There are some big flathead catfish that make their home in the Rock River. One Rockford man has a knack for catching them.
Macario Martinez says he fishes pretty much every weekend. His favorite spot is underneath the Morgan Street bridge downstream from the Fordham dam.
“I come over here just to relax you know. Just to be out of the house. I be bored at the house,” says Martinez.
Last Sunday evening was anything but boring for Martinez. That’s when he caught a 42 pound flathead. He says he was fishing for bluegill to use as bait. Instead he wound up with the giant catfish.
“I was trying to catch my bait when I catch the big ole fish,” he says.
He caught it with a single worm. What’s even more remarkable is Martinez was only using a ten pound test line. The line never broke despite the battle that ensued to pull the fish in.
“It took me about 35 to 45 minutes to get him out because I don’t have no net,” says Martinez.
So who was more excited when he caught the fish Martinez or his family?
“My family, my neighbors, people that were around here. I wasn’t really excited because I’m used to catching big ones.”
That’s right, Martinez has won some awards while competing in tournaments here, and there was the one time he caught a fish that made this recent 42 pounder seem somewhat small.
“About nine years ago I caught one it was 51 pounds,” he says.
When most of us look at the river we see water, but Martinez knows better what lies within it.
“There are some big ones oh yea,” he says.
So can he top the 51 pounder someday?
“Ah maybe, maybe,” he says. “I still want to catch another one, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to catch another big one sometime.”
Martinez has been fishing since he was five years old. He’s 44 now.