Thursday, April 21, 2011

Playing Hooky Was Never Meant To Be This Way

 In April of 2009 the Illinois High School Association became the first high school association in the nation to host a state bass fishing tournament.

When the plan was being discussed it was thought that about 80-90 schools would be interested with one boat for each school even though two boats per school were allowed.

 That first year was a total success as 199 schools were represented and most entered two boats.

Now many schools have active fishing clubs with websites, newsletters and information on everything from lake structure, fish patterns, fishing knots, techniques, tackle and boat maintenance.

With colleges now offering scholarships for their own fishing programs, this young man could be dreaming of his own future.

 Sectional tournaments are held at 18 lakes scattered around the state.  Sectional rules allow for three students per boat and one adult driver but only two students can fish at a time.  Each school can enter two boats.  Sectionals are one day tournaments fished from 8am –3pm.

Each boat is to weigh in their 5 best fish with an award going to the boat with the largest fish of the day.   Weight deductions are made for arriving late to the weigh-in site(one pound per minute) and for any fish that do not survive(1/2 pound for each dead fish).  The three boats with the heaviest total weight advance to the state final tournament in May at Lake Carlyle in Carlyle, Illinois.  That is a two day tournament with one boat per each school that makes it to the finals.  There are two students and one adult driver allowed.

                             Conservation police are on hand to check every boat. 

 Life jackets must be worn  in the boat for the entire day.

                              All licenses and permits must be current--

                           --and safety regulations and laws must be followed.

 A last captains meeting is held so everyone is clear on rules and any changes.

                                Our launch can quickly handle four boats at a time.

   Move over guys, these gals are really serious about their sport.

                               First boats are out and ready to catch the action.

                                This year the northern sectional has 20 boats.

                           The southern sectional has 23 boats.

All boats have cell phones and are in touch with the tournament director.

At weigh-in fish are measured on a bump board to be sure they qualify--

 -- then are accurately weighed, entered in a computer and quickly released unharmed.

                      Ist place in the northern sectional(3.4 pounds)

                       Second place winners(3.0 pounds). 

                             Third place winners(2.7 pounds)

                                Ist place in the southern sectional

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