Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Sectional sites for IHSA fishing series nearly set

Bloomington – Four hundred boats on 18 lakes for one day.

In one state.

Although he’s been more involved than anyone else, Dave Gannaway
can’t help but ponder the logistics of pulling off the inaugural
competitive high school bass fishing competition.

“Some things have come along much smoother than expected, such
as the willingness of the schools and fishing clubs to get
involved,” said Gannaway, the Illinois High School Association
administrator in charge of the fast-approaching event.

And some issues have taken longer to sort out.

For example, at the end of January, the IHSA had secured 15 of
18 lakes for the April 24 sectionals – the first round of the state
championship series._Four teams from each sectional will advance to
the championship, which will be held May 8-9 at Carlyle Lake.

“My goal is to have all 18 lakes secured by Feb. 6,” Gannaway
said. “It’s been a slower process than we had expected.”

The sectional lakes will be spread out across the state to
provide a geographically level playing field. Gannaway’s goal is
that no school’s fishing team will have to travel much more than an
hour to get to their sectional lake.

There are 217 schools entered in the event.

“Most schools have two teams, or two boats, entered,” Gannaway
said. “All together, we’re figuring on 400 boats.”

Rules and the tournament structure were designed a year ago and
the IHSA board of directors officially sanctioned the sport over
the summer.

The state’s first unofficial tournament took place in October on
Shabonna Lake, where students in 15 boats from eight schools
participated. The state championship will be a much bigger
affair.

“Four hundred boats – that’s quite a number,” Gannaway said with
a chuckle.

The top three boats from each sectional will qualify for the
finals.

Securing boats and adult captains for each boat entered in the
sectional competition were primary concerns in the early going. But
schools and fishing clubs around the state have stepped up to fill
those needs.

“Once we get the 18 sites finalized, we’ll select a tournament
manager for each site,” Gannaway explained. “With all the
knowledgeable people we have around the state, I don’t see that as
an issue.”

Gannaway would not confirm which lakes were in play, but some of
the likely candidates in northern Illinois are Chain O’ Lakes,
Heidecke Lake, Shabbona Lake, Tampier Lake, Busse Lake, LaSalle
Lake and Pierce Lake.

In central Illinois, possible sites are Clinton Lake, Banner
Marsh, Coffeen Lake, Lake Springfield, Newton Lake, Lake
Shelbyville, Sangchris Lake, Lake Jacksonville, and Forbes
Lake.

Powerton Lake and Evergreen Lake also have been mentioned.

In southern Illinois, likely lakes are Lake of Egypt, Kinkaid
Lake and Rend Lake, which was seriously considered as a host for
the finals.

Visit www.ilwww.outdoornews.com to see
which lakes are chosen to host one of the 18 IHSA sectionals.

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