and they soak it in like sponges.”