IHSA bass fishing: History at state finals

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CARLYLE, Ill.–Ethan Jones did the math for history.

The sophomore at Father McGivney Catholic became the first one-man team to win the Illinois High School Association’s state championship for bass fishing. The honor-roll student with interests in math and history won by catching six bass, weighing 19 pounds, 6 ounces, over the two-day tournament on Carlyle Lake.

“It’s just fishing,’’ said Jones, trying to take all the handshakes and hugs in stride Saturday.

The tougher fishing conditions probably suited Jones, who said he was using creature baits.

“He doesn’t throw crankbaits a lot,’’ coach/boat driver Brian Helm. “He’s a flipper and a pitcher.’’

On Day 1, Jones only caught two fish (10-9), but that included a 6-5 female, which earned the big-bass award for the tournament. He caught four for 8-13 on Saturday.

He flipped and pitched straight into history.

Each boat had an adult boat driver with two students fishing, well, up to two. Up to two other students could be subbed in.

Speaking of history, weather again cut the tournament short. IHSA officials called the event at 1 p.m., two hours early, when a strong storm appeared to be rolling in from St. Louis.

Boats take off at 7 a.m. and teams are scheduled to fish eight hours until 3 p.m. (conditions permitting). Weather has shortened or postponed the state championship all seven years.

Highland, which has reached state every year, added to its history by storming into second place with the tournament’s heaviest bag, 12-11, with the only limit on Day 2 for a 15-6 total.

Minooka team 2 was the pride of Chicago-area schools with a fourth. On Day 1, Minooka was only one of two schools to weigh a limit. Day 2 was different. Only senior Canyon Kenny caught a keeper. But it added with the 9-9 on Day 1 to total 12-2.

Teams could weigh their heaviest five black bass (largemouth) 12 inches or longer.

Joliet Central with Sean Cook, Tommy Zobel and John Murphy made a good second day charge with the sixth best bag of 5-1 to finish eighth with 10-11.

They actually talked about how they caught their bass unlike some who make a big show about being all secretive as though it is black ops instead of bass fishing.

“Shallow water with ChatterBaits,’’ said Zobel, a freshman.

“On main lake points, breaks and little cuts,’’ said Cook, a senior.

Grant (left), which was one of 46 teams to blank on Day 1, weighed in four bass at 10-10 for the second heaviest bag on Day 2 and jumped to ninth.

“It was slow plastics,’’ said Jake Beskow, a senior for Grant who fished with sophomore Ed Alto. “Just dragging it and hoping to put it on their nose and they suck it in.’’

Streamwood and Zion-Benton rounded out the top 10 with 10-3.

It was the toughest bite for the state finals so far. {CORRECTION] Only Highland weighed a five-fish limit on Saturday and 29 teams finished the tournament without weighing a keeper.

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