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Illinois hunting and fishing

St. Charles leads IHSA bass tourney

May 08, 2009 at 04:41 PM

CARLYLE—For all the history being made Friday at Carlyle Lake, there was one very familiar development at Illinois’ first high school bass fishing state championship.

Anglers were not sharing details from the weather-shortened first day of the Illinois High School Association’s inaugural championship.

“I caught them on hooks north of the dam,” Derrick Hoffman said after catching three bass to help boost St. Charles North into first place. “I’ll tell you details (Saturday).”

The only details St. Charles was willing to share was that the northern Illinois team had five bass weighing 10.5 pounds to lead the 52-boat field. And St. Charles had all five bass by 9:30 a.m. (Cody Hansen caught two), about 45 minutes before boats were ordered off the lake due to lightning. After more than a four-hour delay, IHSA officials considered letting teams back onto the lake before high winds whipped up whitecaps that ended the action.

“In the big picture the weather didn’t dampen what happened today,” IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said. “This morning was one of the highlights of my career.”

Despite losing an estimated 4-pounder at the side of the boat, Moline is second with three bass weighing 8.13 pounds. Next best were Woodlawn (four, 7.63), Zion-Benton (three, 7.0) and West Frankfort (three, 5.94). Overall, 20 teams combined to bring 43 fish to the scales that weighed 75 pounds and 15 ounces. Saturday’s launch is at 7 a.m. and the weigh-in is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. at the Dam West Marina, which saw a crowd of 500 gather on Friday.

The weigh-in capped a hectic and historic day as Friday began and ended with strong emotions. In the morning, Jim Corcoran admitted he almost got a bit emotional.

Corcoran is coach of the Carl Sandburg High School bass fishing team and said he “got goose bumps” after launching his boat into Carlyle Lake for the nation’s first high school bass fishing championship.

“Then I called my wife and I got choked up a bit,” Corcoran said. “It’s pretty darn exciting.”Illinois hunting and fishing

Corcoran no doubt spoke for the other 51 boats taking part in this historic tournament.

As master of ceremonies Terry Brown noted during the initial takeoff of boats, “The eyes of the country are on you this weekend.”

At least the eyes of bass anglers are fixed on Carlyle Lake today and Saturday. Those who didn’t watch the takeoff can see footage at the Moline fishing team’s Web site. Coach Brian Prybil was on hand during the takeoff to shoot streaming video of the action.

Fittingly, it was Bradley-Bourbonnais senior Nate Bass who weighed in the tourney’s first fish. His one-pounder did not hold up on the leaderboard, though, even though weather shortened the first day of fishing. Despite a reputation as a mediocre bass fishery, Carlyle coughed up some lunkers Friday in just three hours. St. Charles’ catch included Hoffman’s 4.69-pound lunker, which was the biggest of six bass caught on the first day that topped 3 pounds.

“That was probably close to the biggest bass I’ve ever caught,” said Hoffman, pictured below with his fish.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Any anglers hoping for an afternoon bite were out of luck though. First heavy fog rolled across the lake early Friday. That was followed by rain that forced the IHSA to call in all boats starting at about 10:15 a.m. Teams had to return to the nearest marina and stop fishing. Teams were hoping to return to the lake, but after the rain stopped, high winds picked up. At about 2:30 p.m., IHSA official Dave Gannaway made the decision to end fishing for the day.

That changed scheduling for the weigh-in, as some boats had to be trailered in from boat launches located elsewhere on the lake. Click here to see results.

Unfortunately, there were also strong emotions after fishing was called off.

Elmhurst York and Tinley Park Andrew were two of a reported four teams that dumped out fish after they were called off the water. Anglers apparently mistakenly believed they had to fish five hours before they could weigh fish. York said they had more than 5 pounds of fish, a total that could have placed them as high as seventh.

“It’s a shame,” IHSA assistant executive director Dave Gannaway said. “That’s the reason you print out and read the terms and conditions before an event.”

Even prior to Friday’s rain, a thunderstorm Thursday night did not help the situation any at Carlyle Lake, whose waters were 64 degrees, stained and up quite a bit Friday morning.

The Pinckneyville team had found some fish well up into a creek during pre-fishing. But on Friday, after running their motor on idle all the way back to their spot, they found the water was muddy and the fish were gone.

Even so, Brian Jansen of Carlyle is a tournament angler who fishes the lake frequently and said he expects to see some big lunkers caught.

“The fish are here, it’s just a matter of being able to locate them,” Jansen said. “We’ve had one-day tournaments here (with a five-fish limit) where it took 12 or even 18 pounds to win.”

Upping the odds in the favor of competitors is the fact the length limit was dropped from the normal 14 inches to 12 inches for this event. Marinas normally closed to fishing are also open for the two-day tourney that concludes Saturday with a weigh-in scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.

Highland is located just 25 miles from Carlyle and is the closest team to the lake. But Highland, which qualified two teams for the finals, downplayed the home-lake advantage in a story by Rod Kloeckner of the Belleville News-Democrat.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all, because there is no such thing as a ‘home’ team,” Highland coach Jon Rinderer said. “There’s so many variables in tournament fishing. Things change from day to day, hour to hour—especially on this lake.”

Dale Bowman also had a preview of the tournament in the Chicago Sun-Times.

In the picture below Austin Pool and Carson McNeely fish for bass on the west shore of Carlyle with coach Steve Graves.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Here are some other pictures from the first day of fishing.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Great graphics and photography for this first year of competition. The front cover of the program is especially well designed.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/12 at 07:58 AM

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