Fall Catfishing Rigs & Baits

     As Fall time comes around the waters cool and the bite picks back up after the heat of summer.  With summer being one of the most common and often times most effective time to catch lots of catfish.  But the fall is also an amazing time to go fishing for these freshwater giants.  It can also be a opportune time to catch a personal record cat.  With winter getting closer and closer everyday, the water temps are starting to drop.  Catfish like most other fish often gorge themselves right before the freeze of winter.  

     The catfish itself is a very warm watered fish.  Usually preferring water with the temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  They are a opportunistic omnivores - feeding on all kinds of baits, and a wide variety of animal and plant materials.  Often times you will find them on or next to the bottom of the lake.  They are predominately a bottom dwelling fish, but they will still feed and take baits near the surface.  They have numerous taste buds all over their body, the most being on the whiskers of the catfish.  Its almost like a giant tongue swimming through the water, that is why we often try to get the smelly stuff to fish with.  Often times the more it smells the better it works. 

    We offer a wide variety of different dip baits here at our store. The dip bait hooks themselves have a treble hook and a rubber plastic on it that hold the dip and its smell while its in the water, and it gives the fish something to put into its mouth and eat.  Dip baits work great, they almost work like a chum bait drawing the catfish into you.  Working more effectively in ponds or lakes.    Another easy yet very effective way to catch catfish is to use shrimp. They are similar in smell to crawdads as they are both crustaceans. The Shrimp will hold on the hook well and they do a good job at holding smells and scents that i can spray on, anywhere from garlic or a blood spray or dip.  Probably the best all around hook to be using on a cat fishing rig would be the circle hook, which is a hook that when is pulled on works its way into the corner of the fishes mouth and insures the same strong hook set every time. Its a strong hook that sets its self by the fisherman just reeling the line and keeping tight pressure on the fish.  NOT a quick jerk like most other common J-Hook type hooks.  The circle hooks come in a variety of sizes and make sure the ones you have for cat fishing, have the bait keepers on the shank of the circle hook.  Having them will help out a-lot for keeping the bait on the hook at all times.  No matter if you are in a boat or on the shore cat fishing a simple slip rig is probably the most effective way to catch them.  It allows the catfish not to feel any pressure on the line and give him any reason to drop the bait. The slip rigs looks like this.  I often find myself using this rig near 70% of the time when i catfish.  It works very well with the circle hooks.  You can find all the weights and terminal tackle on our Basspro website.  The different things that you will need will be leader line, swivels, glass bead(to protect your knots from your weight), and of course hooks you don't have to only use circle hooks on these rigs they would work great with the standard J-Hook. 

       When it comes to the right gear, as in the rod and reel. Personally i prefer to use a bait-caster reel it is must easier to cast those larger weights with some precision.  One of the best ones on the market are going to be the Abu-Garcia Ambassadeur C4,  then pair with a medium heavy to heavy action rod.  You want something that is going to be a bit longer, to help you out in handling and directing those bigger fish and help you get farther casts.  If you are not looking to spend that much money on a quality  fishing reel,  We always have our different combos that are specially designed for cat fishing, which would work well and get the job done.  You can look at a few of the ones that we carry a very popular one would our Bill Dance line of combos.  They have larger reels and rods to handle bigger line and ultimately bigger fish. Lastly would be the line, most popular would be the braided line you can get 80lb braid that had the same thickness as 20lb mono.  So you can get a line that is 4 times as strong and a fourth the thickness than a similar mono line.  Braid works great for your mainline.  The line Is amazingly strong and is almost impossible to break. The best leader material to use would 100% fluorocarbon line, for the fact it has great abrasion resistance.  Often times you will find yourself fishing around rocks, trees, brush you name it.  It can all rub and wear down mono and braided lines to the point were they get weak and break.  There is more information on different types of fishing lines and there properties on this link right here Choosing the Right Fishing Line.


FALLing For Fish

With Fall rapidly approaching and cooler weather right around the corner many outdoorsmen are getting geared up for hunting season. Meanwhile, almost every dedicated fishermen could be caught daydreaming of fish becoming more active and lakes not being so crowded. In his/her eyes this is one of the most exciting times of the year. Thats right, the next few months can offer some of the best fishing of the year if you know what you're doing.

One of the main reasons that the Fall can be so great is because water temperatures are dropping and fish are becoming more active. The more active the fish the more they need to eat. One thing to keep in mind is that the water temperature in shallows and flats is going to drop significantly faster than deeper waters. The end of September and beginning of October is a good time to fish those shallower waters. Once you find those active fish you will probably be able to throw almost any artificial bait at them and be successful. Plastics and hardbaits are both extremely effective over the months of the Fall.

Deep diving crankbaits, almost all plastics, and lipless crankbaits are all good baits to throw during this time of year. The lipless crankbaits allow you to fish many different depths of water all while creating good sound and action. The most important thing to do is find a bait that is relevant to the body of water that you are fishing. By relevant I mean color and shape. Take a look at the color and size of baitfish, as well as the color of the natural foliage that the body of water produces. Try to match that as best as you can and you should have alot of success wherever you are fishing.

For a more personal experience relating to the benefits of Fall fishing click on this link and enjoy.




Hangin' Around

It is that time of the year again where the kids are in school, the weather is cooling off enough that we actually want to be outdoors all day and the sun isn't beating down on you. Where that cat nap in the sun isn't going to burn your skin and you don't need a pool to cool down in. Ahh, the lazy days of fall. Where some people spend their evenings and weekends watching football, I prefer to spend it outside listening to the birds chirp, hearing the locust buzzing, watching the tree leaves swirl down around you and swaying in the gentle breeze with my legs kicked up and my favorite book in my hands.

Hammocks make spending time outdoors more enjoyable. Whether its used for camping, relaxation or spending time with a loved one. My mother used to take us outdoors and snuggle us kids in a hammock and read to us, the gentle swaying would ease us into naps. I would spend time by my self reading school books and napping as I got older. Dad napping after barbecuing for the family, snoring while we ate dessert. I had quite a few fond memories of spending time with family and friends in our back yard and the hammocks we owned so I got my own when I bought my first house. We only had one tree, but hammock stands are easy to set up and work with almost every type of hammock available. I really enjoy being able to relax while trying to take a quiet nap, smoking meat or watching the kids play.

I went camping with friends who had hammock tents. They had bug nets, rain flies and all! I was in awe. That was a great idea and fit so well into a backpack! That same night we had a huge storm. It stood up to it, while my tent tried to fly away. I was doubly impressed and decided to look into those my self. They were comfortable and could be used at home, for over night camping and were super easy to bring on day hikes and picnics. The straps to hang them were easy to use and you just needed to find two trees.

Hammocks run anywhere between $19.99 to $100. There are all kinds of different types you can find from the pocket hammock to home use for relaxation to the backpackers delight. They are comfortable and give us a chance to enjoy being outside.



Drop the Tailgate and Fire up the Grill..Football season is here!

With football season in full swing it's not too late to still get what you need to have a great tailgating session and be comfortable during the big game. The camping department at Bass Pro Shops has some essentials you won't want to find yourself without.

Fire up the grill and your appetite with the Coleman NXT 200 portable grill for only $199.99 Coleman® NXT™ 200 Portable Grill                                                                                      .This 321 sq in cooking surface and 20,000 BTU grill if ideal for compact size with big grill results. Or try the Brinkmann Tailgate Grill for $249.99 Brinkmann® Tailgate Portable Propane Grill                                                                                  . This grill have 490 sq. in. cooking surface and 4 burners pushing 12,000 BTU's a piece so you can get all that grilling done fast and efficiently with side shelves to hold your spices and rubs. Plus there are many more grill oprtions you can view at http://basspro.com or by stopping by the camping department and asking one of our associates to help you find whats best for you.

Don't forget shelter from the sun and chairs to sit while cooking. A 10X10 canopy Bass Pro Shops® Slant Leg Instant Canopy                                                                                    from Bass Pro offers plenty of space and shade for only $99.99 and has the option of adding a screen Screen Room for Bass Pro Shops® Straight Leg Canopies                                                                       for $59.99 to keep those bugs at bay. there are also 12X12 models to chose from also. 



As far as chairs, there are MANY options from the basic camp chair Bass Pro Shops® Basic Camp Chair                                                                                            for $12.99 to the Big Outdoorsman Hard Arm Chair Bass Pro Shops® Big Outdoorsman XL Fold-Up Chair                                                                            for $69.99 and a lot of selection in between. All chairs have varying carry weight and weight capacities so come have a seat with us and decide what feels best for you!


You should be comfortable on those hard bleachers too! So don't forget to grab a stadium chair Bass Pro Shops® Canoe Stadium Seat                                                                                          for $44.99. This handy seat simply straps and clicks onto the bleacher and adjusts to each user to support as much or as little as it needs to. Great for all ages!

One last detail is making you vehicle show pride in your team. We carry window decals, keychains, and more for Husker and Hawkeye fans alike. (teams will vary regionally)




When you wish upon a star...

....It makes no difference who you are. August is the best time of the year to go backpacking away from all the city lights and see the stars! There are many places out there that are great for amateurs to get the best pictures of the great celestial bodies above us.

August is my favorite time of the year to see so many sights in the sky, and yes many of them after dark. The Perseides will be visible from July 17th through August 27th, almost the entire month of August. The best days for viewing them, 60 or more per hour, is August 12th and 13th. It is going to be an amazing show. It is named the Perseides meteor shower because of where it seems to be coming from, where the Constellation Perseus is located in the sky. http://www.constellation-guide.com/constellation-list/perseus-constellation/ Since the best time to watch any meteor shower is after midnight, depending on where the campsite is located, there are many ways to enjoy this show. If there are little to no trees around to impede my vision, then I keep my rain fly off my backpacking tent, which is made mostly of mosquito netting,http://www.basspro.com/Ascend-H2-3V-ThreePerson-Tent/product/12082109213719/ settle back with my friends and just watch the sky till I fall asleep. If there are a lot of trees, I make sure I bring my Thermacell and hike to the nearest clearing bringing plenty of water and snacks. If I'm going to be near a lake or river, I just bring my camp chair or an inner-tube to sit and relax in to watch the free and spectacular show nature has put on.

This year, there will be a little bit of interference from the August Super moon. So named because this month it will be at its closest proximity to the earth in its yearly orbit which happens 3 to 4 times per year. This means it is going to make the night sky much brighter than usual, which in turn will block out the light from most of the regular stars and the  falling stars while it dominates the sky. This is kind of a good thing if you are out camping or hiking since you will not need a flashlight, headlamp or lantern to find your way around at night unless you are in very densely tree packed area. It will be especially helpful if you are out night fishing, less gear to carry with you.

Remember to keep safe out there when walking at night and do a lot of research on the wild life. I go to Lake MacConaughey in Ogalala, Nebraska every year and there are rattlesnakes everywhere. I bring my walking stick with me and keep a small flashlight with me in case I have to walk across an area off the trails and covered in plants. That way I poke at the brush first instead of just walking right through it and possibly put myself in danger. Other places may have bobcats, mountain lions and bears in more Northern State and National parks. Make sure you are prepared for the area with the right foot ware, clothing, gear and first-aid kits. Make sure someone knows where you are traveling to and have a fully charged cell phone, or a back up battery if you use your phone to take your pictures with, with you in a water tight bag. And most importantly, explore and have fun out there. There is too much you miss out on if you stay indoors!





Shade Please!

It's that time of the year again where it is nice enough outside to go swimming, hike trails, barbecue, go fishing, fly kites and many more activities that are all out in the sun. I know I personally spend a lot of time in the local pools and water parks. How do you protect yourself from dehydration and what happens if you start feeling sun burnt, but would like to stay outdoors and hang out with friends and family? There are a lot of products out there that can help you stay out there and still enjoy yourself. Most people start out with sunscreen and sunglasses, but after a few hours I still want to find a shady area and just get out of the sun.

I have found a few things that are easier to carry then those large beach/patio umbrellas. most are very light weight and pack in the car easily. This blue shade shelter is the size of an umbrella and fits easily in any car. It is easy to set up having only 2 poles and can fit 3 to four chairs underneath it. I keep extra stakes with it so if it is a windy day I can stake it down and not worry about it flying away.Not only is it a great portable shade maker it is waterproof as well so its great for when it might be a rainy day as well.


This canopy chair is one of my all time favorites. I can take it anywhere and not have to worry about the sun. They also help keep you dry if it starts raining, however it only has room for one.

When my friends and I get together for camping or for a picnic we always bring our 10 X 10 Canopy so we can all sit and enjoy each others company while getting out of the hot sun. It also helps to keep the coolers out of the sun so they last longer when we are on long trips. The Shade always refreshes us and helps when we forget out sun block. We just pull up a picnic table so we can all eat or just lounge around in our chairs in the nice cool shade. When it rains it may pour down all around us but our canopy keeps us dry. There are also some canopys that come with lighting already installed and others that have a mosquito screen attached already so you never have to worry about bugs and flies bothering you while enjoying time with friends and family.

These canopies are not too hard to put up either, I found a quick set up by Coleman to show how simple it can be!

So if you are thinking about investing in a nice shade shelter either for your self or for a large group there are lots of options and sizes out there so get out there and explore!














Bottom Bouncing for Walleye

 Bottom Bouncing is one of the many ways to fish for Walleye. Bottom bouncers come in different colors and shapes. They can be used anytime during the spring thru fall months.  Using a bottom bouncer is a hands on fishing method, if you set the pole down you may miss the bite it is very sensitive, not only do you have the bottom bouncers weight you will also have a Walleye rig

To use a bottom bouncer you will attach a clip or clip and swivel on the end of your fishing line. In the middle of the bottom bouncer there's an area to attach your clip, you will  attach the Walleye rig to the end that does not have the weight on it.  There are a lot of choices of rigs some float and some don't, it is your choice or preference most like floating so the rig is not dragging off the bottom but floating so the Walleye will come up and HIT it!!  Some of the rigs have two hooks and some have three it will depend on what bait you are going to use as to how many hooks you use,  you can use worms, minnow or leech your choice.

Once you have it all attached and baited drop it over the side of the boat until you feel it hit the bottom.  You will fill it bouncing across the bottom them a tug when a Walleye hits it!!  Good luck and enjoy!!     


Sighting In

Every year we have a slow period between hunting seasons and are stuck waiting for the next season. There is one thing we can do to fill our time to help prepare for the up coming hunting season, and have a little fun doing so: sighting in your optics.

With hunting in mind I will be going over some basic tips on how to get the best accuracy and precision out of your set up.

First will be a proper mounting: we want to make sure everything is tight and seated properly; any movement at all will cause a huge issue and prevent an accurate shot. Some people like to use  Loctite on their screws.  Be sure to use removable (Blue) Loctite, as Red Loctite will cause the screws to permanently set, which will cause a great deal of trouble if you decided to change optics. Once the bases and rings are properly set and your optic is mounted we will take the firearm to the range.

If you have the proper tools to bore sight, then that should be your next step. If not your local Bass Pro will bore sight it for you. When bore sighting you want to start at 25 yards and adjust your windage and elevation screws on your scope. A habit I got into was to tap the screws lightly to help set the cross hairs. Now that the optic is bore sighted at 25 yards it should be on paper at 100. With a few more adjustments you should be spot on and ready for the next season. There are tons of products to help with sighting in, like the Pursuit Boresighter Kit. This will make future jobs easier and you would be able to sight in many different firearms. So what ever your hunting make sure your on target with a proper sighting.



Chug Chug Chug!....Water

 Water makes up more than half of your body weight, so keeping yourself well hydrated is essential for survival. You lose water by using the restroom, sweating and even breathing. Vomiting, diarrhea, hot weather and exercise increase your loss of water immensely. You can easily become dehydrated. 

Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, extreme thirstiness, headache, little or no urine, lack of tear production, fatigue (sleepiness), confusion, dizziness and yellow/dark urine. Try to not get to the point of these symptoms before acting. 

The average person needs about 48-64 ounces of water a day or 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water. Make sure to increase you water intake if you are pregnant, nursing, exercising, or ill (sick).

Hydration can come from other things besides water, such as fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and even caffeinated drinks like coffeee and tea. be sure to limit the intake of these caffeinated beverages however because they make you urinate more, hence dehydrating you. Foods can also be a great source of hydration, for instance watermelon, lettuce, tomatoes, and soup broths are all great options for their water content. Sports drinks are also wonderful because not only do they hydrate but also replace electrolytes you lose while sweating.

There are many tools to help you keep hydrated while out having fun in nature. Bass Pro Shops carries a wide variety from filters to bottles, to ensure not only you have water available but it is clean and safe to drink.

CamelBak® Eddy® .75L Bottle                                                                                             Camelbak Eddy .75 L $15.00

Nalgene Everyday Wide Mouth 1 Quart Water Bottle                                                                                Nalgene Bottle $10.99

Ascend® H1250 2L Hydration Pack                                                                                             Ascend 2 L Hydration Pack $54.99

CamelBak® Elixir™ Electrolyte Hydration Beverage - Tropical Punch with Caffeine                                       Elixer to add electrolytes $7.00

Sawyer® Mini Squeeze Water Filter                                                                                           Mini Squeeze Filter $29.99

And the list of products goes on. There are so many options in modern times to always have clean water on you. So drink up and enjoy the outdoors. You can find these products plus many more at Bass Pro Shops locations or by visiting http://basspro.com or see Summer Heat; Stay Hydrated and Keep Cool


Fish Cooking You Can Be Proud OF

Do I have an awesome cookbook for you to try or what?

This book will teach you how to Grill & Smoke fish like a chef.  It contains 150 recipes and is loaded with very useful tips!  Here is one of my favorite recipes from the book.

Sunnies Dijon

1/4 cup mayonnaise--2 Tablespoons spicy yellow mustard--1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon--1/4 cup cornmeal--1 Teaspoon finely chopped tarragon--1 Tablespoon cracked black peppercorns--2-3 pounds crappie

Preheat grill--mix the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, cornmeal, tarragon, and peppercorns in a large bowl--dip the fillets in the mixture until they are thoroughly coated--place the fillets on the grill and lower the heat to medium--close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes--turn and cook 4 to 5 minutes longer, until cornmeal is slightly charred--serve immediately. YUM!

You will love this book!  Remember to cook all fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for at least 15 seconds.  If you don't have a thermometer, try this:  Slip a knife into the flesh and pull it aside.  The edges should be opaque and the center slightly translucent, with flakes beginning to separate.  After cooking, always let the fish stand for 3 to minutes.

**Keep fish hot, at least 140 degrees F to serve.  Do not leave cooked fish unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.



What the Deet?

What exactly is Deet? It is a colorless liquid, faint odor, and does not easily dissolve in water. Deet was developed by the U.S Army in 1946 to protect soldiers in insect infested areas. It has been registered in the United States for use by the general public in 1957, and has been commercially marketed as a personal insect repellent since 1965.

Is Deet harmful? If it makes contact with the eyes it can cause irritation or burning. Prolonged contact with skin can result in a rash or redness/swelling. If this product is swallowed it can cause nausea or in rare cases seizures. As far as material items it can  damage certain rubber, plastic, vinyl, or elastic
materials such as contact lenses, eyeglass frames and lenses, watch crystals,combs, painted and varnished surfaces, and certain synthetic or treated fabrics. But does not seem to have a bad effect on natural materials such as cotton, wool or hemp.

How does it work? Scientists have yet to know precisely how it works, but one theory is that insects detect their target by detecting chemicals in our body or through our breath. Through testing, Deet seems to screen these chemicals, making it harder for insects to detect us.

What percent do I use?  Rarely are high concentrations of Deet necessary . Products with 10% to 35% Deet will provide adequate protection under most conditions, although even lower concentrations may be warranted for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents used on children contain no more than 10% deet.


Repel® Sportsmen Max Formula® Aerosol Insect Repellent                                                                  Sprays starting at $6.99

Repel® Sportsmen Max Formula® Lotion                                                                                    Lotions starting at $5.99

There are also many Deet-free options also such as the Bugpatch. At Foxworthy Outdoors The Bugpatch Insect Repellent                                                                                $4.99  it is a natural patch designed for children. Among many other products available. Simply stop by the camping department as Bass Pro Shops and have a friendly associate help you find whats best for your needs, or go to http://basspro.com to view products available. Also see Guide to Bug Repellents or It's Bug time......Again for more information on keeping you protected this season. Now get out there and enjoy The Great Outdoors!



The Perfect Picnic Sites

Hiking is a great way to explore the areas around you and find out more about the history of our great nation and states. Most places that have hiking have great over looks of beautiful lakes, prairies, rivers and other neat geological formations. I find there is a lot of beauty to be seen and I always try to make a day of it with friends and family.

Finding a spot can be quite easy. I have a lot of friends that go hiking often, so I just ask them where a neat place is. State and National parks have websites you can visit to find new places as well if you do not have many people to ask. I recently visited http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/guides/parksearch/findpark.asp to see what parks were near me. Some state  and national parks have facebook pages as well. Nebraska, for example, does and they keep you updated for any free days for families where you can learn archery, if they have fishing days where you can use equipment for free, group hikes, living history acts and other fun activities. 

After finding the place you want to go, you should always plan out your day. Tell someone who is not going with you where you are going and times you are going and coming back in case of inclement weather or in case other emergencies arise. Always check the weather before the days you are planning on going and on the day you are going to make sure you are going to have good weather or are prepared if there is a chance of rain.

I make sure all people in the group have water with them. I carry a few nalgene bottles, which hold one liter(32 Ounces) of water and are darn near indestructible.(http://www.basspro.com/Nalgene-Everyday-Tritan-Wide-Mouth-Bottle-32-oz-/product/10207661/) where my brother prefers to have his camelbak which already has a hydration system installed into a day pack. 

I make sure I have all the essentials in my personal day pack like a camera to keep my photo journal up to date, a rain poncho, compass and a first aid kit in case of an emergency. When I check into the park I make sure I get a map of the park so I know where the trails are. I usually drive around the park, with who ever is with me, till we find a trail that we both agree upon or one that looks good to both of us. You can also ask the ranger when you check in if there is an easy/medium/hard trail (depending on your level of comfort) that they would recommend for you. Make sure you read the map to see how many mile that particular trail is so that you are fully prepared with enough drinking water and food. Most of the time the trails on the map will have special look outs or features marked on the trail on the map to make it easy to find the best features of the park easily.

  I like it when places have benches to sit and enjoy a snack or lunch. Most scenic outlooks have benches or picnic tables so you can enjoy your view longer. They don't always have grills however, so make sure you have something simple to eat just in case. The maps usually have symbols to tell you if they do, I prefer not to carry too much while hiking though.

I bring along sandwiches that do not need refrigerating so they do not spoil. I also bring along granola bars, chips, jerky, fruit or something else to snack on while walking. You may have to walk several miles to get to some wonderful views. I also keep a cooler in my car with things I can cook over a grill when I get back from the trails. Hiking makes me hungry!

Some parks have grills readily available near parking for trails some do not. I pack a small grill and extra propane with me just in case. It always feels good to to have a full belly on the way home!

I hope you get a lot of good pictures out there!



Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas!

Time is running out, and men can be really hard to buy for!  I know I rarely wait for someone to buy me a gift of something I really want, I simply go buy it and it drives my wife crazy!  Gift cards are easy, but they lack imagination.  This year, get your father something he would never think about, but he likely carries with him every day: a good knife.

If you asked every guy you ran across if he carries a knife, I'd bet that almost all of them do, and it's likely that almost all of them could REALLY use a new one!  Obviously, there are A LOT of knives to choose from, but some of my personal favorites come from Case Knives.  

Case makes about every style of pocket knife that a guy could dream of, but they also do a lot of commemorative and special edition knives.  My two favorite sets of knives they have done are the John Deere series and our newest edition, Harley Davidson!  

These are great Father's Day gifts because it is likely that yours hasn't thought to buy one for himself, not to mention that there is a $5 Rebate on all Case Knives through the end of the month!








A Man Named Browning

In today's firearm market we have a lot of different choices in what we purchase, but what makes each manufacturer different from all the rest?  Is it machining?  Quality of metals?  Or perhaps simply how much love they put into their product?  Or is it all a matter of opinion?

With the research I have done one manufacturer caught my attention above the rest: Browning.  There is quite an interesting history behind Browning and how they became what they are today.  Not to mention, they are responsible for producing my favorite shotgun: the A-5. 

In 1855 a boy was born who would change the world of firearms. This boy would eventually design some of the most well known and arguably the best designed guns in modern firearms history.  We credit the design of firearms like the 1911 pistols and .50 caliber machine guns to the boy we all know as John Moses Browning.

Browning started making guns at a vary young age, the first gun he created was when he was 13. He contributed in furthering the design and quality of many different kinds of firearms including lever actions, single shots, and side by side shotguns.  What he is best known for, however, is his auto-loading firearms. He made many different kinds of auto-loading firearms like the .50 Caliber BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) and the 1911 to name a few, and my all time favorite the Auto-5.    

The Auto-5 was created in 1895 and was put into production in 1900.  The Browning Auto-5 is a long-recoil operated semi-automatic shotgun.  Shells are stored in a tubular magazine under the barrel.  When a chambered shell is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together (for a distance greater than the shell length) and re-cock the hammer.  As the barrel returns forward to its initial position the bolt remains behind and thus the spent shell is ejected through a port on the top of the receiver.  Then the bolt returns forward and feeds another shell from the magazine into the action.  So as Remington Model 11 Shotgunyou are firing the gun, the barrel slides into the receiver, (an action which is still seen in firearms such as the Barrett family of long-range weapons).  The A-5 has a system of friction rings that control the rate of recoil.  Setting these rings correctly is vital to optimal shotgun performance; and also to ensure a long life of the weapon by controlling excessive recoil.  The friction rings are set based on the type of load to be fired through the gun.  If you wanted to shoot a low brass round you can adjust the spring to fire without any hang ups or jams, and when you're ready to hunt with high brass you set the spring back and can have the same feeding reliability.

The Auto-5 came with lots of extras for its time as well.  One of these features is a magazine tube stop which stops any shells from loading in to the receiver when the action is cycled and the chambered round is removed.  This is a very useful feature, and adds safety when crossing fences, as you can safely de-chamber a round without completely unloading the firearm.  It also helps to change different loads with quickly and easily.  This feature is still in use today on the Browning Maxus.

The Auto-5 remained in production for nearly 100 years, stopping in 1998.  Browning has since re-released a very similar firearm, although it is now simply called the A5.  This shotgun has stood the test of time and has influenced the hunting world as we know it.  Although the design of this firearm is old and it may not win any beauty contests, its hump back design makes it very unique (and identifiable) and its reliability is still nearly unmatched.  If you're looking for a great gun with an even more impressive history the Auto-5 is a no-brainer.


SPY Sunglasses - New to Council Bluffs Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops in Council Bluffs is excited to be featuring a new line of sunglasses in our Caseline assortment!

SPY Eyewear features a new pair of sunglasses for everyone.  A great feature of the sunglasses is their "Happy Lens" technology.  SPY's color and contrasting "Happy Lens" is the only lens to maximize the transmission of the sun's good rays.  This will allow you to see better, feel better and perform better!

Bass Pro is featuring a large selection of the Dale Jr. collection.  These come in different frame styles that have the Dale Jr logo on the frame.


At this point we feature 8 different styles of sunglasses with multiple frame colors and lens colors.  We are looking at adding additional styles to our assortments, but for the time being we are able to order anything from SPY's large catalog of sunglasses.

For more information on this new line of Sunglasses, visit our Council Bluffs Bass Pro Shops or visit  https://www.spyoptic.com/.




Is that Branch in the way? Using your Multi-Pin Bow sight to determine arrow flight.

Last month we talked about arrow speed in regards to trajectory and deer jumping the string at a given distance.  This month we take that data and look how it applies to aiming at your target with obstacles between you and your target.

How many times have you been up in a tree-stand or at a 3D tournament and there was a branch in your way or at least your first impression was that it was going to be struck by your arrow as it traveled towards your target?  I have setup many 3D shoots with these shots being a part of the course.  Many times I have heard that these are impossible to be shot because a tree branch was in the way.   Nope, that shot was designed that way and if you are like me when it comes to golf I will focus on the water and that is where my ball ends up.  It is true with any shooting sport, if you focus your mind on the branch or tree you are most likely going to strike it and take a big fat zero or have a miss on your deer.  But if you know your arrow flight path towards the target and know that you won’t hit that branch, you can focus on the middle of your target and catch that 12 or heart.

Most people NEVER practice or shoot their bow at very close distances.  I have won more hotdogs at three-yard shots that I have lost count and have become fat.  More deer are missed right below the tree stand than at any other distance.  This is due to very few people practice or understand how there arrow trajectory works at very close distances.  My hunting setup shoots at around 280 FPS.  I know that at 3 yards I have to hold my 50-Yard pin about and inch high of where I want my arrow to hit.  WHAT???, Do I have your attention now?  Yes for me to shoot a pinwheel “X” I have to hold my 50-Yard pin 1-inch high.  I have witnessed that most people will either hold there 20-Yard pin ON or even a little low to take that shot and then miss the target either completely or shoot very low.  Funny, most people who take the shot again in disbelief will shoot the same way and miss again.

Why is this?  Think about where your arrow is compared to your 20-Yard pin while in your bow.  It rests somewhere between 4 and 5 inches below the 20-Yard pin.  Think about what has to happen for the arrow to hit where your 20-Yard pin is at 20 yards.  The arrow has to rise, or shoot upward to get to that mark after it is shot.  In fact most arrows will climb to their highest height at about 13 to 14 yards then start to descend again from that point.  With that being said, at very close ranges your arrow has not reached its apex or highest part of its trajectory yet, but rather is climbing through the longer yardage sight pins until its apex at 13 to 14 yards.




Okay now let’s put this information into practical situations. 

Below is a picture of a 3D deer target at 22 yards.  The tree branch is 5 yards in front of me. Would you take this shot?

Knowing that my arrows flight at 5 yards is just below where my 30-Yard pin is, the answer would be “NO”.  I would hit that branch dead center.   

The picture below is the same deer at 22 yards with the branch at 5 yards.  Would you take this shot?

Knowing that my arrow will be well below the branch and somewhere just below where my 30-Yard pin is I would easily take this shot.


The picture below, now let’s say that branch was at 13 yards and deer was still at 22 yards.  Would you take the shot? 

Knowing that my arrow in flight at 13 yards is above my 20-Yard pin, I would NOT take that shot as my arrow would graze the bottom of the branch sending it into the ground in front of the target.  

The picture below, Scenario now is the deer is at 30 yards and the stubby branch is at 10 yards in front of me.  Would you take the shot?  

I know most people will focus on that stubby branch and tag it and state that was an impossible shot.  Knowing that my arrow in flight would be at the top of my 20-Yard pin as it passes over that stubby branch at ten yards and just drop into the middle of the 10 ring at 30 yards, I would take that shot.  I might aim just a hair to the right to make sure I avoid that little twig coming off from the left of my 20-Yard pin though. 

All of these are real world scenarios and if you know your arrow flight and trajectory you will have the confidence take that shot. 

Practice those really close shots and learn where your arrow is compared to your sight pins and your scores will go up.

Next month we will be learning how to use your multi-pin sight as a range finder on the 3D course and during hunting situations. 

Until then, Shoot Straight.                                                                                  


Recreational Trap Shooting

Trap shooting; a hobby that anyone can enjoy, from old to young it's a hobby that has stood the test of time. In its infancy, live pigeons were used, but it was determined glass was more ethical. Glass soon became too expensive and now clay has become the material of choice.

All you need to partake in the hobby is a shotgun, a clay thrower, and a box of clays.

The most difficult part about this sport is choosing the right gun/choke combination.  There are a lot of guns to choose from: single shot, double barrel, pump and semi-auto.  All of which will work as long as you have the right set up. One thing that will help ensure you have the right shotgun for the job is the choke, but how do you know which one is best for your needs?

I have been shooting trap for a while and it seems every person I shoot with seems to have a different preference of choke.  

A choke is simply a device that uses a tapered constriction of a shotgun barrels bore at the muzzle, whether it be the entire barrel that is tapered or a tube that screws in to the muzzle.  Chokes are usually measured in terms of how much constriction they offer in thousandths of an inch difference from the nominal bore diameter.  The most common chokes (in order from least constriction to most) are: Cylinder, Skeet, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Full, and Extra Full. 


.000 (Bore Diameter which vary on manufacturer/model)
Improved Cylinder (IC)
Light Modified (LM)
Modified (MOD)
Improved Modified (IM)
Extra Full (EF)
Turkey (TKY)


The chart below gives an idea of the effective yardage for most loads:




Now which one of the chokes will work the best?  Most of your shots will take place anywhere between 16-25 yards, so you will want one that will be effective at these ranges.  What you are looking for out of the choke is a pattern that is wide enough to easily hit the target but not have so large of a pattern that you have holes in your pattern.

With all that in mind we will look to the charts. With open cylinder and skeet constrictions, the pattern tends to be a little too wide. Improved cylinder seems to be effective enough to have a consistent pattern at the needed ranges, which should make for a good selection.  Modified chokes are also very popular, however adding constriction will begin to narrow the pattern, but it will increase pattern density.

When it comes down to it, personal preference is the key, and as with any type of shooting, practice and patterning are a must.

The only thing left to choose is your shells.  The two prevalent shot sizes are 7 1/2 and 8. The biggest difference between these two shots are how heavy and how many pellets are in each load.  Pellets are rated inversely, so the bigger the number, the smaller the shot.  That means the 7 1/2 is the heavier of the two pellets, which will carry energy further, but the 8 being smaller will allow for more pellets in the pattern.  My personal preference is 7 1/2's, as I seem to have better luck with those on windier days where the higher pellet count of the lighter 8 shot doesn't help out as much.

Trap shooting makes for a great past time as long as you are hitting the clays.  There is a new product on the market called Winchester AA Tracker .  These are a specifically designed shell for the purpose of training new shooters.  The shell contains a wad that tracks right along in the center of the shot string.  This allows for a spotter to stand behind you and see exactly where it is that you are missing.

Making sure you hit the clays makes for a great time but nothing beats practice and patience. With all the hustle and bustle of today's life, make sure you always set aside time to enjoy the little things and take part in a past time that has been entertaining people for over a hundred years: trap shooting.


Choosing the right fishing line for you.

Its getting to be that time of year again. The days are getting longer, warmer, and you're tired of staying in the house, you want to go fishing. By now you've already been through your tackle box about thousand times to determine what you need. Everything from new lures, tools, replacement hooks, weights, soft plastics, and fishing line. So you head down to your local Bass Pro Shops, go to the fishing section, look for the fishing line and find out there's more of a selection than there was last year. Monofilament, flourocarbon, braid, what are all these lines? Which line is best for me?

The type of fishing line you choose needs to be matched with the conditions you're fishing in. When choosing the right fishing line, the following criteria should be considered: Strength, Stretch, Abrasion resistance, Diameter, Stiffness, and Visibility.

Monofilament fishing line is made from a single fiber of plastic. This type of fishing line comes in a wide range of sizes and colors. You can find everything like a 2lb clear ice fishing line to 40lb high visual yellow for going after those big cats on the river. Monofilament fishing line is made by melting the plastic then extruding through tiny holes. These holes control everything from the diameter of the fishing line to the tensile strength or test. The advantage of monofliament fishing line is it can be used in a wide variety of fishing situations. Monofilament however does posses a memory to it causing it to coil over time. This type of line needs to be changed often as it will degrade when exposed to heat and sunlight. For all you monofilament lines visit Bass Pro Shops website to fins the right one for you.http://www.basspro.com/Fishing-Terminal-Tackle-Fishing-Line-Leaders/Type-Monofilament/_/N-1z0uxahZ1z0xd10

XPS® Signature Series Monofilament Fishing Line - 800-1000 Yards

Flourocarbon fishing line has been around for sometime, being used in saltwater fishing and fly fishing. It is relatively new to bass fishing though. This line is named after the chemical used to make it flourocarbon. There are many advantages to flourocarbon line over traditional monofilament fishing line. Flourocarbon is virtually invisible in water, has a higher density causing it to sink faster, lack of stretch and resistance to abrasion. As with everything there are some draw backs to this fishing line; stiffness, brittleness, density making it hard to fish top water, and knot strength.  It is best to use flourocarbon in times when stealth or finesse in needed. Another great application for flourocarbon is to use as a leader when bass seem to be easily spooked.http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=flourocarbon

Bass Pro Shops® XPS® KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Braided fishing are one of the earliest types of fishing lines. But with advances in technology braided line is now made out of different stuff than it used to be. Braid is known for its high knot strength, low stretch, and its over all power in relation to its size. On average a 20 lb test braided line is the diameter of a 6ob test monofilament. One drawback of braid is that it can be seen by fish in the water. It is best to attach a monofilament leader from your lure to the braid. Anglers have complained about other problems when fishing with braid, such as the line burying itself in the spool, losing fish on the hook set and other issues. The following article should address any issues you've been having along these lines. http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPage?mode=article&objectID=30041&storeId=10151&catalogId=10051 . If you have any other issues just contact your local Bass Pro Shop with questions. You can read more about uses for braided fishing line by visisting Basspro.com and viewing bother blogs written by the prostaff. Here is an example link.  http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BPSIFrameView?catalogId=10051&tab=2&langId=-1&storeId=10151&targeturl=http://www.basspro1source.com/index.php/blogs&ddkey=http:BPSIFrame&tab=2

Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 8 Advanced Braid Fishing Line - 300 Yards

After looking at the three most popular types of fishing line out there on the market today; with their advantages and disadvantages you should be able to make a relatively informed decision on which line to get. If you're still unsure ask a Bass Pro associate  which line would be best for you.


It's Smokin'!

With nice weather this spring the smell of smoke is in the air. You go to pick out a new smoker and realize there is a lot of options, but which one is right for you? In this article I will go over some pros and cons to help you decide...electric or propane?

Economically, electric smokers are more effective in the manner that they only use about 11-13 cents worth of electricity per hour. While propane tanks, which can run $20-$30 to refill, yield about 30-40 hours or 6-8 good smokes. Both, however, are similar in efficiency of using wood chips. Depending on the consumer's preference in the amount of smoke, you can expect to use 1/4-1/2 a bag of wood chips per smoke, 2-4 smoking sessions per bag.

Which leads us to the time old struggle between Bradley and Masterbuilt for electric. Bradley is a very good smoker but throughout time, I have heard people describe that they were having a hard time getting the temperature up and maintaining it. Also the bisquettes run about $21 per box (per flavor) so trying all the flavors they have to offer can be pricey. While Masterbuilt uses wood chips, which run about $6 a bag and also have variety boxes with 4 bags, a dvd, and smoke box all for around $16. This allows people to openly try all the flavors and still not spend much.

Bradley Smoker® Flavor Bisquettes®                                                                                      $20.99WW Wood Smoking Chips                                                                                                           $5.99

Back to the maintaining temperature, propane smokers are thinner and not insulated, which could lead to a hard time smoking in the winter. Digital (not analog) smokers are double-wall insulated and have a rubber gasket like your refrigerator which aids in retaining valuable heat and smoke. The Masterbuilt line of electric smokers also has the side chip feed scoop which allows users to add wood without opening up the unit, unlike propane, where you have to open the unit every time. Your smoker can lose about 50 degrees in just a few moments of opening it.

Tips: when you first get your smoker home it is best to "preseason" it. To do this crank it to max. temp for 2-3 hours and add wood chips for about 30 minutes of it. this will get out the "new car" taste of things and season racks and walls, similar to prepping cast iron. Also with the Masterbuilt electric with the window, it's best to use a food safe cleanser to keep it clear, such as vinegar, so you don't get a chemically taste next time you cook.

Another benefit of using Masterbuilt digital electric is the fact that you can get an addition of cold smoke. If you have ever been though the deli cheeses and smoked dairy products, they can be expensive. This unit allows you to smoke your favorite cheeses for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store. Cold smoke usually ranges 90-120 degrees, which can be a dangerous temp for food-borne bacteria, but to dairy products and select meats that will be cooked further later, it can be safely done. Warm smokes run about 165-180 degrees.    

Here is some basic information that may help you determine smoke times: 

You can find all of these products on http://basspro.com or stop by Bass Pro Shops and an associate will help you find what smoker is best for you. Smokers: a Great Way to Cook is also a great link to see more views and tips on smoking meats. Happy Smoking!


Mushrooms Everywhere!

Its that time of the year! Spring! This is the time to get out, stretch your legs and enjoy nature beginning anew. It is also that time of the year for the food delicacy of the Morel Mushroom!

There are many ways to know if the time is right. My grandmother told me that then the violets pop up and start flowering, other people have told me that it is when the lilacs are beginning to bloom. Really its when we have had at least 2 weeks of non freezing temperatures and have a lot of rain This occurs in late April and early may and lasts only a few weeks. April showers bring May flowers and mushrooms!


I have only been going out for a few years. Before that I had no idea what to look for and how to look. The way my friends explained it to me was that you are looking for a very well camouflaged Mushroom near fallen trees. It is kind of like looking at a magic eye picture, where if you stare long enough, the picture pops out at you. Once you have found one or two you will see them all over the place! As you can see in the pictures above(and this was a close up) you could walk right by it and not see it because the colors of the leaves and mushrooms are so close together.

Since you will be trampling in the woods off the beaten path looking for these delicious morsels you will need a few things since they are not the only plant growing. I personally spray my clothing down with Permethrin because it keeps the ticks and mosquitoes off of me. Permethrin is made out of Chrysanthemums that is made for clothing. This is a great product that lasts 90 days on gear and 6 washings on clothes. So if you are looking for a more natural repellent, this is a good one. http://www.basspro.com/Sawyer-Permethrin-Insect-Repellent-for-Clothing/product/10223263/ Any bug repellent is good though. Wear long pants so you do not have to worry about bushes scratching you since you will be off the beaten path. I wear long sleeved shirts as well and bring a light jacket.

You will need a few things while hunting these tasty morsels. First you will need a mesh bag. This helps the mushrooms drop their spores and drop any insect hitch hiker that tried to come along for the ride. You may see some people who use plastic grocery sacks or canvas bags, this is just not appropriate and some times you may be ticketed or fined from the park depending on their rules. This stops the propagation of the mushrooms and every time someone does this, it makes the mushroom population shrink till it could become non-existent in that area. Always check with the park employees, when you check into the park, about the rules of that area. Even if the parks are in the same state, they all have different rules.


The best way to find Morels is to look off the beaten path. Look for fallen Elm trees, mushrooms love Elm trees. These trees have rough coarse bark who have diagonal lines(possibly intersecting) cut into it, the leaves are oval shaped with saw toothed edges, so if you find a live one, the fallen trees around it are more then likely the same tree, just look at the bark. They will also grow in other dead underbrush and trees but not near as often. I bring a walking stick with me to brush away any leaves while looking in the piles near downed trees.

After you have found your treasure of tasty Morel Mushrooms and get back to your campsite, or home if it was just a day trip, you do have to soak them in a salt water brine for a few hours. I always do it overnight. This gets rid of all the bugs and dirt, which you do not want to eat. 

Now you are ready to prepare and eat. I like mine deep fried so I bring my dutch oven and fry basket, my friends mom does it on the stove in their camper. I have also tried them cut up and used in a mix of hamburger for burgers and meatballs(this was to trick the picky eaters into trying them, but darn tasty). The possibilities are endless! This is a great spring time hobby,a great way to get out doors and fun for the whole family. Enjoy!