Monday, October 9, 2017

Libertyville High School Kicks Some Bass at Lake Springfield / FLW High School Illinois Open

Any tournament angler knows that when you hit the water it is not you against the other anglers, its more like you against the fish.  From across Illinois and from our neighboring state of Missouri, high school anglers arrived Friday night for registration to take on that challenge.  It was then that they were informed that the tournament would be postponed a day.  A great call by tournament Director Dave Maxfield.  If you were outside on Saturday you can understand why.

Heather Rasmussen Photography
Top 5 teams from Sunday's FLW High School Bass Open on Lake Springfield 

Twenty boats launched into beautiful Lake Springfield early Sunday morning for the first FLW High School Illinois Open.  Anglers were participating for a chance to head to Nationals and only the top two would move on with a $5,000 scholarship for them and their partner on the line.

Heather Rasmussen Photography
PORTA High School Team- Andrew Gleason and Christopher Nicholas

Take it from Andrew Gleason a senior at A-C Central High School.  "Bass fishing is the cool sport now", he said.  It's true too!  Him and his partner Christopher Nicholas from neighboring PORTA High School managed to weigh in a five fish limit of 10lbs 12 ozs.  "We caught our limit in about an hour and culled the rest of the day", they said.   Tournament Director Maxfield was shocked at how many limits were being caught throughout the field.   You see, tournament angling isn't just about the 'W', although it is nice to win it, mainly it is about sportsmanship and in tournament fishing you lose more than you win.  PORTA being in my hometown, I have run into both of these gentlemen at separate times out on the water and I must say, after talking with them, I feel confident that the sport of fishing will be in good hands in the future.

Fishing is just a game of inches, one cast too far, too short, you don't quite catch'em.  The inches you need are everywhere, in every wave, every cast.   Libertyville High School's Jackson Paden and Joey Bissing played the game and were second to weigh in.  The scales topped off at 12 lbs 10 oz and as sophomores they knew they had their work cut out for them.  Especially going up against IHSA State Champ Tyler Lubbat from Buffalo Grove High School.  "We had our work cut out for us, we didn't even make it to state last year" said Joey Bissing. Team after team weighed in limits averaging around 10lbs and with Libertyville still in the lead, the final team proceeded to the stage.

Capitol Outdoors talking with anglers after the tournament
As Tyler Lubbat and his partner Tyler Christy stepped onto the stage,  you know that Jackson and Joey's heart was pumping.  Even the Tournament Director said "oh that's a nice bag of fish" as the team from Buffalo Grove headed toward the scales. Anticipation mounted as they placed their limit of fish upon the scale. Needing 12 lbs 11 oz to take the lead, time stood still as tournament director called the weight at 12 lbs 9 oz.  Libertyville High School's Jackson and Joey had won by one ounce!

After they left the stage, I asked Tyler Christy how he handles losing by such a small margin. "Fishing tournaments is all about staying calm, if you're not calm, you're not in it." he said  "Plus when something like this happens it motivates me more to hit the water".

That was probably one of the smartest things I have heard an angler say.   Fishing is a humbled sport, you'll have the high of highs and the low of lows and there's nothing that replaces that time on the water.

Heather Rasmussen Photography
1st place team from Libertyville- Jackson Paden and Joey Bissing

Congratulations to Jackson Paden and Joey Bissing for their win at the first FLW High School Illinois Open.    Also a big congrats to Tyler Lubbat from Buffalo Grove and Tyler Christy from Bolingbrook as their second place finish secured them a spot at Nationals.

A round of applause and well done to every participant in this years open.  Capitol Outdoors would also like to recognize boat captains, parents and the FLW, without them these anglers wouldn't be able to hit the water and enjoy the sport of fishing.

Check out some more of the photos and video of the weigh in here - Capitol Outdoors Facebook.

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