Giant Bass On Small Water

Giant Bass On Small Water


Bass Pro Shops Grapevine was floored recently by a simple text from Matt Scotch, our very own Kayak Pro Staffer. “I just a caught a double digit fish on Marine Creek Lake during a working man’s tournament, taking first place in both the tournament and the big fish category.” The accompanying photographs were impressive, to say the least. We recently caught up with Matt to ask him a few questions regarding the details, and to find out how Matt typically approaches smaller bodies of water.


Matt, you have had a pretty stellar summer. You recently took 6th place at the Hobie Worlds Qualifier and 2nd place at the Kayak Bass Series on Kentucky Lake. A double digit bass on Marine Creek Lake, worth a dominating win in all categories, must really feel like the icing on the cake. Lets get right to it, what was your tournament strategy for the day?


I always want to get bit quickly in any tournament. I feel getting some good momentum going with a couple of quick fish helps get me settled down, and allows me to make better decisions on the water.


For that quick bite I normally throw a Bass Pro Shops Stick-O (TX-Rigged or Wacky). Most of the time I can fool a couple of small fish throwing this bait in or around cover, grass, docks, or right in the middle of open water schooling fish.


After the quick bite I look to fill my limit and use the clues I’ve learned from being on the water to try and figure out what the bigger fish might be up too.


The day of the tournament I started off on an off-shore spot that I know holds lots of fish, they weren’t home however so I decided to move on and get a limit shallow. One of the keys to catching fish on rocky lakes that don’t have a lot of timber for me is to find wood. I knew this already about Marine Creek and immediately used that knowledge to start boating fish off laydowns and stickups. I stuck with this pattern all evening and it ended up working out pretty well because all of my fish came off some kind of wooded structure: laydowns, stickups, and brush piles.


Lets talk about the big fish, specifically. What was that experience like? Without giving away any precious secrets, how did you catch her?


The Big fish came off a wind-blown main-lake point. The spot I was fishing had all the ingredients you could ask for to catch fish. There was baitwind which created current, and structure (laydowns and brush piles).


I watched several other anglers fish that point but they fished it shallow 1-5’ maybe. After they left I pulled up and immediately went to a spot where I knew there was a big brush pile with several near-by laydowns.


It wasn’t long before I felt a tick in my line and after a solid hook-set the fight was on. Immediately I felt the head shakes and I knew if this was a bass I had a nice one. She never once jumped or came to the surface and I was slightly afraid my big fish was just another catfish surprise. I got the monster to the boat really quick, but she was far from ready to give up. A couple nail biting minutes passed by as the big fish made multiple runs under my kayak trying her best to make a fish story out of our encounter. I was having none of that however as I dug in and fought back with all I could. She finally gave in and came close enough I could get my hands on her. I didn’t have a net, and she wouldn’t open her mouth so I dropped my rod in the yak and grabbed her with both my hands and slid her over the side and into my yak!  


The experience was similar to other big fish I’ve caught. They always seem to have you on the edge of your seat and your heart rate going a million miles per hour. This fish was no different and I couldn’t be happier than I am to share the experience with so many people. That’s what really makes it all so rewarding. 


No secrets here – I was using a TX- Rigged Craw, dragged on the bottom. To be a little more specific it was a Reins Ring Craw, Gamakatsu wide gap hook, .5 oz. Bass Pro tungsten weight, 20lb BPS fluorocarbon, Johnny Morris reel, and a Dobyns 704c rod.


Marine Creek Lake, for our readers that aren’t familiar with the body of water, is considered to be a very small lake. Do you approach small water differently? If so, what are some of the key differences between large lakes and small lakes?


My expectations probably aren’t as high for Marine Creek as some of the other big name lakes around the state, but I don’t approach it a whole lot different than the larger bodies of water. Fish are fish and they are going to relate to the similar things from lake to lake no matter what the size of the lake is.


Like a lot of the DFW area Metro lakes, Marine Creek does get a fair amount of fishing pressure. One thing I did Thursday was downsize my bait. I feel that a smaller finesse approach will get more bites on highly pressured waters like Marine Creek. I don’t necessarily go to 6lb. test when I say finesse, I’m really just talking about the baits profile size more than anything. Small lakes can produce quality fish and I’ve always known there were at least a few big fish in Marine Creek.


Matt, thank you for taking a few minutes to answer some questions and share some of your knowledge with our readers. Bass Pro Shops Grapevine couldn’t be more pleased with your talent and leadership, and we truly feel blessed to have you on our team. Good luck with the rest of your season, and tight lines.


Fishing Flooded Lakes

Simple tips for bass fishing flooded lakes by Charles P.

Fishing flooded waters for bass could be intimidating if you just go out there and fish every piece of cover you can find.  But if you break down the area you want to fish, it could be the best day you have ever had.  If you know the area well enough to remember what it look like before it flooded will help a bunch, if not no big deal.  Look for things like picnic tables, trash cans, buildings, docks underwater and any other type of new structure.  Bass will hold to new structure waiting on baitfish to swim by.  I can’t tell you how many bass I have caught fishing flooded camp grounds, or park benches.  Fresh grass and saplings that are in some current seem to bring the bass streaming in.  Use baits like BPS Kermy Frogs, BPS Humpin’ Toads or XPS Squarebill cranks to cover as much area as possible until you can narrow it down to a few certain things.  Then slow down and throw some type of bug or creature, like the Tournament Series River Bug or Crack Craw.  Early in the year lizards work well but as the water heats up try crawfish style bait.  Remember you don’t have to hit every piece of grass or bush, find a clump of brush that has a mat of debris around it or a tree with small saplings underneath it.  Bass will be spread out in flooded waters, you can find the sweet spot if you look for something just a little different.  Maybe a bush that has tall grass around it or a clump of buckbrush that is surrounded by rock, or even a picnic table that doesn’t have a trash can nearby!  Find moving water, don’t fish stagnate water, most likely the oxygen will be low and fish won’t be there.  Try to find a steep ledge or flooded roadway, something that has a definite drop off.  Look for clearer water, try not to fish mud.  Look for mudlines and fish the edge, bass will tend to use these areas as ambush points. Basically there are tons of ways to fish flooded lakes but if you break down the area and look for something that is just a little bit different, you may just get lucky!  Remember to take a kid fishing and share the outdoors!




Sporting Clays

Golf with a shotgun

Sporting clays is sometimes referred to as golf with a shotgun.  Sporting clays is a challenging sport that is shot on a course with 10 to 15 stands, with teams of competitors from 2 to 6 people.  Like golf no two courses are the same, so shooters like to go to different courses that have different degrees of difficulty.  Sporting clays is also the closest shooting sport as shooting in the field.  Skeet and trap shooting tend to have clay pigeons being thrown at the same angle and speed, where as sporting clays at different stations come out at different angles from various and different distances.  This simulates more of the pattern of birds, like dove, duck and pheasant, and there is what is called a rabbit, which is a clay that is rolling on the ground.


Typically everyone is going to shoot 50 or 100 shots depending on the course and competition.  Each stand will usually have 8 to 10 clay pigeons per person.  The shooter will load two shells into their shotgun, any gauge is acceptable once they enter the stand, always enter the stand with an unloaded firearm.  When the shooter is ready he will yell “PULL!”, and the person working the thrower will then either trigger a true pair or a report pair. The clay pigeons are thrown two at a time, either a report pair or a true pair.  A report pair means one clay is thrown once the shot is taken the second clay is thrown.  A true pair is both clays are thrown at once.  The shooter will then take his shots on both birds.  If any part of the clay is broken it is considered a dead bird, or a miss if the clay flies unbroken.  Like in golf you will have a score card where you mark if it was a hit or miss.  This is done until all shots are taken at the particular stand.  Then it is on to the next  stand and start over again.  Unlike golf however the player with the highest score is the winner, and has bragging rights until they shoot again.


This is a growing sport and now a lot of High Schools have shooting teams, and it gets youth to the outdoors instead playing video games.  It is a sport everyone in the family can enjoy, and it is a sport that the whole family can do together.  Typically 12 and 20 gauges are what are used, but for more of a challenge you can use a 28 gauge or even a 410.  It can be played with a pump, semi automatic or over and under shotgun.  There is several ranges in the area that offer sporting clays and can be a blast, pardon the expression


Remember always practice safety at any range you travel to, always wear hearing and eye protection.  Never enter or exit a stand with a loaded weapon, only load when you are in the stand.  You might want to consider sun block and a hat, as it does get hot and sunny in Texas.  Stay Hydrated so drink lots of water and have fun.


Hiking Boots

Basic Information about Hiking Boots


When planning our outdoor adventures, we must always consider, “What is the proper footwear for my outing”?  Beach sandals and flip flops, Casual and boat shoes or Trekking and hiking boots.  Many people are unaware that hiking boots/shoes actually serve you best when used in the proper hiking adventure.


This short blog is simply to provide a brief description of the types of hiking boots and their purpose in our outdoor lives.  Essentially, there are Hiking Shoes, Hiking Boots, Backpacking Boots and Mountaineering Boots.  Hiking shoes are generally low-cut light weight models designed for short walks or trail running.  These are used mostly by ultralight hiking enthusiasts.  Hiking boots typically are mid or high cut, providing more support, and are intended for day hikes and weekend backpacking trips involving light loads of gear.  Backpacking boots are designed for carrying heavy loads of gear, mostly used for multi-day backpacking trips deep into the back country.  These boots are durable and more supportive with stiffer midsoles than the lighter hiking models.  Mountaineering boots are much heavier than the lightweight hiking shoes, are more supportive, tough and durable and have some level insulating materials.


Bass Pro Shops carries a full line of Hiking Shoes and Boots to fit just about every outdoor adventure.  Our friendly, customer oriented associates are here to help you match your footwear to your adventure.

Matching our footwear to our outdoor adventure enhances our outdoor experience, and when we have the right shoe/boot in the right environment our feet are more comfortable and protected…and when our feet feel good, we can have a great experience in the Great Outdoors.


Michael Lawson

Bass Pro Shops

Grapevine, Texas


Custom Bow Strings

Make your bow awesome


Need a new string for your bow?  Well come down and ask about custom string orders for bows and crossbows, and yes this includes recurve bows.  We are proud to introduce a string and cable customizer, all with First String a trusted manufacturer of quality bow strings.  We will work with you step by step to get the string or cable or both that you need, and here is a fun deal, in the color you want for most applications.   So if you want a red and yellow string and cable set we can get it.  We have a wide variety of color choices available.  First String will make it as soon as it is ordered and will be shipped back to us and we will install it on your bow.   While here take a look at our vast array of archery accessories, arrows and broad heads.  Another area you need to see  is our archery range.  The range is indoors and we use 3D targets.  Look forward to helping all our archer friends so come see us.

And of course, browse our extensive assortment of Archery at


Crossbow Emergence

Crossbows have emerged as a major force in the hunting industry. In recent years the advancements in crossbow technology have been simply amazing. One of the premier brands in crossbows is TenPoint Crossbow Technologies out of Mogadore, Ohio.

TenPoint traces its origins back to Horton Crossbows. In the mid-1990s, Rick Bednar grew dissatisfied with the direction of Horton and left to form a new company, which eventually became TenPoint. Bednar’s plan was to produce the highest-quality bow he could. One of the newest models from TenPoint, the Stealth SS, is one of the best crossbows I’ve had the pleasure of hunting with.

Stealth SS specifications

  • Length (with stirrup): 34.4 inches
  • Axle-to-axle width: 17.5 inches uncocked/13.5 inches cocked
  • Power stroke: 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Draw weight: 185 pounds
  • Velocity: 352 feet per second (370-grain bolt with 100-grain field tip)

TenPoint reduces the chance of getting “crossbow thumb” with these slick rubber flaps that guard your hand from getting in the way of the string while shooting.

The Stealth SS has a bullpup design, making the bow very compact. The grip is very comfortable and is of a thumbhole-type design. The main rail is aircraft-grade, fluted aluminum which is very strong, yet lightweight. To reduce the chances of you giving yourself a case of crossbow thumb, the Stealth has TenPoint’s rubber thumb guards helping you keep your thumbs from getting in the way of the rapidly-advancing string when you shoot at a big buck. As one of my relatives found out, that has a way of ruining a hunting trip. It can also put a damper on your hitchhiking career. There is an additional guard included with the bow to help train yourself not to do something stupid during practice. Crossbow companies are being pretty proactive in preventing this condition.

The bow is decked out in Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity camo. It’s topped with TenPoint’s three-power multi-reticle illuminated crossbow scope that is screaming-accurate right from the factory. Most of the fine details you’d expect from a higher-end bow can be found on the TenPoint—everything from swivel studs for a sling to a rubber-coated stirrup for cocking. You can add on silencers to the string and vibration dampers to quiet the bow down if you need to.


Like all TenPoint bows, the Stealth SS is offered with two different cocking aids: the AccuDraw 50 and the AccuDraw. Both aids take the form of a cocking rope that is built into the buttstock. It retracts into the stock when not in use and makes cocking the bow quick and easy.

The AccuDraw 50, which my bow came equipped with, reduces the cocking draw weight by 50 percent. The only drawback to my test bow was that the rope came a little un-sprung during testing and I had to disassemble the entire mechanism and rewind the rope. It wasn’t a big deal in that it still functioned flawlessly, but occasionally the string hook on one side wouldn’t retract all the way when I was in the field. This could have been an issue if I wasn’t watching for it and it made noise when a deer came around. Again, it never became a serious issue. I’d still get the AccuDraw 50 without hesitation. It is the best cocking aide I have used of any manufacturer.


TenPoint’s AccuDraw 50 cocking mechanism reduces the draw weight by 50 percent. It is one of the best crossbow cocking aids you can get.

The top cocking aid that TenPoint sells is the AccuDraw. It is very similar to the AccuDraw 50 but it goes a step further—it has a crank that does all of the work for you. Simply set the hooks on the string and crank up the AccuDraw until the bow cocks. If you need to, you can use a cordless screwdriver to do it. For a hunter with disabilities, this would be the hot ticket. I’ve tested the AccuDraw system in the past and it is slick!

A big plus for the Stealth is the compact feel of the bow. For those of you who hunt from a ground blind, this is one of the best bows you can get. It is compact, fast, and accurate.

I started out shooting at 15 yards with a 390-grain bolt and a 100-grain field tip. Bull’s-eye on the first shot. I then backed up 10 yards, and got the same result. I finally stopped hitting the 10-ring on my target when I hit 67 yards. That is pretty confidence-inspiring. Would I ever take that far of a shot while hunting? No, but it’s nice to know that at ranges I would shoot at, I’m pretty sure I could hit the target. The speeds of bolts put out by the bow combined with the right broadhead is a very lethal combination.



Happy New Year, Everyone!!  Guess What?  It's Boat Show Time!

It may be Winter but it's the time of year when most boat manufacturers schedule events to showcase their products.  The DFW Metroplex is well represented with Bass Boat brands like NITRO (, Skeeter (, and Bass Cat ( among others.  If you’re in the market to purchase a new Bass Boat, make sure you're in good health before you look at the sticker price on many of these.  You know, it's a lot like shopping for a new truck or car.  Every manufacturer builds base models with standard equipment and then provide you a list of options (or upgrades) you can select to fit your personal preferences.  You look at the list, add what you want, take away what you don't want and end up with a selection.  Then you look to see how your changes have affected the price you're going to pay.  I’m not sure how Ranger (, Stratos (, and Triton ( will be viewed on their websites now that Bass Pro Shops has acquired them but if they follow the pattern of other Tracker Marine products, you can bet they will continue to be awesome fishing tools.

So, I thought I'd try the "build a boat" feature you see on some of the boat manufacturer websites, just to get an idea of what a boat equipped with my preferences might cost.  Now, I didn't try to add every option out there but I did add equipment that I would want if I were purchasing a new boat.  As I began to put together the boat, I noticed one critical piece of information was missing - pricing.  I tried another manufacturer and again, pricing was not available.  This was not helping at all!  I wanted to know what it was going to cost me.  With these programs, I could easily put together a boat, print out the selections I made and take it to a dealer, only to find out I had created a boat that only Donald Trump could afford...and I'm in no position to be spending Mr. Trumps money.

Then I went to the Nitro Boat website - In this build a boat program, I could see everything - including pricing.  This tool allowed me to add optional equipment, delete some equipment that didn't interest me and kept a running total of all the adjustments I made to my boat.  At the end, I was able to see a list of all my selections, including the price changes.  I could even print out the boat I had just created that included all my custom colors and options (including the Lowrance HDS-10 & HDS-8 w/ Structure Scan ( and the upgraded Mercury 225 Optimax Pro XS with Torque Master (  So I did, I printed that bad boy out.  Now, because I had just created this boat, I knew there would not be one with this color selection and equipment in stock anywhere but just for fun, I went and asked my Tracker Sales associate if he had this boat.  He said, "I'm sorry, sir, I don't have this particular boat in stock.  Would you allow me to place the order for you?"  I asked him what additional charges and fees would I have to pay for him to order this Bass Assault Vehicle I had just created, to which he replied, "There are no hidden costs with a Bass Pro Shops boat."  I thought this was just incredible!  I could actually design and build my boat, print out a detailed listing of all my equipment and take this to my local Bass Pro Shop and order it.  Best of all, I knew exactly how much this rig was going to cost me before I ever left the comfort of my house.

If you're in the market to purchase a Bass Boat, Family Fish and Ski Boat or Pontoon Boat this year, you owe it to yourself to visit the Tracker Boats website  Here you'll find links to all the Boat Brands Bass Pro Shops carries and YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN BOAT AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL COST YOU.  Once you've created the boat of your dreams, print it out and bring it with you to your nearest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  Remember, your adventure starts here.

Happy New Year, Everyone!!  Guess What?  It's Boat Show Time!

It may be Winter but it's the time of year when most boat manufacturers schedule events to showcase their products.  The DFW Metroplex is well represented with Bass Boat brands like NITRO (, Skeeter (, and Bass Cat ( among others.  If you’re in the market to purchase a new Bass Boat, make sure you're in good health before you look at the sticker price on many of these.  You know, it's a lot like shopping for a new truck or car.  Every manufacturer builds base models with standard equipment and then provide you a list of options (or upgrades) you can select to fit your personal preferences.  You look at the list, add what you want, take away what you don't want and end up with a selection.  Then you look to see how your changes have affected the price you're going to pay.  I’m not sure how Ranger (, Stratos (, and Triton ( will be viewed on their websites now that Bass Pro Shops has acquired them but if they follow the pattern of other Tracker Marine products, you can bet they will continue to be awesome fishing tools.

So, I thought I'd try the "build a boat" feature you see on some of the boat manufacturer websites, just to get an idea of what a boat equipped with my preferences might cost.  Now, I didn't try to add every option out there but I did add equipment that I would want if I were purchasing a new boat.  As I began to put together the boat, I noticed one critical piece of information was missing - pricing.  I tried another manufacturer and again, pricing was not available.  This was not helping at all!  I wanted to know what it was going to cost me.  With these programs, I could easily put together a boat, print out the selections I made and take it to a dealer, only to find out I had created a boat that only Donald Trump could afford...and I'm in no position to be spending Mr. Trumps money.

Then I went to the Nitro Boat website - In this build a boat program, I could see everything - including pricing.  This tool allowed me to add optional equipment, delete some equipment that didn't interest me and kept a running total of all the adjustments I made to my boat.  At the end, I was able to see a list of all my selections, including the price changes.  I could even print out the boat I had just created that included all my custom colors and options (including the Lowrance HDS-10 & HDS-8 w/ Structure Scan ( and the upgraded Mercury 225 Optimax Pro XS with Torque Master (  So I did, I printed that bad boy out.  Now, because I had just created this boat, I knew there would not be one with this color selection and equipment in stock anywhere but just for fun, I went and asked my Tracker Sales associate if he had this boat.  He said, "I'm sorry, sir, I don't have this particular boat in stock.  Would you allow me to place the order for you?"  I asked him what additional charges and fees would I have to pay for him to order this Bass Assault Vehicle I had just created, to which he replied, "There are no hidden costs with a Bass Pro Shops boat."  I thought this was just incredible!  I could actually design and build my boat, print out a detailed listing of all my equipment and take this to my local Bass Pro Shop and order it.  Best of all, I knew exactly how much this rig was going to cost me before I ever left the comfort of my house.

If you're in the market to purchase a Bass Boat, Family Fish and Ski Boat or Pontoon Boat this year, you owe it to yourself to visit the Tracker Boats website  Here you'll find links to all the Boat Brands Bass Pro Shops carries and YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN BOAT AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL COST YOU.  Once you've created the boat of your dreams, print it out and bring it with you to your nearest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  Remember, your adventure starts here.


Introduction to Matt Scotch, Kayak specific-Pro-staffer

The 2014 fishing year revealed many interesting trends, but none could be more obvious than the soaring popularity of kayak angling. My name is Dean Brown, and I proudly work and write for several organizations, including Bass Pro Shops (Grapevine, Texas). Having spent the last six years in the seat of a kayak, and a lifetime chasing trophy bass, it was only a natural step for me to incorporate these specific skills and interests into my work life. Last year we began discussing the idea of adding a kayak angler to our sponsor-level pro staff, and after a few meetings and proposals, I was tasked with creating our very own kayak fishing team. Announcing the project and launching an application process was simple, but sifting through a plethora of high-caliber resumes was a daunting experience. The response, literally, was overwhelming. Our new team would consist of only two anglers: I would serve as team captain and manage the operation, and our new pro staffer would represent Bass Pro Shops in varied capacity. While this certainly made for a difficult decision, one applicant stood out among the rest. His tournament history was impeccable, and after interviewing him both in the office and on the water, I knew we had found the right person for the job. I could spend an entire day writing about his accomplishments, but I rather like the idea of giving our new addition the opportunity to speak for himself. We are proud and excited to introduce Matthew Scotch, our very first kayak-specific pro staffer.


Matt, first of all, welcome to the Bass Pro Shops family. If you would, tell our readers a little bit about your tournament history. What are some of the highlights?


Thank you Dean for the introduction, I couldn’t be happier than I am to be joining the team at Bass Pro Shops.

My tournament history and highlights have a very modest beginning. When I bought my first kayak (Hobie Pro Angler  14) I did it just because I enjoyed fishing and I viewed it as a way to get on the water more often. One evening, a few years back now, one of my neighbors noticed me hauling my kayak and decided to follow me home. I didn’t know it, but this unexpected meeting would change fishing, especially out of a kayak, for the rest of my life. My neighbor’s name is Mike Whitacre, and if you don’t know, he’s a pretty sensational kayak fisherman and video editor. That evening Mike told me about kayak “tournaments” and suggested that I tag along if I ever had time and give one a try. It took a few months but I finally came around to the idea and joined Mike for my first kayak tournament: a North Texas Kayak Bass Fishing (NTKBF) tournament at Purtis Creek State Park. That morning started off all kinds of wrong with me “turtling” flipping my kayak and gear into the lake, but I got it together and managed to catch some fish before flipping my kayak a second time; reaching out to secure a nice fish that was wrapped around a piece of timber. I ended up finishing 4th out of 25 anglers and tied for Big Bass. I didn’t take home any money or prizes

that day but I did come away with a love for a new sport: kayak bass fishing. Since that tournament at Purtis Creek, I’ve now fished 25 kayak tournaments to date. I’ve come in 1st or 2nd 11 times and finished in the top five in 16 of those events.

This new project will afford us the opportunity to conduct a number of clinics and demonstrations. As far as kayak angling is concerned, what topic or topics are important to you? What other key points will you cover in your presentations?

I primarily plan on talking about black bass and crappie fishing and how to do it effectively year around from a kayak in North Texas waters. I also look forward to discussing boat positioning, tournament strategy, and various tricks of the trade that I use to help people catch more fish.

I grew up fishing with my Father and Grandfather, and I know your story couldn't be more congruent. Tell us about your formative years, and briefly touch on one or two of your most cherished memories.

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that embraced hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.  My father and both grandfathers spent a lot of time teaching me how to fish when I was a young man. It really comes as no surprise that those are some of my most vivid memories when I reflect on my early years. I spent my summers divided between my grandparent’s houses. My Mom’s parents lived on a farm with five stocked tanks in Whitesboro, where I beat the banks around the ponds from sun-up to sun-down. Dad’s parents lived 30 minutes away on the banks of Lake Texoma where we chased Striped Bass, Smallmouth, and just about anything that would bite our hooks. When I wasn’t at my grandparents in the summer I spent a lot of time fishing with my Dad at our bay house in East Matagorda. I can remember many nights where my dad and I caught speckled trout until the sun came up. I really was fortunate to have such great role models growing up.

What Bass Pro Shops products have you had a chance to explore thus far? Specifically, how are you using them to put fish in your kayak?

I’ve had a lot of success recently throwing the Bass Pro Shops Stick-O wacky rigged for Black Bass. Bass Pro offers Stick-O’s in three different sizes with the 5 ¾” and the 4 1’4” being my two favorite sizes. I’m using a Gamakatsu Size 1 weedless worm hook, 12lb line, and a Med- Heavy Fast-tip rod. I like to add an Owner Flashy Accent small willow leaf blade to my weightless Stick-O (this is a secret of mine). I find that the flash helps attract strikes from fish that wouldn’t otherwise bite.  I’ve also had a lot of success recently with the Bass Pro 2” Baby Shad (Firecracker and Chartreuse flash). I’m rigging the jig body on a 1/32 oz. Bass Pro jig head, 6lb mono, and a 6’ UL rod.  The tactic that has been working the best for suspended

crappies lately is to find bait and fish in standing timber with the electronics. Once I locate the fish I pitch the jig anywhere from 4-8’ past the target and let the lure swing back to me through the strike zone. The crappies are biting the bait very aggressively on the fall.

What other products have you been using recently (other than Bass Pro Shops merchandise)?

This almost comes off as a trick question because I have so many rod and reel set-ups and bait/lure combinations. Over the past year I’ve been working on my finesse fishing technique a lot. I’ve been doing a lot of drop-shot and shaky-head fishing. It’s amazing how many days with tough conditions we face here in North Texas and how pulling out the “Fairy-wand” when the conditions get this way can make the difference between catching and not. When it comes to drop shot it’s my Dobyns Champion Extreme 702 SF paired with a Shimano Cl4, 20lb Power Pro Braid, 12lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon,  Gamakatsu size 1 wide gap hook, 1/8oz weight, and a Reins Bubbling Shaker. This combination puts fish in the boat just about every time. For shaky-head I’m using the same set-up I describe above with a Missile Baits jig-head and a Grande Bass Rattlesnake in Chartreuse Pepper. I don’t think there is a better way to catch spawning bass than with this combination

What are some of your favorite lakes in Texas to launch your kayak?

We are very fortunate to live in an area of the country with many bodies of water many of which are great for kayak fishing. My top places to launch a kayak would have to be Amon Carter Lake, Lady Bird Lake, Mineral Wells State Park, Lake Athens, and Lake Texoma.

Here at Bass Pro Shops, we have a strong commitment to children. Specifically, we strive to foster a healthy relationship between our youth and the outdoors. What advice would you give to a young boy or girl eager to catch their first fish?

If it’s just about catching fish I would advise any young angler to grab some crickets, grasshoppers, night crawlers, a Zebco 33, bobber, hook, and get out to the nearest body of water you can find, be it a local pond or small lake. This is how I started fishing many years ago. You will grow from the basics, and it doesn’t get any more basic than that.

For me, the physical aspect of kayak angling is the cornerstone of my obsession. It's a difficult phenomenon to describe, but from the seat of my kayak, I feel more like a hunter in the truest sense of the word than any other medium. Of course, diet plays a big role in fueling this type of sport. What are some foods and or snacks that drive your typical excursion?

This might come as a surprise but I typically don’t eat much when I’m out on the water. I try to get a meal in before I start and when I’m done. When I do take snacks, its granola, sunflower seeds, and beef jerky that I turn to. I typically have a Gatorade, energy drink, and several bottles of water with me at all times to keep hydrated.

We all live downstream. This phrase is interpreted differently from one person to the next, but what does it mean to you?

To me it’s about leaving a minimal carbon footprint and taking care of the resources we have; leaving our parks, rivers, lakes, and streams cleaner than we found them for future generations to enjoy.

In the world of fishing, we talk a lot about colors. We all know that green pumpkin is a staple, but in your opinion, what is the most underrated color? Feel free to elaborate.

To me the most underrated color in bass fishing is anything with purple. Some of my favorite color combinations have purple flake or purple hue to them. I think purple is a really good shad imitating color and since most anglers aren’t throwing it the fish haven’t necessarily seen that exact bait before. The Yamamoto Senko in Smoke Holo/Blue Pearl Silver produces fish trip in trip out for me especially in clear water.

Anglers and hunters watch the weather with a keen eye. Historically, I have a horrible habit of giving the extremities an opportunity to get under my skin. That is to say, I can't help but launch under post-frontal conditions with a negative attitude. Do you let a north wind shake you up, or do you power forward with confidence?

Fishing in North Texas we tend to face adverse weather conditions seemingly all the time. I tend not to get negative about the conditions because I can’t control them, but I do temper my expectations when the weather isn’t cooperating. A lot of times I won’t go out on a bad weather day. Instead I’ll work on tackle organization, tying jigs, or do some fishing related research for the more favorable days.

What are some of your goals for the 2015 season?

My goals for 2015 are pretty simple. I need to catch fish and win some tournaments, fulfill contractual obligations with my main sponsor Bass Pro Shops, and last but not least enjoy the ride. I’m very excited and looking forward to seeing what this next year holds in store.

About the author: Dean Brown is a Fishing Team Lead for Bass Pro Shops and a freelance outdoor writer. His personal website, Up Down Bass, has been nominated for several awards and featured in a variety of outdoor publications. You can easily navigate to his website here:


Hunters Backpack

The second day of my first bowhunting road trip to Iowa was looking perfect. The sun was about to make an appearance on the horizon and it was a cold, crisp morning during the rut. Everything pointed towards the possibility of seeing a good buck that day. Sitting in my treestand, I heard footfalls through the dry leaves—a deer was coming. I slowly took my bow off the hanger and clipped my release to the string just as the deer was about to appear in my shooting lane.

CLINK! Something fell from my hand and hit the aluminum stand on its way to the ground. My release came apart in my hand and I couldn’t draw the bow. The buck took off, and I got a good look at it as it ran away.

Fortunately it was a small buck, or I would still be losing sleep over the experience even today. I was able to cut a piece of barbed wire and twist it in place to make the release functional for the remainder of the day, averting a disaster that could have ruined the rest of the hunt.

Since that morning, I never leave home without a spare release. That’s just one of the things I carry in my backpack when I hunt. I confess that I am not a minimalist when it comes to hunting gear and I carry a lot of stuff with me. But I often hunt miles from the truck, and having an item with me can make the difference between making that walk an extra time or not.

What follows is a list of some of the uncommon things I carry with me most of the time I deer hunt. Of course, I carry the “standards”—extra SD cards for trail camera checking, a rangefinder, a field dressing knife, a water bottle or hydration bladder, a deer call, a spare release, a flashlight and headlight, a wind checker puff bottle, a camera, my deer tags and licenses, and so on. There are also some situational items I’ll carry depending on the specifics of a hunt.

But there are also some items I bring that most hunters do not usually think to carry with them. They all serve a purpose and can make your day go much smoother if you have them along. I’ll deal with each of them separately.

Heading into the woods without the right gear can mean a short day when a long day is needed. A few things can make all the difference.

Heading into the woods without the right gear can mean a short day when a long day is needed. A few things can make all the difference.

1. Zipper-lock bags

Zipper-seal baggies for keeping used scent and lure items such as drag rags or scent wicks. Putting the smelly stuff in a zip-tight bag really helps keep the rest of your stuff from smelling nasty.

2. Wet wipes

Wet wipes and be used to clean up after field dressing a deer, or if you have to take care of business in the woods. They’re way better than toilet paper.

3. Brush nippers

Brush nippers. I cannot believe how much I use these. I snip that one branch that is going to mess with my trail camera photo, I clip a branch out of my way that might interfere with a shot, and sometimes I just use them to trim around where I am sitting in a stand so I do not have a twig poking at the back of my neck. The one I use is a multi-tool made by Avid and it has several other tools attached.

4. Rope

A haul rope for pulling stuff up into the treestand. This makes life so much easier than trying to carry things up into the stand with one hand or in your pockets. It’s much safer, too.

5. Zip ties

Zip ties come in handy in so many ways. I use them to attach a tag to the carcass, for tying branches out of my way, for temporarily attaching things to my pack or stand, attaching a lure dispenser to a branch, and even for fixing things that break. I carry a couple of different sizes and never leave home without them.

6. Properly-equipped pill bottle

I’m always sure to carry a small pill bottle with four things in it:

  • Benadryl to take care of any allergy, beesting, or bad reaction to a plant.
  • Ibuprofen to treat headaches, the pain of a turned ankle, a sprain, or just sore muscles from more physical exertion than usual.
  • Aspirin. Aspirin can fend off a mild heart attack—it’s surprising how many people have heart attacks in the woods. Chewing a large aspirin tablet while you wait for help to arrive can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Diarrhea medicine for…well, you know, it might keep you in the woods longer.

7. Plastic garbage bag

I also carry a plastic garbage bag. I have used one many times to put over my pack to protect electronics during a rain. My new Tenzing pack has a built-in rain cover that comes out of a zipper, so I may eliminate the garbage bag if I find I never use it any more.

8. Lighter

A cigarette lighter allows me to burn the ends of rope, seal plastic, and if needed, start a fire in a pinch. I never realized how handy this item is until I started carrying it; I’m surprised how often I find a use for it.


9 Texas Birds All Texans Should Know

   Birding is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in the U.S. With 639 species of birds documented in Texas, things really are bigger and better here in the Lone Star State. Birding in Texas is year-round, thanks to our location and diverse eco-regions, and can be rewarding in every corner of the state. TPWD's wildlife trails make it easier than ever to find the best birding hot spots.

   Learning to identify all our state’s birds can be a daunting task, so here’s a list that’s been trimmed down to some of the more ubiquitous and easily seen species.

   So, armed with this starter list and a helpful birding guidebook and a pair of binoculars, head out to your yard and see how many you can spot and identify. Once you’ve conquered your own little patch of green, try it at a state park. Bring family and friends and turn it into a contest. You’ll find being bird-brained is fun for everyone.



Northern Mockingbird

Such a list, of course, has to begin with the state bird of Texas. This gray and white bird makes up for its drab appearance with a voice that could compete in any singing competition. The Latin name (Mimus polyglottos), which translates loosely to “the many-tongued mimic,” really sums up this songster. Instead of singing its own song, this bird performs like a tribute band playing an original band’s song note for note. A seasoned male mockingbird can sing the songs of dozens of other species found nearby and make a variety of other vocalizations, from frog sounds to car alarms.



Red-Tailed Hawk

Known colloquially as the “chicken hawk,” this large raptor can be seen in just about any open habitat, with numbers reaching their peak in Texas during the cold winter months. Often seen sitting on a commanding perch along our highways, the hawks look as if they’re watching traffic pass by when, in fact, the grassy medians support lots of tasty rodents. This fondness for rodents makes them good neighbors for us. Instead of red, look on the top of the tail for more of a terracotta-orange color. While it’s perched, two of its best features are often visible on many but not all individuals: a dark belly-band across its white underparts and the messy white blotches on an otherwise chocolate-colored back.



Great Blue Heron

More old-timers refer to this species as a “blue crane,” but this heron is not related to cranes. This tall wetland inhabitant will hunt for fish, frogs, crayfish and the like in just about any creek, pond, lake or roadside ditch. With an overall grayish color, this bird does have hints of blue-gray here and there. In flight, the great blue heron might conjure up beliefs that pterodactyls still fly our friendly skies. When waters freeze in winter, don’t expect these birds to chip away at the ice. Instead, watch them switch to dry upland settings in search of rodents. Who knows, maybe a switch from slimy fish to furry rats every now and then breaks the monotony!



Barn Swallow

Some call it the “mud swallow” because it builds open, cup-shaped nests from mud on bridges, culverts, porches and patios. If a nest shows up on your front porch, you might have to deal with occasional dive-bombs from a protective parent and a small pile of poop you’ll have to wash off. These aerial insectivores are good neighbors, though, since they eat a lot of our yard’s pesky insects; in some cultures, it’s a sign of good luck if the nesting birds select your home. Watch for their deeply forked tail and, when the sunlight hits them just right, a beautiful iridescence of dark blue-purple on the head, back and tail. There are two other mud-nesting swallows in Texas, the cliff and cave swallows, but neither has a forked tail. Also, the cliff swallow sets itself apart in terms of architectural design with a gourd-shaped mud nest.


Turkey Vulture

Early American settlers from Europe confused this carrion eater with the “buzzard” back home, but the two aren’t alike. Though the name “buzzard” is used in other parts of the world for hawks, it refuses to be erased from our vocabulary for vultures. When soaring, this vulture has a silvery tinge to the trailing edge of the entire wing. When they’re feasting on roadkill, notice their milk chocolate coloration and, in adults, a red featherless head. Only a mother could love a face like that. There is another species of vulture in Texas: the black vulture. The black vulture sports a gray featherless head and is dark black. During flight, black vultures also have the silvery tinge to their wings but only on the outer tips. If we didn’t have vultures, our roadways would soon be overrun with smelly, unsightly roadkill



How great would it be if every bird were named for its vocalization, like this one? A resounding “kill-dee, kill-dee, kill-dee” can be heard not only in natural settings, but also in ball fields and parking lots. In flight, watch for the fiery orange rump and pointy wings and, when perched, watch for two distinctive black bands across the breast resembling wide necklaces. If you approach one and find it limping away with a drooped wing and loud cries, know that you’re being duped. This action — called feigning — is designed to lure you away from a nearby ground nest or nestlings, so tread lightly.



House Sparrow

This species is not native to the Western Hemisphere. Introduced more than a century ago, it has spread from Alaska to Argentina and all points in between, including Texas. Our state’s first sighting was in Galveston in 1867. If there are a few houses or grain silos around, there will be house sparrows. They’re actually weaver finches; folks who have found their bulky nests constructed of wispy grasses can attest to this. Purple martin landlords who aren’t monitoring their nest boxes can get overrun with these pesky sparrows. The male has a black goatee; the female is very dull and plain, but her pale eyebrow is readily seen. In urban settings, this is the expected sparrow in parking lots, often gathering into huge, noisy roosts each evening.



Eurasian Collared-Dove

This non-native dove first arrived in Texas via Texarkana in 1995 and quickly spread throughout the state. In urban settings, watch for a large pale dove with a black ring around the collar. More importantly, open your ears to the incessant cooing sounds of these doves, as they are prolific singers. A unique vocalization they make as they’re taking flight or about to land is reminiscent of a loud kitty’s meow. If you spot them at the seed feeder, you’ll see that these doves are larger than their native cousins, the white-winged and mourning doves. The collared dove has taken the place of the paler, ringed turtle-dove, another non-native dove, and appears to be calling Texas home for a long time to come.



Cattle Egret

Sometimes referred to as “cow birds” for their fondness of following cattle, these birds are fairly new to Texas, making their debut here in 1955 on Mustang Island. They follow cattle because, while walking or grazing, big bovines flush insects hiding in the grass. Those insects are precisely what the egret desires. The egret is not plucking ticks off the hides of livestock, a common  misbelief. During the breeding season, watch for straw-colored  patches of  feathers on the head, breast and back of these otherwise white birds. These birds seek refuge in numbers. Their communal nesting colonies, called rookeries (or, more correctly, heronries), can be very large, with nests numbering in the thousands and often mixed with other species of egrets, herons, ibises, cormorants and more. There’s great safety in numbers — humans live in similar settings we just call neighborhoods.

You can find hiking and birding supplies by visiting your local Bass Pro Shop in person or online at





Why NOT to Change Your Own Oil in Your Boat

Here is good reason you should have a qualified tech, such as Tracker @ Bass Pro, change the oil in your boat. Several years back, I had a person leave a flier on my boat which was located at a marina on Lake Ray Hubbard in Dallas, Texas. The flier offered to change the oil and filter for $150.00 while it stayed in the slip at the lake. I was taken back at the price of an oil change. This did prompt me to change the oil in my boat, but I decided to do it myself. After all, I had changed the oil in my truck numerous times and thought I knew it all. My boat is a large 30 foot cabin cruiser and the engine is below the main floor deck. This put the drain plug several feet below where I had to lay down and contort my body to remove the plug. I also had to do the same thing with the oil filter. Not wanting to spill oil all over the bottom of the bilge, I put some thought into how best to remove the oil without making a mess. 

Using an oil pan that had a replaceable cap seemed to be the a good idea. I also decided to drop the filter into a couple of plastic bags and tie them up so I did not get oil all over the deck of the boat. Everything went smooth just as I planned, or at least I thought. After I finished the oil change, I decided to take the boat out for a spin. As soon as I left the marina and throttled up, my make a funny noise and seized up. After getting the boat to the repair shop, the tech showed me what had happened. The "O" ring from the old filter had not come off when I removed the old filter. When I put the new filter on, it made a pinch point for the new oil to squirt out. Remember, when I removed the old filter, I dropped into a couple of plastic bags so I did not get oil on the boat. I had never even heard of this happening.

The tech stated he had heard of this occurrence, but had never seen it happen in his nearly 30 years of working on boats. This turned out to be a $2500 oil change since I had to buy a new engine. That $150 oil change seemed very cheap in hind sight. The main thing I took away from all this is if I had a reputable company change the oil, I would not have had to buy a new engine. And if something did go wrong, then someone else would have been paying for that new engine. To this day, I only have my boat serviced by qualified tech's, like the people that work for Tracker @ Bass Pro.


July Outdoor Activity of the Month: Paddling

Paddling: July Outdoor Activity of the Month

Paddling Caddo Lake - Photo Contest WinnerKeep cool this summer and have fun with your family and friends! Go paddling in a state park or along a designated Texas Paddling Trail. 

On the water it’s easier than ever to experience a closer view of wildlife and scenery! Many state parks offer places that will rent you the equipment you need: canoes, kayaks, and life-jackets, as well as teach paddling basics.  


Glide Along Texas Paddling Trails

Over 60 designated Texas Paddling Trails provide well-mapped, accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for all levels of paddling experience. Visit the Paddling Trails website for trail maps and photos, info on canoe/kayak rentals, directions to designated access sites and fishing and wildlife information. Your local Bass Pro also has numerous styles & sizes to purchase.

Dallas/Ft. Worth: There are 8 Texas Paddling Trails within an hour of DFW. They include: Dallas Trinity Paddling Trail, Joe Pool Lake and Walnut Creek Paddling Trail (Grand Prairie), Lake Arlington Paddling Trail,  River Legacy Parks Paddling Trail on the Trinity River (Arlington).

Learn to Paddle

How to Paddle Video If you are looking for some paddling tips before you head out: 

Water Conditions and Safety

Open bodies of water (lakes, rivers, bays, bayous, ponds, oceans) are vastly different from neighborhood swimming pools and therefore warrant extra precautions. The key differences are that there are no lifeguards; water conditions can change rapidly; and underwater currents sometimes exist. Before you go paddling, tell a friend or family member where you will be and when you expect to return.

It is recommended that everyone who participates in boating wear a life jacket. In Texas, children under 13 years of age in or on vessels under 26 feet must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket. All vessels (including canoes and kayaks) must have a sound producing device and at least one Type I, II, III or V life jacket of the proper fit for each person on board.

Remember: The life you save may be your own!  


June Outdoor Activity of the Month: Fishing

June Outdoor Activity of the Month: Fishing


Fishing in a Texas State Park or local Neighborhood Fishin’ lake stocked with fish is fun, affordable and a great way for family and friends to be together in nature. Plus, there’s a good chance your fish will be keepers and end up as a delicious fresh-caught meal for all.


Boy with dad and catfish.


Where to Fish

Texas State Parks: Over 70 parks offer fresh or saltwater fishing from shore, pier or boat. Everyone fishes for free (no licenses are required). Many parks offer tackle-loaner programs and special fishing classes and events.

Local Neighborhood Fishin' Sites: Lake Grapevine, Lake Lewisville, Lake Fork, Lake Ray Hubbard, Joe Pool Lake, Trinity River, Lake Ray Roberts, Possum Kingdom Lake, Richland-Chambers Lake, Lake Tawonkani, Lake Palestine, Cedar Creek Lake, Lake Granbury, Brazos River, Lake Whitney, Colorado River just to name a few that are great fishing spots in this area. 

Kids under 17 fish for free and no fishing license is required. A fishing license is required for adults.


Beginner Fishing Programs

Want to go fishing or take your kids fishing, but don't know where to start? Bass Pro in Grapevine offers a kids fishing event every Saturday from 11am to 1pm. You can also find fishing tackle to meet all your needs. Please our website:


Boy fishing with Texas Parks and Wildlife.


How to Support Healthy Fish Populations

Everyone plays an important role in maintaining healthy quantities of fish and fish habitats. When you purchase a fishing license, you are supporting fishery management, hatcheries, conservation and education. By learning to identify fish and respecting fishing regulations, you can help protect fish populations, ensuring that they will continue to be available now and in the future for all who want to go fishing. =============


What to Bring






Coyote Hunting Tactics

If you want to maximize your productivity on stand you might be asking, when is the best time to coyote hunt? What effects does temperature, barometric pressure and moon phase have on coyote hunting and how can you use them to your advantage? If you have the luxury of choosing which days you would like to get out calling, then answers to these questions will help you know when the most productive times would be to be out in the field.

Think Coyote

Think like a coyote. Why does a coyote need to move? To hunt, defend their territory, breed, etc. Since they rely heavily on their nose or olfactory stimuli, the biggest factor that limits their movement is wind speed. Because of this, when the wind picks up coyotes lay low. Now, that being said let’s talk about other factors to consider when deciding when the best time to coyote hunt is.


Coyotes are no different than any other animal. When it is hot, they like to stay cool. They will do most of their hunting after sun down when it’s cooler. This isn’t to say that you can’t call them in on a hot summer morning, because it happens, but when the temperature is cooler they are more responsive. So just what is a good temperature? I have found when the temperature stays below 60 degrees I can call all day long and still have success. As soon as it gets above this temperature coyote activity declines.

Barometric Pressure

What about barometric pressure? This is something that I haven’t taken the time to capture specific numbers on, but I can tell you that it does affect coyote movement. Just before a storm the air pressure will drop and after the storm the pressure will rise again. Mississippi State University did a research project on carnivore ecology and found that coyote activity decreases as the pressure decreases and increases as the pressure increases. So that being said, the best time to hunt would be after a storm instead of before. My theory is that the prey animals hunker down before a storm and come out as soon as it is over..

Moon Phase

And last, what about the moon phase? One thing I like to do is keep a log of the days I go out calling, how many I called in, shot, etc. I went back through the years of data with the moon phase in mind to see if there was a trend indicating which phase was the best for coyote calling. I found full moon was a little tougher due to the coyote’s eyesight. On a full moon he see’s almost as well as during daylight hours. It is harder to conceal and trick him into coming in during full moon phases.

So in answer to the question what is the best time to coyote hunt, I think if I were to describe the ideal day of calling it would be one that has minimal wind, cooler temperatures, overcast skies, and just after a storm. But since those days don’t come around all the time, just make the most of and enjoy those days when you can get out in the field.


Summerization- What does it do for you?

The weather is warming up and spring is in full swing. This can only mean one thing here in North Texas, the fish are jumping and the lakes are calling! Before you head to the lake to catch that record breaking bass or catch monster air off the wakes be sure to have your boat summerized by your Tracker Marine Boat Center.

During the process of the Gold Summerization the Power Pro Technicians will go over 7 list items to insure your boat is 100% water ready for this year’s season.

  1. Hook up all hoses and install drain plugs on Inboard/Outboard engines.

During the winterization process, all the drain plugs and hoses are removed to insure that any water in the engine and boat will drain completely. In order to get back out on the water the hoses and plugs are re-installed in your inboard engine.

  1. Add fuel system cleaner.

Fuel system cleaner in added to insure that the fuel left in the tank through the winter is clean and wont gum up the fuel filter or carburetor when you start up your inboard/outboard engine.

  1. Run and check all dash mounted accessories.

Power Pro technicians check all the dash mounted accessories, such as your fish finder, to make certain that you will be able to find the fish you’re looking to catch and the depths at which they live.

  1. Replace water pump impeller.

Impellers are replaced to make certain that your inboard/outboard engine won’t overheat through summer use. The impeller is an internal component inside the engine that feeds the engine with cool water keeping the engine cool and running smoothly.

  1. Load test batteries.

In order to make sure you don’t run out of juice on the lake, the batteries will be load tested for quality and longevity.

  1. Run out and check throttle and shift operations.

Power Pro technicians will check the throttle and shift operations to be sure they are fully operational so you won’t be left without any way to get back to the dock after a full day on the lake.

  1. 34 point inspection.

Power Pro technicians give a full inspection from trailer coupler to engine prop, ensuring that you are 100% safe and in good running order for this summer’s season.

Once your boat has been summarized by a Power Pro technician, you will have the peace of mind and comfort of knowing your summer season on the water will be full of fun and excitement without concern!


Tips & Tricks for Bow Fishing from the Pro’s

When shooting larger Carp, always have someone with another bow for a backup shot, or at least a gaff. Most large fish are lost at the boat. Connor Hankinson

Know your bow! Aiming low is a rule of thumb, but for longer shots you will need to compensate for the trajectory of your arrow (how far it drops). This is different for every bow. Jonah Powell - River Bottom Outdoors

When shooting grass carp, aim behind the gills because there is a rock hard plate that covers their head, you have a much better chance of full penetration if you don't shoot this. Tyler Gerber -back country bow fishing

When you go bow fishing, take a friend or someone new to the sport. Your friend can back you up on a second shot if you miss or shoot the second fish. They love to travel together in schools. If you can't get your friend to go, take a person that is curious about the sport. It is a great way to make our sport grow and it is always more fun with others. - Dan Swearingin

You really can't aim low enough, especially if shooting in Deep waters. -- Austin Armstrong, Sand Lake MI

When shooting catfish, the best time is at night in between sunset till about one in the morning. -- Justin Dillon Lexington, SC

If you shoot a fish and it bleeds a lot go back to that spot later and there may be gar or bowfin that were attracted to the scent. - Austin Armstrong, Sand Lake, MI

Make sure you use the right point for the fish you're going after. This was a lesson I learned quickly when I lost a nice size Gar because I was using a Ray point. He spun and released the barbs. - Leo, S. Louisiana

I do a lot of shooting in deep water situations, and I have found that using an arrow point with barbs that fold down very close to the arrow shaft causes the arrow to move straighter in the water for those shots over a foot deep or so. - Brian

When shooting spawning carp, the Females are usually the larger in a small group and the males will chase her, shoot the largest in the group and don’t pull her out of the water. Let it settle down and your partners will shoot the rest of the remaining males because they won’t leave her. --Tyler

Don't bow fish on a very windy day. It’s almost impossible to see fish. - Rod

Do not over fish one spot; it will stay a good spot if you do not over fish it. - Rod

If legal in your area, chum with corn, bread, and dog food as much as possible to keep large amounts of carp in one area. - Rod

At night, walk along irrigation ditches with a spotlight. You'll be surprised at how many fish there are. - Rod

Sometimes a fish can be just a slight discoloration in the water. - Austin, Sand Lake, MI

When fishing freshwater dogfish, just look for their fins. They do the wave. - Austin, Sand Lake, MI

When shooting anything from a boat make sure to use a gaff, easiest way i have found to get fish in the boat. ~ Zach Clausing WI

The best way to fish is at night time. You don't really have to worry about shadows and with a good spotlight you can find the fish more easily than they can find you. - Daniel Ballard

I have found that toward dusk or dawn you get a bad glare on the water and to help with the glare buy a nice pair of polarized sunglasses -- Aaron Black, Onsted MI

When bow fishing Southern Louisiana marshes, bring a big ice chest. --- Matt Weber, N.O., La

When bow fishing for big grass carp or anything big for that matter, DO NOT grab the line when the fish makes the first run. I learned that today....9 stitches going up my finger!!! - Michael

When bow fishing off of a dock or off of the bank, put some corn 3-4 feet out in the water and huge amounts of carp and buffalo will come. -- Chance Tuder

A tip for muddy water carp slayers: When going for buglemouths in mud-bottomed waters, keep a close eye for fins sticking out of the mud, as carp will often bury themselves in it when spooked, only to be revealed with a loud thrashing as you go by them in the boat. -- Andy "Carp Slayer" Waltman, Little Falls, MN

Learn How to make boilies, those carp baits used by carp fisherman. Drop them near a likely carp spot; they're great because most other fish ignore them. They are a carp magnet! - Bill Young

While shooting carp from the bank, move very slowly and look for the top outline of the fish in the water. It helps if you have polarized sunglasses. -Jared McCreary Durant

OK When fishing in deeper water for buffalo and you see the bubbles coming from the bottom where they are feeding. Try waiting for a minute or so before moving on, often he fish will feed for a few minutes and then rise and move over a few feet to a new place to feed. When they rise to move this will offer you a shot on them. Often times the bigger and faster the bubbles rise the bigger the fish will be. -- Mike Tubbs, Mississippi

Put a loaf of bread in a minnow trap and throw it within shooting distance. Tie it in place with a rope so it does not float off. Carp will come up and suck on the minnow trap allowing for an easy shot. (Put a rock in the bottom of the minnow trap so it does not roll around on the bottom) --- Chad

Look in shallow swamps connected to lakes about 5" to 10" of water with fallen trees and cattails I have found carp a month after ice out going to the shallows ---Aaron Black, MI

On hot days when you are not seeing any carp look under logs and brush piles. ----Luke, Minnesota

To get an easy shot on carp, put dog food in a metal minnow bucket (the ones with holes in the sides), and put it in the water. You can either let it drift or tie it to a tree or other cover sticking out of the water. The carp will come up and suck the dog food out of the bucket, allowing for an easy shot. ----Rusty Nace

We will drift from 50 or 60 yards out into the shallows, between two groups of carp while they are rolling. Some of them will get curious and move from one group to the other. Be patient, and watch both sides of the boat. If you miss a shot stay there and wait you will get another shot. I've shot at the same carp three times before connecting. - Jason

Often times when you shoot and miss a carp they will spook, but many times they make a circle and return to the same spot, as if curious as to what caused the commotion. If you do not disturb the shot arrow, your partner will get a shot at the same fish. They are on high alert then, so be ready for a fast shot. — Dick Bassetti

If carp are gathered in a submerged tree and you can't get a clear shot, then throw a few stones several feet away from the tree. Carp are curious and the bigger ones tend to investigate allowing an easier shot! — Timothy Fynn

When bow fishing in creeks or rivers, concentrate your efforts on deadfalls and other obstructions, as carp will consistently gather to feed on what builds up in front of the blockage. — John Alan Caddell

When hunting carp in shallows, keep your shadow off the water. It will spook the fish. — Michael If you put the big fish on a stringer and let them swim alongside the boat, other fish will come and swim next to them, allowing for an easy shot.— Jeff Hogue, Omaha, Ne

When bow fishing for carp, you will usually find them in warm, shallow water around bushes, rocks and any other cover. — Joey

Look for carp in cattails at any time of the year. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

On Lake Michigan, carp will feed on seagull droppings. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

After shooting a large grass carp, don't put pressure on the line. They will sometimes stop after running a short distance, allowing you to get another arrow into it to ensure it doesn't get off. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

When shooting carp in rivers (from the bank) draw your bow before you get to the water allowing you to get a quick shot off before the carp spook off. — Morgan Longshore

After a successful hit on a carp, push the arrow down into the sand (or mud). With one hand on top of the arrow, dip the other hand into the water and grab the bottom of the arrow so your fish won't slide off! This only happened to me as a youngster!-live and learn. — Joe Roe

If you see a decent amount of carp holding in one spot, chances are they feed that area consistently. Even if they don't show themselves the minute you arrive, give it time. Hot spots and patience are the keys to successful bow fishing. — Dominic Coville

When wading for drum in creeks don't be afraid to chase a fish down, They tend to take off fast and slow down just as fast (unlike carp) making it possible to get in close for a shot. — Christian Goodpaster, Southern Indiana Bow fishing

Anytime bow fishing in shallow creeks look for pools; they may be only 3-5 inches deep in some cases, but these "holes" gather fish from shallower water and provide holding areas. — Christian Goodpaster, Southern Indiana Bow fishing

When shooting fish coming directly at you, shoot just below the mouth of the fish and you will hit just behind the head. — Michelle Moskala

When you think you’ve aimed low enough, aim lower and keep one sight pin on your bow for surfacing fish and turtles. .It’s a lot easier. --Wrightson, Christopher

I use a slightly modified quick shot whisker biscuit on my bow fishing rig. I coated the bottom bristles with a spray adhesive to stiffen them up. This allows for quicker shots because I don't have to worry about my arrow falling off. — Cody, Pinckneyville IL

Shoot a bit lower than where you want to hit, since water will make the fish seem higher than it is. — Josh De Guzman

If a fish is quartering towards you, wait for a broadside shot. — Thomas Aim low and let go!!!!!!! — Rick, Stevens Point, WI

When shooting off of large culverts, wait for the fish to get almost inside of the culvert and then shoot, giving you a perfect straight down shot. — Justin Marc Pelzer

Be careful on long shots in lily pads. Your arrow may skip on the lily pads. — Aaron Black

If you lose an arrow in a fish, keep your eyes peeled. My cousin and I lost 3 arrows one day and shot those 3 fish the next day and got our arrows back. — John VanDusen

When bow fishing from shore or boat, don't shoot the first fish you see. Learn the patterns that the fish are swimming if possible before sending that first arrow. Whether you score or miss, you will now know where to look for the next rising fish. Fish are very predictable. Once you find a hotspot, always a hotspot as long as they aren't disturbed. — Dan Swearingin

When fishing for gar, try using a container filled with blood to attract them where legal. -- Susan

When river fishing, look for gator gar in a deep hole by creek inlets.—Jeff, Stratford, WI

When you see a couple of big gar rolling throw four or five dead buffalo or carp around the anchored boat. Be quiet and still. The gar will mosey on up giving you an easy shot. If that does not work (which it will) throw some jug line out with a big chunk of buffalo on it about a foot deep from the jug anchor with a 1oz weight when the gar hooks on follow the gar and take as many shot as you like. Jay -- Palestine, TX

To have a more durable arrow, you can insert a fiberglass arrow into a 2213 aluminum shaft.—Tim, Georgetown, TX

If you lose an arrow in a creek or river bank or brush, come back when the water is low and get your arrow back. If you lose an arrow in the water, don't dive in after it unless it's your last one! It's not worth it, I know from experience. — Tyler Krukar

Keep a marker to throw if your arrow breaks off, it makes them much easier to find. — Kelby Scott

To get rid of the fish smell on your hands, take some toothpaste or a citrus soda like Mountain Dew and clean those smelly hands. It works great.—Tim, Georgetown, TX

When fishing with a trolling motor, set it as low as possible and drift into the school of fish, don't make any sudden movements and wear polarized sunglasses.—Scott

When shooting carp from a boat, make sure you put the plug in the back or it will sink, I speak from experience. —Scott


Flippity Floppity

It is that time of year again, time for flip flops and sandals.  Several different types and brands are now out for your needs.  Men, women, and kids we have all sizes.  Check out some of these brands.

Natural Reflections

Enjoy a fun look and great comfort from a lightweight sandal with the Rainforest Sling from Natural Reflections. The Rainforest's uniquely styled synthetic upper provides the foot-hugging comfort of a stretch fit design. Combined with the sandal's comfort footbed, this easy-wearing slip on keeps your feet in comfort all day long.  Also comes in four different colors.



We took everything we know about all-out comfort and put it into one sandal. Under the supple suede leather footbed lies a billowy, super-soft cushion -- like slipping your feet into a bed of cotton. Ultra lightweight stitch-to-sole construction with full grain quality leather uppers provide long lasting toughness without the leadfooted feeling. Hook'n'loop closures deliver a custom fit that's unmatched.



This is not a shoe. It's a sandal.
Featuring a shoe upper on a sandal bottom, Sidewalk Surfers™ combine the year-round style and protection of a shoe with the natural comfort of a sandal. We like the call this Barefoot-Un-Technology™. This sandal-shoe hybrid allows your foot to bend and flex the way nature designed you to walk. The loose upper allows your foot to spread so it can absorb shock naturally. This strengthens the small muscles which support your arch and encourages you to walk correctly. Sorry if there are no springs, coils, pumps, or air-bags, but after walking naturally you won't want to wear anything else.




Have you ever been strolling around looking for a bottle opener?  Well this pair of flip flops has got you covered.  Enjoy the airy comfort of a classic beach sandal with modern comfort technology in the Reef® Fanning Sandal for Men. The Fanning combines a water friendly synthetic nubuck upper with a compression molded EVA midsole with anatomical arch support, surrounding your foot with easy-wearing comfort. Reef's Icon Herringbone non-marking rubber outsole delivers sure wet-dry traction over various surfaces. The Fanning also features Reef's built-in church key in the outsole so you always have a bottle opener with you.



This awesome pair of flip flops is the Sawman Signature Sandals from Cobian.  This has Cobain’s clear bottom featuring a U.S. serviceman graphic underlay featuring the signature of Former SEAL and counter terrorism expert Craig Sawyer.  The toe post is reinforced with Kevlar and is guaranteed not to break.  Also a good water shoe as it has great drainage in the footbed.  A portion of the sale also goes to OPERATION HAWKEYE.  To learn more about OPERATION HAWKEYE visit




Did You Know Bass Pro has Soups?

Bass Pro has soups?

You can do the two step!  Uncle Bucks Two Step will add a charming touch to your kitchen before you make it.  And just wait ‘til you taste it.  Terrific for family gatherings, or a delicious heartwarming meal on a cold winter day.  Three different flavors of soup and one great black bean chili.  Below are the soups and the easy two step directions to make them.


Potato soup hits the spot on a cold day, but who wants to take the time to peel all those potatoes and chop vegetables? Uncle Buck's Two Step Potato Soup to the rescue! This soup mix is so simple to prepare, you'll have a hearty meal in a matter of minutes.

Just add chicken broth, milk, sour cream and a sprinkle of flour to the ingredients in this bag, and dinner is served. Great to have on hand for last minute, quick meals for the busy family on the go! This 4 oz. bag includes potatoes, red bell peppers, carrots, celery and onions.

Attractively packaged, Uncle Buck's Two Step Potato Soup mix makes a fun gift for foodies, tailgaters and pressed-for-time cooks!




Move beyond boring chicken noodle soup with Uncle Buck's Wild Corn Chowder Soup mix! This quick and easy chowder is sure to please. Simply add chicken broth and whipping cream, heat and serve.

Ingredients include wild rice, corn, green split peas, carrots, red bell peppers, onion and seasonings. 8 oz. bottle.

The charming packaging makes it a great gift item for foodies and pressed-for-time cooks!


With its charming packaging, Uncle Buck's Two Step Five Bean Soup Mix adds to the décor of your kitchen until you're ready to make it! This simple-to-prepare soup features red beans, navy beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and split peas. Terrific for family gatherings, this heart-warming soup is a great way to gather everyone around the table!

Makes a nice, one-size-fits-all gift for that hard-to-buy-for person!



For a taste of the southwest, mix up a batch of Uncle Buck's Tortilla Soup! This mix makes it easy to prepare a heart-warming and filling meal. With just 2 quick steps, you'll have downright tasty soup that's a step above boring old chicken noodle.

Keep some on hand for last minute, quick meals for the busy family on the go!

The charming packaging makes it a great gift item for foodies and pressed-for-time cooks! 4 oz.




There's nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of chili on a cold night! Uncle Buck's Black Bean Chili mix makes it easier than ever to whip up a batch of savory chili that will feed the masses. Just brown ground beef, venison or turkey, add the mix, water and tomato sauce and simmer. You'll be eating in no time!

Ingredients include black beans, red and green bell peppers, seasonings and jalapeno peppers for a little heat.

The charming packaging makes it a great gift item for foodies and pressed-for-time cooks!


Use Crankbaits to Catch Pre Spawn Bass You Can Be Proud Of

Use Crankbaits to Catch Pre-Spawn Bass

When water temperatures range from about 40 to 55 degrees, bass will snatch a speeding shallow-running crankbait, yet ignore just about anything else retrieved at the same pace. These crankbaits let you quickly probe lots of water to locate largemouths that have moved from deep winter haunts to shallow pre spawn staging cover, including submerged wood, rocky banks, and early-season grass beds. This illustrated guide tells you how to choose the right shallow-running crankbait for each type of cover and how to make it irresistible to the spring lunkers lurking there. All you have to do is follow the instructions and keep the net handy.

SHALLOW WOOD COVER, especially if it's close to the deeper water of a creek channel or other drop off, is a prime place to find feasting pre spawn bass. Tie a fat-bodied craw-colored crank to 17- to 20-pound-test line and cast it to logs, stumps, and cypress knees. Run the crankbait along the length of downed trees, bumping it into limbs, branches, and roots. Be ready for a strike when the lure ricochets off the cover. If your crank hangs up, lower your rod to put some slack in the line; the lure should float toward the surface. Bass may need a little extra coaxing at this time of year, so make repeated casts to a promising piece of cover, particularly on its sunny side.

Pre spawn bass commonly stack up along natural rock or riprap banks. To catch them, position your boat over 8 to 10 feet of water along a rocky shore and cast a shallow-running crank with a wide, rounded bill at a 45-degree angle toward shore so it lands within inches of the bank. Then retrieve the bait at a slow to medium clip. Be sure to bounce it off the rocks and work it all the way back to the boat. The bass may hit anywhere from 3 to 10 feet deep. 

Concentrate on grass in the deeper ends of reservoirs where clearer, stabler water conditions tend to keep bass biting this month. Use a depth finder to locate submerged vegetation in the lower reaches of creek arms. Work the edges of the weed beds, as well as the stretches of thinner grass extending from them. The border between new green grass and dead grass can also be very productive; identify such spots by purposely snagging some growth with your bait so that you can inspect it.

Target vegetation that tops out between 4 and 7 feet beneath the surface. Work a slim-bodied crank deep enough to tick the grass, ripping the lure through to spark strikes.

COLOR: Throughout much of the country, pre spawn bass are keyed in to crayfish. Make sure your red, orange, and brown cranks are the first ones out of the box.


BILL: A short, square shape protects a bait's hooks from snags in woody cover. For a lure that will dive in to and deflect off of rocks and riprap, choose a wide, rounded bill that angles slightly downward from the nose of the bait. To rip through submerged grass, go with a narrow, rounded bill.

Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Square Bill Crankbaits

Body: Bass around stumps and blow-downs seem to prefer the wide-wobbling action of a fat body combined with a square bill. A medium-size body gives a medium wobble, best for bass in rocky cover. A tight-wobbling, thin body helps your bait maneuver quickly through the tops of weeds.

Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Lazer Eye™ The Egg

HOOKS: Sluggish early-spring bass can be light biters. Your crankbait should have premium, sharp, round-bend hooks to cut down on missed strikes. Replace inferior hooks if necessary, sharpen dull ones, and check the points often as you fish.

Mustad® UltraPoint™ KVD Elite Triple Grip® Treble Hook



Hicks, Mark. "Use Crankbaits to Catch Pre-Spawn Bass | Field & Stream." Field & Stream. Field & Stream, 28 Feb. 2006. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.


Colorblock Swim Trunks Have Arrived!

New Bass Pro Shops Colorblock Swim Trunks For Men!

 Let’s get geared up for Spring Break!

We have several colors and styles to choose from.  Your swim trunks start at $24.99.  Come on in and get them before Spring Breaks starts!  These swim trunks are 100% polyester for quick drying,  mesh briefs, 2 hand pockets, 1 cargo pocket, 9” inseam and a drawstring waist.