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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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Get out the black-and-blue jigs

March 15, 2010 at 03:41 PM

Sometimes, bass fishing really doesn’t require all that much thinking when it comes to lure selection.

It is spring. The ice has just recently gone out. Water is cold. Big fish have been caught for generations at this time of year on black-and-blue jigs with pork or plastic trailers.

So why bother thinking about what to throw?

Based largely on that philosophy, Gordon Inskeep and I spent a productive two hours of strip-mine fishing today. We only had three bites and of those we only landed two. Gordon caught the first open-water fish of the year on a black-and-blue jig, close to the bank near the end of a north facing-shoreline.

The latter information did involve some thinking. The lake we were fishing in Peoria County (Lake Harold) was very, very high. In the past, we’ve found fish close to shore in such conditions. So we fished close to shore today.

The other factor we tried to play was the wind, which was gusting out of the north. So we tried to fish the north facing bank wherever possible, figuring the wind would blow food into that shore and fish might congregate there.

Obviously, with only two fish our results were not stellar. But one of those fish was the 20 3/4-incher pictured below, which also hit on a black-and-blue jig. You can give me a fish like that any time—particularly on March 15 during the first open-water outing of the year.

With fairly stable, relatively warm weather predicted for this week, you can bet we’ll be out again in a few days. And there’s no reason to ask what lure we will be using.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Best of Show winners in the March 6-7 Elmwood AllOutdoors Show big-buck contest were (from left to right) Chuck Thome, Tom Missen, Nate Campbell and Mitchell Cluney.

Elmwood best of show bucks

March 15, 2010 at 08:41 AM

This item first appeared in Sunday’s Wild Things entry in an unedited version. We got them right in print and didn’t make the necessary corrections on the Web. Sorry for that. Let’s blame March Madness.

Anyway, the accurate Best of Show winners in the March 6-7 Elmwood AllOutdoors Show big-buck contest were as follows:

  • Chuck Thome of Peoria for his 177 4/8-inch Fulton County archery typical.
  • Nate Campbell of Beardstown for his 228 5/8-inch McDonough County archery non-typical.
  • Tom Missen of Dunlap for his 182-inch Peoria County firearm typical.
  • Mitchell Cluney of Glasford for his 210 5/8-inch Fulton County firearm non-typical.
  • Campbell’s buck was also the Fan’s Favorite out of a field of 106 entries.

Thanks to all the measurers who scored the 106 deer heads entered. We are already making plans for the show on March 5-6, 2011 when we plan to accept the first 150 deer heads brought to us for scoring.

Incidentally, we also gave away two tree stands, two knives and a duffel bag as random prizes to entrants. Next year we plan to have even more prizes for those who enter deer. The idea is that you may not have the biggest buck in the contest, but you still have a chance to win something.

Personally I think the display of heads (shown below) was pretty cool. Kudos to Rush Nash for devising the system of showing heads. Now we’ve got to come up with a way to accommodate 50 more racks. Hmmm.

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