Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

A good week for bass

April 27, 2008 at 09:11 PM

Yeah, so it’s been a long week. The e-mails started coming Tuesday from Eric Doubet. “Want to go fishing?” Then when I couldn’t, for medical reasons, the e-mails kept on. “Caught a 4-pounder and a 5-pounder within a few hours.” On a white spinnerbait and a lizard.

On Thursday came more of the same. Whopper called to tell me he was going bass fishing to some prime strip-mine lakes near Wee-Ma-Tuk.

Then Friday, buddy Gordon Inskeep went fishing during a tornado watch with the sirens wailing and called me to let me know he’d caught a 5-pounder. His biggest fish in Illinois. Out of the same lake as Doubet on Tuesday. With a Mad Willow chatterbait made by Paul Clay. That I had given him.

So to put it mildly, I was a bit antsy all day Saturday while my wife went shopping. That she found bargain shoes for the kids didn’t really ease the anxiety. Nothing did until Sunday, when Doubet and I revisited the strip-mine lake that had yielded 4-, 5- and 5-pounders in the past week. Nothing eased my anxiety until I caught up with this fish, on a Paul Clay Mad Willow chatterbait, white with trailer hook. The fish went 19 inches and was chunky. Water temperature was 57 degrees and stained. Temps were down 7 degrees since Tuesday. But who cares. A few fish bit.

Illinois Outdoors

I was feeling pretty good about myself for about 5 minutes, until Doubet slammed this 22-incher on a white Terminator spinnerbait. This fish was off the bank a ways. Mine was closer to shore.

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Actually, even this fish made me happy. At least I was there to net the thing and didn’t have to hear about it via e-mail or phone.

So what to deduce from all this? Bass are biting. And one of the fish I cleaned (yes, there are plenty of short fish that need to come out of this strip-mine lake) was full of eggs. She came off the bank. So they are getting ready, folks. Even in strip-mine country. The spawn will be here. The big sows won’t be so big for long. Two weeks? One week? I have no idea. But the time to fish for big bass is still here ... for now.

 

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