Bass Fishing Team looks to UEC competition on Friday


Sophomores Jake Silanskis and Junior Kumar fish on Shabbona Lake. (Photo courtesy of Paul Lichy)

By Victor Correa, Reporter

WEGO’s Bass Fishing Team is fishing for success this week after last week’s IHSA sectionals competition, on May 4 at Shabbona Lake State Park, did not yield a placement. 

Unfortunately, we did not catch any fish on this day. Lake Shabbona is known to be a tricky lake to catch fish on and it was early in the season. The fishermen did not give up and kept casting till it was time for weigh-ins,” said boat driver and SPED teacher, Steve Brown. 

Schools that do not catch any fish are immediately ranked in last place. West Chicago was among four other schools that ranked in that lower bracket. Batavia High School placed first with five bass and a total weight of 15.19 lbs. and Burlington Central High School followed distantly behind with five bass, but a weight of just 8 lbs. in all. 

Teams wait near the boathouse for the start of the competition. (Photo courtesy of Paul Lichy)

“The biggest challenge was the waiting game. The thought of sitting out so long and not being able to catch anything – it’s still fun, but very hard to handle when everyone else is catching and you’re not,” Bass Fishing Team competitor, Junior Kumar, said. Kumar is sophomore at WCCHS.

The team competed for eight hours: while the temperature was a cool 60 degrees, the sun was out, causing English teacher and coach, Paul Lichy, to receive a sunburn on his hands. 

The weather was ideal. It started off a bit chilly in the morning, but the sun came fully up about eight a.m., and it was between sixty to seventy-five all day. There was a light breeze which helped the boat drift. The water was still a bit cold, but this is normal for this point in the year,” Brown said.

During off-season time, the Bass Fishing Team analyzes lake conditions and fishing techniques in order to maximize the chances of making a catch. Shabbona Lake, and most of the other competition sites, has an “idle-speed” rule, a rule which tells fishers not to speed on their boats. If speeding does occur, it may scare fish away, thus minimizing the chances of catching any fish. 

Live bait was not permitted at this tournament, so the team relied on casting and finesse fishing to perform well.

Sophomore Junior Kumar waits for a bite on May 4 at Shabbona Lake. (Photo courtesy of Paul Lichy)

Finesse fishing is a slower type of fishing compared to casting. Finesse fishing would involve baits such as swimbaits or soft plastics like worms, crayfish, and jigs. You throw the bait overboard and jig it up and down as you slowly reel in the lure. There also may be pauses in the retrieve or quicker retrieve with pauses. The baits are typically thrown with a drop shot rig, Carolina rig, or Texas rig. These are just different hook and weight combinations to give the bait different presentations to try to get the fish to bite,” Brown said.

As a coach, Lichy took notes on what the team can do to improve.

Casting techniques. Placement of bait, as far as temperature of water, time of day, and also the general nature of this type of fish,” Lichy said.

Despite the team taking a loss at this first meet, they are still optimistic about the future of the team. They are taking their loss into account and look to improving, as well as strengthening the bonds they have already formed with each other. 

“It’s exciting now, that in the second year, a little bit of consistency, repetition to draw on and improve upon. Last year was trial by fire, and now this year, we’re trying to implement a bit more learning and make the team better anglers. Develop a team mentality as we move forward because we can do that now,” Lichy said.

The team will next compete at the Upstate Eight Conference tournament this Thursday, May 11, at Bangs Lake in Wauconda, Illinois.

CORRECTION: The article originally stated that the Upstate Eight Conference tournament would take place on Friday, May 12; that information was updated to reflect the correct date.