No one is sure how old Rabindra Mallik is because of lost records and a fire around the time of his birth in a village in India. But he was probably born around 1949.
That struck me while talking with Dr. Atul Mallik, Rabindra’s oldest son, who caught the soon-to-be Illinois-record lake trout Monday morning. Lake trout can live for decades and it will be interesting to hear speculations by biologists on the age of Mallik’s laker, a stocked fish indicated by the clipped fin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the oldest laker at 70 years old.
“This is a fishing family,” Mallik’s wife Kirsten said as she was driving the family home Monday afternoon. “There were three generations on the boat.”
Mallik, a radiologist at Loyola, set up “a last-minute charter” for his family–his father, his two younger brothers, Ronak and Amit, Mallik’s wife and their daughter Nikita, 11, and son, Indra, 9–on the Massive Confusion out of Montrose Harbor.
“[Rabindra] took us all fishing as kids,” Mallik said.
On the charter, fishing etiquette and tradition may have come into play. On charters, there is custom followed generally of taking turns on the rods.
His final spot proved fortunate. When he picked up the seventh rod, history was in the making.
“We realized how big it was when Gregg was bringing it in and was excitedly jumping up and down,” Mallik said.
First mate Gregg Peters has netted and handled a lot of big fish, but not an Illinois record until then.
Mallik compared the experience to watching a video of people deep-sea fishing.
He’s caught some nice bluefish off the Jersey Shore, but, Mallik said, “This is certainly the largest freshwater fish I have ever caught.”
The Massive Confusion was in 110 feet of water. Mallik’s laker came on an O chrome Dodger and a green-and-white Spin-n-Glo with a prismatic Howie fly.
Peters and Mallik brought, more accurately lugged, the laker to be weighed on the certified scale at Park Bait, where it came to 39.16 pounds. It was 45 1/2 inches long with a girth of 28 inches.
“It’s a beast,” proprietor Stacey Greene said.
A beast big enough to top the standing Illinois record for lake trout (38 pounds, 4 ounces) by nearly a pound. Ted Rullman caught that record on Aug. 22, 1999 from the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan.
“It was magical; everything was perfect, the weather was great and everybody got up in time,” Mallik said.
They had to be on the dock by 445 a.m., which Mallik noted, “For my family, that is an early start.”
Mallik filled out the paperwork at Park Bait. The fish was dropped off at Tom Wendel Wildlife Artist in Arlington Heights for the taxidermy work. A biologist from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will check the fish there. Then, once the paperwork is signed off on officially, the record will formally be Mallik’s.
The Kankakee Valley Park District’s dedication for naming the Bird Park boat launch in Kankakee in honor of Ed Mullady is at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 8. Mullady, the Hall-of-Fame advocate for the Kankakee River, died at 94 in December.
Don Higgins’ buck “Mel” was net scored at 197 3/8 inches on May 19 by scorers Tim Walmsley and Jim Barry. That makes it the second highest-scoring typical buck taken by bow in Illinois, behind Mel Johnson’s long-standing world-record typical (204 4/8), for which Higgins’ buck was named.
I beat the birds to my first-of-the-year semi-wild strawberries on Sunday.
Baseball in Chicago is beginning to resemble a summer trip to the Boundary Waters, complete with grueling portages and glorious rewards.