All you need to know about Matt Bomba is that he chose bass fishing over hockey, even in the current Blackhawks mania.
The Providence junior chose well. He will make his third straight trip to the state finals for bass fishing. The sixth IHSA Bass Fishing Championships are Friday and Saturday on Carlyle Lake.
This year is different for Bomba. It’s a family affair. His brother, Tyler, a freshman, will be the other fishermen and their dad, Paul, will drive the family Skeeter.
Each qualifying boat has an adult driver and two fishermen, who may be subbed out as needed. The goal is to catch the five heaviest bass, 12 inches or longer, each day.
Bomba has a higher goal.
“I would like at least top five out of this one,’’ he said.
That might be tough this year. The three schools that finished 1-2-3 last year — Morton, Wheaton Warrenville South and Notre Dame — all have teams back at state. And teams such as Brother Rice, Zion-Benton, St. Charles North, Huntley and Niles North have the advantage of advancing both teams to state.
But Bomba has the built-in advantage of knowing the water. Although Carlyle was vastly different in his two previous times.
“It is at normal pool,’’ he said. “We were looking at stuff (Wednesday) that is out of the water, that we were fishing last year (in very high water).’’
Bomba should to skilled enough to adjust.
“I think what makes Matt so good is his passion for bass fishing,’’ coach Vince Ramirez said in an email. “The first time I saw him flipping laydown pre-fishing for sectionals his freshman year, I said to myself, ‘This kid is good. ‘After his freshman bass fishing season, Matt chose bass fishing over hockey. I think he caught the bug for tournament fishing then.
“His sophomore year he fished an adult circuit with a family member in addition to our season, made contacts in the industry, and made YouTube fishing videos.’’
As to sibling rivalries, Bomba didn’t see much. Both he and his younger brother favor power fishing. When asked who is the better fisherman, he did not bite.
“Depends on the day, he is good,’’ Bomba said of his brother.
In the best of times, Carlyle is not an easy bass lake. And this year looks like more of the same.
“It is going to tough,’’ Bomba said. “Water is really dirty. You can’t see three inches.’’
The bass may be up bedding, which could lead to some big fish coming to scale.
Among other things to watch from local fishermen, much is expected of Brother Rice seniors Joe Hays and Brendan Moriarty, who are tournament-tested tough.