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Some big bags: Day 1 of IHSA bass fishing state championship

Reece Rother (left) caught the three keepers as he and his happy teammates--Danny Barsanti and Dylan Allamian--had St. Charles North tied for seventh after Day 1 of the IHSA state championship for bass fishing.
Credit: Dale Bowman

CARLYLE, Ill.–Plainfield Central fished lights out Friday.

At least enough to be within range of a title in the Illinois High School Association’s eight state championship for bass fishing on Carlyle Lake.

The Wildcat duo of Travis Oesterle and David Patush were in solid fifth place after Day 1. They caught a five-fish limit weighing 9 pounds.

“Most of the fish came late, when the sun disappeared again,’’ coach and boat driver Jim Oesterle said.

The 7 a.m. takeoff came in light rain, but it ended quickly and sun popped in and out mid-day on. Despite the light rain to start, it looks like this will be first state championship not delayed, shortened or postponed by weather.

In IHSA events, two students (male or female) fish with an adult boat driver. Each boat may sub up to two fishers. Each school may enter two boats and five schools advanced both boats from sectionals.

Highland Boat 2 led with a five-bass bag of 11 pounds, 15 ounces; but Rochelle was ounces behind with four bass weighing 11-10.

Total weight determines finishes. Each boat may weigh their five heaviest black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, spotted), 12 inches or longer. It’s largemouth at Carlyle.

It was a challenging bite with murky water and cooler than usual water for late May. Fishermen found water ranging from 63 to 67 degrees. But, in a sign that coaches are getting better at coaching bass fishing and student-athletes are getting better at bass catching, 46 of the 66 teams weighed in fish. Six teams weighed five-fish limits.

“It was clearer on the north and warmer south,’’ Travis Oesterle said, summing conditions succinctly.

Gregarious freshman Reece Rother caught all three keepers as St. Charles North was positioned well for the final day Saturday. The North Stars were tied for seventh (8-0).

“I caught them on a jig,’’ said Rother, giving more information than most fishermen. “Mostly fished with jigs. It was really a grind all day. But it puts us within striking distance.’’

Like many teams, they lost at least one good keeper. Even the top teams lost fish on the day. I am not sure if it was due to the murky water or what, but it was a factor. Plus it looks like the spawn is lagging with the cool water, no really big prespawn females were weighed in.

Sunny You and Christian Hernandez showed what perseverance can do when the landed their fifth keeper in the last 10 minutes to have Streamwood in 10th place with 6 pounds, 12 ounces.

Area teams had a strong showing with five more reaching the top 20 after Day 1: Joliet Central Boat 1 (12th, 6-9), Minooka (13th, 5-15), Stevenson (15th, 5-1), Reed-Custer (17th, 4-9) and St. Charles North Boat 2 (18th, 4-4).

Best line of the day on stage came from Notre Dame’s Riley McAndrew, who said the Dons caught their one keeper “on a topwater in 50 feet of water.’’

Fishermen and the things they say.