Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

IHSA bass-fishing follow-up

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First this stray cast on the coming IHSA bass-fishing tournament from an old friend and prep sportswriter, ``Because there are so many more lakes/opportunities for teams from the South to fish, I think when a kid from Chicagoland catches a bass it should be multiplied by 1.67 so that it is fair. That gives everyone a chance.''

Ah ha.

But seriously. I tried in the Feb. 13 Sun-Times to show what IHSA honcho Dave Gannaway foresees coming as the ground-breaking statewide bass-fishing tournament moves Illinois toward history in the spring of 2009.

More details will come after the initial committee meets in coming weeks and comes up with the actual format.

In the meantime, if you're a kid who wants to fish it or a teacher/coach who wants to help coach, let your AD or principal know, so the gears start turning. I've heard from all kinds of coaches/teachers, including a member of Frank Lenti's football staff at Mount Carmel.

I covered preps (still do the occasional basketball or football game for the Sun-Times) and outdoors for a long time, and I have never seen this kind of interest in something new in high school sports.

I've heard from kids who want details so they can make the team, bass fishing guys who want details so they can help out, possible sponsors who want details so they can get in at the ground level, and coaches who want details just because it blends their coaching and fishing interests.

In nearly 25 years of doing prep sports, I've seen some greats: Ricky Watters (best prep football player I've seen), Kevin Garnett and Ronnie Fields (best basketball duo, even better than the pair of big men King had a few years earlier), a slew of baseball players, including Mark Mulder as both a top pitcher and field player.

I can't wait for the day when I can wax nostalgic the same way about a bass fisherman. Stroke my chin and say, ``I remember when John ``Big'' Bass pulled a 5-pounder off a deep point on Rend Lake with a blue Strike King jig to win the 2010 state title. And look at him now, battling Kevin VanDam on ESPN.''

But for now, the best I can recommend to would-be fishermen/students, coaches and volunteers is to let their local schools know of their interest

I'm excited like everybody else.

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On a good day, Bob Long, Jr. of the Chicago Park District would dream of taking the Park District's Kid Fishin' Program into the classroom. Dreaming of making it a regular class no different than say, math. Starting out with the public schools, then slowly branching out from there.

With a classroom program like that, the potential of getting tens of thousands of kids interested in fishing seems like a possibility. The impact that could have on the fishing industry, and the future of fishing, could be tremendous.

Instead, with competitive fishing, a few hundred kids will get involved. They come to the fishing sport thinking that you have to have a boat and all the latest expensive equipment just to go out and catch a fish. That's all fine, I just don't see much of a long term impact.

At the high end of middle age, I know more anglers without all that equipment than with it. We all get out fishing much more than they do and who caught the biggest fish doesn't matter.

It's about the initial tap and then the tug on the line.

It still blows my mind that high schools in Illinois are now open to bass fishing tournaments, teams, rankings, etc. Myself, as I'm sure many others would've jumped at an opportunity like this.

It gets me thinking now though, how do you conduct tryouts for this sort of thing? And, are we talking about shorefishing type competitions, or more traditional fishing from boats?

How about cheerleaders...?

It will be traditonal true-blue bass tournament from boats.

As to the cheerleaders, I had not even thought of that, and I thought I had considered every angle to this.

This is the best idea ever. Im upset that I'm graduating this year.

i just wanted to say that im a sophmore at york high school in elmhurst ill and i wish that this would come true so that kids in the city get to fish just as much as the ones in alabama so i hope this kicks off and my school is entered. fil me in...

Wow what a read, I find it extremely interesting to see that fishing is offered in schools, with teams tournaments etc, I think that it is wonderful, almost like giving kids that are not that sport orientated a chance to feel part of a team and get the rewards as well. I relatively new to fishing myself, doing it with my boyfriend as something we can enjoy together and learning all that goes with fishing I have been trying to read as much as I can, the only thing that I do not do as yet is baiting the line and unhooking the fish once caught, but I am sure that ill get there one day.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 13, 2008 9:30 AM.

IHSA fishing was the previous entry in this blog.

Boat fishing closed indefinitely at Powerton is the next entry in this blog.

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