The Illinois BASS Nation held the 2016 State Championship / Regional Team Qualifier on September 10th and 11th in Olney Illinois on East Fork Lake. When the Olney city council heard we were interested in holding the tournament at East Fork Lake they did not hesitate to jump on board. The cities support for the IBN helped to make this event a great success. The Richland Co. High School Chorus came out and did an exceptional job singing the National Anthem both days. The Boy Scout troop 211 also worked the event running fish bags for the anglers.

At this year’s event 124 anglers competed for the title of State Champion and a spot on the IBN State Regional Team. From this event the IBN will be sending the top 11 Anglers and top 11 Co-Anglers to the BASS Nation Central Regional Tournament next spring. Those anglers are now just 2 tournaments away from a spot in the Bassmaster Classic.

The weather did not cooperate Saturday morning as the 62 boat field launched in the rain. The forecast was set to deliver rain on and off all day. With the rain and falling temps the bite would prove to be tough. We all knew that the anglers would have to work to figure out the bite for the day.

At the end of day 1 the weights suggested that it was still anyone’s tournament to win. The Angler had a limit of 5 fish and only 4 limits came in. The Co-Anglers had a limit of 3 fish and only 4 limits came in as well. The conditions were tough and Day 2 could prove to be even harder with lower temps and a high sky. Leading the Angler side on day 1 was Chris Baker with 10.84 lbs. and Steve Pruitt with 7.02 lbs. Big Bass for Saturday was Angler Tim McKay at 4.38 lbs. and Co-Angler Peter Saele at 3.76 lbs.

Day 2 started out with a great rendition of the National Anthem by the Richland Co. High School. All of the anglers knew that the bite would change and the ones that made the adjustments would bring in the fish.

As the weigh in went on the big bass for the day changes several times and so did the top 11 on both the Angler and Co-Angler sides. When the scale closed and all weights were confirmed the top 11 Anglers and Co-Anglers were announced.

Final Standings Anglers

1 Chris Baker 20.42 lbs
2 Art Mensik 14.80 lbs
3 Cole Jezek 14.10 lbs
4 Tony Villalbos 13.14 lbs
5 Mark Emenecker 10.33 lbs
6 Tim Hartman 10.25 lbs
7 Brad Norris 9.89 lbs
8 Luis Gonzalez 9.68 lbs
9 Allen Williford 9.00 lbs
10 Chuck Lide 8.52 lbs
11 Justin Newell 8.50 lbs

Final Standings CoAnglers

1 Eddie Charlton 12.45 lbs
2 Dominiic Dinovo 9.55 lbs
3 Dave Norris 9.02 lbs
4 Mike Dudek 8.78 lbs
5 Peter Saele 8.77 lbs
6 Adam Stark 8.16 lbs
7 Steve Pruiett 7.02 lbs
8 Steve Wells 6.85 lbs
9 Phil Tarasiewicz 6.67 lbs
10 Josh Uthe 6.02 lbs
11 Matt Marques 5.80 lbs

The top 11 standings do not tell entire story. Mark Emenecker came from 39th place, Luis Gonzalez from 24th place into the top 11. On the Co-Anglers side, Mike Dudek shot up from 45th place and no fish on day 1, Keith Meigs from 35th and Phil Tarasiewicz from 32nd to make the team. What an effort by these anglers.

Congratulations to all of the members in the 2017 IBN State Regional Team!!!

The IBN would like to thank the City Of Onley, Bentenhousen Dodge, Shimano and Jackall Baits as our Primary sponsors. Motor Guide, Mercury and Lowrance as supporting sponsors of this event.