Bass fishing, now a sport, hot among students
Last updated: April 27. 2015 2:46AM - 107 Views
By Kathleen Clark For the Journal-Courier
Schools from across the state have students participating in what is more than a pastime to many — the sport of bass fishing.
Joining them will be two teams from Waverly, for the second year in a row.
“I’m in contact with the [Illinois High School Sports Association] on a daily basis,” said Waverly’s athletic director Shane Gray, “I watched it for a few years; the number of teams increased faster than any other activity. We had some students interested and the board approved it and we ran with it.”
In 2009, the state sanctioned the sport and it has attracted schools big and small. This year 250 schools are expected to hit the waters for the sectional tournaments on May 1. Twenty-two lakes throughout the state will be full of high school anglers. They will be vying for a top three ranking to continue on to the state tournament at the 24,580 acre Carlyle Lake in Clinton County.
Prior to these competitions, a number of school sponsored tournaments such as an invitational by Edinburg at Sangchris Lake in Christian County are held. Gray reported 22 schools from all corners of the state came out for the day.
Sangchris Lake is where Waverly will participate in the sectional tournament.
The tournaments, explains Gray, are professional all the way.
“You may have seen the bass tournaments on TV, and these are run exactly the same way. You register and DNR checks license, insurance and safety equipment,” he said.
Two students are allowed in each boat with a captain, a coach or parent, to man the boat. The student is responsible for all fishing.
Bass fishing teams are coed and “A great option for kids who are involved and those that are not as much. It’s a nice alternative program,” Gray explains. The team does not meet regularly for structured practices, but on a per tournament basis. “If a tourney comes up, we try to get out before to pre-fish. We find the hot spots and mark them with GPS. We like to get out there and see what type of bait, lures and colors the fish are biting.”
The Scotties have six on their team and up to four individuals can participate in the sectional. Weather so far for the 2015 season has not allowed many memorable outings yet, but Gray is hopeful for good weather from here on out.
In the region, North Greene also has a bass fishing team. Those students are registered to attend the sectional tournament at Coffeen Lake in Montgomery County.
Kathleen Clark is a freelance writer from Scottville.