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The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors yesterday officially approved the addition of a bass fishing tournament as an IHSA activity.

With the historic action, Illinois has become the first state in the nation to sanction competitive fishing as a sport in its public schools.

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(See “Varsity Bass,” in the February 2008 Outdoor Life SnapShots section.)

The Board, acting on a recommendation from executive director Marty Hickman, unanimously approved fishing “as an IHSA activity beginning in the spring of 2009, provided that adequate sponsorships are secured in advance for the tournament.”

Hickman and other supporters of intra-school tournaments have indicated that numerous sponsors and volunteers have already stepped forward to offer their support for the program.

“The level of support for a bass fishing tournament, from both our membership and from other non-school groups, has demonstrated clearly to our Board that this event is one with potential tremendous value to our schools,” Hickman said after yesterday’s announcement.

“Implementing such an activity will enable our schools to provide another opportunity for students that will enrich their educational experience and keep with the Association’s mission,” Hickman said.

While the news of the country’s first-ever sanctioned high school fishing competition didn’t lead the national or regional wire services today, here at the Outdoor Newshound, we think it’s definitely the biggest story of the week.