Andrea Senteney

2.5 lb. Muskellunge (Muskie) caught by Andrea Senteney fishing in Shabbona Lake in Illinois on 07/06/87

Posted by Andrea Senteney over 11 years ago

Muskellunge (Muskie)
No picture was available for this catch. This is a stock image.
Image credit: Timothy Knepp, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
22.0" / 2.5 lb. Muskellunge (Muskie) caught by Andrea Senteney fishing on Monday July 06, 1987 at 04:00 in Shabbona Lake near Shabbona in DeKalb County, Illinois (IL), United States North America using a Live Bait - Minnow on Jig Hook a Minnow

We had been fishing all day long. It was unbelievably hot. I was the only one to catch anything yet and that was a walleye that was a baby - less than 6 in long...

My Dad, Uncle and Aunt were determined to continue to fish until one of them caught something. It had been so long since anyone had even gotten a bite, that I gave up and cast into what is a known garbage pile in Lake Shabbona. The straight line (on this map) at the south of the lake is a dam. Water comes through the causeway and currents toward the north east, essentially swirling everything ever dumped in the lake into the alcove where I caught the fish.

I cast there on purpose because I swore we were going home with at least a boot or an old tire or something. About 45 minutes went by while everyone else fished on and then finally everyone was ready to pull up their lines.

When I went to pull mine up (I had cast pretty far from the boat) it was stuck on what we all assumed would be a boot or a tire or something. The trolling motor was dropped, the engine was lifted and we proceeded with caution into the garbage pile.

As we trolled over to where the line was stuck I kept the line taut and reeled in and reeled in the closer we got. We finally got on top of the line and none of us could see what it was stuck on. I had the rod bent steeply trying to pull the line out and had yanked and cranked the line to get it unstuck. As we were discussing cutting the line, the tension reeled and the fish swam like mad.

We were all so surprised to find a fish on the line after it seemed just to be stuck for SEVERAL minutes, that it took a second to get our bearings. We had also taken the boat so far into the garbage that the trolling motor was up and we were oaring by this time. Everyone was caught off guard and scrambling for the net and trying to get out of my way while the fish swam - of course - under the boat.

I got around to the other side of the boat, not an easy task with four people in an outboard, and the fish jumped and everyone in the boat was silent but my Dad who said, "What the hell was THAT?"

It took about 20 minutes to land the fish and Muskie get so slippery with slime that it was hard to get him into the net even. When we got him on board, none of us knew what kind of fish it was so we broke out the handy dandy Audubon guide and looked. We had to find out what it was so we could see if it was a keeper.

First we thought it was a Northern Pike (not known to be in Lake Shabbona) but the mouth was wrong and we found it to be a Muskie. The limit at Lake Shabbona at that time was 24 inches so I was two inches under the limit and insisted we put him back so someone could catch him when THEY cast into trash on a hot day....

The real irony of this story and the reason I love to tell it is that my Grandfather fished a known trophy Muskie lake in Minnesota (Cass Lake - more on THAT spot later) since the 1940's and never caught one and my Father fished that same lake for Muskie as well and here in our own backyard a 12 year old in the family caught the only one anyone has ever caught in the family.

At the time this fish was caught, Lake Shabbona was not known at all for the record Muskie and Catfish it is now...

That was a great day fishing.

6 members like this

Sandra Wright
John A Wright
John Wright
Brandon Mabrey
Joe Pych
Andrea Senteney
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Brandon Mabrey


Posted by Brandon Mabrey Elite Member over 11 years ago

Josh Bacharach

nice to meet you andrea, yeah, it did look like a snake kind of, it was alot thicker in diameter than a snake, and i knew what it was when i caught it by the way muskies, and northen smack the bait hard when they do. where do you fish now, and i hope your still a bears fan! lol sorry it took me so long to respond, i was a little busy fishing, and ice fishing...brrr.. i dont like ice fishing no more man!!

Posted by Josh Bacharach over 11 years ago

Joe Pych

Nice to see you on Hooked-in, Andrea. Thanks for sharing that story. I've yet to catch a Muskie... someday!

Posted by Joe Pych Elite Member over 11 years ago

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