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updated: 1/18/2012 12:45 PM

Do yourself a favor, let Petros educate you

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  • A very young Spence Petros displays a hefty day's catch. You can tap Petros' extensive fishing experience by enrolling in one of his upcoming sessions in Palatine.

    A very young Spence Petros displays a hefty day's catch. You can tap Petros' extensive fishing experience by enrolling in one of his upcoming sessions in Palatine.
    Photo by Mike Jackson


It happens all the time, especially when more than a few adult beverages have been consumed.

I already know what's coming from the "expert" standing inches away from my ultrasensitive nose.

I was visiting a lodge-owner friend at the All-Canada Show. He was discussing the pike fishing on a lake in northern Saskatchewan, and then Spence Petros' name popped into the discussion.

I was just a casual observer and listener until the "expert" complained about how he had attended the Petros fishing classes a couple times and didn't learn anything new.

I had to turn away, keep my mouth shut and get out of this guy's line of fire, so to speak.

I have been immersed in written and broadcast outdoors journalism for almost 47 years, and I have encountered hundreds of characters with an inflated view of themselves. Actually, pour enough alcohol down the throats of many people and they instantly become superstars in whatever sport they happen to embrace.

In numerous columns I declared that I never pretended or said I was an angling expert, but rather someone who has been fortunate to have fished with some of the best in this crazy fishing business. One of the best is Spence Petros, an elder statesman who just gets into a boat and works his magic on any number of different fish species.

The guy I met at the All-Canada Show bragged that he'd fished with Petros in the past. I stopped short of asking him if he learned anything while he was in the boat.

This long lead-up comes from my heart because I've known about Spence for close to 40 years. In fact, I was a young kid doing freelance writing for the late Bill Binkelman and his early "Fishing News" newspaper when Spence was walloping huge pike and jumbo catfish on the Mississippi River back in the early 1960s.

I'll drive a couple hundred miles to find and catch big smallmouth bass and jumbo crappie. Petros is of the same mindset, but in reality we'll both jump at a chance to smack the big crappies on local lakes and ponds. And that's where his classes come into the picture.

Come early March, Petros kicks off his 40-year tradition of teaching with his Palatine-based sessions. Tuesday nights, starting March 6, are slated for the bass and pan fish afficionados. Starting March 7 at that same location at running on Wednesday nights, Petros whets the appetites of those hungry for big pike, walleye, and muskie. Both evening schools run 7:30-9:30 p.m., and the cost is $80 for each five-week class.

You'll see and learn how important the right knot is for different situations. You'll discover just how effective a slip-float is when fishing live bait. And Petros will lay it out on just how crucial boat control is when working schooled fish or trying to locate fish 6 inches off the bottom.

Spence tells his students that balancing a rod, reel and terminal tackle or lure at the end of a line is just as important as many of the other elements he puts on the table.

If I can help some of you become better fishermen by showing you the way to this guy's classes, I've done my good deed for the year.

I promote the Petros classes every year because there is no other value around like it. These sessions are taught by one of the best in North America, an angler who can open your mind to more successful days on the water.

The class location is the Palatine American Legion Post 690, 122 W. Palatine Road.

Call Petros at (815) 455-7770 to register or visit his website at and sign up there.

• Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM. You can also get the show streamed at his website,

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