Sports

Cary-Grove senior catches 34-pound catfish off shores of Fox River

Travis Witkins, 18, of Cary, caught a 34-pound catfish Tuesday on the Fox River in Port Barrington.
Travis Witkins, 18, of Cary, caught a 34-pound catfish Tuesday on the Fox River in Port Barrington.

Two years ago, Travis Witkins saw someone catch a large flathead catfish on the Fox River. The now 18-year-old Cary native said to himself, “If there’s a big fish, I want to try for it.”

The Cary-Grove senior caught himself a big fish on Tuesday. 

Witkins reeled in a 34-pound catfish from a dock along the Fox River near the Broken Oar Marina-Bar & Grill in Port Barrington. Witkins said his grandfather has a dock in the area and he was out fishing with a friend Tuesday.

He fished all evening, but it wasn’t until about 9 p.m. that he felt a tug.

“The pole started going and I picked it up and the second I set the hook I knew it was big,” Witkins said. “The pole was bending straight down and it took a solid 10 minutes to reel it into where the dock was.”

The 34-pounder beats his previous personal best of 32 pounds. 

Witkins said he has been fishing since he was 6 or 7 and called his family “a fishing family.” After learning of large catfish in the Fox River, Witkins struggled to catch any for the better part of two years trying, until he caught the 32-pounder at the tail end of last season. 

Tuesday’s catfish was his first catch of the season. 

“I had yet to get any luck this year,” Witkins said. 

That certainly changed Tuesday. 

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