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IHSA bass fishing: Tough 1st day, it’s wide open

CARLYLE, Ill.–It was the toughest day of fishing Friday in the seven years of the Illinois High School Association’s state championship for bass fishing on Carlyle Lake.

Even so, two teams managed to catch five-bass limits.

Boat 2 from Minooka with senior Luke Brozovich, making his second trip to state, and sophomore A.J. Wojtowicz, was third. Their five largemouth weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces.

Brozovich said they were fishing plastic worms in the back bays and “everything went well.’’ They were one of the few to hold that opinion.

And, as with the previous six state finals, weather played a role. An approaching storm forced IHSA officials to called boats in at 2 p.m., an hour early, and the short weigh-in just beat the arrival of a storm when fans and fishermen scattered.

Only 20 boats weighed keeper bass (12 inches or longer). The top three boats, sometimes both boats from an individual school, from 22 sectionals on May 1 qualified for state.

Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond held first after Day 1 with the other limit weighing 12-1. In second was Father McGivney Catholic with only one fishermen in Ethan Jones.

Jones may have been a solo fishermen but he made it count. The sophomore only weighed two bass for his 10-9, but one of the them was the biggest bass of the day at 6-5. He declined to discuss how he caught his fish until after Day 2 and said he lost a couple smaller ones.

Streamwood, in its sixth trip to state, was still in range in sixth with three bass at 8-8.

Senior Kevin Tong (holding fish in photo at top) landed the one bite had by himself and junior teammate Alex Guidarelli for Niles North. But at the second biggest bass of the day (5-12) it was enough to put them in the top 10 at 10th.

Tong said that one bite came early in the morning. Boats take off at 7 a.m. and teams are scheduled to fish eight hours until 3 p.m. (conditions permitting). He said they caught it on a jig.

Boat driver/coach Art Tang, whose Wheaton-Warrenville South teams have made six state tournaments, was surprised by the tough day.

“It was just tough fishing and I don’t know why,’’ he said.IHSAbass05-15-15NickTrusoWWS

The Tigers were in 16th on the one keeper (3-3) caught by Nick Trusso (in photo on right) on a ChatterBait.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff said most bass were still pre-spawn, but at least a few bedding fish were landed from the scuttlebutt around the weigh-in.

Each boat had an adult boat driver with two students fishing. Up to two other students could be subbed in. Most subs or alternates end up spending their time fishing in the Kaskaskia River in the section below the dam, where anything from state-record bighead carp to monster flatheads to regular crappie, sauger, walleye, white bass or catfish could be caught.

Other Chicago area teams weighing bass on Day 1 were Joliet Central (2 fish, 5-10, 11th), Zion-Benton (2, 4-14, 13th) and Hinsdale South (2, 3-6, 15th).

The tournament ends with Day 2 of fishing on Saturday when weather may again factor in.