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posted: 1/11/2015 8:39 AM

Muskie Expo draws 10,000 to Sears Centre

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  • Shannon Lax of Wisconsin holds one of the reproductions that she makes with her husband, Rick. Muskie fishing is a catch-and-release program. Fisherman will take measurements and a photograph of the fish, and the Laxes will make a replica exactly like that fish.

      Shannon Lax of Wisconsin holds one of the reproductions that she makes with her husband, Rick. Muskie fishing is a catch-and-release program. Fisherman will take measurements and a photograph of the fish, and the Laxes will make a replica exactly like that fish.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Paul Malek and his son Charlie, 8, of Naperville prepare to purchase different muskie lures on display Saturday at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

      Paul Malek and his son Charlie, 8, of Naperville prepare to purchase different muskie lures on display Saturday at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jim Moses of Rockford checks out the replicas of muskies and other assorted fish on display at the first Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.

      Jim Moses of Rockford checks out the replicas of muskies and other assorted fish on display at the first Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The first Chicago Muskie Expo 2015 continues today at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates with an expected crowd of 10,000 catch-and-release muskie enthusiasts checking out the latest gear and hoping for an early spring.

      The first Chicago Muskie Expo 2015 continues today at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates with an expected crowd of 10,000 catch-and-release muskie enthusiasts checking out the latest gear and hoping for an early spring.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Russ "Smithy" Smith of Wisconsin shows off his handmade wooden muskie lure at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.

      Russ "Smithy" Smith of Wisconsin shows off his handmade wooden muskie lure at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Russ "Smithy" Smith of Wisconsin shows off the stages of birth of his handmade wooden muskie lures at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.

      Russ "Smithy" Smith of Wisconsin shows off the stages of birth of his handmade wooden muskie lures at the Chicago Muskie Expo held at the Sears Centre on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Muskie fishermen are part of a special club, as muskie is the largest fresh water fish in the world. And that special club is quite large, as about 10,000 muskie fishermen descended on the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates this weekend for the first Chicago Muskie Expo. The event, which began Friday, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The event's promoter, Doug Reuter, of Madison, Wisconsin, was thrilled at the turnout. "We'll be back next year," he said.

The expo contained "anything muskie," according to Reuter: baits, muskie clubs, fishing guides and the latest boats from dealerships.

Muskie fishing is a catch-and-release program mainly because the giant fish are not too tasty. "The taste is terrible," Reuter says.

Because it's a catch-and-release program, the same fish can be caught year after year, identified by it markings or fin structure.

Shannon Lax of Wisconsin, an avid muskie fisher, sees the sport growing in popularity for women because of the catch-and-release mentality.

"I think there are a lot more women who muskie fish now mainly because it's a great sport and the idea of catching a fish, taking a picture of it and releasing it without it dying, and still having it on your wall as a trophy is a huge draw for women," she said.

Reuter said muskie is a good fish for the "tug and fight" challenge. "It's awesome."

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