CARLYLE — It may have taken "junk fishing,'' but the brother-sister team of Landon and Kaeden Albright had Goreville in contention on Friday after Day 1 of the 11th IHSA state championship for bass fishing on Carlyle Lake.
Highland, the strongest program in the state, led with a limit weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces, anchored by the day's big bass of 5-3. Antioch was second with a limit at 14-13. Sterling Newman Central Catholic was third with a limit at 13-11 and one of the best stories of the day. Their big bass, the early leader at 5 pounds, had a decent-sized bluegill stuck in its gullet.
Goreville was in 12th with a limit weighing 8-13. The Albrights had bass all roughly the same size. Their anchor was a 1-15.
"We both caught them,'' the sophomore Kaeden said.
"I had three and she had two,'' the junior Landon said. "We caught them throughout the day.''
Each boat may weigh their five heaviest bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted), 12 inches or longer. In Carlyle's case, it was largemouth. Each boat has an adult captain/driver. The top three boats at each of the 22 sectionals qualified for the state finals. Goreville won the Lake of Egypt sectional.
"We were junk fishing, a little of everything,'' Landon said.
They also qualified for state last year and finished 11th.
"We know the lake a little bit,'' Landon said. "If it is meant to happen, it will.''
Wind may be an issue for the final day with gusts forecast to top 30 mph out of the south.
Friday, on the other hand, was nearly ideal. The water was warming through the low 70s (some bays reached well into the 70s by the afternoon), the air temperature climbed near 90 and the spawn was in various stages. Water level was less than a foot above normal summer pool. In other words, about as close to ideal as Carlyle gets.
"We caught our last keeper with about two hours to go,'' Landon said. "We caught a bunch of 6-inchers, that gives us hope for the future.''
District fisheries biologist Fred Cronin expected to see some good bags as he prepped the release boat for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources beforehand.
"We're at least two weeks behind [because of the weather],'' he said. "Crappie just finished up spawning. Bass are actually spawning now.''
Cole Klasing and Mason Meyer "lost a couple keepers,'' but even so they had Okawville in 24th place with two bass at 4-1.
Garret cq Vuichard and Terry Davis had Pinckneyville Boat 2 in 28th at 3-8. Kallie Heavrin and Jayden Snyder had Carbondale in 32nd at 2-12. Grayson Woolard and Isaac Irvin had Galatia 34th at 2-10. Pinckneyville Boat 1 was 35th at 2-5.
Forty-six of the 66 teams weighed fish.