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Illinois youth focus on outdoor fun in summer tournament

all the winners pose with their catches

URBANA, Ill. — Youth from across Illinois headed into the great outdoors to participate in the statewide 4-H Hooks Us Together Virtual Fishing Bass Challenge in May.

Youth enter pictures and measurements of their catches as many times as they wish. While competition is the focus, participating youth take away much more from the experience. 

Hunter Czyzewski of Clay County took first place with a 22” catch, and Mason Hicks of Jefferson County and Jakeb Paul of Wayne County tied for second with 21” catches.

Third place resulted in a five-way tie between Andrew Fleener of Clay County, Kayin Hampton of Jefferson County, Gage Jurgensen of Knox County, Brittyn Lusk of Clay County, and Colton Snow of Marion County, all with 20” catches.

“I love fishing and going to different ponds with my friends trying to catch big fish," says Hunter Czyewski. "I've been fishing with my dad and grandpas since I was little. It's my favorite thing to do."

While the competition takes place virtually, the competition gets youth outdoors and learning about the environment through a fun activity.

“I absolutely love discovering new places to fish and being challenged catch the tanks that might be there,” says second-place finisher Mason Hicks.

The tournament takes place April to June, with competition focusing on a different species of fish each month. In June the competition will center on channel catfish. Those who wish to learn more information can visit the competition website.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

For Further Information, Contact:

Source:  Curt Sinclair University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist,

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.