Keys To Locating Productive Brush Piles

Across the country fish use many different types of structure or cover to live and feed in. Weather it's rocks, docks, lay down logs, or brush piles, as the year goes on and the seasons change you will notice certain ones being more productive then others. And trust no matter how random it can sometimes seem, there is a rhyme and a reason to why they are using cover in a specific area or more importantly depth range. It is based on factors such as time of year, weather conditions, water color, water temperature, and last but not least the amount of baitfish in the area. Most species of fish are predators and if there is no food there then obviously the fish will go elsewhere if they have the option. In this article I really want to focus on brush piles. Whether they are man made or natural from trees and debris falling in the water the simple fact is that most times of the year there are fish holding on some sort of brush.

Brush piles are a perfect place for baitfish such as bluegill, and shad to live around and hide in. With the presence of the bait fish the predators such as bass are going to be close by. Now throughout the year like I said some brush piles will be more productive then others. As the water temperature changes the fish move, and this is related to the thermocline level. This is the level where the water temperature is the most comfortable to the fish and where the water is the most oxygen rich. The hotter the water temperature the deeper the thermocline will be. In lakes that have clear water the thermocline will also be deeper so don't be surprised to find fish in extremely deep water in the summer on a clear lake or reservoir. To find the this productive healthy water depth having good quality electronics such as the Lowrance HDS Gen2 Fishfinder is important. Just idle around your local lake or reservoir and pay attention to what depth you see the majority of the baitfish. Next check suspecting areas where brush piles might be placed that are close to that same depth range and there is a good chance that baitfish and bass will be near by.

So now that you have the proper depth figured out the next step is actually physically locating the brush. People will sink man made brush piles in a variety of different places such as points, creek channels, river channels, or probably the most common, docks. In my opinion the easiest to find brush piles are near docks. They are easy to find because of a few keys that are normally a dead giveaway that a fisherman lives there and has possibly sunk brush around his dock. Two things I really like to look for are lights, and rod holders. These are definitely things that should be paid attention too when looking for brush. The next step to this simple method of finding brush is physically stopping and casting a weighted soft plastic and feeling around the bottom with the bait. This is a no electronics fool proof way to find brush. Now if you have side imaging technology then this process is much easier. All you have to do is idle by the front of a row of docks and your graph will show you which docks have brush around them within 200 ft of either side of your boat. In order to find brush on the points and dropoffs having electronics is critical and will really make your search easier and more effective.

Once I have brush located no matter where it is there are a couple really important things I like to do. The first is marking the piles physically before I start to fish them which is very important for brush that is way out on points or sometimes in the middle of the river on a ledge. To do this I use a Bass Pro Shops Marker Buoy. There are a couple ways to do it, you can drop the buoy right next to the brush or one of my favorite methods dropping it where you want the boat to be positioned, and then using a reference point on the shore to line up and cast at. Normally when I'm fishing brush for bass I will use slow moving baits such as Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs, and Shakey Heads. Fishing these slow on the bottom I will crawl and work my bait through the cover letting it lift and then fall in the limbs. I always try and do this on a semi tight line, if you have to much slack in your line the fish will often pull you deep into the brush which makes them almost impossible to get out. So be ready to set the hook quick and get the fish moving up and out towards the boat. I like to use pretty heavy tackle when fishing my jigs, texas rigs, and carolina rigs for that reason exactly. I like to use Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line from 17lb to 25lb test, on a heavy action rod and a high speed reel. The only exception is when I'm using a shakey head set up and in that case I will use either 8lb flouro, or a 20lb braid mainline with a fluorocarbon leader. At certain times of the year baits such as Spro Little John DD crankbaits and heavy 1oz spinnerbaits can be very effective when bumped into the brush. I would suggest going to Bass Pro Shops and picking up a weighted lure retriever or retrieving pole for getting your baits free from deep brush.

So go out on your local body of water and look for the key ingredients. First find the depth the baitfish are using whether it is 2 feet or 30 feet, next locate and mark the brush, and finally present your lure properly to the waiting fish. Always be patient and if you are getting frustrated and having limited success just keep searching because you never know when you might run into the right brush pile that is holding the mother load of big fish. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania







Gearing Up For Archery Season

Deer Target

Deer season is getting close and that means everyone is getting their bows out to start practicing. Most hunters take this opportunity to get the bow out of the closet, knock the rust off it and start slinging arrows. No one wants to get out in the woods unprepared. This warm up time will make sure that your bow is still shooting like it was last year.

But before you shoot you should always check your bow out to make sure it still looks safe to shoot. Check the limbs to be sure they are not cracking, check the string to make sure it is not fraying, check your release D-loop to be sure it is not fraying and check all of your accessories. Also be sure to look over each of your arrows very carefully. Every component of your bow can be very dangerous if it is not in perfect shape.

If you want to have your bow worked on you can bring it by our Archery department and one of our associates will help you out. They will look over the bow, fix anything that is wrong and give you some tips and pointers. Everyone in the archery department is highly qualified and very knowledgeable.



Red Head Blackout Bow Package

 Everything that I have talked about so far is irrelevant if you do not have a bow. Pictured here on the left is our Redhead Blackout bow package. It is the top of the line bow of our RedHead series and it is a serious shooter and for a price of $599.99 you get all the performance of a $800+ bow.

Here are the specs on the RedHead Blackout bow package:

  • Throttle Cam Tech
  • Rotating draw length modules
  • Adjust draw length between 26.5'' and 30.5''
  • Limb-mounted bearing assembly
  • Highest-tolerance fully machined riser
  • IBO Speed: 333+ fps
  • 80% let-off Single Cam
  • 3-pin sight
  • Hostage™ arrow rest
  • One-piece 5-arrow quiver
  • 5" stabilizer
  • Installed string suppressor
  • Installed peep sight and sling

 This package bow would be a great contribution to the rest of your hunting gear. Come by the Archery department here at Bass Pro and Audie, Ben, Kraig, David or Rick will get you fixed up with a bow and let you test fire all the bows that you like.

Bow season starts October 15th so be sure to start getting ready!


Happy shooting,



Magpul PMAGS are in stock!

PMAG 30Now in stock at Bass Pro Shops is your magazines for your .223rem/5.56mm AR-15! These aren't just any regular magazines either, they PMAGs by Magpul. These magazines set the standard for reliability and durability. You will not find another magazine that is stronger than a Magpul PMAG.  Used by Military, Law Enforcement and civilians, PMAGs have been put to the test since their release in 2007 and have performed flawlessly.








There are different variations of the PMAG and here at Bass Pro Shop we have the following in stock:

PMAG 30 Gen M2

  • The PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M2 MOE is a 30-round 5.56x45 NATO (.223 Remington) AR15/M4 compatible magazine. No dust cover. $17.99


PMAG 30 Gen M3

  • The next-generation PMAG 30 GEN M3 is a 30-round 5.56x45 NATO (.223 Remington) polymer magazine for AR15/M4 compatible firearms.
  • Stainless Steel spring, dust cover. $19.99


PMAG 20 Gen M3

  • The next-generation PMAG 20 GEN M3 is a 20-round 5.56x45 NATO (.223 Remington) polymer magazine for AR15/M4 compatible firearms.
  • Stainless Steel spring, dust cover. $19.99






Not only are these magazine the best in the industry the most impressive thing about them is that they are MADE IN THE U.S.A!!  Magpul Industries is based out of Boulder, Colorado and their products are made in Colorado.


Come by hunting department in Bass Pro Shop and check out all of our Magpul accessories for your AR-15. Also be sure to check out Magpul's website for their full line. Their products and the quality of them are very impressive!
















Patterning Late Summer Bass


Late summer bass fishing can be some of the most frustrating days you will spend on the water all year. Generally the fish are transitioning and can seem to be neither here nor there. While small fish can be caught randomly roaming shallow water eating shad the big ones often seem to be nonexistent. Covering water casting fast moving reaction baits will catch you fish but if you are going for the big ones, searching for a trophy, your approach needs to be different.

On lakes such as Guntersville or any lake that has an abundance of weed growth or matted vegetation; giant bass can be found hiding in the shade of these thick mats. They are generally there to feed on large bluegill that wonder through the grass, as well as any other creature that comes in range. Targeting this thick matted cover is a great way to catch a big late summer to early fall largemouth bass. Hollow body frog lures such as the SPRO Bronzeye Frogs work great for covering water and locating big fish buried deep in the grass mats. Just fire the frog as far across the mat as possible and slowly twitch it along the surface of the vegetation. Fishing this way is extremely exciting, knowing that at any moment a 6 plus pound bass could crash through the mat and eat your frog. Your work doesn't end at simply getting the fish to attack the true test is first being able to hook the fish and second is being able to drag it out once it is hooked. This technique takes nerves of steel to not immediately set the hook when the blow up happens. The key to consistent hook ups is letting the fish take the frog and making sure the fish actually have it in their mouth before you set the hook. The simple truth is you will always have some of the fish miss the frog or come unhooked while hauling them in. While it can be heart breaking it is worth it for the excitement as well as the potential of a giant. One thing I like to do is always have a back up flippin bait ready to go. Often if the fish shows itself but doesn't get the bait you can quickly flip in a heavy weighted bait and punch it down into the fish's territory triggering the fish to strike. I love flipping a green pumpkin Bass Pro Shops River Bug rigged with a 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Worm Hook and a 1 and 1/4 oz BPS Tungsten flippin weight pegged so it will not slide up the line. Just pitch it up high and let it crash through the thick cover. The equipment you use is very important when fishing heavy cover. I use braded line from 40 to 65 lb test and a heavy or extra heavy 7' 6" rod accompanied by a high gear ratio reel with allot of power to winch the fish out of the cover. Often you will drag the fish out as well as twenty or more pounds of grass with it. Give it a try and you will most likely get hooked on the challenge and potential of fishing super heavy cover.

If you are not comfortable or do not have the equipment to handle heavy cover fishing then there is another way to still have potential for giant bass, and that is fishing deep offshore structure. This is where you will have the opportunity of getting into a school of fish where you can catch numerous fish in a short period of time. For tournament anglers this is one of the very best ways to win a tournament in late summer. Finding these deep schools in the late summer can be difficult at times, and seem like your searching for a needle in a hay stack, but it can be done. Having good quality Lowrance electronics makes this hunt a whole lot easier. I will generally check places near the main river channel or a creek channel that still have shallow water or a flat nearby where they can pull up to feed. The fish could be anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet and once found can be caught on a wide variety of lures. Reaction baits such as deep diving Spro or Strike King crankbaits are always a good option for triggering a fish and firing up the school. What I mean by firing up the school is that often once you have made one of the fish bite then it will ignite the rest of them into a feeding frenzy for a short period of time. You really need to be ready and know exactly what cast to make, in order to take advantage of the opportunity before it's too late. Schools of bass can shut down as quickly as they turned on so be prepared and pay attention to your boat positioning. Once the fish have slowed down I like to switch my presentation to a slow presentation, using Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs, or Football Head Jigs. Working these through the school will usually get you a couple extra bites once the main frenzy is over. On my rigs I like to throw big worms or brush hogs, while small fish will still bite these, they are also a great bait to trigger a big one into biting.

So decide what sounds the most enjoyable for you and go give it a try. Whether  that means a fist fight in shallow water or a more relaxing slower technique on deep structure, give it a shot. You will be amazed at the size of fish you can catch even when the fishing is tough if you try these two things. If you have any questions or need to get geared up for a fishing trip there is no better place to go then Bass Pro Shops. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania
















Do You Need a Yeti?

For quite some time now, YETI coolers have been available in our store in several sizes-the 20 qt. Roadie, and the Tundra, available in the 45, 65, and 75 qt. sizes.

We are pleased to announce that we now have the Tundra available in a few more sizes to meet your every need:



  • Portable and easy to carry cooler when loadedy
  • Good as a back-seat cooler companion in truck, SUV, or 4-wheeler
  • Great cooler to use when floating down the river
  • Can be used as a casting platform in smaller boats
  • Holds 20 cans (12 oz)
  • $279.99



  • Excellent tailgating ice chest
  • Ice chest makes a great platform or seat in a boat
  • Cooler is deeper than other Tundras making it great ice box to stack cold contents
  • Holds 32 cans (12 oz)
  • $359.99



TUNDRA 125 y

  • Ice chest is large enough to hold a quartered deer or several limits of redfish, snapper or trout
  • Good cooler for extended family vacations or camping trips
  • Holds 73 cans (12 oz)
  • Available only in white
  • $499.99


Whatever your cooler needs, whether for camping, tailgating, hunting, or a family picnic, stop by and let us show you our selection of YETIs, or visit for even more sizes and accessories.

Until next time, stay safe and GO CAMPING!!!!


Information taken from




Instant Hot Water

Now that fall is just around the corner, many of you may be thinking of a fall camping trip. You may want to consider purchasing a travel shower to make your trip a little more pleasant.

In our store, we carry the Zodi Instant Travel Shower, which can be used not only for hot showers, but for washing dishes and equipment clean-up.  This shower quickly heats water for hot showers anywhere it is available. Just place the system's 6 volt pump in a lake or other water source, ignite the propane burner with its push-button ignition and enjoy this on-demand self-contained shower system.



  • Portable, self-contained
  • Instant push-button ignition
  • Stainless steel burner
  • Hot water in seconds
  • Includes powerful battery-powered water pump and rugged plastic storage case that doubles as a 4 gallon water container and propane tank base
  • Propane and 4 D cell batteries not included
  • $179.95



  • Storage case holds water for a 10 minute shower
  • Can be connected to a water hose for endless hot water
  • Heats 60 gallons of water between battery and propane refills
  • Adjusts water temperature up to 100 degrees F with a gas valve
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof battery case with on/off switch
  • 6 volt pump with debris screen for greater water pressure
  • Compact for easy transport and storage
  • 4 ft input hose and 8 foot shower hose with water-saver shower head included

So, whether you plan to spend a few days in a tent, in a sleeping bag under the stars, or you would just like to be prepared in case of an emergency, come visit us at your Leeds Bass Pro Shops or visit to purchase your Instant Hot Travel Shower. Your family and friends will thank you for it.

Until next time, stay safe and GO CAMPING!!!






Family Firearm Safety Course

Brocks Gap Training Center is hosting a Family Firearms Safety Course to teach the whole family how to handle, use and safely operate a firearm. This will be a two part course that will last about four hours. The two parts consist of classroom training as well as hands on training. This course is designed for beginning shooters and young shooters, but parents are welcome to take the class as well. This course is designed to teach:

  • Proper firearm safety techniques
  • Types of firearms
  • Shooting fundamentals
  • Target shooting
  • How to select, clean and store a firearm
  • Preventing firearm accidents on the range and at home

The course dates are one a Month until the end of the year:

  1. September 12, Thursday. 5:00P.M. - 8:45P.M.
  2. October 10th, Thursday. 5:00P.M. - 8:45P.M.
  3. November 7th, Thursday. 5:00P.M. - 8:45P.M.
  4. December 12th, Thursday. 5:00P.M. - 8:45P.M.

This training course is going to be a fun learning experience for everyone and will promote a happy and safe future of shooting sports. For pricing and registration please contact certified NRA Instructor Jim Reichard. I am going to post his contact information as well as Brocks Gap at the bottom of this blog.

Contact Information:

Certified NRA Instructor Jim Reichard


Brock's Gap Training Center, Inc.

3721 South Shades Crest Road

Birmingham, Al 35244


Thank you and safe shooting,

Grayson Barnes


New Game Check System for the 2013-2014 Hunting Season

Alabama Harvest Record

New for the 2012-2013 Alabama hunting season is improved Game Check system. This is the same as the Harvest Records we had to keep in the past, but now you will be required to report every Deer and/or Turkey harvest to the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries(WFF). The reason for this is so biologists of the WFF will be able to accurately study the deer and turkey population in Alabama to improve the hunting in our state.

The process of reporting your harvest is not much different than it was in the past. You still write down the date of harvest and the antler configuration before you ever move the animal. After that you call the WFF at 1-800-888-7690 or go to to report your harvest. You need to provide your hunting license number, the county where the deer/turkey was killed, sex of the deer and whether the deer was killed on public or private property.


Ammo too Expensive or not avaliable?

Hornady LNL Classic Kit

With recent times ammunition has become not only scarce, but prices are also starting to rise. This is where a reloader will have a "one-up" on the people who buy factory ammunition. Whenever a person who reloads wants to shoot all he or she has to do is sit down and load however many round they want. Be it 50 or 500 the quantity does not matter. If you are one who does not reload then you have to get in your car, drive to the store and buy your ammunition. That might be a 100 round box or in some cases all you might be able to find is a 20 round box. This is why it would be advantageous for someone who shoots a lot to get into reloading.

If you are wanting to get into this hobby Hornady has just the solution for you. This is their Lock-N-Load Classic reloading kit. With the exception of brass, powder, primers,projectiles and dies, this kit comes with everything you need to get started reloading. Here is a list of the included items:

  • Lock-N-Load Classic single stage press
  • Lock-N-Load powder measure
  • Electronic scale
  • 8th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
  • Three Lock-N-Load die bushings
  • Primer catcher
  • Positive priming system
  • Hand-held priming tool
  • Universal reloading block
  • Chamfering and deburring tool
  • Primer turning plate
  • One Shot case lube

Series 2 pistol die setAnother piece of hardware you will need to start reloading is reloading dies. Unlike the Hornady Lock-N-Load reloading press, reloading dies are specific to every caliber. Pictured here is the Hornady Series 2 Pistol die set (9mm to be more specific). The far left die is the full length sizer die, middle is the case mouth expander die and the right is the bullet seating die. So not only is each die set for a specific caliber, but each die in that set has a specific use.

If you have never reloaded before I highly recommend reading as much information as possible. The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is an excellent source of information on not only cartridge specifications but also a beginners guide to reloading. Here is a YouTube video of Hornadys Lock-N-Load Classic kit.

Come out to the Hunting department in Bass Pro Shop and will we be more than happy to assist you with your reloading questions.


We look forward to seeing you,

Grayson Barnes


Pre-Owned Inventory at BPS Leeds, Alabama

Summer's winding down and the temps are starting to cool off a little.  So just like late Winter into Spring, it's time to start thinking about some Fall fishing

A great way to do that if you are ready to get in to a reasonably priced boat is to take a look at our Pre-Owned Boat Corral located just outside the showroom to the left of our Power Pros service bays.

Right now we have 5 pre-owned boats ready for the right owner.  From a NauticStar 1910 Bay  Boat with a Yamaha 115 4Stroke with low hours to a great little beginner boat in a Tracker Pro V-17.  We have a Triton 17 Explorer with a 90HP Merc Optimax.  We even have an G-3 Aluminum boat rigged with a 40HP Yamaha JET drive outboard, ideal for fishing rocky areas near dams. And a really nice Fisher Marsh Hawk ready for those Fall croppie and bass.

Pre-Owned Line Up


















These boats are priced to sell, and ALL have been through our Power Pros'  32-point Check List. 

Stop by the next time you're out this way and check out our Pre-Owned Specials, as well as our MODEL YEAR CLEARANCE.


Duck Commander Plug & Play

Coming soon! The latest and greatest in the Duck Commander series. Arriving soon will be the new Duck Commander Plug & Play video game. Be one of the first to get it! (This game does not require a game system. It simply plugs into your television set.)

Watch the demo video below:

With this game, you can

  • Blast your way through multiple levels of waterfowl, beavers, and frogs
  • Simply plug into the TV - no video game console or software necessary
  • Features Phil, Uncle Si, Willie, and Jase
  • Makes a great gift for Duck Commander fans
  • Ages 8 and up

Be an honorary member of the Duck Commander family and join Phil, Uncle Si, Willie, and Jase as you blast your way through multiple levels of waterfowl, beavers, and frogs with the Duck Commander Plug and Play Video Game. No video game console or software needed, simply plug this game in and play on any TV. This Duck Commander Plug & Play Video Game is a great rainy day activity for kids and kids at heart! 3 AA and 3 AAA batteries required, not included. Ages 8 and up. Imported.

Watch our store site for the game's arrival! As soon as we receive it, we will post it!


Late Summer Schooling In Session

As the temperatures slowly begin to drop across the country something happens to the bass. Many of the fish that were previously deep offshore on structure begin to make their annual migration back into the shallow water. With the water as well as the air cooling, large amounts of shad will make their way into the back of pockets and creeks. You can just about guarantee that with this movement many of the bass are going to follow. This is a great opportunity to catch bass on a variety of different techniques, and honestly who doesn't love to find a school of bass and catch multiple fish out of one area.

When searching for schooling activity the first step is to find large amounts of baitfish. Generally shad are very easy to find and you will often see them flicking and jumping out of the water. What I will do is run around to a few different promising areas where I have previous knowledge that fish and bait live nearby. Next I will slowly work my way toward the back of the pocket or creek looking for the baitfish on the surface, as well as on my Lowrance HDS-8 Gen2 Fishfinder. Now most pockets or creeks you idle in to will have shad in it, this can sometimes confuse and overwhelm people. Always remember that on a body of water where there is an abundance of bait fish just simply finding the bait fish does not always mean you will find the fish. There are more ingredients that you need to look for in able to have the opportunity to actually locate and trigger the bass into feeding, but the shad and baitfish is definitely the first piece of the puzzle.

Once you have a good amount of baitfish found it is very important that you find something specific to target to hold the fish. While sometimes the fish will be roaming open water through the schools of shad, I have found in order to catch multiple fish consistently some sort of structure needs to be found. I picture the fish waiting relaxing in the cover, such as a brush pile or small break line and waiting for the shad to come too close. At this point they will run out and attack. By using my GPS I will read my contour lines and find a small break or creek channel near the groups of baitfish, if you can then find some rocks or brush along that break then that is even better. Fishing can sometimes seem so random so any detail you can use to fine tune what you are doing will greatly increase your chances for success.

So now that you've found the bait as well of some sort cover or structure, the final piece of the puzzle is figuring out what bait they want to eat and what presentation you need to use. Fish can be very picky creatures at times so knowing in detail what they are reacting to is very important. One of my favorite baits to use in this situation is a SPRO Little John MD. This bait has a small profile and a very aggressive wobble that is extremely hard for a feeding fish to resist. Just give it a try and trust me you will be very impressed. Another great quality of the bait is its versatility; it can effectively be worked in extremely shallow 1 foot deep water, but can also reach depths of 8 feet deep on 10lb test Trilene 100% Flouro Carbon. This depth range will let you catch those super shallow roaming fish as well as the ones holding to cover on the bottom. It the fish seem to be off the bottom not relating to cover randomly chasing bait then a jerkbait is a great choice for triggering those suspended fish. Working baits such as the SPRO McStick 110, or a Lucky Craft Pointer SP, with an erratic stop and go quick twitching action is always something I will try in order to trigger fish into biting. One of the keys with these jerkbaits is the fact that they suspend letting them reach a little deeper depths and creating an easy meal for the fish to pick off in between twitches. Now if they are closer to the surface then a floating jerkbait might be a better way to go, or possibly even a topwater lure. So keep an open mind and don't be afraid to switch it up a little when you are trying to figure out what the fish want. Even Alabama Rigs can be deadly in the late summer to early fall transition so don't be afraid to chuck that big thing around as well.

Always remember the key pieces to the puzzle when searching for these schooling fish or really any fish in general no matter what time of year it is. You need to have bait fish, a population of bass, some sort of structure or cover for the fish to position on, and then simply find the bait that triggers them to strike, and you've got it made. So head over to Bass Pro Shops, no matter what you're trying to catch they have what you need to get you out on the water and putting fish in your boat. I'll see you on the water!!!


Joey Nania


Labor Day/Hometown Festival

Don't miss our Labor Day/Hometown Festival event on August 31-September 1. For more information, visit

This event includes cooking seminars:

1:30 Smokin; - Tips for successful meat smoking

2:30 Outdoor Grilling - Choosing the right grill

3:30 Ductch Oven Cooking - Tips for outdoor cooking


Product demos

#14 Show Car Photo opportunity

Free Hot Dogs 1-4 pm*

Free Ice Cream 4-5 pm*

Bass Pro Shops Food Samples


Family Activities

Duck Pond

Bass Pro Shops BB Range

Metal detector treasure hunt

Casting buckets

Face painting


Coloring sheets

* While supplies last

hometown festival



Are YOU Ready For Some Football?

Believe it or not, football season is almost here!! If you are like most people in the south, this is your favorite time of the year. Whether you are a first-time tailgater, or a seasoned veteran,  now is the time to prepare for the upcoming season.

Here is a partial list of essentials to make all your tailgating adventures a success:

                                                y                                                                          t

  • Folding chairs; bring along some extras
  • Folding table
  • Small grill
  • Charcoal lighter
  • Grill brush
  • Tongs
  • Sharp knives
  • Cooler for food (Yeti coolers are great!!!)
  • Cooler for drinks
  • Shade tent or umbrella large enough for everyone
  • Football
  • Soccer ball                                                                                                                  
  • Volleyball
  • Volleyball net
  • Radio or small TV
  • Batteries or cigarette lighter adapter (for electronics)
  • Portable generator (optional)
  • Deck of cards
  • Propane heater (optional; depends on how cold it will be)
  • Warm clothes: gloves, boots, winter jacket, hat
  • Blankets
  • First-aid kit

As you plan for your season to begin, come on in to your local Bass Pro Shops or visit to see our large selection. From portable grills, to chairs, coolers, and folding tables, we can help make your next tailgating experience one that you, your family and friends will never forget.                                             


Until next time,  stay safe and WAR EAGLE and ROLL TIDE!!!


Athleticism In Fishing


When you think of sports, and the talent someone must have to compete at a high level, you think of such things as Football, Basketball, Baseball and many other competitive sports. You think of the incredible physical specimens that actually have the certain skill set that it takes to compete. A very small percentage truly are gifted enough to compete at a high level. Very rarely will people relate fishing to an athletic event or something that takes coordination or skill to become above average at, but trust me just like all the other competitive sports fishing is not as simple as the average person might think. This can be very easily recognized if you take a look at the standings and records for the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournaments over the last three years. The consistency of some anglers is absolutely amazing, you will find that many of the same anglers are repeatedly in the top, time and time again having the mental, as well as physical ability to compete and put them in a position to win.

Putting yourself in a position to win is not an easy thing to do. Many professional anglers never actually win an event throughout the course of their career. In comparison to baseball, competing in an eight tournament season with 3/4 of your finishes in the money would be equivalent to winning close to 3/4 of your games in a baseball season. One of the main reasons this is the case is that in almost all sports the playing field is the same each and every time, and with that being said the person with the most physical talent, strength, or skill, is going to win the majority of the time. Now take fishing, traveling from lake, to river, to reservoir all over the country with different mother nature curve balls being thrown at you every step of the way. Now this is something that can take the very most skilled talented angler in the world, chew him up and spit him out. Like so many sports that simply take physical talent with a little game planning, fishing is the opposite, making mental toughness and decision making just as important, or possibly more important than the physical ability. The best anglers are tough, hard working quick thinkers that can adjust at the drop of a hat. But don't get me wrong they are physically skilled and coordinated as well.

The physical side of fishing takes extreme hand eye coordination. As every angler knows quite often fish will position themselves up underneath cover such as docks or trees. Reaching these fish is practically impossible if you don't have extreme skill with either a baitcasting or a spinning reel. It is a true art form to be able to skip a 1/4 ounce Stanley Jig 50 feet up under a boat dock effortlessly positioning the bait silently in front of a waiting fish’s mouth. If you don't think it takes skill just give it a try and you will be shocked at how much timing and coordination it requires. Another physical aspect is the long consecutive days that fisherman endure. Many anglers will go weeks at a time fishing 12 hours days in horrific weather conditions that would send most people running for the air conditioning or in some cases the nice warm fire place. Professional anglers don't get to choose the days they compete, whether it is 100 degrees or 20 degrees they are out there trying to figure out how to trick a little green fish into biting their artificial lure, while all the while the fish have hundreds of live natural food options swimming nearby at any given time.

Based on these comparisons it is easy to see that fishing not only takes physical skill, but also requires incredible mental ability and toughness. Now obviously equipment is important as well. You don't see the best golfers in the world using wood clubs in a professional tournament and fishing is the same way. There are always new innovations in fishing equipment and lures that can affect your success as an angler. Reels and rods are getting lighter, smoother, as well as faster year after year. Most brands and models of reels offer a wide variety of speeds based on their gear ratios. Where 15 years ago you didn't have many options, now you can get the exact specifics of what you need from a 4.7:1 all the way up to an incredible 8.0:1. All speeds of reels have their time and place, and their certain application. Another physical aspect that is rarely thought about is wearing a good pair of athletic shoes, this is very important for countless hours on the water. Shoes such as the Sperry Top-Sider SeaRacer Boating Shoe, provide the light weight, comfort, and stability that it takes to keep your feet and body feeling strong throughout the duration of a tournament. If you want to learn more and acquire more information there is no better place to go then Bass Pro Shops. Product knowledgeable associates are always willing to assist and answer questions; from beginning anglers to extreme tournament anglers Bass Pro Shops has something to offer for everyone. For more blogs and info like us on Facebook at our Leeds Bass Pro Shops Page as well as my personal page at Joey Fishing. I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania


Tis' The Season For Night Fishing

Every angler knows that the summer months can be one of the most difficult time periods to locate and catch bass, especially the big bass. Big fish can seem to be non existent at certain times throughout the summer, add this to the uncomfortably hot weather conditions, and extreme frustration is sure to follow. Just like us anglers the fish don't like the hot weather either, generally in the day time they will relate to deep structure such as ledges or brush piles seeking the deep cooler water, along with some fish that stay shallow relating to shade. While fish can be caught, the majority of the fish don't feed in the hottest parts of the day. If you don't have a day time tournament then the solution to finicky summer bass is not going fishing at all until the sun sets. Many anglers especially in the southern part of the United States prefer this much more comfortable time for fishing, and trust me they have some amazing results.

When the sun goes down many of the fish move to shallower cover. Picture this in the day time the big fish are holding out off the deep break on a river channel, well once the sun goes down those previously hard to catch fish will pull up on top of the ledge in shallow water and will feed aggressively. It seams like many fish in the summer almost become nocturnal, especially the big fish. Ten tournaments could go out of a lake in the day time with generally poor results and very few big fish caught. Now a night tournament could go out that very evening and you would be amazed and truly humbled by the numbers of quality fish that are weighed in.

When night fishing I feel it is very important to choose a bait that either has a bulky profile, or creates a lot of vibration. My go to bait for this very reason has always been a spinnerbait. I prefer a large heavy bait, generally something at least 1/2oz and often I'll throw a 3/4oz. Many brands make spinnerbaits designed specifically for night fishing applications. Two of my favorites are, War Eagle Spinnerbaits, and the  Strike King Rattlin' Midnight Special. Choosing a color is relatively simple, when fishing at night the color that I've found works best is something black, this creates a great silhouette with ambient artificial light, as well as moonlight that is usually present. Add some sort of trailer such as a Bass Pro Shops Triple Ripple Craw Trailer, this will help create a bigger profile and will add vibration. Now the biggest key to why a spinnerbait is such a great choice at night is the blade. Most night baits come with either a number 5 or 7 colorado blade, this makes for a ton of vibration. If you're reeling in your bait at night and you can't feel it thumping then something is wrong. I like to slow role my spinnerbaits right on the bottom and through the cover. So chuck it and wind it back slowly bumping the bottom, and hold on tight because you can get some ferocious bites by a big hungry fish using this technique.

Two more baits I like to use are Chatterbaits, and Big Jigs. The chatterbait is great for catching fish at night, anyone who's thrown one knows how much vibration it puts off, and that is the key to why it works so good. I would stick with the same color rule as the spinnerbait choosing black for the silhouette factor. Fish the chatterbait just like you do with the spinnerbait and you will have similar results. Now some nights they just don't seem to want something moving, when I encounter this the jig is always what I switch too. A large black jig worked slowly through the cover will catch finicky fish that didn't want to chase the moving baits. Many companies offer a good black jig, all will work great if they have one thing, a rattle. The rattle like the vibration of the moving baits is essential for helping the fish locate and eat the bait. If you have a jig that doesn't' t already have a rattle then you can pick up your own rattles at Bass Pro Shops, and very easily get them doctored up right yourself. A Northland Fishing Tackle Buck-Shot Rattle Ring is the rattle I use when doctoring up my own baits. Don't be afraid to add this to your spinnerbait or chatterbait as well.

So you have the three key baits, and when I go out at night I leave just about everything else at home. Using these baits there are a few key things I target when searching for fish after dark. The first is rock, I don't care how hot the water is or how deep the rock is, if you get your bait around rock you have a good chance of getting bit. Many baitfish as well as crawfish use rock as protection year around. Often bass will hang out deep of the drop and at night will pull up into the rocks to feed on the wide variety of forage. When fishing southern reservoirs you will generally find rock around old flooded house foundations, road beds, and obviously rip rap banks. Another type of cover I like to target is brush piles. There is very little that I enjoy more then crawling my bait through a brush pile and feeling the rod nearly get yanked out of my hand. The easiest way to locate brush is around docks, many residents will sink brush around their docks for the purpose of attracting crappie and other panfish, this naturally will attract the predatory bass. The more difficult to find brush is located out on humps and off points in deep water. This can be overwhelming in complete darkness but a good set of electronics really helps. I use my Lowrance Gen 2 electronics to graph over offshore structure, when I see something that looks promising I will throw out a marker buoy with a light on it letting me know exactly where the structure is. The only thing left to do is figure out what angle the fish want and work your bait properly through the cover.

So don't be afraid to get out at in the dark and capitalize on the normally frustrating summer months. Safety is key any time you are on the water and especially at night. Make sure you keep your PFD on at all times as well as your running lights, and remember to take your time going from place to place. I truly love the peace and tranquility that comes with being on the water at night. Give it a try, chances are you will get hooked on it too. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania



When The Going Gets Tough, Go To The Docks!

Every angler searches for the fool proof pattern. Something reliable, that consistently produces fish. In the sport of bass fishing this is a very illusive thing to find. Fish are constantly on the move, changing instinctively with every aspect of nature. While there are thousands of  baits, techniques, and patterns, most will work one time of the year and not the other, or sometimes one day and not the next. If there is one pattern that I would say will always catch fish, it would have to be fishing docks. Winter, spring, summer, fall, it doesn't matter there is a fish on a dock somewhere in whatever lake you fish. Now don't think docks are extremely simple because on a single body of water there might be ten different types of docks, and twenty different ways and baits to fish them with. But there is a rhyme and a reason to which docks fish are currently using.

Lets start out with winter time bass fishing, the water is cold, in the mid 40's to low 50's, and the fish are slow and lethargic. In this situation in the dead of winter I would be looking for deep docks. Not only do I like the docks to be deep but I like to know that they have current on them when the dam generation turns on. This means generally I will search for fish in the main river channel, or in the main channel of a creek with some flow. I almost always start out fishing docks such as these with a jig. One of my favorites is a bait that is subtle, yet still satisfying to the fish. A War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig fits the mold. A few characteristics I like about this jig is it's fairly small size and the fact that it does not have rattles. Another Jig I really like for this situation is the Stanley Finesse Jig. Both work great, I like to rig them with a Zoom Super Chunk Trailer to add some extra bulk to it's profile. With these Jigs I will fish around the deep docks starting with the front of the docks, working my way further back and around the sides pitching my baits up under the dock around the poles. Although most of your bites in the winter will be off the front of the dock you never know when one might be tucked way up underneath the dock in shallow water. I always fish my jigs slow this time of year remembering that fish are cold blooded, yet opportunistic. A jig fished slow is easy for a fish to slowly swim up to, and it is also worth their while and energy that they are going to expend because of the size of the meal.

As the water begins to warm up there are two things on a fish's mind, eating and most of all spawning. Some fish are residential on a specific dock never leaving the area no matter what the season, as long as there is food available. They will simply work there way up to the shallow protected part of the dock in the spring time to spawn and then slide back out in the summer. But the majority of the fish will make their way in from the deep water and position on shallow docks.  A shallow dock in the spring time is great for many reasons. A dock gathers heat especially a dock with shallow sand or clay bottom. Fish in the spring time love warmth and will really hold on these specific docks. I will generally search in the back of pockets or creeks, flipping baits quietly against the edge of the dock. Often the fish will hold in extremely shallow water so don't be afraid to pitch your bait up under the ramp, or walkway of the dock.

Spring time docks can be fished with a variety of different techniques. Crankbaits can be a fantastic way to cover alot of docks quickly searching for a aggressive fish. If there is brush or cover around the dock I prefer a square bill style crank such as the Spro Little John. The small profile catches allot of fish and the square bill allows the bait to come through cover with very few snags. For clean bottom I will throw a Rapala Shad Rap, with no rattles this is a fantastic way to catch fish in the early spring. Another hard bait I throw on shallow docks is a Spro McStick Jerkbait. I fish my jerkbait very slow, twitching it parallel to the docks with long pauses watching my line for the strike. If they won't eat a moving bait then falling back on the jig is fool proof for catching fish on shallow docks. Make sure your jig isn't too heavy and fish them slow up under the shallow part of the dock.

When the water warms up in the summer the fish again migrate out to the deep docks. The main thing fish are looking for in the hot summer is baitfish such as shad, or brim, as well as oxygenated water. In the hot summer much of the lake becomes stagnant especially if there has been little current flow. You will almost always find your big bass located around docks that have current flowing past them. Alot of the time I will fish the exact same docks in the summer that I fish in the winter, the ones that are out on the main river, or creek channel. The only difference is that instead of throwing a jig I prefer flipping soft plastics such as Bass Pro Shops River Bugs, Or Magnum Flippin' Tubes. I feel like I get more bites going with the soft plastics, although sometimes the jig will still get bigger bites.

When fall comes around a lot of the fish return to the same docks they were using in the spring of the year and can be caught on very similar techniques. I have had a lot of success in the fall fishing docks with a jerkbait, targeting the aggressive fish that are feeding heavily, preparing for winter. You will find fish on shallow docks as well as mid depth transition docks that fish will use for a short period of time on there way either shallow or deep. Don't let the transition fish suck you in for too long, because those fish are somewhat here today, gone tomorrow.

You can see no matter what the time of year it is fish use docks. Learning the way fish move from season to season is very important to consistently catching fish and once you know this docks are just a common piece of cover that you can always rely on. It is really interesting and beneficial knowing that fish will use the same cover in the winter and summer, as well as the same cover in the spring and fall. You can always get your fishing needs met at Bass Pro Shops, from the baits you want to tips and information from accomplished anglers, Bass Pro has it all. Also Remember, that the Leeds Bass Pro Shops offers fly fishing classes every month. Our tying classes are the first Monday and the third Monday of each month, with our casting classes the second Saturday, and forth Saturday of each month, both are at 6:00PM. You can sign up in store for any of our classes while space is available. We'd love to see you there, and I'll see you on the water!!!


Kayak Fishing

Fishing is a sport that more people enjoy recreationally each year than golf and tennis combined. From catching catfish and panfish, to fishing for big money in professional bass tournaments, we all have one thing in common, we love the challenge of locating and catching fish. Millions of people are already in to fish, whether they are fishing off the bank or in a beautiful Nitro Bass Boat, they already have a passion for being in nature and spending quality time with their children and family members. Now the question is if I am a beginning angler or maybe even someone that has never fished before in my life how and where do I start? That question can easily be answered if you have a Bass Pro Shops near by. There is no better place to go to get all of the gear and equipment you will ever need, as well as having access to knowledgeable associates that are always willing to assist in any way possible. Getting tips and asking questions from experienced anglers is a great way to jump start your learning into a life long passion for fishing.

Now fishing can be expensive and most beginning anglers don't need to get a big fancy bass boat. While fishing from the bank in small private lakes or ponds can be very rewarding and a fun place to start, at some point you are going wonder what that other side of the lake has to offer. The best way to access those rarely sought after fish is with a fishing Kayak. Bass pro shops offers a wide variety of options from sit in kayaks to the extremely popular and my personal choice, the Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak. A sit on top kayak makes a great fishing platform that an angler with good balance can even stand on for improved casting ability. The opportunities with a kayak are endless, not only are they a good way to get on the water, but they are very fun for exploring places that a bass boat can not possibly get too. Areas such as creeks or small ponds with limited shore access are often loaded with fish that rarely see a lure, and are an absolute dream come true to a diehard angler.

Bass Pro Shops offers a wide variety of options you can add on to the kayak as well. Accessories such as Ascend Deluxe Sit-on-Top Kayak Seats, rod holders, and SEA-LECT Designs Zig Zag Cleats can all be found at your local bass pro shops or on our website. I would recommend trying to keep your tackle selection simple, as well as wearing a good pair of Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Ultrathong Sandals, which will provide important grip and comfort for stand up fishing. When I fish out of a kayak I will bring two rods, one spinning and one bait caster. With the limited room this will be all you need. When looking for a rod and reel combo that is versatile and can be used with a variety of baits and techniques there are some specifications I will always look for. For the bait caster a 7 foot medium heavy Temple Fork Outfitters Gary Loomis Signature Series rod is a perfect choice. From flipping and pitching in heavy cover, to casting spinnerbaits this rod will do the trick. It has enough strength and power to horse big fish out of thick cover, but not so much that other techniques can't be used. Having a spinning rod with you is also important if you want to throw light weight or even weightless soft plastic lures with light line. One of the very most effective baits for fishing shallow water in ponds, creeks, rivers, or lakes, is with the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O. These baits can be rigged either weedless, also known as texas rigged with no weight, or wacky rigged, which is rigging the bait directly in the center. Either way will catch an incredible number of fish, especially in places where they have never been seen before.

So if you're interested in getting into fishing but just can't quite take the leap, start by coming in to Bass Pro Shops and checking out all of the incredible things they have to offer. Bring the whole family and you will have a blast checking out all of the amazing attractions at the store, as well as learning how to begin to utilize and enjoy what nature has to offer. Don't forget that at your local Leeds Bass Pro Shops we offer fly fishing classes every month. Our tying classes are on the first and third Monday of each month and our casting classes, weather permitting, are on the second and forth Saturday of each month. So take advantage of having a Bass Pro Shops near you. We can't wait to see you here and share our passion for the outdoors. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania




An Open Mind Equals More Fish In Your Boat

In fishing there are never any guarantees. As soon as you think you have them figured out and there is no way you can't load the boat on any given day, they are notorious for throwing you a curve ball. While this is frustrating at times, failure is the fuel that keeps diehard anglers like myself and thousands of others coming back for more day after day. The common fact amongst all hard core anglers is a determination to master the fish and figure them out, while we all know we can never completely understand what those pea brained fish are thinking and doing. So what is the key to overcoming the constantly changing conditions, and fish behaviors? This is a tough question, and the fact is fishing is a life long learning process that no matter how long you've been doing it you still won't be 100% successful. But there are a few key things that can help improve your odds day after day on the water.

Becoming a consistent angler starts with mastering the techniques you use. So what I like to do is start simple. Choose a technique that you like to do such as fishing a soft plastic worm. Go out on the water and fish with it day after day. Use it shallow, use it deep and just figure out as much as you possibly can about that certain technique. Once you feel confident in it the best thing you can do if you want to learn and become a better angler is to put it away. Now take a technique like crankbait fishing, and bring three rods with you. Have a shallow square bill style crankbait on the first one such as a Spro Little John, and have it ready to go if you want to fish in some shallow water. On your second rod have a medium diving crankbait, something that will reach 8 to 12 feet, a Strike King 5XD is a good choice for reaching that middle depth range. Now for your last rod go big tie on a deep diving bait, my favorite is a Spro Little John DD for this situation. It is a perfect bait for reaching depths over 15 feet and will catch you some really big deep water bass. So the next step is going out on the water. Now whether you want to fish deep, shallow, or in between throw nothing but a crankbait you will be amazed at how versatile the crankbait is and grow your confidence in the fish catching ability of the crankbait. You can use this system for any bait or technique you can think of. The key is just leaving the rest of your tackle at home so you're not tempted to switch up when things slow down. Trust me it really works. This is also a great way to learn new techniques such as spoon fishing or throwing a jig. Expanding your fishing arsenal is a big key to success under any conditions.

So once you have all these options and skills under your hat the next and probably most difficult step is knowing when to make the decision of when to adjust and put down one thing for the other. The only way you can effectively and consistently make the right decisions is by always keeping an open mind. A stubborn person does not make for a very consistent angler. While during a certain time period you will shine, the majority of the time you will be left in the dust. Just two weeks ago on the Coosa River I was fishing a night tournament. My partner and I immediately got on the fish and started bringing them in the boat. We ended up with over 14 pounds that night and won the tournament. The very next week conditions were similar, the one major difference was the fact that the current had gone from 3 turbines to 1 turbine. We decided to stick with are pattern from the week before and caught nothing but small fish. A few days later just fun fishing I figured out that the fish had adjusted and we failed to follow their move. All they did was pull out to the next deepest cover. Everywhere I went I would just search for the next available cover a little bit deeper and sure enough I found the fish. Had I kept an open mind and been able to adjust quicker our results could have been very different. The very best anglers in the world can adjust on a dime, they don't get stuck in their ways and what they did the week before or even the year before. They have lots of options to choose from and they are never afraid to abandon ship and switch gears to find the fish. If you can master this as an angler you will be amazed at the consistency you will begin to see in your fishing results. I still struggle with this and while I know what I need to do putting it to use takes years of experience and wisdom. So don't get discouraged and keep learning as much as you can. There is truly no better way to become a great angler then time on the water! And remember I work at Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, AL, so if you ever have any questions or just want to talk fishing you know where to find me.

I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania


Fall Hunting Season Is Fastly approaching

It might be hot and humid right now in mid July, but Alabama's fall hunting season will be here before you know it. The cool breeze will soon be upon us and that can only mean one thing,  Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic! This years Fall Hunting Classic will be filled with activities, guest appearances, great savings and hunting seminars. Running from August 2 to August 18th

Here is the schedule of events for the 2013 Fall Hunting Classic:

  • August 2-18: Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic
  • August 2-7: Bow Trade In.
  • August 2-11: Instant savings on Guns and Safes
  • August 3: Bass Pro Shops Hunting University with Pro Appearances
  1. Hank Parker with "The Science of Broad heads" at 12:00pm and "How to Properly Use Deer Attractants" at 3:00p
  2. Fred Eichler with "Dangerous Situations" at 1:00pm
  3. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky will be doing a question and answer session as well as signing FREE autographs!!!
  • August 8-13: Scope Trade-In
  • August 9-10: Daily Specials
  • August 9-11: Hunter Appreciation Weekend:
  1. Friday August 9: Rick in our Archery department teaches "Tips For Bowhunters" at 6:30pm and Kraig from Archery teaches "Tactics for hunting Deer" at 7:30pm.
  2. Saturday August 10: Kraig from Archery teaches how to hunt for antler sheds at 1:30pm, David From Archery teaches "From the Field to the Table, how to fry a turkey" at 2:30pm, at 3:30pm Audie from archery tells his tips and techniques for hunting, Mike from the hunting department will give an introduction to Competitive Handgun, Shotgun and Rifle shooting and at 5:30pm will go over choosing the correct camouflage clothing for your needs.
  3. Sunday August 11: Mike from hunting does another introduction to Competitive shooting at 1:30pm, Kraig from archery goes over his tactics for hunting whitetail deer and lastly Greg from the hunting department will go over his tips and techniques for hunting at 3;30pm, choosing the best scent control at 4:30pm and choosing the right optics at 5:30pm.
  • August 14-18: Binocular and Range finder Trade-In
  • August 16-17: Daily Specials
  • August 17-18: Next Generation Weekend, activities for the children:
    • Next Generation weekend is August 17-18, Noon-5pm and includes: Free Kids Archery, Free Kids Crafts, Free Photo Download, Free Giveaway and a Free Kid's Seminar going over 10 safety tips.


This years Fall Hunting Classic is going to be bigger than ever. Please come join us as the local and National Pros will be here to help you improve your skills in the woods. All schedules are attentive and subject to change. I will be posting a more detailed schedule as the time gets closer to August.

Thank you,


Grayson Barnes