Pompano Fishing Workshops at Bass Pro

Destin's Bass Pro Shops held its first in-house pompano fishing workshops on Saturday, January 10th and Sunday, January 11th, even though spring pompano fishing won't pick up for several more weeks, when the weather warms up.  Our Fishing Department Staff, Bo Corbitt and Chuck Formes, who hosted the 2-day workshops, spend most of their days off fishing in the surf or from the piers, catching redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano among others.  Topics covered included types of surf fishing combos, tackle and pompano rigs, jigs, live bait, presentation, and where to look for the deep cuts in the surf where pompano are most likely to lurk.  The proper use of sand flea rakes along the tide line to catch live pompano bait was also demonstrated.

For the past several years, Destin's Bass Pro Shops has hosted spring and fall surf fishing classes in April and October at the beautiful Henderson Beach State Park on the Gulf in Destin.  Everything is provided to participants, including tackle, bait, and expert instruction from our experienced fishing staff.  There is no charge for the classes and admission to the State Park is free.  Participants must have a current Florida Saltwater Fishing License and pre-registration is required, since class size is limited.  Check the Destin store's events site in March and September to see when our next surf fishing classes are scheduled.  Once the classes are announced, one may call the store at (850) 269-6200 to pre-register.

Gary Feduccia


Mississippi Comeback Sauce

Back before 4-lane highways, before FM radios became common, before most homes had air conditioning, and before grocery stores offered a hundred different flavors of salad dressings, many Mom and Pop restaurants had their own special homemade sauces and dressings.  Here are two that are similar, but different.  A good friend of mine in Mississippi offered both recipes and I thought I would share them with our Bass Pro Shops' friends.  The first is a similar to the dressings used on salads at the famous Mayflower Café, the Rotisserie, and Crechalles restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi.  It can also be found locally at Tucker Duke's Restaurant in Valparaiso, Florida, served on their salads and even on their huge hamburgers!  The second was concocted by Mr. Bob Dorff who ran the restaurant on Beulah Lake south of Rosedale, Mississippi and also established the famous Bob's Drive in in Cleveland, where it was served on salads.  This type of sauce or dressing is known as "comeback", since most folks will want a second helping or comeback for more.  The photo shown is from Tucker Duke's in Valparaiso, Florida, which is almost exactly like the version used at the Mayflower in Jackson, Mississippi.  Okay, it may resemble a souped-up version of Thousand Island dressing, but it is nothing like the run-of-the-mill store-bought kind.  I hope you will try these and enjoy the tastes of yesteryear.  Gary Feduccia


Mississippi Comeback Sauce

1 button garlic, grated

1 cup mayo

1 cup bottled chile sauce

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 small onion, grated

Juice of one lemon

Dash or two of tabasco

1 or 2 tablespoons water

Salt to taste

Place all in blender and puree.  Chill before serving.


Bob Dorff's Famous Dressing

1 quart Blue Plate mayo

6 1/2 ounces salad oil

4 pods garlic, grated

4 small onions, grated

4 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard

4 teaspoons black pepper

4 1/2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce

1/3 small can tomato paste

Place all in blender and puree.  Chill before using.


Mako, the Best Saltwater Boats in the Industry


Anglers searching for the ultimate saltwater boat need look no farther than the Mako lineup at Destin's Bass Pro Shops!  From skinny-water fishing to offshore runs, Mako makes a boat to meet or exceed your needs.  From 16 foot inshore skiffs to 28 foot Deep V offshore models, each one is meticulously built using the latest leading edge technology and marine design.  100% composite materials and marine grade components assure you of many, many years of trouble free boating.  Moreover, every Mako boat carries a certification label from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

Each model employs wide-open casting spaces and non-skid decks, gear storage, and a baitwell and rod holders on the center console models.  Our Mako lineup is powered by world famous and reliable Mercury engines, still going strong since 1939.

Mako boats have the best warranty in the business and is backed by Tracker Marine Group, America's #1 boat builder, in business since 1978, and a division of Bass Pro Group.  This includes a limited lifetime structural hull warranty, 5-year "stem to stern" coverage, 3 year gelcoat coverage, and a warranty that is transferable to a second owner!

Bass Pro Shops "No Haggle, No Hassle" pricing assures that prices are the same everywhere and guarantees the best deal possible.

So, for the finest and best backed inshore or offshore fishing experience, stop by Destin's Bass Pro Shops and check out our full line up of quality Mako boats!

Gary Feduccia


Destin's Bass Pro Shops Christmas Parade and Opening of Santa's Wonderland

Pack up the kids, family, and friends and come to Destin's Bass Pro Shops at the Destin Commons on Saturday, November 15th for our annual Christmas Parade and grand opening of Santa's Wonderland, beginning around 4:30 that afternoon!  Decorated 4-wheelers and other floats and marching groups will accompany the parade through the Destin Commons and the United States Marine Corps will be escorting Santa in a decorated and Christmas themed Mako boat, as the Head Elf makes his way to the entrance of Bass Pro Shops.

Make sure to get here early and get a good spot because starting around 4 pm and during the parade, Bass Pro Shops will be providing cookies and hot chocolate, throw-outs for the kids, and drawings for gift cards.

The Marines will be kicking off our 5th annual Toys for Tots Campaign and TFT boxes and our "Boat" will be available and in place for new toys or monetary donations.

As Santa makes his way into the building, he will pause to light the vast decorations in the store, then to the back to officially (and magically) open Santa's Wonderland. 

Make sure to check our "Store Events" schedules for available times for Santa photos and all of the fun activities available.  Please remember that the line for the Free Santa photo can get very long (one to over 2 hours) the closer we get to Christmas.  Everyone is advised to arrive toward the beginning of the advertised daily hours to assure that you will get a Free picture during the scheduled photo times.  Santa is here on a contractual basis and we will be cutting off the photo line at a particular point each evening in order to allow those already in line to complete their photos and to allow Santa to exit at the end of his scheduled times.

Gary Feduccia


Join the Marines at Destin's Bass Pro Shops for the Toys for Tots Kickoff

Destin Bass Pro Shops will be kicking off our 5th annual Toys For Tots campaign on Saturday, November 15th at 5 pm.  Come and join with the United States Marines who will be coming to the store every Saturday through the holidays.  Bring a new toy or purchase one in the store to donate to needy children and teens.  The Marines will be on hand for monetary donations, if you prefer. 

Many folks do not realize how many families are affected by the economy, the high prices of food, fuel, and energy.  These necessary essentials leave little extra in income to provide presents for children during the holidays.  Too, teenaged children are also affected and monetary donations are used to buy gifts appropriate for the older needy children.

We at Destin's Bass Pro Shops hope to surpass our previous years' donations.  We will again be "cramming the boat" with toys at the entrance of the store.  All toys and donations serve the Okaloosa and Walton County areas and collection and distribution is done by volunteers.  We are proud to be associated with the United States Marine Corp and the Toys for Tots campaign and have become one of the largest drop-off collection points in the two county area.  Your support for Toys for Tots will be greatly appreciated.   

Gary Feduccia


Bass Pro Shops Again Supports Our Wounded Warriors

There was a happy crew of Wounded Warriors and their families who returned to the Destin Harbor on Saturday, October 11th, after a successful day of fishing on board the Pescador III.  Plentiful Red Snapper, King Mackeral, and other fish were the catch of the day!  Destin Bass Pro Shops donated a number of items, including the Bass Pro Shops caps shown in the photo to make this fishing trip a memorable outing for these Wounded Warriors.

Previously, on Friday evening, September 26th, Destin's Bass Pro Shops held an old-fashioned fish fry for another group of Wounded Warriors and their families at beautiful Live Oak Landing on Black Creek near Freeport.  Our local Pro Fishing Staff were on hand and Nick's Seafood Restaurant brought additional food.  Lodging was provided that night by Live Oak Landing and the next morning, the Warriors and their families were treated to a day of freshwater and Bay fishing by our Pro Fishing Staff and members of the local bass clubs.

Destin's Bass Pro Shops supports our active and retired military community and will continue to support Wounded Warrior functions in the local area.  Please remember that Bass Pro Shops offers a 10% discount to all active and retired military personnel with proper ID.

Gary Feduccia


Adopt a Pet at Destin Bass Pro Shops

Come to the Destin Bass Pro Shops this Saturday, October 11th as we again host the Walton County Animal Shelter.  There will scores of puppies, dogs, cats, and kittens available for adoption.  All animals are neutered and have had their shots.  Costs for an animal is around $55, which is much lower than that charged by other adoption agencies.  With a quick home suitability survey, you can take your new pet home today.

We will be hosting the Animal Shelter again on Sunday, October 19th.  Otherwise, and weather permitting they plan on coming to the Destin Bass Pro Shops every 2nd Saturday of the month.  So far some 16 animals have been adopted here at Bass Pro Shops, and that was over just two days!  Remember, each animal that is adopted leaves a space at the Shelter for another one that has been abandoned or unwanted. 

So come on out to Bass Pro Shops to pick up your favorite outdoor gear and take home a new family member!  Bass Pro Shops in Destin is proud to support the efforts of the volunteers of the Walton County Animal Shelter and all the humane work they do.

Gary Feduccia



Fall Weather and SEC Football - Time to Get Out the Grill

Who can resist sharing wonderful food with friends and family watching some SEC football?  Football rivalry runs thicker than your Grandma's molasses down here in the deep South, especially among teams in the Southeastern Conference!  Weekends are a great time to crank up the grill or smoker to prepare a tailgate feast to please even the most opinionated armchair quarterback. 

Whether you decide to cook pork, beef, chicken, fish, or even veggies, Bass Pro Shops has a complete selection of rubs, marinades, injectable solutions, and other supplies needed to make your cookout a success.  To many, it seems that many commercial rubs, marinades, and injectables are all the same.  For many ingredients, they are very similar.  The difference is found in the catchall word on the label, "spices".  A little bit of one spice or another one can make all the difference in the overall taste.  Try several different ones and pick those that best suit the type of meat or vegetables you plan to cook.

In addition, you can add an another level of flavor by using one of our specialty wood chips or pellets that add flavored smoke to your cooking.  We have all of the traditional favorites including hickory, apple, mesquite, and others, as well as several varieties of citrus, which are particularly good with fish.

So, score big-time with one-stop shopping at Bass Pro Shops for all your grilling and smoking needs.  Your friends and family will be thanking you for that Hail-Mary Bar-Be-Oue!

Gary Feduccia


One-Stop Shopping for Game and Meat Processing

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

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

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

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

Gary Feduccia


Halloween Celebration at Bass Pro Shops

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

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

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

Gary Feduccia


Try Tailgating with a Dutch Oven

September is here, fall is around the corner, and football season is in full swing.  What a great combination to get out the dutch oven and have a backyard "tailgate party" for your friends.  Most anything that one can cook indoors can be successfully cooked over charcoal in a dutch oven.  Use more than one dutch oven and cook for a crowd or use a smaller one and cook just for yourself.  Fry, steam, simmer, bake, boil, or roast in a Lodge dutch oven. 

Bass Pro Shops has a complete selection of Lodge Dutch Ovens and cast iron products to meet your indoor and outdoor cooking needs.  We even carry the Lodge Dutch Oven Table to make your cooking experience easier!  Don't forget to pick up some heat resistant gloves, a steel lid lifter, and a steel spider to set the lid on.  A charcoal chimney is handy for lighting the coals and to keep some going as they expire.

Need recipe ideas?  Google "Dutch Oven Cooking" and find recipes for all types of food from snacks and appetizers to gourmet meals.  Bass Pro Shops even carries dutch oven recipe cookbooks with tips on how to get started and how to season and maintain your cast iron dutch oven. Chili anyone?

Gary Feduccia


Free Surf Fishing Classes!

With cooler weather around the corner, Destin's Bass Pro Shops will again be offering free Surf Fishing Classes at beautiful Henderson Beach State Park.  We've had a lot of success with these classes offered in the spring and fall over the past few years and have received many positive comments.  We provide everything one needs except the saltwater license, drinks, and sunscreen.  Even admission to Henderson Beach State Park is free.

Bass Pro Shops provides all the tackle and bait and experienced staff instructors.  Classes are limited to 10 people and pre-registration is required.  You may stop by the store or call our Customer Service Department at (850) 269-6200 to make reservations.  Classes will be held on Saturday, October 4th and Saturday, October 11th from 8 am til noon.  If we get more interest and demand, we will schedule additional Saturday classes.

So, if you've never tried surf fishing or are an old hand at it, come join us for a beautiful morning fishing at Henderson Beach State Park across from the Destin WalMart.

Gary Feduccia


Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill Now Open!

Long awaited Bass Pro Shops' Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill opened with great fanfare and standing room only on Thursday, July 3rd!  The underwater themed bowling alley and restaurant also features private rooms for meetings or parties.  Ultra-modern teleconferencing capabilities are available.  Behind the huge centrally located full-service boat-shaped bar is another richly paneled dining, meeting, and billiards room complete with fireplace.  I could envision rich 19th century aristocrats sitting around this beautiful room smoking their cigars.  Out front, a fenced outdoor kiosk bar serves as a pleasing seating area for waiting patrons.

Diners, bowlers, and others enter the building by crossing a bridge flanked on either side by running waterfalls.  Once inside, one is immediately immersed in a stunning underwater visual experience.  Over 800 replicas of sharks, groupers, tunas, morays, sea turtles, and other marine creatures hang from the ceilings and complement the undersea murals painstakingly painted on the walls.  Special motion lighting striking the wavy ceilings over the bowling lanes create the effects of sunlight refracting off the waves above.  Uniquely designed sea creatures serve as bowling ball returns.

The food is upscale bowling alley fare at very reasonable prices.  Appetizers (including fried alligator), soups and salads, a huge variety of fancy burgers and sandwiches, pizza and flatbreads, main course seafood and fresh water fish dishes, along with sirloin steak and baby back ribs are offered.  The full-rack of baby back ribs is the most expensive item on the menu at just $15.  Plans call for taking reservations in the near future for bowling/pizza/birthday parties and private meetings.  Seasonal adjustments and specials to the menu are also planned.

Destin's Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill is located on the northeast corner of U.S. Hwy. 98 and Mid-Bay Bridge Road in the new addition to the Destin Commons, just west of the BPS retail store.  It is the only stand-alone Bass Pro Shops restaurant in any of the nearly 75 BPS stores in the U.S. and Canada.

To check on dining or bowling lane wait times or to call for carryout orders, simply dial (850) 269-6100.  Uncle Bucks opens for lunch at 11 AM every day except Christmas and closes in the wee hours.

Gary Feduccia


1926 - Scouting Spreads Along the Florida Panhandle

In 1926, the Scouts in the Panama City and Marianna areas were organized into the Choctawhatchee Council with headquarters in Dothan, Alabama, which was already serving a number of other counties in southeast Alabama.  The annual report of the National Council for 1926 listed 39 Scout Troops with 766 Scouts in the Choctawhatchee Council.  An interesting note shown in the cost per Scout reported $9.24 each, which would have made the Council's budget for that year, $7,077.

Mr. W. L. Sprouse was named as the first Scout Executive of the Choctawhatchee Council with offices in Dothan.  Mr. Sprouse wrote with admiration of the early days in that area, telling of Camp Cheerful in the Bear Creek section of Bay County, which at that time was the BSA Camp directed for 15 counties in Alabama and Florida.  It was a "real wilderness camp".  Today's maps show no trace of Camp Cheerful, however Bear Creek runs northeast of Saint Andrews Bay towards the Youngstown, Florida area.

Mr. Sprouse also said, "we used to ramble over Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Bay, Calhoun, and Washington counties on the Scouting Trail.  The pioneer days passed all too soon.  Even now I can see and hear the old gang gathered around the campfire at Camp Cheerful on beautiful Bear Creek where we held our summer camps".

Beginning in 1961, the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation was founded just west of Defuniak Springs.  It offers full camping facilities at two main camps; Camp Euchee and Camp Jambo.  Featuring a 40 acre lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing, there is also a large dining hall, shooting and archery ranges, and outdoor ampitheatre.

Part of the Choctawhatchee Council was incorporated into the present day Gulf Coast Council headquartered in Pensacola and currently serves over 15,000 youth in 11 counties.  The Council encompasses four Districts:  Pensacola Bay (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida), Long Leaf Pine (Conecuh, Escambia, and Monroe counties in southwest Alabama), Choctawhatchee (Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida), and Lake Sands (Bay, Gulf, Holmes, and Washington counties in Florida).

Camping has certainly come a long way from primitive camping, surplus canvas tents, cooking over open campfires, and dim flashlights of the 1920's.  Today's camper has a wide variety of lightweight and watertight tents, warm sleeping bags, long lasting and very bright led lanterns and flashlights, and propane or liquid fueled stoves.  Let Bass Pro Shops outfit your Scout or Troop with the very best in camping gear.

Destin Bass Pro Shops continues to support Scouting and wishes them another 100 years of success on the Gulf Coast.

Gary Feduccia


100 Years of Scouting on the Gulf Coast

BSA logoOn January 29, 1914, the first National Charter was granted to Boy Scouting here in what is now the Gulf Coast Council.  Scouting on the Gulf Coast started in a small office in the Pensacola YMCA.  The Council's first official service territory consisted of just the Pensacola area that at the time had a total population of 23,000.  The first Council President was Judge W. B. Sheppard.  The Council started with a $200 budget and 5 registered Troops.

While Scouting first started in the United States 104 years ago, Scouting on the Gulf Coast was not far behind.  Today, the Gulf Coast Council serves Scout Districts from Pensacola, southern Alabama, to Port Saint Joe, with hundreds and hundreds of Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs.

The Destin Bass Pro Shops congratulates the Gulf Coast Council for its 100 years of Scouting service and wishes continued excellence for many, many years to come.

Gary Feduccia


Ratatouille Over an Open Fire

Join Camp Oven Guru, Gary, on Saturday January 4th, as he prepares Ratatouille with fresh vegetables over an open fire under our gazebo.  Ratatouille is an easy to make and very healthy vegetarian dish that originated in the French area of Nice and was soon picked up by the Italians.  It is very tasty and is usually served as a side dish, although it can be served over rice or pasta as a main course or eaten like a vegetable stew.

I like to use a large #12 dutch (camp) oven and sauté the following cubed or coarsely chopped vegetables in olive oil until tender:

Onions, zucchini, eggplant (peeled), bell peppers, yellow squash, and crushed garlic.  When tender, add canned or fresh tomatoes and juices.  Add a couple of bay leaves and a sprinkle of thyme and basil.  Let it simmer until flavors mingle.  Salt and pepper to taste. YUUMMMM!

Gary Feduccia


Fly Fishing Classes at Bass Pro Shops

If you've ever wanted to learn how to fly fish, Bass Pro Shops in Destin will be offering FREE fly fishing classes beginning in March.  Participants should plan on attending all 6 Saturdays, either morning or afternoon classes over a six week period.  Each class will consist of one hour of classroom instruction followed by one hour of hands-on casting, and weather permitting, fishing in our stocked ponds.  The final class will involve two hours of fishing.  All equipment will be provided and participants will have the option of purchasing a recommended textbook.

Classroom studies will include:  Basic Fly Fishing; Gadgets and Equipment; Leaders and Lines; Fly Selection; Reading Water; and Casting.

Interested individuals may sign-up for either the 6 morning or 6 afternoon classes by calling Customer Service at (850) 269-6200.  Morning or afternoon classes are limited to a maximum of 6 persons.  Morning classes will be held from 10 am til Noon; afternoon classes will be held from 2 til 4 pm.

All classes will be held on Saturdays on the following dates:  March 15th, 22nd, & 29th; and April 5th, 12th, & 19th.

Gary Feduccia


The Amazing Biolite Campstove

I recently had the opportunity to witness a demonstration of the BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE,  This stove weighs 2.1 lbs. and burns sticks, twigs, and most any dry biomass, eliminating the need for expensive fuel canisters.  This campstove uses the heat from the fire to generate electricity through a thermoelectric generator to charge a phone, camera, or similar USB devices, while providing boiling water for foodstuffs, coffee, or whatever!

Before using the campstove to charge other devices, it is necessary to charge the campstove's internal battery through a USB connection or you may let the campstove charge itself by keeping a fire going in the combustion chamber.  The internal battery serves to power a small fan (the only moving part) that blows air into the combustion chamber, increasing the intensity and temperature of the fire.

I was amazed at how quickly this small stove boiled water and started charging an Iphone we used.  There was also a noticible LACK of soot on the bottom of the provided cup.  We also used the campstove to power a USB string of LED lights.  Power is available as long as a fire is in the combustion chamber.  Advertised boil time is approximately 4 1/2 minutes for 1 liter of water.  A 20 minute charge of your phone should give you about 20 minutes of talk time.

Altogether, this is a great little stove.  Although some backpacking purists might say it is a little too big for backpacking, the additional charging capabilities and not being dependent upon carrying extra fuel canisters should justify the extra size and weight.  The BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE is not only a great little tool for wilderness backpacking or camping, but can serve as a cooking device and provide charging capabilities during prolonged power outages.

Gary Feduccia


Free Surf Fishing Classes

Join Destin's Bass Pro Shops' staff at beautiful Henderson Beach State Park, across from the Destin WalMart for upcoming Fall Surf Fishing Classes!  All tackle, bait, and equipment will be provided and there is no charge for the classes. You bring your Saltwater Fishing License, sunscreen and water.  Admission to the Park is free when you pre-register. 

We have had these successful Surf Fishing Classes the past two Springs, but cooler weather brings another run of different species of fishes along our coastlines.  Learn the proper rigs and baits to use for Fall fishing!  Learn how to properly cast  a surf fishing rig and make the most of your fishing experience at one of our most beautiful State Parks!

Classes will be held from 8 am til Noon on Saturday, October 5th; Saturday, October 12th; Saturday, October 26th; and Saturday, November 2nd.

Please call our Customer Service Department at (850) 269-6200 to register.  Class size is limited to the first 10 callers.

For all of your saltwater, freshwater, or fly fishing needs or Licenses, check out our Fishing Departments at Destin's Bass Pro Shops.


Saltwater Drop Shot Rig Fishing

The drop shot rig has roots in the eastern U.S., dating back to the mid-70's and was first seen in "Fishing Facts" magazine.  In the 1990's, Japanese anglers resurrected the method for use on their highly pressured waters.  The Japanese refined the technique and it soon returned to the States.  In 1997, the drop shot rig was relatively unknown except to a few Southern California fishermen who had ties to Japanese manufacturers and pros.  The system worked extremely well, and those that knew about it did their best to keep it a secret.  Then, in winter 1999, two major tournaments were won using the drop shot rig - the B.A.S.S. Invitational at Lake Oroville, and the WON Bass Classic on Lake Cachuma.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag - way out!

While largely viewed as a fresh water tactic for finessing finicky bass or fishing in highly pressured waters, the drop shot rig is readily adaptable for presenting soft baits such as Berkeley Gulp or DOA's in our bays for redfish and speckled trout.  The presentation is different from using a jig or a popping cork in that the bait can be rigged to be held just above the weeds.  This will put the bait in full view of the fish we want to catch.  In addition, the weight being below the bait allows for anglers to feel the soft bites more easily.  But this is more of a rig to use when we have a good idea of where the fish are, rather than when we are searching water using a lure.

The basic rig resembles a standard dropper used in the ocean and for freshwater catfish, with one difference - there is no line (dropper) between the hook and the main line.  Tie a standard Polomar knot - start by going through the "hook-point" side of the eye, and leaving at least two extra feet of line on the tag end.  The extra line will be used to attach the sinker.  Once the Polomar is tied, take the tag end and thread it back through the "hook-point" side of the eye, again.  This last step forces the hook shaft to lie against the line, which aids hook setting.  Another option is the VMC Spinshot wide gap hook, which has a swivel through the eye of the hook, allowing the bait to move without twisting the line. 

Once the hook is in place, attach the weight.  Drop shot leads have an eyelet on the top that pinches the line, allowing the lead to pull off if snagged.  Choose one that is heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom, but not too heavy.  In most situations, use a 1/8 to 5/16 ounce, but a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce can be used in extremely deep water or during windy situations.  I use 1/4 ounce normally or 3/8 ounce when the wind is up a little.  Experiment with the weight, as this rig will cast well, and increasing the weight slightly will let you cast further.  The "drop" (distance from hook to weight) can range from six inches to four feet, or more, depending upon how high the grass is relative to the bottom.  Remember, we want our bait just over the top of the grass we are fishing.  Another thing to consider is bottom composition.  Use a cylinder weight over grass, and save the round sinker for a rocky bottom as the round is more likely to snag.

I am just starting to experiment with this rig.  My first trip using the drop shot rig resulted in five specks in about half an hour.  After casting, take the slack out of the line and hold the rod at a 10 o'clock position.  After raising the rod tip slowly 2 or 3 times, reel up the slack to get a tight line again.  Fish this rig slowly.  This rig has a lot of versatility and I cannot wait to try variations of the drop shot rig.  I can see a lot of different ways to use this and to target different species.

Jim Martino