Duck Calling Contest


Sanctioned Contest of

World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest

Stuttgart, Arkansas

Newell Cheatheam, Contest Calling Chairman,



Contact: Newell Cheatheam 713.385.3622




Assignment Outdoors Editor, Editor, News, Calling Contests, Community, Sanctioned Duck Calling Contests, Duck and Goose Calling Contests, Calendar


2012 Texas State Championship Duck Calling Contest In Katy, Tx

     Katy, Texas – Outdoorsman and waterfowl hunter Newell Cheatheam, Calling Contest Chairman of The Texas State Championship Duck Calling Contest since 2001, announces that The Texas State Championship Duck Calling Contest will be hosted by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in, Katy, Texas on Saturday August 11, 2012. The World's Championship Duck Calling Contest Committee ( sanctions the contest. The Champion Duck Caller of the Texas State will represent the state of Texas in the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest to be held Thanksgiving Weekend  November 2012. Prizes are provided for first, second and third place winners. Cheatheam hosted and coordinated open duck and goose meat calling contests during the Rice Harvest Festival for around 18 years up to 2001 for kids, adults and guides thru the Katy Paraire Ducks Unlimited Committee. Call Cheatheam if you are interested in sponsoring cash prizes or other prizes for Texas State. Check-in begins at 8:00AM-12:00 PM, on Saturday, June 25. Contest time can change day of, so contestants need to be there early. Contestants must have attained age seventeen as of the hour of the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest
     Team Real Duck, Randy Wheeler, and a Ducks Unlimited member is sponsoring the Texas State Sanctioned Contest along with the Texas Waterfowl Championship Calling Contests with Open Meat Duck Calling Contests and Open Meat Goose Calling Contests. See website for schedules, which can change.
     The public is invited to attend this event with contestants coming from all over Texas. Individuals interested in participating in the Texas State, as well anyone interested in contest prize donations or event sponsorships should contact Newell Cheatheam, Contest -Calling Chairman, Texas State Championship Duck Calling Contest, PO Box 5254, Katy, TX 77491.5254, 713.385.3622 or see details on  Texas State Sanctioned Contestant entry forms can be downloaded off Texas State website. Early registration is encouraged.


Trio of Tracker Boats Named to Consumers Digest Best Buy List

Trio of Tracker Boats Named to Consumers Digest Best Buy List


Springfield, MO - Highly respected Consumers Digest has included three boats manufactured by Tracker Marine Group (TMG) among its "Best Buys" in powerboats in their July/August issue and at

TMG was the only marine manufacturer with 3 boats named to the much-anticipated recommendations used by consumers when considering a boat purchase.

The NITRO Z-6 bass boat was touted by the editorial staff as the least expensive model bass boat they could find that delivered professional-level performance and features.

TMG's SUN TRACKER Party Barge 20 DLX pontoon boat was mentioned as the least expensive pontoon boat measuring at least 20 feet in length. The article stated that other models that had a similar price were at least 2 feet shorter with 1 foot less beam which translates into 35 square feet less space.

In coastal boats, the MAKO Pro 17 Skiff CC "is the most impressive new boat-motor-trailer package to hit the water in decades,'' commented the Consumers Digest article. "Most important, this model rides smoother than other economy models do because of its inverted-V hull design."

For more information on other TRACKER Marine Group brands or to locate your nearest dealer visit There is a convenient dealer locator on each of the brand websites.

Tracker Marine Group is a proud member of the Bass Pro Shops Group family.


Boating Safety

 Come on down to the Bass Pro shops in Katy Texas to talk to one of our boating experts or attend one of our seminars to learn more about boating safety.



Travel responsibly on designated waterways and launch your watercraft in designated areas.

  • Travel only in areas open to your type of boat.
  • Carry a Coast Guard approved life vest (PFD) for each person on board.
  • Always operate your boat at a safe speed.
  • Always have a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boaters, objects and swimmers.
  • Never jump a wake. If crossing a wake, cross at low speeds and keep a close lookout for skiers and towables.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers. This includes speed limits, no-wake zones and underwater obstructions, etc.
  • Make every effort to always go boating with a partner.
  • Make certain your trailer is in proper working order and that your lights work and your boat is secure on the trailer before you travel to your destination.
  • When trailering your boat, balance your load including items stowed inside your boat.
  • Don’t mix boating with alcohol or drugs.
Respect the rights of others, including anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
  • Show consideration to all recreationist on and around the waters.
  • Be courteous to other boaters while in boat ramp areas. Launch and retrieve your boat as quickly as possible.
  • Keep the noise down, especially around shore.
  • If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).


Educate yourself prior to a trip by learning rules and regulations, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.
  • Obtain charts of your destination and determine which areas are open to your type of boat.
  • Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
  • Always tell someone of your travel plans and file a float plan.
  • Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination. Plan clothing, equipment and supplies accordingly.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel and oil for the entire trip.
  • Make sure your owner’s manual and registration are on board in waterproof containers.
  • Always carry a Coast Guard approved working fire extinguisher and warning flares.
  • Prepare for the unexpected by packing necessary emergency items.
  • Carry a Global Positioning System (GPS)and know how to use it.
  • Know distress signals and warning symbols. Know your limitations. Apply sunscreen, drink lots of water and watch your energy level.
  • Take a boater education course to learn more about navigating waterways and safe and enjoyable boating.
  • Make sure your boat is mechanically up to the task. Be prepared with tools, supplies and a spill kit.



Gun Safety

 Come on down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy Texas to let us show you the latest techniques and tips for gun safety.



The fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are:

    1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
    2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
    3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:


  • Know your target and what is beyond.
    Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.


  • Know how to use the gun safely.
    Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.


  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
    Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.


  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
    Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.


  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
    Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protectors should be worn by shooters and spectators.


  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
    Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.


  • Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
    Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person's particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.


  • Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.


  • Cleaning
    Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used.

    A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.

    Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The gun's action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.




Bow Hunting Basics

I recently went down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy, Texas to look over their Archery equipment.  My local Bass Pro Shops has a good supply of products and the experts to help you get started.  Ask for Glenn he is very knowledgeable and incredibly friendly.  As usual I spent more time than I had realized and learned a few things from Glenn when we were talking.  They also have a Great range and I love shooting them pop up targets.

Bowhunting is a straightforward process. You get close to your quarry by stealth or ambush, then you slip an arrow into its vitals before it ever realizes that you were there. After that, you recover the animal and bask in the memories.

That's true, but a new bowhunter needs to know quite a few things before this happens.

Learn to Shoot

First, he or she must become a good archer — if you can't hit your game, the rest hardly matters.

Learn to shoot, preferably under the guidance of a qualified instructor or at an experienced mentor. Otherwise, watch videos and read books that detail the finer points of archery. Learn correctly from the start, so you won't have to undo bad habits.

Practice often too. Hone your skills and work out the bugs so that when hunting season finally rolls around none of those shooting gremlins ruin the moment. Shoot from different positions on the ground and from treestands too. Learn to pick a spot on the target; focus, be confident and endeavor to make every shot count.

Know Your Game

Study the strengths and weaknesses in the animal you are pursuing. Know its vocalizations and food sources and recognize potential travel routes and bedding areas. Understand rutting and other important behavior; know what the animal's postures, signs and body language means.

You also need to have a sense of how topography, weather and wind direction affect its movement. Lastly, memorize that animal's anatomy, the best shot angles and how to achieve them.

A working knowledge of these things will allow you to make good tactical choices and lethal shots.

Admittedly, it's a lot to know. But, fortunately, a host of hunting books, DVDs and websites provide great information on this.

Don't Forget Small Game

Long ago, almost every bowhunter chased small game — for good reason too. This is the surest way to improve your stalking and field shooting skills. Consistently get close enough to take squirrels, grouse or cottontails with a bow and you stand a much better chance when that buck shows.

Just being in the woods and flinging arrows at little critters teaches much aside from how to hit small targets. It shows how far you can shoot before an overhanging branch blocks your arrow's trajectory, the importance of clear shooting lanes and how one little, unseen branch can ruin a shot.

And, of course, it's just plain fun.


Planning your Fall Hunting Strategy

I am already planning my hunting destinations for this fall.  I started my planning at the Bass Pro Shops in Katy, Texas where we had a chance to look at all the new gear and speak to a local expert for some tips and tricks.  I always enjoy the store they always have something going on that keeps me coming back.  They hooked me up with the information below and I wanted to share it.  Have a productive season I hope this helps get you started.


Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit - $48

  • A valid Texas hunting license along with any required stamp endorsements is required in addition to the APH Permit to participate in hunting opportunities offered through the public hunting program. Please visit Licenses for more information.
  • Issued to an individual and valid from date of purchase through August 31 of that license year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31).
  • Provides access to almost million acres of land for hunting, fishing, camping, and other recreational activities during operating hours. Sites include some State Parks, U.S. Forest Service lands, and Wildlife Management Areas.
  • Offers more than 200 different areas, including approximately 140 special dove and small game hunting units.
  • Many areas are open year-round to permit holders.
  • Hunt a wide variety of species including deer, dove, feral hogs, quail, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl, and other legal game.
  • Regular/daily hunting permit fees (see below) are waived for holders of the APH Permit.
  • The APH Permit waives any applicable daily hunting permit fees.
  • Youth under age 17 may hunt free with a permitted adult.
  • Only permit holders receive a Map Booklet for Public Hunting Lands listing available areas, facilities, maps, rules, and schedules.
  • APH Permits are available at TPWD law enforcement offices and all license vendors (a place which sells hunting and fishing licenses) or by calling 1-800-TX-LIC-4U (menu choice 1 for license sales and paying by Visa, Discover or MasterCard). You can also purchase permits online. If the permit is purchased at a TPWD office, the Map Booklet will be provided immediately at the time of purchase; otherwise, publications will be mailed to the purchaser within two weeks of purchase.



Want to be a better Shot

Accurate shooting is an art.  Come on over the the Bass Pro Shops to learn more about proper shooting techniques and learn the secrets of accurate shooting from one of our local experts. We have a wide selection of rifles and ammo to get you dialed in and with practice you will be amazed of how well you will be shooting.

Most shooters recognize that there's no substitute for time spent at the range. They know that to become a competent rifleman, a shooter needs to practice. A whole lot, in fact.

Unfortunately, most of us can't get to the firing line as often as we'd like. Family commitments, work and life get in the way. So we don't pick up our rifles as much as we should and, when we do make it to the range, we're generally not as prepared as we should be.
Luckily, there's a whole lot a shooter can do during the off time. I'm referring to common sense preparations and practices that can, and will, promote better shooting. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions that will help you make the most of that precious range time when the blessed day finally arrives.

A User-friendly Caliber

Though it's rarely spoke of, one of the most important steps to better shooting is buying a quality rifle in a caliber that you can handle. Your rifle, after all, is the foundation on which you'll build your marksmanship.

Yes, it's nice to own a large caliber rifle that's capable of slaying a rogue elephant or two, but if you can't shoot it well, or if it's overkill for the game you hunt, where's the gain?

Your choice of caliber shouldn't be guided by the latest trends in your favorite rifle magazine or some macho notion of what constitutes a "real man's" caliber. Instead, it should be strongly influenced by your physical stature, sensitivity to recoil and the game you hunt. If you're an inexperienced shooter, it doesn't hurt to err on the side of lighter recoil either -- you can always buy a heavier caliber after you've gained more experience.

Simply put, you'll never develop good shooting habits if your chosen caliber punishes you every time you send a round downrange. Instead, you'll develop a flinch and, in time, a strong aversion to shooting it. That's why it's far wiser to get a rifle that you can manage; after all, when it comes right down to it, shooting is about shot placement. And a shooter who doesn't flinch places shots more accurately every time.


VIP Discount Card

Wow!!!  The Katy Bass Pro Shops is at it again, a new VIP card on new boats that you can purchase in store items for additional savings.  This is a great offer, please come on down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy Texas for complete details and review the official offer.

We are in the middle of the boating season and with plenty of time to get out and enjoy the local lakes with your family and friends now is the best time to get the right boat at the right value.

Did you know that boating brings families closer together and gives your family a rest form all the stress of daily living?

Katy, Texas is the number one Tracker boat dealer in the state and we will work hard to earn your business.  We have a dedicated sales tea and a service group that can help keep you in top shape and on the water.



Fishing In Galvaston

Come on over to the Katy Bass Pro shops to speak to the gulf fishing experts.  We have the tackle and the knowledge you will need to consistently produce.

Around Galveston, fishing is improving, with both offshore and inshore providing lots of action and some nice catches.

Crystal Beach, reported fishing getting better each day last week in East Bay. Mid-bay oyster shell has been producing some of the best fish for anglers using free-lined live croaker for bait.

Fishing is getting better each day. The croaker bite is in full swing and should last through mid-September.  Target trout early and reds during midday. Most of the reds caught are slots, with a few bulls up to 34 inches hitting.

King, ling, dorado and red snapper are making the news offshore where anglers fishing structure in 80 to 125 feet of water are taking easy two-fish limits of red snapper along with most of our summertime surface fish. Larger Dorado are beginning to show up around the rigs, with lots of the smaller fish stacked up around weed lines.

Party boats are producing Red snapper a variety of other species are being taken as well. Fishing areas south of Galveston, including the remnants of the wreck of the V.A. Fogg, lots of good fishing can be had on this wreck

The 61st Street Fishing Pier. Reported catches of whiting, sand trout, gafftop and blacktip sharks so it looks like it is time to get out on the water and enjoy some Texas coast fishing.



Boating In Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife offers up these Boating questions and answers.  Take some time to increase your knowledge or come on down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy, Texas and let us help you better understand the requirements for our local Lakes.


1. Who must take boater education?

Anyone born on or after September 1, 1993.

  • any vessel over 15 horsepower,
  • wind-blown vessel over 14 feet and
  • all personal watercraft.

Some violations of the Water Safety Act also require course completion.

A partial list of these violations is in the Digest of the Water Safety Act.

2. What does the course cost?

Fees start at $20 for a basic course.

3. Who must be certified to operate a vessel alone?

In Texas a person cannot operate a windblown vessel over 14 feet in length, a motorboat with more than 15 horsepower, or personal watercraft unless he/she:

  • was born on or after September 1, 1993 and has passed a boater education class or equivalency examination prescribed by the department.
  • is 18 years of age and can lawfully operate the motorboat and is on board the motor boat when underway.
  • is at least 13 years of age and have successfully completed a boater education course approved by the Department.

4. Who can operate a PWC?

NOTE: Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a PWC unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age.

To operate a PWC, the operator must meet one of the following:

  • Born on or after September 1, 1993 and passed a boater education class or equivalency examination prescribed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, or
  • born before September 1, 1993, or,
  • Persons requiring boater education who have not competed it must be accompanied by a person 18 years of age (who can legally operate) or older, or
  • At least 13 years of age and have passed a boater education course or equivalency examination prescribed by the department.

5. Is there a minimum operator age?

To operate a vessel alone in Texas, a boater must be 13 years of age to operate a vessel of more than 15 horsepower; or windblown vessel over 14 feet in length; and meet the requirements as stated above.

6. What forms of identification does a person have to carry on board?

Persons subject to this law must have a picture identification card and a boater certification card issued by the department in their possession.

7. Are there any exemptions to the mandatory education law?

A person born before September 1, 1993.

8. Is there another way a person can get certified, other than taking an approved classroom course?

A person may take a home study course by completing an online certification course or by purchasing a home study video and workbook from Kalkomey, Inc., 14086 Proton Road, Dallas, Texas 75244, phone: 1-800-830-2268.

9. Can I be required to take a boater education course?

Courts have the authority to require a boater education course for violators of certain offenses.

10. May I have an open container on a boat?

Open containers are legal, but operators of boats are subject to boating while intoxicated laws, similar to driving a vehicle. Operators or passengers may also be subject to public intoxication laws. Drinking and boating is DANGEROUS and the cause of most boating fatalities.

11. Where can I learn more about Boater Education?

We have information about the program, weather and buoy symbols...even a quiz on our Boater Education page.


4 Principles of Safe Boating:

  1. Wearing life jackets save lives
  2. Boater Education saves lives
  3. Safe Boats save lives
  4. Sober boating saves lives




PRO Team 175

Come on down to the Bass Pro Shops Katy, Texas to check out our incrediable selection of Tracker Boats.  Great boats with built in value

Share the fun of multi-species fishing and catch more than your share of crappie, bass and even walleye!

You love sharing the variety and challenge of catching all types of fish. Where they hide, what they’ll bite on and how to reel ’em in.

The Pro Team™ 175 TF aluminum fishing boat is ready to help!

Its lower bow deck with two seat locations, two cockpit-level fishing positions and an elevated aft deck give you more places to fish than a traditional bass boat. You’ll love the convenience of dual livewells and baitwells, tackle trays, bow accessory trays and drink holders—as well as the smooth, dry-riding Revolution™ hull.

It comes totally outfitted with a Mercury® outboard, 12-volt trolling motor, Lowrance® fishfinder and a factory-matched TRACKER® trailer.




The New Mako Skiff

Mako Skiff

SkiffCome on down to the Katy Bass Pro Tracker Showroom and look at the new Mako Skiffs.  They are the finest in the industry.  Our sales associats and our friendly staff are ready to serve you.

Windswept bays. Choppy inland lakes.

MAKO has combined 45 years of experience crafting the most rugged fishing boats on the water with a next generation hull design to create the Pro 17 Skiff CC.

With the Advanced Inverted V (AIV) hull design, wide beam and foam-filled construction, it provides a smooth, dry ride and stable platform through rougher conditions. And, the Pro 17 Skiff CC will do it all while carrying larger loads with power from a smaller-horsepower engine.

Thanks to the Advanced Inverted V (AIV) hull, this boat provides a great dry, smooth ride through chop, as well as amazing load carrying abilities. All while being powered with smaller, more efficient outboard engines!

That amazing hull design, as well as the long list of features throughout, helped the Pro Skiff series win the 2012 NMMA Innovation Award for Fishing Craft up to 24' at the Miami International Boat Show!

Inside, the Pro 17 Skiff CC also provides features for a full day of angling, including a baitwell, rod holders, casting decks and wide-open casting spaces!

All riding on a custom-fit trailer, and all at an industry-leading value price!

All we are missing is you!!!!!!





Feral Hog Hunting

AUSTIN, Texas According to survey results compiled by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, 74% of Texas’ 254 counties contain feral hog populations. There is a good chance Texas Parks & Wildlife Department offers feral hog hunting opportunities in those counties on almost 1 million acres of Public Hunting Lands scattered across the state.

Right now is as good a time as any to hit the woods feral hog hunting. Given the drought conditions across the state, hunters can anticipate feral hogs being around whatever water sources are available, especially with acorn-producing trees nearby.

In East Texas there are several Wildlife Management Areas that offer year-round hog hunting, but staff recommends keying in on those areas associated with rivers such as Alabama Creek, Alazan Bayou, Angelina Neches/Dam B, North Toledo Bend, and Blue Elbow Swamp Wildlife Management Areas.

With the purchase of a hunting license and a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit, hunters will be mailed a publication that includes maps, legal game box descriptions, and means and methods of hunting for each and every Wildlife Management Area, Public Hunting Land, State Park, etc…available in our Public Hunting Program.

Additionally, folks can digitally-scout these areas before heading down the highway by visiting




Boating Safety

It is time again to think about baat Safty.  Please make sure that you have the necessary Life jackets to have a fun and safe ime on the water.

At Bass Pro Shops we have a full line of Life jackets to fit you and your families every need. Our associats are ready to assist you today!!!

Boaters enjoy the feel of sun and spray. So it’s tempting to boat without wearing a life jacket – especially on nice days. But modern life jackets are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Many are thin and flexible. Some are built right into fishing vests or hunter coats. Others are inflatable — as compact as a scarf or fanny pack until they hit water, when they automatically fill with air.

There’s no excuse not to wear a life jacket on the water!

Things to Know:

  • Certain life jackets are designed to keep your head above water and help you remain in a position which permits proper breathing. 
  • To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and over must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well.
  • All states have regulations regarding life jacket wear by children.
  • Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. Special life jackets are available. To work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.
  •  Life jackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded.
  • Life jackets must be properly stowed.
  • A life jacket — especially a snug-fitting flotation coat or deck-suit style — can help you survive in cold water.

How Do Life Jackets Save Lives?

  •  When capsized in rough water.
  •  When sinking in unexpectedly heavy sea conditions.
  •  When thrown from the boat as a result of a collision.
  •  When injured by rocks or submerged objects.
  •  When unconscious from carbon monoxide fumes.
  •  When tossed into freezing water.
  •  When thrown off balance while fishing.
  •  When unable to swim because of heavy or waterlogged clothing.

All recreational boats must carry one wearable lifejacket (Type I, II, III or Type V lifejacket) for each person aboard. A Type V lifejacket provides performance of either a Type I, II, or III lifejacket (as marked on its label) and must be used according to the label requirements. Any boat 16ft and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable lifejacket (Type IV lifejacket).

Lifejackets must be

  • Coast Guard approved,
  • in good and serviceable condition, and
  • the appropriate size for the intended user.


  • Wearable lifejackets must be readily accessible.
  • You must be able to put them on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire, etc.).
  • They should not be stowed in plastic bags, in locked or closed compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them.
  • The best lifejacket is the one you will wear.
  • Though not required, a lifejacket should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. A wearable lifejacket can save your life, but only if you wear it.
  • Throwable devices must be immediately available for use.

Inflatable Lifejackets

  • Inflatable lifejackets may be more comfortable to wear.
  • The best lifejacket is the one you will wear.
  • Inflatable lifejackets require the user to pay careful attention to the condition of the device.
  • Inflatable lifejackets must have a full cylinder and all status indicators on the inflator must be green, or the device is NOT serviceable, and does NOT satisfy the requirement to carry lifejackets.
  • Coast Guard Approved Inflatable lifejacket's are authorized for use on recreational boats by person at least 16 years of age.

Child Lifejacket Requirements

Some states require that children wear lifejackets

  • applies to children of specific ages
  • applies to certain sizes of boats
  • applies to specific boating operations

Check with your state boating safety officials.

Child lifejacket approvals are based on the child's weight. Check the "User Weight" on the label, or the approval statement that will read something like "Approved for use on recreational boats and uninspected commercial vessels not carrying passengers for hire, by persons weighing __ lbs". They can be marked "less than 30", "30 to 50", "less than 50", or "50 to 90".


Kayak Fishing

Not too long ago kayaking the coastal bays, marshes and backwater estuaries was something a select few anglers had tapped into. That was then, this is now.

It isn’t that way anymore. Kayak fishing is the rage along the Texas Gulf Coast, and it's rapidly spreading to other states, as well.

Kayaking for reds and trout has really taken a firm grip on the middle and lower Texas coast. It's especially popular among fly fishermen.

The draw is this: With a kayak you don't have to hassle with a boat, motor and trailer. Simply drop it in the water and go. That's it. But the option of loading your kayak into a big rig and covering lots of water is another tactic that's definitely worth checking out.

There are endless areas of the coast that are kayak friendly. On most you can simply drive up, drop your kayak into the water and paddle away. That's about as simple as fishing gets.

Another great kayaking adventure can be found at Port O'Connor, on the middle Texas Coast. This is where you can load your kayak onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's ferry for a shuttle across the bay to Matagorda Island State Park, about 11 miles from the small fishing town.

This island offers well over 20 miles of vodka clear flats on the bay, and also on Pringle Lake. You also have access to Pass Cavallo and the surf. This is an area where you can catch anything from tailing reds to 100-pound plus tarpon.

By now you're probably getting a feel for the type of adventure you can paddle into with a Kayak.

Selecting a kayak for your adventures is easy. However, like vehicles and power boats, you will find that there are all sorts of Kayaks to choose from.

KayakFirst of all, 99.9 percent of kayaking on the coast is done from sit-on-top models, as opposed to sit-inside yaks. These are wet boats, meaning the seat might take on an inch or so of water. The sit-inside models are dry. But the trade off is that sit-on-top kayaks offer easy on and off access.

You can visit the Bass Pro Shops in Katy Texas  to see all the different models and all the accessories. It is amazing how fast the selection has grown.

The most surprising thing about kayak angling is the ease of paddling from one location to another. It's not only good exercise, but great stress relief.

There is nothing better than paddling to an isolated flat and wading into trout and reds.

I'm not a big fan of fishing while seated in a kayak. My idea of fun is paddling to an area and then wading. But at times the only option is to stay in the kayak, especially when you are fishing over soft mud and shell or deep water.



Heavy bullets for the 44 Magnum


There is a popular trend among handgun hunters towards heavier bullets, with the goal of increased penetration. While a 300 grain bullet in either a .44 Magnum or a .45 Colt will shoot through a deer from pretty much any angle, many hunters dream of hunting larger game, and spend a lot of time thinking about even heavier bullets to obtain similar performance on elk, moose, buffalo and the like. This door to this level of revolver performance was opened by J. D. Jones back in the early 1980s when he introduced his cast bullet designs and most notably the 320 grain SSK .44 Magnum bullets.  At that point in time, most bullet manufacturers were limiting their .44 bullets to 250-265 grains.  Many saw a need for well-designed heavier bullets and answered that need by developing heavier bullet molds. In the years that have passed since, several manufacturers have followed suit with their own designs. The question then arises as to when does more weight become too much weight for the .44 Magnum? The "conventional wisdom" is that a 300 grain bullet (either cast or jacketed) is the optimum "heavy bullet" weight for the .44 Magnum, and that anything heavier compromises terminal performance by limiting muzzle velocity. Is this really true, or is it just more gun-shop hot air? The 320 grain SSK has an excellent reputation, having taken everything from elk to elephant, but are some of the newer .44 heavyweights even better? There are commercial .44 Magnum loads that go up to 350 grains, and commercial hard cast bullets that allow the hand loader to go as heavy as 405 grains.  I think it is time for a trip to the Bass Pro Shops to get some additional advise from experts.


Conservation Is Very Important


So if catch and release is a foregone conclusion, then what can we do to go a step beyond? Here are some out-of-the-box things we can do, lifestyle choices we can make, that will indirectly benefit our resource.

 Do catch and release well. It’s not enough just to throw ‘em back. You want to be sure that your released fish will live after they swim away. There’s a lot to proper catch and release, but in a nutshell, keep the fish in the water as much as possible, handle it as little as possible, and know that single barbless hooks fished with artificial flies or lures have the least impact and the best chance for fish survival.

 Clean up after "the other guy." It doesn’t seem to matter if I am visiting an urban park pond or hiking into a mountain stream, I always seem to be able to find litter from "the other guy." On a trip to Texas, I snagged on something on the bottom of a canal and began to pull. Slowly, my hook began moving back toward me. After some effort, I managed to pull a large, snarled monofilament net - clogged with dead and decaying fish. The most heinous left-behind items are line (sometimes with hooks attached!) nets, plastic 6-pack holders, and plastic bags. However, all the trash diminished the outdoor experience while polluting the waters and decreasing habitat. I’ve gotten in the practice of carrying a garbage bag in my box, backpack or vest. It’s a sad testament that I’m almost always able to carry it out full, but I make an immediate, visible, positive impact on every spot I visit, which makes me feel great about what "just one person" is able to do. Imagine how quickly we will combat "the bad seeds" when we all start pitching in! Another fact - clean areas get less trash pollution than already polluted ones, so your legacy will continue after you do a little clean-up.

Control your boat speed. The "run and gun" style of fishing has really caught on in the last 10 years. The idea is to spend as little time between spots as possible, and the most time fishing. It also means moving from one spot to another often rather than pounding one spot after it’s been quickly searched for fish. Unfortunately, it also means more wakes from fast boats, often very close to fragile shorelines. Deterioration of shorelines may not seem like a big deal, but shore structure is critical for the small critters that feed the big critters we’re after. A complex shoreline is much more effective in supporting life than one that has been washed away by heavy wave action. Cruise out of those small coves and bays slowly, and open up the throttle when you’re out on the main lake. This doesn’t eliminate impacts of wave action on shorelines, but it’s a start.

Help us all Pass It On.


Kids love to Fish

Passing it On is simple.

1. Keep it simple!
I’m talking a hook, a split shot, a bobber, and a night crawler. It’s a simple combination that kids can understand, and the bobber gives a visual aspect to fishing that will hold their interest longer. The bobber also helps the parents keep track of where the bait is. Parents with little or no fishing experience will find this set up very convenient, and I would recommend that they learn fishing with the same set up. This rig will catch any species of fish on any body of water.

2. Fish for action, not size!
Kids need a quick pace to keep their interest. It is vital that they start out fishing where bites will be easy to come by. Bluegills, sunfish, and small bass are perfect for this type of action, as these fish live shallow most of the year, and are easy find. Most lakes and urban lakes will have these fish readily available. Catfish and trout can also be a good option if they are fished for shortly after stocking. Check with the game and fish department for their stocking schedule, and be there shortly after for some fast action.

3. Kids need praise!
This is where some careful planning and understanding will come in handy. Kids will no doubt make bad casts, fling the hook around like a flying gaff, and probably drop the rod a time or two. That’s okay, if it’s expected! Do yourself a favor, and smash the barb of the hook flat with a pair of pliers. Not only does it make unhooking the fish easier, but it makes unhooking the parents easier as well. You will be unhooking both. Let them know they’re doing a great job, and show excitement when things are going well. Their opinion will be forged as much from your reaction, as their catch success. If they do something wrong, explain it to them, and teach them how to do it right. This is the time to leave the short temper at home.

4. Keep it about the kids!
We all have visions of what the perfect first fishing trip should look like. We’re fishing side by side with our kids, they’re making perfect casts, and the fish are biting like crazy. Although this can be the case, it can also be the complete opposite of what we actually experience. If the kids decide 2 minutes in to the fishing that they’d rather throw rocks, let them throw rocks. If they want to play with the bugs, or splash through the water, let them. This is their outing. In the beginning, it’s all about having fun. Their version of fun, not ours. If the first few trips consist of 3 casts and 2 hours of skipping rocks, then great. They’ll come around.

5. Teach them about conservation!
I’m not talking about saving the forest or global warming, I’m talking about simple and interesting things about nature and preservation. For instance, when they catch a fish, hold it for them. Show them the fins and how the fish use them to swim. Show them the eyes and how they see through the water. If you don’t know these things, learn them. More importantly, teach them catch and release. Teach them that by releasing the fish, it will be alive to reproduce, and that will create hundreds of more fish for the future. If you bring fish home, teach them to only bring home what they can eat, and releases the rest. This is the time when kids will learn the importance and integrity of conservation. Teach them well.

These simple steps will make it fun for you and help pass the great sport of fishing on to the next generation.


How To Fish the Alabama Rig

Fishing Fun At the Bass Pro Shops 

you know how to locate schools of bass with your electronics then you are going to love The Alabama Rig I like to search the lake for ledges, mounds, drops, stump fields etc. with my "Down Imaging" unit to locate the fish. Once I locate the fish I drop a buoy to get an alignment point for reference for my casts. I noted the depth the bass were at and make my cast count down The Alabama Rig to just below that depth so I can reel up through the schools of fish.

You will have to determine the speed the fish was the lures. Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes pretty fast and sometimes just a stead retrieve is the ticket. I like to reel in with a stead speed and pause it after about every ten to fifteen feet to let The Alabama RigAlabama Rig sink back a foot or so and then pick up the steady retrieve again. Sometimes this pause and drop really turns on the fish. Most of your hits on The Alabama Rig will be more aggressive than with other lures such as crank-baits or spinner-baits. Sometime when you change the angle of retrieve such as bring it up towards the boat the fish will crush it

Another thing The Alabama Rig will help you do is to locate schools of fish. If I am pre-fishing for a tournament I like to bend in the hook points after I hook a few fish to determine their size and just count strikes on The Alabama Rig. I have had big fish almost take the rod out of my hand they hit The Alabama Rig so hard. So if it is not legal to fish The Alabama Rig during the actual tournament at least you can know that the schools of fish are there. Be sure to check your local laws regarding The Alabama Rig.

We have caught doubles, triples it is a lot of fun.


Turkey Season

I went down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy Texas to pick up a few things for Turkey season.  I have planned a few getaways and needed a few things to help me get the big one this year.  I went to the hunting counter and asked for the best guy for calling Turkeys as I wanted to by a new box call and wanted to have a demonstration.

A quick call went out, and that is when I met David.  He is usually in fishing but he came to the counter and gave me the lesson of a lifetime.  He talked about the calls and the way to properly use the calls, then he showed me how to hold the call. I was doing it wrong and it made a big difference in the sound.

He explained the way to call and how much to call, then gave me a few pointers and then we chatted for a few moments about the rest of my gear and the place I was going.  David has incredible knowledge of the local area and is willing to share his experiences and his understanding.

We then started talking about Duck Hunting and before I knew it we were in the aisle with all the calls and he was calling a few Mallards in just like he was on the water.  This guy is amazing and I was so impressed with his kind and low key manner that I purchased a new Duck call from him the same day I purchased my Turkey call.

I felt great when I left the store in Katy Texas the entire experience was incredible.  If you are going to head out and try your luck you need to stop by the Katy Bass Pro Shops to review the products and talk to the associates if you are lucky you can ask for David and have him help you. He is the real deal.