Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Not a tournament angler

March 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Every now and then, for a few seconds, I ponder the thought of joining a tournament bass circuit.

Then I recall stories like the ones I heard today at Jordan’s Mobil in Elmwood. One by one, anglers arrived who had fished Sunday’s Peoria Park District tourney at Spring Lake. All of them agreed the event had been fairly miserable.

How miserable? Out of 42 anglers participating, one person caught a legal bass. And while that 16.25-inch, 2.3-pound bass was good for $900, it meant that all other guys did not land a legal fish. One guy weighed in a large clam that was good for the critter pot. But instead of catching fish, the field spent six hours shivering, grumbling and getting wet. Had they not been in a tournament circuit, they would have stayed home.

“After six hours of throwing a spinnerbait we should have at least snagged a fish,” said Harold Jehle, who also spent last week at a Bass Cat event on Lake Norfork with little to show.

The only drawback to not fishing tournaments is that there might be a tendency to not fish. But I don’t seem to have that problem. No, I just try to pick dates to fish when the weather looks good. I work hard in advance of those dates and then have time to slack off a bit when the day arrives.

So today, while it rains and hails, I plan to work hard. Same for Tuesday, when the weather also looks marginal. But I’ll be ready to fish Wednesday morning, when the forecast calls for some sun, no rain and decent temperatures.

This time of year, I’d much rather schedule my fishing around the weather than have my fishing scheduled for me by a tournament circuit.

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