Here's my take on the Chicago-area sectionals for the fourth IHSA bass fishing state championship.
The Heidecke sectional is my basic story for the Sun-Times.
HEIDECKE: High noon came and Minooka juniors Dan Scott and Austin Akers stood alone.
They weighed in four largemouth bass at 8.64 pounds to win the Heidecke Lake sectional for bass fishing Friday.
``By noon, were getting worried,'' said Scott, who anchored their catch with the day's big bass of 2.72 pounds.
They had no fish in the morning. Each team could weigh their five heaviest black bass (largemouth or smallmouth) of 12 inches or longer.
``Noonish, noon to 1:30,'' Akers said. ``When I caught one, then we went back to back.''
They ended up with four keepers caught from an area they specifically targeted with ``certain plastics,'' as Akers and Scott selectively put it.
``I was getting a little concerned about 10:30 or 11,'' boat captain David Barney said. ``But we were confident they would eventually turn on.''
Each school could have two boats. Each boat is captained by an adult with two high school fishermen. Subs may also be used, and also qualify for state. For Minooka, that is sophomore Jenny Harris and freshman Grant Ferbend.
Minooka has the model program for high school bass fishing in the Chicago area with dozens of parents and supporters backing the program. This was the third straight year that Minooka has qualified for state. The state finals are May 4-5 at Carlyle Lake.
SHABBONA: As usual Joe Large, math chairman at Marmion, came through with a great report:
The Shabbona Lake Sectional was fished under tough weather conditions with temperatures in the mid-40s and a north wind gusting above 25 mph. However, teams still managed to find fish despite the rough conditions. Overall, there were 23 teams competing, and 43 bass were weighed in for a total of 61.55 pounds.
St. Charles North (Boat #2) took 1st Place with 5 fish weighing 8.15 pounds. The team included Eric Faulk, Kevin Deisher, and Ricky Kaufman. The boat driver was Dave Fuerst, and the head coach was Timothy Pinks. The Northstars caught their fish in the East Bay on chatterbaits, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits.
St. Charles East (Boat #2) took 2nd Place with 4 fish weighing 7.65 pounds. The team included Tyler Capasso, Eric Anthony, and Arin Gundlach. The boat driver was Mike Hale, and the head coach was Jim Richter. The Saints caught their fish on crankbaits in the deep trees.
Marmion Academy of Aurora (Boat #2) took 3rd Place with 5 fish weighing 7.10 pounds. The team included Casey Smith, Jon Thielen, Troy Griffin, and John Sieben. The boat driver was Scott Oesterlin, and the head coach was Joe Large. The Cadets caught their fish using jigs and spinnerbaits on laydowns and standing timber.
Marmion and Batavia rounded out the top five. The top five teams were separated by less than two pounds. Overall, five teams weighed in limits. The big bass of the tournament weighed in at 3.40 pounds, and was caught by Eric Anthony of St. Charles East.
CHAIN O'LAKES II: Zion-Benton made a strong case as the area's top program with Minooka, winning with a five-bass limit of 10 pounds. Grant and Alden-Hebron also advanced.
SKOKIE LAGOONS: Taft, the only Chicago Public School in the tournament, earned its third state appearance for coach Michael Mulligan by winning the sectional with four bass weighing 7.8 pounds. Niles North and Fenwick also advanced.
BUSSE: Hinsdale Central advanced both its boats to state. But Lake Park won with an impressive five-bass limit weighing 11-12 pounds. The big bass was a true big one, a 5-2 caught by John Hornsberger of Elk Grove.
WOLF: Brother Rice had a big bag of 10.96 pounds with five bass limit. Also advancing were Stagg, which has one of the greatest fishermen/coaches in Brian Jackson, and Marist.
CHAIN O'LAKES I: Barrington weighed an impressive 11.9 five-bass limit. Also advancing were Hersey and Streamwood.
BRAIDWOOD: High winds and fog that rolled in right at launch forcing postponement until Monday.