Tricks of the Trade

                              Most anglers spend a great deal of money on artificial lures and use them right out of the box never spending any time adjusting or improving on the original manufacturer’s design.  While many of the lures used ‘as is’ work well, making a small change can make a big difference in the way the lure performs and may lead to catching more fish.


Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Replacement Treble Hook Kits                                                                       The first thing I recommend doing, shortly after purchasing a new lure, is changing the treble hooks provided by the manufacturer.  I usually switch mine out with the Owner brand.  They are strong and maintain their sharpness and are available in virtually any size.  Speaking of size… It’s a good idea to match the original treble hook, but in some cases a slightly larger or smaller size may turn out to be beneficial and improve the action of the lure.  I recently started putting a one-size-larger hook on the rear of my Heddon Zara Spooks.  The change causes the rear of this topwater lure to hang a little lower in the water when paused during retrieval.  This greatly improves my hook ups with redfish.  Reds mouths are designed to probe the bottom for food so they have a difficult time turning up for a surface lure.  The slightly extra weight at the end of the lure solved this problem and there’s nothing quite like the strike of a big redfish on a surface plug.


Johnson Lures Original Silver Minnow Spoons                                                                                     Just about everyone that fishes in southwest Florida has at one time or another used a spoon.  My favorite is the old classic Johnson Silver Minnow.  I like and use the silver color but gold seems to work best in our local backcountry waters.  There’s no question that they’ll catch fish right out of the box, but a small inexpensive addition can dramatically increase strikes.  Pick up a package of curly tail plastic grubs. Mister Twister Original Twister Tail Grub in white is my go-to but don’t hesitate to try other colors and brands.  You never know what might work.  Remove half of the grub body and thread it onto the hook of the spoon until the grub is right up against the base of the spoon.  This add-on allows you to retrieve the lure a little slower and still get the same wiggle action.  It also helps bulk up the appearance of the lure and make it look bigger.  I tend to trust the old saying, “Big bait, big fish.”


WhiteLast but certainly not least we come to buck tail jigs.  That’s right, the good old basic jig head and deer hair combinations like the ones made by Offshore Angler or Hank Brown.  The first makeover is fairly simple.  Purchase a black permanent marker and start experimenting with vertical stripes on your white buck tail jigs.  The idea here is to make them look more like a small pinfish.  The second makeover is going to require a few accessories, but it’s well worth it.  First you’ll need a fly-tying vise to hold the plain jig head and then some buck tail deer hair, crystal flash, hackle feathers and fly tying thread.  All of the above can be found in the fly-fishing section at your local Bass Pro Shops.  Put the jig in the vise and start adding fur and feathers and invent a truly unique lure of your own.  Think out of the box and be creative.  Remember, that’s how most of the lures we use today were invented in the first place! 


- Capt. Rob Modys


8 Days Of Halloween Fun

Bring the kids to our Halloween Event this year for some ghoulish fun!

We have crafts and photos daily, scavenger hunts and a special trick or treat & costume parade day.

Check out the event dates below so you can plan your halloween activities!


Fri 10/24:    5p-8p decorate a stuffed owl & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!

Sat 10/25:   12p-5p  decorate a jack-o-lantern & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!   
                    1p-2p  scavenger hunt!

Sun  10/26:  12p-5p  decorate a jack-o-lantern & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!     
                     1p-2p  scavenger hunt!

Mon 10/27:  5p-8p  decorate a stuffed owl & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!

Tue 10/28:   5p-8p  decorate a stuffed owl & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!

Wed 10/29:  5p-8p  decorate a stuffed owl & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!

Thu 10/30:   5p-8p  decorate a stuffed owl & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!

Fri 10/31:    5p-8p  decorate a real pumpkin  & get your picture taken with the Peanuts Gang!   
                   4p-8p Trick or Treat   
                   6p-7p Costume Parade



Journey to Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska: The location of our newest Bass Pro Shops outpost! Several lucky Fort Myers, Florida associates were chosen to be a part of Anchorage's "Opening Team" this Summer. Megan Kalina, our Apparel Processing Team Leader was selected to travel to Alaska to help merchandise their store before the grand opening. Megan graciously returned from her trip with beautiful pictures and fantastic new memories to share with her Florida Bass Pro family. Her journey to "The Last Frontier" included an unexpected day off of exploration and adventure where she captured many of the pictures below.

When Megan's journey to Anchorage began, she was traveling for nearly 18 hours with Alaska is 4 hours behind Eastern Standard Time! The view she had when she arrived at her hotel made the trip completely worth it; she could see the sun shining on snowy mountaintops outside her window at 10 o'clock PM! Alaska has 20 hours of daylight and has a sunset of around 2 AM.


Megan and her opening crew were lucky enough to receive a full day off to explore Anchorage and the surrounding wilderness parks. During her crew's exploration, they hiked through the Kenai Mountains which is home to a massive glacier named Exit Glacier. The Exit received its name as being the exit point for the for the first human crossing of the Hartsfield Ice of 1968. The area of the glacier covers over 4 miles!


The Kenai Mountains received their name from where they are located. The mountain range sits on the Kenai Peninsula which can be found in the Southeastern corner of Alaska. The Kenai Mountains have two rivers that run though its valleys: The Russian River and the Kenai River. Megan was lucky enough to explore the mountain ranges as well as the flowing rivers in the valleys.



The views in Alaska were nothing short of spectacular and local businesses are nestled in between natural wonders and fantastic landscapes.  She had dinner at Ray's Waterfront located in the coastal town of Seward, Alaska. Seward is part of the Kenai Peninsula and sits on Resurrection Bay. Seward is a popular fishing destination during the Summer months. Ray's has a fantastic overlook of the nearby Kenai Mountains and the local marina.


Megan came face to face to many animals in their natural habitat. She was nearly in reach of touching a large moose while hiking on her crew's exploration day. She learned after her encounter with the moose that they are more vicious and more likely to attack than Alaska's Grizzly Bear! Luckily the moose she captured a picture with was not aggressive.


Megan and her new friends she met on her trip have returned home exclaiming to their friends and family that they would move to Alaska in a heartbeat. It's easy to understand after learning of their incredible adventure why they would dream of becoming full-time residents of the "The Last Frontier". Alaska is beautiful and majestic with flourishing cities as well as impressive with natural wonders and wildlife.





Captain Jon Fetter's Fishing Report for May

With the bite in the backbay a little tough now, anglers looking for rod bending action need to look no further than the nearshore waters. They are teaming with sharks of all sizes and varieties. Cut ladyfish, threadfin herrings, blue runners, or any other bleeding bait will attract spinners, blacktips, bulls, bonnetheads, and the occasional hammerhead. The size range from 2-6 feet and pack a serious drag screaming punch. Bouncing shrimp tipped jig heads while waiting for the sharks will provide anglers with plenty of bait for the day. If you want to fish for redfish, the bite has been the best on high tides. Shrimp tipped jigheads or under floats will be the best set-up. Anglers can also try cut ladyfish around the oyster bars on the last bit of high tide and first part of outgoing tide. The reds seem to be hanging out here feeding on shrimp and crabs.





Special Buy: Teva Gannet Mid Hiker Boots

Whenever I'm out hiking trails or I'm busy working on rough terrain for hours at a time, it is extremely important that I have footwear that's going to keep my feet comfortable--while I'm out in the field or walking through the various state parks Florida has to offer. I remember times when I would leave work and once I got home and took my shoes off, I would have pain running through my feet, up my ankles and into my shins.

After trying on a pair of these boots for my eight hour shift on flat pavement, my feet felt like they were sitting on pillows all day. There was absolutely no pain in my feet and the difference was night-and-day. Right now during our Spring Fishing Sale, we have Teva Gannet Mid Hiker Boots that are 100% waterproof and offer more ankle support so you can stay on your feet longer.They are built with impact resistant ShocPads in the heels that reduce the impact of rough trails and keep the strain off of your feet.


This $89.99 value is a special buy during the Spring Fishing Sale for $39.97


Teva Mid Hiker Boot




Q&A With Fly Expert Joe Mahler

I am interested in tying my own leaders for freshwater and light saltwater fly fishing. Is there an easy formula to follow for a range of line weights?

Alex B. Fort Myers, FL


There is. For most all of my fly fishing, I use the same simple formula. I call it the “50-25-25 leader. The name refers to the percentage of leader material with respect to diameter or strength. This leader is comprised of three parts- the Butt, the midsection and the tippet. The butt is the heaviest and will be 50% of the leader. For an eight foot leader, this section would be eight feet long.  The midsection will be 25% of the overall length, or two feet for our eight foot leader. Lastly, there is the tippet, the remaining 25%.

To determine how heavy to make the butt section, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the line weight times five. An example would be if you are using a weight forward #8, your butt material will be 40 pound test. If you ware using a six weight line, your butt material will be thirty pound test. From that point you can step the diameters down, but no more than a difference of ten pound test per connection. Here is an example for an eight foot, eight weight, twenty pound tippet leader:    4 ‘ 40lb.+ 2’ 30 lb. + 2’ 20lb.

If you would like to drop down to a smaller diameter line, you may simply add more sections to this basic leader formula.



About Joe Mahler

Joe Mahler is an author, illustrator and fly casting / fly tying instructor living in Fort Myers, Florida. Joe has spent his life fly fishing for anything with a “tug” and teaching others to do the same. His articles and illustrations appear regularly in Fly Fisherman Magazine and other national publications. Mahler’s “StrawBoss” fly pattern, for both fresh and salt water, is currently featured in the Orvis line-up in three color variations and has been featured in several magazine articles and most recently in Drew Chicone’s book “Feather Brain”. Joe is also the author and illustrator of “Essential Knots & Rigs for Trout” and “Essential Knots & Rigs for Salt Water” (Stackpole Books). You have seen Joe casting away in national television commercials for Bass Pro Shops, Tracker and Mako Boats.

Joe is currently a SAGE ambassador and member of the Dyna-King Professional Tying Team. When not fishing the crystal waters of Southwest Florida, he can be found teaching fly casting and tying to enthusiasts of all levels. Joe’s easy-going approach has made him a popular guest speaker at fishing clubs and sports shows. To learn more, visit




Estero Bay Fishing Report by: Captain Jon Fetter

This past week the fishing patterns are starting to become more consistent in the back bay and near shore waters. The back bay bite is teeming with trout and ladyfish over the grass flats in 2-5 feet of water. Shrimp under a popping cork seems to work best. Sheepshead are plentiful around the oyster bars and any blow down along the mangroves. Shrimp tipped jig heads or #1 circle hooks with spilt shot will work best. The redfish bite has been pretty good on high water near the mangrove edges and oyster bars. Shrimp tipped jigs or cut ladyfish on circle hooks works fine. The passes have been full of sharks, whiting, jacks, and ladyfish. Dragging shrimp tipped Jig heads along the bottom has proven anglers best option. There have also been a few pompano taking the shrimp using a bouncing method while dragging across the bottom.


One of Jon's customers with their Red!



Capt. Jon Fetter is an associate at our Ft. Myers store and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things fishing. Please stop on by and see if he may help you with your fishing needs. Also, support Capt. Jon by visiting his website and learn more about what he does and keep up on his fishing reports.


A Trip to the Bahamas...

Maurice from our Tracker Department recently took a vacation to the Bahamas with a close friend of his with the intention of catching Mahi-Mahi and a 100lb Wahoo. He left the first week of January and was gone for a total of 15 days.
                                                      Two of the custom built rods w/Penn 80 Internationals adorning an Offshore Angler cap!
They outfitted his friends 64ft Hatteras with custom built rods that were fitted with Penn 80 International Wides. Their journey started out at Ft. Myers where they made their way to the Keys, through Cat Cay, then to Nassau to fuel up before heading for the Exumas. The entire time they were battling rough waves caused by the same cold fronts we were dealing with here in the states.
                                                                  The Hatteras was outfitted nicely!
Finally they were at their fishing destination at a place called Hawks Nest that's in the Cat Islands. Maurice spent 5 days exclusively trolling and experimenting with a variety of artificial lures, such as the Islander Lures we carry in our fishing department. They caught everything from Yellowfin Tuna, to Blackfin Tuna, a 36lb Mahi, a 65lb Sailfish--which was released, and even a 400lb Brown Shark! His goal of a 100lb Wahoo? The biggest one reeled in was 48lbs, however they hooked an even bigger one that they fought to the boat, but not before sharks went on a feeding frenzy, and all Maurice ended up with was the head. He took measurements of the beast in hopes that some day someone will be able to tell him an estimated weight of it.
                         Maurice (right) with his Mahi-MahiMaurice with his Wahoo
All in all, it was a successful fishing trip and Maurice came back all smiles. If you wish to speak to Maurice about our boats or maybe bend his ear about his fishing exploits, he works in our Tracker Department located in the rear of our store.
                                              Maurice's sailfish being hauled in by one of our Islander Lures!
Pictures and information provided by Maurice Gibson
Article writted by Kevin Ballantine

New Fishing Products for 2014

Now is the time when the new 2014 arrivals are showing up in the store. The new items are reels like the Shimano Stradic CL4+,new Penn Conflicts, and new Offshore Angler reels to name a few. Also new rods are in stock like Seeker, Castaway, Abu Garcia and more but don't forget the current favorites like the Carbonlites. Also hitting shelves are new lures both salt and freshwater like the new baitball from Live Target and new frogs from Spro. The new items in the store are worth coming to take a look at in order to stay up on your fishing game.

Shimano Stradic Cl4+


The New Bait Ball by Live Target


Bait Ball by Live Target



-Garrett Farmer


January Fishing Report by Capt. Jon Fetter

Fishing Report Week of January 20th

The cold weather this past week made early morning fishing quite interesting, but some of the fish didn’t seem to mind. The sheepshead are spawning and willing to take #1 circle hooks tipped with shrimp. Anglers should add a split shot to keep the bait on or near the bottom. Remember they have a really soft bite so keep the line taught and be ready for the bite. Fish around structure like dock pilings, blow down near mangrove islands, or even oyster bars for this is their hang out. There has also been a decent seatrout bite in the 2-5 feet water depth. Shrimp under a popping cork or paddle tail grubs worked slowly is the ticket. Work the grass flats near the passes or with good moving water to increase your chances. As the water heats up toward late mourning hit the mangroves and shallow oyster bars for redfish. Try cut ladyfish or shrimp tipped jig heads. Be patient as it might take a while for the fish to pick up the scent.

- Jon Fetter



Snook caught by one of Jon Fetters customers

Capt. Jon Fetter is an associate at our Ft. Myers store and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things fishing. Please stop on by and see if he may help you with your fishing needs. Also, support Capt. Jon by visiting his website and learn more about what he does and keep up on his fishing reports.


The Blog of a Santa’s Wonderland Elf: The Build (Week 1 & 2)

By Kevin Ballantine


                Bright eyed and bushy-tailed they said. It’d be fun they said. Well they stretched the truth a bit! Going from constant closing shifts to immediately opening up at seven in the morning was going to take some getting used to. Heck, leaving while the sun was still up would take some getting used to, albeit it was a nice change of scenery. Suffice it to say, I had a thermos of coffee ready…and two energy drinks for later in the day. I was going to be one shaky, sugar-happy elf by the end of my shift!

The removal of the boats from Tracker, and the base of Santa's Cabin stands.

                If there was ever a way to prepare someone to be an elf, the construction of Santa’s Wonderland is as good a way to start as any. Many people think the displays and props are kept in a warehouse and we just move them in and we finish in a few days, but they would be wrong. Every year, a skeleton crew of eight come in and builds everything from the ground up. Even Santa’s Cabin is built here inside the store! Fellow elf Stephan and I worked up our magic and frosted the windows, as elves James and Vicki worked on getting the Christmas Trees together…all one hundred trees. And that didn't even include the mammoth sized tree that would later go inside the lobby of the store.

                Once the trees were up and decorated, and the windows were all frosted, we all helped build the centerpiece of our yearly endeavor, the most important structure in Santa’s Wonderland—Santa’s Cabin. The walls went up, the roof went on, and the house was lit up with more lights than downtown Ft. Myers, and little by little we were able to build it in the short span of two days! Don’t mess with elf ingenuity.

Elf Kevin making sure the base of the Christmas tree was in place.

                After the trees were in place, the borders around Santa’s Wonderland built and the ornament-shaped finials and ribbons adorned the ceiling, we had to bring in some of that white fluff from the North Pole to give it a true winter effect.

…unfortunately, snow doesn't take kindly to Florida heat and it all melted…so we went with plan B: synthetic snow, which still looked nice and gave it that “North Pole” feeling.

Almost complete! The view of Santa's Wonderland from its entrance.

                After day eight, the construction was finally reaching its plateau, so we began bringing in all of the toys and fun goodies for the children. The lead elves, like me, had an assigned job given to them that they specialized in; James—being the veteran elf of the group, scheduled our seasonal elves to work and make sure Santa had a good staff for his visits. Santa, after all, need only ask once, or else it was sweeping up snow and taking out the garbage for any would-be mischievous elves; Vicki—being the only mother of the group, she was largely in charge of making sure everyone was happy and there were no disgruntled elves, “…but he gets to build the big wheel and I have to clean the food court!” was not a valid argument in her opinion; Stephan—easily our most savvy elf with a tool belt. He dreads not working, because he knows when he comes in the next day there will be something broken only he will know how to fix. Don’t ask him about me building the big wheel while he was at the food court…to this day he still double checks my work.

                And then there are my duties as a lead elf. The tastiest position by far! Popcorn—yup we got it. Four different flavors of cookies—you know it! Bavarian Cinnamon Roasted Nuts—yeppers! Last but not least, the staple treat of our beloved food court…freshly made and in more flavors than we have storage space for: Delicious fudge! As of now we carry over ten flavors and they are…


...I am getting ahead of myself. The flavors weren't revealed until grand opening weekend! 

Lead Elves Stephan and James, accompanied by Tracker & Marine Manager, Justin Milson and four of our seasonal elves!


Winter Fishing Report

By: Captain Jon Fetter

Captain Jon Fetter doing what he does best!


This past week the fishing really picked up in the backbay. The redfish bite was really good with incoming water around the grass flats with nearby oyster bars. The fish are moving on and off the oysters with the tides and will take cut bait soaking on the bottom. Cut ladyfish on 2/0 circle hooks was the bait of choice. Patience is the key to fishing cut baits as it can take a while for the scent to attract the reds. Set-up with the tidal flow and put out at least three rods to increase your chances. Anglers should stay closer to the oyster bars on high tides and move away as the tide recedes. There has also been a decent red bite along the mangrove islands on high water with shrimp tipped jig heads the go-to method. The sheepshead bite has also picked up around the oyster bars and any blow down near the mangrove islands. 1/0 circle hooks with #3 split shot will work fine, and remember to just use enough shrimp to cover the hook. Anglers will also pick up mangrove snapper with this method. The sea trout bite should start as the water temps decrease over the grass flats in 2-4 feet of water, with Shrimp under a popping cork the best way to locate and catch them. You will also pick up ladyfish, catfish, and a few bonnethead sharks with this set-up.


Gearing Up For Chistmas


Well Xmas is quickly approaching so it is time to get that list ready for Santa. There are plenty of new items out there worth looking at. Rods, reels, and various tackle are always appealing, but this year I am looking at fillet knives. The Bubba Blade is the one that stands out to me. Great blade with a comfortable handle makes a great combination for hours of fish cleaning. They are rather costly, but it will last and hold an edge for a long time which makes it the perfect gift for the angler that has everything. Make sure to put this on your list for this year and hopefully you have not been naughty and Santa will make the stop at your house and drop one off. Leave plenty of cookies and milk for the guy, he always appreciates good grub. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!!!


Captain Jon Fetter works in our very own fishing department in Ft. Myers, FL., and has been known to be a reservoir of knowledge in all things fishing related. Please stop by his very helpful page if you would like to learn more at


Geocaching: A Guide to the World-Wide Scavenger Hunt-Part 2

Part 2-
Provided By Kevin Ballantine

Types of geocaches

Come on, you didn't think it was that cut and dry did you? There are different geocaches that take the uniqueness to a whole new level. I'm not talking about container types either. These are caches that add a little difficulty, or fun, to finding the cache. Remember #5 of the "get started" section where I said there are special circumstances when coordinates of the cache may not be at their posted coordinates? This is where it applies. I'm going to go over the most common caches. For a list of all the cache types, click here.

  • Traditional Cache: Depicted as a green box on the map. It has a physical log. It is at the posted coordinates. These caches show up the most on the map.
  • Multi-Cache: Depicted as two yellow boxes on the map. These caches are a bit tricky. Multi-caches require the finder to perform various tasks that eventually end up at the final resting place of the geocache. An example from my own experiences: It can be anything from a pseudo-cache (a cache without a log, but has coordinates to the next stage), to a piece of wood hidden on a trail with a carved set of coordinates on it, to you even having to go to a time capsule at a museum and using info on the capsule's plaque to uncover the coordinates. These caches can be any length apart from each other. Most of the time, the person who hides the cache will tell you how many stages you will need to complete before the final cache will be reached. These are very unique hides, but fun.
  • Mystery Cache: The trickiest of caches. Depicted as blue question marks on the map, these are NOT at the posted coordinates most of the time. Basically, these are caches that have one or more puzzles on their cache pages that the cache hider designed. The answers to the puzzle(s) eventually give you the actual posted coordinates. To avoid confusion, Groundspeak made it so the question marks are within two miles of the actual cache coordinates.
  • EarthCache: Depicted by an icon that looks like Earth with a chunk taken out of it. These caches are the bread and butter of what geocaching is all about. The cache is at the posted coordinates. However, there is no physical log to sign (online one still needs to be signed), but you have to answer questions about the environment the posted coordinates take you to. In other words, you have to learn about your surroundings in order to get these caches. The cache hider will have you e-mail them your findings. Once this is done, you may sign the online log. Of the EarthCaches I have found, they have all been unique locations that I never even knew were there.
  • Virtual Cache: These technically cannot be created anymore through, but they are still found everywhere on the map. Depicted as a ghost on the map, located at the posted coordinates, but have no physical log. These take you to unique locations that, I have found for the most part, you have to take a photo with the object and send it to the hider for credit, or post it on the online log when permitted. On some occasions, I was asked to answer questions about the area. Of the virtual caches I have found, these have all been unique and fun.


Once a cache is found, the image is replaced by a smiley face to let you know which ones you have found.

So, these are the basics to geocaching. It's a chance to go outdoors and have fun, it's family friendly, and it can get quite competitive. In future articles I will write about travel bugs and trackables as well as go through the benefits of a premium member. I hope you enjoyed this article, and if anything, I hope I helped a few good people get into a new hobby.


Geocaching: A Guide to the World-Wide Scavenger Hunt-Part 1

Part 1-
Provided By Kevin Ballantine



Geocaching (geo-cash-ing) is a scavenger hunt based game for outdoor enthusiasts, or anybody looking to find a hobby outside that is safe and fun for the entire family. Heck, you can even learn something about the environment. Geocaches (cache for short) can be a wide range of containers hidden in any spot a geocacher (someone who looks for geocaches) deems worthy. It can be fun, it can be creative, and yes, it is addicting.

What is a geocache?

Geocaches are containers that are hidden outside for anybody to find. They are not in the open, hence why this game has been around since 2000 and so little is known about it to non-geocachers. More on the history of geocaching can be found here. Why such a weird name? Geo means Earth-think geography, and a cache is a container that holds items. Geocache.

Most caches must contain a log for a person to sign it as proof of their finding it. Also, there are cool items called "swag" that cachers put inside. These can be calling cards or just something brought over from a different country. It's supposed to be something unique. For example, I live in Florida, and have found numerous trinkets brought over from Germany. One such item was a McDonald's toy taken out of a kids meal. Couldn't read a single word on the packaging, but the toy was cool. A few of the items I've also seen, but are definitely not limited to, are buttons, cards, pendants, and even a cell phone from the 90's. The best items a cacher can hope for, besides the log, are items known as a "trackable," which I will go over in a future article.

How big are they and where can they be found?

The great thing about geocaches is their uniqueness. They can be any size, any shape and can literally be hidden anywhere all over the world-it is all up to the person doing the hiding. However, they cannot be buried underground, hidden on private property (unless the cache hider got permission to do so), or interfere with any laws. I think it goes without saying that these are secured in their hiding spot so they don't wander off during bad weather. There are 5 official listings for the sizes and I'll go over each from my own experience, and I'll try to avoid spoilers:

  1. Micro: it can be anything from a pill bottle, a magnetized key holder, to a container the size of a bolt. Yes...a bolt that goes on the end of a screw. These cannot hold anything but the log.
  2. Small: these are usually small Tupperware containers, cookie containers or small keepsake boxes. They are large enough for a log and smaller items like coins, stamps, or even the McDonalds' toy I mentioned earlier.
  3. Regular: I've found ammo boxes, larger Tupperware containers, and even small buckets. These can handle most items and the log.
  4. Large: Usually larger-sized buckets or I've even found a polyester bag that held enormous amounts of swag in it and trackables-as well as the log.
  5. Other: The dreaded "other." This can be anything. You have to really pay attention to the cache page as well as its clues. If you're lucky you will get a hint from the hider to go along with the cache description. Usually, when it falls under this size, it is not a normal cache. By that, I mean that it could look like something that belongs to a structure right out in the open, that bystanders don't even know are there, like a power box. Geocachers can be tricky that way. One example would be a bolt screw on a stop sign, which many geocachers consider to be unlisted size six...:
  6. *Nano: This one doesn't technically exist and falls a lot of times under "other." A nano is smaller than a micro. A popular cache I'm seeing more and more of are bolt-like containers. The "bolts" look like the same thing that goes on the end of a screw, but doesn't necessarily have to be anywhere near a screw. It is magnetic, so it can be placed on any metal surface. It seems tough, but only if the cache hider doesn't nicely list it as "nano" in their description. If it is listed as "other," then I hope you like challenges.

How does someone even get started?
It's simple to become a geocacher:

  1. You need to register at for free or for a premium membership ($10 for three months or $30 for a year). I'll go over premium benefits in the next article. The name you select is a unique geocaching name. Much like a screen name, it protects your information., the nice people in charge of geocaching take great care in keeping your information private; never asking anything vital or making it even close to a social media website.
  2. After registering, it is vital that you type in your actual address on your profile (only viewable by you), that way when you click on the map, it shows every single cache in your area.
  3. Click on a cache, it will take you to a cache page with its description, coordinates of its location, and any possible clues to finding the cache. This page will give you the cache size, the difficulty of the terrain, and the difficulty of finding the cache once you reach the listed coordinates. For beginners, this is vital so you don't lose interest in the game right out of the gate. You can sift through caches until you find a beginners cache with lower difficulties. An example of a cache page can be found here.
  4. You need a GPS to put in the coordinates, a cell phone with GPS capabilities, or buy the very helpful, time saving geocaching app ($10). You will not find the cache without at least one of these items.
  5. In most cases, the posted coordinates will take you within 10 feet of the cache location. There are special circumstances, which I will post further down this page, when they are not. Once you find the cache, you must sign the physical log that's found inside the cache with your geocaching name. Personal information does not need to be floating around. If there is any swag or trackables inside the container and you want it, the rule is that if you take something, you leave something. The fun of the game is leaving something unique (like a McDonald's toy from Germany, in a cache found in the U.S.).
  6. Once you've successfully found the cache, sing-in to and go to the caches page. At the bottom, sign the online log to mark a cache as being found. Once found, it's counted toward your geocache finds that is associated with your geocaching profile. Bragging rights galore! The physical log inside the cache is to prove you actually found it. If your name is not found, the cache hider will delete your find.

    6.1. In this same area, if you are unable to find the cache, you are also supposed to log it as "did not find." This way, if numerous people cannot find the cache, the cache owner will know something is up and look for it to make sure it wasn't tampered with.


That's it! You've successfully learned how to geocache. In short: register online, buy a GPS or use your Smartphone, find the cache, sign the physical log, then sign the online log.


Fishing Report

Provided By Captain Jon Fetter


  The fishing in and around Estero Bay continues to be really good. The back bay bite is focused on snook, redfish, and snapper right now. The snook are feeding well on free lined white bait or pinfish on 3/0 circle hooks fished around the floating docks and mangrove islands near the passes. The best bite for them has been a strong incoming or outgoing tide. The night bite has been strong for them as well around the lighted docks. Free lined live bait or white jerk baits have been the ticket. The bigger fish seem to be hanging around at night, so beef up your tackle and hold on.

  The redfish have been schooling up on the shallow grass flats around or near the oyster bars. Look for them to move on or off these oyster beds as the tide moves. Shrimp tipped jig heads, cut ladyfish, or pinfish will work just fine. As they move onto the grass anglers can try using pinfish under floats as this will keep the baits from swimming down into the grass. Artificial baits like Rapala Skitterwalks, Zara Spooks, Storm Chug Bugs, and Zoom Flukes will work under the same conditions.

  If snapper is what you are looking for then find some blow down and tip small jig heads or #1 circle hooks with shrimp and get ready. They are hungry and eating almost every cast; It doesn’t take long to get a few in the cooler for dinner.

  Trout have been harder to find, but if anglers show patience over the grass flats in 2-5 feet of water with shrimp under a popping cork, one might get lucky. The nearshore reef has been teaming with action from snapper, trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, grouper and other bottom dwellers. Work the bottom with cut bait and shrimp to get the bottom species and free lined shrimp will get the Spanish and others in the water column.



First Responders


Most of us carry out our everyday lives without worrying about much more than how we are going to pay our bills or what’s for dinner. We take what’s going on around us for granted. By that, I mean that we aren’t the men and women being called into dangerous situations, putting our lives at risk at a moments notice. Instead, we are the ones who see them on the streets everyday, passing us by in an ambulance, fire truck, or police cruiser with their lights on and sirens blaring, not realizing the risk they might be driving themselves towards.

So please, welcome Bass Pro Shops of Ft. Myers, as we offer local Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians a 10% discount on regularly priced items around the store from October 1st and lasting until October 31st. Certain items do not apply, so please call ahead (239-461-7800) and see if the item you are interested in is approved for this discount. We look forward to returning a small part of the favor that these great men and women offer us everyday.

-Kevin Ballantine





Everybody, no matter who you are, likes to save money. Regardless if it’s instant savings or something we have to mail in, every bit saved helps! I’m making it easier for customers to target those rebate offers by listing them here. Some rebate offers are getting ready to expire, so act fast!


Bushnell BackTrack HuntTrack Handheld GPS Unit
Description: Use to log and save up to 25 locations. Logs up to 48 hours of trip data, provides: Current Time (Standard and Military); Temperature (Fahrenheit and Celsius); Barometric Pressure; Distances of Locations (Yards/Miles and Meters/Kilometers); Sunrise/Sunset and Moonrise/Moonset Times, and many.
Price: $129.99
Rebate: $25.00
Expires: 10/6/13

Midland GXT Pro 895 36-Mile Two-Way Radio

Description: These Mossy Oak two-way radios are a great addition to any outdoor enthusiasts’ arsenal. Features include: 42 channels, a range potential of 36-miles, 142 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert capability, water resistant and more!
Price: $69.99
Rebate: $10.00
Expires: 10/6/13


Star Brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment
Description: Stabilizes gasoline for up to two years and improves fuel economy as well as engine performance.
Reg. Price: $13.99
Sale: $11.97
Rebate: $2.00
Expires: 10/7/13


Remington 700 SPS Varmint Rifle
(.22-250, .223, or .308)
Description: Synthetic/Blued non-reflective coating keeps these set of rifles from being spotted by predators. Sporting a 26” heavy contour barrel and vented beaver tail fore-end for easier grip, better heat dissipation and making it lighter to carry.
Price: $619.99
Rebate: $40.00
Expires: 12/31/13  

H.S. Scent-A-Way Pro Pack
Description: This pack provides two 12 oz. bottles of Scent-A-Way and a 32 oz. refill container. Scent-A-Way is an all natural odor eliminator. It does not stain your clothing and is not harmful to the skin. A must for hunters!
Price: $16.99
Rebate: $5.00
Expires: 1/31/14




Polorized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are getting more and more popular as sunglasses companies continue to evolve and create ways to sell their product with the benefit of the technology. Unfortunately, a lot of consumers have false beliefs of what the technology does and how it benefits you.

First off, polarization is a technology certain sunglasses offer that eliminates harmful light that is caused by glare. This light is referred to as "horizontal light" and can cause major problems for your eyes, as well as cause discomfort.

It always amazes me when I hear a customer’s perception of what polarization is or does for the eyes. I've been selling sunglasses for seven years and the people who I've met, who have been wearing them, swear by them. The people who shop for sunglasses primarily on looks alone have false viewpoints on it and think it's a myth and that the sunglasses companies are trying to swindle them out of their money.

Here are some common things I hear and my answers to them:

Only benefit is for fishing and seeing into the water...

  • False: Don't get me wrong, there is a huge benefit to wearing polarized lenses for fishing; By eliminating the glare it helps fishermen/women see into the water better, thus see the fish better. I know many fishing guides who don't even touch a pair of sunglasses unless it is polarized. 
  • The Truth is...polarization is good for everything involved with the outdoors. You tell me an event taking place during the day that doesn't involve glare, and I'll describe to you a liar.

I'm only using sunglasses for driving, so I don't need polarized lenses...

  • True: If you want to leave yourself more vulnerable to cataracts and other eye diseases. 
  • The Truth Is...that glare comes from many different sources while driving. Sun reflection bouncing off windows, glare off of rain water and puddles can all give your eyes fatigue and stress. You may see someone driving with sunglasses while there is a downpour outside and think they are weird. The truth is that if you have the appropriate lens color (like amber or copper) and they are polarized, you actually see better while it's raining.

I can't see my GPS or cell phone while wearing polarized lenses...

  • True: Most GPS units and cell phones have an anti-glare coating on them that are polarized. This allows the user to look at the device without being forced to suffer through harsh glare. Most of these coatings are polarized. If you were to take a pair of polarized sunglasses and look at a GPS or cell phone screen, the screen would look distorted. This is because you cannot look at something polarized, while wearing polarized sunglasses.

How do I know if my sunglasses are polarized?

  • We already learned that polarized lenses block the harmful horizontal light. So, what if you turned the sunglasses on their side? They would be letting the harmful light through and block "vertical light." So, if you wear a pair of sunglasses that you know are polarized, and you hold the pair of sunglasses that are in question on their side and look through the lenses, you shouldn't be able to see through the lenses. This is because both horizontal and vertical light will be blocked. The horizontal light is being blocked by the sunglasses on your face, and by holding the second pair of sunglasses on their side, you will be blocking the vertical light as well. If you cannot see through the tested pair of sunglasses or it is really dark, then they are polarized. 

    To see the result of the test, look at the pictures I uploaded with this story. 
  • The Truth Is...most aircraft pilots are not allowed to wear polarized lenses because their windshields are polarized. Wearing polarized shades while flying would impair the pilot’s ability to see out of their windshield and see their gauges.

Test 1                     Test 2              



 Test 3                                                                                                 

As a Floridian, and living in the "Sunshine State" all my life, I can honestly say that polarized lenses make a huge difference. I feel a lot less stress on my eyes, and it I go outside without them, I can literally feel myself wincing from the harsh glare. Personally, I feel that sunglasses are performing at their best when they have polarized technology integrated with the lenses.


The Off-Season Part 2

   Last month I talked about some of the chores you will have in the off season as preparations for hunting season. Today I will look at the firearm side of things as we look forward to a new season.

   Now is the time to do thorough cleaning and inspection of your firearms. So we shall start with cleaning. This last year some new items in gun cleaning have emerged that have helped change the way we clean firearms. The first name is Otis. They pioneered the cable type of gun cleaner. These are pulled from chamber opening to muzzle. Using a plastic coated cable we are safe in not harming the rifling of the barrel. One of the added bonuses of this system is its compact size. Coiled in the pouch this cleaning cable will travel most anywhere with you. So it can go along on the hunt or to the range if need be. If you have a scoped rifle you will want to clean the lens and inspect rings and mounts for being solid. If something should be out of place or need repair or replacement this is the best time to look at and do the needed repair. This is months ahead of the hunt and you will have the time to test any change.


   Ammo, if you have living in the Arctic Circle for the past 6 months you may not know there has been a severe run on all ammunition since the end of 2012. It would be best to check your supply and keep it stocked as if you would hunt tomorrow. Just as a quick update here, shotgun loads look good as far as supply is concerned. Rifle ammo is in short supply in many calibers; however more of this ammo is manufactured in the months of June and July and up to the end of the year, so just watch for it.


  Now it is the time to look at the camo and hunting clothes you use or will need. Again this is the best time to start looking at these items as it will allow you to give all your attention to the actual hunt. Most of these items will have the most selection early in the summer. So make your list and check it twice, huntin’ season is coming!


~Bill Mellentine (Hunting Team Lead)


Off Season of Hunting

The “Off Season” of Hunting


   Here we are at low point of hunting season. Here in Florida we have turkey season winding down unless you head to northern parts of the state. Also hog hunting gets slower as warm weather approaches. So this is a great time to look over your hunting equipment and start to give a tune-up for all upcoming seasons.

   Today I will talk about the ways to get a sharp edge on your knife or knife sets. As we all will agree, a good knife is an essential part of our hunting gear and having it sharp is necessary. In addition we may have a game meat processing knife kit such as the Game Processing kit from Outdoor Edge. As any good butcher will tell you a sharp knife is key to making the job easier. I will show 2 products here that are both old and new.

    First the new- a sharpener by Work which uses a belt and is electric. This company created a product years ago that still is an industry standard and this product is the Drill Doctor, drill bit sharpener. Now they have built a knife sharpener that excels like their other products. This sharpener uses an angle guide to keep the knife blade at the proper angle to receive a razor sharp edge. It comes with 3 different grit belts to fix very dull blades to just a touch-up of a near sharp knife. This can be done in just a few minutes time.

    Next is an old favorite of mine, the Lansky knife sharpener. This is a hand sharpening system that uses oil stones and an angle guide to keep the edge true while honing the edge. I like this for my better hunting knives as I can really control the edge and feel have its being worked. The standard set will come with oil and stones and a knife holder that has the angle guide in it. You can add stones that will do serrated edge knives and also diamond stones for the harder steel blades. It takes only a short amount of practice to see this sharpener perform well. My own knife sharpener is around 24 years old and still doing fine, so it is a very inexpensive purchase over the many years of service. One of the benefits of using an oil stone is you have your blade oiled when finished, not allowing any corrosion to start.



  I hope this is of some help in the preparing your knife collection for your next great adventure in the outdoors.


~Bill Mellentine-Hunting Team Lead