"Here’s the beauty of the catch: We weren’t out for a World Record, the World Record came to us."
— Tim Geni, Ice Walleye World Record Holder
NAFC staff and members have caught some big walleyes over the years—some even on video—but this trophy walleye video courtesy of PK Lures—takes top honors. The quantity and quality of fish caught during this segment is astounding. You’ve got to see it for yourself!
Simply scroll down to the bottom of the "play-by-play" interview and check out the NAFC first-to-show posting of the video that many questioned even existed. That's right folks, this is the video the walleye world has been talkin' about via countless chatboards, web threads, discussion rooms, and in baitshops and bars across the country! Our thanks to PK Lures for giving North American Fisherman the first-look web exclusive. We are truly honored!
Tim Geni of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, iced the gigantic world record through-the-ice walleye on January 5th, 2011, while fishing Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan. As the Canadian rep for PK Lures, Geni was fishing with company president Pat O’Grady and a TV crew. After fishing for about an hour on the second day of their trip, Geni marked what looked like a large fish on his flasher, so he quickly lowered his jigging spoon.
“As soon as my lure settled down I felt the thump of a big fish inhaling it,” he says.
After an intense fight, Geni coaxed the giant fish up the hole, where fishing partner Ron Scherg grabbed it. The anglers quickly measured the walleye at 33 ¾-inches in length with a 19 3/8-inch girth, and released it—all while the cameras rolled.
Two days later, Geni submitted his catch to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, which later confirmed it as the new world-record in its Ice Fishing Division.
"Certifiable" Fishermen, Certified Catch: World Record Catch & Release Walleye, Ice
(Note: All world record walleye fish lengths are rounded down to the nearest inch. Thus, Geni's 33 3/4-inch walleye is certified as 33 inches, although it would take at least a 34 1/4-inch fish to topple his record.)
Geni comments: “This world record fish is back out there swimming, allowing other anglers—maybe some lucky kid— the opportunity to catch it again. Knowing that is as satisfying as setting any world record. These are fragile fisheries; we all need to learn how to release fish without harming them. Live release ensures the future of our fisheries.”
There's no secret here—Geni will be the first to tell you exactly what he was using, which you can also glean from the video: a 3/8-ounce pearl chartreuse PK Lures jigging spoon.
|Shake Your Money Maker: 3/8-ounce pearl chartreuse PK Spoon
According to PK Lures president and chief lure designer Pat O’Grady at least a dozen fish over the 30-inch mark were caught on PK Spoons and Flutterfish by his pro staff between the last week of December and February 1st, 2011.
O’Grady says: “The sheer number of big fish everyone’s caught on these lures and Tim’s world record catch represents 25 years of dreams and hard work coming to fruition. If you believe in something and work hard enough, you’ll reach your goals.”
Since the time of the world record catch Geni’s winning streak has continued. He recently placed first with the PK Spoon and Flutterfish at the Fort Quappelle Lake Ice Derby near Regina, Saskatchewan.
NAFC Exclusive Interview with Tim Geni – Play-By-Play
Jim Edlund, Online Editor, North American Fisherman:
First off, congratulations on a truly outstanding fish! I’m sure that folks would love to know exactly how you iced this fish. Would you mind giving us a little background and a play-by-play account?
Tim Geni: Sure, I’d love to. The day started out as many of our days do: good friends and a trip to one of Saskatchewan’s top walleye waters. I had made arrangements with several buddies from the Regina area to head out fishing for a few days. PK Lures president and lure designer Pat O'Grady and a couple others from the U.S. had been talking about beta-testing a new spoon that had just been added to the PK product line.
Knowing Pat as a friend and lure designer made this a winning trip from the get-go. I was anxious to try his new products. Pat’s total attention to details puts these lures a category second-to-none. I had received some tackle from PK in mid-December and was already burning up the water. The PK Spoon and Flutterfish were responsible for several of my friends taking the biggest walleyes and perch that they have ever caught. And, based on that success, I knew that these lures—on this awesome fishery—could possibly set some kind of precedent.
We had all been fishing the day before on Last Mountain Lake and had taken some really nice big walleye and pike. We had noted fish moving into a shallow area that night and plans were set to drill there. Twenty feet was our target depth.
We arrived at the lake a little late due to the ice- and snow-covered roads. And we were the only ones in the area from the night before. I had mentioned to Pat and the others that perhaps we could use the large cooler as a live well for catch and release in the event one of us ices a trophy. The cooler was filled with water and we had all the holes drilled by 8:30 am. The interesting part of this was the fact that the No Excuses Outdoors TV crew was here to do some filming for a show in the U.S.
The day was as nice as you could get from a Canadian winter standpoint. Near zero temps and no wind made it perfect, and the fact the walleye were biting was a plus.
Jim Edlund, NAFC:
Okay, so you get on the water a little late but the fish are active and you’re poised to handle a big fish—and get it on film—if that happens. What next? Did you see the fish on your electronics?
Tim Geni: After fishing for about a half hour several nice eater walleye been caught by others in our party. Ron Ross, a friend of mine, came over to my hole and said he’d seen a large ping on his flasher, as if a much bigger fish had swam past.
I was in the area anyway so I moved roughly 20 yards closer to him. It was only 15 or 20 minutes later when my Marcum flasher lit up with a giant signal. I had a 3/8-ounce pearl chartreuse PK Spoon on. I made a series of quick snaps upwards which mimics a live minnow fluttering down. The spoon excels at drawing fish in because it sort of shoots out to the side on the drop. Then I sort of drag it back beneath the hole. No bait. I just tickle it to trigger strikes.
As soon as my lure settled down, I felt the thump of a big fish inhaling my spoon. I instantly set the hook and the fight was on. The walleye swam up about 5 or 6 feet and then surged to the bottom where it took off on a very strong run. She turned and I started to fight her back up. She wanted nothing to do with that and another strong run was in order! I again pulled her back towards the hole. I was using 4-pound-test Vanish Fluorocarbon so it's critical that you fight them very gingerly and carefully. You have to keep your drag loose. I'm convinced that the light line triggers more strikes. You just have to play them right. Anyway, I’m certain that’s about the time I prayed for help to ice the massive fish!
The fish made a third run and I recall thinking to myself that tit had to be a true monster. I’d never before felt that kind of strength in a walleye. Having taken several large fish in the past, I knew this one would certainly rival them. And more than likely be even bigger.
I looked down the hole and by then Ron and Ben Scherg from No Excuses TV were at my side. Ron agreed to grab the fish when the time was right. I looked down and saw the head of a monster walleye completely filling the 8-inch hole!
The fish made a small run and then came back to the hole. I could see the lure was nicely hooked in her mouth, and I felt we had a good chance at icing the trophy. As the fish backed up a bit its nose found the lip of the hole and started to come up ever so slowly. I gently lifted the fish upwards and as soon as Ron Ross saw the nose break the water surface he grabbed her and pulled her onto the ice. He handed the fish to me and that’s when its extraordinary size really hit us. I cannot begin to explain how thankful I am to Ron Ross for his precision and skill at getting this fish out of the hole!
Jim Edlund, NAFC:
I can only image the adrenaline overload! How did it feel to know you had a potential world record?
Tim Geni: To say I was in shock would be an understatement. The group of guys had all gathered by now and had seen the fight and were absolutely ecstatic. It’s hard to guess what someone on shore must’ve thought with all the yelling and high-fives!
I had previously entered a contest online with The Ice Shanty for the largest walleye by length. I yelled to one of the guys to grab my camera in order to photograph, measure, and then release the monster. I took the measurement and asked Dale Kozak "86 centimeters? How big is that?"
After doing a quick conversion, he fired back "33 3/4 inches!" That’s when I realized this was the largest walleye I had ever taken ice fishing! We took a girth measurement that was 19 3/8 inches. I placed the walleye in the cooler full of water and she quickly recovered and was swimming upright. We knew she was good for a live release. That was an awesome feeling.
The stage was set and we got everyone in place for the live release on video. As you’ll see from the video, the quick release was accomplished with the help of our group and she swam off with a couple waves of her tail as if to say “bye for now and thanks!”
|The Winning Team (l-r): Mike Coupland (PK Pro Staff), Brian Tancrede, Cory Bjornson, Dale Kozak (PK Pro Staff), Steve Gerber (PK Lures), Pat O’Grady (PK Lures)
Tim Geni (PK Lures), Ben Scherg (No Excuses TV), Ron Ross (PK Lures)
Jim Edlund, NAFC:
How did you proceed with registering the potential world record through-the-ice walleye?
We all knew the fish was a monster but it wasn’t until a couple days later that I contacted the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and spoke to their director Emmet Brown. He informed me that the fish would indeed be a World Record if all the documents were in place and directed me to the site where I printed off the application, filled it out, and submitted it with photographic evidence and witness statements. Here’s the beauty of the catch: We weren’t out for a World Record, the World Record came to us.
Jim Edlund, NAFC:
What an awesome story! Tim, what you and your group accomplished is something that our readers dream about. What kind of impact has catching a world record fish had on you?
Tim Geni: Our group and I were blessed to catch a fish of this caliber. We’re extremely pleased with the outcome. As important as the actual catch is, the fact that this World Record walleye will live to spawn again and quite possibly give someone else the thrill of a lifetime is the real pay-off. I wonder if lightning can strike twice?
I do know one thing: PK Lures will be on my line the next time I’m out looking for big walleye and gamefish!
Once again, I’d like to thank all the guys who were fishing with me that day. A special thanks to PK’s Pat O'Grady and Sam McKinley for designing and bringing to market a whole new way of catching fish.
About Tim Geni
Tim Geni is no stranger to big walleyes. This world record qualifies as the 8th walleye he’s caught over 14 pounds throughout his fishing career.
While his trophy fish résumé is certainly impressive, what’s even more remarkable is that not long ago Geni’s fishing career was in serious question. In 1994, while fishing Canada’s prestigious Vanity Cup Walleye Tournament, another tournament angler’s boat collided with Geni’s rig at high speed following the shotgun start. Geni suffered a broken back, shattered elbow and at first it appeared he might bleed to death before EMTs arrived on the scene.
The following year Geni returned to the Vanity Cup, won first place, and took home the $50,000 purse.
In 2006 Geni returned to fish the 'Cup, once again taking first. Since then, Geni's slowed down a bit with tournament fishing focusing on his faith, family, friends and new job as PK Lures tackle representative. As the story illustrates, however, Geni still "fishes a little." Well, "little" maybe isn't the word...
Want to fish with Tim Geni, Pat O'Grady, and the guys from the PK Lures Pro Staff? Enter here for your chance to fish Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan, next winter and get your shot at a World Record!