CARLYLE, Ill.–A veteran southern Illinois bass fishing coach said this morning he thought somebody would bring a 12-pound bag on Day 2 of the IHSA state finals for bass fishing.
If that happens, literally any of the 62 teams could win it, even the 21 teams blanking Wednesday on opening day at Carlyle Lake.
From other years, that 12-pound mark is sort of the usual line for the top team or teams.
So I expect a very close weigh-in.
If you’re a fisherman, you will understand this, if not a fisherman, just trust me, but conditions this morning were about as good as could be expected. It is now halfway through the second day and there is still cloud cover. And there is a slight chop on the lake, but not enough wind to truly impact fishing or getting around.
If you want my handicapping from having watched every single weigh-in in the nine years of the state finals, any of the top 10 teams, all within 4 pounds of the leader Moline, have a legitimate chance. The Maroons, the 2014 champions, weighed in one of the only three five-bass limits on Day 1 for 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
Five teams from the Chicago area–Buffalo Grove (second, 7-15), Minooka 1 (fifth, 6-16), Plainfield North (seventh, 6-6), Huntley (ninth, 4-10) and Providence (10th, 4-2)–are within legitimate striking distance.
No Chicago-area team has ever won state.
WEATHERING IT: A near-dawn thunderstorm delayed the start slightly. The first boat took off at 7:39 a.m., instead of 7. The take-offs run smoothly, so smoothly, that all boats were off by 7:51. Checking the weather, I think the teams will be able to fish right up until the first flight comes off at 3 p.m.
BOOK IT: In the early years of covering the state finals, I was usually camping and struggling to find connections to file stories while typing away in my car or at a picnic table. My wife, who works in a library, finally asked why I didn’t go to the library. That’s one of the best, of many, pieces of advice she ever gave me. Carlyle has a wonderful library–Case-Halstead Library–downtown, about one block from Wheelan’s Barbecue Shack, my other favorite spot in town.