Tips For a Great Hiking Experience

                                                                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a18l2i8NFM8&feature=player_embeddedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a18l2i8NFM8&feature=player_embedded

 

Stay Safe: Check local weather forecasts to make sure conditions will be safe for the duration of your hike. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent appropriate clothing and footwear and protective gear or helmets if needed.

Stay Hydrated: Try to average one quart of water per hour of activity.

Let Someone Know: If hiking alone let someone know where you will be and when you are planning to return.

Know Your Limits: Check The skill or difficulty level of any hiking or biking trail you intend on embarking upon. Stick to what you can do.

Keep An Eye Out: Stay on the trails provided. Watch for steep cliffs and bluffs. If you are hiking with children have one adult heading and one adult ending the line to assist children when needed and to ensure they do not get lost. Do not approach wildlife of any kind. Do not touch any plants that you are unfamiliar with.

Be Considerate of Your Parks: Bring a grocery bag for your trash-don’t litter. Don’t feed wild animals.

Only Take Pictures and Your Memories-Help preserve Texas Heritage.

Keep Pets on leashes and pick up what they leave on the trails.

Visit www.texasstateparks.org for other great tips and detailed lists of some great hiking trails throughout Texas.

 

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Five Steps To Choosing The Right Bow

1. Measure your draw length. Draw your hands as if you were drawing a bow with your fisted hand against a wall. Measure from the wall to the corner of your mouth. This is your draw length.
2. Choose the correct draw weight. Draw weight represents the amount of physical force you need to pull back the bow string. Draw your bow back 10 times wait five minutes. If you are able to easily draw your bow back 11 times without becoming winded and your arms stay stable this draw weight is okay for you.

3. Pick the best bow length based on your draw length. 
Draw length                              Bow length
Less than 26                              64 in. bow
26-28                                         66 in. bow
28-30                                         68 in. bow
30 or more                                 70 in. or larger

4. Determine whether you need a right or left-handed bow. This is based on your dominant eye, not your dominant hand. Use your fingers to create a circular viewing window. Bring your hands to your face and focus through the window you created. Your hands should naturally gravitate towards your dominant eye.

5. Compare directly drawn versus compound bows. Directly drawn bows require users to provide steady force to pull back and hold the string. Compound bows use a series of gears to assist with this task. For archery and target practice, choose a directly drawn bow. Compound bows are typically used by hunters.

Stop buy your local Bass Pro Shops archery counter to get great advice from our experienced archery associates or visit www.basspro.com to browse merchandise and find the store nearest you.

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Lowrance's Newest innovation; HDS GEN 3

Lowrance HDS Gen 3

Every year fishfinder and sonar technology continues to get better and more advanced. In the last few years they have gone from simple 2-D traditional sonar to almost 3-D images like down scan and side imaging. These new advances have revolutionized the fishing industries in both fresh and salt water applications.

Our friends at “Navico/Lowrance” have really challenged the game with their latest innovation, the “HDS GEN 3 touch/non-touch” units. For those not familiar with the HDS line-up, it has gone from GEN 1, to Gen 2, to GEN 2 TOUCH units. With every upgraded new line-up, more advances and features have been added to them, making these units better than ever. The GEN 3 Units truly bring all this to reality. Some may say that this line just combines touch screens with the non-touch units, although this is not the entire truth.

The new “Lowrance HDS GEN 3 has not only combined the touch screen features and traditional button press functions, but has added so much more! Take for instance the screen. What was already a highly visible display has been doubled somehow thanks to Lowrance. The proof is in the reality, and can be seen on the marine counter at Bass Pro Shops. This is not the only advance; they also run twice as fast due to higher processing speed compared to the latter GEN 2 TOUCH. To add to the list of features, they have gone from a limited touch screen to a full function pinch to zoom screen. This is familiar to us like our smart phones, and makes functionality more user friendly. The added features keep going when Lowrance added built in WIFI to the GEN 3 units. Know software upgrades, and even advance mapping can be done on the water with the press of a button!

All of these new features and advances make Lowrance one step ahead of the game. The avid fisherman is left behind without such technology, and the average Joe can truly advance using these units. And where can one go to see these latest and greatest units? You’re local Garland Bass Pro Shops of course! Come on in and let our friendly knowledgeable staff walk you through the latest and greatest ideas, features, and units available. Whether it is a Lowrance fishfinder, a trolling motor, or just general boating needs, Bass Pro Shops in Garland is the place. So come visit us and let use help your adventure truly begin!   

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Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at basspro.com.

Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal favorites...well...you'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.


  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!


You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.


 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.


Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.


  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.


 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.

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Let's Get Ready For Spring Turkey Hunting

It’s that time of year to get ready for spring turkey hunting! With that being said let’s get some basics out of the way. Pre-season scouting is the most important part of successful spring turkey hunting. Look for sign like tracks, scratching and droppings. The best way to set up is the evening before. Look for sights of a roost. If you can find there bedding. Start in a location where you've found turkey sign by scouting.

Slip into an area in mid-afternoon where you've heard birds before, or maybe just where you've found some decent habitat. Sit quietly and listen. If you're close enough, you'll hear wing beats as they fly up; maybe even soft calling or gobbling as turkeys approach roost trees. With any luck you'll see them. Once in the trees, birds will often move from branch to branch, wings noisily flapping as they reposition. When they're settled, let it get dark and sneak out.

Turkeys have incredible eyesight. They can see colors, with this being said make sure you are decked out in camouflage from head to toe. Make sure you have a vest too. This will help you with all your calls you will be carrying throughout the hunt.

There are different types of calls. You have slate or glass calls, diaphragm calls, and box calls. The easiest to use per hunting pro’s are the box calls. With this call you will get a versatile turkey sound and there simple to use.

This is some basic steps to turkey hunting, with this being said there is a lot more to turkey hunting. It is a challenging sport but with patience and proper set up’s you’ll be successful. Please go and visit your local Bass Pro Shops and we will get you ready for your outdoor adventures.

 

Shop Hunting at Basspro.com.

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Cheryl Bowden at Garland Bass pro Shops

Cheryl Boowden like many of us grew up fishing in ponds. She got into bass fishing as an adult and soon started fishing with the Dallas Bass'n Gals local club. That grew into fishing a few of the WBFA women's tournaments as a co-angler. When the WBT formed, she began fishing that tour as a co-angler and after two years moved to the professional side. In 2010, Secret York and she formed the Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA). The first full season for that tour was in 2011.S...he has qualified in Angler of the Year points every year to fish in the Lady Bass Classic. In 2011, she was the runner up in the Lady Bass Classic. In 2012, she won the Lady Bass Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama in 2012 with a 3 Day total of just over 40 lbs.

She also participates as a boat captain for the THSBA, working with Steve Holland. Last year they held the first All Girl Bass Tournament on Cedar Creek Lake. They are planning on having the Second Annual Bass and Bows event this summer.

Annually since 2008, she has participated in T.O.P.S. (Texas Oklahoma Patriot Shootout) on Lake Lewisville. This event is an event organized by Al Telese, founder of the Networking Warriors. During this event, This event provides our wounded service men and women an opportunity to get out and fish, enjoy the outdoors and for a short while maybe forget about the physical and mental struggles they are experiencing as part of their sacrifice that provides us our freedoms.

Cheryl will be here at our Garland location on Saturday February 28th at 2:00 p.m. giving a seminar on Spring Tactics, Equiptment Maintenance,and Water Safety. Please don't miss this great opportunity.We have had Cheryl giving Seminars at our store in the past,she is a great inspiration to all of the female aglers out there,but esspecialy to our young girls. She definatly empowers them to do anything they put their minds to.

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Newest RedHead BlackOut Blinds

Over the past couple of years, hunting has reached a new peak in our society. The origins of such a movement can be argued, be it a case of eating organic/healthily, a particular nationally famous family known for their facial hair, or just a new trend taking on a different form. Regardless of the cause, hunting is the new in thing. From little kids to adults who have never owned, much less touched a firearm in their lives, the hunting bug is being spread around like a new epidemic. There are those in the hunting community that do not appreciate this, and enjoy the exclusiveness of it. However, most of us are either neutral or excited at the prospect of having another set of ears to talk off, and swap stories with.

          I, for one, am excited at the new allure hunting has taken on to those who have not been exposed to it. It’s one thing to experience buck fever, but just like a knee ache or an old itch, you get used to it. It’s invigorating to see someone new being introduced into the community we call the outdoors as they encounter new feelings and experiences at every corner and turn. That feeling is amplified when you’re the direct cause of it! Any father who has taken his son or daughter hunting can relate to this. At the risk of sounding pompous, I enjoy taking on that pseudo-fatherly role when introducing someone to the outdoor life. I feel responsible for their experience as I guide them along their new chosen path. So when I take someone new to the outdoors on one of these little excursions I try to make things as comfortable as possible for them.

          Anyone who has tried to squeeze two butts into a one butt ground blind knows that it isn’t easy. It’s often cramped, uncomfortable, and difficult to maneuver when you finally get a good shot in. Some hunters who have their own land have circumnavigated this problem by building their own custom blinds, but the rest who hunt on leases and/or public land, that isn’t exactly an option. RedHead answered that call with their new line up of BlackOut blinds for the 2014-2015 hunting season, and boy did they answer.

          The X72, X83, and X300, the first two being respective to their HUB to HUB interior dimensions are the new pop up blinds BlackOut has introduced. Seventy-two inches of roomie space is more than enough for two adult hunters and a Mr. Buddy space heater. The X83 stands a whopping 73 inches tall, and has ample space for one hunter to set up a small camping cot, a space heater, and hunt comfortably. Or, if you aren’t into that yuppie style of hunting, and prefer to share the misery with your buddies, three grown men can fit into the spacious ground blind, and mumble and grumble like old times. And the “Big Kahuna” of them all is the X300. With enough room for three grown men to hunt comfortably (4 semi-comfortably) and a 300 degree view of your surroundings, it is by far the most bang for your buck.

 All BlackOut blinds are made of a durasheen material to prevent that new-out-of-box glare from giving away your position, and come with an external mat extending seven inches from all sides to help keep out critters, any environmental factors in the immediate vicinity, and retain your scent. All windows are made of shoot-thru mesh, and come with handy cargo pouches on the inside to store all your knick knacks. The entrances to all blinds also have been made larger to accommodate those handicapped or physically disabled hunters. They also come with the brush straps, to add any vegetation or foliage and better blend in with your surroundings. All they need are elevators and blind attendants to hand you your weapon and replace the propane canisters in your Mr. Buddy.

          The best feature, which RedHead carried over from their blind model two years ago, is the HUB style set up. This ingenious bit of technology has brought the break-down and set-up time of pop up blinds in half. What used to take two people ten minutes to take down, now only takes one person half that time (5 minutes on average) to set-up and break down. With nifty folding rods, that when locked into place make the install a dream to those hunters who like to move spots, there isn’t much to complain about if you follow the instructions correctly (What are instructions?).

          All in all, RedHead has out done themselves this year. Their new BlackOut lineup is full of all new gadgets and toys for reasonable prices, from blinds to broadheads, bows and arrows. Shoot, even their chairs and stools are comfortable (I made one my home office chair.) One could easily argue that their products will be up there with Primos and Ameristep, but I don’t think either of those brands have breadth of variety that BlackOut has stamped their name on this year. And it’s all exclusively sold at Bass Pro Shops! I don’t always buy Blackout stuff from Bass Pro Shops, but when I do, it’s because that’s the only place I can get it .Head to your local (or closest) Bass Pro, or check out their ads in the mail and online. See for yourself all the cool new toys and gadgets. You’re going to like them. I guarantee it.

 

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Triple Crown Bonus Event

                                       The Triple Crown Bonus event!

Once again it is that time of the year that brings most fisherman and boaters off the water. Although the fall is still an excellent time for crappie, bass, and cat fishing as they start to rise back up to shallower water as the temperature drops. For those who stay on the water or even just those who have been waiting all season for a great deal, Bass Pro Shops once again is offering the Triple Crown Bonus!

          What is this Triple Crown Bonus one may ask? This event is possibly the greatest deal of the year from the marine department, and runs from October 6th to October 19th. This spectacular event offers three outstanding features for Bass Pro Shops customers. The first is triple the rewards point for reward card members. Although the amount of points varies depending on the price of the item purchased, these points turn into free in-store cash, and it takes only a few minutes to sign up. The second feature of this event is a free product replacement plan called, Gear Guard. This is a hassle free, peace of mind in-store warranty starting at a $20 value on the lowest priced qualifying item, and goes up to $200 or more! The third feature, and perhaps the best, is the free standard installation from our very own Power Pros. This gives a set credit of $150 to anyone wanting Tracker Power Pros to take away the headache of installation, and leave it to our qualified, trained technicians. With these three features combined, No matter what item is purchased, there is a minimum of a $200 value! It is a no brainer.

          So just what items are in this “Triple Crown Event”? While there are too many to list here, there are four of the best manufactures participating. The first is “Lowrance”. They have some of their greatest units available like the Elite and the HDS models. Also Humminbird has some of their low and high end units available! The third manufacture is our friends at Garmin and has all the Echomap units in our list! Last but not least, Motorguide is offering its newest line-up of trolling motors such as the X-3 and the X-I5. With the top names in the boating industry coming together for the Triple Crown Bonus event, the selection and value cannot be beat!

          Now of course as always, there is fine print so to say and technicalities involved, but do not be discouraged! Any of the knowledgeable Bass Pro Shops associates have all the details, and qualifying units. Not only that, but our trained expert staff can walk you through all the options and help one select the unit or motor that fits their needs. So head on in to your local Garland Bass Pro Shops for the Triple Crown Bonus event, and let us help you take advantage of these extreme savings. And remember, Your adventure starts here!

                                                                                                -Mike Ball  

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Bow Hunting with Persimmons

                Cool fronts are coming in, the sun is setting sooner, and deer are moving in record numbers. Hunters are chomping at the bit setting cameras, filling feeders, and scouting their opening day spots. Social media is blowing up with hunters posting pictures of their trophy bucks pre-season saying, “Score this ‘big mamma-jamma.’” You’d think they’re about to bust out of their skin with anticipation.

                All over the US, deer populations have been fluctuating over the past ten years, however the population in Texas has remained pretty stable. Texas has reached record number of deer counts registering about 3.6 million as of 2013. I’d say that’s pretty good. Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates the average hunt/harvest (likelihood of shooting a deer) and about 89%. That’s about 1 to 1 ratio, just about. Pretty good odds for those who are new to the game, or those who just need to satisfy their long overdue craving.

                Not to mention this past spring has been the most fruitful in a good while. Pollination of local flowers and plants was at an all time high, the Texas Bureau of Horticulture and Botany discovered an estimated 300 new plant species and cross breeds. “How does this tie in?” you ask. Simply, crops and the luscious vegetation that deer love to munch and graze on is more than abundant. Corn and supplements are great attractants, but you know what they say about momma’s cookin’. And ain’t nobody cookin’ better than momma.

                While most hunters are sticking to popular methods of feeders and food plots, there is a significant number out there that have a much different approach. Some could call it the “natural approach.” They merely find a natural habitat with decent signs of deer life and activity, and settle in there. It’s a lot cheaper and easier, in my opinion.

                For those interested in this particular method, persimmons trees are the talk of the town. With its delicious aroma created from crushing the outer shell of the fruit it produces, I can personally attest to its effectiveness.

                Last season, while trekking to my feeder and stand set-up, I happened across a persimmons tree. It struck me as intriguing and the smell of it was an interesting one. Playing around I grabbed one of the fruits and squished it between my fingers. The smell was pungent, and the fruit was messy. I wiped it off on my boot bottoms and kept on going, grumbling about now having to smell like strange fruit throughout the remainder of this endeavor.

About 30 minutes after getting all settled in, I heard a snort from my rear left; the direction I headed into my stand. Turning very slowly I spotted a little spike hot on my trail and nose to the ground. Now on this particular land I happened to be hunting with MLD permits and this little spike was right within my criteria.

 I quickly took him down and tracked him about 30 yards from my stand. I’d never seen a deer come into a clearing much like this one did, and with his nose down like a dog, I was a little bit curious as to what could cause such behavior. I checked his nostrils and the surrounding area for something out of place, but to no avail. Shrugging my shoulders I grunted and began to shift my kill to get a better position to field dress him when that smell, that smelly smell, hit me again. Full on.

I dropped the deer quickly, searching for the source of the stench that was that messy fruit.  Too potent to come from my boot bottoms, I examined the deer more closely and found the source of the stench to be his mouth. He had a mouthful of persimmons fruits. This little booger had come in on a line looking for a snack, just as I intended, but not exactly. Since then I always carry scentless wipes and extra gloves to use persimmons as a natural attractant. Persimmons haven’t failed me yet so I'll continue to use them.

-Rory Kelly

Hunting/Archery Lead

 

 

 

 

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GPS Devices and the Importance of Their Uses

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

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

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

1). Location

2). Directional information

3). Waypoints

4). Tracks/Trails

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

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

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

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

                                                                   Mike Ball 

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GPS Devices and Functions

As summer approaches the transition into fall and the final days of recreational boating begin to come to an end; so begins many others favorite time of year, the “Hunting Season”. Although many people will continue to fish in tournaments, and squeak as many last days on the water as possible, the change of season truly brings our focus to the woods. As for many, this change also brings time spent in unfamiliar territory surrounded by woods and open fields. Now whether or not one is hunting or just camping out; there is a vital tool that some have and many more will need, a GPS or “global positioning system”.

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

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

1). Location

2). Directional information

3). Waypoints

4). Tracks/Trails

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

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

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

          So where can one go to see the latest selection of these units, and receive knowledgeable information and demonstrations of these fascinating devices? Why any local “Bass Pro Shops” of course! Located in the marine department, any one of our associates is well versed in the operations and features of GPS systems. So head to your nearest “Bass Pro Shops” and learn all about GPS basics from knowledgeable staff and outdoors experts. All this is located at your local Bass Pro Shops, where the adventure truly begins!

   

                                          

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Fall HUnting Classic 2014

Fall Hunting Classic- August 1-17 2014
Free Hunting University Friday, August 1st
National Pros Seminar & autographs
*Marty Fischer- Wingshooting 7pm
*John O'Dell- Ground Blinds & Scent Control 8pm

2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns & Safes with BPS Credit Cards August 1-5th & 13-17th

Sweepstakes- August 1-17th (Grand Prize Only)
Enter for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime hunting trip to go on a 2-hour helicopter hunt in Texas with Brian "Pigman" Quaca.

NEW! Women's Hunting Workshop- Saturday, August 9 @ 3pm

Giveaways for women's hunting workshop:

  • First 25 women to attend workshop receive BPS tumbler
  • Only women can register for a chance to win a RedHead folding Knife or a Pair of Oculus binoculars.
  • Two women will be announced at store to receive their prize.

Local Pro Seminars- August 15-17


Friday August 15th
7pm- Big Game are ALL around you: Hunting Near Home- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith

Saturday August 16th
1pm- Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
2pm- Tender Venison? It’s Easier Than You Think!!
3pm- Does Camo Pattern Really Matter??- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
4pm- Why Should You Be Hunting Coyote (or predator)- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
5pm- How to Integrate Your Game Camera With Mobile Devices

Sunday August 17th
1pm- Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
2pm- Tender Venison? It’s Easier Than You Think!!
3pm- Does Camo Pattern Really Matter??- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
4pm- Why Should You Be Hunting Coyote (or predator)- BPS Hunting Pros Jason Morris & Kevin Smith
5pm- How to Integrate Your Game Camera With Mobile Devices

Giveaways for Local Pro seminars: First 25 to attend each seminar each day will receive a BPS tumbler on Friday & Saturday and a Survival Whistle on Sunday.

Bad Boy Buggy Test Drive August 1-17th

August 1-6th Bow & Cross Bow Trade-In

August 7-12th Binocular & Rangefinder Trade-In

August 13-17th Scope Trade-In

Next Generation Weekend August 9 & 10th NOON-5pm each day

  • Free BB Range (release forms need to be signed by parent or guardian)
  • Free Photo Download-"bee a BPS Adventure Kid"!!
  • Fall In The Outdoors Seminars @ 2p & 4p
  • Craft- Color a wooden Squirrel or Fox clip
  • Free giveaways- First 100 kiddos to complete punch card each day will receive a BPS Fox drawstring bag.

 

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Fly Fishing Basics

Here we are again, right in the middle of summer.  Temperatures in July and August are only going to continue to rise. Some folks call these the "dog days of summer," but I call them a perfect time to cool off and catch fish. Now is a great time to go stand thigh deep in some ice cold water and catch some decent size rainbow trout. The Lower Mountain Fork River wanders through the rolling hills of southeast Oklahoma just outside of Idabel providing both Oklahomans and Texans a great fishery and a prime place to cool off.  Its waters flow from the deepest part of the dam that forms Broken Bow Lake at Beavers Bend State Park. The water is re-oxygenated and sent downstream. The cold, oxygen-rich water not only supports the rainbow population, it plays an integral part in creating a habitat where the fish can actually procreate and grow.

 I'd suggest a pair of White River waders and wading boots because that water is just too dad burn cold to stay in for more than a few minutes. The reason for the wading boots is that regular tennis shoes aren't made to grip the bottom and you could end up "floating your hat" as they say.

 Here are a few more good tips for your trip. If you have never fly fished before then by all means take advantage of Bass Pro Shops of Garland FREE fly casting seminars on Saturday or Sunday at 11:30 a.m. or both! The pros in the White River Fly Shop can introduce you to the basic cast and familiarize you with any of the terminology your may have heard associated with your new sport. Come in and enjoy the camaraderie in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. You don't need to bring anything; we have all the equipment you'll need for the class.

 All of your White River Fly Shop associates have fished the Lower Mountain Fork and most of us will agree that if you had to pick just one fly rod to take it would be an 8 ft. 6inch 5 weight rod with matching floating line. If, however, you have numerous rods to pick from, perhaps an 8-foot 4 weight but I don't recommend much lighter weight than that because there are some "hosses" in the river. Whatever your rod situation, we have something to fit your needs and your pocket.

 Your White River Fly Shop also has the hot flies for the area. Word to the wise: Get some flies before you go! If you're an early riser you might be at a loss for flies if you wait on the local shops to open. Some flies to add to your fly box before you leave are the Y2K bug, a few size 20 red zebra midges, flashback hare's ear in size 16 and smaller and a couple of pink San Juan worms will work well especially after a rain.  For those who prefer a dry fly, we suggest size 18 caddis flies in black, green or tan. From time to time the best dry fly is the blue winged olive in about a size 20, and don't forget your dry fly floatant to keep your flies afloat and the fish afraid.

 We look forward to helping you beat the heat by getting to your favorite cool trout stream. Whether you're a novice, a seasoned veteran or are just getting re-introduced to the sport, come on in to the White Rive Fly Shop of Garland and see why we call it your fly shop....oh, and don't forget your net... you're going to need it!

 

 

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Red Head Blackout SS bow

 

            This time of year, very little is going on in the hunting community. It’s either too hot to get out in all that gear, or people are out enjoying themselves fishing, and partying on the lake. However, this time of year is also when a variety of new products come out for the upcoming hunting season. Hunters start getting that pre-season itch, and along with air conditioning, it’s a great excuse to find your way to your local Bass Pro Shops and check out what new toys are going to be available.

            This year, one of our new toys is the Red Head Blackout SS bow, made by Diamond/Bowtech. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t they already come out with one of those?” And you’re right. Back at the tail end of 2010/beginning to 2011, Diamond Archery came out with the original Red Head Black Out bow, and it did fairly well. With a 7 inch brace height, 26.5-30.5 draw length range, as well as 50-60 and 60-70 limb availability, it easily matched up with some of the bows in its market. It has the ability to shoot 333 fps, which is up there in the bow speeds and darn right impressive for a single cam bow. Not to mention the remarkable let off that has you feeling (in my opinion) little to no weight past that back wall. It’s light weight (a whopping 3.8 pounds!), 32 inch brace axle-to-axle and even comes in a fancy Real Tree camo pattern.

            Any experienced bow shooter knows these specs are about average in bows nowadays. From Mathews to Hoyt pro line, they’ve come out with bows some may argue are bigger and better. However, if you look back, that was AFTER Diamond archery produced the Black Out. Hoyt produced the Spyder 30 in 2011 with a 30 inch axle-to-axle, 330 fps, and a 6 ¾ brace height. But, the Spyder 30 is also a dual cam bow. Dual cams have the ability to store more energy upon a complete revolution by both top and bottom cams while pulling the same amount of weight, while single cams only have the one on bottom to do the same. Single cams also have a reputation for being smoother and quieter, while Dual cams are bit more noisy with the string slap. A good example of this is the Mathews Chill, and the Mathews Creed, both of which were released in 2013.

I shoot the Creed, while my younger brother shoots the Chill, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, or rather, that’s what we thought. The Creed is a 30 inch ATA, 318 fps with a 400 grain arrow (68lbs), 7 inch brace height, and 3.8 pounds bare bow. It’s not the fastest, but it’s smooth, and quiet. The Chill is 31 inches ATA, 324 fps with a 400 grain arrow (70lbs), 3.8 lbs bare bow, and a 6 ¾ brace height. Both are impressive, and have their perks. And again, these were produced 2 years AFTER the Red Head Black Out.

            When I shot the Black Out, I had my reservations, but they were quickly put to bed after a few arrows flung down range. As I mention before, the let off is virtually unfelt at 70 lbs, and the output was 325 fps with a 400 grain arrow. Not much faster than the Chill, but it’s a SINGLE cam, versus the DUAL cam Chill. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what does. Now the new Black Out SS is essentially the same bow spec wise, but it’s got a few tweaks here and there. With custom dampeners found only on the BowTech destroyer (but being made by Diamond/Bowtech, it makes it an exclusive accessory) and a milled riser that brings it down to a light 3.5 pounds, it manages to bring notable results to the range. From 20 yards and at 70 lbs, when I shot a group of 4 arrows, all of them managed an average of 14 inch penetration with a 400 grain arrow and a field tip. Still a single cam, other than a quick, solid thunk it is screaming fast, powerful, and quiet. The back wall is a bit stiff, but I also shot it right out of the box. After about 20 or so arrows, it loosened up and the back wall wasn’t even noticeable.

            To top off all of these remarkable statistics that follow this bow, it also comes in a stealthy looking black, and an “extra green” real tree pattern. Like I mentioned before, my brother and I shoot the Mathews bows, but after both of us shot the new Black Out SS, we are reconsidering our preferences and starting a pre-season piggy bank, with the Black Out SS being the first thing for both of us on our list to buy.

            Oh! And if you’re still having second thoughts, compared to a Mathews or Hoyt bow that typically runs for around $1000 MSRP bare bow, the Black Out SS comes Ready to Hunt package for only $599. How ‘bout them apples?

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How to Pick the Best Fish Finder

The sonar/fish finding technology has come a long way since our grandparents took us out on our first fishing trip when we were children. Before the “Down Scan” and “Side imaging” there were things like paper graphs, and simple depth sounders. Although these provided accurate information for the sonar user, they were very primitive in nature and cannot hold a candle to the latest technology available. The game has definitely changed, and the burning and most sought after answer is, “Who is the best when it comes to sonar/fish finder combos?

 I work with sonar and fish finding customers every day and this is beyond the most frequently asked question by all my customers. “Who is better, Lowrance, Humminbird, or Garmin?" many ask. And the answer is not a simple one, but very complexed and multi-sided. Each of these manufacturers has there pros, and cons; I shall elaborate.

Humminbird- run by “Johnson Outdoors”, this company controls a large chunk of the boating industry. They focus on simplicity, and have always been known as being “more user friendly”. While the menu options on these graphs are easier to navigate through, this also limits the control of the advanced user. Humminbird has also always been recognized for their superior customer service and support. It is also the cheapest way for an angler to get into “Side imaging”. While all these factors make Humminbird great for the entry level angler or weekend warrior, they lack several key functions that the competitors possess.

 

Lowrance- this Corporation in league with “Navico” and “Simrad” has been around a long time and for the most part has had the sonar market monopolized from the beginning. While they have had their negative aspects such as bad customer service and support, and harder to understand menu options, Lowrance has at least three major key features that set it aside from the competitors. The first is “Broadband Sonar”. This cleaner frequency offers more perfection in traditional sonar to the user. Along with this, Lowrance offers insight base mapping that gives the user a good general understanding of major lakes in the U.S. But most importantly, they offer the best bang for ones buck on entry level units, at least for the moment. With the new “Elite” series, all the functions of their high end units are available to everyone at the lowest price point available!

Garmin- While being the world’s leader in automotive and handheld GPS systems, Gamin has been the underdog of the fresh water sonar industry until lately. Unfortunately, there new technological advance will cost the user more than both “Humminbird” and “Lowrance” for similar features. Although, Garmin does comes out of the box with some of the most detailed mapping available in sonar technology. Their competitors rely on another mapping company to do there charts, although this is rapidly changing.

So again we ask the question, “What sonar manufacture is the best”? Although now from these brief examples the answer is not so black and white. There are many factors and features that set these units and manufactures apart, giving them their own positive and negative aspects. I have spent years comparing and contrasting these differences and have come to the conclusion that none are better or worse, just unequivalent and equal. And there is only one place that offers the knowledge and service any sonar user must have to be successful on the water. Your local “Bass Pro Shops” of course! So come on in and let us explain away the confusion of fish finders and help get one set up with exactly what the user needs. At Bass Pro Shops, we strive to outfit the sonar user with what best fits their application, and truly answer which sonar manufacturer is best, for the customer!

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It's Bug time......Again

It’s Bug Time ……. Again

Spring is here and summer is around the corner and so are the bugs.

The biggest worry is the disease that biting bugs carry, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  Applying repellants when you are outside, especially dusk and dawn will keep you bug and disease free.

There are 3 types of repellants that used alone or in conjunction will keep even the worst bugs at bay.

  1. DEET

   Great for hunting, fishing and camping, 30% DEET insect repellent          gives you up to 10 hours of dependable insect repelling performance. 30% DEET formula provides excellent repellency, driving away ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus. Safe on skin and most clothing 30% DEET Insect Repellent does not damage cotton, wool or nylon.

  1. Permethrin

As a treatment for clothing, Permethrin clothing insect repellent does not harm fabrics and is odorless after dried. Use Permethrin on clothing by itself or with skin-applied repellents to create the ultimate protective, armor-like insect barrier. Permethrin-treatments on clothing are non-toxic to humans. You can also spray all your gear for maximum protection.

  1. Picaridin

 Picaridin can be used on human skin or clothing to repel mosquitoes, biting flies ticks, fleas, and chiggers. These products may be pump sprays, liquids, aerosols, or wipes.

Picaridin is the best choice when repelling biting flies.

 

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Water Safety for a Fun Summer

Here it is a very short time before the traditional 'return to the water' time of year for most area boaters. Whether you're a fisher or water skier, or merely like to cruise and take in the sights, we here at Bass Pro Shops urge you to take some precautions.

 Well call me Captain Obvious here, but just in case you haven't noticed, our Texas lakes are down quite a bit. Here on Lake Ray Hubbard there are hunks of exposed bottom where I used to catch fish and stumps that seemed to mysteriously grow out of nowhere. Now don't let me spoil your fun. Get out there and have a grand old time, just take a little time to make sure your day goes as you want it to.

 From all the reports I have seen and heard almost all our area lakes are showing a bit more structure than we saw as recently as last year. Some of the places where I usually see water skiers and folks riding tubes behind boats have submerged stumps about a foot under the surface. Some stumps have been marked by good Samaritans, but others lie in wait for the unwary or careless boater. I suggest that if you are going to be towing someone behind your boat that you cruise through your intended area two or three time to look for any nasty obstructions that could ruin your day on the water.

 There are also sand (mud) bars showing that did not used to be showing above the surface. One area to be aware of is the area just north of the long jetty that stretches north from the power plant area. Captain's Cove Marina has a channel that leads from the marina to the lake. Stay in the middle of this channel, I saw waves breaking like bleachers on the Gulf one recent windy day. The waves breaking there tell me that there is a very shallow spot there.

 The East side of Robertson Park use to be a haven for schools of sandbass and hybrids, I saw them up close and personally last week, the area demands that you slow down, peel your eyes and use some good judgment. There are still fish there by the way.

 These are just a few of the hazards I saw on a three hour fishing trip. Please keep your head and have some fun.

 As far as water safety, well that starts at home. You can eliminate a lot of hassle if you'll make sure your trailer lights work properly. Check the bearings in your trailer wheels. Don't have a wheel poof out on you; trust me it isn't any fun. If they don't work properly or need work, bring your rig to Bass Pro Shops and let our pros troubleshoot the trailer.

 Before you launch be sure you have all the safety gear the law requires. Life jackets must be in good shape and actually fit the boat's occupants. They must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, serviceable and readily accessible. Kiddos under 13 have to have their life jackets on if the boat is less than 26 feet long.

Canoes and Kayaks must be equipped with one wearable personal floatation device (PFD) for each person on board.

 This is not a complete list of the safety gear you need by any means, so check with our Marine Accessories Pros to see what else you are going to need to stay safe and keep from getting ticketed because the list goes on. You can, and probably should check with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for a complete list of all boat and boating regulations.

 Once again, Captain Obvious has to add, don't drink and boat!  The penalties are consistent with drinking and driving and will totally ruin an otherwise super day of recreation. Just don't do it. It's not worth it.

 We here at Bass Pro Shops of Garland wish you a fun, smile-filled summer on the water. Be sure you use common sense and courtesy while boating

 Oh yeah, don't forget the boat plug!

 Take pictures! Not chances!

 

 

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How to Catch a Fish

 The first question we always ask ourselves should be, "What kind of fish do I want to catch?" Probably the easiest and most plentiful fish in our area are bream (Pronounced brim), or perch as we call them here in Texas. They like worms, grubs, crickets and small grub-like baits. Whereas, bass, larger catfish and hybrid stripers won't bother with small panfish offerings, they prefer minnows and larger meals like big worms, or stuff that looks like it might get away if they don't gobble it down on the spot. So the first question is answered with what kind of fish do I want to target. "Target" is the functional word because if we don't aim at something we don't stand a very good chance of hitting anything.

 You can search the internet for the kind of fish you choose or even use the web to determine which kind of fish you want to target. There are clubs for almost every kind of fish in the area. Granted there are a lot of bass clubs which concentrate on Largemouth Bass, but there are also clubs for crappie, perch, catfish and even carp fans. 

 Spend a few minutes searching on google and you'll see what I mean... clubs galore. These clubs are always a source of an almost infinite info for either the novice fisher or the seasoned veteran.

  Perhaps you have a friend or family member who already has a favorite fish they like to chase around our Texas waters. By all means go with them, pick their brains and spy (but don't borrow without permission) from their tackle boxes. Watch them closely as they fish, mimic their movements. If they've been catching fish you should start catching some of your own in very short order.

 Here's a  Guide to What Most Fish Eat:

 Bream, sunfish, perch, bluegill, longears, and shellcrackers are all part of the bream group. Most of these panfish are caught on smaller hooks, about size 6 through 10 wire hooks will work well. Offer these fish, redworms, mealworms, bits of nightcrawlers and crickets to start that bobber dancing on the surface of your local pond or lake. Use a small light bobber, a split shot for weight and you might just take home a mess of fish and a fond memory.

  Crappie, also known as  "Papermouths”, "Sac-a Lait", Caloco Bass or Slabs are a finesse kind of fish and that require both a light attitude and touch. Crappie diets consist mostly of minnows that are found in the home waters of the crappie you are after. Lakes generally provide threadfin shad as the main forage food for crappie. In small impoundments where threadfin shad are not found, use a small jig that mimics the colors found in small bream because that is their main source of food for them in tanks or ponds. One-sixteenth of an ounce jig heads with or without spinner blades will usually garner a stringer of these delicious fish.

    For crappie in lakes, choose just about any color you want... as long as it imitates shad in some fashion. Presentation is more the key to success than color in catching lake-bound crappie. Sensitivity and a little bit of backbone are prime in picking the right rod for the job.  Crappie generally do not crash into your bait like a pro football player, they almost whisper a soft "thunk" up the rod to let you know they are there. They also seem to prefer slow moving minnow offerings, so don't buzz your bait past likely spots. Remember finesse, sensitivity and s-l-o-w is perhaps the most important factors with Crappie. 

  Sandbass are very popular all across Texas. Many years ago I was fishing in all the wrong places with all the wrong baits and using all the wrong presentations. I thought if I found some slow moving water and chunked the biggest stinkiest hunk of meat I could find, that I was going to catch catfish. My failure here was just plain respect. Catfish actually prefer clean, water that moves a little except during their spawn season.  Get some stout equipment, line, flat weights and circle hooks.  For bait I prefer fresh dead shad for blue cats and”stink bait" or worm offering for the channel cats. Either will give you a tussle and are great table fare.

  By far the most popular species in our area is the Largemouth Bass. Bass, Bucketmouth, Footballs, Ditch Pickles or whatever you want to call them, these hardy fish prove to be great sport to chase and outsmart.  Bass are ambush feeders. That is they will lay in shadows, behind logs, stumps, or hang out in places where they know food will eventually present itself. Bass generally do not like to spend a lot of time chasing minnows, frogs or lizards around the water. All this effort would expend more energy than the meal they are after would provide. They can't afford to spend 20 calories to take in 10. No they don't have a diet plan like some people, but they do know what is profitable to eat and how to go about getting it.

 Again, you'll need some fairly sturdy equipment to tackle this fish. They may not weigh much, but they put up a heck of a fight. You can choose to go after numbers of bass bites or go after that trophy or any combination of sizes in between. Bass rods generally run from "light" actions all the way up to extra heavy action. Hooks, oh my goodness! Hook selections are critical. Come in and let us fix you up with the right hooks for your plastic worms, craws, lizards or creature baits. Spinner baits are almost always a good bet. Crankbaits also account for a large portion of all the bass caught here in Texas, so be sure to load up on ranks, like the Rat-L-Trap, KVD Squarebills, Rapalas, and a host of other crankbaits that either dive , float, dip, suspend or run erratically.

 As you've seen from this all -too-brief overview there are a lot of factors to consider. Our staff here at Bass Pro Shops of Garland are all anglers. We can help you "target" whichever fish you decide to go after. Come in and let us walk you through our selection. We will ask a lot of questions and put you in touch with the right equipment at the right price to give you the right results on your fishing trip when you really just want to catch something!

 

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No Excuses: How to Prepare for Your Best Hunting Season Yet

Around this time of year there isn’t much in the way of a hunting season. The main focus is typically fishing/bow fishing, or the “tail feather end” of turkey hunting, but now is the perfect time to be looking forward. By that, I mean into the future seasons of deer, duck, and those frigid, coffee desperate mornings we both dread and love.

     Think back to a time when you were in a stand waiting for that one trophy buck, or waiting for the big birds to get up and move around. Maybe you had that big “mamma jamma” in your sights, safety clicked off, adrenaline pumping, ready to go. You calm your breathing, you settle in and draw up on that trophy buck you’ve been desperately searching for these past weeks. And then, right when you feel it; that “I’ve got this. Nothing can stop me now,” attitude, a tree, or a bush, or some branch gets in the way. Maybe you get him, maybe you don’t, and if you don’t, it’s all because of that stupid foliage (of course, that’s what you’ll tell everybody else.)

     This time of the year is perfect for maintaining and preparing your future, or current hunting spots. Of course you can always go out right before season and do some last minute fine-tuning, but you can get most of the grunt work out of the way now. Cutting down trees to make a lane, or “kill spot,” for those of you tactically-minded, removing obstructions that you’ve noticed spook game, brushing duck blinds, putting out a food plot; all the stuff you shoulda-coulda-woulda done during the season, you now have the opportunity to fix.

    It’s also a great time to make any repairs you may have noted during your last season. An uneven bench that hurts your back and causes you to miss a shot, or that darned creaky step that scared all the animals away before you even got into the stand. It’s time to eliminate ALL other factors so you can finally get a successful hunt, and keep Murphy out of your stand (Murphy’s law of if anything can go wrong, it will). Unfortunately, this also means no more excuses. So if most of your stories revolve around you overcoming the odds, you might not want to put forth so much effort. You might actually have to hold yourself accountable!

     My family is a modest family that loves the outdoors. Mud, sweat and tears are our cup of tea (not quite so literally.) But in our family we have what we call the “Kelly Curse.” “What’s that?” you ask. Let me explain. If your last name happens to be Kelly, you immediately have a propensity to injure yourself, or make life significantly more difficult. The most common encounters are mosquitoes, wasps, parking next to or within the immediate vicinity of cow pies/pot holes, skunks, and poison ivy. We stock up on Technu, Caladryl, Neosporin, Claritin, and anything else we think we might need to proactively prepare ourselves for the supernaturally inevitable. Never will you meet a Kelly man who does not have what we call an “Oh S***” bag, more commonly known as a first aid kit (good thing to keep on you at ALL TIMES). I tell you this because every year, about this time, is when we end up breaking it in. We cut those fiendish poison ivy vines, trim trees, and do just about any and everything we feel will improve our honey holes for the season to come. It’s a hard day’s (or days’) work, but we always walk away with a of couple cuts/scrapes/bruises and an underlying sense of accomplishment.

     That sense of accomplishment is amplified when the season comes around, and it’s a direct result of my efforts that I fill my tags with relative ease. Be it a lane to a “kill zone,” or a bushel of cat tails that kept me from seeing my decoy spread properly, I can’t help but pat myself on the back and say, “atta boy.”

     It all starts now, when you’ve got that hunting itch that you’re trying desperately to scratch. Go to your “happy place,” (which is your hunting blind in this scenario) and play around. Or try and perfect something you’ve been meaning to work on. Shooting from a tree stand at different angles, or elevations is a great way to figure out what works to your advantage.

     I always record my hunts. I have a journal I take with me everywhere I go, and it stays in my pack. In it I write down all the conditions I remember: weather conditions, the time of day I took my game, wind. All the details I can look back on and know how to better prepare myself for similar future endeavors. And if there’s something wrong with a particular honey hole or blind, I make sure to write it down so when this time of year comes around, and I get struck with a horrible sense of cabin fever, I know what to tackle and how hard. It’s a good habit to keep, and should you ever forget the reason you missed that one trophy buck that only you saw, and almost had, you can always look back and see why you missed.

 

 

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Start of 3-D season

Finally the weather has changed, the sun is shining and the temperatures have come up, and with this change in season the sport of 3-D shooting starts. Whether you do it for the competitive aspect or to keep yourself ready for the upcoming hunting season, 3-D shooting has benefits for you. This sport is a chance for archers to practice their unknown and known distance, shooting at foam animals in situations that aren't comfortable with and the pressure of trying to make a perfect shot. The sport of 3-D is a great way to be involved in archery, to meet people as passionate as you are, and keep you prepared for the hunting season.

 Since 3-D shooting is starting, it is now time to do the upgrades you have been thinking about all season. An upgrade of your bow, arrows, or other accessories may be what keeps you competitive and give you that extra edge hunting in the fall. We offer many great options for bows, arrows, and any upgrades you could need to gives you that edge on the range or in the field, at the price you can afford. The best deals are by far on our Redhead line of products. These products offer a low price for an outstanding product. The Redhead brand includes everything from our Redhead line of bows, such as the Blackout, to the three different tiers of Blackout arrows that we carry. The products we carry and the knowledge we have can help you be better prepared for whatever you decide to do in the sport of archery. So, come see one of professionals in the Archery department to help give you a competitive edge, point you in the direction of somewhere to shoot 3-D, or answer any questions about competitive archery.


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