Digital Access

Digital Access
Access saukvalley.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from SaukValley.com, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Premium

What a lunker!

Amboy father and daughter net a fearsome flathead in Page Park

Marshall Pankhurst and his daughter, Katelynn, of Amboy, show off the flathead they wrangled from the Rock River early Saturday afternoon at Page Park in Dixon. The catfish clocked in at just a skosh over 45 pounds before he broke the scale, Pankhurst said. They didn't measure him, but he eyeballs at around 3-and-a-half to 4 feet long – Marshall stands 6-foot-1. The big cat hit on a goldfish around 12:45 p.m., and it took them a good 20 minutes to strongarm him to the shore, where he was weighed, photographed, admired and returned to his watery home.
Marshall Pankhurst and his daughter, Katelynn, of Amboy, show off the flathead they wrangled from the Rock River early Saturday afternoon at Page Park in Dixon. The catfish clocked in at just a skosh over 45 pounds before he broke the scale, Pankhurst said. They didn't measure him, but he eyeballs at around 3-and-a-half to 4 feet long – Marshall stands 6-foot-1. The big cat hit on a goldfish around 12:45 p.m., and it took them a good 20 minutes to strongarm him to the shore, where he was weighed, photographed, admired and returned to his watery home.

DIXON – If you’re an avid angler, any day you drop a line and get a bite is a good day.

Saturday, Marshall Pankhurst and his daughter, Katelynn, had a freakin’ phe-nom-e-nal day.

That’s the day the Amboy father and daughter spent a good bit of time battling a big fat flattie, finally hauling the 45-pound lunker onto the banks of Page Park.

A day later, and Pankhurst still could not conceal his delight – at the catch, and with the shared experience.

“I couldn’t have brought that baby in without my daughter. We fought and fought,” he said. “We had a great time bringing it in; it was wonderful.”

Katelynn, 20, is back home for summer break from Illinois State, so she and her dad decided to go fishing.

It was a little before 1 p.m., and 90-some degrees – “hotter than you-know-what” – so they found a nice shady spot under a tree and baited their hook with an itty bitty goldfish from Bunny’s Bait shop.

A short cast later – maybe 20 feet out or so – and the cat fight was on.

“When it hit, he took off, and it was awesome ... it was unreal ... The reel was just screaming,” the 58-year-old Pankhurst said Sunday, as he and Katelynn were in Loves Park, eyeing the impending storm, and trying to get a little more fishing in.

“Every time it got close, it would just take off again. We fought it for 20 minutes; my arms were getting tired.”

Katelynn took the pole for a bit, to give Dad’s arms a rest, and when he took over again and finally muscled it to shore, she went down to bring it on in – only to find the fat cat was too big for their net.

“I had a large net, and it still didn’t fit,” Pankhurst said. “I’m used to catching 10- to 15-pounders.”

Fortunately, a passerby was on hand to help. They wrestled the whiskery river denizen onto the grass, and Pankhurst hoisted him – or her, he’s not sure – on high for a couple of photos, and the weigh-in.

The big cat tipped the scale at “a hair” over 45 pounds – before he broke it, Pankhurst said.

“I’ve been fishing flathead for years, this is the best one. That one was a handful,” he said.

After Katelynn and the good Samaritan snapped a few pics, the Pankhursts slipped their monster catch back into the river.

“That was fun. It was the most fun we’ve had fishing in a long time,” Pankhurst said, with sheer, unabashed glee.

“It couldn’t have been any better.”

Like any hard-won victory, this one taught its warriors a major life lesson, which Pankhurst was happy to impart to Katelynn:

“Honey, for Christmas, I need a bigger net!”

And, apparently, a new scale.

Loading more