The Bass Federation (TBF) 2013 High School Fishing Central Conference Championship was held on Saturday, October 12, on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. The State Champions from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin fished for their chance at advancing to the 2014 High School Fishing National Championship and a chance to win a $10,000 college scholarship.
Alumnus Jimmy Ciurej ‘13 and senior Joe Hayes represented Brother Rice High School and the State of Illinois by virtue of their qualifying win as the Illinois state champions back in April, 2013, on Clinton Lake, Illinois. Ciurej was a four year member and captain of the Brother Rice bass team. He traveled back from Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he is a freshman, and came down to Kentucky to participate in the event on behalf of Brother Rice. Assistant Bass Team Coach Jim Opoka accompanied the two Brother Rice elite anglers.
Kentucky Lake is one of the top ten bass fishing lakes in the country and is well known as a premier bass fishery. However, changing seasonal weather patterns proved it to be a tough bite for all contestants. After culling a dozen short fish, the Crusader anglers managed to boat two keeper bass late in the day with a total weight of 5 pounds. However, time ran out once they finally developed the fishing pattern and located the fish. The Minnesota team managed to eke out a victory with three keeper fish with a total of eight pounds to win the championship.
While the fishing was tough and the competition keen, the Crusader anglers learned a lot and will bring that knowledge back with them. Ciurej returns to Marquette hoping to start a collegiate bass fishing team (which they do not have), and Hayes will share his knowledge and experience with the rest of the Brother Rice bass fishing team as they prepare for the 2014 spring season.
Congratulation, men, for a job well done!
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