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Growing world of scholastic fishing: Reed-Custer pair tops 75-boat field

Resized/Sun-Times

Reed-Custer showed their winning style as Jon Selock reeled in a fish Saturday while partner William Ritze netted it and boat captain Mark Stewart observed.
Provided by Illinois BASS Nation/Jill Sagers Wijangco

William Ritze and Jon Selock found the time.

‘‘We caught them late in the day,’’ Ritze said. ‘‘We had our first bite about 11:30 [a.m.].’’

The Reed-Custer pair — Ritze, a senior, and Selock, a freshman — weighed in a limit of five largemouth bass at 10.12 pounds to be the top high school boat/team Saturday at Big Basin Marina in Channahon. It was another example of how far competitive scholastic fishing has come. It streamed live on Illinois BASS Nation (IBN) on Facebook.

There was a 75-boat field for the high schools and another 10 boats for younger anglers. Each boat had two anglers and an adult boat captain.

This was a largely overlapping Minooka Anglers Club tournament and an IBN High School Tournament Trail event. The bump board was run by IBN conservation director Andrew Thiesse. IBN president Ralph Sweat emceed the weigh-in.

Resized/Sun-Times

The beautiful weather Saturday provided a curious intersection between hundreds of high school fishermen and hundreds of leather-clad motorcyclists at Big Basin Marina.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

It was one of those spring days — the nicest Saturday in a half-year — that belied how cold the water was.

Ritze had sage advice: ‘‘Move it slow. The bait was in the water for more than two minutes.’’

Ritze knows the Des Plaines River area, having taken first, second and fourth place with other partners in previous years.

Boat captain Mark Stewart said they fished the main river in 6 to 10 feet and caught nine keepers.

‘‘I was out here myself [pre-fishing], and they were schooled up,’’ he said.

Resized.Sun-Times

The Reavis team of Krys Zawora and Wojciech Rychtarczyk finished second in the MAC (Minooka Anglers Club) tournament Saturday on the Des Plaines River.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

The Reavis team of senior Krys Zawora and freshman Wojciech Rychtarczyk finished second with a five-bass limit weighing 9.63 pounds.

Their timing was different.

‘‘We caught them all in the first hour; we were culling by 8,’’ Zawora said.

Their baits were crankbaits in sexy shad and white spinner baits.

Reavis coach Tony del Alcazar said he had one guy fishing fast and one slow and alternated them.

A final word for general fishing came from Stewart, who said: ‘‘This place is going to go in two weeks.’’

Public safety

Turkey season is open in Illinois’ southern zone and opens Monday in the north. Any IDNR site open to turkey hunting has its hunting areas closed to other activities until 1 p.m. daily.

Hunting

House Bill 3623, which would remove the one-time restriction on the apprentice hunter license, passed the House unanimously last week and is in the Senate. It’s a smart bipartisan move.

Wild things

As of Monday, the find line on the map for the Facebook group ‘‘Illinois Morel Mushrooms’’ is as far north as Menard County.

Stray cast

As of now, Chicago baseball reminds me of those rare days when I am catching fish and buddies are so skunked that I can’t even give them the business.