Rustic Recipes: Skirt Steak-abobs!

One of my favorite things about summer is all the flavors that come with it! Those flavors are attached to some of my favorite food, like anything from the grill. And the grill has some of my most favorite sounds and smells attached to it. It is all one delicious circle that keeps me heading out and firing up the grill despite the 100 plus degree heat.

The other thing I love is how healthy grilling can be! It is way healthier to throw a fresh cut of meat or thing of veggies on the grill than just zapping them in the microwave. And instead of frying up fish, try searing it! Still tastes great but with way less calories! I am a big fan of fajitas but also a big fan of using less dishes. So that is why kabobs hold a special place in my heart, because when you think about it… they are kind of like fajitas on a stick.

Kabobs are an awesome choice because of the wide variety of options you can go with. Almost any cooking cuisine can be put on a stick and grilled up to tasty perfection. It is a great way to get fresh veggies into your diet, and a great way to include seasonal veggies as well. Any kind of meat works great on them and so your options are almost endless!

A while back I decided to bust out the ol’ skewers and made up a batch of Skirt Steak-abobs! They were so good that they will be the flavor for this month’s Rustic Recipe.

Skirt Steak-abobs:

2 pounds Skirt Steak

2 Green Bell Peppers

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Orange Bell Pepper

1 Onion

Garlic Salt

Olive Oil

This recipe will make about eight kabobs. I like to use metal skewers as they are reusable and you don’t have to spend 30 minutes pre-soaking them like you would with wooden skewers.

First wash all the peppers. Then core them. Cut up each pepper into multiple “squares” or pieces. You will want to keep everything about the same size so it cooks evenly. I like to have all of the veggies ready before I start sliding them onto the skewer.

Then cut up the onion into similar sized pieces as the bell peppers.

Season the skirt steak how you would like it and then cut up into pieces. I love skirt steak. The flavor and tenderness of it is amazing. It goes great on the grill, and since it is a thinner cut it doesn’t take that long to cook. This is nice because you won’t burn your veggies waiting for the meat to cook.

Then start loading up each kabob. I like to start and end with veggies. It adds color and if it falls off, I won’t be as upset as if I wasted steak.

Once each kabob is loaded, sprinkle garlic salt over everything and then lightly drizzle the olive oil over it.

Fire up the grill and turn it to about medium-heat. Toss down the kabobs and turn as needed.

Once ready, take them off and let them sit for a few minutes. Those metal skewers get up to high-heat and you don’t want anyone burning their fingers on them.

And there you have it! Skirt Steak-abobs! Enjoy!


Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread Poultry Balls

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch


Tie One On: Royal Wulff

So usually when it comes to our stars of the Tie One On blog, there really isn’t much drama. Basically, here’s the star and here’s their deal. Whether it focuses on a fly-fishing pattern, knot or regular tackle lure, it’s pretty much hassle-free. Besides the occasional back-spooling. I mean yes, there was some drama about the San Juan Worm being considered a real fly pattern or not, but whatever! This month, however, there seems to be a little bit of debate over the origins of the star: The Royal Wulff.

Now anyone who knows this pattern will simply tell you how great it is. It is a dry fly and is rather similar to the Royal Coachman. It works an affective attractor due to the red body, white fluff and its ability to ride high in water. For these reasons alone many will tie it on in faster water. It is also considered a classic pattern. Just like the Woolly Bugger, no fly box is set without one.

Because of its success and versatility, and the never-ending tinkering mentality of most fishermen, there are numerous variations on the original pattern. But basically the pattern mimics mayflies and other terrestrials.

Now then, to the “juicy stuff”. (My wife has shows like Revenge and Scandal; I have debates about the history of fly patterns for my drama fix.) Many credit Lee Wulff with being the original creator of the Royal Wulff. Besides that he was an avid fisherman, filmmaker, writer, pilot, outfitter (with his own fly-fishing school), conservationist and artist. The impact he made on fly-fishing as a sport is still felt and recognized to this day. But according to some, he was not the first to tie the pattern. Instead he suggested having a Royal Coachmen given more robust wings. Apparently impala tail was the perfect material and that was the origin of this classic pattern.

Now look, personally I do not care whose idea it was or who actually tied the first one. All I care about is having a few in varying sizes in my fly box. Because like I said above, no fly box is complete without one!


Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp Own Creation

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner San Juan Worm Elk Hair Caddis


Healthy Hunter: Willpower

So here might actually be one of the most important topics when it comes to getting healthy, willpower. The human body is an incredible and complex working machine. The human mind is just as baffling and engaging. It is impressive to see what people can think of or what people can do. The human body can endure more physical stress than a race horse and the human mind came up with the concept of Jurassic Park. I mean, we seriously rule. But a big issue where we all tend to struggle is willpower. And struggling with that can have drastic consequences on one’s life.

So here is a little scenario. A young man is informed that he is close to having diabetes and a whole life time of health issues if he does not lose weight. That young man has an addiction for Coca-Cola and orange juice and prefers his veggies in the form of French fries. But over eight month’s period of time, he drops roughly 110 pounds. All thanks to dedication and willpower. (And watching calorie intake and minimal cardio exercise as well.) But like so many that lose incredible amounts of weight, he struggles to keep it off. The biggest tool to be used, or muscle to be flexed, to keep this issue away and the weight off would be willpower.

So how much willpower do you have?

What if I were to tell you that a study showed it like this: In a normal day, the average person makes roughly 100 decisions. Of those 100, ten that are made can be considered “the right one” or a “good decision”. After that number is reached, each decision made could be considered “the wrong one”. Your willpower has a certain amount of uses if you will. So making important decisions (like working out, setting up a budget, etc.) need to be done in the morning so you make the best choices possible.  And that would explain why after going to work you are less likely to want to exercise or make big decisions. Think about how many times you have come home and have not wanted to decide what is for dinner. And that over time you can work your willpower muscle up to being able to make a few more “good decisions”. Makes a lot of sense

Now what if I were to tell you that willpower is in your head. And that there is no finite amount of “good decisions” and that your brain has unlimited access to making “the right decision”. Some people insist that they need to have a “boost” to help them get through the day (coffee, soda, etc.) and maybe there is something to that. One thing I have learned is that this world is just one case of “Different strokes for different folks” after another. You just need to figure out what works for you and what does not. I’m not saying you should sign up for Luminosity and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. You’ll figure that out on your own.

No matter how much willpower you have or don’t, or when it runs up for the day, or whatever just know yourself and use that to your advantage. Willpower is one of the most impressive muscles in the human body, but you have to know how to flex yours.


APPs Proper Motivation Personal Push Habits Track It Limits Simple Sides Hunt Ready Everyday Switches


Check it Out List: Weekend Camping

So I honestly had figured that by now I had covered the topic of Camping on one of the Check List it Out blogs. But in the wise words of an ancient Narnian fortune-telling pheasant, “Nope!” But considering we are now looking at our twentieth of these blogs, its about time to start looking at the basics for camping! I mean we took a look at winter-camping at the beginning of the year, but this is different. I’m talking about a weekend trip, up to an area set up for people to come use and you aren’t battling the harsh elements and/or yetis. And personally this works out because my wife is going on a work retreat and “no husbands allowed” so she’ll need all the help she can get! So let’s take a look at what you might need to be ready.

Camping Checklist


Sleeping Bag/Cot

Folding Chairs

Work Table


Plenty of Water


Any Camp Cooking Items Needed

Flashlight (Extra Batteries)

“Mountain Money”

Minor Maintenance Kit

First Aid Kit


Ever notice how many “way-back-when” and “used to be” stories you hear when people start talking about camping gear? That’s because the technology and materials have come a long way since older generations first started the tradition of recreational camping. You’ll hear horror stories of the tents-of-olde with their deadly poles and madness-driving complexity. Nowadays, tents are almost as easy to set up as pop-up canopies. This is a necessity when you think about sending out non-experienced campers, it needs to be as easy as possible for them.

A sleeping bag is a must, but a cot is a nice addition (and according to some campers also a must.) Just like tents, these things have gotten much lighter and easier to set up over the past years. You’ll need a place to sit and enjoy the outdoors so be sure to bring a few folding chairs. Why a few? Because you know the others in your party are going to forget theirs.

Work tables are great for at a campsite. Whether you need to prepare food or fix gear, it just gives a sturdy and elevated workplace to do so at. And of course bringing enough water and food for the trip (and then some) is a must. Depending on your style/skill level of camp cooking will determine exactly what you bring with you. Sometimes simpler the better, just be sure to have enough fuel for whatever you are using.

I wouldn’t dream of sending out my wife on a camping trip without a flashlight and extra batteries. While I am enjoying the bed to myself she’ll probably be kept up by the noises of the night. So having a flashlight will be a must. And along those lines you get to toilet paper, aka Mountain Money. I will also be sure that she has a good knife, duct tape, hammer and other tools that would provide themselves extremely useful if needed.  As is the ever-essential First Aid Kit. This is one of those items where over-packing is approved. You never know what might happen.

And last but not least are the games and activities. I know most of the people at her office enjoy a nice game of bags, so that’ll probably be up there with them. And while enjoying nature should be enough, we all know that we’ll need to have a few activities to fill in all that free time in the fresh air. And don’t forget to look at the weather!



Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping Reloading Bowfishing Minor Maintenance   Fly Fishing Pack


Goin’ Rural: Stock Tanks

When I think of stock tanks, a lot of things come to my head. I think of the term “cowboy bath tub”. I remember the smell of the algae that grows in them when not maintained. I can feel the heat from their sides while moving them to make sure a rattlesnake isn’t curled up underneath one. I know they are a great place to hunt out here in the desert. And I remember the happy look on our guide’s hunting dog that jumped in one to cool down after a day of flushing’ birds.

Then I start to think about all of the potential uses of one, and how they just give any setting a really rustic flare. Now a galvanized tub used to hold ice-cold beverages during a party is a classic sight. The fun metal ringing noise they give off can almost be addictive. But a stock tank is much more than just a drink-holder, but it does make quite the statement when used as one.

Basically a stock tank is a large container used to hold water (or feed) for your livestock. They are available at most farm supply stores and specialty retailers. Looking online for used ones is a good way to save some cash. They vary greatly in their sizes, ranging from 30 gallons all the way out the several hundred gallons. They are typically made of metal but stronger plastics or structural foam models are becoming quite popular. All offer their own advantages or disadvantages.

Depending on the main use of yours, will determine which one you want to go with. If you are planning to use it for decoration, then galvanized steel is almost the only way to go. It offers a much more aesthetically pleasing look compared to the other options.

 Like let’s say you were to want to make an above ground pond… With the galvanized tank you wouldn’t need to cover up the tank all the way with brick, rock or whatever. Whereas with the other options, you probably would not want to leave any of the unattractive tank showing. But that galvanized steel might heat up and harm whatever is inhabiting your pond, so that is another thing to consider.

Like I mentioned above, most people immediately think about the gross green growth that commonly occurs in anything that contains stagnant water. You could have a pump to help keep the water flowing or use specially designed products to help maintain the water. These products are also safe for anything drinking the water or living in it.

Other awesome ways to use stock tanks around the home include: set up as a table, storage bench, hot tub, small pool or garden. Just let inspiration hit you and roll with it!


Mason Jars Chickens Bird Feeders Gardening Food Preservation Water Features


Cool Calibers: 10mm Auto

I am an avid handgun shooter. Semi-auto, single-action, double-action or whatever, it does not matter to me. And caliber doesn’t really matter that much either. I’ll shoot 45ACP, 38Spcl, 9mm or whatever is available. I love it all. But for years I have been hearing about 10mm Auto. I have heard about it from fellow shooters, friends and even Ted Nugent. Yes, Uncle Ted more than approves of 10mm. But I have never gotten the chance to shoot one yet, so I decided it should be the caliber for this month’s Cool Caliber blog. Let’s start firing away, shall we?

This caliber was first developed in 1983 by shooting legend John Dean Cooper, most people call him Jeff though. Cooper served in the Marines, was firearms instructor, writer and a little bit of a bunch of other things. He is credited with having created the modern technique of handgun shooting. He served in World War II on the same battleship that my grandfather did, and came back to the service during the Korean War. Besides being a shipmate of my granddad, there are several reasons why I like Cooper. His thought-process and writings on handgun shooting are staples of education. The principles he developed also stand the test of time. And he liked the 1911 and 45ACP. I would definitely buy the guy a beer.

Back to the round though: The 10mm Auto was originally designed for the Bren Ten handgun, which was based off of the CZ 75 design. Looking at the Bren Ten you can definitely see the 1911-inspiration for the handgun. The caliber was developed to give more knock-down and stopping power for individuals than previously available. There has been a long history of criminals “outgunning” justice officials. The 10mm was developed with “the good guys in mind”.

In 1986 there was a horrific gun battle between the FBI and two armed robbers in Miami. Two agents were killed in the ensuing battle before the two criminals were stopped. Because of this the FBI and other agencies took a look at other calibers to better equip their officers with. The FBI adopted the 10mm in 1989, but eventually phased it out. There were numerous complaints about excessive recoil, which just goes to show the right caliber handgun for a person is the largest one that can be shot accurately and comfortably.

While the FBI ended up not going with the 10mm for the long-run, many others have. There is a huge group of 10mm Auto advocates. Just spending three minutes talking to one of our Hunting Associates, who owns/shoots the 10mm, he had nothing but praise about it. He did interject that your average shooter would not enjoy the caliber, but it is a serious piece of hand gunning. He also stated that a couple Texas whitetails will also agree to his statements.

10mm will fly flatter than 45ACP and has more knock-down/stopping power than most handgun calibers. It produces energy levels in between the .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum. All out of a semi-auto platform. Currently the most popular offering for a handgun chambered in this beastly round is the Glock 20. Numerous police departments and other agencies equip it or allow it as a sidearm. Denmark even issues it to certain groups that come into frequent contact with polar bears.

This caliber almost became one of the many numerous more-obscure rounds to fade away into history, were it not for the production of the Colt Delta Elite pistol in 10mm Auto. This is considered a collector’s item, with many enthusiasts paying more than top dollar for one. And what many don’t know is that this is where the 40 S&W came from. After the 10mm was deemed “too much” they engineered it down to the 40 S&W which is the standard for hundreds of justice agencies and police departments. To those that shoot the 10mm though, the S&W stand for “short and weak”.

Before jumping the gun and pulling the trigger on purchasing a 10mm (yes, that was two firearm puns in one sentence) one should try shooting one first. This caliber is definitely not for the novice shooter. Like any decision considering caliber choice, this should be well studied and considered by an individual. All I know is that I want to try shooting one now more than ever.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge - .22’s Catch 22204 Ruger


Capturers of the Outdoors: Steve Rinella

So far on this blog series I have covered let us say “an older generation” of capturers of the outdoors. Most people my age have never heard of Zane Grey or Peter Capstick. And many probably think Planet Earth was the first program to show nature on TV. It makes sense, the number of people who recreational fish, hunt, camp or so on is dwindling drastically. Many younger generations think of these activities as “old school” or what their grandpa used to ramble on about. With all of the anti-meat, anti-gun, anti-hunting and so on so prevalent in the news and media many people hide the fact that they hunt. It can be hard for younger generations of hunters to be able to voice their opinion and beliefs when it comes to holding onto that tradition. But luckily, our generation and future ones has a voice in Steve Rinella.

Steve Rinella is an avid outdoorsman who has had a success writing and television career under his belt under the age of 40. When you think of many of your successful outdoor television personalities, people like Jim Shockey or Bill Dance come to mind. And while no disrespect to either of those two greats, they are harder for the younger generation to connect with. You can truly see the passion and love for the outdoors and hunting in his shows and through his writing.

To date, he has published three books: American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter. (His books are available through his website.) I have read the first and last one. I loved them both. (Go way back to Oct. 2013 and you’ll see I mentioned his first book in a blog.) The American Buffalo book is a great one for anyone. The Meat Eater book is excellent and should be owned by any hunter. In it, he takes us on a journey through his life by using different hunts. The Scavenger’s Guide book will hopefully be on my shelves here soon. In it Steve apparently tries to collect enough food for a 45 course meal of wild game recipes.

Other than books, Steve writes avidly for numerous outdoor magazines. Those including Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Bowhunter, Fly Fisherman and Petersen’s Hunting. But his articles don’t stop there, he has also written for: Men’s Journal, Outside, New York Times and Oprah’s magazine. Some of those last few might blow the mind off of who a “normal hunting writer” should be writing for. But that is the thing! Steve transcends those “norms” and can discuss hunting with anyone. And he does quite frequently. He has appeared on national radio programs and has even done live web chats with people. He is not afraid to voice his opinion and passion.

As mentioned at the beginning, Steve also appears on TV. His first show was called The Wild Within and was produced for the Travel Channel. It was amazing. Unfortunately it was only eight episodes long, but each one of them was great. Since 2012, Steve has hosted the show MeatEater on The Sportsman Channel. It has followed his adventures for four seasons now, and looks to keep going. What I love about his shows is how he shows every aspect of hunting. Some TV shows it is just “here, watch this” and “wow, what a nice animal”. With both of these shows the process of scouting, tracking, harvesting, cleaning, preparing and cooking the game is all included. Which is important, because those are all things including in hunting itself.

Steve has also mastered the art of media and has successful YouTube videos and a podcast. To him there is a strong bond and need for the outdoors and wilderness with mankind. He aims to maintain his bond and encourage others to discover and develop theirs.



Zane Grey Disney Nature Peter Capstick


Ansel Adams Teddy Roosevelt Fred Bear Boone and Crockett Club NWTF and DU

Henry David Thoreau Pope and Young Club


RedHead Select Outfitters: Blue River Whitetails

Now look, there has been a lot of talk about Kansas whitetail deer over the past few years. And for good reason! We have seen some excellent animals coming out of that state, many that defy expectation! So it is no wonder that Kansas hunts have grown in popularity tremendously. In fact, my stepdad and his best friend have made a newer tradition to get out there every year. And every year they come back with some awesome trophies. But with awesome trophies come some outstanding costs. Which is why I was interested in what Blue River Whitetails had to offer.

Blue Rivers Whitetails is a hunting guide that made it to our esteemed RedHead Select Outfitters group. And their mission statement (if you will) is simply that they want to “give you an opportunity to take home a Kansas trophy whitetail or turkey at a fair price.” Good stuff. And considering that the owner/guide has over 36 years of experience hunting Kansas deer and 12 years guiding turkey hunters, you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands.


When it comes to looking into a hunt, there are so many things to consider. And depending on your level of skill as a hunter, there can be even more thought-plaguing issues. I am one of those people that believe in information. Knowing what to expect, what you will need and how to do it can save so much time and headache. I mean there are so many uncontrollable variables when it comes to hunting, so having your A-game ready for the pregame is greatly appreciated.

Many of us dream about hunting whitetail or turkey in Kansas, but don’t know where to start. Blue River Whitetails gives you a great deal of information to consider and start working at before coming out.

“Prior to your arrival in Kansas, you will need to send in your turkey permit application. A turkey permit is $32.15 and an additional permit can be purchased for $22.15. The application is available for download, and can be purchased online, at the KDWP website. A Kansas hunting license is $72.15 and can be purchased via the KDWP website as well. Permits and license can be purchased over the counter, but permits are not valid until the next calendar day. Hunter education is required if you were born after July 1, 1957. You must carry your card with you. While hunting in Kansas, you must have a hunting license plus your permit. The hunting license is good for the calendar year, and entitles you to hunt small game and game birds also.”

The fact that they provided us with a paragraph of solid information that gets us going in the right direction, tells us the caliber of the service you would be getting through them.

One day I hope to be able to carry on the tradition of best-friend annual Kansas deer trip when I get to that place in life, and I bet you all could guess who I’d be looking to give my business to.


The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks


Family Summer Camp – 2015 at Mesa, AZ!

Well I guess it’s about that time again to start marking down the ol’ summer-fun calendar and making arrangements to bring the family on down for Family Summer Camp here at Bass Pro Shops – Mesa, AZ! This is one of our larger events we hold every year and it is definitely one of the most fun! If you thought the Gone Fishing Event was intense, you have no idea what is coming our way! It is a month long, four days out of the week, five hours each day FREE and FUN FRENZY!! We have numerous activities for the younger generation to participate in!

From June 27th – July 26th

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5PM

We will have the following activities:

Shooting Arcade

Zing Toys

BB Gun Range*

Archery Range*

Wildlife Carousel

Casting Buckets

Workshops will run from Noon to 4PM (Schedule of topics will be below.)

Crafts will run from Noon to 2PM/While Supplies Last (These do change weekly.)

*Participants under the age of 18 will have to have parent/legal guardian fill out a waiver

For the weekend of July 4th and 5th we will also be bringing back our Catch and Release Pond along with FREE Photo Download! Both of those will run from Noon to 5PM.

We have had the pleasure of seeing a number of familiar faces over the past few years, come time and again! We have also seen a significant increase in the amount of families attending! It is awesome! I mean where else can you take the kids for several hours that is air-conditioned, full of activities and has taxidermy? This is a great way to beat the Arizona heat and encourage kids to get passionate about the outdoors! AND IT IS ALL FREE!!!!

For the Workshops, we have NINE different topics. Each seminar will start on the hour and go for about 20 minutes. After the seminar is done, kids will receive an activity book with special questions. The answers to those questions are hidden somewhere in the store, and kids have to find the signs to figure them out! After they figure them out, bring the book back to the Workshop Area and show the Associate your answers. If you got them right you earn a pin for that specific workshop! First time comers will receive a lanyard to put their pins on, but there will be a limited supply. The workshop schedule is as follows:


Noon- Bird Watching

1PM- Fishing

2PM- Archery


4PM- Backyard Adventure


Noon- Archery

1PM-Shooting & Hunting

2PM-Travel Safety

3PM-Water Safety

4PM- Camping


Noon- Fishing

1PM- Water Safety

2PM- Shooting & Hunting

3PM- Kayaking

4PM- Bird Watching


Noon- Shooting & Hunting

1PM- Archery

2PM-Travel Safety

3PM- Camping

4PM- Backyard Adventure

Family Summer Camp is always a great time here and we can’t wait to start making some awesome memories with you all!



Cutlery Corner: Smith’s Survivals

So I personally believe it is never too early to start shopping for holiday gifts. And usually every Christmas in our huge group of friends and family, somebody gives someone a knife. It’s the perfect gift. You are probably going to always have one on you, you lose them every now and then, and they are just so handy! Plus, awesome stocking stuffers! (Just make sure they are in their packaging or safely folded up. Only takes one accident to teach the family a life lesson. Just sayin’.) I am to take the title of Best Knife-Gift Giver this year, with one of these two awesome options from Smith.

The first option would be Smith’s Survival Lockback Folding Knife. This knife’s blade is made of 440A stainless steel and has a combo edge to it. The rubber grip on it makes it comfortable and secure in one’s hand while using it. I like the yellow accents on it, making it easier to spot. It also has a built-in whistle for signaling if in distress. (Remember, three times. That is the universal symbol for help. I just watched Jaws 2 and Chief Brody goes all wild on the boat’s horn when signaling people, and I was like “Yeah, OK. Another massive great white is trying to eat everyone but please remember your basic survival teachings.”) And behind door number two, or stored inside the handle to be more accurate, is a knife sharpener and fire starter. Bada-boom!

Option two, Smith’s 10-N-1 Pocket Survival Multi-Tool. This little bad-boy comes with a number of useful tools in a convenient package. It has a small compass that clips onto the tool, via 2 feet of paracord. For armaments, you’ll have two fold out blades. One flat and one serrated. It also has a removable LED light, whistle, fire starter, tweezers and signal mirror! Best part is, it only weighs 3 and a half ounces!   



Benchmade North Fork Sharpening Bear Grylls Survival Knife Camp Axes Throwing Knives


Rustic Recipes: Smoked Fish Dip

So while running through my long running blog series about recipes and cooking, I noticed a couple things. One, I don’t have that many appetizers. Two, not that many fish recipes either. What the Hey-Howdy-Hey?! I know. So to start to cure both of those issues, I decided this month we should take a look at a delicious fish-appetizer recipe. Now our IFC next door serves a world-class smoked wahoo dip (and sandwich), but I’d put this dip to the test against almost anyone! Let’s see if you agree. (This recipe calls for smoked whitefish, but any smoked fish would work.)


Smoked Fish Dip

Two Cups- Smoked Whitefish, flaked

Two Tablespoons- Mayonnaise, fat-free

Four Tablespoons- Sour Cream, fat-free

Four Drops- Hot Pepper Sauce

Three Drops- Worcestershire Sauce

One Pinch- Old Bay Seasoning

To Taste- Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a spread-like consistency is reached.

The thing I like about this dish is how easy it is and how versatile it is. I am having a hard time thinking of when it would ever be inappropriate to bring or serve some delicious smoked fish dip at a party or shindig. And considering how far we have come over the past few years with cracker choices, the possibilities are endless.


Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread Poultry Balls

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch


I Got My Swim Trunks and My Flippy-Floppies!

So there is this strange correlation between certain seasons that I have noticed. Like in autumn, when everything “falls” most people in Arizona “go up” to see trees change their colors. Or in spring how while everything “pops up” it is the perfect time to “sit down” and enjoy nature. And of course how in summer the “heat is on”, but everything is just a little bit “cooler”. Part of the last one must be the mentality. Sunglasses are much more common, people tend to wear shorts and most footwear goes to an “open toed” model.

Walking around the store earlier, I noticed something. We have an awesome collection of swim trunks and sandals! I mean when you think Bass Pro you think of fishing and hunting and camping and such, but we have a solid selection of water-time wear! We have options in all sorts of colors and styles. From plain patterns to straight up Plain Americun! And we got swim trunks from such awesome brands as Under Armour.

Checkin’ out them flippy-floppies you get another wide array of choices! Just be sure to keep the socks away when rocking these!

Over the past few years, the vibrant colors of the 80’s seem to have made some major comebacks… and I love it! You gotta have fun with life, ya know? What was that never before made quote from someone? “Life should be vibrant like David Lee Roth’s wardrobe… with some exceptions.” Exactly!



Take A Couple Hours: Urban Fishing

So I am a pretty big Elvis fan, especially considering that I wasn’t alive for the Cold War. One of his songs, Vivas Las Vegas, always gets me going. And there are a few lines of lyrics that I absolutely love. “How I wish that there were more than the twenty-four hours in the day. Even if there were forty more, I wouldn't sleep a minute away”. Now of course in the song he is singing about the night life and bright lights of Las Vegas. And that is quite a boast, that Elvis would in fact spend the entire time available to enjoy the city. But then I get to thinking about those lyrics and how it applies to me. For many of us, if we had forty more hours in a day it would probably be spend working or taking care of tasks. Which is a big reason why so many people are stressed out and stretched to their limits. But a little while back all I needed to reset the clock of my sanity was take a couple hours and put it towards something besides work. It was the best thing ever.

Now that day I started work at a later time than usual, so I got to sleep in a little longer. The extra rest helped. I did get up in time though to hit the gym as well. Getting my blood going also improved the day. But before the trek down to work I decided to hit up an urban lake just down the street from me. It was awesome.

The lake itself is about 2 acres big and only 8 feet deep, so not the biggest. This lake had recently become part of the “Community Waters Program” in our state and had been receiving more attention from our Game and Fish Department. It holds catfish, carp, sunfish, largemouth bass and is stocked with trout during the cooler seasons. Knowing this and wanting to increase my odds as best as possible, I went with a trusty ol’ all-purpose bait: Mepps Agila Gold #2 in-line spinner. (Yup that same bait I talked about month’s ago in that Tie One On Blog.) Using this lure I began my attack.

I started at one spot and just started casting. Slowly retrieving the lure back, I hoped to entice something to bite. I would fan out and cast in all directions possible, at least a few times, before moving to the next spot. There were some other fishermen, so I was sure not to disturb or intrude on them. There were also some very lovely trees that I needed to avoid as well. But over the process of a couple hours I did make it around the entire lake.

One thing I am always sure to do is pick up trash. If I see something on the ground that does not belong, I am sure to properly dispose of this. I pulled out a few food wrappers, bunch of fishing line, couple plastic bags and other assorted junk. As soon as I pulled it out, it was straight to the trash can. Considering the size of the lake, it was pretty clear to the others enjoying the park and lake that I was doing my fair share. I hoped that it would inspire others to do the same. The weirdest thing I pulled out will be pictured below. Considering that the lake is inside a popular park it makes sense that something like that would end up at the bottom of the lake. But considering that we need to do all that we can for nature, I made sure it ended up in a proper place.

That’s right, a kite.

As usual with urban lakes and parks, there were plenty of birds to enjoy watching as well. There were all sorts of ducks and some geese as well. It was funny watching some kids chase the pigeons around as well. But what was really cool was up in a pine tree.

Can’t see it? How about a little bit closer of a look?

Three baby owls! Totally tight! Just hanging out. Lookin’ all cute and whatnot. I wouldn’t have noticed it until I saw a bunch of people pointing up at the tree.

As far as the fishing went, it was not what most people would brag about. One little largemouth bass.

But I’ll tell you what, that one fish made my day. I’m not much of a bass fisherman, and have only caught six, now seven, over my fishing career started in my youth. In fact the last bass I had caught would have been over a decade ago. And it didn’t matter that I didn’t catch a dozen or a giant lunker, or that I caught one at all. It just mattered that I got out. Just look at that big ol’ dumb smile on me.

Who knows what kind of an adventure you’ll have when you just take a couple hours.



Gone Fishing Event 2015- Mesa, AZ

So on May 25th, the Go Outdoors Event came to an end here at Bass Pro Shops- Mesa, AZ. And what a great time it was! We had some awesome seminars, amazing demonstrations and sampling, fun and free activities and much more! Of course one of the biggest turnouts was for our Catch and Release Pond! I have said it a number of times before, but this is one of the coolest things we do at our store. We set up an above-ground pond and fill it full of fish for the next generation to catch. And a lot of the time, the fish they catch here are the very first ones some kids catch! Well for those of you who missed it during the Go Outdoors Event, do not worry! We are going to be holding a brand new event later this month!

On the weekend of June 13th and 14th and the following weekend, June 20th and 21st we are busting out our Gone Fishing Event! And it is going to be loaded with the ever excellent FUN and FREE activities! Here is the game plan below:

Catch and Release Pond – Noon to 5PM both weekends. As usual, participants under the age of 18 will have to have a parent/legal guardian sign a waiver. This past event we had some awesome and big ol’ catfish in our pond. One of them was at least eight pounds and we even had two albinos! (The infamous El Gatos Blancos!) And what is cool for this event, is that kids who catch their first fish ever at our pond will get a “First Fish Certificate”!

Free Photo Download- Noon to 5PM both weekends. Kids can take a picture with the fish they caught that day! We will also have our replica bluegill for kids to hold if they do not want to catch a fish or don’t catch one.

Get Ready, Get Set, FISH! Seminars- All four seminars will be held every day of the event.

11AM- Gone Fishing- Best local destinations for group fishing

1PM- Fishing- The Reel Thing. Choosing the best reel for adults/kids.

2PM- Fishing- Anyone Can Do It! Best equipment for taking friends or family fishing for the first time.

3PM- Go Fish- Batteries Not Required. Info on how to make fishing fun for kids.

Rod & Reel Donations- Remember way back when for the Spring Fishing Classic when we held that HUGE rod and reel trade in! Well on June 22nd these will be donated to a local non-profit organization.

Video Game Trade-In – In an effort to help kids get outside, we are going to have a video game trade-in. Bring in any old video game on any day during the event and receive a $5 OFF Coupon on a new Rod/Reel Combo that is valued at $19.99 or more. One coupon per customer and coupon will expire at the end of the day on June 21st.

Fishing 101 Booklet- We will also have a number of free fishing booklets designed for the beginner fisherman.

Gone Fishing Door Hanger- For the first 100 customers to visit the Fishing Department each day of the event, we will be handing out free “Gone Fishing” door hanger signs.

We hope to see you there!



Fishy Facts: Yellow Perch

To me there are a few quintessential “Americana-esque” images of the outdoors. One being that of those old Chris-Craft boats being rented by lake tourists. Another would be a hunter in the woods wearing a buffalo-patterned shirt, making us wonder if camo really matters. And the last would be a canoe beached on the shore with a hole stringer of yellow perch hanging on it. For some reason yellow perch always just make me think of simpler times, which makes sense because these fish have been a delight for generations to catch. While many focus on the all-mighty largemouth bass or the crazy-fast swordfish, I’d like to slow my roll for this month’s Fishy Facts and take a look at the classic Yellow Perch.

The yellow perch is a freshwater fish native to North America. It does have a cousin across the pond in Europe, but the two are considered separate species. The perch is well known for its distinctive yellow coloring with large dark triangles along their body. Their fins are a touch lighter with orange accents in them. They may not be the “flashiest” fish in the water, but they are quite beautiful to look at.

Yellow perch usually live from nine to ten years of age. Some studies have shown that the northern populations of these fish do grow larger and live longer lives when compared to the southern populations. While they are native in certain parts of North America, they have also been introduced into many more bodies of water. This happened for a few reasons. One being for recreational and commercial fishing purposes and the other to act as food for bass and walleye. Perch patterned baits are common for walleye fisherman, and when on a trip to Canada my stepdad was sure to take some with him.

I do believe it is a rite of passage for kids in the Midwest to catch perch. Scientific studies have not been done, but from what I understand it is so. In fact one of our Front End Leads grew up in the Midwest. I talked a little bit to him about perch and you could see how happy he was recalling catching them growing up. Like I said above, they have been delighting anglers for generations. In fact, the yellow perch is the longest standing record for freshwater fish caught in North America. The fish was caught in New Jersey all the way back in 1865! It weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces and measured 18 inches long. Just think about that, the yellow perch record has not been broken since the Civil War was ending!

Not only have anglers been enjoying yellow perch for decades, but so have diners. They are considered one of the finest flavored of the panfish and are loved for their delicious flavor. This is one of those fish that does not need to be breaded to be enjoyed.

There are many different ways to fish for yellow perch. You can use still bait or action baits, depending on your and the fishes mood for effort that day. Worms, crickets and minnows are extremely common baits and because of this most “perch lures” resemble them. They are a schooling fish and known for their voracious feeding habits, so if you bump into one get ready for a bunch more.

No matter what fish you are really hooked on catching, all fishermen should be able to appreciate and delight in catching the always-in-fashion on line or on a plate, yellow perch.


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin Common Snook World Fish Migration Day


Look at That! The Pyramid Store

So a lot of the time, I have to admit what a cool company I work for. I mean from simply saying I work at Bass Pro Shops and hearing people light up about their experiences there or working an event an making an awesome experience for a family, it is just great! But as I am sure you all have seen, there was a certain unveiling in May that really made me stop and go “Would you look at that?” That’s right. It is none other than the Pyramid store!

Now working here, I always heard rumors about this, that and the other about this store. It is the fifth store we have opened in Tennessee, but surely not the last. In fact, another one is on its way. It is one of the largest Bass Pro Shops (if not the largest) and one of the largest retail stores in the world.

This store holds several features, besides being in a gigantic pyramid that sets itself apart from the rest. It has an Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill. It has its own hotel, The Big Cypress Lodge. At the top, you have to sneak a peek from The Lookout. It has a Berretta Fine Gun Center, for all your fine gun needs. Then there is the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center, with all sorts of awesome features for any enthusiast. And if that aint enough, there is also the huge cypress swamp habitat that even has an alligator exhibit! I would love to take Troy from Swamp People just to see his expressions and hear what he would have to say about it!

I mean, a picture says 1000 words but even those don't come close to explaining this place. But seriously, would you look at that?!


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring Hand Towels Rainproof Camo She Outdoor PETT

BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag RedHead Gun Rack Chicken on a Stick

Traeger Smoker/Grills Casio Pathfinder RedHead Wellington Boots Weather Vanes


Animal Awareness: Rattlesnakes

There are a few things that I hope to not encounter while I am out in the desert. Mountain lions, tarantula wasps, ex’s and rattlesnakes top off the list. The most common though to bump into are rattlesnakes. These guys give me the heebie-jeebies and for good reason. Rattlesnakes are a top reason for people to hike with a revolver loaded with bird-shot out here. And when visiting certain golf courses it is the rule to leave your ball if it winds up in the brush. A couple dollar golf ball is not worth a few thousand dollar hospital bill (or worse).

When most people think about Arizona they consider us to have two seasons: Hot as the Sun and not Hot as the Sun. Technically there are a couple more like: Snowbird Season and such, but we also have Snake Season. This is the time when snakes start coming out of their holes, dens and burrows and start slithering around again. Snakes being cold-blooded use the sun to heat themselves and so once the weather starts getting nice here, the snakes and the people take advantage of it.

Because of this we have our Snake Season, where the chances of bumping into one are much higher. Luckily many people have gotten into the habit of posting or warning others about it being that time of year. Many of those who enjoy our desert’s beauty know to keep their distance from snakes. But of course we always have the occasional person who gets too close or didn’t even realize that it was there until it is too late.

I have a few rules when it comes to being outside during Snake Season: don’t step where you can’t see and if something sounds like “locust” avoid that area. Avoiding taller grass can be one of the easiest ways to not bump into a snake. I consider myself quite knowledgeable about Arizona’s animals, and know a thing or two about snakes. For instance: if a snake has a head that is elongated it is more than likely a constrictor but if a snake has a head shaped like a spade it probably is venomous. Here is the one fact though that I can tell anyone at anytime and anywhere and be confident in my assessment: if you see a snake, leave it alone.

I have bumped into snakes on hikes, fishing trips, dove hunting excursions, driving and while trying to change the water in the chicken coop (that was a fun one!). Others have run across a snake in countless ways. Check out the pictures below. That is from the daughter of one of our associates shooting archery. Not a bad shot!

But check out what was right next to it, that they didn’t even notice!

No thank you. But remember, an unfortunate experience with a rattlesnake can be avoided if you take the right actions.


Other Animals You Might Bump Into




Cool Calibers: 204 Ruger

So far in our Cool Calibers blog series we have been able to cover a more obscure round in rifle, handgun and shotgun (respectively). And I am the kind of guy that does not stop a good thing from keeping on going. So we will flip back to the beginning and focus on a rifle cartridge that may not be the most common, but one that might find itself in your collection. Since the last rifle-caliber found itself useful for medium to larger game, this one will be specifically for the “little guys”. This month’s cool caliber is the 204 Ruger.

The 204 Ruger was developed by Hornady and Ruger, and introduced in 2004. When it was first introduced it had the highest velocity of commercially produced ammunition. As stated above the round was developed for the “little guys”. Not meaning shooters of smaller stature, but of the targets. It is a great varmint and silhouettes caliber. Varmint shooters need a bullet that can fly flat and fast. The 204 Ruger fits that bill perfectly. And the round is extremely accurate.

The 204 Ruger was not the first gathering of Ruger and Hornady on a project. Previously they had developed a revolver cartridge together. When consumers saw that these two were working their magic again, they picked up on it quick. The other group of people who picked up on it quick were hand loaders/reloaders. Since the caliber is a center-fire it can be reloaded. Many have achieved amazing results when hand-loading this caliber, but please always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ammunition for this caliber can be purchased easily at many major retailers. Usually with these kinds of rounds one must hunt for ammo, but such is not the case here. What is interesting is how over the past number of years there have been growing trends in shooting sports. Reloading and hand loading have been growing in popularity. With large game being harder and less available to hunt, picking off some varmints has also become more common. Some ranchers and farmers will even encourage the hunting of certain species, just be sure to be legal and have permission when doing so. And using AR-15 platforms to hunt has also been an increasing trend.

Standard calibers for that platform, like .223 Rem and .308 Win, are now budding up to specialty calibers for AR hunting. Several specialty calibers have been developed. There are several reasons many are attracted to hunting with an AR. They are light, fun, pretty-dang accurate and can take a multitude of attachments/accessories. You can also remove the upper of one caliber and switch on a different caliber, where applicable. So instead of having several rifles for all your hunting and shooting needs, you can have one lower and several uppers instead! And guess what, AR-15s can use a 204 Ruger.

So the 204 Ruger was the right caliber at the right time. Should you check one out? Perhaps! I know I am.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge


Tie One On: Your Own Creation

So we have been highlighting some of the best fly patterns for the past number of months with this blog series. We have even taken a look at a lure for regular fishing and a peak at a couple knots. But what we have yet to take a look at is a topic that intrigues me greatly. That would be fly-tying. Now this is exactly what it sounds like, where the fly itself is created. Starting with a hook and using various materials based upon a specific pattern, a fly is tied. There are numerous books on fly tying. Magazines, DVDs and YouTube channels also offer up information on tying fly patterns. But one thing that I can’t wait to do is try my own.

To many fly-fishermen there is nothing better than tying a fly at home, heading out to the fishing spot and then catching a fish with that fly. There is a much more personal feel when it comes to fly fishing and this has to be about as close as you can get to making a connection with a fish, lest of marrying it. Some go as far as raising animals specifically for the application of fly-tying materials. Raising rabbits is one such practice. The most common chicken to raise for fly-tiers are the Barred Plymouth Rocks. They are also good egg-layers and meat birds so they serve several useful purposes. I have three at home. Some fly-tiers who are also fishermen will collect certain parts of taken game, such as deer, for use in tying.

Think about that, one could use the fur of a deer they shot with some of the hackle from a backyard chicken to tie a fly that they then use to catch a fish with. It’s so wonderfully rural that I almost want to giggle like a schoolgirl.

But for those of us who would just be starting out, we are going to need some things. First you will need a vise which will hold the hook that you will tie material onto. Pictured above as well are a number of the tools people will use to create their flies. You will also need the material and thread. All of these items can be purchased.

Start small and work your way up. Many people learn quickly if they have the patience or not for this practice. To many it is their form of relaxation, where it is common to pour a glass of their preferred adult beverage and sit down for a good hour. To others this hobby could be worse than going to the dentist. So it is best not to break the bank when first getting into it.

You should start by tying known patterns and then work your way up to your own creations. Now mind you that the pattern you end up with will probably be based off of something otherwise it probably won’t work. But just because it is based off of something doesn’t mean it can’t be your own! Just give it a goofy name and confuse other fishermen when they ask you what fly you are using. I am personally working towards something I will call “Chewbacca’s Armpit”.


Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner San Juan Worm Elk Hair Caddis


Rustic Recipes: Poultry Balls

Now I try to keep it to only one “food-blog” a month but what I am about to share with you is so good, it has earned a second one for this month. So a little while back there was that little thing called Easter. As usual at Bass Pro we had our Easter Event going, with tons of families having a great time getting free pictures with the Easter Bunny. We also had our awesome Easter Egg Hunt, which was egg-celent. Every-bunny was happy. After work though I headed to my family’s to catch the last hour or so of their get-together. What shortly made its way onto my plate and into my stomach changed my life.

My stepdad is no stranger to making delicious food. Especially on his Traeger Smoker. I mean all of those pictures from my blog about Traeger Smokers came from him! He got his hands on some pheasant meat and below will be by far the best way I have ever eaten that bird. Now it will work with any kind of poultry and below it is put out for chicken, as that is the most common kind of poultry consumed. Don’t be afraid to try it on duck, goose, quail or what-have-you! Enjoy! As a hidden bonus, this recipe gives you a great excuse to actually use that meat-hammer! And I do apologize for no pictures of the end result, but I wasn't going to waste any time "snappin' photos for Pinstagram!"

Poultry Balls

2- 4oz Chicken Breast (any kind of poultry would work)

12 pieces of thin-cut Bacon

Cheese Mixture

16oz cream cheese

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons onion powder

3 jalapenos, seeded and diced small

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Dipping Sauce

½ cup Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon Onion Powder


Cover chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound it out into ¼ inch thin piece. Cut lengthwise into three pieces.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture in each strip and roll up. Wrap each ball with one strip of bacon and refrigerate for one hour.

Cook at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked.

Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Uh-Oh. My flock at home heard about this recipe and tried to hide in the bushes! Poor little Mesquite, she looks so scared. Just keep layin’ and you’ll be fine…. For now…


Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch