Let's Talk Hunting!

It’s that time of the year again. Archery season is fast approaching and time to get last minute prep work finished.  Mother Nature has been very nice to us with the abnormally low temperatures this summer. It has been perfect weather to get out in the woods and do a little bit of trimming around your stands or put out some trail cams, mineral or even build a food plot or two. With the increase of big buck sightings on my farms this year, I think it’s going to be a great season for us all. The deer numbers have really bounced back from the die off we had a few years ago. I still don't have the numbers on my north Missouri farm as I did before the event but it has improved dramatically. My farm here in central Missouri has improved even more. It depends on where you hunt, but I think it will be a much improved year. With more rain to come, hopefully we can put the drought behind us for now. Make sure you pick-up a copy of the 2014 Fall Deer & Turkey Booklet here at Bass Pro or visit the Missouri Department of Conservations website for all of the harvest changes here in Missouri. It will mostly affect gun hunters.  It’s still a great idea to grab one and catch up on all the changes so you are not surprised when you go buy your tags this fall.

A few pointers to get your season started: If bow hunting is your passion, my best advice I can give you is to HUNT EARLY!!!!!!!!!!! I used to be really bad at not spending enough time hunting September and early October. I got caught up in watching all the hunting shows of Bucks chasing Doe's all over the place during the rut. So I thought that would be the absolute best time to hunt. I would take my vacation around that time every year. Here in Central and North Missouri, the rut is right around the 1st and 2nd week of November. Don't get me wrong, it is a great time to be in a tree and there are a lot of really big deer harvested every year from trick or treat day (Oct 31st of course) to November 14th. But, and that's a big but, little do most bow hunters know that they have past some of the best hunting of the year in September and early October. Mostly because of the hot temps that are present at that time of the year. But the deer are still there and they have to feed and drink. When archery season starts on September 15th, you can bet that this guy will be in a tree or ground blind overlooking a food source or water hole. The best thing about September that you don't normally have in November is that you can pattern that big ole buck in daylight hours near a food or water source. Sometimes you can set your watch by it. In November that same buck is up on his feet during daylight but he more than likely is running all over God’s green earth looking for that perfect girlfriend. That could take him right off your farm and into someone else's sights. Spending some time now with the help of a few game cams, like Bushnell's Trophy cam ($229.99) or Moultrie's M990i ($199.99) you should be able to get a good idea of when, where and what time those deer are coming through and still have plenty of time before season to get a couple of stands or ground blinds set-up and ready to go. Tips for Game Camera Placement

Ground blinds can be really effective this time of the year because they will help control your scent and cover any movements. Redhead Blackout Hub Blinds are a great choice to help your blend right in ($139.99 - $279.99). There are three different models to accommodate multiple hunters if you decide to share your experience with family or a friend. Also, always try to give yourself options for different wind directions. Early season can be full of surprises. I have seen 3 different winds in 3 days. Always play the wind and brush in those stands and with a little luck your taxidermist will have a little more work this fall. That's all the time I have for now.  From all of us at your local Independence Bass Pro Shops, have a fun and safe hunting season.


Product Spotlight - Last Minute Dove Gear!

Dove season starts Monday, September 1, in Iowa. Here are a couple of last minute dove hunting items our Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith recommends:

RedHead Dove StoolRedHead Dove Stool

The RedHead Dove Stool in RealTree Xtra gives you the best seat in the sunflower field! Easy to carry and has a built-in, zippered compartment under the seat. Perfect for ammo and other important gear...like jerky, sun protection, and water...while you rest your legs and wait for the doves to come in! Made of heavy duty, water resistance polyester fabric, and has a built in carrying strap for easy transport. Folds up nicely too for storage!


CamoFX Face PaintCamoFX Face Paint System

Doves have extremely good eye sight. Put on your best game face, so they don't spot you! Easy to apply, this three-color system was designed by hunters and has been field tested in a variety of hunting situations. It allows you to put the high-def paint on evenly, quickly, and it doesn't crack, dry up, run or smear.


RedHead Rubber Dove Decoy 4-packMake sure to check your decoys...if you need new ones, the MOJO Outdoors VooDoo Dove Decoy runs on batteries, so the wings are always moving...NOT just when there is a breeze. Plus, the new RedHead Rubber Dove Decoy 4-pack provides a realistic option for perched doves. The spring clips on the bottom allow you to clip them to tree branches and fences, providing a realistic atmosphere for your hunt.


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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Hometown Festival and Heroes!

The last official weekend of summer! Labor Day campers, football fans, holiday visitors, and Hy-Vee Triathlon viewers will all be in our store this weekend...plus families looking for some good old-fashioned fun on a rainy day!

Saturday, 8/30 & Sunday, 8/31 - Noon-5 p.m.

Duck Pond
Metal detector treasure hunt
Casting buckets
Face painting
Free Craft
Free photo download
Two $25 gift cards given away each day!

Outdoor Cooking Seminars Both Days
1:30pm - Stoked to Smoke: How to Smoke Meat Right
2:30pm - Backyard Chef: Picking the Right Grill
3:30pm - Going Dutch: Dutch Oven Cooking Made Easy

Free Hot Dogs and Ice Cream Samples - Saturday and Sunday Aug. 30 & 31
Hot Dogs 1-4pm
Ice cream 4-5pm

Honoring Hometown Heroes Event - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaNEW this year - Honoring our Hometown Heroes - special drawings from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, for veterans, active duty military and military personnel, law enforcement, fire fighters, paramedics, and teachers!



Try Before You Buy!

Our Gifts Department will be serving up a fish fry for our Hometown Heroes on Aug. 30 with Uncle Buck's Original Fish Batter.

Aug. 31- They're serving up Uncle Buck’s Biscuits and Gravy!

Coming up?

Boy Scout Donation Month and Merit Badge classes at Bass Pro Shops! The classes begin September 2 and will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. to help scouts work toward their Fishing and Rifle Shooting Badges. The schedule varies and you must pre-register in person at Customer Service or call the store at 515-957-5500.


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CRC and NPR Bringing You Sights and Sounds From the City

CRC and NPR Bringing You Sights and Sounds From the City

Recently we spent the day with Bob Oaks, the host of morning side and crew on the Charles River in Boston. Follow the link to experience a day on the water with CRC.

Reeling With A Real Skyline: Fishing On The Charles

BOSTON — Snaking 80 miles from Echo Lake in Hopkinton before meeting the Atlantic Ocean in Boston, the Charles is the city’s river of life — especially in the summer.

On its banks are strollers, runners, readers, bikers and sunbathers. And on the water, thanks to years of stewardship and a massive environmental cleanup effort, the river is a playground for sailors, rowers, kayakers, canoeists and duck boaters.

But it’s also increasingly a setting for urban fishing. And if you ask longtime fishing enthusiast Greg Miner — who in 2010 founded Charles River Charters, a one-boat charter fishing company — the river is home to some of the region’s best fishing.

So we decided to try it out ourselves. We launched Miner’s 19-foot bass boat from Community Rowing in Brighton and headed for downtown, to fish from the Storrow Lagoon along the Esplanade.

Interview Highlights:

On the great views:

Greg Miner: I mean, the views are wonderful — the experience of being out on the water in one of the most beautiful cities in the country is one thing — but to be able to stand down here and fish from the boat with the backdrop of the Prudential building or the Hatch Shell or you name it, it’s kind of a surreal experience.

On giving city dwellers a new perspective:

You’ve got folks that live all up and down the river, from you know Brighton into downtown, and you see it every day and you sort of take it for granted.

But once you get out on the water, and you sort of experience the feeling of being surrounded by the city on the level with the water, it really truly is something that you can’t quite describe until you’re out here.

On what you can lure in:

Mostly we’re catching largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. But the river — believe it or not, even out here in Boston — is home to calico bass, which is also known as black crappie, and yellow perch, pickerel, there’s big carp in here.

I can’t recommend eating anything, just by virtue of where we live. Even though the river has come a very long way from what it used to be, it’s still a bit dicey.

(The latest fish consumption advisory from the State Public Health Department agrees.)





Must Have Footwear For Your Hunting Adventures

With summer on its way out that can only mean one thing…. Yep, you guessed it hunting season is just around the corner! With Archery and Rifle season coming up so fast it is safe to say that it is time to get geared up, and what better way to do that than with a new pair of hunting boots. Here at Bass Pro Shops of Independence we have many choices to cater to all of our Hunters and Huntresses.  We carry many different brand options all the way from Danner to RedHead to suit anyone’s needs. One example is the Danner Pronghorn. We carry this boot in a non-insulated, 400 gr, and 800gr. Danner is well known for quality as well as comfort and is sure to make your hunting season warm, comfortable, and dry.












We also carry our RedHead line of hunting boots we have many styles that range in height and insulation, I could talk about them all day but for now I’ll just have to choose two great options that any hunter would love. The first is our Redhead 7” RCT, this boot is non-insulated and GORE-TEX making it both Waterproof and breathable, what a perfect match! Some other features include a non-slip outsole, reinforced toe, and a lug outsole.


The next RedHead boot I would like to tell you about is the Bighorn. The RedHead Bighorn has Bone-Dry waterproof technology along with 800 grams of Thinsulate providing you with a warm dry boot that is sure to keep you comfortable into the colder months of the season. This boot is made out of tough abrasion resistant cordura so, those pesky twigs and corn stalks that try to snag you won’t stand a chance!


And now for all our Huntresses out there let’s talk about our Line of SHE boots exclusively made for woman, we have several styles here at your local BassPro Shops but for now I’ll just tell you about two. The first is my personal favorite, the SHE Cami 9” insulated hunting/hiker. As the name states this boot is a cross between a Hunter and a hiker making it perfect for your tracking needs as well. This boot features a 100% waterproof/moisture wicking membrane and 600 gram thinsulate that is sure to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable so you can keep your mind on bagging that Prize winning Buck or Doe.



We also carry the SHE Expedition. This boot sports 1000 grams of thinsulate to comfortably carry you through the later months of the season. It is also 100% Bone-Dry waterproof with an aggressive non-slip outsole.


And last but not least, I have to mention our lifetime socks. They will pair perfectly with any of our hunting boots. They come in men’s and woman’s and feature 100% itch free wool that is sure to keep you warm and comfortable all the way through the season as well as for everyday use and did I mention they have a LIFETIME warranty? It doesn’t get much better than that.

As you can see, we have many choices to suit any hunter or huntresses needs. Come visit your Independence Bass Pro Shops to see our full selection as well as the before mentioned styles. Happy Hunting everyone and as the famous Ted Nugent says, “Whack em’ Stack em’, and Pack em’!”

-Chelsea McDaniel Team Lead Footwear


It's a Hometown Festival

It's the last holiday weekend of summer - send summer out in style with our old-fashioned Hometown Festival!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hometown Festival

Saturday and Sunday, August 30 & 31
Labor Day Weekend

Noon-5 p.m.

To us, a Hometown Festival means fun and food...and we'll have both!

Here's the lineup of events:

  • Duck Pond - Kids pick a duck for a cool prize!
  • Metal detector treasure hunt
  • Casting buckets
  • Face painting
  • Free Craft - Color an Owl Backpack Clip!
  • Free photo download - like you're in the #14 car!

Two $25 gift cards given away each day!

Outdoor Cooking Seminars Both Days
1:30 p.m. - Stoked to Smoke: How to Smoke Meat Right
2:30 p.m. - Backyard Chef: Picking the Right Grill
3:30 p.m. - Going Dutch: Dutch Oven Cooking Made Easy

Free Hot Dogs and Ice Cream Samples - Both days!
Hot Dogs 1-4 p.m.
Ice cream 4-5 p.m.

Plus, these free food samples!
August 30 - Uncle Buck’s Pancakes and Uncle Buck’s Syrup
August 31 - Uncle Buck’s Biscuits and Gravy

Additionally, on Saturday, August 30, we recognize our hometown heroes - special drawings only for veterans, soldiers, military personnel, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and teachers!

Honoring our Hometown Heroes


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Experience Bass Pro Shops Archery and Hunting department

Are you an experienced bow hunter or maybe a beginner? Have you ever thought about shooting a bow for sport? Maybe shooting a bow hasn't really crossed your mind this year. Well, we would like to change all of that. We would like to invite you to come out to the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Alabama on September 13 from 10am to 5pm, September 14 from 12pm to 5pm, September 27th from 10am to 5pm, or September 28th from 12pm to 5pm. We will be hosting an "Experience Weekend" for our customers to allow them to experience products from various departments. The best part about this experience is that it is absolutely free.


bowDuring both experience weekends, you will have the opportunity to shoot the New BlackOut SS Compound Bow. The New BlackOut SS Compound Bow is powered by Throttle Cam Tech, which is the fastest and most efficient single cam system on the market. The draw cycle and energy transfer movement are smooth and precise. To see this bow before you come to experience it, check out http://www.basspro.com/BlackOut-SS-Compound-Bow-Packages/product/1402210955448/


On September 13th and September 14th, while you are in the hunting department, make sure you check out the Oculus 7.0 Binoculars. Customers can experience first hand why the Oculus binoculars are such a great value. These binoculars are sheathed in a protective, shock-absorbing rubber armor for hard-hunting, long-term durability, fogproof, and 100% waterproof. Come experience these binoculars on September 13th & 14th. For more information about the Oculus 7.0 binoculars, go to http://www.basspro.com/Oculus-7-0-Binoculars/product/1205040859448/


scopeThe weekend of September 27th & 28th, our hunting counter will be happy to allow customers to experience the Oculus rifle scope. See first hand how technology brings nature into sharp focus with Oculus® precision rifle scopes. Come experience the brilliant optical quality that the Oculus Rifle Scope has to offer. For more information about this scope, go to http://www.basspro.com/Oculus-Rifle-Scope/product/12050105124412/


Don't let the hunting season sneak up on you with out coming to the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds to experience all that we have to offer. Our "Experience Weekend" is not just limited to the hunting department, see what other products you can experience in the fishing department, camping department, apparel department, camo apparel, and marine.



A Simple Guide to Bows

The familiar "thwang" of a bow string can set many an archer's mind at ease and relieve stress or tension. Archery is a sport practiced around the world. It is so popular that there have been world archery competitions at least five times a year every year since 2006 according to the World Archery Federation's website, which will be referred to as WAF. Countries all over the world including "China, India, Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, USA, Mexico, [and] Australia" compete to see who has the best archers. (WAF) They have multiple types of archery competitions: Olympic Games, World Cups, World Championships, Ski Archery, Run Archery, Universiades, World Games, World Master Games, Para-Archery, and much more.

Archery started around the time people started walking, and walked its way through the Shang and Zhou dynasties to eventually make its way through Asia to Europe. There it got into Greek, Egyptian, and Norse Mythology and then Roman soon after that. Diana of the Roman Mythology, Athena of the Greek Pantheon, the Huntress, she hunted with a longbow in the traditional style. Many in the Eurasian cultures had at least one deity that carried a bow of similar fashion as the weapon of choice.

Longbows are as many hands high as their archer and without any bells and whistles or additions to help with aim or draw. According to livestrong.com "longbows are much more difficult to aim than other modern bows and do not have nearly the same velocity as compound or recurve bows. " Yew is the traditional wood but other lighter woods are known to be used to make the bow. (“The Longbow”) More modernly used is the compound bow which is like an assisted or easier to use bow.

"The sleek, uncluttered lines of traditional equipment speak volumes on old-school simplicity and tradition. On the other hand, a compound bow -- with its system of cables and wheels and adorned with accessories like a stabilizer, wrist strap, multiposition arrow rest and fiber-optic bow sight -- screams modern-day technology". -www.sportsmanguide.com

The compound bow is set up on a system of pulleys that make the bows stiffer limbs assume the desired shape. The pulley system allows the archer to manipulate potential and kinetic energy for a swifter and more accurately precise shot.


The recurve bow is an older style usually used by horsemen that has also been modernized so that it comes apart into three pieces for convenience.  The recurve bow "gets its power from the unique curve at the limb tips, a design first developed by Egyptian archers thousands of years ago" per discoverarchery.org. The recurve bow may be suggested as a beginners bow due to affordability.

Bass Pro Shops is a great place to buy traditional, recurve and compound bows. We have a wide selection and a staff that can help anyone pick the right bow for the archer.


"Facts and Figures." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"History of Archery." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"The Longbow." The Longbow. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Carmichael, Lindsey. "The Recurve Bow – What You Need to Know." Discover Archery. The Easton Foundations, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Robb, Bob. "The Modern Compound Bow." Sportsman's Guide. The Sportman's Guide Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Unger, Kristen. "Four Types of Archery Bows." LIVESTRONG.COM. Demand Media, Inc., 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

WAF http://www.worldarchery.org/


Teal Season Changes

Due to higher than usual population numbers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given several states the opportunity to make some changes in their teal season.

In Iowa, a special teal-only season will run September 6-21. In Iowa, bluewing teal will be especially prevalent, as they common throughout the central state waterfowl regions and second only to the mallard in numbers. They're also the earliest migrators, leaving in late August and September.

Since this special season is only for teal, proper identification is important. Check out these tips for identifying teal from the Iowa DNR and the Delta Waterfowl organization.

In Iowa, all standard state and federal waterfowl hunting regulations apply during the special teal season. However, shooting Blue-winged Tealhours will differ in that hunters can ONLY shoot from sunrise to sunset and NOT one 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.

For information on opportunities in other states visit Delta Waterfowl's Delta News article and check with you state conservation and natural resources agencies.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith and Maintenance Lead Steve Staerk, both hunters, offer these tips:

  • Look to shallow waters for teal habitat.
  • Downsize your shot - use 4 shot steel
  • Scout head of time.
  • Don't be afraid to mix in some larger mallard decoys with your teal decoys, so they'll be more easily spotted by teals from above.


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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Bacon Ketchup!

There's always SOMETHING going on at our store on the weekend! While some weekends are a little quieter, like this one, that just means we're gearing up for another event down the road!Captain Thom's Slappin' Fat Bacon Ketchup

Saturday, August 23 - Try Before you Buy!

Our Gifts Department is offering up hush puppy samples made from  Uncle Buck’s Hush Puppy mix...plus dip them in Captain Thom’s Slappin’ Fat Bacon Ketchup...YUM!  Everything tastes better with bacon in it!  Grab a hush puppy and dip it by the Sunglasses Counter between Noon & 4 p.m. 

Sunday, August 24 - Legal Heat Class

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the White River Fly Shop.Lega Heat

One class qualifies you to apply for permits in Iowa, Utah, and Arizona, expanding the states you can carry in to 36. Taught by nationally known Legal Heat, the class is about four hours long and only $75. Please register ahead of time at www.mylegalheat.com.

Coming Up?

Labor Day Hometown Festival!It's a Hometown Festival for Labor Day! Two days of fun events for kids, plus free hot dogs and ice cream samples. Check out our Facebook page and store page at www.basspro.com for details!

Saturday, August 30

We save two hourHometown Heroes Day!s JUST for our Hometown Heroes! A special two hours of drawings just for veterans, members of the armed forces and military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics, and teachers! Hourly drawings:

2 p.m. - $50 Bass Pro Shops gift card
3 p.m. - Maui Jim sunglasses - $250 value
4 p.m. - YETI cooler - $300 value!
Must show your respective ID to register for prizes. Fish fry samples, also!


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Hiking Trails for Beginners


Hiking on local trails is a great way to see nature and learn about the surroundings while relaxing and having a good workout. For beginners finding the right gear that is suited for the trails and is comfortable is always a struggle. While at the same time finding the right trails for beginners is also a challenge simply because building the stamina that is required for good hikes takes time and a concerted effort on an easy trail.


Gear is one of the most important parts of any outdoor expedition and hiking is no different. The gear a hiker uses has to be top notch or a hike can become a nightmare quickly after it starts with blisters and chaffing becoming a huge problem. When it comes to boots there is a big difference in the type of boot for the terrain that will be traversed. If the trail is a very well kept paved trail having a hiking shoe like the RedHead® Granite Peak Hiking Shoe or the Columbia Helvatia Waterproof Trail Shoe for ladies is good because there is very little ability for a hiker to roll an ankle so the comfort of a shoe is preferred to the support of a bigger boot. If the trail is well kept but still a dust trail then going with a hiking shoe like the Merrell® Yokota Waterproof Mid Hiking Shoe or the RedHead® Gaston 5'' Hiker Shoes for Ladies, is a good idea. This hiking shoe rises a little higher than the other hiking shoes so it is able to offer more ankle support for the trail that may have a little less stability than the paved trail. For a trail that is a little wilder with rocks and tree roots, a bigger more sturdy boot is a must. RedHead® Everest Hikers are a great boot for the job, these boots are built sturdy and are meant for everything from walking around the block to the heaviest of trails. For those heavy trails with many rocks and roots a good boot for the ladies would have to be the RedHead® McKinley Hiking Boot, the boot is lightweight and durable enough for a long hike making these boots great for a long trek through rough terrain.


The next challenge for the new hiker would have to be the right socks for hiking on any trail. When looking for socks a good pair needs to be made from crew to quarter length so the ankle and at least the lowest part of the calf is covered. This keeps the boot from rubbing any exposed skin raw while walking or hiking. A good sock for this purpose is the Ascend™ Hiker Quarter Socks, these come fitted for both men and women, the socks are made from merino wool which keeps the feet comfortable and wicks away sweat very effectively.

ascend sock

Now that socks are taken care of it is time to address one of the most important components of hiking clothing, chaffing. Chaffing happens when skin is rubbed raw and can be painful for even the most advanced hikers. One of the worst spots for chaffing is the inner thigh. The only blessing is that this is also the one place where chaffing is the easiest to prevent. A good pair of compression or hiking underwear is purpose made to keep chaffing from happening and can make a hike easier for all involved. A good pair for the money is the Under Armour® The Original 9'' Boxerjock® Boxer Briefs, these boxers breathe very well and wick away sweat making them great for reducing or eliminating chaffing.

boxer briefs

Since the clothing is now left in the dust it is time for the fun part of hiking, finding the right trail for the hiker. Here locally there are great examples of all three kinds of trails covered earlier. For the paved hiking trail in Springfield would be the Sequiota Park Trail is a great example of this type of trail. When talking about a dust trail or cedar chip trail a good local example would have to be the Nature Center Trail. This trail is a cedar chip trail that is perfect for a new hiker who wants to break in hiking boots or get a feel for a short hike. For those new hikers that want a challenge there is always a good trail close here in Springfield! Busiek State Park offers several long trails that are perfect for getting used to hiking in the Ozarks!

Now that the hiking boots are bought, the socks fit, the chaffing is dealt with and the trail is picked it is officially time to hit the trail and have some fun out hiking! Don’t forget to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery all around while getting a good workout! For more information about socks, check out our blog, "The Right Sock for the Right Hike":http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/the-right-sock-for-the-right-hike. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Trout Fishing Lures & Tactics

A day on the river trout fishing can turn any weekend into an adventure especially when the fish are biting from sun up to sun down. But with trout it is all about finding the right bait at the right time and making good use of the surroundings to make a god fishing trip into a great one. Asking questions like where are the fish located, when do they feed, and what are they feeding on can help an angler tremendously. Here are tips and tricks when fishing for trout.

Trout are a very aggressive species by nature and give a very good fight in good cold water lakes and streams. The problem with many trout populations is that they are highly pressured in that there is almost always a person fishing around them. This in turn makes the fish very line shy or wary of heavy lines in the water. A sneaky way of getting around this fear of line is to use a light 2 or 4 pound test line in either the monofilament or fluorocarbon line. For monofilament line a great brand is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel®, this line comes in the light 4 pound line that is needed for trout while at the same time being clear in the water making it harder to detect by the fish in clear spring fed lakes and streams. When talking about fluorocarbon the brand that is best suited for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel® Ice, when in the water this line stays clear and nearly invisible to fish, and comes in the light 2,3, and 4 pound test needed for fishing trout in pressured waters.


When fishing for trout there are many different difficulties that can be undertaken while fishing. The first level of this would be fishing with live or natural baits. This includes fishing with night crawlers, fishing with salmon eggs or fishing with things like meal worms and crickets. While thinking of meal worms and crickets it is good to look to the backyard or a shed. The crickets and worms tend to be there for the taking so stocking up in the backyard before an adventure to the river is often a good idea. But if instead a fisherman is looking for an edge using some salmon eggs is a good idea. One of the best is the Pautzke's® Premium Balls O' Fire® Salmon Eggs, these salmon eggs are soft like a natural egg while having the scent and taste of the real thing. Also these eggs are a little tougher than a natural egg making them easy to retrieve and cast back out.

balls of fire

Next in the line of difficulty for fishing trout would be the soft plastic baits and spinner baits. Some of the soft plastics that tend to work well are smaller worms and grubs with a weight tied off around 3 to 4 inches above the bait. This allows the bait to float ever so slightly off the bottom of the stream or lake’s bottom and with a little movement from the tip of the fishing rod gives a lifelike movement to the bait. A great bait for doing this is the Bass Pro Shops® Triple Ripple™ Grub, with a few packages of different colors an angler is sure to find the right color and movement for the trout in any lake or stream. When it comes to spinner baits one of the best is the Bass Pro Shops® Tournament Series® Micro Spin Lures, matching the colors on this spinner bait to the hatching insects or the smaller bait fish in the area will make this lure irresistible to the trout in the lake or stream.

micro spingrub

Finally the hardest type of trout fishing is fly fishing. This requires a lot of patience and a good knowledge of the type of food that is available to the trout on a regular basis. It is important to remember one major thing, match the hatch. What this means is that whatever insect is hatching at that time in the lake or stream is the type of fly that an angler wants to be throwing. If there are a lot of grasshoppers around throwing a Montana Fly Company® Clipped Head Hopper is a good idea, as it looks remarkably like a grasshopper. If the midge flies are hatching throwing a Brassie Zebra Midge Fly is a good idea. So matching whatever an angler sees hatching or skimming the water is the best way to catch trout while fishing with flies.

brassie zebraclipped head

While fishing for trout is very fun and relaxing there are some different rules that need to be followed while fishing. These rules change from stream to stream and from location to location. So checking with a local guide book or with the conservation department before going out fishing is a good idea. Many times certain types of lures can only be used in certain areas of a body of water, or no fishing at all can be done in a certain area of the water. Keeping track of this is the responsibility of the angler, so double checking the fishing areas before that weekend trip is a must! As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Sometimes Size Does Matter

People say some interesting things when they stop in the fly shop like “They pay you to work here?  I’d do it for free” and “What’s the best fly for carp?”  But one of my personal favorites happens when folks pick up one of the size 20 Zebra Midges and exclaim “What do you catch on these tiny things?”  That inquiry normally comes from bass fisherman who’ve grown accustomed to hooking fish with a mouth large enough to swallow a softball or a small duck, depending on which one its overly large appetite can handle.  It doesn’t seem to occur to some that you don’t need an overly large fly/hook to land some truly gigantic fish.

Flies come in all different sizes depending on a couple different factors including 1) The size of the quarry, 2) the size of the prey you’re imitating.  But you don’t necessarily need to throw gigantic objects to catch gigantic fish since many times going smaller can lead to bigger results.  All you need to do is look at the diet of the predator, the prevalent food items, and then match it to a hook capable of holding onto the fish once you’ve hooked up.  It might have taken a monstrous hook to hold onto a fish weighing over 200 pounds back in the day when hooks were made of weaker, less robust metals, but today with the modern forged and chemically sharpened hook materials, we can go lighter and smaller; leading to smaller and more lifelike and imitative flies.

Just take a look at the two flies in the picture above.  They are the largest and smallest flies currently in my fly collection.  The streamer (tied for near shore shark fishing) is on a forged 7/0 Gamakatsu Inline Octopus Circle.  That hook is more than large enough to grab hold of and remain latched to the sharks I’d chase off Cape Canaveral provided I can get them to eat in the first place, hence the large and colorful material.  You need to get them interested in a pretty substantial meal in order to entice a strike.  The size 14 Wired Caddis on the other hand is meant to imitate as specific size and species of bug that trout would be snacking on regularly, so as a result, the material is lighter and less bulky; and the chosen hook is appropriate for remaining attached after the strike.

Although the 7/0 fly is quite large in the grand scheme of “normal” fly fishing, a size 14 isn’t even considered “small” by trout fishing standards.  Dry flies are routinely tied on hooks as small as size 22, while nymphs and emergers like a WD-40 that imitate midges may be tied as small as size 24 (and possibly smaller).  Now THAT is small indeed.  Tippet size must be decreased down to 7X or even 8X just to thread through the eye, and I don’t even know if I could tie a knot in material that light. Rigs of this diminutive size are obviously meant for small trout, light rods, and highly technical presentations.

What about throwing small flies for big fish?  Tarpon well beyond 100 pound can be caught on flies tied on hooks as light as #1 or 1/0 depending on the material so don’t be afraid of lightening up.  You don’t have much choice but to find a lightweight but strong option when the prey item is small like a Palolo worm in the Florida Keys, or a glass minnow along the east coast beaches.  Scale the hook size up as you approach mullet, pinfish, or herring size imitations, using a model that offers just the right amount of shank length, strength, and weight so as to make an effective fly presentation. 

Fish will eat (or at least “try” to eat) just about anything small enough to fit in their mouths so it’s quite likely that your target’s diet is quite diverse whether you know it or not.  Seasonal favorites provide variety and you need to be ready if you expect to enjoy success year round.  Tie flies in numerous sizes and see what works.   Make sure the lifelike imitations are scaled to match the real thing and use a hook that provides a good platform for fly construction and the strength to land the big one.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Exploring the Outdoors at Rush Run

Recently, I explored the Rush Run Wildlife Area. You can find it by heading north on 127. I've provided the link to Google Maps' driving directions to make it a little easier. Rush Run is definitely a hidden treasure.

While I was there, I went kayaking and I tried my hand at trap shooting for the first time! Use of the facilities is FREE. There is no park admission fee, not even for the trap shooting field. You do need to carry your own equipment onto the site, though; there is no on-site store. We at the Bass Pro Shop sell everything you need to get started:

Have fun and don't get discouraged if, like me, you're new to the sport and not very good at it yet. You can see from my video that I've still got a lot to learn! Whether you are a novice or an experienced trap shooter, you are sure to enjoy a pleasant day in the outdoors.


The Importance of Practice

Does practice make perfect? That's the theory. It's great weather to be practicing with your bow...tuning up, checking up and preparing your equipment, so you can make a clean harvest and be safe. However, missing a shot is one of those key mental hurdles that newcomers...whether man, woman, or child...have to conquer. Maria Young, from Dressed to Kill TV, is the first to say keep on practicing and don't get discouraged. Everyone has missed at some point, but practice will keep you in the game. Check out her comments and hear about her own personal experiences with "the miss" here in this brief YouTube video:

Pick up that bow, grab a target and start practicing. Get reacquainted with your gear and your form.


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Outdoor Cooking Primer/Product Spotlight - Uncle Buck's BBQ Rub 3-Pack

Uncle Buck's BBQ Rub 3-Pack - Bass Pro ShopsWe're bringing you the best of both blog worlds today! New this year at Bass Pro Shops is the Uncle Buck's BBQ Rub 3-Pack. Three different seasoning rubs in one package - one for brisket, one for chicken and one for pork. As a fan of outdoor cooking, I decided to try at least two and give them a big thumbs up.

I used the chicken rub on a whole bird on the gas grill rotisserie. I am the person who typically doesn't buy pre-mixed rubs; I createRotisserie Chicken with Uncle Buck's Chicken Rub my own, have my standard "go-to" ingredients, and often throw in a few surprises. However, I decided to give these a whirl and must say it was really good. What I liked best is that I didn't have to use a large amount and still enjoyed great flavor. Another positive is that it's not overly salty, which is another pet peeve of mine. But, it has nice hints of celery, garlic and black pepper, which I love!  Since the rotisserie chicken, we've also used it on split chicken breasts cooked low and slow on the grill, and I plan to use it on the smoker next. I'm not a big fan of sweet rubs - while it's advertised as such, I didn't sense the sweetness.

The pork rub was used for smoking a pork roast. Its paprika, brown sugar, salt, and chili powder Snoked Pork Roastblend was not too overbearing. Those who don't like spicy should find it to be just right. In fact, even my "secret ingredient" liquid that I add while smoking, didn't hamper the flavor of the rub. Once again, it was not too salty - another plus!

The handy shaker bottles come in three slightly varying sizes - 6.2 oz. for the brisket, 5.7 oz. for the chicken, and 5.1 oz. for the pork seasoning.

We don't cook brisket a lot, so testing that one may have to wait a while, but I'm confident it will be just as good!


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If You Are Against Hunting, You Are Against Conservation

Hunting and conservation are one in the same. Many would love to debate that statement, but at the end of the day facts are facts. These are the top three reasons that if you are against hunting, you are against conservation.

The Bill for Wildlife

On a state level, over 90% of the money raised to maintain local Fish & Wildlife programs comes from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. Maybe you do not like that, but the truth is that politicians see more “election value” in other social issues, like building highways, expanding industry, and creating jobs. The irony is that the creation of the National Parks Service was to help create jobs and pull us out of the great depression. Can you imagine a politician in the 21st century proposing the creation of jobs to aid our natural resources?

Hunting Conservation

We all know about the National Audubon Society, The World Wildlife Fund, Green Peace, and other local, national and international organizations. They have done some great things for wildlife and helping protect nature. What you are not told is that there are far more powerful and successful conservation groups, and they are hunting organizations.

Today you can thank Ducks Unlimited for protecting more wetlands to secure migration roots of waterfowl than any other organization. This hunting organization has conserved 13,206,088 acres of land in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and influenced programs and assistance in another 105,217,572. With a war chest of over 3.9 Billion dollars raised in the U.S. alone with 81% going directly into conservation you can thank them when you go feed the ducks. (Feeding ducks is bad for them by the way).

So if the ducks aren’t enough to prove hunters are conservationists, let’s talk about the American Turkey. After many failed attempts by the United States government to repopulate the, at one time, threatened American Wild Turkey, they finally gave up. Hunters, not ready to face the end of a species that they coveted as an American pastime, took action. In 1973 a group of hunters created The National Wild Turkey Federation.

Assisting local, state, and federal governments with funding and man power the NWTF helped rebound the Wild Turkey population from 30,000 birds to over 7 million today. In fact the very birds I hunt in my home town are a result of 21 birds released in 1988 by the NWTF, and now people complain there are too many.

With the NWTF new, ‘Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt’ program they have pledged to raise 1.2 billion dollars (yes billion, not million) to the future of the Wild Turkey. I could write volumes on all the hunting conservation organizations like The Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and even the hated National Rifle Association- just to name a few.

The Ultimate Sustainable System

In a recent short film posted by HunterGreen.Org, entitled ‘The Original Red Meat’ they draw the direct parallel between sustainable practices and deer hunting in the United States. With the bold statement, “I do not recreationally use the outdoors, I am not a tourist to the trees, I am a participating member of a sustainable ecosystem. A 100% organic system of life.” This very real and untold reality is why hunting is seeping into the green movement.

The self-contained system relies on well-maintained laws and hunting seasons to regulate populations with close scientific monitoring. Despite the distorted mainstream belief that hunting is about killing, it is more about the preservation of a species to maintain the future of our passion. With the utmost respect for our prey, hunters do not rely on the smoke and mirrors of supermarkets and the meat industry to sell them a pretty packaged lie.

This is about moral responsibility of our food, our wildlife, and the future of this planet.

A.J. DeRosa of DANGEROUS COW PUBLISHING, LLC and HunterGreen.Org



Bass Pro Shops: Foxborough, Massachusetts



What do you think of when you think of “Fishing”?

Fishing has different meaning to everyone. It has a different outlook and perspective to all. What does it mean to you? Catching the largest fishing among your group of friends? Getting the family out to the coast and spending time together? Or just doing it for the fun of the sport?

Any way you think of it, fishing comes with those great memories and meaning.

Let’s start with the family tradition! When you were little, your dad/parent took you out to the lake just to fish and get out the house. But little did you know your parent took it more than just catching a fish. They took this time to spend time with you. Just have some bonding time, rather than playing video games. Now that you have kids, you appreciate the time that you had with your parents and want to do the same with yours. This time and age it is hard to get your children off the TV, cell phones or laptops! So just taking the kids out isn’t just to teach them how to fish, it’s the conversations that happen during their catches that means the most. Just pass the family tradition down.

When you have had what feels like the longest work week, doesn’t going out to the coast and fish sounds like the ideal thing. To sit on the pier with your love one, bucket of bait and two fishing poles, it’s like paradise. I know it is for me! Go first thing early in the morning right before sunsets. Pick our spot and just wait for the fishes to come along. To some it might seem like a boring, forever time to wait! But for me it means relaxation. No phones. No emails. No schedule or appointments. Just me, the ocean and my fishing pole.

Whichever meaning the word “Fishing” might means to you, enjoy it, cherish it and pass it along! Hook it! 

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Adventures on Ruffner Mountain

Since my first hike at Ruffner Mt. Nature Center was so enjoyable, I decided to go on another one, but this time (picture, left to right) Corey Clayton, me (Jon McGinnis), Cobi Boykin, and Emily Shackleton wanted to come along.  This time we parked at the southern most parking spot (almost directly across the park from the Nature Center) since we wanted to hike around the quarry.

I had recently bought a 15” Red Head Machete (found here http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Expedition-15-25-Machete/product/1301071038/), and I keep it in my trunk because I had picked up odd jobs clearing brush.  When my friends found out that I had it, of course the guys wanted to cut some walking sticks.  I had not tested it out yet, so I was interested how it would perform.  It did wonderfully!  It truly felt like an extension of my arm!

After we cut some walking sticks, we headed northeast on the Ridge and Valley Trail, toward the quarry.  It was awesome!  The weather was perfect, not too hot with a nice breeze.  The elevation was not very bad at all and we were taking our time.

We then followed onto Overlook Trail.  The overlook was great!  I have never seen such a view of Birmingham in my entire life!  You could even faintly make out Vulcan to the left.  This was the day before the Fourth of July, and I wanted to come back, set up my hammock and watch the fireworks. But it did not work out.  We took some pictures then backtracked to Opossum Loop.

Opossum Loop encircles the quarry, so we hiked it, following a clockwise motion.  Because it was a quarry, the terrain was pretty rocky, but not too tough.  We found a cave while following the loop, and because we were a group of three guys and a girl; we did some “exploring”.  Unfortunately our exploration took us through a massive ant bed.

On the last part of Opossum Loop, I was leading, and I saw a two foot long snake in the middle of the path.  I immediately froze, and everyone almost ran into me.  They could not see it until I pointed it out to them.  It then slithered off into the brush and we continued on our merry way.  (Later I learned that it was a King Snake.)

We then hiked the Quarry Trail north, until the first bench.   We took a break at the bench and Corey decided to climb a tree.  At that point, my fellow trekkers had had enough adventure for one day, so we took the Silent Journey trail back to the Ridge and Valley Trail, then back to the car.  The entire group was hot and tired, so went to Chick-fil-A for snacks and milkshakes.  This hike took around five hours.

The weather was beautiful, and there were not many bugs either.  So we had a great time!  I used my Bass Pro Shops XPS 2L Hydration Pack (http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-2L-Hydration-Pack-Burnt-Orange/product/10231378/) again, but this time I did not carry any food, just water.  And, as always, it performed wonderfully.