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Manker, Earleywine win family support bass tournament

June 21, 2013 at 09:00 AM

The State Journal-Register

The water was muddy, but the mission was clear: catch some fish and support a worthy cause.

Derold Manker and Brian Earleywine won the 10th annual Illinois Air National Guard Family Support Bass Tournament at Lake Springfield on Sunday with a five-fish limit weighing 17.43 pounds.

The tournament raises money to support the family of Guardsmen and -women who are on long deployments.

Steve Parker, who organizes bass tournaments at Lake Springfield, is an Illinois National Guard master sergeant with more than 30 years of service.

The tournaments usually raise about $1,000 each.

Rainy weather has kept Lake Springfield murky for the past couple of months, and about half of the 34 teams that entered came back empty-handed.

“The biggest thing was the muddy water,” Parker said. “The wind and rain wasn’t a factor.”

Manker and Earleywine found a solution and didn’t waver.

“We fished our strength, had a game plan and we stayed with it,” Manker said.

Anglers were treated to free food after the weigh-in courtesy of Lake Pointe Grill.

Those who didn’t catch a fish had a second chance to get lucky in a raffle for fishing equipment and other donated items.

Bass anglers in cooperation with CWLP have built a new weigh-in station at Lake Springfield.

Parker and his fishing partner Herb Rush weighed in fish in a brand new shelter constructed by anglers in cooperation with City Water, Light and Power. The roofed shelter contains a sink and countertop for the weigh-in, and a dry-erase board so spectators can follow the results.

CWLP also created a wood-chipped trail to the lakeside where fish are released. A gravel apron keeps waves from eroding the shoreline.

Manker said even with tough fishing conditions, the family support tournament is not to be missed.

“We had a blast,” he said. “It is a great tournament.”

A portion of each team’s entry fee goes to family support.

“I’d fish it even if I didn’t catch a fish,” Earleywine said.

Bass anglers get another chance from 6 a.m.. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 25 when the fourth installment of the tournament at Lake Jacksonville is held.

Four years ago, Parker added a second tournament for those who were unable to make the trip to Springfield, had a conflict on that date or wanted to fish Lake Jacksonville, renowned for its bass fishing.

The entry fee is $130, including $5 for big bass and $25 per team going to Air National Guard Family Readiness and Support.

There is a 30-boat limit.

For more information, call Parker at 741-4255 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or visit

Tenth Annual Illinois Air National Guard Family Support Open Buddy Bass Tournament


1st: Derold Manker and Brian Earleywine: 17.43 pounds.

2nd: Josh Argo and Todd Bates: 15.39 pounds.

3rd: Bruce Etter and Rob Etter: 14.36 pounds.

Big bass:

1st: Jim Lubben and Jim Funsch: 5.88 pounds.

2nd: Lubben and Funsch: 4.74 pounds.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at

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