Reel deal: Everything you need to know about state bass fishing tourney

Reel deal: Everything you need to know about state bass fishing tourney

A last hoorah

Atwood-Hammond — which will close its doors for good at month’s end — qualified two entries for state this weekend. Only once during the first five years of the annual competition has a school had two of its entries place among the top 10 in the same year. Highland (third and fourth) pulled off the feat in 2010-11. The only other area school with two sets of qualifiers the same years was Monticello in 2011 and 2012.

Sages lead way

Area schools have never failed to qualify at least one entry for state. Monticello has advanced teams in five of the six years (missing only in 2013) and has had seven squads compete in the finals. Atwood-Hammond and DeLand-Weldon are next, with three entries apiece. D-W had qualifiers in three separate years. Clinton, St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity have twice had qualifiers. The Rockets have the longest current active streak, 2013 and 2014. Champaign Central and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley have produced state competitors once each.

Area records

The first year an area school placed among the state’s top 10 was Year 2 of the event (2009-10). And the area made a splash with Monticello finishing seventh and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley eighth. In 2011-12, Unity ended ninth and holds the area mark for largest combined (five fish) catch at state, with 24 pounds, 9 ounces.

Catch of the day

The waters may be choppy at times. The winds may breeze a bit. A chance for some thunderstorms exists Friday at Carlyle Lake, the site of the sixth annual bass fishing state tournament this weekend.

Atwood-Hammond, Monticello and Unity are three of the 56 schools, ranging from Athens to Zion-Benton, that will try to catch the biggest bass currently patrolling the waters of Carlyle Lake.

Before any of the three area schools put their boats in the water Friday, staff writer MATT DANIELS caught up with one angler from each team to shed some insight:

Jon Bialeschki, Atwood-Hammond

When and why did you start fishing?
I love being outdoors, and fishing has been a hobby of mine since I started fishing when I was a young kid with my dad.

What’s the best part about fishing?
Just being out on the water, enjoying the water and obviously catching fish.

What’s the worst part about fishing?
Rain. It just makes everything turn into chaos.

What’s the key to catching fish?
Basically your concentration and having a good mind-set.

What’s the most impressive fishing experience you’ve ever had?
I caught a 7-pound bass the day before sectionals but then didn’t catch a fish on sectional day. There was too much rain. The water looked like it was chocolate milk.

Have you ever embellished a fishing story?
Oh, yeah, anyone who fished has. You just kind of always say you got a couple more than you actually did and that they were a little bigger than what they are.

Is Atwood-Hammond the best fishing school in the state?
Fishing is a lot about how good your coach is and how well you know the area. Our coach is one of the best around, so I like our chances.  

Kyle Smith, Monticello

When and why did you start fishing?
I was pretty much raised on a boat. My dad has had me fishing my entire life, and a buddy got me into joining the Monticello bass fishing team. I’ve loved it ever since.

What’s the best part about fishing?
The best part about fishing would definitely have to be setting the hook on a big bass. It’s just such an adrenaline rush.

What’s the worst part about fishing?
That would definitely have to be losing a big bass. It basically just crushes all your dreams.

What’s the key to catching fish?
A lot of patience and a lot of background knowledge on where you’re at.

What’s the most impressive fishing experience you’ve ever had?
That would be our sectional title that we won at Clinton a few weeks ago. We caught 18 pounds, 4 ounces, and it was just awesome. Coming in we didn’t think we’d have that much, and we ended up with the most.

Have you ever embellished a fishing story?
Oh, I think we’ve all done that. You get caught up in the rush sometimes.

Is Monticello the best fishing school in the state?
By far. We’re going in the state ranked as the No. 1 team, and we expect to keep it that way.

Ryan Spencer, Unity

When and why did you start fishing?
I’ve always fished with my dad and my grandpa down at a nearby lake. I started when I was about 11 years old.

What’s the best part about fishing?
Probably just being able to be out there and catch some fish, along with the adrenaline rush you experience when you get a bigger fish. It’s just fun to reel them in and fighting them, too, is pretty fun.

What’s the worst part about fishing?
When you go out and don’t catch nothing.

What’s the key to catching fish?
Having confidence and presenting your bait right.

What’s the most impressive fishing experience you’ve ever had?
On Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, me and a buddy brought in about 20 pounds of bass fishing at a tournament. It was pretty awesome. We were one of the few teams out of state, and we were in first place after the first day. We ended up getting 15th, but it was still fun.

Have you ever embellished a fishing story?
Oh, yeah. You just start talking to friends and people who have other fishing stories, and you just exaggerate it a little bit.

Is Unity the best fishing school in the state?
I think so. We’ve got a new coach this year, but he has a lot of experience. I’m looking forward to state because we know a spot where we were able to get them in the past. That area seemed to be holding a lot of big fish, so we’re looking forward to it.

Fish stories

The leaders for biggest bass caught at state during the first five years of the IHSA-sanctioned competition at Carlyle Lake:

NAME, SCHOOL    DATE    WEIGHT
Anthony Kriese, DeKalb    May 4, 2012    6 lbs., 14 oz.
Nick Fulton, Farmington    May 5, 2012    6 lbs., 8 oz.
Taylor Wieser, Highland    June 17, 2011    6 lbs., 8 oz.
Jack Waldschmidt, Bradley-Bourbonnais    May 7, 2010    5 lbs., 13 oz.


 

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments