The LaSalle sectional of the IHSA bass fishing tournament was postponed a third time to Wednesday, but after a delay the Heidecke section was fished today.
MORRIS, Ill.--They might've been small, but junior Derrick Abels caught five keeper bass Tuesday to lead Grant Park Boat 1 to the title of the twice-delayed Heidecke Lake sectional of Illinois' inaugural high school bass fishing tournament.
Teams could weigh up to five largemouth or smallmouth bass of 12 inches or longer. Adult captained the boats, but were not allowed to fish in any way.
Captain Bill Ekhoff, a teacher and veteran tournament fisherman, said Derrick and his older brother Nick, a senior, caught their fish on jerkbaits on the stop.
And they caught a bunch of fish beside keeper bass, including 10 walleye of keeper size, hybrid striped bass and other smaller bass.
But Derrick was just glad the first keeper bass came early.. ``That took the edge off,'' he said.
They weighed the only largemouth and big fish for the day (.98 pounds). I bumped into biologist Rob Miller at the event and he was not surprised that the catch was primarily smallmouth. Though both of us had hoped somebody might pop one of the big remaining largemouth.
Grant Park's five keepers totaled only 4.26 pounds, but enough to advance them to the world's first statewide high school fishing championship at Carlyle Lake May 8-9.
Senior Eric Multon caught three keeper bass weighing 2.52 pounds on a Lucky Craft Pointer lure to help his teammates on Andrew Boat 1, Mike Oliosi and Rob Pohlman, advance.
``Only the best goes on the end of my line,'' Multon said of the high-end lure.
``We were all over the place,'' captain John Bartgen said. ``We were probably the only one throwing moving baits.''
Also moving on was the Oswego Boat 2 team of Ray Bell, Tyler Roberts and Becky Weaver with three keepers weighing 2.12 pounds. Ed Haagenson, a one-time muskie fishing partner of a friend, captained the boat.
Overall, Ekhoff nailed the feeling of the captains and fishermen alike, ``I can't believe they got this going. It is great.''