Illinois Finalizes Plans for High School Bass Fishing

While it may not rank up there with Ray Scott’s founding of the Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (B.A.S.S.) and the first federation tournament in 1967, we believe that somewhere June 9, 2008 will be chronicled as a significant date in competitive bass-fishing history.

On Monday, the Illinois High School Association Board, the body that oversees 35 intra-school sports and activities in the state, made it official: Illinois will be the first state in the country to have a sanctioned, state high school bass-fishing championship beginning in 2009.

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During its June 9 meeting, IHSA directors approved schedules and official rules for the new Bass Fishing State Series to be inaugurated during the 2008-09 school term. Sectionals in the series will be held on Friday of Week 42 (April 24, 2009), with the state final being held on Friday and Saturday of Week 44 (May 8-9, 2009).

Sites for the events have not yet been determined.

Schools will be allowed to enter up to two boats, with up to three students in each boat, although only two may fish at any one time. The competition will take place for up to eight hours per day, with provisions for inclement weather.

Each boat will weigh five fish at the end of each day’s competition.

The complete tournament terms and conditions can be viewed on the IHSA Website.

“We are excited about the new bass fishing tournament,” said Marty Hickman, IHSA Executive Director and the driving force behind state-sanctioned high school bass fishing. “We believe it will be the first bass fishing tournament in the country sponsored by a state high school association. The tournament is a great way to reach out to high school students and give them an additional opportunity to compete in interscholastic activities.”

Great, indeed, Marty. We predict that intramural high school fishing has enormous potential—not to mention that it encourages outdoor recreation, conservation, good sportsmanship and natural resource stewardship.