Bass Fishing: Marmion anglers have high goals
Updated: April 19, 2012 10:54PM
When bass fishing became an IHSA activity four years ago, Marmion coach Joe Large was blessed with a group of freshman anglers that could compete for a state championship right away.
“We felt like when this group came in, we were lucky to have them,” Large said. “This is a special group of fishermen. They have a passion for it.”
This weekend that group, now seniors — Casey Smith, David Thielen and Brad Warland — head to sectionals at Shabbona Lake hoping to advance to the state tournament on May 4 to give Marmion its first state championship, and the first state championship in bass fishing for any team in the Chicago area.
Marmion has had success the past four years, but has found a state title elusive. With his team being so young, Large always focused on having fun and knew that his group would be back to fight another year. This time, however, the pressure is on to finish the deal.
They finished sixth in the state as freshmen, missed qualifying for state by half a pound as sophomores and won a sectional title last year. With all of the flooding at the state title site, Lake Carlyle near St. Louis, the state tournament had to be pushed to June. By that time, Alex Vaisvil was on a mission to Guatemala and Warland was on a school trip to France, so Thielen was forced to fish solo at state.
The results were remarkable. He managed to finish only four pounds behind state champion Canton with no help.
“It was a lot of fun watching him do that,” Large said. “What if we had another guy on the boat to help him out?”
Each program is allowed two boats of three to compete in the state series. Thielen, Vaisvil and Warland will again team up with Large on board as well. The other boat will be anchored by Smith and fellow senior Troy Griffin, along with Thielen’s younger brother, Jon, and assistant coach Scott Oesterlin.
The top three teams at each sectional reach the state tournament.
“We are really excited,” David Thielen said. “We heard that there are some other really good teams out there, but we’re confident and we’re hoping to do well. But the focus at hand is trying to do well at sectionals, not looking ahead.”
Weather is such a huge part of bass fishing, and it has had an effect on the Cadets again this spring. Whereas last spring the large amount of rain hindered every team’s performance, the biggest factor this year was the unusually high temperatures in March.
“It’s settled into more of a normal pattern now,” Large said. “This is more normal for us, which is kind of nice. We can get into a comfort zone. The stuff that happened in March with the high temps, it got the water warmed up earlier than normal and allowed them to start their cycle earlier. That should make the fishing a little easier Friday.”
It looks like the weather will be cool and damp Friday morning, so the Cadets will put together their game plan for the day when they arrive at Shabbona Lake, hoping to repeat last year’s sectional title.
“We haven’t made a decision of what we’re going to do yet, it will come down to the day of with the weather conditions and wind,” Thielen said. “From there, we’re hoping we can take first and get to state.”