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Illinois hunting and fishing

John Wright and Donnie Dill won an award for catching the largest bass Saturday at the White Squirrel Fall Open Bass Tournament at Rotary Park.

Bass tourney lures 78 teams

September 20, 2010 at 01:14 PM

Olney Daily Mail

OLNEY — East Fork Lake hosted the White Squirrel Fall Open Bass Tournament on Saturday, the first of what organizers plan on making an annual event.

Seventy-eight teams of two anglers took part in the event, and while the cooler temperatures were good for the spectators at Rotary Park, the change in weather meant the fish weren’t biting as much as usual.

“We were quite fortunate to win this thing with just under 12 and a half pounds,” said Gary Bettis, who, along with Brent Ausbrook took home $5,000 and a first-place plaque for their total catch of 12.49 pounds.

Second place went to the team of team of Elmo Rodgers and Mark Grant, who caught 12.22 pounds, and the third-place team of Kelly Ingle and Kenneth G. Ingle caught 11.89 pounds. The largest bass, weighing in at 4.65 pounds, was caught by the team of John Wright and Donnie Dill, who earned $750 for the haul.

The teams had to take a polygraph test before the prizes were distributed.

The event also featured two celebrity fishermen, Bassmasters Elite Series professional angler Kevin Short, of Mayflower, Ark., and Mark Randolph, of Monticello, Ind., who is a referee from the Outdoor Channel’s Ultimate Match Fishing.

“What a great little lake,” said Randolph, who teamed with Malcolm Dubbs III to haul in 11.05 pounds, good for sixth place. “It’s got a lot of fish in it.”

Short, who teamed with Kevin Arbaugh, agreed. “I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that looked fishier,” he said.

Short said the cold front and some grass spraying near the lake that took place earlier in the week contributed to the tough fishing. He said that the lake is pretty small with 78 boats on the water.

Frank Hyla, from Time on the Water, filmed the tournament and was also scheduled to film a fishing segment on Sunday. Time on the Water is broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago and is the only program in its market exclusively dedicated to bass fishing entirely on public waters.

Matt Courter can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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