The Illinois BASS Nation held their 2015 State Championship Regional Team Qualifier tournament on the Illinois River in Morris on September 26th and 27th. The river should have been primed for a great tournament but with the weather conditions the week prior and water levels going down the fight was on for the anglers. They were not only combating water conditions that were unusual for this time of year but severe lock situations as well. The barges were backing up behind the locks and the army corp was doing the best they could to get them through but the numbers just added up to quickly. As the field took off on Saturday, most of them heading up river to lock through, the lock master said he would do his best to get them through on a timely basis. The sky quickly became blue bird and stayed that way all day making for some tough fishing conditions. With the locks being so active all day the current in the river was very strong. Some of the areas where fish would normally stage were empty. As the 3 flights of anglers made their way back at the end of the day the field that locked through all made it back on time. The day one leader was Chris Baker with 7.19 lbs and Big Bass for the day was 3.31 lbs brought in by Mike Rubino. You know it was a tough day when only 68 anglers out of 116 came to the scale. The club that was leading on day one was Unique Bassmasters with 20.60 lbs and a five pound lead over the second place club Chicago Windy City 1. As day two started the word from the locks was not good. They said the barge traffic was heavy and the best they could do was a possible 9:30 window to get the anglers through and no guarantee when they could get back. Most of the field turned around at the locks headed back and fished in the Marseilles pool. The weather was over cast and after the heavy barge traffic the current slowed just a little. As the final days weigh in progressed the names at the top of the leader board were changing. Soon there were two anglers left, Tim Prokop sitting in the hot seat with 13.55 lbs and one angler left to weigh in, Bill Skowronski. Bill needed 6.52 lbs to take the win and when the scale stopped he had 7.63 lbs for a total weight of 14.67 and became the 2015 IBN State Champion! On behalf of the IBN Board, Tournament Committee and all of the IBN membership, Congratulation to Bill for a job well done!
A special thanks goes out to the event sponsors, Bentenhousen Dodge, Illinois Valley Outdoors, Bedord Sales, Cast & Crew and Jackall Baits. They all came out and joined us on site for the event. Bentensousen Dodge gave away gift certificates to anyone who test drove a new Dodge truck. Bedford sales provided Gift certificates for the smallest Bass each day. Cast and crew filmed the event for Time On The Water and provided shirts for the event winner and Jackall Baits provided $1000 in soft plastics for prizes. The local bass club, Happy Hookers came out in force, as well as Fishing teams from Minooka High School, Angler Advantage, Joilet Central and the Jr. Bassmaster club “Off The Hook”. The High School anglers returned all of the competitor’s fish back to the river as quickly as possible after they weighed in. Thank you for all your efforts. For more information about this event and the Illinois BASS Nation go to our facebook page or www.illinoisbassnation.com. Join a Bass Nation club and join us for our tournament events.