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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As I am learning more about the high school bass fishing scene, I learned the only 2 IHSA events are Sectionals and State. All other tourneys are organized in conference or as open events. There is a trail called ICAST that actually blows IHSA out of the water.

With that said, the only Fall Tourney my high school team could fish was the Marmion/Geneva Fall Tournament on Lake Shabbona.

Shabbona is my old stomping grounds as a youth, but that was mostly shore fishing or wading Indian Creek. I used to take my first boat there in the Spring, but have little to no experience boat fishing there in late summer.

I shrewdly crafted a plan that our team would start in the NE bay and junk fish down the shoreline until we figured it out.

The cool thing about this event was that I could fish, but only could contribute one fish toward our 6 fish limit.

Like previous events, we started out slow. One 12 incher on top in the first 2 hours. One of the kids went on a little flurry mid morning doing some deeper finesse tactics on wood structure and we had 2 more 12 inchers. With about 2 hours left the other hs angler got another small keeper on a topwater. At this time the coach (me) still had not boated a fish and only had 2 short bites all day.

We kept burning down the shore though and I missed a good thump burning a bait over the top of some grass. We noticed some shad getting chased in the area so we slowed down and everyone switched to a faster moving bait. From there it was game on as I finally got a keeper in the boat and the kids started hooking up as well. The kids upgraded their bag several times. No monsters, but better 13-15 inch fish. I culled my fish twice, with the final one being a nice 3 lb kicker.

On the way back in we stopped to fish a few points and I lost a really big fish (possible musky) and the back of the boat angler culled one more time with a decent 14 inch fish.

This was a 24 boat field, so even with a really nice bag we were unsure how it would hold up. When we got back to the ramp we met the head coach of the program who had been watching the teams weigh in. He was confident we were in good shape as no other team had weighed a limit. We were last to weigh in and it was pretty stress free at that point knowing what we had. Our bag only came in at about 9 lbs, but we still cleared first place by about 3 lbs. 2nd place had a 5 lb fish and dink. It goes to show that grinding for a limit and hoping for one good kicker can be all you need.

This Tourney is probably it for our team this year, but at least we made it a good one!

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That's so cool.

Great read and nice kicker!
Always wondered how they got to sectionals and state , how many tourneys or is it just self reported team fishing on weekends. How often do they get to fish as a team. How many tourneys do they do to get to sectionals? what do they do during hard water, Just study? do they ever get out of school for Bass class:D Boy, vocational classes sure have changed. But i guess that would be in sports


Wish Shabbona was closer, only fished it 3 times over 2 years decades ago. 7 bass, first 3 muskies (20", 24" and a 28" 5.5lb) and a 4 lb walleye.

Way to dominate!
 

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Congrats to you & your team Matt. Good on you to show kids the meaning of life!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. Jim, there is no sectionals so basically we have our conference championship, Sectionals, then State. There are no regionals like traditional IHSA events. The IHSA decides who is fishing where for Sectionals, and schools are limited to 2 boats. The top 3 teams from each sectional advance to state. Last year there were 25 sectionals which led to 75 qualifying teams. It is not the fairest event because one sectional may have 25 teams and another may have 10 depending on the region. We had 17 boats in ours.

In addition to these events, conferences or individual teams can host their own competitions within conference or have open events like the shabbona event. These are not governed by the IHSA.

The Illinois Coaches Assosiation also has their own tournament trail called ICAST. This trail allows coaches to fish, has really good sponsors, and also gives $ back to the winners clubs as well as scholarship money. This trail has become very popular and the events go almost year round. We have not fished these events yet, but I would like to do a few of them.

As far as our meetings go, they are pretty informal. With Covid we met virtually much of last year, but when we met in person we would hold casting events to practice flipping and things like that. Weather permitting the team also practices at Herrick Lake. We try to determine the Anglers with the best skill set, as well as the most involvement with the program to decide who gets to fish the actual events. Teams with 2 boats in an event may have up to 8 anglers. 4 per boat, half day for each angler in boat.

Anyways, I don't have a 100% understanding of all the nuances of everything, but that it what I do know.

We were thinking about fishing the Icast event on the Fox Chain Saturday, but with Homecoming there is too much going on.

Hope this helps.
 

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Congrats on the W! Looks like that ole' bastard Shabbona was a stingy one that day. In the summer, I get a lot of fish out of there burning paddle tail frogs over the weeds. Pitching texas rigs and punching the grass and pads too. Now that I think about it, I did not make it to Shabbona this year. A first in probably 10+ years.
 
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