A fellow blogger, BassPundit, enjoys blogging about the tournament bass fishing trail. He says it works for him so I think I'm going to give it a shot. Ok, I'm not really copying. I would blog about this anyway. In fact, I've been waiting since February of last year to have a chance at this so here goes.
Today was a huge day for Illinois bass fishing as high schoolers from across the state hit the water in the Illinois High School Association's (IHSA) first ever bass fishing tournament. Today sectionals took place on eighteen lakes, results are starting to show up. As I write this, the sectional featuring my alma mater (Illinois Valley Central HS) has not yet wrapped up. They must still be fishing hard on my home waters, Banner Marsh. However the other local tournament took place on Evergreen Lake and has reported results. Looks like Normal Community HS secured first place with three fish totaling 5.72lb. The Normal Community anglers were Adam Bean, Andrew Bean and Dane Robbins. For that lake, there are only three teams reporting....I wonder if the other teams blanked or if only three teams participated.
With five lakes yet to report, it's clear Lake Egypt has the most impressive results thus far. All ten teams brought in five fish limits and eight of those creels weighed more than ten pounds. The lightest five fish weight was over eight pounds. Lake Egypt is pretty far south, so warmer water probably helped with that. That being said, I think Banner Marsh and Coffeen Lake could easily take over the top spot. I can say from experience that catching three pounders is easy at Banner and I expect to see a 15lb creel reported (call me the great profit when this becomes true.) Coffeen Lake is a cooling lake located in the middle of the state and I've never fished it but heard great things.
I anxiously await the results from Banner Marsh. Banner is by far the best bass lake in the area and I think we should see some good creels. We apparently have one good angler fishing Banner today and the weather was great; we hit the 80 degree mark for the first time of the year and clouds have come and gone all day. Unfortunately it's been pretty windy too, so we'll see if that effected the outcome. In fact wind postponed two sectionals. Regardless if my IVC Grey Ghosts advance to the state tournament May 8th on Carlyle Lake I'm happy. It really speaks volumes about the folks who pushed to get this through and then worked hard to make it happen. I hope high school bass fishing sticks around in Illinois and catches on to be country wide.
While I'm holding my breath to see if these tournaments are considered a success I'm pleased to report one very positive event has transpired, perhaps entirely due to the tournament. Earlier this week a local HS team was practicing at Banner when they saved a man from drowning. Who knows...if they didn't have a tournament to prepare for would they have been around to pull this guy out of the water?
Update: While the official results aren't posted on the official site, Prairiestateoutdoors has posted a snippet of info on the Banner Marsh sectional. While I was a little off on my 15lb prediction, Pekin weighed in 11.99 pounds to win. Close, but no cigar.