20 Years of WCF

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20 Years of WCF

Postby JasonN » May Tue 08, 2018 4:17 pm

Hard to believe 2018 marks 20 years of this website. In the first few years, it wasn't called windycityfishing.com. The site's "title" was Jason's Chicago Area Outdoors and Fishing Page. It was hosted on an AOL members site.

The site all began from an idea after getting lost on my way to Heidecke Lake - a lake I had heard about from various fishing outlets which I just HAD to see for myself. Well, after getting lost several times once down in the area, I finally found the lake and it wasn't what I expected at all. I though, there must be a way to share information about local fishing spots. So I set out to learn some basic HTML and the site was launched, probably in July of 2018.

The early years of the site featured a swinging banner on the main page, and a midi version of The Rolling Stones "Waiting on a Friend" playing in the background. There were about a dozen or so pages of basic information and reports I typed in.

In around 2000, the site moved to geocities (now defunct), before landing at it's current domain of windycityfishing.com in 2001. It was about a year later that I added some off-site message boards.

I'll share more of the history of WCF of some stories throughout this year. I wish I could find all the original files, or that they would even still work, but in the meantime, here's a snapshot of a very early Busse Lake page...

https://web.archive.org/web/20040714135050/https://windycityfishing.com:80/busse.htm

And here's a look at the earliest incarnation of the site I could find (from February of 1999)...
https://www.web.archive.org/web/19990203005706/http://members.aol.com:80/jay1318/chifish.html
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Rooger » May Tue 08, 2018 4:22 pm

You should be very proud of your "baby"! There's other Chi sites, but yours is far and away the best.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Aux Pleins » May Tue 08, 2018 4:31 pm

Hats off to Jason N. Life would be so boring if all we had were offshore reports on CLF or ChiClown-angler.com :roll:
Nature and shit.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby JasonN » May Tue 08, 2018 4:38 pm

Looking at those early reports I REALLY got excited about all the 12" bass I was catching.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby joetrain » May Tue 08, 2018 4:41 pm

Jason, The Godfather of Chicago fishing websites. Well done Don Norris.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby BassCaster » May Tue 08, 2018 4:58 pm

JasonN wrote:Looking at those early reports I REALLY got excited about all the 12" bass I was catching.


Ah yes you turned me onto the magic bait the "Slugo" at Axehead. 12 inch Bass killer....LOL

Man 18 years went fast :-(

Many good people through the years came and went .....

Always been a great site with friendly anglers. ( with a few exceptions but they got banned)
I spent half my money on fishing, gambling, alcohol, women and billiards. The other half I wasted.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Peter Piper » May Tue 08, 2018 5:40 pm

Well done!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Ryguy83 » May Tue 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Thanks for putting this website together Jason! I have met some good fishing friends and learned far more than I thought I could from a forum. Kudos and keep it up!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Brett » May Tue 08, 2018 6:47 pm

5 years ago I moved to Elk Grove and went to Busse with my dog. Brought back memories of fishing Delevan as a kid with my great uncle and I stopped at Lee's on the way back and picked up a cheap combo and some curly tails. Couple weeks later I found this site. Now I'm thousands of dollars poorer and
still procrastinating things that were probably on my list on that first fateful day at Busse. Having a hell of a good time and no end in site. Thanks Jason.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby minstrel » May Tue 08, 2018 9:27 pm

Thanks for reviving my fishing interest, I grew up with people saying you 'couldn't catch much around here'. How wrong they were! It's been a blast getting to know the lakes and the people from WCF. Congrats on the milestone!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby JB » May Tue 08, 2018 9:29 pm

Over the years I’ve always enjoyed posting and reading posts. Call it an escape and if you can’t fish it’s always been nice to check in and get absorbed into the world of fishing. Congrats and well done.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Busse Jim » May Tue 08, 2018 10:20 pm

Happy Anniversary Jason! :clap:

Thanks for creating this. And for being in my fishing spot 7 springs ago
Without WCF I’d still have just been “posting” picts on a fridge and cork board, in a trailer, at a boat launch, on Busse :lol: :lol: And then the boat house :)
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Darkstar72 » May Wed 09, 2018 1:22 pm

MAN!!!! Jason, that second link had my eyes messing up colors on my screen for a few minutes! Boy oh boy was that Chartreuse!!!!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Seebass » May Thu 10, 2018 11:38 am

Thanks for all of your hard work! It's not easy being a pioneer. :D
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Lip_Yanker » May Thu 10, 2018 3:18 pm

Woop woop! Here's to another 20+!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Rambler » May Fri 11, 2018 9:52 am

Haven't had time to respond until now. I didn't know WCF was so old. The internet didn't become easily available until the introduction of Mosaic in 1993 and Netscape in late 1994. I've always dated the "birth" of the net to 1995 since it wasn't really until then that folks started to use it for things other than academic & governmental purposes. So long-winded way of saying, Jason - kudos to you for having the vision to see the need for something like WCF and the dedication to put it together.

On a personal note, until I found WCF a few years back I didn't realize there were so many like-minded people in this area. Of course I knew others were interested in fishing - a visit to any FPD lake on a weekend proves it - but to know others appreciate the sport in much the same way I do is really heartening.

Not to mention how much I've learned from other WCFers. Not that it's made me a better fisherman (I still suck at it) but knowledge is almost always a good thing.

So thanks and congratulation.
Keep calm and fish on...

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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Woohoodude11 » May Fri 11, 2018 10:32 am

Man, I was 12 and still jigging weed pockets with waxworms for rock bass at Diversey Harbor when this site was born :lol: congrats on the milestone!
Lets Go Sharks!

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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby badger75 » May Fri 11, 2018 11:21 am

Great milestone! I really appreciate this site. I have learned much from it.
I have met several folks whom I now call friends through it.
There is a nice sense of camaraderie here. It is great that people are willing to share and help others.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby vman01 » May Fri 11, 2018 12:55 pm

What everyone else has said X 2. Site sparked my fishing interest and I am back out fishing again, not as much as most but I sure enjoy the posts, people and learning new things.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby crankybass » May Fri 11, 2018 1:50 pm

Jason, you've done an amazing job with this forum. It's a great place for tips, news, and sharing the love of this sport with other like-minded individuals. Hats off to you!
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby Scipio24 » May Fri 11, 2018 3:30 pm

Thanks, Jason for all the work that you have done. This is the only fishing site I read (I just assume all the rest are inferior, because they are). :moresarcasm:
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby marknjs » May Sat 12, 2018 7:39 am

It's been pinned to my bookmark bar for years. Not overly dramatic to say it has changed my life. Great information and entertainment. Thanks for your work.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby HEDDONFROG » May Sat 12, 2018 9:22 am

Jason, 17 years ago I joined up with one of the other Chicago sites and the negative experience of that other site kept me away from message boards since 2004. The bickering, arguments, flaming of new posters, new anglers or young anglers was brutal. I found WCF in July while searching out info online regarding Busse and of course there isn’t a site around that has the Busse content that WCF has. BusseJim’s and other Busse posters were great influences in me seeing that your site was different than my previous experiences. I’m exceptionally glad I found WCF and very thankful to you, the moderators, my new fishin buddies and all the ‘active’ members, it’s a great brotherhood of anglers here
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby bapentec » May Sun 13, 2018 2:17 am

The site used to help learn to fish Busse. Frigging Rad.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby FISHdank » May Sun 13, 2018 7:21 am

Congratulations man, always fun to see what people are doin out on the water.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby catchafew » May Sun 13, 2018 7:24 am

I stumbled on wcf while looking for a Deep lake video 7 years ago, Geo gave you some props in his video. First type of any type of forum I joined and the most active online community I participate in. As my buddies got older and had less time to fish wcf filled a great void. I can honestly say I'm a better angler now with the exchange of ideas with other anglers and outings. I have about a dozen or so wcf contacts on my phone now and have developed friendships with a few. Thank you for your hardwork, vision and patience for putting with us drama queens. What I enjoyed the most is vicariously living through the exploits of some of accomplished members still active like Aux, JMD, Skifish, Busse Jim, RonG, yourself and many others tackle the riddles of Chicago area tough waters. I
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby jmdog2003 » May Sun 13, 2018 8:20 pm

Quite an accomplishment to be proud of.
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Re: 20 Years of WCF

Postby FishinMatt » May Sun 13, 2018 9:46 pm

It has been a fun ride. Lots of different eras in WCF history with a bunch of characters coming and going. Here is to another 20.
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