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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


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Score one for the women

May 26, 2009 at 06:43 AM

Well, Saturday was the big bragging rights tournament at Harold Jehle’s strip mine lake near Elmwood.

I’ve been fishing this thing for a few years now and still have not been able to do much bragging. Saturday didn’t change anything. Though partner Gordon Inskeep and I brought a limit of six bass over 12 inches to the scales, our 5 pounds, 8 ounces was only good for fourth place.

We weren’t going to win with Jackie Hudnall (pictured above with big bass of the tourney) around. She fished with husband Bill Hudnall and caught two of their team’s six bass, helping to produce a six-bass bag of 10-15—second-highest in the history of this tournament. Second place went to Ron Boyer of Trivoli and Steve Anderson of Glasford with six bass of 6-1, almost all caught on lizards flipped right up next to the bank.

“We caught about 30 bass over 12 inches,” said Bill Hudnall, who relied on a 5-inch black-and-yellow Kalin’s grub fished on a floating head.

Jackie opted for a tomato-colored Culprit worm fished off the bottom. And her two best bass could have beat our six and included the fish she is shown holding above, a 3-15 chunk that came off a spot Inskeep and I had just fished.

Here’s the way it worked. In this tournament there are 10 teams and each team gets 30 minutes in a spot and then moves on to the next spot. That way you fish the entire lake and nobody crowds into the same flat or brushpile. It’s kind of like golf-fishing. Only problem was, we caught most of our fish off one spot: an area where trees overhang rocks. Because the lake is high, the fish were packed in there tight to the bank. Getting a bait in front of the fish required skipping or flipping under the low trees. Not easy. But a good cast usually produced a fish. I fished Senkos and caught several fish in our half hour. But then we had to move on. No other spot on the lake approximated that same cover, though everybody else did say they caught fish tight to the bank in other situations, as well.

Anyway, the last 15 minutes of the tournament is a free-for-all where you can fish anywhere. We headed to the overhanging trees. And we caught a fish. But the Hudnalls were there also. And they caught a better fish. Actually, Jackie caught it with two minutes left in the tournament. They were less than 100 yards away so we could hear the play-by-play as she told husband Bill, “It’s too strong.” But it wasn’t. She won the fight and then won the tournament, all by sticking with that tomato-colored worm. As for Bill, he won last fall’s bragging rights tourney with the same grub and floating jig head rig. Needless to say, I’ll have one ready to fish this fall.

Jackie said this was only her second fishing tournament. She was a winner in the other one, as well. Even so, Jackie has not had much chance to fish since the Hudnalls sold a nearby strip-mine lake. But Bill didn’t hesitate calling on his wife when partner Chad Snyder of Dunfermline couldn’t make the event.

“He knows I’ve got 6-pounders before. I’ve caught fish before at our lake,” Jackie said.




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