New AFT Illinois Division 39 Director Comes on Board
ATHENS, Ala. – The American Bass Anglers American Fishing Tour Illinois North Division 39 gets David Blume as the new tournament director. David Blume is from Bloomington, Ill. took the helm of the division and already started implementing changes. He fished the division for more than seven years.
Blume, a retired internal audit manager over data analytics for a large North American insurance company, fished competitively in the Midwest for more than 30 years. Blume twice earned the Angler of the Year title from Illinois Bass Federation and ran a local bass club for 20 years. He was a 2-time Illinois state team captain and tied for the Division 39 Angler of the Year honors in 2021.
“I fished with my dad growing up,” the new division tournament director recalled. “I got into tournament fishing from a good friend when I lived in Burlington, Iowa. The first time I met him, he asked if I liked to fish. I said yes. He invited me to fish a tournament on Pool 19 on the Mississippi River. I did. That’s what started it more than 30 years ago.”
His biggest largemouth to date weighed 8.75 pounds. He caught it in a small lake in southeastern Iowa on a buzzbait. He caught a 5.03-pound smallmouth in 2020 while fishing Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin. He also creates fishing art.
“I’m a well known in the Midwest as a custom crankbaits painter,” Blume said. “It’s mostly just a hobby that pays for itself.”
Blume plans to do more effective communications within the division to promote bass fishing in central and northern Illinois. He will get help in this effort from the assistant tournament director, Andy Blunier.
“I want to do a lot more communications within the division,” Blume explained. “I believe early schedule planning, advertisement with quality, and frequent communication via multiple outlets including social media and email blasts are key elements towards success. We already have our tentative schedule posted, obtained good feedback, and made adjustments accordingly. We will monitor for questions and promptly respond. These processes had begun within three days of my being named tournament director. Andy has experience running tournaments in the area. He’s also a good communicator. Andy is all in on helping to make this circuit better.”
Tournament participation within the division has been dropping off the past few years. Blume wants to change that trend.
“I’d like to double the number of anglers who fish with us,” Blume stated. “I want to make it more like the numbers we used to see a few years ago, in the 25- to 30-boat range. Communication is a big part of that. We’ve already done an e-mail blast and posted it on several web pages. I’ll do a little advertising when I do some of my speaking engagements before high school fishing teams and bass clubs in the area.”
The division generally fishes lakes and rivers in central to northern Illinois. Blume plans to add some different waters to the schedule. The division will fish Lake Springfield, the Illinois River and other places in the coming year. For the complete 2023 Division 39 schedule, see www.americanbassanglers.com/Division.php?Circuit=AFT&Division=39&Season=2023&Search=Search.
“We tried to schedule tournaments reasonably close for the anglers to drive, usually about one to two hours,” Blume said. “We want to fish these waters during the better times of year for quality fishing on each fishery. That’s where my long experience as a tournament angler helps with the scheduling. Our focus is on lakes in the spring and early summer. Then, we shift to rivers as the summer heats up. River current and the vegetation help keep the fish stay more active as the waters get the summer heat so that’s a big part of how we based our schedule.”
Blume added Pool 19 on the Mississippi River to the division schedule. Pool 19 runs about 46 miles along the great river from Keokuk, Iowa, to Gladstone, Ill. and covers 30,466 acres. The upper half of the pool contains many islands, side channels, and backwaters. The lower half contains more open water. The Skunk River enters the Mississippi River in Pool 19.
“Pool 19 is a new water for the division,” Blume advised. “That’s where we’re going to hold our divisional event. It’s a little bigger than some of the other places we often fish. It can accommodate a good crowd and it still fits the mold of our central to northern Illinois waters that we want to fish.
Blume’s first tournament as the division director will take place on Clinton Lake on April 8, 2023. Anglers will launch at Clinton Marina, located at 6599 Sailboat Road in Weldon Ill. To register, see www.americanbassanglers.com/proddetail.php?prod=15651.
Clinton Lake spreads across 4,895 acres of DeWitt County about 10 miles east of Clinton, Ill. Constructed as a cooling reservoir for the Clinton Nuclear Power Station, the lake averages 15 feet deep, but drops to 60 feet deep in places.
“Clinton Lake is known for producing some 7- and 8-pound bass in the spring,” Blume predicted. “We should see some good fish coming out of that lake at that time of year. I’m really excited to get this going and see if we can grow the division.”
For more information about Division 39, call Dave Blume at 309-824-9999 or look up the division page on Facebook.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Garmin Electronics, Power Pole, Lucas Oil, RT Outdoors, Sportsman Card, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and, at the same time, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.
For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406
This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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