Early Spring Fishing Tips and Tricks

Fishing Early Spring in the South

February was wet and cold, but the bass have one thing on their minds, spawning!!! The water temp is all we need to move up to get these momma’s doing their thing.  Here at Ross Barnett, I am excited to see how the stable water will affect the early shallow fishing.  If all goes well, the effect could result in a slug fest this spring.  In the past, the variable water level in the early spring would have the fish moving in and out and really never allow the fish to spawn as they should, so the stable water should be really good for the spawn.  For anyone that does not know, Pearl River Valley has changed the policy on water level from variable to keeping it stable year round.

With stable water and fairly clear water, the fish will be able to set up and stay until they are finished spawning.  With that in mind, this is one of my favorite times of the year to fish.  I will target the shallow fish with a couple different baits. 

The Bass Pro Shops Magnum Flipping Tube is my go to bait in the black neon color, black with red flake.  This 4 inch bait will allow you to use a larger XPS Superlock 4/0 hook and I like to use a 3/16 oz. BPS Black Brass Weight with a red glass bead between the weight and hook.  I also use the BPS sinker/bobber stops above the weight.  If you don’t peg the weight tight, you get a little click from the brass weight and the glass bead when you shake the bait.  Target any open water in the vegetation and any stumps or wood on the spawning flats.  One thing about the tube is they will eat it. Warning: RETIE OFTEN OR YOU WILL GET YOUR HEART BROKEN BY A BIG FEMALE!!!!

The second bait I like to use is the Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally Swimbait in the Black Blue Silver Flake using a XPS Superlock 4/0 hook and a 1/8 oz. BPS tungsten weight pegged using the BPS sinker/bobber stops above the weight.  The Tungsten weight is a smaller profile that will allow the bait to be retrieved thru the grass with minimum snagging.  Target the shallow spawning flats and cast and slowly retrieve back.  Like the Tube, this is a lure that the big fish will eat.

Here are the set ups:

Tube Bait:

Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite Baitcast 6.4:1 ratio reel

Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite 7’6” Heavy fast action with micro guides

20 lb. XPS KVD signature series Fluorocarbon line


Sassy Sally Swimbait:

Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite Baitcast 7.1:1 ratio reel

Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite 7’6” Medium Heavy fast action with micro guides

20 lb. XPS KVD signature series Fluorocarbon line

***note that if the water is stained, you can use the XPS-8 advanced braid


God Bless and always catch and release so we can catch again.

Joel Ross

Bass Pro Shops, Pearl, MS Fishing ProStaffer



Which Fishing Line is Best for You?

If you are new to Fishing - or even if you are an "Ole Pro" - sometimes just walking through our Fishing Department can prove to be overwhelming.  Every Year, something bigger and better comes out and on starts the trial and error checklist.

I emailed our Local Pro Staffer, Joel Ross - and asked him to break down the different LINE SELECTIONS that you may see in our store.  His awesome response is as follows:

Fishing Line

Man, what a broad subject with all the lines out there today.  I am going to break it down pretty simple for everyone since I don’t do complex very well.  Bass Pro has excellent line and here are the three I will be discussing:

XPS Signature Series Monofilament—it has ideal sensitivity with easy handling and high abrasion resistance.

XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon—it has unparalleled abrasion resistance while maintaining softness and is virtually invisible underwater.

XPS 8 Advanced Braid—it is woven from 8 Dyneema fibers for unparalleled strength and consistent roundness for smooth casting.

I just got my reels cleaned up and ready for the 2014 season, so I will be re-spooling with fresh line.  I tournament fish, so I have a rod and reel for every purpose I will be targeting based on the lake I will be fishing, thus a need for the correct line for each purpose.  In the following, I will use Ross Barnett as my lake to pick the line for each purpose targeted:

Jig Fishing—two different approaches will be covered with the jig.  If flipping heavy grass or standing grass—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid.  If casting a jig—20 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon.

Worm Fishing—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Hollow Body Frog Fishing—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid

Spinner bait Fishing—15 to 20 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon, pick depending on color of water, clearer water go with 15.

Buzz bait Fishing—40 lb green XPS Advanced Braid

Soft/Hard Jerk Baits—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Top Water (Spook)—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Ribbet Frog/Weighted Skinny Dipper—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Crankbait Fishing—12 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

As a rule, braid is very strong and visible, so use in thick cover.  Fluorocarbon is strong and virtually invisible, so use in clear water conditions.  Mono floats, is strong and has memory so it is used on the jerk baits and top waters, thus making it easier to walk the dog and keeping the jerk baits closer to the surface.  It is extremely frustrating to try and walk the dog with a spook with a line that sinks.  Also, a good rule of thumb is to retie often while fishing to make sure you don’t loose the big one when she decides to eat.

When re-spooling, never take all the line off the spool.  Leave some on as backing and tie an in-line knot to the line coming on.  This will allow you to use less line re-spooling.  Fill the spool all the way up.  If you leave it low on the spool, it will be harder to cast the reel.  A full spool is always easier to cast that one that has less line.  When money is on the line, change your line often and retie often.

God Bless and always catch and release so we can catch again.


** Please feel free to post any questions to our Local Pro on this thread below.  Thank you!  Happy Fishing!!


Taking time with our Next Generation

We sent a message to our Hunting Pro Staffer, Shane Easterling earlier and asked him to tell us his views about introducing the Next Generation Youth to the outdoors.  He is an avid local hunter, and shares the same passion as we do when it comes to getting the young'uns outdoors.  His reply back has some very interesting tips and techniques for your next adventure with your beginner hunter - 


Training Young Guns

I have two boys who are 9 and 5.  Much of my time in the outdoors has been shared with them lately teaching them about hunting.  So far they both love it as much as I do.  With so many other things in this world that they have to choose from for entertainment, I hope that they always enjoy spending time outdoors.  I am sure that there are a lot of Dad's out there just like me who hope to pass on the tradition of hunting and fishing to the next generation.  I have seen some good examples and bad examples over the years.  I don't know everything and I am not claiming to be the perfect Dad, but below is some of the things that I have learned while teaching my boys.

  The first thing is keep it fun.  Make it all about them and don't force them into it.  My Uncle told me a while back when taking his son, he said, "I don't take my gun when he goes, when he is hunting it is all about him".  That was great advice and something I have done with Riley, my 9 year old.

When teaching them to shoot.  Make sure that you start out with a small caliber like a 22 or mini 17 and make sure that you don't get them a gun that is too big before they are ready.  That can ruin it for a long time for them.  One of the most important things is make sure that they ALWAYS wear hearing protection.  Many do not realize how sensitive younger kids hearing is.  Even small guns like 22's can hurt their ears.  One of the best things I did was bought Riley a pair of the Redhead electronic ear muffs.  They work great because I can talk to hear and he can hear me whisper but then when he shoots it totally cancels out the sound.  I think that is what has made him such a good shot.  He does not flinch when he pulls the trigger because he does not hear the boom.  He shoots a 243 which I think is a great caliber for kids deer hunting.  He has shot at 15 deer and we have recovered every single one.  Not many adults can say that, I know I can't.

   Usually those with younger kids like mine end up hunting in ground blinds or shooting houses because it helps conceal their movements and sound.  But be sure and teach them as much as you can about hunting.  Teach them about different tracks, why deer make scapes and rubs, where trails are, why we care about what direction the wind blows, where deer like to bed up, what their favorite foods are, what are all the different sounds, etc.... all the things that we take for granted that they don't know yet.

  Be patient......  This is my biggest problem, I must admit.  Remember they are young and learning.  They can't walk as fast as you, so slow down.  They can't step over limbs and logs like you because their legs are shorter so make sure and help them.  They don't know how to walk quiet yet so don't get to mad when they step on every stick and leaf.  Remember to just have fun and make it enjoyable for them.

  Last, be sure and keep them warm.  Don't take them if it is too cold.  If you go and they get cold, don't force them to stay and be miserable.  Be sure to visit your local Bass Pro Shops to buy them some good warm clothes, some good boots and some warm socks. 

  These are a few things I have learned and I hope it helps.  I know these last 3 years of hunting with Riley have been the most enjoyable and exciting years I have ever spent in the woods!



Pearl, MS BBQ Cook-off




FEBRUARY 8-9, 2014


It’s getting close to that time of the year again, it’ll be here before we know it.  We are very excited about this year’s BBQ & Boats Cook-off, the last few years have been a lot of fun and we have loved getting to know all of our teams. We hope this year we will have an even bigger turn out and of course more wonderful BBQ and fun.  The Catch A Dream Foundation had a great event with all of your help and we are looking forward to helping even more children’s dreams come true this year.

For more information, please feel free to email our Tracker Department at:

Jeff Howerton 601- 933-3680 or email at jehowerton@basspro.com

Erin Clegg 601-933-3632 or email at elclegg@basspro.com


2014 Fishing ProStaffer - Joel Ross

Earlier today, I emailed our newest ProStaffer, Joel Ross to check in with him and ask him to give us a few tips of what we should be doing to prepare for the upcoming fishing season.  His reply was so informative, that I had to share.  Enjoy, and please reply with any questions that you may have.  Thanks!!


Joel Ross


As I look back on 2013, it was one of my best years fishing. My team partner, Steven Hederman, and I were blessed with winning the Catch A Dream Bass Classic on Ross Barnett in May presented by Bass Pro Shops with 19.63 lbs.  I won my first pick a partner tournament of the year, Feb. 9th at Ross Barnett by myself with a personal best overall weight of 25.69 lbs and also won lunker with a 7.76 lb. toad.  I also, fished the Toyota Owners Tournament at Wheeler Lake out of Decatur, Alabama in September and finished 3rd.


Although many are in the hunting mode, the fishing season is upon us and will be here very soon.  For me, my first tournament will be early February, so I am starting my new year off working on getting my gear ready for the upcoming fishing season. 


Living in the deep south, I never really put up my fishing gear, but I still need to clean up the rod and reels and handle proper maintenance so I don’t loose the big one when she eats this year.


I gather a few things prior to the start of this little chore and here is my list of things needed:


1.)   Small Tooth Brush

2.)   A few old cotton tee shirts

3.)   Bass Pro Shops XPS Reel Saver Cleaner

4.)   Bass Pro Shops XPS Reel Saver Grease Syringe

5.)   Bass Pro Shops XPS Reel Saver Oil Syringe

6.)   A hand full of q-tips

7.)   Small screw driver and pliers


First thing I do is take all my reels off the rods and then one by one, I inspect carefully to see which ones need to be deep cleaned.  The Bass Pro Shops Reel Saver Cleaner will be used to break down any organics on the reels inside and out.  The tooth brush will be used to help remove any of the built up organics and wiped away with the cotton tee shirt.


I will take the side plate off the reel and clean, grease and oil where needed.  I also pull the spool and do the same inside the handle side of the reel.  If you don’t do this process every year, you may have to break into the handle side of the reel to get to all that needs attention, but most of the time, you can get into that side every other year unless you feel problems when reeling.


When cleaning, the tooth brush works well on most areas, but the q-tips work in the tighter spots as well as helping to apply the grease to certain areas of the reel like the worm gear once it is clean.


Once done and all put back together, disengage and engage the reel and make sure all is running smooth.  If this is a chore you just don’t want to fool with, then pack up all your reels and send them into the Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Repair area. (Google Bass Pro Shops Rod and Reel Repair and you can find exactly how to pack and ship your reels)


I also will take this time to pull old line off to the backing and replace with Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series Monofilament, XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon or XPS-8 Extreme Performance Series Advanced Braid lines depending on what purpose that reel will serve you with for the coming season.  Bass Pro Shops XPS Line Saver Reel Lube is also another product to make sure you have that will give you longer casts and smother action.  A great feature of this lube is that it contains fish attractant unlike other lubes.


God Bless and always catch and release so we can catch again. 

Reel Oil and Line Conditioner

Reel Cleaner and Grease Syringe


Turkey Talking Seminar at Bass Pro Shops Feb. 23, 2013

Getting Ready for TURKEY SEASON?!?! Whether you are an aspiring Turkey Hunter or an old pro, you do NOT Want to miss this meet and greet with Preston Pittman on Saturday February 22 starting at 2pm. Preston will discuss "Turkey Calls and How to use Them", with a Question and Answer session immediately following. Please join us at the Main Aquarium on this Saturday for this Informational PACKED Seminar from one of the Best!

Breif Bio on Preston Pittman:

Born November 28, 1953, some say Preston Pittman was hatched on Thanksgiving Day.

Pittman can’t remember the first time he was introduced to the great outdoors; but he can remember the tale “that at the age of four months, on a creek bank, they flipped a water snake out of the makeshift apple crate bed.” He was raised in the woods hunting and fishing, and still looks forward to every outing.

At 16, Pittman won his first turkey calling championship. When asked, “How did this affect you,” he commented, “I was small growing up, had asthma and chronic nose bleeds; so I couldn’t compete in most sports. I fell in love with God’s greatest gift, the outdoors. When I won that first contest, it did something to me. Not only was I good at it, but I fell in love with a sport that was right up my alley – turkey calling.”

Pittman continued to win and place in so many contests that it’s hard to remember them all. Some include: The World Turkey Calling Contest, The World Natural Voice Turkey Calling Contest, World Two Man Team Turkey Calling Contest, The World Gobbling Turkey Calling Contest, and The World All Call Turkey Calling Contest. He is the only person to hold five different world titles. Other wins include: seven National Championships, nine National Champ of Champs, U.S. Gobbling Champion, Grand National Gobbling Champion and Grand National Champ of Champs.

Pittman has competed less in the past few years, but still gets in a few contests now and then. More recent wins are: 2000 Grand National Champion of Champions, 2001Grand National Gobbling Championship, 2002 World Gobbling Championship, 2002 Mississippi State Championship, and 2003 Grand National Gobbling Championship. His latest award is one of his greatest. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Outdoor Hall of Fame. When asked about retiring, Pittman comments, “One day … maybe???”

He has been featured in outdoor hunting magazines including Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sports Afield, Southern Outdoors, Turkey Call, Peterson’s Hunting, Turkey and Turkey Hunting, Buckmaster, Deer and Deer Hunting, and many more. He has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, David Letterman, The Daily Show, Regis and Kelly, Country Fried Videos, TNN Celebrity Outdoors, America’s Funniest People, Real People, Hunting the Country TNN, Remington Country, Mississippi Outdoors, Magnolia Adventures, Adventure Boundand Point Blank. Pittman is also currently appearing, dressed in Longleaf Camo, in advertisements on the Versa channel.

Pittman has hunted across the United States and was the first person to document a Double Grand Slam (two turkeys of each of the four major sub species of the American Wild Turkey) in one year. He is on many Pro and Adversity staffs, such as Longleaf Camo, Muzzy, Delta and Scent Lok.

“I’m just a country boy producing a product that I believe in and know works, not only in the woods but also on the stage,” says Pittman. “After all, our saying is ‘From the Back Woods to the Top of the World.’”


Boat Show at Bass Pro Shops Pearl, MS



*Free Admission *Free Parking *Free Seminars

*Free Family Activities *Free Giveaways


Nothing beats the winter blues better than looking at new boats and thinking about long, lazy days at the river. Head to Bass Pro Shops at 100 Bass Pro Drive in Pearl, Mississippi and start dreaming about spring during our FREE “Great American Boat Show” going on

February 1st through February 10th.


The Boat Show is the best place and time to get important information during the FREE boating and fishing seminars available both weekends. Topics include “Movement of Fish” Saturdays at 1pm, “Using the Latest Electronics” Saturdays at 2pm and “Local Fishing Tips” Saturdays at 3pm. Sundays at 1pm learn “How to Properly Fish a Structure”, “Fishing Techniques, Presentations and Retrieve Speeds” at 2pm and get “Local Fishing Tips” at 3pm.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get valuable insider tips from pros like Dennis Tietje, BassMaster Elite Series Pro and Joey JNania, B.A.S.S. Open Touring Pro. 

Then, if you’re in the mood to buy a new boat, it’s a great time to save thousands of dollars. And, with any boat purchase you will receive a VIP Owner’s Discount Card for up to 20% discounts on Bass Pro Shops products for two years! Buy a 2013 boat model* and you will receive a complimentary maintenance plan for 12 months or 100 hours, whichever comes first (*select models apply, see store for details). Plus, when you buy select boat models you can receive up to 20,000 points on your Bass Pro Shops Rewards Points card.

Boating is a great sport for the entire family so bring them with you. Kids can sign up for a class to teach them how to bobber fish and they’ll love the Casting Challenge where they can test their aim and win a prize. Adults will want to put their prop changing skills to the test where they can win prizes.


Register to win a FREE ASCEND™ Kayak, retail value $499.99 that will be given away both Saturdays, February 2nd and 9th or a $200 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card to be given away both Sundays, February 3rd and 10th. Winners will be announced both weekends at 5pm each day.


Also, one Grand Prize winner will win the Boat of Your Dreams Sweepstakes. Winner will select the boat package of their choice—a total retail package of $30,000.00!

Where else but Bass Pro Shops can you go to have so much FREE fun on a cold winter’s day? For more information regarding the free boat show, please visit www.basspro.com/boatshow.


Hunters Education at Bass Pro Shops Pearl, MS

Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS is partnering with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks to offer our First Hunters Education class of 2013.  This class will be held in the upstairs Confernece Room of Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9am - 7pm. 

You may sign up for this class by calling 601.859.3421


Mississippi Hunter Education

Hunter Education works. Since 1950, when formal hunter safety programs were introduced, the number of hunting and firearms-related accidents has declined dramatically nationwide. In Mississippi, we know that our hunter education efforts have reduced firearms accidents and saved lives.  The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks offers hunter education classes free of charge at locations across the state. The hunter education course includes 10 hours of instruction, including live shooting.  To obtain hunter education certification, students must be at least 10 years of age and must pass a written exam and complete a firing exercise. 

All persons born after January 1, 1972 are required to complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Mississippi hunting license. Also Effective July 1, 2000, anyone twelve (12) years of age and under sixteen (16) years of age must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved by the Department before hunting alone in this state. A child at least twelve (12) years of age and under (16) years of age may hunt without having the certificate of hunter education if the child is in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least twenty-one (21) years of age when hunting.


The Hunter Education program is designed to:

  • reduce hunting accidents
  • teach hunter ethics and responsibility
  • promote wildlife conservation
  • teach firearm safety

 Specifically, the course contents include:

  • hunter ethics and responsibility
  • history of firearms
  • rifles
  • shotguns
  • ammunition
  • gun handling
  • marksmanship
  • blackpowder and muzzleloading
  • bowhunting
  • wildlife identification
  • principles of wildlife management
  • survival
  • water safety
  • hypothermia
  • first aid
  • tree stand safety

Visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/bpspearl




2nd Annual BBQ Cookoff at Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS



100 Bass Pro Dr. - Pearl, MS 39208 - 601-933-3632

You are invited to Participate in the 2nd Annual

 Bass Pro Shops BBQ Cook Off!

Officially Sponsored by CATCH. A.DREAM FOUNDATION


Where: Bass Pro Shops – Tracker Marine Boat Pad

When: February 9-10, 2013

What: Bass Pro Shops – TMBC BBQ Cook Off

Barbeque contest with both Professional

And Backyard teams.


Catch a Dream


Why: Raise awareness and funds for

Catch.A.Dream Foundation


hunting and fishing

for children who have

A life-threatening illness.





Official Rules:

1.       Entries can be entered with or without sauce.


2.       All entries must be cooked on site. The preparation and

completion of any and all meats in the competition is within the

confines of the cook off site. 


3.      Containers will be provided for our customers to

sample your bbq.  Please keep sample sizes small, Bass Pro Shops will

providing all customers with a BBQ plate lunch.


4.       A team number will be assigned to each team by BPS check-in

staff upon check in.  Check in will be Friday  between 4-8pm.

The number given will be your number throughout the event.


5.       Entry is based on a first-paid, first-entered basis.  Please

enter as soon as possible as space may be limited.


6.       Each team must purchase their own meat for the competition.

All funds spent during and for the event is tax deductable.


7.       Teams are responsible for maintaining a clean and safe working

area.  Teams may cook with wood, wood pellets, charcoal, and gas.


8.       Teams may display banners at their booths identifying and /or

advertising their team or company.


9.       Bass Pro Shops is not responsible for theft, damage of personal

property, or injury to any persons entered as contestants; or any of the

contestant’s family members or guests.


10.   No holes or dug pits are permitted.


11.   The Chief Cook is responsible for the conduct of his/her team

members and guests.


12.   No alcohol will be permitted on Bass Pro Shops premises during the



13.   Teams must provide all their own supplies including cooking

utensils, tent (if desired), and ice (if needed).  Please be prepared

for inclement weather.


14.   Bass Pro Shops will provide a cooking space, trash bags, and the

plates for samples.


15.   “People’s Choice” serving time is scheduled from 1pm-3pm on

 Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday will be Pit Boss Choice and pulled chicken,

 Sunday will be pulled pork and sliced brisket.

 Samples must be ready at the advertised time.


16.   Trophy plaques will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place of each

category.  Placement is factored by customer ballets.  We will be

awarding a grand champion after conclusion of event on Sunday.


17.   Teams must provide extension cords or generators if electricity is

needed.  Water is available on site for transportation by buckets

(buckets provided by teams).


18.   Bass Pro Shops reserves the right to amend these rules without advance notice.


For questions concerning the event, please call

Jeff Howerton, Tracker GM: 601-936-3769

Erin Clegg, Tracker Business Asst: 601-933-3632


Completed Registration and Entry form should be dropped off at Bass Pro Shops Tracker Marine Center or Customer Service, or mailed to:

Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Marine

Attn: BBQ Cook-off

100 Bass Pro Dr.

Pearl, MS 39208


Event:  2nd Annual Bass Pro Shops BBQ Cook-off

Date: February 9th – 10th 2013

Entry Fee:      $25.00 for the first category

                         $5.00 each additional category


Name of Cooking Team: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Address of Chief Cook: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------              


Phone #:   -------------------------------------------                      Alternate Phone#: ----------------------------------------

Contact Person: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Categories to enter:                 $25.00 for first entry, $5.00 each additional entry

(Please check all that apply)


_______Chief’s (Pit Boss) Choice               _______Pulled Chicken


_______Sliced Brisket           ______Pulled Pork

Total due: ______

Please make checks payable to:   Bass Pro Shops


Letters to Santa

Chances are just about all of us have written a letter to Santa when we were younger...some of us may have written several. Sometimes it was just a "Hi, how are you" note, with a reminder to enjoy the cookies and to make sure Rudolph got the carrot that was left for him. Santa wasn't always able to come through every year with every request. But, I know he gave it his best shot. 

Part of the fun at Santa's Wonderland includes the opportunity for children to write letters to Santa. Our elves are very good about making sure all the letters get to Santa, once they are put in the mailbox.  Sometimes they share them with us...we'd like to share some of them with you over the next few weeks.

Some are heartwarming, some may bring a tear and make you stop and think, some are just plain funny...all of them are from the mouths of believers.


Dear Santa:

I like you very much. How is your job? Am I on the nice list? I will be leaving cookes and milk.  I also live in an apartment.  What I want most is a book.


Dear Santa:

I sometimes fight with my siblings but I am working hard to prevent that. I do my chores and watch over my siblings. I woul like a ripstick for Christmas, if it's not too much trouble. Please send the elf back soon.  Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Don't stay out too late.


Dear Santa:

I have been a good kid this year because I help kids.  I would enjoy a unicorn and if you can't find one a red firetruck.  I think that people are not being truthful when they say you're not real because you are. You're the best


Make sure to stop by the Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, Mississippi to take advantage of the Letters to Santa booth in our very own Santas Wonderland - open every day until Christmas!   


Santas Wonderland Kickoff Event at Pearl, MS

Do you remember when Christmas was magical? We can all get back there again; beginning on November 10, 2012 at 5 pm Santa will arrive at Bass Pro Shops in Pearl. Join us at 4 pm outside for carols, hot chocolate and cookies while we await the arrival of the jolly old elf. Santa will arrive by boat, of course, at 5 pm for our kick-off event. 

As soon as Santa arrives we will start our festivities; magical tree lighting, carolers, unveiling of Santa’s Wonderland and Santa will even be giving away a $25 Gift Card to one luck winner every half hour (5-7:30 pm). There will also be a Special Preview Night Free Craft from 6-8 pm - color your own Santa shaped stocking *while supplies last.

And of course get your free studio quality 4x6 photo with Santa from 6-8 pm.

We have fun for the whole family- laser and soft gun arcades, moving trains, slot car racing, remote control trucks and much more

Come out and enjoy the magic of Christmas with us inside Santa’s Wonderland...

visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/bpspearl for more events

                                                        Santa's Wonderland


Fall Fishing EVENT in Pearl, MS Sept 22 - 30

I know its fall and A LOT of people hunt in the fall, but it’s also the perfect time to fish. Cooler air means the fish are bitin’ again.

If you need Fall Fishing tips we have the event for you.

Bass Pro Shops is partnering with Keep America Fishing to bring you two weekends of tips and educational seminars in a joint effort to keep our lakes and streams available for fishing.  .

 This event is FREE for the Entire family!  This two weekend event is on Sept 22& 23 and then Sept 29& 30.  We will kick off both weekends with a "beginning fishing for kid’s" workshop at 12-1.  This will be a "hands-on" event to get your lil’ minnows fishing.

We will also be offering FREE arts and Crafts where you little one can paint a fish sun catcher from 1-3 pm.

 Have you ever wondered where do the fish in our lakes come from?

Sept 22

2 pm   Fish Hatcheries- Learn more about how hatcheries work to stock our lakes and streams

 3 pm   Select the Right Baits for the fall season.  Visit with our experts on selecting the right lure in the right color for the Fall Season. 


Sept 23

2 pm    Knowing your Lakes and Streams for Fall Fishing - visit with  our pros about area fishing and what is available around your community. 

3 pm    Changing Water Condition and Finding Fish - Water conditions change with the changing weather.  Learn how to find spots to fish. 


Sept 29

2 pm    Knowing your Lakes and Streams for Fall Fishing - visit with  our pros about area fishing and what is available around your community. 

3 pm    Electronics and Finding Fish - Learn how to use your GPS to find the best catch in various kinds of water


Sept 30

2 pm   Fish Hatcheries- Learn more about how hatcheries work to stock our lakes and streams.

3 pm   Fall Fishing Tips from the Pros - Learn from the experts about tips on local water conditions to selecting the right equipment. 




Successful Hunting Tips

Most serious (and successful) hunters know that hunting season doesn't begin on opening day; it starts in the weeks and months prior to the season. That's the time to do the homework and the legwork that's likely to put you in the right place at the right time once opening day actually arrives. While preparing for the fall hunts isn't a half-day or even a one-weekend project, there's still time to get ready. Here are some suggestions:

Study the Regulations:  Be sure you know all the details about the upcoming season dates, license and permit requirements, fees, bag limits and other rules. Many of these details change year to year, so never assume that last year's regulations are going to apply to your favorite hunting spots this season.

Take a Hunter Education Course:  Both on-line and traditional classes are available, but there's a hands-on instruction/evaluation course and test component to both, and those fill up fast, especially in summer and early fall. Check the DNR website for class times and locations.

Buy licenses tags and stamps:  Depending on what game birds or animals you plan to hunt, where, how and when you're planning to hunt them, you'll need one or more license documents to do it legally. A big game license or small game license is the first step in most (but not all) cases. Deer, elk and other big-game hunters also need species tags for the animals they're hunting, while waterfowl hunters must have both a federal migratory bird stamp and state validation to hunt ducks and geese.

Spend some time with maps:  A good map can provide a wealth of hunting information, whether you plan to hunt big game, waterfowl or upland game. Start with the big picture, like a road map, to help you locate a few areas of interest, then focus down on the areas where your game animals may be found.

Do some scouting: The best way to know what to expect of any hunting area is to get out and see some country for yourself before the season begins. The more familiar you are with a particular patch of ground, and the animals that live there, the better your chances of hunting success.

Get to know landowners:  Many of the state's best hunting opportunities are found on private land, some open to hunters. The best way to gain hunting access to private property is to introduce yourself to the landowner and ask for permission to hunt. Ask if there are special considerations of accessing their land, and make sure you follow through.


Hunters Education Classes At Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, MS

Hunter Education works.

Since 1950, when formal hunter safety programs were introduced, the number of hunting and firearms-related accidents has declined dramatically nationwide. In Mississippi, we know that our hunter education efforts have reduced firearms accidents and saved lives. All persons born after January 1, 1972 are required to complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Mississippi hunting license. Also Effective July 1, 2000, anyone twelve (12) years of age and under sixteen (16) years of age must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved by the Department before hunting alone in this state. A child at least twelve (12) years of age and under (16) years of age may hunt without having the certificate of hunter education if the child is in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least twenty-one (21) years of age when hunting. The commission may offer a resident apprentice hunting license for a resident over the age of 15 who does not have the required certificate of hunter education and may set the fee for the apprentice hunting license. An apprentice license may be purchased only one (1) time by a resident and the apprentice hunting licensee must be accompanied by a licensed or exempt resident hunter at least twenty-one (21) years of age when hunting. The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks offers the course free of charge at locations across the state. The hunter education course includes 10 hours of instruction, including range firing. Students must be at least 10 years of age to participate and must pass a written exam and complete a firing exercise to be certified as having completed the course.


The Hunter Education program is designed to:

  • reduce hunting accidents
  • teach hunter ethics and responsibility
  • promote wildlife conservation
  • teach firearm safety

Specifically, the course contents include:

  • hunter ethics and responsibility
  • history of firearms
  • rifles
  • shotguns
  • ammunition
  • gun handling
  • marksmanship
  • blackpowder and muzzleloading
  • bowhunting
  • wildlife identification
  • principles of wildlife management
  • survival
  • water safety
  • hypothermia
  • first aid
  • tree stand safety

Hunters Eduacation Classes will be offered at Bass Pro Shops in Pearl, Mississippi on Saturday, August 25, 2012 and again on Saturday, October 20, 2012.  

Pre Registration is Required by calling 601.859.3421.  Tell them you were referred by the Bass Pro Shops Facebook page!


Dock Fishing Convert

by Scott McGehee

“That is exactly the type of dock that we’re looking for”, I told my partner as I pitched my finesse worm about 3 feet under the front corner.   “And that’s the kind of fish we’re looking for”, I said as I set the hook on our 15th fish of the day.  We’re fishing Ross Barnett and it’s mid April in Mississippi so the spawn is mostly over and the fish are out guarding fry.  It’s the kind of day that’s perfect for teaching an aspiring fisherman and that’s exactly the game plan for today.

I’m fishing with a neighbor who mentioned that he hated fishing docks during a casual conversation one day last week.  Since fishing docks is a technique that I’ve always had a lot of success with and enjoyed, his dislike fascinated me enough that I asked him to come out this weekend and see it I couldn’t change his attitude. 

On the ride to the lake, I explained my approach to dock fishing.  First, we’ve got to consider the type of day.  Sunny and cloudy days should be approached differently. 

On a cloudy day, the fish are going to be roaming around and more active.  Even though they are more aggressive, they are not positioned as well; so there is no telling where you will catch them on the dock.  On these types of days, I will throw mostly moving baits, like a crankbait, spinnerbait or fluke.  Because the fish are more active and not in specific spots on the docks, the faster baits allow me to cover more water and search for those aggressive fish.

On sunny days, like the day we were fishing, the fish will be in very specific spots on the docks, mostly relating to the shade patterns.  This is the type of day that you always want to check out the docks on your local lake.  With the fish positioned in the shade, you want to slow down your approach and fish slower baits like a jig, finesse worm or shaky head. 

My personal favorite is the finesse worm, Texas rigged with a pegged weight.  The pegged weight is critical when fishing docks because you will be pitching, flipping or skipping the bait to get it under the dock.  By pegging the weight, it will stay next to the worm and make it fall straight down where it lands under the dock.  I will vary the weight depending on the depth that we are fishing, but most of the time, I’m using a 1/8 oz with a 1/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook. 

Boat position is probably the most important part of dock fishing and is the area that most casual fishermen understand the least.  I will always fish the dock from all angles, working my way slowly in and out following the shape of the dock.  This approach will allow you to work your bait from different angles until you determine where the fish are positioned on the dock. 

I’ve found that most of the time, most of the fish in a given area will position in similar places on the docks.  So once you’ve caught a couple of fish, you can focus on fishing the higher percentage areas of the docks.  Favorite areas for the fish to position are on the outside or inside corners, walkways, ladders, stairways or where the dock meets the shore.  This is generally determined by time of year and water temperature.  They will generally be shallower in the spring and fall.  Summer calls for deeper water.

I prefer fishing docks in the spring and summer since those are the two seasons that dock fishing really shines.  Since docks are always located along the shoreline, a lot of them are located in spawning areas.  During the spring, bass will move into these areas and use the docks for cover during the spawn.  After the spawn, there are fry in those same areas, so both guarding and feeding bass are abundant.

Once summer gets here, the docks provide shade and cooler water as well as a perfect ambush point for bass to feed.  The bass will typically be on the deeper docks or docks that are closer to deep water during this time of year. 

So the next time you’re driving around looking for that next favorite fishing spot, check out those docks you generally drive right past.  Who knows, you might find out you love fishing docks, I know my neighbor does. 


Catch a Dream Bass Classic

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the Catch a Dream Bass Classic, sponsored by Bass Pro Shops. I have to say that this is one of my favorite tournaments on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. By fishing this tournament, you are helping make a child’s dream come true.

That day, I was able to fish with a good friend and it was on our home lake. Most of the time we are fishing against each other on the BASS opens, so it was nice to be on the same team for a change. However, by the weight of our fish we weighed in, you wouldn’t know it was our home lake.

We started the day out around the grass thinking we would catch the bass shallow and feeding because of the shad spawn. We were right. The fish were there, but you have to catch them when they bite. It was just one of those mornings. We missed five keeper bites in the first thirty minutes.

I played back in my head some of the things we could have done differently. The more I thought about it, I didn't think we did any one thing wrong. The fish were just biting the bait in weird way.  We did think, “Well the fish want the bait, so maybe we should change to a different color.”  So we did and then it was the same outcome. Every time we would set the hook, the tail would be missing from the bait.

The good thing is we did have a backup plan. Most of the time when fishing the shad spawn you only have a few hours to catch the fish in a feeding frenzy. Once the sun gets up, or in our case it was around nine thirty, the shad will either move to shaded areas or go deep. 

Our backup plan was to fish docks that were deep. Let this be a lesson learned to always have a backup plan. We ended up catching all our fish on a Strike King Ocho around the outside post on the docks. But let’s say you didn’t have a backup plan, then the best plan is to just go and fish. Always remember to have fun.  Helping those children fulfill their dreams is what this tournament is really about.

I want to thank Bass Pro and Catch a Dream for teaming up and sponsoring this great event. There are a lot of people who worked hard to make this event happen and who worked long hours to get it done.  I would like to think that I am speaking for all the fishermen and women when I say, “Thank you for your hard work for this great event for such an awesome cause.”

Equipment Used: Strike King Ocho, Bass Pro Shops Carbon Lite 7’ MH rod, Ardent 6.3:1 reel, with 15lb XPS Fluorocarbon line.


Austin Banks

Bass Pro Shops Fishing Pro Staff


Successfully Fishing New Bodies of Water

“How do you go about fishing a lake that you have never seen?”  That one question comes up at almost every seminar I do and it’s an important part of fishing the B.A.S.S. Opens.  Many of the lakes that I’ve fished with them are places I’d never seen until I arrived for the tournament.  There are several steps I take to eliminate the guesswork when I get to these lakes.

The first thing I look at is what time of year it is (spring, summer, etc.) and what part of the county the lake is located. When you determine those two things; you have begun to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  This will tell you what the fish are doing.  Are they spawning, in transition, or deep?  You can then use that information to determine if you are going to fish shallow or deep?  It will also give you a starting point on what baits you are going to throw.

Then, the next thing I look at is what type of bait fish and cover is in the lake. This is where the internet comes in handy. You can do all kinds of research from your computer.  You can also determine the colors of the bait you might throw.  I will also buy as many different lake maps as you can.  Each map will often show you something different.

My next step is to call some local tackle stores ask general questions like: What is the water temp, Clarity of the water, is the lake raising or falling? This just gives you a better understanding of what the fish are doing and give you a starting point for your pre-fishing.

For example, lets say that you are going to fish Lake Amistad (located in South Texas on the Mexico border) in February; the water temp is 64, clarity of about 6 feet and the lake levels are stable.  I know from this information that the fish will be either in pre-spawn mode or in fact spawning.  With this information, I will open my maps up and look for spawning flats and the migration routes that the fish will take from deep water.

This is how I approach a new lake.  By doing your research before the trip, gathering some general information on the lake and applying your knowledge of the seasonal patterns, you too can be successful on new bodies of water.


Austin Banks

Bass Pro Shops, Pearl Mississippi

Fishing ProStaff


Mississippi Turkey Facts

Few things are as thrilling as the gobble of a wild turkey, and few places can rival Mississippi for thundering long-bearded gobblers.  Mississippians have a rich tradition of chasing wary spring toms, and over the last three decades the state has consistently boasted one of the largest turkey populations in the country.  With over a quarter of a million birds from the Delta to the Gulf, hunters should have no problem finding a gobbler in the Magnolia State. 

Strutting Gobbler 2Today, wild turkeys are abundant across the state of Mississippi, but that hasn't always been the case.  During the early 1900's, due to neglect for conservation turkeys were nearly hunted into extinction.  Lack of game laws left turkey populations exposed to year-round hunting by both locals and market hunters.  To make matters worse, much of the state's forests were in poor condition because of early over-harvest and misuse of timber resources.  During the first 5 decades of the 20th century, the springtime woods across most of the state were void of the sound of wild turkeys.  However, the tides began to turn for turkeys by the 1950's.  At the request of the concerned sportsmen, natural resource professionals began to trap turkeys from isolated pockets of habitat that still contained intact populations and move them to other regions of the state.  Their efforts were successful, and over the course of the next few decades, turkey populations exploded, peaking in the late 1980's.  Today, the return of the wild turkey to Mississippi and much of the rest of the eastern United States is considered one of wildlife conservation's greatest success stories.


Youth Turkey Season is Here

So far, this week has gone about like the weeks do;  Nothing good and yet, nothing too bad.  The pollen is everywhere but there is chance for rain in the forecast.
I’m just now making it home from work, and walk out to retrieve the mail.  I am delighted because I finally got the Bass Pro Shops catalog / sales paper that I have been expecting.  As I make my way back up the drive, I proceed to thumb through the sales paper, just out of curiosity of what the Bass Pro Shops may have coming up on sale that I can not continue to live without.

Wow, has the time Really Come for Turkey Season?  I have never considered myself to be a huge turkey hunter, but every year I tell myself that this will be the year that I get that big turkey - once I am comfortable mastering a few of the different calls.  I have played around with the friction calls, the slate call, the box, the mouth calls and any other call that you toss my way.  I think I am okay at it, I'm just not sure that a Turkey would feel the same way. Right as I am about to fold the sales paper up with intent to dissect it later, I spot something that I "can’t live without".  It looks like the Bass Pro Shops are planning to have a Turkey Calling Seminar for the Beginner coming up next week.  Now this is one seminar that I need to plan on attending.  Deep down, I know that it is possible for me to be able to use these calls effectively, I just need a little guidance and maybe some practice.  Done. I put the event in my phone calendar and proceed to make my way to my Spring Hunting and Fishing pile that I pulled out of the attic a few weeks back.  I rummage through the mound - reminding myself to organize it a little better, tomorrow – I begin looking for a few of the calls that I picked up last year.  I think that if I start practicing now, maybe I will be more experienced and less embarrassed at the class next week at Bass Pro.  Within a quick second, I find the Red Head Push-Pull Friction call that my neighbor recommended for the beginner - and began to work the call like he showed me, and listening for what I feel it is supposed to sound like.  I continue to push on this call and critique its sounds as I eyeball the heap of Spring fun that lay before me.  I smirk as I spot  the folded up Hen and Drake Decoys that I found on Clearance last year.  I am pretty sure that I will be using that pair this season, so I give the call a break – long enough to pull the decoys off to the side. 

Laying right underneath the decoys is the the RedHead Striker Turkey Vest that “Mr. Great hunter” passed down to me last year.  I put the vest beside the Decoys and step back to run through my checklist.  Mental Note taken of Calls, Vest, Decoys and a upcoming Basic 101 calling technique course at BPS  - and I am now feeling a little more confident about bagging my first Gobbler this season.  I am standing here over my Spring hunting inventory, right in the center of my garage - thinking and listening to the clucking of the push/pull call.  My mind is wandering off in Turkey Country, when my daughter, obviously hearing the commotion, rides her bike right up to me and looks at me with a very curious look on her face.  Now, in my daughters seven short years of living, she has rarely ever shown very much interest in the outdoors.  She says she does like to fish, but I think she mostly enjoys riding in the boat.   I will always welcome her company while I am out on the water and even bought her her own Lady Pink Rod and Reel combo.

But on this day, as I eyeball my stash and practice my turkey calling;  she has sparked an interest in what I am doing.  That’s when the 20 questions begin.  "What's this dad?", "What's that?",  "What do you do with this?" and "What animal likes that kind of noise".  I explain to her that Turkey Season is fast approaching, and I am making sure that I have everything that I may need for this year's hunts.  I explain to her that this call that I am playing with is going to hopefully call a Big Turkey in - and they are going to see those decoys that she is bouncing around and when the turkey walks over to the decoy, then that's when I am going to be able to harvest one and bring it home to her.  I saw her lift a brow as she contemplated the plan I just let her in on, then the most amazing question she has ever asked, was asked right there – The question I have only hoped for up to this point - It was music to my ears.  "Can I go with you to get a Turkey?"  That's right. Finally! I am ecstatic about the thought of being able to take my girl out on her first turkey hunt!  She has shown her first sign of interest and that is all that I have waited on to be able to take her to the woods and show her the beauty of the outdoors.  The gifts that God provide for us on a daily basis - the ones that life, in general blind us from, the ones that we so often take for granted - The Great Outdoors. 

I let her know that I would love for her to accompany me, as I fumble for my Bass Pro Shops Sales Paper again -  looking for the printed advertised dates of when the Youth Season Kicks off.  This is getting even better than I expected, not only am I going to go Turkey Hunting this year, but I am going to Turkey hunt
with My Daughter - and I am going to Turkey hunt with my Daughter One Full Week before my friends get to turkey Hunt.  This class at Bass Pro
Shops can't come fast enough!  I mentally promise myself, that she and I will have a Great Time and Bag a Big Tom.



This Weekend's Easter Events

We would like to thank all our wonderful customers who came out and enjoyed the egg hunt, crafts, and pictures with the Easter Bunny this weekend.  Make sure to spread the word and come join us again next weekend, April 7-8, 2012.  We will be open from 10 A.M.-7 P.M. on Easter Sunday.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

-11 A.M.- 3 PM: Free 4 X 6 Picture with the Easter Bunny

- NOON- 3 PM: Free Suncatcher Craft (while supplies last)

- 1 PM.- 2 PM. Easter Egg Hunt For Ages 2 to 10.....Registration is at 12:30 PM.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!!!!

- 1 PM.- 4 PM: Free 4 X 6 Picture with the Easter Bunny

-Noon- 3 PM: Free Easter Suncatcher Craft (while supplies last)

-1 PM- 2 PM: Easter Egg Hunt For Ages 2-10.....Registration is at 12:30 PM.

So along with opening the Easter Baskets from the Easter Bunny, enjoying the yummy chocolaty treats, a delicious Easter breakfast or brunch after church or any family tradition, hop into your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and enjoy some more Free fun family time!!!!