CARLYLE, Ill.–The state finals for high school bass fishing in Illinois started with a prayer before the National Anthem.

Not just a generic prayer for safety and sportsmanship, but one that included, “Thanks for your son Jesus.”

It might be the way FLW, a private entity, starts its tournaments, but it has no place in a public event with people of multiple religious beliefs or unbelief. The FLW assists the Illinois High School Association in doing the state finals for bass fishing on Carlyle Lake.

The state finals for bass fishing are scheduled for today and tomorrow.

CONDITIONS: Water levels on the lake are up about 2 feet over usual. By Carlyle standards, color and clarity looked relatively good. Even at take-off, the heat was building through the 80s. The southwest winds were welcome, but it will be a scorcher in the protected areas off the main lake.

SHOE-IN: The Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis were the first boat out at 8:27 a.m. The first flight is due back at 4 p.m. at the Dam West area. As usual, the take-off ran smooth with all boats off by 8:42 a.m.

CHANGES: Only four boats withdrew after the change for a second time in rescheduling the state finals. High water in May forced the postponement to, originally, June 23-24, but it was changed last week to today and tomorrow, June 14-15.

ODDS & ENDS: One good change, especially in this heat, is that boats with bass to weigh will be trailered first to better protect the fish. . . . New this year is an extended breakwall at the Dam West launch, providing more cover. It angles off at 90 degrees from the original breakwall. . . This year is the 50th anniversary of Carlyle Lake.