The pouring rain didn’t bother Tournament Director Mike Koenig.
“The fish aren’t going to get any wetter,” Koenig said.
Eleven boats participated in the Happy Hookers Fishing Tournament on Sunday. The tournament is the first official event of the 2019 Grundy County Corn Festival.
“It’s awesome getting to be the first event of Corn Fest,” Koenig said, “It’s always a great way to kick off the event.”
Eleven teams left at 7 a.m. and caught as many small and large mouth bass as they could before weigh-in at 3 p.m. The fishermen were only allowed to use artificial bait to make it more of a challenge. Awards were given out for first, second and third in total weight, as well as for the largest fish of the day. All of the fish are released after weigh-in.
Koenig has been running the Corn Fest fishing tournament for 20 years. He said the participants were allowed to fish along the Illinois river from the Brandon Lock to the East and the Marseilles Lock and Dam to the West. He also said conditions on the river for the day were overall good for fishing.
“You want some current on a river like this, and they’ve had it,” Koenig said.
Chaser Ellison of Morris is 16 and has already been participating in tournaments for a few years. He said that in his opinion, fishing is about 85% skill and 15% luck.
“You’ve got to know where’s a good place to be and what equipment and bait to use,” Ellison said, “Today was pretty tough with the wind and rain towards the end, but we had a good time.”
The first place winners of the tournament were last year’s champs: father-son duo Bill and Tim Lewis of Seneca and Ransom, respectively. The team brought in 13.38 pounds of small and large mouth bass and also took home the prize for largest fish; a large mouth bass that weighed 3.28 pounds.
“We were in the right places at the right times,” Tim Lewis said, “Didn’t lose any catches; it was a great day for fishing.”
The Lewis team participates in about 20 tournaments a year starting in March and ending in November. They said so far they’ve won two of them. Tim said his father taught him how to fish and loves getting to go out on the water and spend time with him.
“He got me addicted to it,” Lewis said with a laugh, “Win or lose, it’s just me out fishing with my dad, and that’s what its all about.”