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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


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Spring Lake bass sign-up Sunday

March 13, 2009 at 08:46 AM

First of all, my apologies to Scott Montgomery and the rest of the Peoria Sportsman Club.

Why? Because we listed the wrong date in today’s paper regarding sign-ups for the Peoria Sportsman Club’s 28th annual Spring Lake bass tournament.

The correct sign-up date is Sunday at 9 a.m., not Saturday as I printed today. Sorry. The rest of the information was correct, including the part that said, spots fill up fast for the April 25-26 tournament.

For more information, call Montgomery at (309) 241-2761. Sign-ups will also be held Sunday for the Gary Lee Weber buddy bass elimination tournament later this year. The late Weber helped start the two-day April tournament that is the area’s top bragging-rights event.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Passing time chattering about baits

March 13, 2009 at 03:23 AM

Look outside today and most of what you see is floody, muddy water. Cold water, at that. In other words, fishing is not a great option.

A much warmer alternative is spending idle time fondling fishing lures. That explains why I was happy to spend time this week with Paul Clay of Chillicothe (pictured above with some of his lures) and Adam Jaegle of Presley’s Outdoors.

Clay is a lure maker from Chillicothe who turns out customized chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs at affordable prices. And if you need a funky skirt color or jig head, e-mail Clay at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (309) 251-6611.

Clay is also the mastermind behind a Mad Willow chatterbait that features a unique willow-leaf blade that dangles below the lure. I caught several chunky bass on Clay’s creation last spring but by year’s end had lost my favorite colors. So a visit was timely for that reason, as well.

And like any lure maker, Clay spent the winter tinkering. “I think you’ll find my chatterbaits run a lot better,” he said.

Specifically, he is using longer hooks on his chatterbaits and Mad Willows to provide more of a gap in which to hook up fish.

Anybody who fishes chatterbaits will tell you they trigger too many missed strikes. Maybe Clay’s wider-gap hook will be an answer. No doubt long hours of research will be required to offer an educated ruling.

Time on the water will also be the key to test various new bass lures Jaegle showed off.

Most attractive to me was the Ocho by Strike King. Jaegle talked about this Senko-imitator’s eight sides and how it moves through the water. And it does look cool. But what really caught my eye is that Ocho is more affordable than my beloved Yamamoto Senkos.

Will the Ocho perform as well as the Senko? I’ll let you know when we finally get warm, stable weather again.

Until then, Adam Gerik has posted a video on and with Jaegle discussing new bass baits for 2009.

Speaking of the Web, we’ll be giving away several of Clay’s creations on to readers who submit big fish stories and pictures. Watch for details soon about our new Big Fish Fridays feature.


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