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Bass Fishing: Brother Rice team ready to cast

Updated: April 22, 2014 9:27PM



Brendan Moriarty put the meaning of high school bass fishing simply.

“One of the main reasons why I chose Brother Rice was because of their bass fishing program,’’ he said in an email. “I knew they had a solid team with solid coaches.’’

Moriarty and fellow senior Joe Hays have high expectations for the Des Plaines Conservation Area Sectional. Sectionals for the sixth year of IHSA State Bass Fishing Tournament are Friday. The state finals are May 9 and 10 at Carlyle Lake.

“Two of the best fisherman we have ever had and four-year starters on our team,’’ assistant coach James Opoka emailed. “It’s nice to see how high school fishing is evolving and maturing.’’

The Crusaders qualified for state the inaugural season in 2009 out of the brutal Tampier Lake Sectional, then the last two years, including winning the Wolf Lake Sectional in 2012.

That sectional victory was Moriarty’s best memory of high school fishing. For Hays, it was winning the TBF State Championship on Clinton Lake in 2013, then advancing to the regional championship on Kentucky Lake and finishing second.

The best programs in the state operate on a two-tier level, teaching beginning fishermen on one hand and giving competitive fishermen such as Hays and Moriarty another level to reach.

Both plan to fish at the collegiate level: Moriarty at Iowa and Hays at Virginia Tech.

“I’ll say first off my dad is the one who definitely got me into fishing,’’ Moriarty emailed. “We’ve been fishing together ever since I was 2 years old. He taught me everything I know about fishing in general. Whether it had been perch fishing on the lakefront or fun fishing the ponds, he was always there to teach me something new and help me with whatever I needed help with.’’

“Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are on the shores of Green Lake, Wis., as well as Sturgeon Bay, Wis.,’’ Hays emailed. “That is where my spark was ignited, that is still driving my passion today. Now my drive for tournament fishing came a little different. As you might know, Jim O’Neil is my tournament partner and fellow friend, which constantly allows us to challenge each other.’’

After six years, it’s just cool to see former high school bass fishermen pop up in broader contexts of the outdoors, be it O’Neil, Nichole Mara, Ryan Kirkpatrick, Eric Multon, Mike Jarvis and so on.

“Tournament fishing is definitely a whole different experience than just average fun fishing,’’ Moriarty said. “The amount of skill, determination and knowledge it takes is something I wasn’t prepared for freshman year. I owe everything to my coaches (Mr. Ted Lowery, Mr. Opoka, and my father, Brian Moriarty) for making me the tournament fisherman I am today.’’

The IHSA bass fishing is both good and “a whole different experience,’’ as Moriarty put it, but it can be even better. But tweaking the sectional setup is for another day. Friday should be about catching bass.



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