Time with Spence is money well-spent

Posted2/11/2010 12:01 AM

The bold, the brave, the successful - and maybe the not-so-successful - have managed to pick up some valuable life lessons in fishing. The numbers reflect their accomplishments.

John Muszynski had 52. Jack and Brian Thomas had 54. Joe Waszak and dad had 47, while Bob Fellenz and Don Castro tallied 64. Joe Rygiel popped 40.


All these numbers relate to bass caught by these average fishermen working area lakes and fishing with Spence Petros.

The other common thread is that all these people made a decision to become better anglers by taking Petros' fishing classes last year, and then decided to work with "the master" himself on the water as well.

Spence runs his classes (two separate ones) every year, and notable anglers like walleye champ Ted Takasaki and Muskie Hunter magazine publisher Jim Saric are just two names who stepped up to the plate to fortify their fishing acumen. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

You've read my ramblings here about these classes before and the results that are produced by those who attend. I gladly offer my two cents every year about my personal experiences while fishing with Petros.

I have been fortunate to have shared boats with him on sections of Mantiba's North Seal River Flowage for jumbo lake trout, pike and walleyes. We went nuts on Lake Delevan, Lake Geneva, Lake Huites in Mexico, a half-dozen other local and area lakes for big bass, as well as off-shore boat fishing for tarpon in Costa Rica.

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We fished for pre- and post-spawn crappies with tremendous success. We slammed big largemouth on those southern Wisconsin lakes using drop-shot rigs as well as SnagProof weedless frogs. Our days on local ponds produced yells and decent bass while working finesse worms and spinner baits. Most of his students had similar days like that on their own, as well as the times they hired Petros to guide them on Lake Geneva and Lake Delevan.

I was stopped at a sports show this year and was confronted by an area angler who seemed a bit peeved with my promotion of the Petros methods.

"Why are you always pushing this guy and his classes?" he asked. "What makes this character so unique and different from all the others promoting similar classes?"

I took a deep breath and managed to slow my heart rate down a bit so I wouldn't get overly agitated and then explained the following to this chap.

I started by telling him there is a world of difference between what Petros teaches compared to the rest of the herd. I told this fellow that I had personally attended dozens of fishing instructionals over a 40-plus year period given by what I initially thought were very sharp professional fishermen. The problem was many of these people were more interested in pushing products they used while also refusing to pinpoint where they caught big fish.

Granted, Petros mentions products that he and I have used for more than 30 years in in our on-water work, simply because they've measured up to the task. But the way Spence explains how to use terminal tackle and balancing a rod and reel goes way beyond the usual prattle offered as educational material.


And when anglers make the commitment to hire Petros to guide them, all of that in-class tutoring comes alive in a real-time fashion which subsequently translates in to catching big numbers of heavy fish.

Petros offers two classes starting in early March. One focuses on bass and panfish while the other is a walleye-muskie combo. And these classes are so affordable that everyone who wants to excel in the sport should jump at the opportunity to take them. Contact Spence at (815) 455-7770, or go to his Web site, www.spencepetros.com.

There's nothing wrong with a little marketing

Occasionally, an uninformed reporter (not with this paper) publishes stories that have no relevance to reality. The example I'm referring to is about so-called "pork spending" to promote fishing.

For years I have been hammering away on state tourism honchos to use their clout and power to promote the fishing and hunting scene in this state, if for no other reason than to help bring a much-needed cash influx into Illinois.

We are sitting on one of the greatest reservoirs of fishing and hunting opportunities, and state tourism is more concerned about promoting Michigan Avenue shopping. With that said, the newspaper article in question takes issue with $6,500 spent for the use of a large, mobile freshwater tank used to teach and promote fishing.

Would the money have been better invested in teaching people how to shop and use a credit card?

Hurry up and wait: I predict that committee after committee will spend countless hours on the Asian carp issue now before Congress. It's no surprise that this tale of woe made it all the way to the hallowed halls of Congress, but the real question remains: When will any actual action start to curb the spread of this ravaging rough fish into Lake Michigan?

Iced out: And where is the Chicago Park District going with this latest action?

A caller to my outdoor talk show says the Park District is now showing signs of keeping ice fishermen off the city's harbors. The district had been issuing permits for anglers to venture out on to the ice, but now the screws have been applied again. There is a good 9 inches of safe ice in most harbors, but the district is using the old excuse that the risk management people are concerned about liability.

Iced in: Ice fishing happenings this weekend:

The Northern Illinois Conservation Club holds its annual bash on the Fox Chain this weekend. It's the granddaddy of ice angling for locals.

Also, on Bangs Lake this weekend, it's the WOW event (Walk On Water). Bangs Lake is in Wauconda. Check it out at icebenfit.com.

Fishing report:

Fox Chain: Channel Lake Crappie action greatly improved in deeper spots. Nice fish hitting small minnows and micro-jigs. Petite Lake white bass and walleye action improved as well.

Racine Harbor: Greatly improved brown trout through the ice.

Lake Michigan: Perching a very iffy situation at Navy Pier. It takes lots of patience and time to score.

• Mike Jackson can be reached via e-mail at angler88@att.net, and you can catch his radio program 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM.