Weinstock lands monster cat in Rock River
Kenny Weinstock owns a balloon company, but one thing he won’t have to inflate is his greatest fishing story.
Monday evening, Weinstock spent about half an hour fighting and eventually winning a battle with a 47-inch flathead catfish. He and friend Bill Law, who was alongside, estimate the bruiser weighs approximately 50 pounds.
“His mouth was so big, I could have fit my whole arm in there,” said Weinstock, 50, the owner of Blue Moon Balloon Company of DeKalb. “When I realized I had a catfish and saw how big he was, I was just screaming and all over the dock.”
“He was so excited. I thought he was going to mess around and lose that thing,” said Law, 84.
Weinstock made the catch while fishing off the docks on the Rock River on Law’s farm behind Dixon Ford Lincoln Volkswagen Mazda, just off Route 2.
The weight of the fish was only a best guess. Law and Weinstock did not have a scale handy.
“I’m pretty familiar with propane cylinders, and they weigh about 45 pounds,” Law said. “[The fish] probably weighed more.”
“Only half of him would fit in the net,” Weinstock said. “I could barely pick him up.”
Weinstock, who lives on West First Street in Dixon when he’s not on Law’s farm over the summer, used his Zebco 808 rod and reel, a No. 2 hook and pre-knotted string, and 50-pound test line.
“I wasn’t worried about the line,” Weinstock said. “I was more worried about the hook, string and leader.”
His bait was simply nightcrawlers.
“I was surprised he bit on a worm,” Law said. “I always thought you had to use bigger bait to catch bigger fish.”
Weinstock was surprised to catch the behemoth in shallow water.
“He was sitting in about 6- or 7-foot deep water,” he said. “I thought that was strange, but maybe he came out at night to feed.”
In some 45 years of fishing, Weinstock had never had a catch of more than 3 pounds.
Was mounting the prize fish a thought?
“No. The first thing I thought about was I wanted to put him back,” Weinstock said. “Maybe the next time I catch him he’ll be 75 pounds, and we’ll have a bigger story to tell.”
Law and Weinstock released the monster back into the Rock. Weinstock hopes for another encounter.
“I was thinking about going out tonight after work,” he said Wednesday evening. “I’ll be out there with my nightcrawlers.”
Before the catch of a lifetime, Weinstock caught some five channel cats, then a couple of sheepshead before snagging an 18-inch blue cat. Little did he or Law know what would happen next.
“It was such a rush,” Weinstock said. “You always hope to catch a fish like that, but to actually do it was amazing.”
How monster fish was caught
Rod & reel: Zebco 808
Hook: No. 2 pre-knotted hook and string
Line: 50-pound test
When: Monday evening
Where: In 6 to 7-foot deep water off a dock on the Rock River behind Dixon Ford Lincoln Volkswagen Mazda on Route 2
Battle: Approximately 30 minutes
Fish’s size: 47 inches long; weight unknown but guessed around 50 pounds
Note: Fish was released back into the Rock River