Tips For Successful Deer Hunting

Here are a few tips from the pros on deer hunting:

1.   Always carry a flashlight

2.   Do not scout before or during the rut.  You need to know where the buck lives, so scouting during pre-season will uncover tracks, rub lines,deer scrapes, and bed thickets.  It will also show  travel routes between their bed and their feeding areas.

3.   Always check your equipment before heading out into the field.

4.   Check with your friends every few hours or so for safety reasons.

5.   Use buck urine during early October.  Take advantage of the bucks territorial instincts.

6.   Take some odor eliminator to your treestand.  After you get to your stand, re-apply it.

7.   Practice setting up your treestand and taking down your treestand before the season begins.

8.   Pop up blinds : These are great for the hunter that does not feel comfortable in a tree. Most deer dont give ground blinds a second look as long as they are not in the open.

9.  Wash all your clothes in scent free detergent.

10. Wear a full body harness when hunting from a treestand.

11. Always check the weather for wind change, air temperature, and storms to see how this could affect the way you hunt.

12. Bring snacks and liquids with you especially during the rut.  You could be out there all day.

13. Don't count on using your scope during the season to see deer.  Consider buying a pair of  binoculars, this is safer than moving the rifle around.

14. Use your scents and lures carefully.  Many grown bucks have made the connection between man and scent during the fall.

15. If you want to land a buck during the rut, find those does.

16. Don't use a call or grunt when a buck is heading your way.  Be still and let the buck move to you.

17. Try not to make human or noises which could startle the deer.  Ex. banging, coughing, or using your cell phone.

18. Deer can see movement from a long ways away, use slow movement while in your stand.

19. Stalking deer is most successful during the rainy weather.  Their sight and hearing is minimized during these conditions.

20. Last but not least bring a empty plastic bottle just in case you have to go.  You don't want to ruin getting a buck during the rut because of that.

 

Be Safe - Be Happy - Enjoy Hunting

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

.

0 Comments »

Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report – October 2014

Trout fishing on Lake Taneycomo has been great!  As the angle of the sun and the length of the days change, trout begin to eat more, as they add weight to make it through the winter.  October is a great time to catch a very large trout, maybe even THE trout, …you know…the one you absolutely must have a picture of…the one that you will remember, and never forget…!  Night fishing for the big fish of the fall is great in October!  Brave anglers, who venture forth into the dark, can use heavy leader, and cast to huge, hungry, fish!  Large rainbows often lie downstream from brown trout spawning beds, waiting for drifting eggs to come to them. Every cast could result in a monster trout!   

Even a moderate wind, especially when combined with a canopy of fallen leaves, can free trout to feed on or very near water surface, without worry about predator attack (usually birds).  Autumn usually offers an abundance of both wind and fallen leaves.  Thus, October can be a great month to catch trout at the top of the water column!  

Currents resulting from generation, or rain runoff, cause trout to look for areas with an eddy, and many of those are near bank structure.  Trout feed all day long while residing in these sheltered eddies, and are often accessible to the bank or dock fishing angler.  Power bait, earth worms, spoons, spinners, and flies all work on these fish.

Anglers who offer bait presented below a bobber, often can fish in harmony with the leaf coating in the fall.  When the leaves interfere with the bobber’s float, the resulting movement of the bait below can trigger a strike! 

It is possible that rise forms are not surface feeding trout.  Instead, these rise forms may be caused by tail movement, from fish feeding just under the surface, in the film (up to a foot under the surface).  If the trout holding lie is in the surface film, a mini jig or other bait, presented 6” or less, under an indicator or bobber, can be seen, and may be taken.

Fall fly fishers can streamer fish with great success, during mild generation.  Olive wooly buggers, slow stripped in the current, will take trout, as will many other streamer patterns.  Flies such as soft hackles and crackle backs can be fished as small streamers, and will often take trout any time of the day.

Spoons and spinners will take fish when there is generation.  Vary the weight of the lure, to match the amount of force of the current.  Greater generation requires more lure weight.  Anglers wanting the best all-around lure weight will find 1/6 oz. spoons and spinners a good bet.  Thomas Bouyant and Little Cleo spoons are working well, and best power bait colors have been white, pink, red, orange and yellow Gulp eggs.  Fish two colors of eggs on the same hook for more bites.  Don’t forget real earth worms, and add air to them, if possible, to make them float.  A real earthworm, when combined with a Gulp egg, will take a surprising number of trout.  Minnows will work well, also.

Trout go for big nymphs as fall temperatures drop.  The angle of the sun, and the length of the days, help get the water temperatures down.  Try sizes #6-#12, especially the point fly, if you use a two fly rig, and add a small midge, size #18 or #20 below that big point fly.  Remember, the current can change at a moment’s notice.  Take care to watch water levels. Fall is here, and it is the perfect time to catch big trout!  It is also just nice to be outside, during this time of the year!

                                    Good luck, and good fishing!  

      

 

0 Comments »

Join Us on a Camping Experience

Have you ever purchased a tent only to take it home and realize that you needed more instruction than just pictures? Or have you set up a tent only to realize that you have extra parts left over and you're not really sure where they go? Well, come on out to our "Experience Weekend" and let our knowledgeable camping staff assist you with all of your camping woes. On September 13 from 10am to 5pm and September 14 from 12pm to 5pm, our staff will be outside setting up and taking down various Ascend and BassPro Shops tents. They will be available for any questions regarding the tents or any other camping needs that you may have.

tent

Check out this Ascend H2.2 two person tent that comfortably sleeps two. It's great for hiking, as it is light-weight (5lbs 12oz) and packs easily. Come see for yourself how quickly the set up and take down can be with only one person. The 70D nylon tub-style floor that features a 3000mm PU coating to keep moisture from seeping through from the ground. To get info on this tent before you come experience it, go to /

tent 2

If you are looking for a tent with a family in mind, check out our Bass Pro Shops 8-person Speed Frame tent for only $279.99. This tent has amazing room for large families and can accommodate two queen size air beds. This tent features a speed-frame steel pole frame that is pre-attached to the tent body for quick and easy setup. Come experience the inside of this tent and all of the features that it has to offer. 

 

Whether you are a family camper or an adventurous explorer, Bass Pro Shops will have the tent you are looking for. Come experience these tents for yourself before you buy them. Our camping staff will be happy to assist you with all of your camping needs. If camping is not what you are interested in, check out the experiences in our other departments including hunting and archery, (http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-leeds-al/experience-bass-pro-shops-archery-and-hunting-department) as well as marine, camo apparel, apparel, and fishing. If you can't make the first Experience Weekend, join us for the next one on September 27th from 10am-5pm and September 28th from 12pm-5pm.

 

0 Comments »

Get Into The Swing of Things

A summer campout is great, but the heat tends to be a pain especially when using a hot sleeping bag on the ground. A great solution to this problem of being too hot is to use a hammock. These great swinging beds keep a camper off of the ground which lets the air around the camper cool them off while they sleep or just hang out. Hammocks are also a great way to just relax and enjoy the day in the backyard, on the beach, or even by the pool. Here are some helpful hints on finding the right tent for the activity.

When hiking long distances it is imperative to keep a pack light so stress on the back and legs is reduced. A great way to do this is to use a hammock with a rain fly instead of having an entire tent, sleeping bag, and rainfly. A great hammock for this specific purpose would be the Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Hammock, not only is this hammock light weight but it also is able to be used as a hammock or a bivy tent if there are no trees convenient in the area. This tent comes with both a rain fly and a screen to keep bugs away from any camper who is inside. Another great hammock for hiking is the Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock, this hammock weighs approximately 17 oz. making this one of the lightest weight sleeping options on the market right now and perfect for those hikers who want a comfortable sleep on those warm summer nights. The hammock is also great for those kids who want to have a campout in the back yard but do not want to deal with a lot of tents. These hammocks are perfect for any backyard adventure because of their easy set up and breakdown. Another great hammock for backyard or hiking with a buddy would be the Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock, the hammock is made with a heavy duty stitching and has more material so two people can sleep comfortably. With the durable design this hammock is also great for those younger campers who might be a little harder on their gear, while at the same time being light enough, 20oz, for those campers to easily carry the hammock without problems.

hammockhammockhammock

Camping and hiking with a hammock is fun but just relaxing in the backyard in a hammock is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. These hammocks for the backyard need to be sturdy and built to last. The perfect backyard hammock is also able to hold two or three people comfortably without being strained or breaking. A good hammock for the backyard is the Texsport® Lakeway™ Hammock, this hammock is great for the backyard simply because it is built durable from quilted cotton and has a capacity for 400 pounds. So for this hammock all that you need are two good trees and a relaxing summer is just around the corner. Another great hammock for the backyard would have to be the Texsport® Seaview™ Hammock, with heavy duty cotton cords this hammock is light weight and comfortable for a day lounging in the backyard. Lastly the Bass Pro Shops® Folding Hammock, is a sturdy hammock with a stable base that is great for a small backyard where a larger hammock is not an option hung on trees.

BPShammockhammock

Now that all the hammocks have been hung and the camping has happened it is time to just relax. Having that hammock in the backyard is perfect for just letting everything go and taking a nap. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

0 Comments »

Red Head Blackout SS bow

 

            This time of year, very little is going on in the hunting community. It’s either too hot to get out in all that gear, or people are out enjoying themselves fishing, and partying on the lake. However, this time of year is also when a variety of new products come out for the upcoming hunting season. Hunters start getting that pre-season itch, and along with air conditioning, it’s a great excuse to find your way to your local Bass Pro Shops and check out what new toys are going to be available.

            This year, one of our new toys is the Red Head Blackout SS bow, made by Diamond/Bowtech. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t they already come out with one of those?” And you’re right. Back at the tail end of 2010/beginning to 2011, Diamond Archery came out with the original Red Head Black Out bow, and it did fairly well. With a 7 inch brace height, 26.5-30.5 draw length range, as well as 50-60 and 60-70 limb availability, it easily matched up with some of the bows in its market. It has the ability to shoot 333 fps, which is up there in the bow speeds and darn right impressive for a single cam bow. Not to mention the remarkable let off that has you feeling (in my opinion) little to no weight past that back wall. It’s light weight (a whopping 3.8 pounds!), 32 inch brace axle-to-axle and even comes in a fancy Real Tree camo pattern.

            Any experienced bow shooter knows these specs are about average in bows nowadays. From Mathews to Hoyt pro line, they’ve come out with bows some may argue are bigger and better. However, if you look back, that was AFTER Diamond archery produced the Black Out. Hoyt produced the Spyder 30 in 2011 with a 30 inch axle-to-axle, 330 fps, and a 6 ¾ brace height. But, the Spyder 30 is also a dual cam bow. Dual cams have the ability to store more energy upon a complete revolution by both top and bottom cams while pulling the same amount of weight, while single cams only have the one on bottom to do the same. Single cams also have a reputation for being smoother and quieter, while Dual cams are bit more noisy with the string slap. A good example of this is the Mathews Chill, and the Mathews Creed, both of which were released in 2013.

I shoot the Creed, while my younger brother shoots the Chill, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, or rather, that’s what we thought. The Creed is a 30 inch ATA, 318 fps with a 400 grain arrow (68lbs), 7 inch brace height, and 3.8 pounds bare bow. It’s not the fastest, but it’s smooth, and quiet. The Chill is 31 inches ATA, 324 fps with a 400 grain arrow (70lbs), 3.8 lbs bare bow, and a 6 ¾ brace height. Both are impressive, and have their perks. And again, these were produced 2 years AFTER the Red Head Black Out.

            When I shot the Black Out, I had my reservations, but they were quickly put to bed after a few arrows flung down range. As I mention before, the let off is virtually unfelt at 70 lbs, and the output was 325 fps with a 400 grain arrow. Not much faster than the Chill, but it’s a SINGLE cam, versus the DUAL cam Chill. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what does. Now the new Black Out SS is essentially the same bow spec wise, but it’s got a few tweaks here and there. With custom dampeners found only on the BowTech destroyer (but being made by Diamond/Bowtech, it makes it an exclusive accessory) and a milled riser that brings it down to a light 3.5 pounds, it manages to bring notable results to the range. From 20 yards and at 70 lbs, when I shot a group of 4 arrows, all of them managed an average of 14 inch penetration with a 400 grain arrow and a field tip. Still a single cam, other than a quick, solid thunk it is screaming fast, powerful, and quiet. The back wall is a bit stiff, but I also shot it right out of the box. After about 20 or so arrows, it loosened up and the back wall wasn’t even noticeable.

            To top off all of these remarkable statistics that follow this bow, it also comes in a stealthy looking black, and an “extra green” real tree pattern. Like I mentioned before, my brother and I shoot the Mathews bows, but after both of us shot the new Black Out SS, we are reconsidering our preferences and starting a pre-season piggy bank, with the Black Out SS being the first thing for both of us on our list to buy.

            Oh! And if you’re still having second thoughts, compared to a Mathews or Hoyt bow that typically runs for around $1000 MSRP bare bow, the Black Out SS comes Ready to Hunt package for only $599. How ‘bout them apples?

0 Comments »

Warm Weather Camping

Camping in the warm weather is always a great idea. The weather is nicer and the outdoors are alive with new colors and the sounds of all the animals finally out and about after a long winter. So here are some things a warm weather camper will need this year to have a successful campout.

The most important thing to find for the perfect warm weather campout is the right tent. A tent needs to fit not only the group that is going but also the place in which the group will be staying. If a big group is going out on the campout, ten or more, then it is a good idea to get either a very large tent or a two or three medium tents. One tent that is great for big groups is the Coleman® Vacationer 2-Room Ten-Person 15' x 10' Cabin Tent, this tent allows a large group to split into two different groups and sleep separately while still only having to carry one tent. A tent that would be good for a smaller group would be the Bass Pro Shops® Six Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch, because it has enough room for a group while at the same time giving a sitting area on the front that can be easily zipped up to keep out bugs and other critters.

tenttent

While a tent is important having food and water is far more important. Having a water filtration system with any group out on a campout is a great idea. This system needs to be able to not only filter water but do it quickly and passively so the group can do other things than crank a water filter. One of the best water filters on the market right now that not only is passive but has a high capacity is the Sawyer® 4L Water Filtration System. This system is great because the dirty water bag can be hung anywhere above the clean water bag and the weight of the water will force the water through the filter making the system fast and passive. As for food having the right utensils and cooking equipment is a must. When out on a campout and cooking breakfast the two things that are most important are the stove and the griddle. The stove needs to be sturdy and should be propane for its ease of use, while the griddle should be large and preferably be made of cast iron as it is the easiest to use and clean during a campout. For the stove a solid recommendation is the Browning Two Burner Camp Stove, this twin burner stove gives enough heat to cook just about any meal quickly while providing enough space for an entire meal to be cooked at the same time. Now for the griddle there is a lot of wiggle room on the type and size that can be made but a good choice is the Lodge Logic® Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle, this griddle gives two sides for not only pancakes and sausage but to also grill chicken or veggies.

stovegrill griddleWater

Now that the food is taken care of it is time to relax. This part of the campout is for telling stories and just catching up. For this one only need look for a simple camp chair. The best kind are big enough for anyone and tough enough to be tossed in the back of the truck when the weekend is over and don’t need to be worried about till everyone is home.  Bass Pro Shops® Hard Arm Folding Chair, this chair is built to last and is comfortable making it perfect for a weekend out camping.

BPS Chair

Now that the essentials have been covered it is time for some direction on how to keep a camp healthy and in order. It is a good idea to always bring a large amount of trash bags, being on a campout can generate a lot more trash than anyone ever thought possible. Another must have on a campout is a basic bed sheet. Since the weather has warmed up and the use of a sleeping bag is probably not the most desirable thing in the world having a simple bed sheet can keep a camper covered while at the same time still keeping them from getting a chill. This being said bringing a warm weather sleeping bag is a good idea, a good bag for the job is the Ascend® 55º Rectangular Sleeping Bag, this bag will keep a person warm while at the same time not overheating. Now if the bag does get to hot in the night simply crawl out and sleep on top with the bed sheet.

sleeping bag

While camping is all fun and games there are a few things that need to happen as soon as all the equipment gets home. First set up the tent in the backyard for a few hours with nothing in it so that it can air out and dry out. If the tent is stored even a little wet mold can grow and ruin the tent. This is especially important after a warm weather campout where humidity tends to soak everything. After the tent is taken care of the water filtration system needs to be cleaned out. This consists of running clean tap water through the filter backwards in order to knock all the particulate matter out of the filter. Doing this will not only extend the life of the filter but keep the filtered water better for longer. Finally the last very important step is to wash the sleeping bag. This may not seem necessary after a single night campout but just like the tent, storing the sleeping bag with even a little moisture can cause all kinds of nasty things to grow. Now that everything is settled for warm weather camping, as always happy hunting and good luck! 

0 Comments »

Flippity Floppity

It is that time of year again, time for flip flops and sandals.  Several different types and brands are now out for your needs.  Men, women, and kids we have all sizes.  Check out some of these brands.

Natural Reflections

Enjoy a fun look and great comfort from a lightweight sandal with the Rainforest Sling from Natural Reflections. The Rainforest's uniquely styled synthetic upper provides the foot-hugging comfort of a stretch fit design. Combined with the sandal's comfort footbed, this easy-wearing slip on keeps your feet in comfort all day long.  Also comes in four different colors.

 

RedHead

We took everything we know about all-out comfort and put it into one sandal. Under the supple suede leather footbed lies a billowy, super-soft cushion -- like slipping your feet into a bed of cotton. Ultra lightweight stitch-to-sole construction with full grain quality leather uppers provide long lasting toughness without the leadfooted feeling. Hook'n'loop closures deliver a custom fit that's unmatched.

 

Sanuk

This is not a shoe. It's a sandal.
Featuring a shoe upper on a sandal bottom, Sidewalk Surfers™ combine the year-round style and protection of a shoe with the natural comfort of a sandal. We like the call this Barefoot-Un-Technology™. This sandal-shoe hybrid allows your foot to bend and flex the way nature designed you to walk. The loose upper allows your foot to spread so it can absorb shock naturally. This strengthens the small muscles which support your arch and encourages you to walk correctly. Sorry if there are no springs, coils, pumps, or air-bags, but after walking naturally you won't want to wear anything else.

 

Reef

 

Have you ever been strolling around looking for a bottle opener?  Well this pair of flip flops has got you covered.  Enjoy the airy comfort of a classic beach sandal with modern comfort technology in the Reef® Fanning Sandal for Men. The Fanning combines a water friendly synthetic nubuck upper with a compression molded EVA midsole with anatomical arch support, surrounding your foot with easy-wearing comfort. Reef's Icon Herringbone non-marking rubber outsole delivers sure wet-dry traction over various surfaces. The Fanning also features Reef's built-in church key in the outsole so you always have a bottle opener with you.

 

Cobian

This awesome pair of flip flops is the Sawman Signature Sandals from Cobian.  This has Cobain’s clear bottom featuring a U.S. serviceman graphic underlay featuring the signature of Former SEAL and counter terrorism expert Craig Sawyer.  The toe post is reinforced with Kevlar and is guaranteed not to break.  Also a good water shoe as it has great drainage in the footbed.  A portion of the sale also goes to OPERATION HAWKEYE.  To learn more about OPERATION HAWKEYE visit www.ophawkeye.com

 

 

0 Comments »

Keeping your Dogs safe in the Winter

Keeping your dogs safe this time of year is important.  Remember that many dogs feel the cold as much as their owners do. Keeping your dog warm during the winter months is important to keeping their health in tip top shape.

You need to understand your breed.  Some adapt well to the extreme cold such as huskies, yet a doberman or low hair dogs dont have the thick winter coat to protect them.  Giving your dog the appropriate shelter is important.  If you have a outside dog make sure his/her shelter and bedding is suitable.  Make sure there is plenty of insulation against the cold.  The roof of the outside shelter should have  a sloped roof and plenty of insulation to guard against the cold.  Bring outdoor dogs inside if the cold spell becomes exceptionally cold and long.

Even inside make sure your pets bed is away from drafts and keep a extra blanket or old clothing around the bed keeping it warm.

Using canine clothing is a option for certain dogs in the winter time.  If you see your dog shivering then he is cold.  Bass Pro has a variety of dog vests to look at.  One in particular is the Ruffwear Quinzee Insulated Dog JacketThis jacket is weather resistant and has a sewn in carry bag.  Very easy to remove with 2 sheltered buckles. 

jkt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoy taking long walks during the winter, consider getting your pet booties.  Your pets paws get irritated from the salt outside.  You may need to take some time getting your pet used to the booties it is not a natural feeling to have them on.  The Bark N Boots Grip Tex Dog Boots protect against bad weather and have air mesh uppers for a imporved fit.  They have reflective trim for night walking and have good traction and flexibility.  Also look into the Bark N Boot Liners for extra protection.  They enhance the comfort of the boot and wick moisture and insulate great in the cold.

boot

liner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least take shorter walks when the cold is severe.  You want to keep exercising but play tug of war or hiding toys inside with your pet.  When walking outside with your dog it is best to keep your dog leashed.  With snowplows or ice on the lake your dog may wander and you want him/her to be safe.

 

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

 

 

 

0 Comments »

Making Sense of Sleeping Bag Ratings

Anyone who has shopped for a sleeping bag has become probably all-too-familiar with the temperature ratings of sleeping bags. Unfortunately, as many people have come to discover, the ratings used on most sleeping bags isn't always right. The reasons for this are many and are explored on this page.

What Temperature Ratings Mean

 
 
 

A sleeping bag temperature rating is at the end of the day, the "best guess" of the manufacturer as to how warm the bag will be for the "average person." They arrive at this number basically by giving bags to testers or employees, who then test the bags in various conditions or in an "ice box."

 

However, the "average person" is generally a rare person. You see, the reason a temperature rating will NEVER be fully accurate is because people sleep at differing body temperatures. If you are what is known as a "cold sleeper" - you are going to need a significantly warmer bag then someone who is a "hot sleeper" is.

Now, what are hot and cold sleepers? Best way to describe it is to use sleeping at home in your bed as an example in a house that is around 65 degrees or so.

  • Hot Sleeper - You are someone who sleeps most of the night with few if any sheets on. You may put the sheets on initially, but as the night goes on, the sheets seem to magically lighten up or disappear entirely. Additionally, your body itself will give off a LOT of body heat. If you have a bedtime partner and they complain about how warm you make the bed, then you are probably a hot sleeper.
  • Cold Sleeper - You are a cold sleeper if, when you go to bed, you sleep with and wake up with every single blanket piled on top of you - and often still aren't entirely as warm as you would like to be. What this means is that you have a slow nighttime metabolism - hence very little body heat being generated. Which is why you need all the blankets.

Sleep Temperature & The Bag You Buy

Once you determine whether you are a "hot sleeper", a "cold sleeper" or somewhere in between, you can now have a better grasp of what temperature rating to get in a sleeping bag.

Now, this is a rough rule of thumb here. This is nothing scientific - just my own experiences. But, I do believe it is a good gage to follow.

 

Hot Sleepers - Assume the bags temperature rating is probably fully accurate for you.

Cold Sleepers - Assume the bags temperature rating is at LEAST 10 degrees warmer than advertised. Thus, a bag that is rated to 20 degrees will likely only work for a "cold sleeper" down to 30 degrees or so. And 10 degrees may NOT even be enough, either, depending on other factors.

All Others - If you fall somewhere between "hot" and "cold", I would assume the bags temperature rating is at least 5 degrees warmer then advertised.


Other Factors That Effect The Temperature Rating

Getting the right bag to match your sleeping temperature, however, is only half the battle. You see, when the manufacturers come up with the ratings, they make several reasonable assumptions. These are:

 
 
 

Sleeping Pad is Used - A sleeping pad is mandatory. Without a sleeping pad, you are in essence sleeping on the cold ground. No matter how "hot" you sleep or how great your bag is, you'll still be cold. Moreover, the assumption is made you are sleeping on at least a midweight sleeping pad (R Factor of 5 or greater), which provides for substantially greater insulating abilities than a lightweight pad does.

Use of a Hood - If the bag comes with a hood (and most 3-season bags do), the rating assumes the hood is used and drawn up relatively tightly over the user. Remember, about 40-50% of your body heat escapes from the top of your head. If you have little or no hair up "on top", use of a hood (a good fleece hat also works) is crucial to get near the temperature rating of a bag. Even if you have a full head of hair, a hat or use of the hood is STILL needed to truly achieve the bags temperature rating.

Bag is Fully Zipped Up - This seems like common sense. But, all ratings assume you zip the bag up to the very top - not leaving it down a bit like many campers do in order to have a "bit more room" in the bag.

Tight Fit of the Bag Around User - This is another thing people forget about. When buying a bag, buy a bag designed for your height. If you are 5'10, do NOT get a bag that fits people up to 6'6. The reason is because a pocket of cold air will form at the end of the bag, keeping your feet (and thus you) cold all night long.

No Clothes! - Yes, that's right. Temperature ratings assume you sleep in the "buff", or at least in your undies. The reason is because sleeping with clothes on, and in particular cotton clothes, can actually make you colder! The cotton, in combination with the bags insulation, will make you sweat. The cotton will then absorb the water into your clothes - making you wet ALL NIGHT LONG! This will make you cold right along with it. By not sleeping with a shirt or pants on (or using fleece if you do), you can closer achieve the temperature rating. And NEVER sleep in cotton clothes.


Conclusion

 
 
 

In summary, I believe it is ALWAYS better to buy a bag that will provide you with at LEAST an extra 15 - 20 degrees of temperature rating. Doing so will allow you to use the bag in a wider variety of temperatures and also allows you to keep the bag partially unzipped or sleep partially clothed if you want to. Additionally, a warmer rated bag is really crucial if you use a lightweight and thin sleeping pad.

Remember, you can always "open up" a bag that is a bit too warm your environment to stay comfortable. But if you have a bag that is a "bit too cool" you are going to have a VERY long night! So it is always better to buy a bag that is a bit too warm than a bit too cold!

Thus, for general three season use, I suggest getting a bag rated down to a minimum of 20 degrees, preferably 15.

For four season use, don't chance around. Get a bag down to -40 degrees. -20 degrees sounds warm until that arctic blast comes through.

 

0 Comments »

What is Thinsulate Insulation?

http://solutions.3m.com/3MContentRetrievalAPI/BlobServlet?lmd=1267643571000&locale=en_WW&assetType=MMM_Image&assetId=1180594561812&blobAttribute=ImageFile

Thinsulate Insulation is not your typical insulation. 3M manufactures products, such as boots, pants, jackets, gloves, and hats with Thinsulate Insulation. The microfibers that Thinsulate is constructed from traps air molecules between you and the cold air outside. Thinsulate traps the cold air molecules inside a smaller space, allowing for better insulation.

Thinsulate is lightweight that many manufacturers utilize in many products including footwear for work, hunting and hiking. The microfibers in the insulation are lightweight. This keeps the insulation from weighing the shoes down but keeps your feet warm at the same time. Thinsulate is available in different weights, depending on the insulation required. The weights start at 200 grams for less insulation and continue up to 1000 grams for extremely cold conditions.

200 to 400 grams: Thinsulate with a rating of 200 grams has a temperature rating of 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and is advised for work boots, hunting boots, hiking boots, snowboarding boots and alpine ski boots in cool weather. Boots with 400 gram Thinsulate have a temperature rating of 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for cold weather.

600-800 grams:  A Thinsulate material having a rating of 600 grams should be worn in very cold conditions at an estimated 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In extremely cold weather, individuals with light activity should select Thinsulate products of 800 grams, having a temperature rating of approximately 20 below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

1,000 grams: Thinsulate products with a rating of 1,000 grams should also be used in extremely cold weather conditions, at temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit. 

Thinsulate is breathable. It is ideal to use in items such as bedding, coats, hats and gloves due to its small fibers. The material keeps you insulated from the cold while keeping the sweat away from your skin at the same time.

http://solutions.3m.com/3MContentRetrievalAPI/BlobServlet?lmd=1308056193000&locale=en_US&assetType=MMM_Image&assetId=1258565524082&blobAttribute=ImageFile

Thinsulate is also moisture-resistant, machine washable, and dry cleanable. Due to the fibers absorbing less than 1 percent of their weight when submerged in water, they are ideal to be worn in wet conditions or washable.

0 Comments »

First Hunt of the Year!

By: Jerry Costabile

With the changing leaves and the waterfowl migration starting, I finally got out on my first hunt of the season.

I really needed to get out and watch the sunrise, get the smell of fall in my nose and put the everyday stress on the shelf, even if it was for a single morning. Sadie, my Yellow Lab, has been giving me that look for weeks. It’s that “If you don’t get me out hunting soon, we are going to have problems” look. So with my son Jake, home from college, and a morning off, it was ON!

We went and purchased our license’s, got the gear ready, decoys out of the garage and the dog crate into the truck. As I loaded the crate, I heard a noise inside the open back door of the house, there was Sadie standing at the top of the stairs. I think I heard her say, “It’s about time!” She has a sixth sense when it comes to knowing I am getting the hunting stuff ready, I have never been able to get ready without her knowing it!

So after I got the truck loaded and the dog calmed down, it was time for a good meal and off to bed, 5:00am comes early! When the alarm went off and I finally woke up, I realized that I had been dreaming of the hunt that was coming up in a few hours. Guess I am still a young hunter at heart!

With Jake up and me half awake, we made our way down stairs to the basement to the man cave. This is the room that contains all of the necessities to survive as an outdoorsman. Camo and blaze orange color scheme makes it a beautiful room. The air freshener is a combination of WD-40, Rem Oil, and a hint of natural earth scent from my bow hunting clothes. Truly a room only I can appreciate.

After getting dressed in my waterfowl camouflage and ready to walk out the door, I picked up Sadie’s camo collar and she knew it was finally time as she sprinted past me to the back door and jumped up and down until I opened it. Without missing a beat, she ran right to the back of the truck and waited for me to open the tailgate so she could get into her crate. We have worked on a way to get her into the crate without running anyone over, “Sadie sit!” I open the door to her crate looked at her and she is shaking uncontrollably. “Kennel! I said” with one leap she was in the crate and ready to go hunting!

After a quick stop at the gas station for coffee, we had about a 15 minute drive to the recently cut soybean field that has been holding geese a few days ago. In the darkness of the early morning, I pulled off of the paved road onto the two track road that the farmer uses to get his equipment in and out of the fields. With recent rains, the road that is usually dry and easy to navigate has become muddy and the pot holes deep. I guess my truck will have a new color tone added free of charge! As we approached the spot in the field that I wanted to hunt, I swung the trucks headlights into the field to have light to set the decoys.

Before I could get out of the truck, I heard a whimper from the back. Sadie was ready to come unglued! I let her out and she ran as fast as she could out into the field and ran in circles until we got the decoys out and set.

Using the new Wisconsin DNR shooting time App. on my phone, I was able to determine that shooting time was 6:34am. With about a half an hour to wait, Jake and I set up our natural blind, and enjoyed my coffee and watched as the sky showed just a hint of daylight on the eastern horizon. 6:34am and we are loaded and watching the marsh behind us, there has to be ducks that roosted for the night out there.

As that thought entered my head, Jake grabbed my arm and said, “Dad, ducks!” We both got down behind the tall marsh grass and waited for our chance. The first ducks which were teal, went to our right out of gun range. But the next flock lifted and were headed right at us! When they got within range, I hollered “Take’em Jake!” With a flurry of three shots each, two wood ducks were down. Not the best average, .333 if you are a baseball fan, but for the first hunt not bad.

After getting Sadie back to where I could send her out to retrieve the first duck, she made a leap into the water and stayed on line to recover the woodie without any problem. The second duck turned out to be a little more difficult, it sailed to the far side of the field before hitting the ground. Jake took Sadie and headed in the direction of the duck and Sadie was up for the challenge. After a walk of about two hundred yards, Sadie headed into the cover on the field edge and returned proudly with the drake wood duck.

It was now getting time for the geese to start flying and we were watching and listening for the honks of the Canadian goose. It was about 8:00am when the first geese flew over head, and I started my best effort to call them into our decoy spread. But that flock like the next three or four flocks didn’t like what they saw. After a few adjustments, we had the decoys looking like they should bring in the next birds.

We finally had three geese coming in from the southeast and they look interested in joining our decoys for breakfast! As I called, and the birds got closer, I could feel Sadie start shivering with excitement. The big wings of the geese locked up and just as they started to put the landing gear down, I shouted to take’em. Well our batting average didn’t get any better, but we did have one of the three down. Sadie raced out to the big honker and found the right location on the bird and made a perfect retrieve. When she retrieves a bird she take sole ownership of it, why not she deserves it.

The morning ended with that, and we packed up the gear and headed home. I pulled into the driveway and Sadie knew she was home and would get her breakfast and that I would reward her with a couple of treats. When I left for work about an hour later, she was asleep and probably dreaming of the next hunt. Just like I will.


First Hunt!

 

0 Comments »

Tell Your Own Tall Tale

There is a lost art out there which involves an entertaining and often oral account of a real or fictitious occurrence. This is commonly known as telling a tall tale. For those up to date on their jargon, they will say it’s spinning a yarn. Either way it is a staple of American heritage which unfortunately is disappearing.

Growing up I remember listening to the stories of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and Johnny Appleseed. My absolute favorite tall tale was about Davy Crockett, a legend in his lifetime. I would sit in front of the TV with my very own coon-skin cap and help Davy defend The Alamo. (Yeah, I’m kind of an old soul.)

One night I was in a group study area and a fellow student had to write a tall tale. When he uttered “What the heck is that?” he was quickly answered with a slap to the face. After the stinging went down I slapped him again… this time with truth! With my explanation and the help of a site devoted to folk stories and such, he was expediting his own exaggeration for the class.

Now, just like I try to always help with my blogs I am going to give you the tools to spin your own yarn. But you have to provide the thread and materials! This will work just like an ad-lib so get the whole group involved and be ready to “talk the hind leg off a donkey” in a fun fashion.

Now this tall tale will be Western themed, so brainstorm accordingly! You’ll want to fill everything out before going through the story.

1. Hero’s name

2. Friendly critter

3. Friendly critter’s name

4. Predator #1

5. Predator #2

6. Fake town name

7. Verb in the past form

8. Name of a river

9. Imaginary creature

10. Action verb in the past form #1

11. Action verb in the past form #2

12. Action verb in the past form #3

13. Title of royalty

14. Least favorite place to visit

15. Imaginary creature #2

*Action verb = something like kicked or punched

The Tale of _#1_and the   #9’s_

Our story begins a long, long time ago… way before last Wednesday. This was a time when the land was wild, the animals were plenty and personal hygiene was not that important. In fact, the animals were so plenty that a small town named ___#6___ had too many around! You see one day the town was torn up by ___#4’s____ and ___#5’s___ . These two critters were fighting like cats and dogs! Luckily for the town of __#6___ there was a __#2___ watching over everything. But this wasn’t your typical __#2___ this was __#3__ the __#2__  . And they was friends with none other than ___#1___ !

Well, __#3__ the __#2__ quickly got up and headed off to find ___#1___ . A few hours later __#3__  found __#1__ , but it was bad timing. __#1__ was busy moving mountains and creating canyons with just their mind! Not one to be snuck up on, __#1__ smelled __#3__ the __#2__ and knew it was their friend.

“Now I know the head honcho of this here tale said that we are in a time when personal hygiene was not that important, but dang you need to wash your tail!” said __#1__ .

“I’m sorry __#1__ but I’m here for an issue far more severe than my tail. It’s the town of __#6__ ! There’s a whole mess of __#4’s__ and __#5’s__ and their tearing up the place, “ urged __#3__ the __#2__ .

__#4’s__ and __#5’s__ in ___#6___ ?! That’s way out of their range! They should know better… Let’s go __#3__!” declared __#1__. They grabbed __#3__ the __#2__ by that stinky tail and quickly covered the same ground it took __#3__ the __#2__ a few hours to cross with just sixteen strides of __#1’s__ mighty gait.

Sure enough __#1__ and __#3__ were at the town of __#6__ , where the townspeople were fleeing for their lives. I tell you what, them __#4’s__ and __#5’s__ were making a mighty mean mess of things. When the townspeople saw __#1__ they knew they were safe. __#1__ just gave a grizzly stare and stomped their boot once. That was enough to make them __#4’s__ and __#5’s__ stop what they was doing.

“What’s the meaning of all this?! Ya’ll know you’re supposed to stay outta these nice folks ways.” Said __#1__ .

One of the __#4’s__ and  one of the __#5’s__ approached __#1__ . “We’re sorry about all the trouble __#1__, but we got pushed this way! There’s some new critter that’s meaner than a tongue-twisted sidewinder!” said the __#5__ .

“That’s true there __#1__. I aint never seen another critter like it before. They have beady eyes and red fangs!” said the __#4__.

“Hmm…” pondered __#1__ . “Tell ya what, I’ll go see just what these here desert demons are. Ya’ll sit tight. Shouldn’t take too long. Have some soap ready for __#3’s__ tail when we get back.” __#1__ once again grabbed __#3__ , this time by the ear and __#7__ . When they stopped, __#1__ realized they had __#7__ too much and were clear across the __#8__ . This time __#1__ __#7__ a little less and was right smack dab in the middle of the __#4’s__ and __#5’s__ original range. It didn’t take __#1__ too long to realize what the desert demons were. It was __#9’s__!!!

Now some think that __#9’s__ are cute and cuddly critters, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Let’s just say it wasn’t only Gila monsters and rattlesnakes that had venom out here!

When the __#9’s__ saw __#1__ and __#3__ the __#2__ they went on the attack! Obviously these __#9’s__ didn’t know who they was messing with. __#1__  grabbed one and __#10__ it. __#1__ then snagged two of the __#9’s__ and __#11__ them at the same time! Even __#3__ the __#2__ was holding their own in the fight. That stinky tail proved more dangerous than __#3__ thought and a couple __#9’s__ were knocked out from just the smell!

That’s when __#1__ saw the __#13__ of the __#9’s__ .  This __#13__ was six times larger than all the other __#9’s__ and a hundred times more ornery!  __#1__ knew to end this, that the __#13__ needed to be __#12__ in the rear. Which __#1__ did without breaking a sweat. The __#13__ of the __#9’s__ was defeated and surrendered to the mighty __#1__.

Now __#1__ knew that if the __#9’s__ were left free to go, they’d be back. So __#1__ snagged them all up and tied them all together by their tails. “I’m gonna throw you as far as I can and wherever you land, is your new home! Don’t make me do this again.’ Stated __#1__. And sure enough those __#9’s__ were sent sailing through the air for miles and miles. And it was done with excellent form, of course.

__#1__ then made a Ye-ka-ka-ka of the bald eagle and massive one swooped down and snagged __#1__ and __#3__. This eagle dropped them off at the town of __#6__ where the townspeople were busy putting things back together as the __#4’s__ and __#5’s__ were already headed home. After numerous appreciations  and a baker dozens of marriage proposals, __#1__ and __#3__ the __#2__ started off into the sunset. It was bed time anyways. So good ol’ __#1__ decided to make a little place to sleep. That place is now known as the Grand Canyon. Took good ol’ __#1__ a full seven minutes to make.

Now whatever happened to all them __#9’s__? Well, I’ll tell ya. Those __#9’s__ landed and started making a home of their new location. Over time they slowly became human, like you and me. This is why many people don’t believe in __#9’s__. But I’ll tell ya. Them critters aint changed a single bit! The place they now call home is dirty, dangerous and smells worse than __#3__ the __#2’s__ tail did. That place is called __#14__.

Now go on and git. Ya’ll heard enough for one day. You’ll have to come back another time to hear what happened when a pack of __#15’s__ decided to try and drink the mighty Rio Grande! Which was __#1’s__ favorite watering hole.

 

There you go. Print off a copy and take it with you on your next trip outdoors. You’ll have a lot of fun being creative and silly. Which is always half the fun of telling tall tales. Marinos that are madder than a wet hen!  Giddy-up!

0 Comments »

Keeping Bait Alive

Nothing is more frustrating that paying for bait, and then having them die within hours.  Here at Bass Pro shops we understand just how frustrating that can be. The better condition as well as the fresher the meal the larger chance of getting that large fish to bite.  Many anglers talk about hooks, lures and line but overlook the condition of live bait.  This is why we carry a large variety of bait systems that will work for your need as well as your wallet.

 

The Bass Pro Shops Aerator is affordable and comes with 2 speeds.  This aerator will run for 30 hours on 1 "D" cell battery.  Heavy duty and water resistant this aerator will not break your wallet.

bps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frabill makes the Aqualife Bait Station.  With all electric components sealed in a upper watertight compartment this station is exactly what you want for being near the water.  The station has a removable foam liner which insulates the bait and a micro bubble oxygen diffuser.   To top it all off this station is waterproof and has a built in light that illuminates the interior. 

aqua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frabill Crawler Can is great for nightcrawlers and leeches.  The system has a dual compartment where you can store ice in one side and bait in another.  The insulated foam liner will hold 2 to 3 dozen worms.  Perfect for a hot summer night.

 

 

crawler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need something a little larger?  Well look no further than the  Frabill Habitat II which will hold up to 8 dozen worms.  Insulated with extra thick foam it will keep the bedding nice and cool.  Molded aeration holes provide fresh air circulation ,and the bedding will keep them healthy until you are ready to use them.

hab II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, don't forget to keep your bait healthy.  It will be less costly and it will be a great pay off when you keep getting all those fish.

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

0 Comments »

Kayaks and more

Imagine it’s the weekend or holidays and you are finally at the lake, but you are still tense and are awake way too early. Quietly you get out of bed (or your sleeping bag) and head outside. Standing in the stillness you inhale the fresh air and take in the mist that rises over the glass-like water. It’s cool but light as the sun starts to make it’s journey in the sky.  The only sounds are the birds and water gently lapping against the shore. The serenity of the moment begins to work on all the muscles that you’ve been holding tense all week (or all month.. all year).  You feel all tension slipping away. As your soul begins to recharge you head to the beach where your kayak waits patiently. Once your pfd is donned. the kayak is carefully placed into the water. There is a slight wobble as you climb in.  Grasping your paddle in both hands you head off. Destination relaxation. As you paddle around the lake you see the world through new eyes as  your soul is filled with peace.

Does that sound idyllic?

Maybe it’s time to start looking into adding kayaking as a new addition to your life. Kayaks are not only great exercise but they allow you to go to different lakes or rivers. You don’t need a cottage or a weekend at a campground. Just pack a lunch and snacks, a few little essentials and just head to a local lake for a couple hours of stress relief.

We have kept our inventory focused on the popular Ascend kayaks this summer but we also have the tandem Twin Heron by Old Town,  the modular Apollo (can be solo or tandem depending on whether you go with two or three segments) by Point 65 or the Stealth 9 by Malibu, All Ascend kayaks are made of high density polyethylene, which is a very tough plastic. The Ascend Kayaks are a little wider then other kayaks which allows for more stability and comfort.

The first model is a budget friendly basic beginner level kayak called the A10. At 9’10”  long,  28.5” wide and weighing only 44 pounds  this kayak will suit most people.  It comes in red or blue with a removable steel framed mesh seat and storage area with a bungee support that will hold a 36 quart cooler.

Second in line is the D10. This kayak has the same dimensions as the A10 but has added features; foot braces, a removable steel frame padded seat, cushioned thigh pads and covered stern-well that will hold a 36 quart cooler. The colour choices are red/black or purple/black.

The D10T was introduced this year, a sit on kayak with a custom designed hull for great stability (you can even stand on it!!!) foot braces, adjustable padded seat and loads of storage space. It is 10’ long, 34” wide and only 52 pounds. It  comes in red/black or titanium grey.

Next we have the D12. Stretching out a full 12 feet, this 74 pound kayak has a specialized hull design for speed, better load carrying, easy paddling and good handling in rougher waters. It comes with foot braces, two storage areas (including a dry well), 5” deck plate storage hatch for small items like your wallet, fishing license, cell-phone and keys)  and bungee system to keep all your gear with you. Colour choices are blue/black or red/black.

If you are an angler you will love the next four models in the Ascend line.

The FS10 is one of our most popular kayaks. It’s 10’2” length is perfect for most anglers. The wide cockpit allows for greater movement and stability. There are two flush rod mount holders and a fully adjustable rod tender (I don’t fish but the guys in the fishing department assure me this is a good thing to have). There are also two 4” cleats for anchoring a fish bucket or stringer. Dual bungee paddle keepers and a comfortable seat make this kayak a great choice for anglers who want to go to those tucked away places. It comes in camouflage or titanium Then we have the FS12. This 12 foot beauty is full of great features; integrated rod storage tube, full tackle rod tender on the starboard side and two rod holders behind the seat. It also has an adjustable anchor system, foot braces, cushioned thigh pads, 5” deck plate storage hatch, two big storage areas (one covered one dry) and a very comfortable seat.  You can chose from desert storm or camouflage.

Another option is the FS12T sit on kayak. This 68 pound kayak has an ultra stable hull for maximum comfort, stability and manoeuvrability. It has a moulded five position foot rest and padded seat for comfort. There are also two flush rod mount rod holders, full tackle rod tender, two storage areas and a catch all tray with two colour choices; sand or olive.

Finally we have the last in our Ascend line, a behemoth at 12 feet 8 inches in length; The FS128T. This kayak is a sit on like none we have had before. Available in camouflage or desert storm, this kayak is made to sit or stand  fish on with a tunnel hull design and solid casting platform. It also has a removable swivel seat, lots of storage, adjustable foot braces,  flush rod mounts and a rod tender.

If you prefer to have company when you meander around the lake you might want to look at canoes instead. The Old Town canoes start with the 3 person 14’ 6” Saranac then move into the 14’ Rockport and Rogue River. We also have a 16’ Saranac and 15’4” Rogue River square back.

If you think kayaking or canoeing sounds like it might be a good fit for you, visit our Vaughan store and check out our selection (the majority of boats are outside but we do have one of each Ascend model inside). If you have any questions about kayaking, canoeing or camping in general please see one of the camping associates.

Happy Paddling!

Melanie

Team Lead

Camping Department

Bass Pro Shops

Vaughan, Ontario

0 Comments »

EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT, GREAT PLAINS AND NORTHEAST!

Wow, with the great mild February weather we have been experiencing in the Destin area, now is the best time to clean up those yards and outdoor living areas before Spring gets underway.  The songbirds have already started their chirping and mating calls, so it's time to clean out those old bird houses or add some new ones.  Seed and suet feeders should be cleaned and restocked with fresh food.  Don't forget to scrub that hummingbird feeder before setting it out once warmer weather and the hummingbirds return.

It's also a great time, while the weather is mild and not too hot, to clean up those flower beds and planting areas.  While you are at it, add a generous amount of compost and peat to the existing soil.  Now is a great time to build a compost bin and put that lawn waste you will generate this year to good use.  Plan on planting a variety of nectar bearing flowers that will attract not only many species of birds, but will benefit your yard and garden with the presence of pollinating bees.

Bass Pro Shops Gift Department carries a large assortment of home and garden items that can turn your backyard into an attractive showcase.  From blue bird houses to seed feeders, suet frames, and hummingbird supplies, to the brackets that hold them, Bass Pro Shops has what you need.  We even carry a variety of birdseeds and hummingbird nectar and birding books to get you started and keep it interesting.

Another neat item to consider is one of Bass Pro Shops' weather stations,  Several models have exterior mounted thermometers, hygrometers (relative humidity), anemometers (wind speed and direction), and rain gauges that send the information to a central display inside your home.  Weather stations from Bass Pro Shops are a fun and educational way to keep up with the changing weather trends where you live.

So, take advantage of the mild weather we are having.  Air out those sleeping bags, re-spool those reels, wash that kayak or boat, clean that grill or smoker, and get those yards ready to be a showcase once spring growth begins.

Gary Feduccia

0 Comments »

Look What's in Camping!

Last month, I gave you a little bit of information about our gifts department. I hope that you read and enjoyed "It's All About the Gift"  (http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-leeds-al/its-all-about-the-gift) published on January 16th. This month I would like to focus on our camping department.

Bass Pro Shops camping department has it all! Whether you are gearing up for a camping trip, planning an outdoor barbeque, processing your own meat, or simply looking to accessorize your vehicle, our camping department can help you with any task. If you haven't had a chance to take a stroll though our camping department, let me tell you what all you are missing! You are missing hundreds of items featuring various name brands at bargain prices. Now, in order to see them all, you will have to come into the store and stroll isle after isle, but, I will try to highlight what I can (until you can make the trip)!

Tent

Our camping department has a vast selection of your basic camping needs. We feature a variety of tents to fit your needs including cabin tents, backpacking tents, and dome tents. Whether you're looking for a tent to fit just one person or a whole family, I am sure we have one that is sure to be the right size. We carry great name brands such as Boulder Creek, Ascend, Coleman, http://www.coleman.com/Products/11000/tents and (of course) Bass Pro Shops.  We also carry all of your tent accessory needs including, but not limited to, extra stakes, tent fans, tent lights, and replacement poles. In order to sleep in your tent, you must make a decision about a sleeping bag. Come check out our hugh selection of sleeping bags from Ascend, Bass Pro Shops, Coleman, Redhead, and North Face. If a sleeping bag is not in the cards for you, we have other alternatives including cots, sleeping pads, and air beds.            http://www.basspro.com/Brand-Boulder-Creek/Camping-Tents/_/N-1z0vai1Z1z0ux88

 

   First aid kit               

After the decision of what type of tent and sleeping bag suites your needs, don't forget about all of the other camping accessories. We offer a variety of toilets and showers. (Which my daughter believes are the absolute must-haves for camping!) We also have various sunblocks, repellents including ThermaCell, water treatments, vacuum bottles, and heaters.You definitely do not want to leave home without a map and a compass. Our camping department has a variety of maps available for you! One thing I know is a must have on my check list, when we go camping, is a first aid kit. Our camping department has an assortment of first aid kits to fit your needs.

yeti

 

Coolers are also a must have for the camping trip. We offer a variety of sizes and name brands of coolers, including the indestructible Yeti! Camping stoves, camping cookware, camping tableware, and flashlights should round out your list of supplies. We have a vast selection to choose from including our extensive collection of Lodge cast iron cookware. If you are in to the simple side of meals, check out our freeze dried meals. They are lightweight and easy to pack.

 

Canoe

If your camping trip takes you into an area of rugged terrain, try picking up a couple of trekking poles to help you make the climb. If you do plan on taking a long hike while you are camping, don't forget to check out the backpacks that are available in our camping department. If your walk leads you to search for treasure, don't forget to take a metal detector with you. Regardless of whether you are taking a short trip or long one, don't forget to get a camel back to help you with your hydration. If you find that hiking is not on your list of things to do, maybe you would be interested to know that we sell a variety of canoes and kayaks.

Grill

 

Did you know that our camping department is more than just camping supplies? We also offer a large variety of grills. Yes, I realize that the two are connected but, you don't have to go camping to use a grill and you don't have to own a grill just to go camping. Our grill selection includes names such as Brinkman, Browning, Char-griller, Coleman, and Masterbuilt. We have grills that are made for propane, charcoal, or both. We sell flavored wood chips and lump charcoal, along with marinades and seasonings. We offer fryers, as well. We have deep fryers, fish fryers, and turkey fryers for all your wild game cooking needs.

 

dehydrator

Along with our selection of grills and fryers, we have all your essential needs to process your own meat. We carry meat grinders, meat slicers, wild game processing kits, food savers, and dehydrators. We have all of your processing needs including sleeves for sausage and seasoning mixes. Once the meat is processed, you can freeze it using one our our food savers or get it ready to fry by using a breader.

 

truck

 

Last, but certainly not least, our camping department offers a variety of accessories for your vehicle. From floor mats to seat covers, we have the vehicle accessory that you are looking for. We carry steering wheel covers, key chains and air fresheners from names brands like RedHead, Browning, and Bone Collector. Don't forget to check out our decals, license plate frames, and car covers. We also have deer alert sets for your vehicle. While you are here, check out our GPS selection in the marine department.

Well, I hope that the next time you are in the store, you will check out our camping department. Until next month.... Enjoy the outdoors!

 

http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/checklists.htm

http://www.coleman.com/checklists/

0 Comments »

Catching South Carolina stripers, Alabama stlye

What would cause a man to get out of bed at 3:30am on a January morning when the air temp is 28 degrees? What would cause a person to get up at that insane hour on their day off…the fish must be biting!

My friends were discussing that the stripers were starting to move up in the river on Lake Murray. So a friend and I met up around 4 am and headed south with visions of hooking up with some quality stripers. After a couple of hours of driving and swapping fish tales we arrived at our destination(to remain unknown as we fisherman cant share all our secrets.)

We were the 6th boat to launch that morning and we were ready to go at day break, however mother nature had another idea. As we were idling out of the no wake zone we ran into a wall of fog that was thick. It was so thick that we couldn’t see past a cast length in front of the boat. As hard as it was not to plow through and use our gps to get out to the honey hole, common sense prevailed as we waited out the fog.

wall of fog

 

Once we were able to get moving we made a quick run up in the river and it wasn’t long before we saw the birds chasing some bait and it soon after it was on. For those of you who don't know, when the birds go for bait fish in the water, this means that the stripers are usually the cause of this phenomenon. As the striper chase up the bait fish the birds take advantage. So when you see birds feeding there is a good chance some fish is pushing that bait to the surface.

Our bait of choice was the Alabama rig. I am not a huge fan of the rig, however there are times and applications when it is hard to beat. I was throwing 2 different rig combinations over the day and caught fish on both presentations. I was throwing a Bass Pro Shop deadly five on 50 lb power pro. I teamed that up with a Bass Pro Shop Pro Qualifier reel and a 7 ft heavy carbon light rod.

BPS Deadly 5power pro

 

pro qualifiercarbonlight

 

 

It didn’t take long find out that the fishing was gonna be tough. Several boats were chasing birds while others were drifting with minnows and corks, but no one was hooking up…including us.

After getting over the early frustration and disappointment we began to notice small pockets of bait fish popping near the banks. So far that morning we had been fishing the creek channels like everyone else. When things are rough its always a good idea to change things up. We eased our way into the shallows and began to chunk our A - rigs toward the bank. On my first cast to the skinny water I hooked up with a nice Lake Murray striper. If you have never thrown the Rig on braid and hooked up with a striper, let me warn you that it can be..AWESOME…

It almost ripped the rod from my hands when it hammered my KVD swim’n caffeine shad.

Swim'n Caffeine KVD Strike King

 

To make a long story short we landed that fish and over the next couple of hours several more stripers were tamed.

When we went back to the ramp several boats were leaving the lake early, most of them said they were leaving because they hadn’t caught any stripers. We were leaving because we had reached our limit.

limit reached limit reached 2

Bragging at the Ramp!

On the way home we talked about the choices we made and the attention to detail that allowed us make a simple adjustment that turned our day from a disappointment to a success.

As Jimmy V use to say ..”never give up”… when your day on the water is not going as planned, just clear your head, look around and use your experiences to help you figure out a game plan to change your day.

Good luck, tight lines and God Bless!

Until next time, Eric Winter

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments »

Toy Shopping at Bass Pro Shops

Yes - It's that time of year already!  Time to start thinking about the perfect gift for that child, grandchild, niece or nephew.  Here at Bass Pro Shops we can help.  

Air Hunterz ZX Cross-Bow is a great alternative to darts.  The cross-bow shoots 50 feet and is made of foam so it won't harm any furniture.  Air Hunterz also has sling shots, guns and bows. 

How about the Bass Pro Shops Adventure Toy Sets?  We have a variety of toy sets to pick from.  The Nitro Bass Boat or the Girlz Sporting Dog Vet Set are popular. If those don't do it well we have many more adventure sets to pick from.

Now for your little fishing partner we have a wide assortment of giant stuffed fish.  Dolphins, Catfish, and Trout just to name a few.  We have puzzles and great games such as Horse-opoly,  Whitetail-opoly, Lab-opoly, and Fishin'-opoly board games.  Here is a great game to take in the car.  Its called Find It Camo/On a Scavenger Hunt,  this game is self contained and easy to transport.  You have to find 47 hidden objects buried in recycled plastic pellets.  Spin it - Shake it - Twist it to find your objects.  FUN FUN FUN!

Now on to a safe fun guns.  We have the Marshmallow Blaster that shoots mini marshmallows or if that is too messy try the good old fashioned pop gun for kids.  We have traditional or pink.  You can't go wrong.  What about your little bug enthusiast,  Backyard Safari has just the perfect thing.  Perfect for ages 5 and up Backyard Safari has binoculars, a cargo vest, net, lantern, compass, and last but not least a bug vacuum. Yes -  I said bug vacuum and it does work!  To top it all off the Insect  Lore Campfire Kids Log Cabin Tent - this pop up tent is great for the floor or on top of a bed.

How about a 53"x57" Black Bear Rug for your little one to cuddle on.  What a great Christmas picture that would make!

As you can see we are ready for you to start that Christmas Shopping.  So stop on by.

Robin Piedmonte-Events Coordinator

 

bug vacpop gunvetstuffed fish pillow

 

camo gamenitroblack bear rugtentcross bowmarshmallow

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments »

Peeler Crab and such...

We headed out with catching on all of our minds.  As soon as we loaded up with live baits of all sizes we made our way to the back side of the snapper banks sometimes referred to as the Grand Banks.  I haven’t been out to this area since they closed “red snapper.”  However, with Sunday September 23, 2012 being one of those red snapper keeping days I decided to make the run. 

On the ride to the south east we talked, we ate sandwiches, and made bets on whom might be able to brag about catching the biggest fish.  It was pre-decided that Captain Triple Trouble would jig and Captain Bob would use live bait while fishing right on the bottom. Captain Frank was to use both squid and live bait.  I was (Captain Judy) going to try something a little different, which was peeler crabs.  Bob and Diane Lowery have a commercial crabbing business in Savannah, Georgia.  This is one husband and wife duo that knows where the crabs walk at all times of the year.   Over the years I have learned a lot about the whereabouts of blue crab from them.  For instance:  I do know that during the cold months blue crabs travel the deepest part of the channel.  So if you want to catch them that is where you will have to look. Believe me you best bet is to call Bob and Diane if you want blue crabs for any event!!

Peeler Crab

Peeler crab that has shed it shell

 I took my peeler crab, stuck a circle hook all the way through the crab’s body.  I placed the hook at the point end of the crab, because this is the area where there isn’t any vital parts and dropped it to the bottom.  My leader was a standard Carolina rig style, which is 8 ounce egg threaded on to main line then 8 mm plastic ball and then I tied on a 100 pound test snap swivel.  As far as my leader:  I tied about three feet of 100 pound test monofilament to a 9/0 circle hook and then to 100 pound test swivel.  When using crabs as bait it’s suggested to use a shorter leader.  Please know that it’s is always best to use a much longer leader when targeting grouper! Types of live bait used also determined the length of leader used.  When using a bottom hugging such as a sand perch or rock bass I suggest using a leader as long as 30 feet.  I know this sounds crazy.  However, it’s not.  A large fish will loose interest before it follows the leader to the end of the line. The longer length offers bait more free swimming freedom.  Heck, I have even known the baits to swim right inside of the ledge where the grouper is holding.  Shorter leader such as 6 to 12 feet are good to use when using live bait such as ruby red lips, pin fish, cigar minnows, and Spanish sardines. The bottom line here about baits is simple “longer leaders for bait with larger air bladders and shorter leaders for those that don’t. 

How a fishing line is formed! Here’s your sign, Fish Here!

Trolling Time

Trolling Time has arrived!!

For those the want to do a little trolling the edge is slowing forming.  My definition of the Gulf Stream ledge:  When the western cooler waters meet the warmer Gulf Stream waters a wall is formed.  The western waters move east and west having a slight shift to the south.  The Gulf Stream water moves to the north at quite a steady clip, which boils down to about 3.8 knots and more.  When water moving east meets water moving north an edge is formed.  The edge brings on the attentions of small fish, which in turn provides the prefect target rich environment for the larger fish.  When the western waters start to move to the west depending on certain conditions the stream is sometimes shifted inshore a bit. 

To locate a serious edge keep an eye on your temperature gauge.  Back in the old days there were no temperature gauges.  We used our talented eyes to make the call.  The darker blue the water the warmer is seems to be.  When two different water temperatures meets on the surface a line is formed.  Sargasso weed, flotsam, jetsam, all colors and types of jelly fish some times show us fishermen the way. 

Freshies Report

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site http://www.fishinglanier.com/contact.html for all the details!  For more details go http://stores.ebay.com/Fishy-Racer http://www.youtube.com/fishyracer www.cafepress.com/grapefruitshop

http://fishinglanier.com/

Little Miss Judy Believe It or Not!

Pearling Expedition!

“Pearling Expedition”

My father would have said, “Only pick the oysters that are below the water line!”  Now can’t you just see me now wading around in my father old boots, which were cut from a pair of his waders, looking for the prefect oyster?  You know the one with the pear!!   Now for the rest of the story, “I never found a pearl and never thought to just stop looking!”

“Pearling Expedition”

My father was an avid hunter.  He loved to hunt and fish. I went with him everywhere on his adventures. One of his favorite things to do was to go to his so-called private oyster beds, pick out a few, and eat them right on the spot.  Heck, I even joined in on this one.  As a child and adult I have always loved raw oysters. When daddy and I would go on an oyster hunt it was always a lot of fun.  I loved playing in the mud and also I didn’t mind too much picking up the oysters.  My father’s secret place was located in Bull River.  It was a great spot for picking oysters. According to my father it was perfect, because even at the lowest tide stage his oyster beds were still right under the water.  My father always maintained that oysters that spent too much time out of the water during a tide change tasted differently. As a child I was always looking for that white pearl. As I got older and smarter I realized that daddy was only telling me that because it put a twist on the collecting.  In other words, it made me happy to help as long as a pearl might be had.  As you all know our oysters don’t usually produce pearls.  At the time I wasn’t privy to that information.  So therefore it was just an oyster hunt to daddy.  However for me it was what I considered a “pearling expedition.”  

We had to use proper footwear for the occasion. My father had these big black thick rubber boots of which he had cut off of his retired duck waders.  Back in the old days I don’t think rubber boots even came in children size.  So therefore I wore daddy’s old pair.  They were big but we found out that if I wore my shoes inside of his boots it wasn’t too bad.  As we headed out, we would pull the old wooden rowboat behind our big boat.      As we gathered the oysters we dumped them into the rowboat. When we were tired the oyster hunt came to an end and we went home.  Now that I think about it no matter what we were doing when daddy was tried we stopped and moved on.

Upon arriving home it was time to cook the oysters. We had to wash them.  Believe me there were no power washers during this day and time.  It was called “Judy Washer!”  So we sprayed them with water and then brush them to get them clean.  It definitely took longer to clean them than it did to cook them. According to my father there were three  types of cooked oysters.  There were the “warmers, semi steamed, and open ones.”

The first two had lots of juice, which is referred to “oyster liquor.” His favorite thing to do was to loosen the so-called oyster’s anchor, which was attached to the inside shell, lift the shell up, and pour it in the old mouth.  Occasionally you might see him add a few drops of hot sauce. There was only juice available in the first two stages of cooking.  I like them cooked in all stages, but the last was my favorite.  I didn’t have to bother with trying to get them open.  They were already popped open, easy to get unanchored, ready for dipping in cocktail sauce, and fit prefect on top of a saltine cracker.  I’m sorry that I can’t finish this story, because I’m leaving to go get me some oysters!  And since there is an “R” in this month they should be real good no matter how we cook them!!

0 Comments »

Fall Fishing Patterns

Ed Nelson

                                                                  By Ed Nelson

 

     Well it’s finally here, the second magical time of year. First, you waited all winter for the bass to spawn. What a blast that was, sight fishing for big females and males so aggressive they could be caught one cast after another. Then the dog days of summer with its crowded ramps, boating traffic, 100 degree heat index with unbearable humidity and the fish didn’t have it any easier. They had to endure 90+ degree water temps, unbelievable fishing pressure and near constant boating traffic. I don’t know about you but I’m glad it’s over.

 

    Now, I can probably guess what a lot of you are thinking; “It’s still in the 90’s”. As I’ve always said, look at it from the fish’s perspective. The outside air temps might still be in the 90’s but the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. If you couple that with much lower humidity, then the water is spending more time cooling off in the evening than it is heating up during the day. Add in the decrease in boating traffic and fishing pressure (tourists have gone home and hunting season has opened) and top it off with the bass moving shallow as the water cools and…..Presto…. I give you, Fall Fishing.

 

    Patterning fall bass is a matter of finding the bass (location pattern) and matching the hatch (presentation pattern). The location pattern will be based on water temperature and water level. Even though the bass are wanting to go shallow this time of year some impoundments start to drop the water level down to winter pool. If this happens then the bass will actually move deeper or stay in their summer holding areas till the water stabilizes and then start their fall migration shallow. The best location method for this time of year is to pick a direction. Start shallow and work progressively deeper or start with typical summer haunts and work your way shallow. I personally prefer to start with some map study and find areas where the fish will eventually end up. I like a good feeding flat with either deep water access near-by or even better a creek channel leading in that the bass will use as a highway. From there I look for the main lake point that the creek channel passes closest to on its way to the flat. That’s where I like to begin fishing. I will work the main lake point first then follow the “highway” to the flat paying careful attention to any key areas I might pass along the way like humps, creek channel junctions, rock piles, trees and any other cover or structure. This way, I’m following the bass along the path of their fall migration.

Topo Map

    Your presentation pattern can be as simple. If you remember during the spawn, we patterned our presentations towards nature’s egg-stealers. We used baits that mimicked Bluegill, Crawfish and Salamanders because bass that are protecting their beds tend to be extremely aggressive towards them. Well, in the fall it’s all about the shad. Shad are going to be the main forage this time of year. That’s not to say that a bass won’t hit a frog when they are in real shallow water or a crawfish especially after a cold front has them tight to the bottom or buried up in cover, but when they are active in the fall, its shad that are on the menu. Once again you need to match the hatch. Spinnerbaits, Buzz-baits, Crankbaits and Topwaters all produce this time of year. You have to let the bass tell you what they want on that particular day. Look at the type of area you are going to fish and choose the bait that best covers the depth of water and/or type of structure you are targeting.

Hoppys Lures Spinnerbait

      Spinnerbaits are an excellent lure choice this time of year. They can be fished at any depth and through any cover. They are an excellent shad imitation. The skirt color can be changed to match the hue of any baitfish. The blades flash like the shiny sides of a shad and they also displace water which creates a vibration that the bass can sense with its lateral line.  Presentation can be as simple as cast and retrieve. Some days they want it fished fast overhead and other days you have to slow-roll it down the contour of the lake bottom. I’ve even had some success hopping it or jigging it down main lake points. You just have to experiment with different retrieves and presentations.

Hoppys Lures BuzzBait

    Buzz-baits are another excellent choice this time of year. They make a lot of noise when reeled in and can draw bass out from their hiding places. They work well in shallow cover, in off colored water and even over deep water. They produce best in the morning and on overcast or windy days. With this bait your presentation truly is as simple as cast and retrieve. On hint, whenever you are throwing a Buzz-bait always have a follow-up bait rigged. My favorite is a soft plastic stick-bait, Texas-rigged weightless, in a color to match the Buzz-bait’s skirt color. When you miss a fish (which is common) immediately cast back at that spot with the follow-up bait and many times you can get that missed fish.

BPS Crankbaits

   Crankbaits are a true shad imitation. They look like shad, they swim like shad and bass eat them like they’re shad. Their greatest asset is that they swim at a controlled depth. This makes them great for thoroughly covering a specific depth of water. Unlike a spinnerbait that will continue to sink until you begin your retrieve, your crankbait will return to the same depth on each cast. This is great for working the edge of the creek channel or the top of a grass-line.  Also, carrying 2 big treble hooks makes them pretty efficient at hooking fish.

BPS Topwater

    Topwater baits are not only a highly effective method for catching bass this time of year but when the bite is on its by-far the most exciting. Seeing big fish explode on topwater is one of the great thrills in bass fishing. I choose the type of topwater bait I’m going to throw that day by the chop on the water. If it a calm day I’ll usually start out with a popper, for a little breeze I’ll go to a walking bait, and for a heavy breeze or if I’m trying to draw fish out of deep water I like a prop bait. I let the conditions dictate my choice of topwater baits. For those of you who have never tried topwater, there is one golden rule; don’t set the hook until you feel to fish. If you set the hook on the blow-up you’ll miss more fish than you’ll catch.

 

    Bass fishing in the fall is some of the best of the year. You’re not going to be hooking into the big egg-laden females of spring but the humidity is down, the crowds are gone, most of your buddies are in their tree-stands and the bass are more than willing to bite. They can sense that winter is around the corner and its time to fatten up. So get out there and enjoy some quality bass fishing or more importantly a relaxing day on the water.

 

For a more in-depth discussion of fall fishing patterns or any other bass fishing questions drop me a line on my blog at basspro.com or Bass Pro Shops Facebook page. You can contact me directly on Facebook at Hoppy’s Lures or YouTube at fyafishing and as always feel free to come visit me at Bass Pro Shop. Just ask for Ed.

 

Tight lines to all and to my bass fishing brethren “See you at the scales”

2 Comments »