CLINTON, Ill. — Dunlap High School anglers won the second annual High School Open, April 7, on Clinton Lake in Illinois.
The tournament was hosted by the University of Illinois' Illini Bass Fishing Club. Participation was up this year, with 67 teams compared to last year's 50. It is one of the largest high school tournaments in Illinois, and it's the largest known collegiate-run high school tournament.
Dunlap High School won the one-day tournament with a five-fish limit weighing 17.73 pounds. Just behind them were anglers from Monticello High School with 17.71 pounds.
Competitors took home more than $4,000 worth of winnings and door prizes.
"The goal of our tournament is to help promote fishing to the younger generations, and also show high school anglers there is a place for them after Illinois High School Association fishing," said Luke Stoner of the Illini Bass Fishing Club. "Illinois was the first state to implement high school fishing as a sport, and it has been a huge success. Since its founding five years ago, participation has grown every year throughout the state, and several other states have followed Illinois’ lead. We have seen the effects firsthand in our club, as we have had more and more members coming in with previous tournament experience.
"Another reason we host this tournament is that there are few opportunities for high school anglers to get on the water and compete," Stoner continued. "We wanted to provide the high school anglers with another chance to fish a 'big' tournament. We quickly realized, though, that this tournament did more than just give these kids another chance to compete."
"The high school anglers appreciated the opportunity to ask about our fishing experiences," said Cody Sullivan, Illini Bass Fishing Club president. "They were amazed that in just a few years they could have the opportunity to go to some of the best lakes in the country and fish on the large stages of professionally hosted college tournaments. It made many of our members step back and realize what a glorious thing the sport of fishing has become.”
"The smiles on the faces of each and every high school angler made all the work that went into this tournament more than worth it.," added Stoner. "The future of competitive bass fishing is something the Illini Bass Fishing Club takes seriously, and we are proud to do our part in developing the future of this amazing sport."
Sponsors included Dobyns Rods, Lew’s Reels, Columbia Sportswear, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Custom Cast Lures, Advantage Bait Co., FISHIDY, Mac’s Tackle, The Rod Glove, Numa Sports Optics, SPRO, Scum Frog Southern Lure Co. and Tackle Warehouse. Other contributors included Cabela’s, Jimmy John’s, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Bad Boy’s Calls, the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Heartland Outdoors and Boondock’s Bait and Grill.
See full results here.