It’s not the cover of the Rolling Stone, but Jaxon Penney isn’t complaining.
The 20-year-old Sheboygan South graduate’s picture of himself holding a 27-pound Chinook salmon will be featured on the next cover of The Reel Shot Great Lakes Salmon Trout Catalog.
“It’s just mind-boggling because everybody that fishes the Great Lakes is going to be able to get that magazine and see that picture on the front cover,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words. I can’t believe it.”
Penney was asked by his friend, Nate Cook, to go fishing out of the Port of Sheboygan on Aug. 21.
They went out in the early afternoon, which is typically off-peak time, according to Cook.
He should know, since he runs Fish Stik Fishing, a charter primarily out of Sheboygan.
“We were out there for an hour probably and didn’t have a bite,” Cook said. “All of a sudden I noticed we had a bite and gave Jaxon the opportunity to reel it in because that’s why we were out there.”
Penney fought the fish for about 30-45 minutes and when it got behind the boat, it would not come up.
“So it was kind of difficult and hard,” Penney said. “Our nerves were high, I guess you could say. We could tell that it was a big fish. And once we got it up to the surface and netted it, we both were just celebrating and clapping our hands. There was so much excitement on the boat that I couldn’t really even explain it.”
The biggest fish Penney had ever caught was a 24-pound Chinook salmon in June, so Cook took a picture of his new record.
They had no idea, however, it would eventually win a local contest.
The Reel Shot asked people to submit photos to its Facebook page, and each of them did so with out the other knowing.
It ended up being one of five selected, and Penney says he was pretty confident it could win.
“Personally, I like that picture a lot,” he said. “There was also some really good pictures. I’m not going to say mine was particularly the best. I think there were other pictures that were better, we just had a good backing behind us with all the votes and all the people that were sharing it.”
People selected which picture was best on Facebook, and Penney says his got over 1,000 likes, about 200 more than the rest of the competition.
“If it wasn’t for my mom, for Nate and for everybody that was putting the work in to get our votes, I don’t think we would’ve ever won,” he said.
The magazine comes out in the spring and although Cook is not in the picture, he hopes it will promote his charter business.
Plus, his personal record for a fish is about 27½ pounds.
“Don’t let him tell you his was bigger,” Cook jokingly said. “Mine was bigger.”