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IHSA bass fishing: Early notes from state championship

CARLYLE, Ill.–Two young guys carrying gear for fishing crappie walked in with me this morning.

We were going to the West Dam launch at Carlyle lake for the takeoff of the second and final day of Illinois High School Association’s seventh state championship for bass fishing.

They were from Neoga. On their team, they fished morning or afternoon. Because they were fishing afternoon, they opted to fish for crappie in the morning and cleared it with IHSA officials.

More commonly, kids who are on a team and not fishing will go down to the Kaskaskia River below the dam and fish for that area.

It was good to know they were also allowed to fish for crappie on the lake itself, where the tournament was going.

The Neoga guys were not playing. When I walked out to the point, junior Matt Buescher (that’s him unhooking a crappie) was landing one near keeper size. The minimum on Carlyle Lake is 10 inches.

That made my morning.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The parents and guys not fishing for Durand came out to the point and unfurled a school flag as their boat took off. One of the guys yelled, “Come back with fish or don’t come back.”

That’s a Bulldog for you.

A file photo of boats preparing for the start of the state finals of the IHSA’s bass fishing for high schools at Carlyle Lake. Credit: Dale Bowman Dale Bowman

WEATHER: Rain and spritzes were around at takeoff and the first hour, but it looks like heavy stuff may hold off. It would be nice to get a full eight hours of fishing in for a change.

Yes, that is actually sun trying to break through the clouds at takeoff this morning.

We can hope.

THE GUY: Bumped into Dave Gannaway as I came off the point. He is the retired IHSA official who put in the time and pushed to have bass fishing as an IHSA activity.

He had a bunch of his family there to see the event and was beaming. As he should be.

“This is awesome,” he said.

He meant not just that the event was growing, but that the kids were getting noticeably better at competitive bass fishing from year 1 and things were running well.

Then we swapped turkey stories.

THE WEARING: Minerva continues to crank out wonderful gear associated to the state finals for bass fishing. The top photo is of a tee-shirt for sale this year.