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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

Fishing with Fergie

April 27, 2010 at 02:21 PM

One of the joys of fishing for me is the chance to blab while on the water. Particularly with Chef Todd. He can fill up the time between fish no like human being I’ve ever met.

But in all my years of on-the-water fish talk, Saturday was a first. Never before have I wet a line with a baseball Hall of Famer while listening to stories of spitballs, pine-tar balls, stickum-balls and all the other various ways pitchers have made thrown balls dance.Illinois hunting and fishing

The Hall of Famer was ex-Cubs great Fergie Jenkins, who is practically a Peoria resident anymore as often as he visits the area.

We hooked up at Hidden Lakes Farms in Knox County during a third annual fishing tournament held in honor of the late Maury Cicciarrelli. The event is expected to raise nearly $30,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. That’s an impressive chunk of change for a one-day event.

Near as I can tell, Fergie was there to yuck it up with folks and have fun. He turkey hunted, fished and had a good time. For part of that good time the two of us bass fished for a few hours. In between fish—and there were plenty of bass, most Emiquon-sized 14-inchers—Fergie spinned a few yarns about pitching.

The most interesting ones for me were about the various ways pitchers make the ball dance. Fergie said the best substance he’d seen used was clear pine tar. Having pitched with Gaylord Perry, he apparently had some decent background on the subject.

Jenkins also mentioned that he had considered throwing a knuckleball at the end of his career to be able to pitch a few more seasons. “But the Cubs said they had some young guys coming up and I figured that was OK,” said the ever-amenable Jenkins.

Spitballs and bass. What a combination.



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Illinois hunting and fishing

April 27: Picture of the Day

April 27, 2010 at 02:09 PM

I almost titled this one, “Morel hunt yields a toad.”

That’s about the truth of this morning. After a long, uneventful turkey hunt I went on a shorter, more eventful mushroom hunt.

We, me and a person who shall not be named, flushed a hen turkey off her nest of 14 eggs. We found a few morels. And best of all, we found this little toad. I am calling him an American toad based only on comparing him to other toad pictures.

Perhaps someone out there knows better.

To take this picture I borrowed David Zalaznik’s 60mm macro lens, which is an awesome little lens that I plan never to return.

Thanks David.

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