State Bass Fishing Tourney postponed due to high water levels

News-DemocratApril 29, 2013 

— The State Bass Fishing Tournament slated for Friday and Saturday at Carlyle Lake has been postponed due to potentially dangerous water levels.

The event will be rescheduled later this spring after water levels go down.

The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors made the decision based upon discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who oversee Carlyle Lake.

IHSA staff members visited Carlyle Lake on Sunday to assess the situation.

"We want to make a decision on the new state final date as soon as possible so that Carlyle and the qualifying schools can plan accordingly,'' IHSA Associate Director and Bass Fishing administrator Kurt Gibson said. "Yet, we also need to exercise a certain level of patience, as our colleagues in Carlyle predict and monitor how the lake will drain over the coming days."

The IHSA postponed the tournament in 2011 when the Carlyle area was hit with storms that produced 10 inches of rain in a little over a week.

The tournament was held June 17-18 in 2011.

"Situations like this are not ideal, but it is good that we have a successful blueprint to follow from 2011," IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said. "Safety is the No. 1 priority and we will wait until the professionals who oversee Carlyle Lake give us the OK to move forward with the tournament.

"We knew that when we started bass fishing it would present weather challenges that are innately unique in comparison with sports like baseball or softball."

Fifty-two boats qualified at the sectional level for the state tournament.

Defending champion Highland, Althoff, Edwardsville, Mater Dei, Nashville and Carlyle all will have boats competing in the state tourney.

Several of the sectional tournaments were delayed due to weather this season. Twenty-two sectional originally scheduled for April 19 were ultimately completed on April 26.

"The weather has made it a difficult spring for our outdoor sports and activities," Gibson said. "Many of our teams fished in difficult conditions at the sectional level and we know the qualifiers would be willing to fish this weekend rain or shine.

"However, the weather is outside of our control and the state tournament presents different challenges with nearly three times as many boats on the water in comparison to a sectional tournament. Simply put, we need to respect the process and wait for the experts in Carlyle to let us know it is safe to conduct this tournament."

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