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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

Young girl catches gigantic catfish

July 16, 2009 at 10:18 AM


According to the Daily Mail, young British angler Jessica Wanstall, 11, caught this 193-pound catfish while fishing on the River Ebro in Spain. Jessica weighs 84 pounds, prompting the Daily Mail article to call her a “tiddler among anglers.” Gotta love those Brits.

Anyway, the International Game Fish Association says Wanstall set a world record for a freshwater fish caught by an angler aged 16 and under.

Click here to read the story.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

A catfish you’ve got to see

October 10, 2008 at 11:09 AM

It’s not often a fish makes me feel better about my own gut, but this catfish is the exception.

The London Telegraph reports that Alan Melhuish caught this Wels catfish—the largest catfish ever caught in Spain. The Telegraph also said the fish weighed more than 16 stone, which means nothing to me. I guess the fish weighed 226 pounds and was more than 8 feet long. Click here to read the entire article.

After you read the article, memorize this picture. Because the first person who passes this fish off as a state record flathead from Carlyle Lake is going to have their e-mail privileges rescinded.

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Big blue cats on the move

October 06, 2008 at 02:51 PM

Seems like every other e-mail today featured a blue catfish. All the others were deer, but that’s to be expected. Actually, so are the blue cats. This is a good time of year to catch these whopper cats as they move up into coves to feed.

The first example of that comes from old buddy Paul Wolf of West Peoria, who caught the two following monsters last week while fishing a cove in the Lake of the Ozarks. He caught and released fish of 59 and 45 pounds off his dock.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Next up are the highlights of today’s electrofishing survey at Powerton Lake. This also counts as Flathead’s Picture of the Week. Biologist Wayne Herndon hoists two blue cats that were “abundant in the main lake intake channel.” Both fish were right at 25 pounds.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Finally, here’s a picture from Oct. 24, 2007 of Bob Stockstill from Mackinaw. He caught this 60-pound-plus blue cat at Greer’s Ferry in Arkansas.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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Illinois Outdoors

Barbie rod record catfish

August 22, 2008 at 08:37 AM

Here’s a good story from North Carolina. Personally, I always liked it when the kids were still fishing with their Tweety Bird and Scooby Doo rods. Those short rods were pretty easy to work with and the reels could crank. Better even than the current Spider Man rods which are longer and don’t have much backbone. But on to the real story.

Man uses Barbie fishing rod to make record catch

ELKIN, N.C. (AP)—David Hayes’ granddaughter just ask him to hold her Barbie rod and reel while she went to the bathroom.

He did. And seconds later he landed the state record channel catfish at 21 pounds, 1 ounce.

Alyssa’s father had bought the pink Barbie fishing rod for Christmas and she had caught a few bluegill before her grandfather hauled in the catfish.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported the catch Aug. 5 in eastern Wilkes County has been certified as a record by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hayes and his granddaughter have been fishing in the pond behind his house since she was big enough to hold a pole.

Hayes says his granddaughter worried he would break her rod. He landed the 21-pound fish on a 6-pound test line. It was 32 inches long, 2 inches longer than the rod.

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