Kash Gustafson, 8, appears to have caught the Illinois and world record shovelnose sturgeon

Kash Gustafson gave a brief overview of dinosaur age creatures – from insects to fish – and added: “T. rex used to eat sturgeon. That’s why they have spikes on their backs.”

I don’t know if this is backed up by ichthyological studies from the Cretaceous period, but I’m leaning to believe the precocious 8-year-old sophomore.

After all, he should soon hold the Illinois and world records for shovel sturgeon.

After his basketball game on October 21, Kash and his father Troy went night fishing on the Rock River above the Quad Cities.

“It was scary,” Kash said.

“He hadn’t been out at night in quite a while because of school,” Troy said.

They were on the Rock at 8:30 p.m., and the time came around 10:15 p.m.

Troy noticed a line had come loose – he said big shovel noses often swim upstream when taking the bait – as Kash brought one in on another rod. Kash then fought the second. By the time he arrived, Kash knew it.

“It was pretty big, big belly,” Kash said. ”It looks like Lola [their fat-bellied wiener dog].”

“Drug that one, you could hear us all say, ‘Holy shit, look at the belly of that thing, like a big football,'” Troy said.

The sturgeon came on a night crawler on a 6/0 circle hook (circle hooks prevent gut snagging) on ​​a 30 pound monofilament on a rod typically used for flathead catfish.

Troy has a large fish tank, where he put the sturgeon until morning. Then they went to Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle, where he was weighed in at 11 pounds, 13 ounces on a certified, witness scale.

Illinois fisheries biologist David Wyffels stopped with the paperwork. Jeremiah Haas, the lead aquatic biologist at Exelon’s Quad Cities power station, where Troy works night shifts, confirmed it was a shovel nose. Haas broke the story for the Quad-City Times.

There are 27 species of sturgeon in the world, and the shovelnose is the smallest. Illinois is home to three sturgeons: the shovelnose, the federally endangered pale sturgeon in the Mississippi River, and the endangered lake sturgeon. Shovels are state protected where they overlap with pallidae. There is an ongoing study on shovelnoses in the Rock.

The Gustafson family dominates shovelnose records. Troy’s uncle, Marty, broke the Illinois record of 10 pounds, 8.2 ounces on December 12, 2021 from the Rock River. Troy had grabbed the previous record weeks earlier in November 2021.

Kash will have the record when the documents are received by Illinois Fisheries Chief Mike McClelland and he signs.

The world record may require a longer review by the International Game Fish Association, which recognizes Forrest Patrick Garrett Croff’s record of 5.24 kilograms (11 pounds, 9 ounces). This was taken in Loma, Montana.

After being weighed and certified, the Kash sturgeon was released.

Troy Gustafson and his son Kash with the soon to be record shovel sturgeon.  Photo provided

Troy Gustafson and his son Kash with the soon to be record shovel sturgeon.

Show time

Tinley Park Fishing, Travel and Outdoor Show (tinleyfishingexpo.com) is slated for the Tinley Park Convention Center in February. Looks like show season will be closer to normal this winter.

Misplaced cast

I don’t know why, but rhyming ”otter” with ”girl” in Caamp’s ”The Otter” bothers me.

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