He ended up with not just a fish tale, but the monstrous fish to go with it.
Gillespie’s Jan. 19 catch on the Lake Erie ice will be the envy of Midwestern anglers near and far.
“It’s the biggest walleye I’ve ever caught,” Gillespie said in an interview with the Register this week.
On his Facebook page, and on his show’s website, gillespiefishing.com , he posted a photo of himself smiling wide as he holds the gargantuan creature.
The fish’s final stats: 32 inches, 12 pounds.
It’ll be featured on Gillespie’s television show, a 52-week program that takes him to the best fishing hotspots in the Midwest. It airs on Comcast Sportsnet in Indiana and Illinois, as well as other sporting networks in North Dakota and Minnesota. Eventually the episodes are posted on his website, too.
He has already posted a preview of his Lake Erie and Port Clinton expedition. It features a slew of fishermen hunkered down in shanties on the lake ice, their lines dropped through holes as they wait for a bite. During last weekend’s adventure, Gillespie was guided by local Capt. Mike Patterson, who leads fishing trips all year. The group of fishermen started in Port Clinton, then headed onto the frozen lake before ending up between the islands and mainland.
“We located the big fish about five days before (Gillespie) got here,” Patterson said.
Patterson treated the icy expedition the same as any other, even though Gillespie is well-known in the industry.
“We try to treat him like anyone else” Patterson said. “We try to put him on the best fish we can”
Patterson steered his fishing companions right. At about noon that day, Gillespie felt the monster strike his hook.
“There’s nothing more exciting than that feeling, knowing the walleye is hooked” Gillespie said.
As Gillespie coaxed the walleye up through the hole in the ice, Patterson dipped his bare hands into the frigid water and pulled up the fish.
The walleye was one of about 40 caught that day.
The others were much smaller than this.