Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Record white bass was nearly a fish fry entre

Associate Editor

St. Paul Minnesota’s new record white bass was nearly just
another fillet in a frying pan. Instead, it will now have its place
in the state record book, at least until a bigger fish comes
along.

Tony Adolfino, of Joliet, Ill., made a last-second decision
literally and spared the fish. He eventually had it verified as a
4-pound, 2.4-ounce state record. The fish was caught in the
Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters of Pool 5 of the Mississippi
River. Adolfino caught the fish May 6.

It was nearly “cleaned” that same day. But, just as “we put a
fillet cut to it,” Adolfino decided it should be weighed.

Adolfino and his fishing companions were angling from the Great
Alma Fishing Float, and were staying in the small Wisconsin town of
Alma across the river from Wabasha. He said they were pitching
plain hooks tipped with shiner minnows (with plenty of split shots
attached to get some distance into the casts) toward the dam.

Amid the other white bass Adolfino was catching came the
soon-to-be record.

“We thought it was big, but not a record,” said Adolfino, who
traveled six hours from his home for the fishing excursion.

After the near-brush with filleting, the bass was taken to a
bait shop where it was weighed. Since it appeared to be of record
quality, the fish was weighed again, this time with a certified
scale at a service station. It was 4 pounds, 3 ounces.

Uncertain of his course of action, Adolfino said he put the fish
in the refrigerator for the night. The next day he took the fish to
Tim Lodermeier, one of the operators of the Alma float and a
taxidermist. (The other is Tim’s brother, Jim.) Adolfino wanted the
fish mounted. But Tim Lodermeier had other, more pressing thoughts:
Perhaps the Minnesota DNR should have look at the fish, he
said.

So the fish was stored in the fridge for one more night. And the
next day two days after it was caught Adolfino determined a trip to
the DNR office was in order, to see if he in fact had a state
record. At that time, he said, he was a bit worried refrigeration
may have taken some bulk from the fish. With that in mind, he
journeyed up the road to the DNR station in Lake City.

“They were very, very nice people,” he said of the office
personnel. They kept coming out of various offices, he added, to
admire the fish. One of them accompanied him to a certified scale
at a location in Lake City and the fish was weighed at 4 pounds,
2.4 ounces. It was 18 inches long and had a 15.1-inch girth.

“It’s kinda nice,” Adolfino said of the record. “I do fish, but
I’m not an avid bass fisherman.

“I’m not really known as being a fisherman.”

As for the fish, Adolfino said he still plans to have Lodermeier
mount if for him. He didn’t say if he planned to have the side with
the fillet knife nick exposed.

The fishing group was not without fillets, even though the big
one will grace the wall. Adolfino said the next day he caught one
that his “non-certified” scale showed to be about 4 pounds. It was
18 inches long.

“She was pretty close,” he said.

The old Minnesota record white bass was 4 pounds, with two fish
in the book. One was caught on the St. Croix River, the other in
the Mississippi River on Pool 8. Adolfino said those records were
about 30 years old.

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