By JEFF LAMPE
A slow afternoon of bass fishing turned record-setting for Jacob Millichamp of Sherrard on April 12. Fishing at Crescent Lake in Alpha with his buddy Logan Thomas, Millichamp hooked into what he first thought was a snag.
“I’d seen where some carp were real active slapping the water with their tails and making all kinds of noise. It sounded like cinder blocks hitting the water,” said Millichamp, 19, who recently returned from U.S. Army Reserve boot camp. “So I threw into the grass with a nightcrawler.”
At first all he felt was a little pull. So Millichamp set the hook. Hard. Too hard, he thought.
“I figured I was snagged. Then we went up to the grass and sure enough, the snag starting moving on us,” he said.
And “the snag” kept moving for another 15 minutes, dragging Millichamp, Thomas and their 8-foot jon boat all over the lake. Finally, Millichamp attempted to net the fish, only to learn the net barely fit over the fish’s head.
So he then pinned the fish against the side of the boat and they headed for shore. Once there, he grabbed the tired fish and tossed it onto shore.
From there the carp went to H&H Feed Mill in Orion where it was weighed at 79 pounds on a certified scale. The fish was 49 inches long.
Fisheries biologist Dan Sallee confirmed the fish was a grass carp. Pending final approval from Springfield, Millichamp’s big fish will be the Illinois state record – surpassing a 69-pound, 8-ounce, 52-inch fish caught July 13, 2000 out of Lake Petersburg by Daniel McDougall. Lake Petersburg had produced two previous record grass carp.
But contrary to early reports, Millichamp’s fish is not a world record. According to the International Game Fish Association, that honor belongs to an 87-10 carp caught July 22, 2009 at Piasuchnik Dam in Bulgaria by Stoian Iliev.
“It would have been nice to have the world record, but it’s still a great fish,” Millichamp said.
“We’re still pretty excited,” said Thomas, who ran the trolling motor to chase the fish while Millichamp held on tight.
Almost lost in all the hoopla was the fact that Millichamp and Thomas had managed just one bass each that same day.