Knies does 'whatever it takes' for success

Courtesy photo
Jill Knies will be among those competing in the Indiana Bass Federation Classic on Oct. 27-28 at Patoka Lake.

Guest Columnist

This past spring I attended a meeting of the Patoka Valley Bassmasters at Headquarters in Jasper. This friendly, competitive group fishes several tournaments of their own throughout the year as well as participating in state events. I was there just to see if I could glean something for a column and noticed a female sitting at the table with the other guys. I thought that a member’s wife had tagged along to the meeting. Come to find out, Jill Knies is very much a member of this club, as is her husband Adam.

Jill is the daughter of Jerry and the late Janet Matheis. When she’s not fishing, this 42-year-old is a local agent for Neora International, an anti-aging and wellness company. She also is a master gardener for Memorial Hospital’s HOPE Garden.

“I partner with Purdue Extension in tending about three acres near the Lodge that was donated to Memorial by Mrs. Rudy Vonderschmitt,” she said. “The produce raised is donated to food banks and agencies to help fight local food insecurity. I’m trying to do it organically. It’s a big job; I work way more than I thought I would.

“This year has been challenging due to the rain. I know why people use pesticides. It’s much easier. Occasionally I get help from people like the Catholic Heart group. They might send ten kids and some adults for a whole week.”

Her job and this project take a lot of time away from fishing, but she recently qualified for the Indiana BASS Nation state team. She finished fifth in the co-angler (back of the boat) division fishing the Ohio River. She placed 26th overall out of 246 competitors with a two-day total of 9.27 pounds. She then traveled with the group to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for a national event.

“It was a good experience,” she said. “I finished midpack, but the whole week was a lot of fun.

“This year I made the time to fish the Indiana BASS Federation Trail. You can be a boater or non-boater. Adam and I have one boat between us so I’ve been the non-boater at times. I usually don’t fish with Adam at tournaments since it’s a draw format. Some of our events are held at river systems like the Ohio. I always find the rivers tough. We had one event at Brandenburg (Kentucky) on the Ohio. I wanted to fish water that I knew. I ran 75 miles one way downstream to Rocky Point near Cannelton. I caught a couple of fish, so it was worth it. I posted what I had done on Facebook, and some guy from Minnesota commented, ‘Did you really travel 150 miles in a bass boat to catch two pounds of bass? ‘I had to laugh. Yes, I’ll do whatever it takes! I wanted to do well, and I know Rocky Point.”

This is Jill’s first year fishing the whole Indiana circuit. The top 10 places get their entry fee paid for the Oct. 27-28 Classic, this year on Jill’s “home lake,” Patoka. She placed 16th at Brookville Lake (eastern Indiana) with three smallmouth for 6.83 pounds, and, thus, qualified for the IBF Classic at Patoka in 10th place.

More on how Jill fared in a later column. If grit, determination, and persistence mean anything in bass fishing — and they do — then the guys better not underestimate her.

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