Two brothers, two days, two Illinois state record redhorses

This story is a few years old (the following is based on Dale Bowman’s report in the Chicago Sun-Times on May 14, 2008, linked below), but it’s a beauty:

Brothers Andrew and John Chione were fishing the Fox River west of Chicago in 2008 for carp, catfish and anything else that would bite. On April 24th,13-year-old John caught a 25.5 inch, 6.71 pound silver redhorse, got it weighed on a certified scale and had the ID confirmed by an Illinois fisheries biologist. Pretty cool? The next day—the VERY next day, and in the same area of the river—his15-year-old brother caught a 21 inch, 3.74 pound shorthead.

For my money, however, the best part of the story is that they knew what they had caught. It’s a rare fisherman who knows the difference between redhorse species. In fact, most probably don’t know there are multiple species of redhorse and can’t reliably see the differences between redhorses and other suckers. I’ve watched clearly skilled anglers kill suckers in the mistaken belief that they were carp. But when John caught the record silver, he knew what it was and he knew the existing record. Bowman quotes him as saying “‘We go through a lot of DNR magazines and remembered the record was around 5 pounds.'” Icing on the fishcake is Andrew’s comment regarding his record shorthead: “‘I knew it what it was. We caught the species before. I knew what the record was.'”

Bowman shares my feelings about this: “What I find most interesting is how sharp the brothers were. They knew the species of redhorse (something I normally have to look up)
and that they were Illinois records.”

The Illinois shorthead record is beatable. I’ve caught specimens longer than and very close to the weight of Andrew’s fish. Hook an egg-laden female during the spawn and you could fairly easily have a state record fish.

To see the photos and read the whole story, see

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  1. That’s a very cool story. Gives me a little hope for the future of fishing to know that there are some young anglers out there who are so well informed.

    • That’s a big part of what I love about the story. Sometimes it’s hard to keep hope alive for the future of fish and fishing, but it’s important to remember that the kids out there fishing and hunting, no matter how good at it and dedicated they are, are almost never going to be noticed by any kind of media unless they set a record or there’s a tragedy of some sort. The silence doesn’t mean they’re not out there, but it does mean they’re mostly invisible. Good habits and good deeds don’t merit much notice. I applaud Mr. Bowman for covering the brothers’ records so that for a few days there was a positive story about young people fishing. His podcast (Jan. 2012) with the 15 year old who caught Illinois’ state record walleye was another example. I assume he also wrote about that in the paper. The podcast is here: but you have to use iTunes to get it. It’s a real shame that the podcast is only available that way. Wish they’d archive it somewhere more accessible.

  2. Fantastic. Nice work guys and a cool educational site!

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