Bass Fishing: Experienced Streamwood eyes big prize
Updated: May 3, 2012 7:07PM
Zach Eldredge knows the beauty of Streamwood owning a piece of Illinois high school bass fishing history.
‘‘The coaches we have are great coaches,’’ Eldredge said. ‘‘They know a lot of stuff. If it wasn’t for them, we would probably still be using Ugly Stiks and button-casters.’’
Eldredge, a junior, and senior Nick Welu are making their second straight trip to the state finals for bass fishing, which are Friday and Saturday at Carlyle Lake.
Their making state means that Streamwood has advanced to state all four years the world’s first statewide bass championship was held. Only Downstate Moline and Monticello have matched that feat.
‘‘Every year we have moved up,’’ Streamwood coach Marty Baker said. ‘‘In 2009, we tied for last; 2010 in the 30s. Last year we were 22nd. We can’t get down there and fish, except for the state tournament. One reason we are moving up is because we are going back, year after year.’’
When Welu heard about the possibility of Streamwood joining in the inaugural bass fishing state series in his freshman year, he was intrigued.
‘‘I have been fishing since I was little,’’ Welu said. ‘‘I thought it would be cool to figure out what it was. It turned out to be really awesome.’’
‘‘It is pretty awesome that we have been able to go this far,’’ said Eldredge, who came in as a freshman.
‘‘I probably would not have been what I am without the coaches teaching me what I know,’’ Welu said. ‘‘There are so many things at fishing that work for me.’’
When bass fishing started, Baker, an environmental science teacher, applied to coach.
‘‘There is a huge difference between everyday fishing and tournament bass fishing,’’ said Baker, who learned to fish for food while in college in Minnesota. ‘‘I didn’t know that until I started the program.’’
That learning was speeded by Kenton Evans, an assistant football coach, and club fishermen Mike Rubino and Guy Blaski. There are other building blocks. Baker said principal Terri Lozier is ‘‘a huge supporter of the team. But it also helps that we win.’’
Rubino captained the advancing boat at sectional and will drive the boat at state. Each team has an adult captain/boat driver with two fishermen at any time.
Welu, who plans to attend Wisconsin-Stevens Point to study environmental management and hopes to fish on its bass team, prefers the slower forms of bass fishing, such as jigs and worms.
‘‘I prefer crankbaits,’’ Eldredge said.
That difference has its built-in advantages.
‘‘We know what each other is doing,’’ Eldredge said. ‘‘If he is throwing one thing, I am going to be throwing another thing until we start catching fish.’’
Fishing is with artificials only, no live bait. At state, each boat may weigh its five heaviest black bass (smallmouth, largemouth or spotted), 12 inches or longer, daily. Finishes are determined by the two-day combined weight.