MINOOKA — When it comes to bass fishing, most people look at it as a leisure activity enjoyed bright and early on the weekends. Don’t tell that to the Minooka Anglers Club, however, as this weekend they will be sending down another team to compete in the IHSA State Finals for bass fishing.
To reach this point, the anglers had to win their sectional, hosted at Heidecke Lake in Morris. It was there that the team of juniors — Austin Akers and Dan Scott qualified for the state championship, helping lead the Indians to a team sectional championship. Overall, Minooka caught four fish on the day totaling 8.64 pounds, defeating second place Naperville Central by over two pounds. Scott won the big bass of the day, reeling in a 2.72-pound fish.
“Anytime you fish, you have to have confidence,” head coach Stan Tischer said. “They knew the fish were there, they just needed to hook them. The kids did a nice job and (assistant coach) Dave Barney did an excellent job of keeping their composure together.”
“For the first time being at a sectional, it was an unbelievable feeling to win,” Akers added. “It’s something I’ve never really been able to feel before and it was a very cool experience."
This is Scott’s third year going down to state, as he has competed for the title in all three years of his high school career. He will definitely have experience on his side as they head down for another state title this weekend.
“It feels like an old song and dance to me,” Scott said. “I’ve been here before, and I have yet to win, so I’m hungry for it.”
His boat mate Akers, on the other hand, is heading into his first state tournament ever. The junior has made great strides this season, as he has come from one of the backups to a top guy for the Minooka anglers.
“I’ve had a lot of really good volunteer boat captains helping me that have really coached me up a lot and have shown me some things,” Akers said. “A lot of it is just going out fishing as well. A lot of improvement has come from last season to this season.”
With the contradicting styles of the two anglers, Scott has been trying to do as much as he could to get Akers ready for something the caliber of a state competition.
“He’s (Akers) definitely a little nervous about it, but he’s going to come through,” Scott said. “Just have to talk him through it that’s all.”
“I’m especially nervous because I’m following in the footsteps of my cousin (Kevin Akers) who went down there three times,” Akers added. “It’s a little nerve-racking.”
Although it’s the third straight year Minooka has sent a team down to state, its still exciting ride for Tischer and everyone else that makes the voyage down to the Southern part of Illinois.
“It’s an honor to be going again,” Tischer said. “We make a tradition of every year to go down there and eat the crab legs on Friday. The kids love it, and it makes us feel more comfortable.”
The expectations going down to state are mixed, but overall Minooka thinks it can put a team out there to win a state title.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Akers said. “We’re going to have to fight for every fish and every pond that we get. We’ll see what happens.”
“We have a solid spot, a solid boat captain, and a solid coach,” Scott added. “So our chances of winning are good.”