Fly Fishing: Double Haul and Single Haul

Bass Pro Shops' Portage Store has a dedicated staff that know their craft. Check out the video "Fly Fishing With Morris". Morris explains a few different fly fishing casting techniques like the Double Haul and Single Haul. 

Watch it here or go to our Facebook page to check out this video and more. 

Check out more videos here of Vern catching some nice size Bluegill 

Want to learn how they do it in Scotland? Check out this page here. Great instructional website from Scotland. Click here to check it out. 

We have all the fly fishing gear you'll need in our store or at



Shotgun Wedding: Outdoor Activities during that special day

The outdoor community has a lot of seasons; hunting season, fishing season, camping season and so on. However there is one we always forget- Wedding Season. A season of fittings of tuxes and wedding dresses, flowers being ordered, catering being booked, photographer being hired, and everything else that goes with that special day.

            Like the majority of us in the outdoor community we prefer to have our ceremony and reception outside.  Outdoor moms would rather have their tears water the grass than dampen an indoor carpet. A Father wants to have that first dance under the dimming light of an afternoon’s sunset with their daughter while Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” plays in the background.This is the outdoors. This is tradition.

Laserclayz UK

            In last few years there has emerged a recent trend that sets outdoor folks apart-that is wedding trap shooting. Yes that’s right. This wedding tradition actually started in England with something called BOHO WeddingsLaserclayzs®.  Since shooting is not the easiest thing to do in England; the trap shooting is merely laser simulated. The popularity of this activity for weddings is a big deal! Moreover, a good English Shotgun makes for an excellent prop for wedding photos like this great candid moment taken by BOHO Weddings in the UK. 

          However, in America we have no problem doing the real deal and have omitted the need for laser simulation. Let's face it, not everyone enjoys dancing and since the health conscious consumer averagely drinks less alcohol at weddings, there is less chemically induced bravery to get up and dance. Thus the call for other activities at weddings continues to increase and trap shooting is one of them. 

            Bride Shooting Does this sound like fun to you? There are a lot of options for you that can fit any budget. Before you consider this at you reception or other wedding event, make sure local and state laws are followed and the owner of the property gives you permission. There might be additional costs involved, but the fun can be well worth it. Finally, the most important thing in any type of shooting is safety. Remember that everyone should follow safety rules and has the proper shooting equipment.

Want to go all the way for that special day? Well we have the RangeMaxx Auto Trap Thrower for you.

Maximize your shooting enjoyment on this special occasion by minimizing the time and effort you or your guests spend operating the thrower. The RangeMaxx Auto Trap Thrower feeds targets directly to throwing arm with a 2 second cycle. With a quiet, durable motor you can operate the Auto Trap by yourself from up to 25 feet away by use of the foot pedal release; or have a friend operate the Auto Trap from a distance with the included wireless remote—like real life jump shooting, you won't know when targets are taking flight. The RangeMaxx Auto Trap Thrower offers challenging shots by throwing targets out to 65-80 yards at veritable 5°—35° angles. The Auto Trap is powered by any 12V deep-cycle battery (not included) that can be placed at a distance, using your own extension cords. Constructed of durable aircraft alloy and powder-coated steel, the RangeMaxx RangeMaxx Auto TrapAuto Trap Thrower assembles in minutes with easy to follow instructions.

There are many options for you to choose from. Stop on in and talk to one of our knowledgeable associates.

Go here to check out more traps and targets. 


Indiana’s Annual 2016 Chinook Salmon Stocking Almost Did Not Happen

Lake Michigan’s ecosystem is rapidly changing annually.  The faster the ecosystem changes the harder it is for DNR fisheries of the great lakes to adapt.  The proliferation of invasive species has been the biggest culprit. According to NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] there are over 180 invasive species within the great lakes.  Species such as the zebra mussel rapidly reproduce degrading indigenous habitat and destroying food webs.carp

               The immense pressure to adapt to the changing ecosystem made the 2016 stocking plan for Indiana almost a wash.  Indiana normally receives eggs each year from Michigan, however low numbers of salmon returning to spawn in streams hit a record low. Michigan had absolutely no eggs to spare.

               Scrambling to come up with a plan, the Wisconsin DNR offered Indiana some help.  Although it was short notice, DNR officials knew that had to act fast.  Wisconsin could only offer their help and allow the Indiana DNR to use the Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine, Wisconsin.  The Root River facility was built in 1993 as a backup source to help manage the salmon and trout fishery of Lake Michigan. Also, the facility is used to monitor the fishery for biological data on migration, health, and behavior of the fishery.

               In October of 2015, Indiana and Wisconsin DNR worked side-by-side to spawn more than 100 pairs of Chinooks.  This led to the production of approximately 539,000 viable eggs.  These eggs were quickly transferred for incubation at the Mixsawbah State Fish Hatchery near Walkerton in LaPorte County.  

               HatcheryThe facility is named in honor of a Potawatomi Chief named Mixsawbah who native home was on the banks of the Kankakee River in Northwest Indiana. It was constructed in 1974 with the capacity of producing 670,000 trout and salmon annually.  The fish are stocked in tributaries of Lake Michigan; Trail Creek in LaPorte County and the East Branch of the Little Calumet in Porter County.  Chinook salmon are stocked at 5 months of age or 3.5 inches long.  However, other species are transferred and kept in rearing ponds for 7-14 months or when they 4.25-7 inches before being released.

               If it was not for the Indiana and Wisconsin DNR working together there would have been no Chinooks stocked in Indiana waters in 2016.  Right now the fish have been wired with a coded tag. They will be released by the end of this month (April 2016).  These fish will be identified by having a missing adipose fin, and be the fifth-year class Chinook marked under the lake-wide federal Great Lakes Mass Marking Program.   You can view that program here


Bucks & the Rut!

The key to drawing a wary whitetail buck into bow range can often hinge on downright deceit. Calls to make grunts, bleats, and rattles can all play on a buck’s sense of hearing and his natural curiosity. Scents, which play a huge role in how deer interact with each other, as well as their environment, can also be a valuable tool. Decoys can serve to relax or agitate a buck, depending on how you want the animal to react in order to move in your direction. Use them individually, and each one of these can be just enough to entice a trophy into range; use them together in a strategy in which each plays off the other, and you have a recipe that can completely hoodwink a buck into rolling right into your setup.


Here's how to do it.



Scents: Basic doe urine is all you want to use now. It will reassure deer as they move through an area that all is well in that part of the woods, especially as they travel about on the feeding patterns that are common now. If you go with an estrous scent early, you’ll only spook deer, as they will know that isn’t natural for this time of year.


Calls: A grunt tube is essential. It’s good all season long and is really the only call that should be used in the early season. If your tube is adjustable, make the grunt less deep and guttural so that it sounds more like a young buck. This will be less intimidating to other bucks at a time when they are not yet challenging each other too hard.


Decoys: Try using a subordinate (or smaller) buck decoy now, as young groups of bucks are still moving together and might become curious about the new kid on the block. With deer still locked on feeding patterns, it seems a doe, with doe scent placed around her, might act as a confidence tool, but it’s best to save that trick for later in the season.



Scents: Bucks are getting ramped up for the coming rut, and now is the time to challenge a big boy’s dominance. Buck urine, used either in high-traffic travel corridors or in conjunction with a scrape, can bring a bruiser charging in.


Calls: Now is the time to break out a medium to heavy set of rattling antlers or a rattling bag. Bucks are beginning to seriously challenge one another, and even the more passive ones will be curious about who is doing battle. Start slowly and work the antlers into a loud clash for two to three minutes, staying alert to any bucks that may rush in. Take a break of 15 to 30 minutes between each set. When rattling, mix in some grunts or rake a tree or the ground for added realism. As the rut approaches, rattling will only be more effective.


Decoys: Now is the time to go with a standing subordinate buck and place it 20 to 25 yards out from your stand, where deer approaching from different directions might spot it.

Angle the fake buck so that it’s looking perpendicular to you or looking past your stand at an angle (never at you) so that an approaching buck offers a broadside shot or quartering-away shot when it faces off with the decoy.



Scents: Within two weeks of the peak of the rut is when you want to bust out a top-dollar doe estrous scent. When you start seeing those first bucks—either in person or on a trail camera—running loopy through the forest on the trail of a doe, spread the scent liberally around your best stand on three or four wicks. Mix in a little tarsal gland to fuel a dominant buck’s jealousy at the same time. Use both on drags going in to your stand.


Calls: When you spot a buck cruising in search of does during the peak of the rut, three or four short, quick doe bleats will make it think a willing doe is nearby. If it’s already on a doe’s trail or slipping through and doesn’t hear the bleats, throw a single, loud snort-wheeze its way. That can stop a buck in its tracks and bring it stomping back toward you. Keep rattling and grunting during the peak, too.


Decoys: A good buck decoy, with tarsal scent hung right next to it, can serve to irritate territorial bucks on the prowl and bring them in when you combine it with a snort-wheeze or grunt. Up the ante with a doe decoy used in conjunction with the buck. That combination can be deadly.



Scents: With rut activity winding down, a whitetail’s thoughts return to food, especially in regions where winters can be tough. Generally, it’s time to return to basic doe urine to put deer at ease. About 28 days after the peak of the rut, the second rut should kick in and you should get back to using estrous scent. Because second-rut intensity is lower, don’t expect it to work the wonders it did a month ago.


Calls: The battles and challenges of the rut are winding down, deer have been run hard, and hunting pressure is at its peak. Every sound you make now should be about reassuring a buck that the environment is safe. Occasional doe bleats to mimic those final estrous does can be helpful, but for the most part just stick to light, occasional contact grunts when you actually have your eyes or ears locked on a deer moving nearby and just need to draw it in a little closer.


Decoys: Food has moved back up the hierarchy of needs over breeding, so use a feeding doe decoy out in the open to instill hunt-weary deer with confidence. Don’t use a buck decoy now, as bucks may still be skittish. Place estrous scent around a doe decoy and offer occasional bleats to add to the fake’s appeal.


Hopefully some of these tips will help you take down a massive monster buck like this:


“Stik” to the Basics

The best lessons in life are often learned the hard way, and today I am licking my wounds from a tough lesson reinforced at the recent Bass master Northern Open on Oneida Lake in New York.

I pride myself on being an angler with an open mind by refusing to stick with a tactic or place on the lake if it fails to produce. This philosophy has led me to success countless times and came with me to Oneida where after spending an entire week I found the bite to be tough. However, while most anglers reported that bites were far and few in between, I was finding quality fish everyday and felt an opportunity was knocking to finish high. The most consistent producing baits were the Speed Shad, XPS Suspended Minnow, double-dipped tubes, and a drop shot rig, and I was vigilant on remaining open minded on which bait was best for each spot and each day.

When day one of the tournament arrived, I was supremely confident that by slinging these baits and going through the areas that produced in practice, I would manage a competitive bag of smallmouth and largemouth bass. But, I had forgotten what got me to this point.

It began when spot #1, my most reliable producer in practice, failed to produce a single fish. After saturating the area with the aforementioned baits for an hour, I moved on. Nearly each spot produced the same results. Before I knew it, just 15 minutes remained, and I was bewildered to find only two quality smallmouth in my live well, and then it hit me. I finally slung the bait that has produced more fish for me over the years than nearly every other bait combined: a BPS Stik-O rigged wacky style. Almost immediately I caught another keeper smallmouth and a pickerel. A lightbulb went off in my head.

Unfortunately, after one day of competition I brought just three fish, weighing 7 pounds and 15 ounces, to the scales and settled in 102 place out of 196 professionals. Disappointment was not a strong enough word to describe my feelings, but I took some solace in the valuable discovery at the end: the BPS Stik-O would catch a mob of fish on day two.

When day two was over my co-angler called me a prophet as I boldly told him even before take off to tie on a Stik-O rigged wacky style because it would catch hordes, and it did. The onslaught began almost immediately in front of a disapproving audience. Amongst a crowd of boats, in an area that failed to produce a single fish on day one, we caught over 20 keeper bass. All other surrounding competitors failed to catch a single fish.

Working a wacky rigged Stik-O is as easy as fishing can get. Simply sling it out as far as possible and allow it to naturally shimmy down on slack line. Once you’re confident the bait has hit bottom, lift your rod up from the 9 o’clock position to the 2 o’clock and repeat all the way back to the boat. The fish on this day ate it up.

An interesting secondary pattern developed throughout the morning as well. Sporadically, small schools of smallmouth would surface. To coax them into biting, I threw a host of baits (Speed Shad, jerk baits, and top water) at them, but never scored a strike. Out of frustration I threw the Stik-0 at the schooling fish, which is unconventional for schooling fish. I soaked that bait for 10 seconds before lifting it, and when I did, a largemouth had swallowed it. This happened numerous times and I caught my biggest fish doing so. It was apparent that largemouth were following the schooling smallmouth and hung out under them waiting to eat up the scraps.

At the end of the day my limit of largemouth weighed 13 pounds and 9 ounces, which catapulted me up 41 spots to finish in 61 place out of 196. While I am proud of the strong finish, I will forever regret forgetting the most valuable bait in my arsenal on day one. Had I, I surely would have placed high in the standings.

Thus the lesson: always have an open mind and refuse to be content, but never allow that philosophy to ignore techniques and patterns that have proven themselves. I will never go into competition again without the Stik-O rigged up ready for battle.


Hunting the Big "3"

Big Game hunters are taught at an early age to hunt the big 3; food, water and cover.  Although during rut this strategy changes to chasing that big buck, the process has not changed for early season archery.  Northwest Indiana has always been the exception to the big 3 rule. Until this year Northwest Indiana for over 2 decades has had enough food, water and cover for Whitetail Deer.  Majority of hunters would scout patterns of deer while they move from one spot to another. These deer movements would, for the most part, stay consistent and unless the deer were spooked or being run by coyotes the deer would stick to these movements.  Hunters would merely have to adjust to wind direction and adapt to deer patterns.


So what has changed?  This year Indiana has seen record rain fall. So far, the crop loss has been significant. Over 300 million dollars in crop loss so far and this number will definitely go up.[i]  Due to this there will be fewer crops for deer to eat.  High bypass-protein and high-calorie crops like soy bean are at a total loss in some areas.  Moreover, the sandy soil in many areas, like Northwest Indiana, has caused wash outs changing the landscape.  This season’s pre rut deer will be looking for high-calorie foodstuffs and will be more mobile and change patterns frequently to different areas as they become dryer.   Like other ruminants, the Whitetail Deer will be looking for trace elements; minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. [ii] Many deer, just like their relative the cow, will forage for pine needles.  This is especially true for all ruminants when there is a deficiency in their diet- pine needles seems to be a universal choice among them.[iii]

Deer are not just eating to feed themselves but to feed the microorganisms that live in their four chambered stomach.  The tremendous rain has made certain vegetation less available that aid these microbes.  For example, ground moss in many areas has been destroyed due to flooding.  Ground berries that contains nutrients needed to keep gut PH at a premium is also scarce.  Deer will be spending considerable amount of time looking for food sources to replace these shortcomings.  It is important to look for these areas and plan on hunting them.  Moreover, looking in areas that will have new food opportunities for deer as the water recedes.

Cover is another issue to look at.  Deer have no problem walking through water or swimming across a lake, but they do not want to bed down in it.  Many areas typically hunted are still under water or saturated.  Deer will go through these areas to forage but they will not stay.  Due to this new saturated environment typical bedding areas may not be used any longer.  Another current phenomenon to look at is the past 2 winters.  One before last was particularly rough.  So cold the Great Lakes froze almost froze completely over. [iv] The last winter, although better than the previous, was still extremely cold.  These last two winters have killed many trees and other vegetation that would have usually provided cover for whitetail deer.  This year’s extreme rain that follows another extremely cold winter has made it very difficult for much of that ground vegetation to be an abundance as it usually is.  So now for the first time in quite a while Northwest Indiana hunters can actually look at hunting specific cover for deer since there is less of it.


Think Camo Ladies!


SHE Outdoors makes a feminine cut clothing that is functional, rugged and durable to last out in the adventure hunt.  The material is made with the proper fit and with the right fabrics to allow comfortable movement to be out in the field. With the proper fit, it allows better movement when drawing a bow, shouldering a firearm, climbing treestands, or all the walking hunters do.  SHE offers a wide range hunting clothes to keep you warm and dry to light weight in the hot summers.

When preparing for your fall and winter needs you want to make sure you layer warm and comfortable as possible. SHE offers an insulated jacket that is waterproof, breathable and warm. The insulation is 150 grams of thermolite insulation in torso and 100 grams in the sleeves, lined hand warmer pockets, detachable hood, and adjustable drawcord hem is side pocket. To match the jacket, there is the insulated pants that are also 150 grams of thermolite insulation and knee-high side-leg zippers with exterior storm flaps.

If you are looking for something a little less, maybe for fall season, SHE offers the insulated jacket and bibs. The jacket is 100 grams of thermolite insulation, 3-pannel draw cord hood and draw cord waist. The bibs are also 100 grams of thermolite insulation, reinforced knees, mid-thigh zips with storm flaps, and adjustable elastic shoulder straps. Perfect outfit for that early spring or late fall hunts.

SHE Outdoors offers so much more for warmer weather hunts or to use as a layering system for your rigorous hunting adventures. You can use a mid-weight out in the early morning or late evening hunts. When using SHE base layer that helps provide AXE anti-odor technology to keep your prey’s nose in the dark and to help keep comfy with-out the binding. SHE has a great line of short-sleeve shirts and long-sleeve light weight shirts to use every day also.

The full-zip vintage hoodie is a perfect fit and look for a comfortable, light-weight and yet breathable design that’s stylish. It has a double-lined hood, 2 hand warmer pockets and raglan sleeves.

No matter the conditions, year or weather SHE Outdoors has you covered. You’ll always be ready and comfortable for any hunt and whatever comes you way.

Check out our awesome selection of ladies hunting clothes at


5 ways to keep hydrated!

With summer right around the corner and long hot evenings, staying hydrated and cool are very important keys when being out in the sun

Our bodies are made largely of water and without it, life as we know it would not exist. When backpacking, snowshoeing, camping, caving, or doing whatever sparks your interest, ensuring that water is available and plentiful is one of the most vital preparations that you can make. While out in the backcountry, it can be very easy to become dehydrated. With increased physical activity, more sun exposure, and oftentimes increased altitude, dehydration can sweep in quickly.

A party member becoming dehydrated can be a severe emergency, and even life threatening, in the backcountry. Here, I present to you 5 different ways to stay hydrated and prepare for a trip with water in mind:


1. Do your research.

Whether it’s on a topo map, on the internet, or from a knowledgeable expert, it’s extremely important to research the area and know where the water sources are located. In an emergency, it can be vital to know where the nearest water source is.

It’s also advisable to do research, because some water sources may be undrinkable.  So be smart, do some poking around, and know about the water.

2. Always carry some sort of water purification.

This could be anything from iodine tablets, to Aquamira drops, to a filtration system, or even UV light bars. Purifying the water is very important, especially if you don’t want to get sick. Once you put the prescribed amount into your water bottle, let it sit for the designated amount of time, and then bleed the nozzle or lid to ensure all unpurified water is gone.

The reason this is so vital, is because almost every natural water source will contain some disease causing bacteria or protozoa. One major culprit is Giardia. The symptoms are severe and gross, so I’ll let you do the research. The important thing is to always bring some sort of purification method. You’ll stop yourself from getting sick and having a terrible time on the trail.

3. When all else fails, boil the water.

Oh no! You dropped all your iodine tablets in the river? And you forgot to bring extras?! No worries, boiling water is a safe, simple way to completely purify water. It may take more time and be more tedious, but in the end, it gets the job done. Once you boil the water in a pot over your camp stove, simply let it cool and then pour it into your water bottle.

4. Bring enough water if it won’t be available where you’re recreating.

Many outdoor stores sell water bladders and large water bottles for instances like this. Camping in desert areas is a whole different game, and you have to change your mind set. In regions where water is completely unpurifiable or extremely scarce, bringing enough of your own water is the best thing you can do. If you’re car camping, filling empty milk jugs is a good way to bring water with you. Just remember: always clean up after yourself, leaving the campsite like you’d want to find it!

5. Drink enough on the trail.

Finally, once you have the water, make sure to drink enough of it! While doing strenuous activities all day, it’s important to drink enough water–at least four liters a day. Now, that’s a lot of water, but your body needs it, and in return, your body will perform at optimal level for you. Drinking enough will let you do your best, and it’ll keep dehydration symptoms at bay.

Also another great way to stay hydrated is with a hydration pack! There are multiple hydration packs Bass pro sells for very reasonable prices! Check them out with the link above!

With these 5 tips, you should be able to enjoy a safe, well-hydrated excursion off the beaten path!



How to Choose the Correct Insole!


When hiking, backpacking or running your feet hurt, you get blisters or hotspots that

might mean it is time for new insoles.

Types of Insole


Comfort Insoles


These can be flat or shaped and can be made of gel or foam.

There are different size choices for insoles. Full length, 3/4 length or

arch or heel inserts.


Support Insoles


These are made of a harder material for structural support and stability.

Comfort is from the stability rather than the cushioning.

They are not customized to an individual foot, support insoles come in

different styles to suit most foot shapes.


Tips for Fitting Insoles


First stand on the insole outside of the shoe.

Check to see how stable you feel, and how much

pressure you feel.

Then try it in your shoe. Always remember to remove the insole that

comes with your shoe. Be sure to check stability of the shoe with new

insole make sure it takes up the right amount of space: not to much

or to little. Your shoe should feel comfortable not to loose or to tight.


Insole Care Tips


Most insoles will last up to 12 months if used daily or on a regular basis.

They may last a few years in footwear that is used on an occasional or seasonal



Air them out:  Remove your insoles regularly to dry out moisture

trapped between insole and foot bed.


Wash them:  Use a mild detergent and air dry.


Inspect them:  Periodically remove and inspect for signs of deterioration.

Check out some of Bass Pro Shops Shoe & Boot Accessories in the link above!


Boat Maintenance Tips!


Maintenance is one thing every boat needs. Fortunately, routine maintenance and even small repairs aren’t that tough. And in the long run, a little elbow grease will definitely pay off.

The first and simplest task is to wash your boat regularly. If you boat in saltwater or fresh water, rinse your boat thoroughly with clean water after every outing to remove salt residue, dirt and algae build up.

A long-handled boat brush or a spray wand make the job pretty easy, you can find it at your local Bass Pro Shops. To protect your boat’s finish, be sure to use soaps and cleaners made just for boats.

If you’re tempted to let this chore slide consider this fact: a boat with a clean hull bottom is more fuel-efficient than a hull that’s covered with algae or other aquatic scum. A dirty hull can easily add up to 30% of fuel cost.

Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats require regular oil changes. The frequency will vary by model, but a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation or at least once a year.  I strongly recommend using marine grade oil in your boat engine.  Boat engines work much harder than car engines and automotive oil isn’t made to protect marine engines.

With the season coming to an end, completing these basic maintenance steps will save you money and pay you back in the long run. Check out some of trackers awesome and fast boats!

Happy Boating!


Choosing a Turkey Shotgun!

Turkey season is just around the corner.  Whether you already have a turkey shotgun or are currently looking for one, there are some important things to consider- how the shotgun shoots, how comfortable you are with it, and where you will be hunting.  Many hunters will debate on everything from the best choke, barrel size and ammo till the end of time. However, it is important that hunters realize that a specialty shotgun, like for Turkey, as just as much to do with the shooter as the gun itself and there is no right or wrong answer to the argument.  The argument about shotguns can relate to the argument about beer “taste great” or “less filling!”

The most important thing is to choose a shotgun that is best for you as an individual.  The more comfortable you are shooting a shotgun the more confident you will be- thus making you a better shooter.

                That being said, factory guns are fine out-of-the-box, but a few modifications based on your individual skill and type of firearm can make things easier for you.  It is important to base those modifications on your ability and the shotgun itself and not to compare it to you buddy’s situation. For example, your buddy might have a Winchester with an extra full choke that patterns Winchester long beard #4 very tight. This does not mean that your 870 with an extra full choke will do the same.  Moreover, barrel lengths and choke restrictions affect patterns.  It is important that you do some range time to determine which ammo shoots best in your shotgun.

                 This can be a time consuming as well as hard on your wallet. You can save time and money by doing some research first.  There is an abundance of resources on the internet to help you determine a narrow list of possibilities for ammo selection.  However, just like a said before about listening to your buddy, the same goes here. Look for repeated patterns in what people are saying. If 10 people are saying the same thing about how a size load patterns in the same type of shotgun you have than you can take that as quantitative evidence. If only one or two people say it, than you do not and would have to test it for yourself.   From my experience, if you research enough you will find that quantitative evidence you need.


                One of the biggest markets for Turkey hunting as well as all shooting sports is accessories. Accessories have more to do with the individual person than performance of the firearm.  If you feel more comfortable with a pistol grip stock then go with it-if you are not comfortable then don’t.  The same idea holds true with sights.  Remember you are shooting the shotgun and not the sight. The sight is there to aid you. Therefore, the site fits your ability and style of shooting.

                Camo patterns are the latest craze in firearms.  Regardless of what you see on your favorite hunting show or how camo patterns of guns are advertised, camo is determined by where you will be hunting- period.  You should not care what a professional hunter in Texas on television says about Brush camo by Mossy Oak if you live in Indiana.  Moreover, it is important on what season you are hunting.

If you have a Realtree Xtra camo which actually represents the Fall season, it might not be suitable for spring.  So if you are going to choose a shotgun that has been dipped or you are thinking about getting your current shotgun dipped, realize that you will be limiting that firearm to a season and a specific geographical are.


Backpacking for Beginners!

If you’re a first time backpacker you need to make the decision of who you would like to team up with, if anyone at all. Partner up with an experienced backpacker or a  group (4-6 people typically) Someone with knowledge is good for peace of mind and also makes it more fun than going it alone.

You should have a backpacking checklist which should include  “The Ten Essentials”. Make sure that whatever gear you take you and your partner know what it is for and how it is all used.

Pick an appropriate destination, something that won’t be too long for your first time and the terrain is something you’ll be able to handle.

For beginners a one night trip to start makes more sense than being out longer and not being too sure or confident.

Start by making a list. Here are just a few things that are essential to make your first backpacking trip a success.


  1. Map or Compass
  2. Sunglasses or Sunscreen
  3. Emergency Shelter
  4. Extra Water
  5. Extra Food
  6. Extra Clothing
  7. Flashlight and or Headlamp
  8. First Aid Kit
  9. Repair Kit/Tools/Knife  (and last but not least)
  10. Waterproof matches/lighter/candles

Now the fun starts by picking out a backpack, tent, sleeping bag or pad, clothing, hiking boots or shoes, food,  a satellite phone or two way radio,

Insect repellant  and bear spray. A trip itinerary left with a friend or  even under your car seat would be wise, in the case of an emergency.

These are just a few things to get you started. Make sure you do your homework by picking the right area, the right equipment and essentials.

The most important step above everything else is to be Safe and have a GREAT time…

Shop our extensive Camping selection at!


Spring Hunting!

Hunting in the Spring you never know what the weather is going to be like. Not only do you have to make sure you have all your hunting gear but dress accordingly as well. Depending where you are hunting and for how long you should take an extra layer just in case.

Getting ready for the hunt in the spring time you want to wear something that's a little more durable, breathable and long lasting. If you are going thru any brush or briars you want to have your arms and legs covered to help protect from any scrapes or scratches. The silent-hide shirt is long sleeve with buttons, reinforced darting in shoulders and elbows, doubled zippered chest pockets and articulated arms. The material is remarkably quiet so no matter what the hunt is you won’t be heard. The silent hide pants has a reinforced seat, extra-wide belt loops, Ergonomic pockets, double-reinforced articulated knees and kick plates. The pants will let you hunt comfortable and in silence. For those little extra chilly nights or the early chilly mornings you can layer with a insulated silent hide jacket. The jacket has reinforced articulated elbows, silent tactical performance to stalk and hunt in warm silence, zip front pockets for plenty of room and has a zip out fleece vest that lets you wear the jacket in 3 different ways. If you are the type of person that wants a all in one, then you can pack the silent hide insulated hooded jacket. This jacket provides you with a 3 panel hood with draw cord, zip chest pockets, 2 front pockets with storm flaps. Both of the jackets have a comfort rating of 100 grams of thermolite insulation, perfect for the spring hunting days.

Check out our huge selection in our Camo department!

Now you will be ready, quiet and comfortable for your spring hunting days to come.



April Showers bring May Flowers?


However you describe the new season, one thing for sure is that with Spring comes unpredictable weather. Hot, cold, rainy, windy, tornados… the list goes on.

The Gift Department at Bass Pro Shops offers a great selection of Weather Stations and Weather Radios.

The Weather Alert Radio by Midland is NOAA rated and can display alerts in English, French and Spanish. Help keep you family safe with early warnings. Receive alerts for ONLY your local area with specific area message encoding technology. Stay protected during power outages with battery backup and offers a convenient alarm clock and weather radio all in one. An AC power adapter is included. This radio is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness.

For everyday weather monitoring, Acurite offers the Professional Weather Center with Easy Mount 5 –in – 1 Sensor. Enjoy Indoor and Outdoor temperature readings, Indoor and Outdoor Humidity Readings, Wind Speed, Peak and Average, Wind Direction with Last Reading Indicators, Rainfall Tracking and Rainfall Rate, 12-24 Hour Weather Forecast, Barometric Pressure, Wind Chill, Dew Point, and Heat Index, and Daily, Weekly, Monthly and All Time Highs and Lows. Programmable Alarms can be customized to notify you when conditions change. Alerts include temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall, dew point, heat index and more. The Sensor is totally wireless and easy to install.

The Wireless Forecast Station made by Lacrosse Technology, offers the Indoor/Outdoor temperature and Humidity readings, Sunrise/Sunset, Moon Phase, Latitude and Longitude settings, Atomic Time, Date and DST that sets itself and an LED backlight. Have fun watching the advanced

fisherman forecast icon help you decide what to wear and how to prepare for the day.

A wide assortment of weather stations is on display in the Gift Department at Bass Pro Shops. Browse through our selection – the associates in gifts can help you in your decision.

Bass Pro Shops – Portage is located in Ameriplex Plaza. Call us at 219-787-6800. Feel free to shop online at .


Basic Boat Care!

Nothing wakes up the spirit of a boater than to see the ice disappear from the area lakes and rivers. Hallelujah, this is now happening all around us in the Midwest! But before you hunt a new lunker for your wall or fill up the freezer with fresh fish, proceed with caution and protect your boat.

My boat, a 2014 Nitro Z8, is not only my toy; it is my office for much of the open water season. It is imperative I protect it to insure not only success but also safety. Like other investments, such as a vehicle and home, it is important to safeguard. Think of your home. Chances are it is loaded with safety features taken for granted: airbags, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, locks, alarms, etc., and your boat needs to be fitted for protection too.

Fiberglass damage on a boat can turn into thousands of dollars for repair quickly. Damage can come from anywhere - the shoreline as you launch or while traversing the water from floating debris. The easiest and most effective way to protect against this damage is with a KeelGuard. This product is my top recommendation for all boat owners to have. If the KeelGuard gets damaged, that means you saved potentially thousands of dollars in fiberglass damage. And these suckers are tough. Look at what I put my boat and KeelGuard through this past December: (would be effective to embed the video in the blog). This proves the durability and the effectiveness of this product.

Loading a boat is a pain, especially if you are by yourself, and all boat owners know that dreadful thud of boat hitting the trailer too hard. My boat’s bows have always been notorious for having scuff marks on the gel coat. Luckily for me, I discovered a remedy and preventative product: the MegaWare Scuff Buster Bow Guard. It has covered up most of my scuffs (see photos) and protects it from future marks. If I beat it up to the point where it looks poor (very likely!), I can replace it knowing I saved hundreds of dollars from removing scuff marks or even more with fiberglass damage.

While pursuing shallow water fish, my boat comes in contact with all sorts of obstructions just waiting to destroy my investment. Case in point is the skeg on my motor - the image shows the damage a miscalculation cost me. It is not always possible to avoid every obstacle, but avoiding this damage was. Had I installed a Skeg Guard beforehand, there would be no damage. Luckily, installing one now will cover my damage, improve performance, and add value to my motor.

I will admit that my Z8 gets a lot of second looks on the road, and I like it. It is no surprise - she’s beautiful and I keep her that way. My boat receives a scrubbing weekly with Bass Pro Shops Premium Boat & RV Wash.  Do not underestimate how a little TLC goes a long way. Not only does it keep the boat sparkling, but it helps me discover loose screws, minor scuff marks, and other miscellaneous repairs that could lead to larger issues. In addition, scrubbing seats and other hard to reach places prevent mold and mildew from growing.

No doubt you will be heading to the taxidermist several times in 2015, but be sure these moments are not at the sacrifice of your boat and wallet. Before you head out on your favorite body of water, be sure it is ready for the obstructions that await it. A minor investment and a little time can save you from thousands of dollars in damage.

Check out some of our Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats!

Thanks Andy Buss!



Hiking Boot Buyer's Guide

When To Replace Your Shoes


A pair of standard running shoes will last about 6 months. However, there are many factors that

influence how often to replace your shoes. If you use running shoes for everyday use they will not

last as long. Running in old or worn out shoes can lead to running injuries. When you run in worn-out shoes it increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints.



How to tell when to replace your running shoes


The general rule, most running shoes will last 300-400 miles depending on your height, weight and terrain you run on.  If you run on the trails you'll need to replace them sooner than running on a treadmill. If you take care of

your running shoes you will get alot more miles out of them.

The feel of the shoe will tell you before any other way. If your feet start to hurt or your knees ache it is time to replace your shoes. The soles last longer than the cushioning of the shoes. If the soles are worn down it is

definitely time to replace your shoes.




Making Your Shoes Last Longer


Removing your shoes properly will extend the life of your shoe. For example by unlacing them and using

your hand to remove them instead of kicking them of with the other foot they'll last longer.

Rotating your shoes will also extend the life of your shoe.


Check out what Bass Pro Shops holds we have a great selection on boots, crocs , sandals and even casual shoes for men and women!


Female Historical Participation in Archery!

Archery has been part of the American social fabric since the early 19th Century. Moreover, feminine participation is nothing new but rather women are responsible for weaving much of this fabric and can take credit for what it is today.


Figure 1 “New York Times November 12, 1916 from the Library of Congress digitized archives.  Top Left Circle Photo – Basket Ball 17 Year Old Girls.  Photo Below Female Archery Tournament.

(Figure 1)

The school system is the mechanism for which female participation of archery, among other sports began and thrived. Female participation was usually much higher than male participation.  Back in the early 20th century, many states instituted laws in which it was required the girls complete all four years of high school. Boys were only required to go for two years and then would either go to work or go to a trade school.  Since the majority of junior and senior classes were made up of females it created the environment in which girls participated in all sports- archery being one of them.  This high-level participation continued for over half a century until the conformity period after WWII and today it has reemerged once again at a high-level of women participation.


On the world level this participation decreased earlier than in the United States. Archery was admitted in the Olympic Games in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1920. Women competed in the 1900 and 1908 games.  Archery disappeared from the Olympics for 50 years until the Munich games in 1972.

The Great Depression and the social negative attitudes towards women during the suffrage movement also decrease the participation levels. However, because of the mechanism mentioned before at the grassroots high school level, women archery still thrived against this adversity.

What was the conformity period? From the battle field to the home front the war was an emotionally exhausting time for the world that was affected by it.  Conformity period was a way for our society to be “normal”. Moreover, communism was the new enemy and setting our culture apart from theirs- in which women were doing the same tasks as men for the sake of the motherland-was important to the American cultural attitude. Some women went back to homemaking and left the world of sporting. However, unlike many of the other sports Archery was still in large numbers done by women.



Figure 2 Library of Congress Digital Archives. Office of War Information/Farm Services Administration.

(Figure 2)

In the early 20th Century women took the center stage in the world of competition archery. For example Dorothy Smith Commings was a seven time Archery National champion in 1921, 1922, 1924-1926 and in 1931 (Figure 2).  These competitions were huge events in which newspapers across the country would report on the results and the contestants. It must be understood the time period; even simple things like taking photographs shown here was an expensive venture. The quality of these photographs is another indication on how important women Archery was to the American social fabric.  People took the sport very seriously in which many would travel great distances to watch the matches. Moreover, young men were attracted to the participants. Magazines and prints a like would use attractive images of women to attract male counterparts to sporting events.



This phenomenon kept moving forward.  Even advertisers jumped on board. The image a female shooting a bow attracted many and was-and still is-appealing. Possibly due to the image that it portrays- beauty and power (Figure 3 & Figure 4).  Also, in this late 40’s Crest Commercial here:




Figure 3

Figure 4

            Today Female Archery is still going strong. Movies like Hunger Games and Brave are not the cause of females being interested in archery, but merely a continuation of a long standing American tradition.  I invite all women- young and old alike- to stop in Bass Pro Shops and speak to one of our Archery Pros, we have girl pros too!

And of course, check out our extensive online selection of Archery on

For more further reading......


Ladies, It's Time To Get Your Skorts on!

You are probably asking yourself what is a skort and why should I put one on.  Well I will tell you.  A skort is a pair of shorts with a skirt surrounding it.  Sometimes they were called a scooter or a scant.  Skorts were developed in the 1960's when women began to play golf in large numbers.  They were developed by the famous Leon Levin as the "Q" skirt or skort.

Skorts provide you with alot of freedom to do such activities as sports, bike riding, hiking, fishing, and gardening all while giving the appearance of wearing a skirt.

Here at Bass Pro Shops we offer three brands of skorts. The first brand is our own Ascend Tech Skort.  This active skirt has hidden mesh shorts underneath made out of a combination of spandex and polyester to give you a four way stretch.


It has an UPF rating of 50 to protect you from the sun's damaging rays, moisture wicking to keep you dry, two zip pockets on the outside and one internal pocket for cash or keys.

Our second brand is also our own called World Wide Sportsman Trek Skort. The skirt part is very sleek looking and the shorts are comfortably stretchy.

It has double snap closures, two hand pockets, and front and back zip pockets.  The skirt is made of nylon and is seventeen inches long.


 Our third skort we offer is from Columbia and is called Anytime Casual Skort.  This skort resists rain and stains while protecting you from harmful UV rays.

The two way comfort stretch briefs ensure active comfort and the sides have adjustable ruching.  Pull up on the ruching to make the skirt go shorter for biking or hiking. Lengthen it back to the seventeen inches for a dressy look.


All these skorts will become your favorite summer staple in your wardrobe.  Think about how much more room will be in your suitcase because you don't need to pack both skirts and shorts. You can be as active as you want and still look dressy at the same time.  All these skorts can be found in our stores and at


Ladies, Want to Carry your Secret In Plain Sight?


Here at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World we now are carrying handbags and satchels capable of housing your favorite weapon of choice. You no longer have to leave it at home.  Concealed Carry Handbags are a logical choice for women because there are no clothing styles suitable to allow holsters to be worn on the body.  We have one handbag and two styles of satchels to choose from.  All three are made by Emperia and are made out of 600D polyester.  

Inside all three products are large main compartments for carrying all the usual things you would normally carry in a handbag or purse.  The secret to all three is a separate zippered pocket on the backside of the bags designed specifically to carry a handgun where it is readily accessible without any fumbling.  This quick draw zippered compartment holds a removable concealed holster that is attached with Velcro.  This dual zipper design provides ambidextrous access.  All three styles come with a detachable adjustable shoulder strap.

Each of these concealed carry handbags are tastefully unique in their own way and are sure to get you compliments just on their style alone.  That will certainly make you feel good, but if you think about it you really can't deny the real fact and that is  knowing you are now going to be safe in your daily travels.

These handbags can be found in our retail stores and at so go and get yourself some peace of mind.


Bring it on Jacket Season!

What is coming you ask?  Spring of course and you will need to be ready for it by updating your cool weather jacket.  Here at we have three styles in our Natural Reflection brand you will simply want.

Who wouldn't want to be warm and cozy with our Spring themed Full Zip 100% polyester soft fleece jacket.  This jacket features two secure zip pockets and a toggle adjustable hem to keep those drafts out.  The collar can stand up and it comes in five colors.  You will receive compliments when wearing it but you will also feel great about the price.  For under twenty dollars you could get more than one.  Complete the look with one of our infinity scarves.

Option number two is our Shadow Stripe Soft Shell jacket.

It comes in four muted colors so the grey stripe stands out to give you that sporty look.  It has two zip front pockets, a toggle adjustable hem, and a curved dropped back which adds detail and dimension to your silhouette.  Raglan sleeves finish off the look and also gives you enhanced mobility.

Last but certainly not least is our Essential Parka.  It is the perfect three season jacket that repels both wind and rain. The drawstring at the waist helps regulate how much you want to feel the wind.  Light weight 100% polyester is enhanced with zip and snap pockets.  The back belt and cuffs also are adorned with snaps.  The hood has adjustable draw cords to keep that wind out.  Top off your look with one of our cute Infinity scarves.



All of these jackets can be found in our stores and at

Don't hesitate come check out these jackets so you will be ready when that first warm day is here.