By the weight of a good minnow, Streamwood won the Busse Woods Sectional (main pool) for high school bass fishing Friday in Elk Grove Village.
Senior Jake Gaston and junior Christian Hernandez caught the only limit, weighing five largemouth bass for 7 pounds, 13 ounces. That edged the four keepers caught by Glenbard North seniors Jesse Montgomery and Jasmin Dizdarevic (7-11).
After nine years of Illinois High School Association competition, the thing that sticks with me is the improvement in the fishing and coaching. On a tough-bite day — water as cool as 49 degrees to start and north winds pushing 30 mph — 10 of the 17 boats entered weighed in fish. A keeper for the state tournament is any black bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) 12 inches or longer.
The top three finishers at sectionals advance to state, which is scheduled for May 19-20 at Carlyle Lake. Elk Grove Village was the third boat to advance, with senior Dominik Faciano and sophomore Alex Pillath catching three largemouth weighing 7-10.
The skill level showed in the variety of things that worked on a challenging day.
‘‘Crankbaits always work, especially in the spring,’’ said Hernandez, who caught the bulk of Streamwood’s keepers.
‘‘Crankbaits,’’ Streamwood boat captain Mike Rubino said. ‘‘And it went all day.’’
Each school may enter two boats. Each boat has an adult captain. Each boat may have four student anglers, but only two at a time.
Gaston, an Evans Scholar, would like to add fishing to his college résumé. He transferred to Streamwood specifically so he could do high school bass fishing.
It’s the seventh time in nine years that Streamwood, one of the top programs in the area, has made state.
Nick Langton, who helped start Glenbard North’s team as a student, helped in coaching and said the Panthers caught their fish on Texas-rigged Senkos and craws.
Dizdarevic said he prefers fishing them weightless. But because of the winds, he and Montgomery used bullet weights, so they could feel the bottom. They both rued several fish they lost, including one ‘‘massive’’ fish.
Speaking of massive, the honor for the big bass of the day went to junior Tony Garibay in the other Streamwood boat, which finished fourth and is the state alternate. He caught a 4-3 largemouth about two hours into the tournament. He said he caught it on a football jig.
The key thing is that they were able to get baits in the water at Busse. Of the 10 area sectionals, only four — the two at Busse, Shabbona Lake and Des Plaines River — were able to go as scheduled. The other six — two at the Chain O’Lakes, Skokie Lagoons, Lake Holiday, Heidecke Lake and Braidwood Lake — were postponed until Monday because of high water or high winds.
Similarly, half the 12 downstate sectionals were postponed because of high winds or high water. Safely dealing with Illinois’ spring variables is another sign of the successful evolution in IHSA bass fishing.
Results are at ihsa.org/SportsActivities/BassFishing.aspx.
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