Fishing With Youth

Fishing with kids

A day out fishing is one of the most relaxing and fun ways to spend a day off from work, but taking the kids out with you can quickly complicate the relaxing part if a fisherman is not careful. The trick for kids is to constantly keep them occupied with something while teaching them how to fish like a sportsman. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep the kids busy and entertained while teaching them the ins and outs of fishing on the lakes and rivers.

The first step to getting the kids hooked on fishing is to have them experience the thrill of reeling in a fish. A quick way to do this is get them a rod that fits their size, for the really little between 2 and 7 years old a rod like the Shakespeare® Disney Princess® Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the girls or the Shakespeare® Spiderman™ Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the boys. These colorful rods and reels are small and built for a child’s grip while still being a functional combo for the kids.


For the kids a little older a great combo for them would be the Zebco® 202® Spincast Rod and Reel Combo, the bigger size lets older kids get the feel of the rod and reel, while still giving the simplicity of the spincast setup. Finally for the kids that have a little experience in fishing a good combo is Bass Pro Shop’s Brawler Spinning Rod and Reel Combo. This rig lets the kids get a feel for the action of a better rod and reel while still having the versatility that is needed for a learning kid.

spinning rodzebco

Now that the rod and reels are all set up and ready it is time for the bait and tackle for the kids. When it comes to fishing with kids a simple rig with bait is the easiest way to do it. For the kids between 2 and 7 a simple rig with a small hook like the Bass Pro Shops® Baitholder Hook, where the hook helps hold the kids bait on the hook so after every cast they don’t have to replace the bait. About 6 inches above the hook putting a float for the little kids is a good idea, a good float for this is the Bass Pro Shops® Round Plastic Float. These floats allow the kids to feel and see when they have a bite and get them actively engaged in the fishing. Now, how should a hook be baited for a kid is the big question for many people teaching kids how to fish. The simple answer is to bait the hook with a live night crawler. This rig will almost always get a strike from the fish around the lake and river, everything from bluegill to bass and everything in between.


Now that the bait and tackle is all figured out it is time to head out to the lake or river to find the fish. The places to look for fish on the river can be a little trickier than on the lake so finding the kids a good fishing spot is key. The best spots one a river for easy fishing would be in the deep pools in a bend on the river. Having the kids cast out to the far end of the deep hole, then every few seconds reel in the bait just a little till it is in the middle of the open and deep hole. If instead the family is heading to the lake then here are some spots to look for the kids to fish. An area where there are a lot of dead stumps sticking out of the water. Have the kids cast into the middle of the stumps and watch the bobber for a bite. Or if on a deeper lake have the kids instead stand on the dock and drop their bait just over the side. Finally if on a boat and fishing find an area inside a cove where a creek or stream enters the lake and have them cast over top of the entrance of the stream. These spots are great for the kids to get a quick bite and hook them for life on fishing.

The rods are packed, the bait is ready in the cooler and the spot is picked out for the family to go. It is finally time for the kids and the rest of the family to go fishing! As always happy hunting and good luck!


Preparing Your Home For Disaster

Disaster can happen to you, not just to people you don't know in some far away town. It can come in many shapes and forms. Tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, all carry potentially life-threatening circumstances, and in some cases, help may not come for days or even weeks. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, it would be wise to be prepared for the worst in any situation.

The first step is to know your area and be knowledgeable about what kind of disasters are most likely to happen. Is your area prone to hurricanes? Tornadoes? Is your home in a low-lying area where flooding is possible? Each circumstance carries its own unique set of challenges, and knowing what is likely will help you to prepare for the specific dangers of each event.

However, we humans have needs that must be met in any circumstance, and these needs are threatened by any disaster. Here are some suggestions to ensure you and your family's basic needs in a home survival situation, all of which can be found at your Bass Pro Shops Camping Department.

Drinkable water is probably our most urgent need. Our bodies need it to maintain an incredible array of functions, and without it we will expire within 3 to 5 days in the most ideal of conditions. In many disaster situations, infrastructure that brings clean running water to our homes may be damaged. It is always a good idea to have a stock of emergency bottled water in your home. However, considering water is so important, it is important to have alternative means of acquiring potable water. While boiling water will kill most bacteria and pathogens, a small, easy-to-use water filtration system such as the Sawyer Squeeze Filter will allow you to filter particles like dirt, protozoa, and bacteria from water using a hollow-fiber membrane system. Using such a system, you can drink directly from this source or fill containers for storage, and most Sawyer products are guaranteed to be effective in filtering up to 1,000,000 gallons of water.

Secondly, we must have food. While it is possible to survive a relatively long time without food, hunger will leave you weak and unable to deal with the many other challenges that may befall you in a disaster situation. Having a stock of non-perishable foods in your home is a good idea at any time, and freeze dried foods such as those by Mountain House or Backpacker's Pantry are an ideal option for emergency preparedness as well as camping. These products are very diverse, lightweight, easy to prepare meals that provide the comfort and morale boost of a hot, tasty meal. While canned foods may keep for a couple years, these foods can keep your emergency pantry stocked for 7 to 25 years!

In addition, we need shelter. We must keep warm, dry, and safe from the elements. An emergency tent may be a good thing to keep in the event that your home is damaged. But equally important may be an emergency bivouac sack, such as the Sol Emergency Bivvy, a compact, lightweight, weatherproof shelter that reflects 90% of body heat to keep you warm and dry in extreme conditions. These could also be used to make a tent in a pinch and, because of their bright orange color, could be used to signal for help in conditions where you may otherwise be difficult to spot.

Lastly, you will likely need fire. For warmth, to cook food or boil water, to see in the dark, or even to signal others, fire serves a great many purposes. It is important to keep waterproof tinder, such as UST's Wetfire Tinder or Coghlan's Fire Sticks and a means to start the fire, such as waterproof matches or a fire starting tool such as a Blastmatch.

There are many other things that could prove essential in surviving a disaster situation. A versatile first aid kit, a lantern, cookware, any item or any bit of knowledge may improve your chances in a survival situation. Bass Pro Shops carries a variety of survival manuals that go into much more detail specific to a wide variety of situations. Knowledge and organization may save your life in a situation such as this. Make a list, know what you have, where it is, and how to use it. Keep learning and keep preparing. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.





Get A Good Fit For Beginner Shooters

So you're thinking of starting your child into shotgun shooting? Well first make sure they are ready: tall enough, mentally mature, and most important make sure the gun fits! Mossberg 410There is nothing that will discourage a child from shooting more than excessive recoil.  Shooting with a shotgun that does not fit properly can be one of the leading causes of excessive felt recoil.

When teaching youngsters to shoot use light loads and stationary targets at first then slow targets to gain their confidence. Mossberg and Remington both have guns that have shims that can be added to the gun as the child grows. These guns can be purchased at your local Bass Pro Shops, and any associate at the gun counter can help you with fit.

After making sure the shotgun has a good fit, you should ensure the shooter has the right stance. Feet should be shoulder width apart and if right handed the left toe should be pointing at where you intend to hit the target.  The right leg should be straight and left knee slightly bent. The stock should fit into the shoulder pocket and the face should be on the comb of the stock. Shooting a shotgun is different than shooting a rifle, you should have both eyes open so you won't lose your peripheral vision and your depth perception. Remington 870 JrThen keeping your head down and your eye on the target pull the trigger and follow through with the swing.








One-Stop Shopping for Game and Meat Processing

Bass Pro Shops has everything you need for meat and game processing.  For skinning and quartering your game in the field, we offer complete Game Processing and Knife sets.  Once you get your game home, BPS carries several sizes of the professional grade LEM "Big Bite" meat grinders with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty.  We carry heavy duty Meat Slicers to make anything from steaks to thinner cuts.  For jerky and sausage making, we offer food grade meat tubs and scales, as well as a huge assortment of jerky and sausage seasonings. 

Electric Meat Mixers, Sausage Stuffers, and manual and electric Tenderizers are available as well.  Both natural and collagen sausage casings are in stock and for preserving or freezing your game or catch, we carry large rolls of freezer paper and freezer sheets.  Our selection of Game Saver Vacuum Food Savers will keep your meats, fish, and other foodstuffs fresh much longer without freezer burn.

Even if you don't process game, a meat grinder and slicer will allow you to save big bucks by purchasing large cuts of meats and cutting them into individual portions.  I use my meat grinder to make sausage and hamburger without all the fat in the commercial stuff and avoid the preservatives (nitrites and nitrates) that they include.  I make wonderful beef jerky without preservatives using thinly sliced round steak seasoned and placed in my dehydrator for about 7 hours.  Did I mention that I grind up pork shoulder and mix with my own seasonings for the stuffing in home-made hot tamales?

Make Bass Pro Shops your one-stop shopping place for all of your game or meat processing needs.  Even if you have never tried home-processing before, our selection of equipment will make your experience much easier and help to insure your game and other meat products have a professional quality.

Gary Feduccia


Gear for Cave Exploring

Cave exploring is a guaranteed adventure for almost anyone. While exploring alone is attractive to some taking the whole family on a cave diving adventure is just as fun. Exploring a cathedral room or finding a hidden chamber deep underground is the kind of stuff stories are made of, and in the Ozarks caves are definitely not in short supply. But a cave exploring expedition can become treacherous if the right gear is not on hand to deal with situations that might arise along the way.

First thing any caver is going to need while underground is a good light source. This needs to be not only a steady source of directional light but also a solid design that can take a beating and will not need constant maintenance while in the cave. It is also a good idea to take a few forms of light for exploring underground. A headlamp is the first order of business. For the new caver a simple light that is rugged should be used. The Primos Top Gun LED Headlamp is a good starter headlamp because it has both high and low settings for while in the cave and an easily adjustable head strap to keep the light in place.

LED headlamp

After the headlamp a good idea would be to have a regular flashlight that can be stored in a pocket just in case the headlamp goes out. For this job the Bass Pro Shops® Mini LED Flashlight Combo - 6 Pack, because there are 6 lights in this pack it is easy to put one in a pocket, one in a backpack and hand one to each child in the cave exploring. Also these little lights are very bright and durable making them perfect for the cave!


Another light source that could be used in an absolute emergency would be a chemical light stick or glow stick. A good choice for glow stick would be the Texsport® Glo Lite Stix™, these glow sticks provide 6 hours of continual low light making them good for an emergency in a cave.


The next stumbling block that many cavers will run into while exploring underground, will be dehydration. While the temperature in the cave might be cool and moist, the physical exertion of climbing over rocks and crawling through narrow passages does tend to cause sweating and dehydration. An easy way to avoid this would be to carry a hydration pack with at least a liter of water in it. This pack will need to be durable enough to make it through the cave without tearing a hole in it and keep the water drinkable for an extended period of time. A good pack for the job is the CamelBak® Rogue™ Hydration Pack, with a coated nylon outer casing this hydration pack is great for the scrapes and bumps a caver is going to run into while exploring. Another pack that is great for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 1.5L Hydration Pack, this pack has a low profile and durable polyester coating making it perfect for climbing through tight spaces and over rough surfaces.


In a cave, regular clothing tends to be ripped to shreds on the limestone and gravel that is throughout. So finding the right clothes to cover softer underclothes is needed. Styles that tend to work well for the cave are the coveralls and bib overalls. What a caver should look for in coveralls and bib overalls is the durability and wear ability. If the coveralls are going to fall apart after crawling on knees for a few hundred yards then they are not going to be caving material. While at the same time if the overalls ride up or chafe when walking then they will definitely not be usable in the cramped spaces of a cave. Carhartt® Sandstone Bib Overalls are a great set that fits the bill for the rigors of crawling around a cave. The double ply knees make this pair great for being down and dirty while still remaining comfortable in tight situations.


Now that the clothing is covered it is time for the boots that will be needed in the cave. These boots need to be tough and most certainly waterproof, while also having the traction needed for walking on the slick limestone and loose gravel of the local caves. A good pair of boots that fits the bill is the Columbia Woodburn Mid Waterproof Camo Hiking Boots. This pair of boots has a solid hard sole made for hiking over rough terrain, and is comfortable enough to wear on a long walk, making these boots great for being in a cave environment. Another good set of boots for this job is the RedHead® Osprey Hiking Boots. These waterproof boots have a good set of removable insoles that keep the feet comfortable while providing the support and stability needed for walking and crawling around in a cave environment.


Now that the gear is gathered and clothing is ready to go it is time to head to the cave and go over a few tips and tricks for being in a cave. Before leaving for the cave, it is a good idea to let a friend or relative know the exact location of the cave that is going to be explored. Also tell them how long the trip will take and to contact the proper authorities if a certain amount of time has passes and they don’t get a confirmation that everyone is alright. Keeping a phone turned off in the car is a good idea, while taking a phone into the cave is also important, if more than one phone is available. Note that some phones are able to work well in certain caves so having a phone can come in handy. Keeping a small stock of chemical stick lights is a good way to assure that even if all electronic lights fail there will still be enough light to find a way out of the cave. Finally keeping a length of cord handy, so kids and adults have something to hold on to while walking and keep from getting split up from the group. Now that the gear and tips are dispensed it is finally time to go into the cave! As always happy hunting and good luck! 


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - More Meat Madness!

Our big Meat Snack Madness event continues through October 4!  All you Iowa State Cyclone fans have the weekend off, soUncle Buck's Jerky come on in and visit and pick up some Uncle Buck's Jerky for the next tailgating session. Hawkeye fans, unless you're traveling to Pennsylvania, you might as well stop in, too!

Here's what's happening at the store this weekend!

Saturday, September 20

Try Before You Buy

The Gifts Department is handing out samples of Uncle Buck's Jerky, noon- 4 p.m. at the Jerky Shack! Try the flavors and decide which is your favorite...then maybe make some Jerky Tomato Sauce or Jerky Potato Soup!

Sunday, September 21

Jay Green and his K-9/hospital therapy-trained dog Zeus will be doing a dog obedience demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in front of the main aquarium.

The Gifts Department is, once again, handing out samples of Uncle Buck's Jerky, noon- 4 p.m. at the Jerky Shack!



Fall Fishing Event - September 27 & 28. featuring a Beginning Fishing Workshop for kids, craft, and various fall fishing seminars.

Outdoor Rewards Night, Sunday, October 5, 6 – 9 p.m.

Halloween Event!  Friday, October 24 – Friday, October 31 - Free photos as well as other fun activities!


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Fall Walleye Fishing

Fishing for small fish like crappie and sunfish might be fun for the kids but sometimes having a little adult fishing is just what is needed. This is where fishing for walleye comes into play. These fish grow large in the temperate waterways and lakes here locally, and are great fish to fight on a line. But the best thing about walleye is definitely their meat. This firm, white and mild tasting meat is perfect for everything from a fillet to a grilled medallion. Here are some tips and tricks for catching the walleye of the year.

The first thing many people who fish for walleye will notice is their mouth full of teeth, this is due to their place as one of the apex predators in the waters. On the other hand there is another feature of the walleye that fishermen need to look at in order to get a sense of how they hunt. This is the eyes, walleye have big and often times oversized looking eyes. Given this fact walleye are very susceptible to changes in light, particularly increases in light. So when fishing for walleye it is good to time the day around what fish you are looking for. If you are spending the entire day on the water fishing, try out walleye fishing in the early morning, in the evenings, on cloudy days, or days when wind puts chop in the water. During other times of day, or when the conditions are not right it is probably safe to try catching other fish in the area. When the light is right or the conditions are right for walleye fishing it is often a good idea to use a Strike King® Pro-Model® Walleye Crankbait, throwing this bait across an area with a lot of bait fish and cranking it steadily will give the action that the walleye can’t resist giving a rapid strike.

Strike King

Another solution to getting the walleye to bite is to simply go trolling with a specific rig set up for walleye. This is usually a crankbait or a bottom bouncer with a live night crawler or minnow strung through the hooks. A good crankbait for this is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Nitro Shad Dancer Crankbait, this lure has the shine of a shad while also having the action of an injured shad. This along with a wiggling minnow or night crawler in the hooks will be irresistible to the walleye in the direct area.

Nitro Shad

If trolling is not the best thing for a fisherman then using the wind to propel the boat through the water is another idea for the new walleye fisherman. While the wind is pushing the boat drop a jig along the bottom for the walleye to get a shot at. One of the jigs of choice would be the ERC Jig-A-Beast Swim Jig, accept remove the minnow attachment on the bottom and replace it by running the hook through a Bass Pro Shops Double-Dipped Tube. This combination is great for getting the action the walleye are looking for in the choppy water during the day.


Being out on the lake during the fall is always a great experience no matter what the occasion is. Making this experience more fun by adding a fun fishing trip with big fish and a catch that might just bite you back is always a plus. Not to mention that once the walleye are caught they make one of the best meals where fish are concerned. We hope these tips and tricks have been helpful in catching these great fish! MMake sure to check out anothe blog post, "How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing here: As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Hi-Ho A Camping We Will Go

Camping is something people from all walks of life can do. It can be a really cheap vacation, or it can be an expensive getaway. The experience all depends on how we do it; the real prize to be won is the memories made. If we’re ready to make some memories then let’s get ready to go!

The first thing we want to think about is what we want to do. Do we want to spend as little as possible and still have a good time or do we want to go glamping (this an excessively comfortable form of camping that we will discuss in a later article)? If money is no obstacle and we want to take the house with us then we want to go glamping. If we want to relax and deal with minimal extra and /or unnecessary stuff then we want to go a more traditional route. There’s nothing right or wrong about either of these choices, which can be intermingled at will, and we should always pick what we can afford both money wise and time/effort/ability wise. The point of this is always to make good, positive memories that we can share with others either in the moment or later on.

After we choose how we want to camp we can pick a location. The location will determine what gear we need. The other thing that determines what gear we need is weather. We should always check the weather as we plan for an outing because it can determine not only what gear we need but how long we want to stay. So we have picked a location, checked the weather, and decided how long we’re going to be gone. Let’s start thinking about what all to pack.

Packing can be easy or packing can be difficult. We’ve decided how and where we want to go camp, we’ve checked the weather, and hopefully in doing all that we’ve decided how long we want to go camping. All these things need to be decided first because they influence what all we need to take with us which in turn can decide how difficult a trip or easy our trip will be barring unforeseen experiences. 

Let’s create a scenario together. We’re going to go camping at Kelly’s Pond Campground for 3 days and it is supposed to be sunny all weekend. Now we all know that the weather can change on a dime and almost no one wants to go camping in the rain. To those who do: best of luck and fun in the rain! So, 3 days at Kelly’s Pond can be a relatively small trip or it can be a super busy weekend. Kelly’s Pond offers lots of stuff to do including: tent camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, if we want to we can ride our ATV if we have one or want to buy one, they even offer  picnic tables and fire rings so we can cook s’mores safely!

Now it’s time to plan what we’re going to take and where to get it if we don’t have it already. Suppose we want to go and have a fun filled week packed with adventure. Here’s what we want to do:

To do all that we need to run by our local Bass Pro Shops and get what we need. Now we’re being hypothetical so we’ll say we’re in Houston near the Katy, Tx Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops in Katy is great: it’ll have everything we need to go camping.

When we first walk in we can go to Customer Service to get our hunting and fishing licenses. Then we can go to the back right of the store from the entrance to get fishing gear and on our way back there we can get that ATV we’ve been wanting. After we get all the fishing gear we need we can head back towards the entrance to get any clothes we may not have and then we can head to the back of the store for a potty break since we’re human and we may or may not have little ones with us. After that we’ll already be standing in camping so we can get all the camping gear we’ll need: tent, cooking store, survival gear, and even a backpack to put it all in! Next to camping is camo so we can get camouflage for hunting and speaking of hunting the hunting department is right next to that on the way to the register so we can get guns, knives and ammo along with decoys and anything else we need to get that prize shot. We’re finally heading to the registers up front to check out and we’ll pass by the boot wall, what’s more important than proper footwear?Now, we should have everything we need besides food to make a memorable camping trip!!!

We can get to packing! Now we have all of our gear and licensing so we can go hunting and fishing. We got an Arctic Cat so we can use the ATV trails. We got clothes appropriate for the temperature and weather predicted. We want to pack everything as conservatively as possible so we don’t have a lot of extra to carry. We need to print a map of the grounds and a map of how to get to the grounds before we head out as well as food and any other supplies we may need.

By now everything should be researched, bought, packed, and printed. The vehicle should be loaded and everything is ready to go.

Let’s go have a great time!


Halloween Celebration at Bass Pro Shops

Join Bass Pro Shops beginning Friday, October 24th, as we kick off a full week-long celebration of Halloween.  We will be offering candies to the Trick or Treaters, having free photos in the Punkin' Patch, putting on a Scavenger Hunt and a Costume Parade.  Halloween crafts will be available, as well.  Weekdays our hours of celebration will be from 5 til 8 pm, with the exception of Friday, October 31st, when we will start earlier at 4 pm.  Saturday, October 25th, we will start at noon and will be joined in Trick or Treating at 5 pm by many other stores in the Destin Commons!  The Commons will also be hosting many activities and an awesome costume contest!  That Saturday, October 25th, Bass Pro Shops will continue the activities until 8 pm!  Sunday, October 26th, we will celebrate from Noon til 5.

This year, we won't be hosting the Scout Fun Day or the Scouts' Haunted Tent, since that weekend falls on a date when all Scouts from the Gulf Coast Council will be attending Camporee up at Spanish Trails Scout Reservation near DeFuniak Springs.  They will return to our parking lot in October, 2015.

So, whether you are all "grow'd up" or still have some child in you, put on your costume and mischievious attitude, get a little spooky and come on down to Bass Pro Shops for some Halloween fun.

Gary Feduccia


Cornhole for Conservation



Last year I had our Regional Director from NWTF come to me with an idea for a fundraiser that was different than anything he had ever done before….. A Cornhole Tournament.  For our first tournament we had around 40 teams – an outstanding turnout I thought. We had such a great time we thought hey let’s do it again!

This year we have changed a few things- we added a social team division. That way everyone regardless of their comfort level is welcome to come have fun and help raise money for this conservation group.

What is the NWTF?

The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national nonprofit organization that is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America. They are dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.

So for a great cause join us at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville on Oct 18, 2014. Registration will begin at 8 am and bags start flying at 10 am.

There will be two divisions to compete in this year:

  • Competitive Cornhole Teams (Open division)
  • Social Cornhole Teams



For any questions or to register please contact: Tim Yates at or call 423.463.4260


How to Pick the Perfect Pair of Binoculars

Getting the Best Possible Image

Many shoppers looking for binoculars know next to nothing about them.  They will look through a couple of pairs by different manufacturers and then pick the one that gives them the best image.  This can and has resulted in a buyer thinking that an $80 pair of store brand binoculars is better than a $2500 pair of Swarovskis.  This happens mainly because the shopper does not know how to properly focus the binoculars.

Everyone knows to look through binoculars and to turn the central focusing wheel to get the best image.  However, not all know about the diopter setting that enables them to calibrate the binoculars.  Calibration entails setting up the binoculars for optimal image clarity in both eyes, allowing for the fact that there can be differences between an individual’s right and left eyes.

To demonstrate that difference, look at the picture of the barn owl.   The left side of the picture is in sharp focus while the right is fuzzy.  It represents what the two eyes are seeing.  The result of such a difference in visual acuity is often that the person will make the left side slightly fuzzy and make the right side slightly clearer, thus obtaining the clearest image possible without correcting for the difference between the eyes.  This compromise is not necessary.  It is entirely possible to get a sharp picture with both eyes.  Let’s step through the calibration procedure.

The first thing to determine is whether you will be using the binoculars with or without glasses.  If with, then the eyecups are down.  If without, they are up.  This positions the eyes at the correct distance from the back lens.  You may want to go through the calibration procedure both ways, with and without glasses, to see what works best for you.


Next, if the binoculars have front lens covers, leave the right one closed and open the left one.  Otherwise, put your hand in front of the right lens.  Focus on an object in the store using the center focusing wheel (blue arrow).  Remember the object you are looking at, because you will have to look at the same one again to focus the right eye. 

Once you are happy with the left eye’s image, cover the left eye with the lens cover or your hand and then look at the same object through the right lens.  You SHOULD NOT touch the center focus wheel.  Instead you should focus the right lens using the knurled ring (green arrow in the right picture).  Note, the knurled ring is difficult to turn.  The stiffness is deliberate so it will not be accidently knocked off setting. 

Now that both barrels are focused according to your eyesight, it is time to evaluate image quality.  You will want to compare one set of binoculars with another.  You MUST go through the entire setup process with both in order to get a fair comparison.  Otherwise you will not be comparing apples with apples.  You will be comparing apples with peaches, pears, or prune pits. 

Asking the Sales Person “Which are ‘best’?” OR “Which ones would you buy?

These questions can lead you into a mine field, so be careful.  The word “best” is subjective and depends on the individual’s estimation of value.  If the sales person expresses an opinion, it will be based on his values, not your’s.  It is better to.figure out what’s “best” in your own mind based on your own values.

A good question to start off with is “What are the binoculars going to be used for?”  If they will be thrown in a back pack and used to look at scenery in national parks, any decent quality binocular will do.  The same goes for birding and sporting events.  Decide what you like best within your price range.  If the binoculars are going to be used for hunting, things get a bit more involved.

Where and what will you be hunting.  If the game being pursued is to be pronghorns in Wyoming, you should lean toward higher magnification and lighter weight.  Why?  There is very little ground cover in pronghorn country so they are seen at great distances.  200 yards is a relatively short shot.  Evaluating the quality of an animal’s headgear at such distances is easier with more magnification. 

But doesn’t more magnification mean heavier binoculars?  Not necessarily.  All other things being equal, 10X32’s will be lighter than 10X42’s.  The first number is the magnification and the second is the diameter of the front or objective lens.  Weight is important in pronghorn hunting because you have to walk for miles every day and every extra ounce starts feeling like a brick.

If you are going to be stand hunting in the hill country or the brush country of Texas, the equation changes.  100 yards is a relatively long shot in those conditions.  Raw magnification is not so important.  What is more important is the amount of light the binoculars transmit since the critters tend to move in early morning and late evening when the light level is lowest.  Under those conditions, the exit pupil becomes the primary consideration. 

What is the Exit Pupil and Why is it important?

The exit pupil is the diameter of the front or objective lens divided by magnification.  For example, in 10X42 binoculars the exit pupil is 4.2 millimeters.  In 8X42s it is 5.25 millimeters or 25% larger.  That can make a real difference when trying to see a black hog in the shadows at 6 a.m.  Exit pupil can be hard to imagine, so let’s see what it looks like.  

The white discs seen in the lenses are the exit pupil.  The exit pupils on the left in the 10X42s are 25% smaller than those in the 8X42s on the right.  The difference may be hard to see since it is so small.  Let’s look at a more dramatic example.

This is a set of Nikon 10 to 22 power by 50 mm objective lens zoom binoculars.  In the left picture the zoom is set to 10 power magnification, so the exit pupil is 5 mm (50/10) while on the right the exit pupil is only 2.27 mm with the power set at 22.  The difference is obvious, but why is it important?

The Importance of the Exit Pupil

It might seem obvious that the darker the ambient light the more important it is to use as much of that light as possible to get the clearest image.  However, the ability to use the light transmitted by the binoculars is very much dependent on the ENTRY PUPIL (or just pupil) of your eye.  During the day, your eye’s pupil may be only 1 or 2 millimeters in diameter.  In that case, just about any binoculars will transmit more light than your eyes can use.  In the late evening or early morning, your pupil may be as large as 7 mm, or even 9 mm in people with extraordinary low-light vision.  In those conditions, the eyes can use every bit of light the binoculars can transmit.  That’s why lower magnification is often better in south Texas.

What About Coatings?

Optical coatings reduce internal light loss and glare and ensure even light transmission, resulting in greater image sharpness and contrast.  Binoculars may have 10-18 glass surfaces, each one contributing to scattered light, so coatings make a big difference in what you see.  Coated optics will have a less shiny, even dark appearance when looking into the barrel or tube; you may see a greenish, bluish, or brownish tint as well.  Most coatings are magnesium fluoride or calcium fluoride and work by eliminating reflections.  Therefore, more light enters your binoculars and is able to pass through to your eyes.  Almost all modern consumer optics have some kind of coating on most of the optical elements.  However, there are different levels and qualities of coatings.

“Coated optics” means that at least one of the major optical elements has a coating on at least one surface. “Fully-coated” means that all lenses and glass surfaces have a coating layer.  “Multicoated” means that at least one of the major optical elements in a fully-coated binocular has multiple coatings of antireflective compounds on at least one surface.  “Fully-multicoated” means all glass surfaces have multiple coatings and it is the best kind, resulting in light transmission of 90-95% for bright, sharp and contrasty images.

In extreme cases, 10X32 binoculars with superb coatings can transmit MORE LIGHT than 10X42s with inferior coatings. 

What else should the customer look for?

The last really important variable is spherical aberration.  It occurs when the light passing through the edge of a lens is not focused to the same point as that passing through the center.  It is easier to understand looking at an example than a definition. 

Please note that this example was shot using a pair of reading glasses.  None of the binoculars you will encounter in Bass Pro are anywhere near this bad.  You can see the results of spherical aberration in the apparent curvature of the vertical beam.  This becomes of practical importance if a you are going to be glassing for hours on end looking for sheep, moose, or elk.  This kind of image distortion, found most in low cost binoculars, causes headaches. 



Overall quality in binoculars is determined by the quality of the glass used (some very low end binoculars are made with plastic lenses), the coatings, mechanical precision and ruggedness, and warranty.  Bass Pro strives to give good value for the dollar and thus stocks no bad binoculars.  However, some are better than others.  Based on the determining factors listed above, Swarovski binoculars are arguably the best in the world, followed closely by Zeiss and Leica.  If you are looking for “best value,” or “most bang for the buck,” you are most probably looking for glass in the middle price range.  Vortex binoculars, among others, are good candidates.  Their unlimited lifetime warranty is unbeatable and their optics are excellent for the price.  Swarovskis cost about five times more than Vortex.  Are they five times better?  Some people think so.  Pursuits are about one fifth the cost of Vortex.  Are they poorly made?  No, they are not.  You are well advised to determine your price range and then pick the best binoculars you can within that price range.  Image quality usually defines “best” in a buyer’s mind, though warranty also often contributes to a final decision.

Good luck and enjoy your new binoculars!


Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 2 - Proper Stance

Beginning Archery for Ladies - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Alicia Bricker
Gun Vault Specialist
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Now that you used my tips in Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part One, and have your bow picked out and set up, we need to work on the proper shooting form. Then watch for Part 3 next week, where we explore some of the accessories mentioned here in a little more detail.

StanceRight-handed archery stanceBeginning Archery for Ladies - Stance

First, you want to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with the back leg a little more forward to give you a steady base. If you are shooting a right-handed bow, then your right foot will be in the back. Right-handed bows are held in the left hand and left-handed bows are held in the right. The front of your body will face out away from your target with your dominate hand on the opposite side of your body away from the target. The hand holding the bow will face the target. Everyone will stand a little different and you will develop your own stance over time. This is just a place to start when first learning.

(Right handed example)

When you are drawing back your bow to shoot, be sure to keep your arm just slightly under fully extended to keep it from extending into where the string will travel. I have noticed, especially with women, that our arms tend to extend past straight and this causes issues when shooting. Be sure to keep:

  1. Your arm straight or slightly bent,
  2. Your wrist straight, not bent,
  3. Your elbow rolled under.

< Incorrect - The elbow is Incorrect forearmextended into the path of the string.Correct Arm for Bow




Correct - Arm is straight, elbow slightly

bent to keep out of string’s path.>




Here is an example of how you can hold your bow when you are at full draw. The wrist sling, shown in the photo, keeps theUsing a wrist sling bow from falling to the ground, once the arrow has been released. When you grip the bow, you want to keep your fingers loose, so that you don’t jerk the bow with a tight grip. By keeping your fingers loose, you allow your bow to follow through with the shot. Allow the arrow to completely leave the bow before gripping it again. The wrist sling will allow the bow to roll forward, but it is around your wrist, so it won’t fall completely. Also, you don’t keep your hand loose for very long, after you have released the arrow, just long enough to follow through with your shot. You don’t want your bow to fall too far before gripping it again.

Anchor Point

The next thing to be conscious about when shooting is your anchor point. You want to draw your bow back to the exact same spot every time to keep your shots consistent. Do this by making a conscientious effort to place your hand at the same spot on your face every time you pull back your bow. If you are a finger shooter, it will be towards the front of your jaw and closer to your mouth. If you are a release shooter, it will be back closer to your ear. Every archer is different on this, and you will have to practice and find what works best for you to keep your shots accurate.

When you pull the stringAnchor Point back, you want to put the string up against the side of your nose and the edge of your mouth. For beginning archers, I recommend a kisser button like shown in the picture. This will help you feel where your string is when you are pulling it back, so you know it is the same every time. This photo shows where the string should land when you are pulling it back and where to anchor your string against your face using a release. All archers will be slightly different on this, so keep that in mind when you are starting to shoot. You will figure out your own anchor point, over time.


The key to accuracy is to be as consistent as possible, doing it the same every time. When you pull the string back, you will learn by feel where your hand needs to be anchored in order to shoot the best. After a while, it will just become second nature and you won’t have to think about it. A good habit, when first starting out, is to make a mental check list. Go through and ask yourself:

  • Do you have a solid base, so your balance is steady?
  • Once you pull your string back:
    • Is your arm straight, but out of the path of the string?
    • Is your wrist straight?
    • Is your grip loose on the bow, so you don’t flinch the bow?
    • Is your string against your face in the same place, or the kisser button in the corner of your mouth?
    • Is your hand anchored in the right spot and the same place as before?

These questions will become unnecessary as you progress, but in the beginning it will help you increase your consistency and accuracy every time you shoot. Eventually,  you'll know what works and doesn’t work for you. Your stance and how you draw your bow will become second nature. Everyone develops their own style and knows what feels right for them. These are just a few tips that can get you started down the right path!


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GPS Devices and the Importance of Their Uses

As summer is approaching the transition into fall and the final days of recreational boating come to an end marked by the “Labor Day” holiday; so begins many others favorite time of year, “Hunting Season”. Although many people will continue to fish in tournaments, and squeak as many last days on the water as possible, the change of season truly brings our focus away from the water, and a bad ending to lake levels effecting our fishing and recreational boating. Despite all this, as for many this change also brings time spent in unfamiliar territory surrounded by woods and open fields as we enter hunting season. Now whether or not one is hunting or just camping out; there is a vital tool that some have and many more will need, a GPS or “global positioning system”. This is commonly referred to as a hand held GPS device.

Although most of us at first thought will automatically think about the navigation system for a car, the reality is that there are several uses for global positioning systems. Any advanced fisher’ knows that this is a key tool to finding honey holes and special spots, and always being able to return to them. Just as well, the best hunter knows not to leave base camp without one. But there is much confusion and uncertainty amongst the beginning GPS user. Many feel they do not possess the knowledge and skills to operate one, and don’t understand how they work.

GPS devices whether an automotive, fish-finder combo, or a hand-held unit all work the same way. Any true GPS systems all run off the same government satellite’s positioned outside the Earth and triangulate a signal to determine the exact latitude/longitude corresponding location of the user. By doing this, GPS devices offer four major functions.

1). Location

2). Directional information

3). Waypoints

4). Tracks/Trails

The first of course is ones current location. Any GPS will display some form of an outline map and show the position of the user. The second is directional Information that will allow a person to see which way their movement correlates to that current position. The third is the ability to mark a current spot or point. This is called a waypoint. Many units will record more spots than the average person will ever remember. Fortunately, these waypoints can be labeled and designated a specific symbol. But one must remember that waypoints are strictly line of sight. To answer this is the fourth important feature, tracks or trails. These are the ability to actually make a start point and create an exact linear direction saved on the map display. This is important because there might be a creek between the trophy deer, or an island before that brush pile! Regardless of its use, GPS devices provide an important functionality to any outdoorsman.

          While these four functions may sound intimidating and complicated, the truth is that GPS units are surprisingly simple to use! Most entry level units have analogue toggle control to move through menu options that require a very little learning curve. And even the high end units are easy, most have touch screen menus that are almost exactly like operating the current day “smart phone”.

 As for affordability, the cheapest beginning unit can start around as low as $100! Let someone get lost in the woods and have no cell phone reception, or hit a giant stump because they don’t have this capability, and GPS units practically pay for themselves! Of course, as one adds bells and whistles, the price can increase, but even the entry level unit has all four basic functions.

          So where can one go to see the latest selection of these units, and receive knowledgeable information and demonstrations of these fascinating devices? Why any local “Bass Pro Shops” of course! And any one of the “BPS” associates is well versed in the operations and features of GPS systems. So head to your nearest “Bass Pro Shops”, and get the information and guidance to master tools that truly help you start “where the adventure begins”!

                                                                   Mike Ball 


Just Arrived- Columbia UGA Apparel!

Columbia University of Georgia apparel has arrived here out the Savannah Bass Pro Shops- just as the college football season begins to heat up!  We have several great styles of shirts, both shortsleeve and longsleeve, as well as UGA jackets. Come on by and get in the latest college Columbia gear before next Saturday!  These are located right near our front entrance by the Customer Service counter.

Columbia UGA Tamiami Shirt

We also have all sorts of different college-themed apparel and accessories, as well as all the gear you need to make your next tailgate a success.  We've got portable grills, grilling tools, seasonings, and sauces.  Don't forget the cooler, folding table, and chairs!  When tailgating with the family or a big party, a canopy is essential.  We have a great selection of canopies, including our Bass Pro Deluxe Instant Canopy. The 12 foot model provides 144 square feet of protection from sun and rain! Don't forget to pick up snacks, either- we have a great selection of jerky, nuts, and other munchies!

BPS Deluxe Instant Canopy

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tailgating accessories here at Bass Pro Shops Savannah, so make sure you head on down before you head to the stadium!



Fall Fishing Event 2014

Are you ready for the changing fishing conditions? Join Bass Pro Shops Altoona for our 2014 Fall Fishing Event free seminars from our local experts, plus share the love of fishing with your kids as we celebrate National Fishing and Hunting Day!

Fall Fishing Event

Noon - 4 p.m.

Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop   Noon – 1pm

Kids learn the basics to get started fishing. This class will include hands-on casting instructions.  Kids who complete the class will receive a fishing certificate along with a folding fishing hat!

Free Craft - Color Your Own Mini Tackle Box 1-3pm


Free Seminars

A free collapsible water bottle for the first 25 customers to attend the 2 p.m. seminars each day!

Saturday, Sept 27

1pm- Where did the fish go? Expert advice on following fall fish movements

2pm- Which fishing rod and reel? Experts will help you select the rod and reel that works best for various fishing situations.

3pm- Local Fishing Areas - Local fishing experts will explain area fishing opportunities

Sunday, Sept 28

1pm- Fall Fishing Tackle Box - Learn the key baits and presentations for fall fishing
2pm- Fall Weather Transition & How it Affects Fishing - Learn how the fall weather changes affect water and fishing conditions
3pm- Preparing Your Boat - Our experts will show you ways to be more productive on the water by setting up your boat correctly.


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Little Split

chris G. Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Chris Grocholski
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops Altoona


With deer hunting season fast approaching, I thought I'd share a story about the one that got away.  Almost every deer hunter probably has a story of that one deer that they have either spent way too much time thinking about, preparing an entire hunting season/seasons around, spent countless hours in a stand or blind waiting for, and, most likely, lost a lot of sleep over. I am definitely not the exception to this situation and am, in fact, guilty of all of the above!

My story starts in Clayton County in northeast Iowa six years ago. I had recently been told about a farm of approximately 180 acres. It was a unique section of ground that presented a challenge to hunt that instantly drew me in Little Split - First Spottedwith the challenge - the challenge was, believe it or not, trying to find enough trees to put tree stands in!  The ground had been in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and when it was taken out of CRP the land owner began planting trees. After about three months of scouting for locations for treestands and blinds, a friend and I started laying down mineral stations and trail cameras to get some set our sights on a couple. One in particular we named "Little Split," because of the split G2s that he had. He seemed to be a younger deer, but he had all the characteristics and potential to become a stud. Late that summer and early fall, before bow season, I was only able to get two more pictures of  Little Split.

Fast forward not one season, but two. I had a successful season the year after I started hunting that particular piece of ground and harvested a deer, but still had my heart set on an opportunity with Little Split. I began to think he may have been harvested by another hunter on some neighboring property or maybe just died from natural causes, because I never saw him on any of my trail cameras, or on the hoof,Little Split - 2010 for almost two years.

Then August of 2010 came and I went out to change out all six of my trail camera SD cards. Looking through the photos - BAM there he was!  But, now the name Little Split didn't quite fit anymore!  He had done some serious growing and had also added a split to his other G2 as well. I was instantly obsessed with this deer and knew right away it was going to be almost impossible to let him walk, if given the opportunity at harvesting this animal. The rest of the summer and early fall I was able to get several pictures and a few short night videos, as well.

As the season went on, and I spent more and more time hunting this deer, I was starting to think that I wasn't going to get a chance at him, because I had not seen him again in any pictures or during any of my sits. I had set up a blind on a corn field edge before the corn had been picked, because there was a ton of deer moving in and out of this corn field.  Well, the farmer finally told me that the corn was out, so I instantly knew where I was going to set on my next hunt.  However, the morning did not go as well as I had planned, and I wasn't able to get out to the blind until almost 8 a.m. Considering it was that time of year when deer can be moving at any time of the day, I felt it was still worth an all day sit, so off I went.

I was about 60 yards from the blind, when I saw four does in the field picking up corn. I sat down and watched the does because I didn't want to spook them out of the field, just in case there were sLittle Split 210ome bucks around checking them out. As I sat there for about 10 minutes watching, guess who shows up? Little Split! 

I quickly came up with a game plan to see if I could get a stalk on him, an decided to use a small depression that could get me to about 50 yards away from where he stood. I started my stalk. Aided by a perfect wind, I was able to get where I wanted to be without being noticed. I nocked an arrow and got set up behind some brush, then gave two very light grunts on my grunt tube. He yanked his head up and stared right in my direction. After about 15 minutes of looking my way, he went back to eating corn in the field and milling around with the does. This time I gave him a snort wheeze and it was ON!  He gave me all the posturing of a full mature deer that was ready for a fight and I knew this was my chance.

Sitting behind the bush, I was thinking, "I can't believe this is going to happen!"

I closed my eyes and collected myself, as he walked straight towards me. I opened my eyes and drew my bow - here was the deer I had been hunting for almost three years and he was within 20 yards of me.  As he walked through the brush, I followed him with my bow. Then suddenly he stopped behind a bush, and I thought, "Oh no, something is wrong."

My fear was reality. He somehow picked me off, stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and trotted away.  I guess deer don't become trophies by being dumb.

The most important thing I learned? Find a bigger bush to hide behind!


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Fall Fleece You Can Be Proud Of

Fall is finally here! If you’re like many women today, you sometimes feel stuck deciding between the outfit that keeps you completely warm or the one that makes you feel stylish and fashion forward. With Natural Reflections® new fall line, you will no longer have to choose between functionality and style! Featuring stylish looks designed to keep you warm, cozy, and fashion forward.  

The Natural Reflections® Reversible Plush Fleece Vest is just one of the many outerwear styles that Bass Pro is offering for the fall season. It provides lightweight warmth and comfort in four gorgeous colors: Chestnut, Cabernet, Papyrus, and Black. It not only keeps you looking and feeling great, but also comes at a great value, starting at only $39.99.

Its reversible design gives you two unique looks in one: luxurious plush on one side, and sleek smooth fleece on the other. It features a full-zip front and two hand warmer pockets to keep you cozy. It is also great for layering over a long sleeve top, such as the Natural Reflections Thermal Henley, starting at $24.99 and is available in 8 different colors and prints to match your sense of style. To complete your look, you can also pair the vest with a Natural Reflections Reversible Plush Fleece Headband which is available in the same four colors and cozy plush fleece as the vest.






Fall Fishing Event

><>         ><>        ><>        ><>        ><>       ><>        ><>         ><>        ><>        ><>        ><>        

                          Fishing is not just a sport for summer anymore….


Fall is almost here and the weather is starting to cool down a bit. Dove season is in full swing here and all the hunters are back out in the fields. But wait, I know there are still fishermen out there on the water every day. The seasons are changing and it does have an effect on the water.  Luckily, we will be hosting our Fall Fishing Event again this year.

It will be September 27-28 right here at your Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, TN.


Fishing Seminars        ><>        ><>         ><>        ><>       ><>        ><>         ><>        ><>       ><>   

September 27

1 pm    Where did the fish go?

            Expert advice on following fall fish movements

2 pm   Which fishing rod and reel?

Experts will help you select the rod and reel that works best for various fishing situations

3 pm   Local Fishing Areas

            Local fishing experts will explain area fishing   opportunities

September 28        ><>        ><>         ><>        ><>       ><>        ><>         ><>        ><>       ><>       

1 pm    Fall Fishing Tackle Box

            Learn the key baits and presentations for fall fishing

2 pm   Fall Weather Transition and How it Affects Fishing

            Learn how fall weather changes affect water and fishing conditions

3 pm   Preparing Your Boat

Our experts will show you ways to be more productive on the water by setting up your boat correctly

><> ><> Collapsible water bottle giveaway to first 25 customers to attend 2 pm seminars each day ><> ><> 

We haven’t forgotten our Next Generation in this event either….

September 27-28

  • Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop       12-1 pm

Learn the basics to get started fishing. Kids who complete the class will receive a fishing certificate along with a folding fishing hat.

  • Craft  1-3 pm

Color your own Mini Tackle Box



Product Spotlight - Celestron Elements FireCel

Celestron FireCelCooler weather is here and that means looking for ways to provide warmth, power, and light for those fall outdoor activities, like football games, fall fishing, hunting, hiking, or just walking the dog on those frosty mornings! Here is a new, three-in-one product that we are already selling quickly!

The Celestron FireCel is three tools in one - Power Pack/Flashlight/Hand Warmer.

1. Hand warmer - An aluminum heating element is compact and would be perfect in the front pocket of a hoodie during football games! The dual temperature warmer provides scent-free heat, so it's good for the field, too. Celestron FireCel USB port

2. Power Pack - The USB rechargeable Power Pack includes a USB port and cable for charging iPhones, iPads, Smartphones, and most other USB-charged devices.

3.  Flashlight - The high intensity red and white LEDs have five modes. They provide just the right amount of light for camp or for heading into your hunting spot without spooking the game.

So, if you're looking for something that's reusable, compact, and fits easily in your pocket or pack, stop in the Camo Department and check them out or find them online!


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