caught up with Ish Monroe on Saturday prepping for the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Expo. It was a short step to his first memory of an outdoors show.

“Yeah, it was the Cow Palace show,’’ Monroe said. “My dad, when I was 4, was taking me to the trout pond first.’’

Monroe then walked around with his trout in a bag.

This weekend he does the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center. “The Schaumburg Show,’’ the big show in the Chicago area, opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Monroe gives seminars at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, then 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In between, he will work the show.

“I’m hoping people will ask a lot of questions, and I’ll give them answers,’’ he said. “I’m there to help answer those questions. Pretty much anything anybody wants to know about bass fishing.’’

From how a bait works in the Hawg Trough to any other question.

My oddball question was whether Monroe ice-fished. That set off an over-the-top response ending with, “Closest I get to ice fishing is sitting on a cooler in the South Pacific.’’

Monroe intrigues me. He was the first African American to win a BASS event. That’s a big deal, a piece of history no one can take.

But he never mentioned that while we talked. What he mentioned were other pieces of his history, such as being one of the inaugural anglers on “Major League Fishing,’’ the cutting edge in tournament bass fishing.

As to his historic first victory — March 12, 2006, in the Elite Series’ “Battle on the Border’’ in Texas — he mentioned the winning 104-pound, 8-ounce bag, a rare 100-pound bag in BASS history. He now has four BASS victories.

Asked what he favors in bass fishing, he said, “Largemouth. I like fishing shallow; I like fishing thick cover. I will take that all day over open water for smallmouth that will swim away from you. They are mean, while largemouth are lazy.’’

He knows the biggest largemouth the United States has to offer.

Asked for his favorite fishing, he laughed and said, “Out here in the California Delta. While others were going to El Salto and those Mexican lakes, we had Clear Lake in California with 100 bass every day and 5- and 6-pounders with a chance at 10-pounders. My first 10-pounder, I was, like, 18 years old on Clear Lake.’’  

Click here for show info.

Deer hunting

Illinois bowhunters finished 2017-18 with a harvest of 57,937 deer, a spike of 4,469 from 2016-17. That helps explain an overall harvest of 147,535 deer, up by 3,232 from the overall harvest in 2016-17. Click here for a fuller breakdown.

Stray cast

Samantha Fish’s soulful “I Put a Spell on You’’ seems the proper response to ice conditions.

Follow me on Twitter @BowmanOutside.


“Schaumburg Show” info

Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo: Schaumburg Convention Center, Thursday-Sunday, for  show info click here. Headliner: Brandon Palaniuk (1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Friday). Notable: For the fifth year, Denny and Aaron Sands kick off seminars talking Shabbona Lake (1 p.m. Thursday). New: “Midwest Carp Fishing Tips & Techniques’’ with Josef Settele (2 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. Sunday). Bowman’s Bet: Musky Madness Forum (6 p.m. Friday). Kids: 5-11, $3; younger than 5, free; first 100 11 and younger Sunday receive Plano Tackle Box; Bass Casting Kids, 10:30-3 p.m. Sunday. Parking: Free. Public Transportation: Negligible. Tickets: $12 ($2-off weekday coupon online).