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CARLYLE – Day two was vindication.

Four of six Southern Illinois fishing teams weighed in fish Saturday. The Benton duo of Trevor McKinney topped Friday’s 4 pound, 3 ounce effort with three fish weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces.

They finished the event with 11 pounds, 1 ounce, good for seventh place overall. They finished 8 pounds, 5 ounces behind state champion Ethan Jones of Father McGivney High School in Maryville.

“After yesterday we figured we’d change things up a little bit and went out there trying to catch a big bag,” McKinney said. “We thought we could. We started on a spot we found pre-fishing. Instead of fishing rocks, we flipped a little bit today.

“We fished about two hours before we caught our first one. Like we said yesterday, that kind of set the tone for the day. That got our heads up a little bit. We got excited. Then, we went back to another spot we found and caught a three-pounder and another nice one.”

By about 11 a.m. the Benton juniors thought they were on a good pattern. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the tournament was called at 1 p.m., two hours early, in anticipation of heavy thunderstorms.

“We were hoping to have that little bit of extra time at the end trying to find two more,” Richardson said. “It is what it is.”

“I think we could have caught five,” McKinney said. “We figured them out. Really, shortening it to 1 o’clock hurt us a little bit. That afternoon bite would have helped us. The sun is up, they relate to that wood a lot better in the afternoon. Your afternoon bite when you’re flipping is always better.”

The Pinckneyville team of Cale Jausel and Jacob Louis brought in a pair of fish weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces Saturday. That pushed them into 13th place.

“We started out on rocks the first day and that didn’t pay off,” Jausel said. “We talked to a few people and they said it was a shallow water bite. So we went out shallow immediately. It paid off immediately. We put our heads down. We knew we had a lot of weight to make up and we figured that was the best shot to get there.

“After last year we placed second; coming up the first day and not having any fish, that was a bummer. Opposite ends of the spectrum, bringing up two nice fish lets everyone know we’re still in the running and we can catch fish.”

Like other anglers Saturday, Jausel and Louis caught fish shallow.

“We caught them on a frog,” Louis said. “We were just looking for shallow water areas, flooded trees, grass. We had four bites today. Three of them ate it, and I lost one halfway to the boat. The other one we just completely missed it. The third one would have put us in the running.”

The West Frankfort team of Brennon McCord and Lane O’Daniel placed 26th of 69 teams with 2 pounds, 14 ounces. Kaylee Rulevish, Grant Murphy and Sawyer Loss of Pinckneyville was 30th with 2 pounds, 12 ounces.

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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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