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High School Bass Fishing: Lemont secures spot in state finals

Jake Lepczynski (left) Jack Lambert led Lemont victory Des Plaines ConservatiAreFriday's Braidwood Lake Sectional. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

Jake Lepczynski (left) and Jack Lambert led Lemont to victory at the Des Plaines Conservation Area in Friday's Braidwood Lake Sectional. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:51AM



Learning from snagging shad on his crankbaits early, Jake Lepczynski matched lures and led Lemont to victory Friday in the displaced Des Plaines Conservation Area Sectional at Braidwood Lake.

Historic flooding postponed the sectional, then forced it to change sites in interest of safety.

“It was pretty much a surprise when we came here,’’ Lemont co-coach Pam Murray said.

By sheer chance, Lemont’s Jack Lambert had fished it briefly Sunday with his dad. But the catching went to Lepczynski.

He caught two big ones early — the biggest 3.02 pounds — the first on a chartreuse buzzbait, the second on a white spinner bait.

“I thought all our fish beyond that would be the same size, three pounds,’’ Lepczynski said. “It got progressively slower as the day got hotter.’’

Lepczynski is a bit of an anomaly among fishermen. He didn’t get into it from his parents or grandparents.

“I picked it up on my own,’’ he said. “ I just liked it since I was young.’’

Driver Dave LaBarbera said they lost one big one and had one short fish.

Each boat could fish up to two student fishermen and had an adult driver. Each boat could weigh its five heaviest bass of 12 inches or longer.

“I thought we would catch a limit, but it slowed as it got warmer,’’ Lambert said. “We started on the cold side (north) and went to the hot.’’

Hinsdale Central made a late run to qualify for state.

With 35 minutes to go, John Flaherty hooked the day’s big fish, a largemouth bass of 3.65 pounds, on a Texas-rigged 81/2-inch Yum red shad worm in the rearing ponds area. That fish and one other keeper gave them 5.98 pounds to finish second.

“We had practically given up,’’ Hinsdale Central’s Brian Liss said.

Liss, making his second trip to state, had caught three other fish, including the other keeper, wacky-worming.

“That was my only bite all day,’’ said Flaherty, who is making his third trip to state.

Experience at state — set for May 3 and 4 at Carlyle Lake — could help Hinsdale Central. Its driver was coach Bob Barber, who has been there several years, too.

“We have a few spots we know,’’ Flaherty said.

York (3 fish, 5.85 pounds) also advanced to the state championship.



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