Illinois DNR

Illinois State Record Smallmouth Bass Caught In, of All Places, Downtown Chicago

Of all the spots you'd think the Illinois state record smallmouth bass could be caught, downtown Chicago likely never ranked high.

If it hadn't come from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, we may not have believed it—but the state record smallmouth bass has been reestablished with a monster of a fish from the downtown Chicago Lake Michigan shoreline.

The smallmouth was caught by angler Joseph Capilupo at Monroe Harbor on October 14, 2019.

The fish weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces, topping the previous record by 12 ounces. That record had stood since 1985, when it was pulled from a Fulton County strip mine lake by Mark Samp.

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The Illinois DNR shared photos on their Facebook page.

The new state record fish was kept alive during the verification process, and released the next day to continue growing. Capilupo said a replica will be made. There's even video of the release shared to Facebook.

The smallmouth was caught while night fishing at 10:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the park at Monroe Harbor was scheduled to close. did the legwork to find out more, including the specific fishing gear that was used.

Capilupo caught the record smallmouth on a Z-Man Finesse TRD in California Craw color. He and his fishing buddies rely on this bait regularly when chasing smallies on Lake Michigan.

Capilupo used a Daiwa Legalis casting reel spooled with 12-pound Sufix monofilament to land the new record. He was also using a St. Croix Mojo Bass casting rod.

According to Wired2Fish, Joe Capilupo had a friend pick up large garbage bags so they could transport the fish to an officially registered scale. It was 22 1/4 inches long and 16 1/2 inches in girth.

Afterwards it was released back into Lake Michigan, which holds a number of state records, but all for trout. They include Atlantic salmon, brook trout, brown trout, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, lake trout, pink salmon, rainbow trout and tiger trout.

If you think you've caught a record fish in Illinois, the DNR has a list of steps to take.