Fishing Tournament Champs
By Justin Sullivan (grade 11) & Garrett Kendall (grade 10)
The Spartans hit the water in the early morning hours on Saturday, April 1st at Braidwood Lake. Two sophomore anglers, Garrett Kendall and Zack Jurkovic, spent the first two hours of the tournament flipping and pitching their baits into cattails with no luck, so they decided to make a change. The anglers were in desperate search of finding a pattern - a consistent way of catching fish. Garrett decided to tie on a jig that he had poured, painted, and dressed himself. The two pounded the cattails and shoreline and, in the third hour of the tournament, it happened. Garrett struck first blood with his biggest bass of the tournament which was a line burner! When he reeled the fish in, he couldn’t help but notice the tail of a bullhead sticking out of the fish’s throat. The belly on this fish was enormous. A spark ignited and confidence increased. The two anglers continued flipping their jigs into the cattails, looking to add another bass into the livewell.
They continued to slowly trolling stretches and channels, flipping jigs and twitching flukes in cattails and submerged grass lines. As they worked the same stretch of shoreline for the fourth time, Garrett drilled a second largemouth bass off his homemade jig. Garrett said, “This gave us confidence to keep throwing these baits and continuing the same pattern looking for three more big bass to fill our livewell. We just needed to have patience and keep our composure.” The anglers kept throwing their jigs into the cattails for nearly four hours. With only a couple hours left to the tournament, the duo decide to make a change. Garrett and Zach both decided to tie on new baits. After boating past a couple of guys who happened to be from Oak Lawn, Garrett hooked into his third bass off a shallow island and his net man Zach was ready. They continued around the island, moving their way to a promising looking point. Just as they were about to leave, Garrett made one last cast and with that, he landed his fourth bass of the tournament!
Garrett and Zach continued fishing hard, trying to land the fifth fish for their limit, but it was not meant to be. Heading back to the boat ramp, the two young anglers were satisfied with their bag-o-bass, but they realized that the competition was tough and without a fifth fish, the odds were stacked against them. At the weigh-in, Garrett’s big bass tipped the scales at 3.95 pounds, taking 2nd place for big bass. With a weight of 12.4 pounds, the tournament director declared “we have a new leader!” Garrett and Zach were stoked! As the last team came to the scales, Providence High School and their limit of five good bass had the Spartan anglers on edge. After the fish were weighed, Oak Lawn Community High School had clinched the victory by over a pound.
With this victory, the Spartans are riding a two-tournament winning streak. Anglers Justin Sullivan and Bart Rafacz won a tournament on October 1, 2016 on the Illinois River in Morris, IL, and qualified for the state bass tournament on Clinton Lake. The sectional bass tournament is scheduled for May 5th on the Des Plaines River.