The 38th annual Kankakee River Fishing Derby wraps up this weekend, and it has been a big week on the river for area fishing contestants.
Several tagged fish have been caught, including No. 153 Sparky sponsored by NECA IBEW Local 176, reeled in Tuesday by Bob Tolmer, of Bourbonnais. Sparky’s prize is a boat, motor and trailer.
It’s the biggest prize of all the tagged fish in the derby.
“The first time since I’ve been involved with the derby it has been caught,” said Ken Munjoy, president of the Northern Illinois Anglers Association, which puts on the event. “This is my seventh year. It’s only been caught twice before in the 38-year history of the derby.”
When a tagged fish is brought into one of the participating bait shops, Munjoy will be called to find out what the contestant has won based on the number.
“When I went down the list, I said, ‘Holy cow,’” said Munjoy of the big catch. “It’s all randomly assigned to sponsors. It’s done by someone outside of the organization.”
The derby concludes at 6 p.m. Sunday. Five tagged fish have been caught so far, and more could be taken this weekend.
“It’s still possible,” Munjoy said. “As long as the river level doesn’t go up, we’ll be OK. We’re hoping for the best, going into the last weekend of the derby.”
Other tagged fish caught this week were:
• Clay Lund, of Kankakee, caught No. 008 Ally Cat sponsored by United Disposal with a prize of $100.
• Matthew Sommer, of Kankakee, caught No. 159 Mack the Knife sponsored by WVLI with a prize of $500 in merchandise.
Fish caught earlier in the derby include:
• Brandon Soucie, of Clifton, caught No. 158 Money Saver sponsored by The Daily Journal with a prize of $1,000.
• Emmanuel Baez, of Kankakee, caught No. 101 Shady Deal sponsored by Tholen’s Landscape & Garden Center with a prize of two trees delivered.
Munjoy said it’s been a great derby so far for all those involved.
“To have five tagged fish caught is really good, and we have three days left,” he said. “The number of fish registered for the Big Board is impressive as well.”
The Big Board is a list of non-tagged fish caught during the derby by registered anglers.
“All the smallmouth are pretty big,” Munjoy said. “A 3-pound smallmouth is a very nice fish. All the Big Board smallmouths are more than 3 pounds.”
The awards presentation is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Bradley-Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive in Bourbonnais. For more information and a list of the Derby Dollar Days winners, visit kankakeefishingderby.com.