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The second Illinois State High School Bass Tournament is history. This past weekend the team from Illini West High School in Carthage, Illinois completed the two-day tournament in first place with a two-day total of ten bass weighing 30.5 lbs. They had a margin of victory of almost 5 pounds over the second-place team.

This tournament began last month with 261 high schools from all around Illinois (Evanston Township High School was not represented) competing in sectional tournaments on 14 lakes all around the state.

Our sectional was held on the Skokie Lagoons pools #3,#4 and #5 on April 23. Nine schools competed for the top three spots, deciding which of them would go on to the state finals on Carlyle Lake. These were St. Gregory, St. Ignatius, St. Patrick, Taft, Fenwick, Niles-North, Loyola Academy, Regina Dominican and New Trier. After a long day of fishing, the top three teams were Fenwick, Taft and New Trier with Taft’s winning weight for the one-day tournament was 15.1 lbs of bass.

Anyone who thought there were no bass in the lagoons should guess again. Another sectional was held at Busse Woods Lake, and the winning weight there was over 14 lbs of bass, giving two of our local lakes some pretty impressive numbers.

There are some out there who wonder who is kidding who about bass fishing’s being a competitive sport for high school. After all, it’s just fishing, and we all go fishing.

Here is something to think about: I fished tournaments for over 20 years, and it takes a lot of athletic ability to fish a competitive bass tournament. On a typical day of competitive fishing an angler will burn through 3,000 + calories – about the same as a 23-mile run at a 12-miles-per- hour pace.

Most athletes are on the court or field from two to four hours. Tournament fishing is eight hours, standing and casting lures mroe than 2,500 times. In the finals, that is two days straight. Compare that to a baseball pitcher who throws maybe 100 pitches and then rests several days before doing it again, or a golfer who swings 75-80 times during a round.

Let’s give these young people the credit and respect as athletes they deserve.

Until next time, keep a tight line.

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