In the spring of 2009, the notion of a statewide high school bass fishing tournament was a novelty.
The Illinois High School Association unveiled its plans for a fishing tournament, hoping to attract about 100 or so teams. Results exceeded the organization’s expectations as 190 schools fielded teams. This year nearly 340 schools will compete.
The state finals will be held at Carlyle Lake May 20-21.
“We seem to get 6-8 new schools joining the activity on a yearly basis,” said Kurt Gibson, associate executive director of the IHSA. “If I remember correctly, year one we had hoped we could have 100 schools participate, that first year would be a success. It continues to exceed our expectations.”
Southern Illinoisans might remember that Keith Vaughn and Travis Noto of West Frankfort claimed the first-ever Illinois State championship. At that time no other state offered a prep bass fishing championship.