Most 8-year old students are ready for bed on a Sunday night, getting rest for school the next day. But at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 23, young Kashten Gustafson, his dad Troy and uncle Marty were putting their boat in the Rock River for a go at sturgeon and catfish.
“The bite was great (that night) and Kashten was staying busy in the back of the boat,” Troy posted on his Facebook Page, Team Catchfish Adventures. “While he was reeling in a pretty good one, we noticed a slack line on one of the other rods. The fish grabbed a big ball of worms and had ran upriver! He cranked on it and as soon as he caught up with it he immediately told us to ‘get the net’.”
Troy weighed Kashten’s fish in the boat with a digital scale, and it showed 12 pounds. They knew the fish was a potential record catch and kept it alive in their boat live well until the next day when it could be weighed on certified scales. But like so many caught fish do, the sturgeon passed feces before it could be weighed on certified scales. So it likely lost some weight.
But Kashten’s sturgeon still officially weighed 11-pounds, 13-ounces. It easily surpasses the current IGFA All-Tackle world record for the species of 10-pounds, 12-ounces, caught from Montana’s Missouri River in June 1985.
Unlike some giant sturgeon species that can grow to over 8-feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds, the shovelnose sturgeon is small by comparison.
According to the Illinois DNR, Marty Gustafson of Prophetstown, Ill. broke the state shovelnose sturgeon record last Dec. 12 with a 10.51-pound fish while working the Rock River in Whiteside County, Ill. This set an Illinois record for the species. Incredibly, that fish bettered a 9.88-pound state-record shovelnose sturgeon caught Nov. 16, 2021 from the same Rock River by Troy Gustafson of Port Byron.
Now 8-year old Kashten is sure to become not only the Illinois record holder for shortnose sturgeon, but also the IGFA world-record holder for catching the biggest fish of the species.
They released Kashten’s record sturgeon after weighing, measuring, and photos were made, and he was philosophical about turning his record-book fish loose.
“Someday when I am a grandpa I can go back and catch it again,” he told Illinois’ Quad-City Times. “It’ll be a hundred pounds by then.”