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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Canoe should rhyme with fiasco

June 01, 2009 at 11:31 AM

I should have known better. Fishing has been going too well with the kids this year. Short trips. Easy access. Plenty of fish.

All in all I’ve had a ball fishing with my two oldest boys this spring. Things have been so good I even started imagining we could fish out of my canoe together. So Sunday afternoon we made our first canoe trip of 2009. It was a fiasco, plain and simple.

There are inherent problems with fishing out of a canoe that make even some adults leery of the cramped, tippy watercrafts. But for a kid, evidently, the problems are even worse. At least they were for my kids. They hooked trees. They whined. They couldn’t cast well sitting down. They couldn’t get the few fish we caught off the hook (because they were deep hooked). They banged the sides of the canoe with paddles, scaring bluegill off their beds.

All of this could easily have been avoided had we stayed home. But what is it they say? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’ve learned a lesson from Sunday’s trip. Several, actually.

1. Only bring one kid at a time in the canoe. This will allow for more casting room, less fish to take off the hook, less hooks to fetch out of trees and less whining.
2. In general, don’t fish with kids out of a canoe if it can be avoided.
3. Do not have one of the kids sit on top of a metal bucket if you want to sneak up on fish.
4. Get two cricket containers so they can bait their own darn hooks.
5. Bring more snacks.

Anyway, we will try this again later in the year. For now, we are sticking to shore. Or fishing out of a boat in which they can stand and cast more accurately.

Incidentally, bluegill had moved off the beds by Sunday afternoon in the lake we were fishing. I had expected just the opposite, since we had caught fish shallow earlier last Tuesday. Oh well.


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