High School Students Prepare for 2012 IHSA Bass Fishing Tournament Series

Chris McCloud
High School Students Prepare for 2012 IHSA Bass Fishing Tournament Series
SPRINGFIELD, IL � Spring is here � and it is nearly time again for high school anglers in Illinois to take to the water for the annual Illinois High School Bass Fishing Tournament Series.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA), in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Country Financial, Plano, the Forrest Lee Wood Company and other sponsors will host the statewide event beginning with Sectional competition on April 20.  The IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals will be conducted on Carlyle Lake on May 4-5. 

This marks the fourth year of the competition, and the number of schools and high school anglers participating continue to grow.  A total of 231 schools will participate in 19 Sectionals at 18 locations (two Sectionals will be held on the Chain O�Lakes in northeast Illinois) on April 20.  Each participating school is allowed to enter two teams, and with as many as four student anglers on each team, more than 1,800 youth may compete in the tournament series this spring.

From the fishing competition at the 19 Sectionals, the top three teams from each Sectional will advance to the May 4-5 finals at Carlyle Lake. 

�As the tournament continues to grow in the future, changes may need to be made such as creating a Regional level of competition leading into the Sectionals,� said IDNR Fisheries Biologist Dan Stephenson, who serves as the IDNR coordinator for the tournament.  �There is no class division in the tourney and it is co-ed, so young women and young men from schools small and large from border to border compete against each other.  We see great potential for getting more and more schools and students involved.�

Illinois is the only state that conducts a state high school bass fishing tournament, though others are in the planning stages. 

�This is an incredible event that benefits hundreds of young people throughout the state with a fun, outdoor recreation activity and the experience of competition with youth from other schools,� Stephenson said.  �The added bonus is that this activity is available with very little cost to the school districts.  All 793 schools in the IHSA are welcome to participate.�

Participants in the tournament have impressed even veteran tournament anglers with their efforts in the IHSA Bass Fishing Tournament Series.

�While the students involved are young, that doesn�t necessarily mean they are novice bass anglers,� Stephenson added.  �For example in 2010, in the two-day, rain-shortened state finals tournament at Carlyle, 51 teams weighed in more than 600 pounds of bass averaging 2.2 pounds each.  Those are impressive numbers. Like the tournament logo says:  �The Future Fishes Here�.� 

For more information on the Illinois High School Bass Fishing Tournament Series, check the IHSA website at www.ihsa.org.

For more information on fishing � and great places to fish in Illinois � check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/fishing or www.ifishillinois.org.

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