Best Bluegill Fishing Tournament

The one held every June at Karban's Knotty Pines Tavern

One of the coolest things about Southern Illinois is that you don't have to look for rural tranquility -- you're more or less in it once you sail past East St. Louis. But even by these standards, Paderborn is a tiny town, boasting a church, a population under 100, and Karban Knotty Pines Tavern, a delightful highway-straddlin' watering hole that plays host to Bob "Chick" Fritz's annual bluegill fishing tournament every June. The rules are simple: Two-man teams pick a fishing hole, drive to that predetermined destination at 7 a.m. and come back shortly before noon to determine who has caught the most bluegill. The top finishers split a modest pool of cash culled from entry fees (less 20 percent, which goes to charity), but really, everyone's a winner -- consuming as much fried bluegill and working-man's lager as Fritz, a Belleville-based beer distributor, can muster.
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