The 2014 IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals are set to unfold on Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, as the top anglers from around the state descend upon Carlyle Lake in Carlyle. Sixty-six total boats from 56 high schools will compete on the largest man-made lake in Illinois, as Lake Carlyle’s 26,000 acres of water feature 2,360 pounds of fish per water acre. The 2014 state finals are the sixth installment of the tournament, the first of its kinds in the country, and Carlyle Lake has hosted the state championship every season (see below for a primer on how the IHSA Bass Fishing State Series works). Fans will once again be able to watch the weigh-ins live on the NFHS Network by visiting www.IHSA.tv. Weigh-ins are scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. each day, but fans should monitor www.IHSA.org for any changes in schedule due to weather.
For the first time in the history of the IHSA Bass Fishing State Final tournament, an entire day of fishing was lost to weather, as storms lingered over Carlyle Lake on Saturday at the 2013 event. That was good news for Morton, as the Potters team of Jordon Jensen and Justin Schick caught five fish, totaling 13 pounds-4 ounces, on the first day of the finals. With Saturday washed out, the Friday totals became the score of record and Morton took home its first Bass Fishing state title.
The first six IHSA bass fishing tournaments have yet to produce a back-to-back state champ, something Morton hopes to change in 2014, but programs like Highland continue to show that this activity is an exercise in skill and not luck. The Bulldogs are the only school in the state to qualify for the state finals in each of the first six seasons, while 2014 will also mark the fourth time the school has qualified two boats in the finals. Highland has finished 25th or better each season, including placing third in 2011 and winning the state championship in 2012.
All told, 10 of the 14 schools who have won trophies (1st, 2nd or 3rd) in the short history of the tournament will be back competing this weekend. That includes last year’s runner-up Wheaton Warrenville South, a four-time state qualifier, and Niles Notre Dame. Notre Dame earned a trophy in its first-ever state final appearance last year. Moline (2nd in 2010) and Monticello (3 Top 25 finishes) return to the state finals in 2014 after both schools missed the field a year ago for the first time in tourney history.
Pinckneyville is another team returning to state after a one-year hiatus. The Panthers have finished in the Top 30 in each of their three previous state final trips. Zion-Benton has staked its claim as a perennial contender as well, as the Zee-Bees finished second at the inaugural event in 2009 and will have two boats on the water this weekend when they make their fourth state final appearance.
Monticello (Clinton Lake Sectional) and Highland (Coffeen Lake) posted the top Sectional weight totals in the state this season, with total hauls of 18 pounds-4 ounces and 17 pounds-4 ounces, respectively. Not far behind was Illini Bluffs, which won the Banner Marsh Sectional (15 pounds-13 ounces) and Providence Catholic, whose 14 pound-11 ounce output was tops at the Braidwood Lake Sectional. 2014 marks the third straight state final appearance for both Illini Bluffs and Providence.
History isn’t everything at this event, as Canton proved by winning the state championship in 2011, the only season the school has qualified for state. That is good news for the nine schools making their first-ever trip to Carlyle Lake for the state finals in 2014, a group that includes Belleville West, Belvidere North, El Paso-Gridley, Galena, Granite City, Putnam County, Maroa-Forsyth (2 boats), Newton and Ottawa.
The Marina adjacent to the boat ramp and weigh-in area will also once again host the Bass Celebration on Friday and Saturday. Bass Celebration includes fishing vendors, food, boat displays, truck displays and general vendors. Bass Celebration festivities begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and admission is free. A kid’s fishing derby will also be held in conjunction with the tournament at the Carlyle Fish Hatchery at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, with the winners recognized prior to state championship weigh-ins.
IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals primer:
-Fishing begins at 7:00 a.m. and teams must be off the water by 3:00 p.m. to prep for weigh-ins.
-Two high school students can fish in a boat at a time. Teams may substitute anglers on their roster at any time.
-An adult coach/driver (who cannot fish) is required in each competing boat.
-Teams can catch a maximum of five fish per day, which they store in their boat’s live well. After catching five fish, a team can continue to fish and try to replace fish already in their live wells with larger catches.
-At the end of each day, the fish are weighed and the team with the highest total combined weight from the two days is declared the state champion.
-A one-pound penalty is assessed to a team for each fish that does not survive.
-One-day Sectional tournaments were held at 22 lakes around the state on April 25 with the same scoring guidelines. Each school could enter a maximum of two boats per Sectional. The three boats with the largest total weight at each Sectional advanced to the state finals. A school can advance two boats to the state finals, which 10 schools did in 2014.
Carlyle Lake (Carlyle)
West Access Marina
Friday, May 9
Saturday, May 10
Food, fishing & outdoor vendors in West Access Marina
Qualifiers & Boat Numbers
Friday & Saturday weigh-Ins will be broadcast live on NFHS Network at www.IHSA.tv
Viewers should monitor www.IHSA.org for any time changes due to weather
Admission is free
No audio broadcasts currently scheduled for this event
HISTORY & RECORDS
2014 State Series Results
Record Book & Past Champions
6 pounds, 14 ounces
Anthony Kriese, DeKalb HS