The sectional qualifying tournaments for the Illinois State High School Bass Fishing Championship were completed this past week, with more than 200 teams from across the state in competition for one day on 22 different lakes. Each section will move three teams to the state finals next weekend for a two-day tournament on Lake Carlisle.

Two area high schools, Notre Dame and Glenbrook South, made the cut and are in the finals. Congratulations. They qualified on the Skokie Lagoons. The winning team in that sectional was Chicago Taft High School, who weighed in 10 lbs. 15 oz. of largemouth bass. The three top teams weighed in over 27 pounds of bass, so if there was any question about the quality of fishing in the Skokie Lagoons, this should clear that up. The other area lakes where there were sectional qualifying events were Busse Woods-Main Pool, where the three top teams weighed in 21 pounds of bass; Busse Woods-South Pool, where the three top teams had 31 pounds of bass; and the Des Plaines River, where the top three teams posted 29 pounds.

It seems fair to say we have a very healthy bass population in our area lakes. The 22 top teams in the tournament caught an amazing 274 pounds of bass during these one-day tournaments – and these are high school students, not professional bass fishermen. We will have the results from the May 17 and 18 finals in the next issue of the RoundTable.

Meanwhile, here are some ways to improve the odds for catching more bass this spring. First, fish shallow in the early part of the year. Concentrate on shallow pockets and coves that are wind-protected, because these are prime spawning grounds for the bass, and they will strike aggressively to protect their eggs. Second, keep in mind the seasonal feeding of bass when selecting lure colors. Early in the year, they prefer crayfish, so choose orange/peach/light brown colors. Later, they will be feeding on shad, so fishermen should consider chrome or silver baits.

Good luck out there on our area lakes. The fish are biting, so go fishing. And don’t forget the kids.

Until next time…keep a tight line.

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