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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

Will today be a Banner day for bass?

April 24, 2009 at 06:23 AM

After more than a year of raised eyebrows and even some snickers from non-believers, the Illinois High School Association’s first statewide bass fishing tournament gets underway today.

I hope today quiets those non-believers.

Within a few hours, some youngster is going to catch the first bass ever caught in a sanctioned high school fishing tournament. I bet the odds are good the fish will be a keeper, since size limits have been rolled back to 12 inches at most lakes where the kids are fishing.

Frankly, I find this all pretty exciting. Not because I think kids need to start fishing tournaments. I’m not really a tournament guy.

I just like fishing and I like the outdoors. And I worry that too many kids are missing those opportunities.

That’s why I applaud the IHSA. The IHSA is encouraging kids to get outside. That alone is a wonderful thing.

But there’s more. In order to stay on the fishing team, kids needs to behave in school and keep up their grades. So fishing becomes another incentive to stay in school. That’s also a good thing.

Now let’s go see how it all plays out in reality. I fished Banner on Wednesday with the Elmwood coach, Gordon Inskeep, and we managed one bass between us (on a Rat-L-Trap, he caught it). Surely the kids can do better than that what with warmer water today. Even the rain last night was warm. The only drawback is the wind. Even so, I’m betting we’ll see a 5-pounder today. Who will catch it? We’ll know soon.

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