10:00am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

World record attempt falls short

CHICAGO, Il. — The attempt to break the world record for most fish caught in 24 hours came up short for Illinois angler Johnny Wilkins. Wilkins attacked the old record of 2,649 fish last weekend on the banks of an urban pond in a Chicago suburb. He landed 2,011.

“There were a couple of strategic choices I made that didn’t work and I’m breaking those down after the fact,” Wilkins tells MetroNews. “The fishing was much slower than I had thought.  It was slow fishing for 2,011 fish.”

The strategic error was one which concerned Wilkins during the planning phase. The activity created by his constant lifting of fish from the water triggered bigger fish to bite and because of his position, they didn’t have far to travel.

“There’s only one floating dock on this pond and I set up right next to it and I think that’s where all the big fish in this lake live,” he said. “Secondly, they stocked this lake with big farm pond bass two weeks ago. They started chasing my fish and they never slowed down.”

Wilkins targeted small fish in order to make land them, unhook, release, and return to fishing quickly. Turned out the small fish he hooked became bait. He eventually landed a 2.5 pound largemouth.

Wilkins also had carp cruising the bottom and plowing up the fish he was after. They never started biting the way he needed. Realizing the fact only four hours into the endeavor was mentally crushing.

“The pace was really slow and right around four o’clock in the afternoon I had 15 hours ahead of me and realized I wasn’t on world record pace,” he said. “So for 15 hours I ground it out. I didn’t want to stop short of 2,000 fish.”

For bait Wilkins used a fly larvae known as a “spike.” The bait is typically used by ice fishermen. His popper was a porcupine quill. During the 24 hour adventure he landed the largemouth bass, bluegill, fathead minnows, golden shiner, silver shiner, common carp, Crucian carp, a bull head catfish, and a gold fish which was larger than the bass.

Although he fell short of the record, Wilkins had no regrets and planned to give it another shot in the future.

“People asked when was the next time I was going to go fishing,” he said. “The answer was, ‘the next day.'”


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