Lake Anna Report – April

Bass on Lake Anna

Water temperatures are approaching the 60’s and the fish are very active. All species of fish are feeding up, spawning, or getting ready to do so. The water levels on the lake have almost returned to normal and some of the “old spots” are producing. All of the Grass beds that were above the water line are now submerged and full of forage for big predators to feed on. Docks, stumps, and shallow coves will also have all kinds of activity.


As the water temps reach the mid 60’s bass can cover a lot of territory and be in several different patterns. Not all bass spawn at the same time, so it is important to try to identify what is going on in different areas. Try checking several coves that are protected from the wind with stump fields or sandy/gravel bottoms. If you locate these conditions there will be bass nearby. When targeting stump fields try a Carolina rig on 14 pound mono with a ½ ounce sinker above a barrel swivel, then attach an 18 inch 10 to 12 pound test fluorocarbon liter. Lizards, creatures, and chunky worms in reds, browns, and greens are very effective in this situation. If you have decided to target bedding fish, locate them with a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Try using a finesse rod and reel with 8 to 10 lb fishing line rigged with a weightless fluke, lizard, craw, or wacky style senko. Please be very careful with bedding fish and return them to the water as quickly as you can. They are very vulnerable and should be handled as little as possible. There are several other patterns that can produce fish, such as running crank baits over top of brush piles or humps or using suspending jerk baits in 8 to 12 feet of water. All of these techniques are great ways to catch pre spawn, spawn, post spawn bass.


Stripers will be all over the lake getting ready to spawn. The Striped bass in Lake Anna will go through a spawning ”ritual”, but are unable to actually reproduce. The lack of current inhibits oxygenation of the eggs causing extremely low survival (if any). DGIF keeps our fishery thriving with 250,000 fingerlings a year. Stripers are very active in the morning hours and late evening along with cloudy and rainy days. Try casting suspending jerk baits, Swimbaits, and flukes to shallow humps or long tapering points leading to creek channels. Live bait will also work very well with down lines and free lines. Make sure to locate the fish with your sonar and make every effort to not spook them.


Brushpiles, Grass, Beaver huts, Docks, and Rocks… All types of shallow cover will hold slabs this month… 2 inch pearl grubs and live minnows will catch the vast majority of slabs


Charlie Bowles- Fishing Guide

Pro Staff:

Bass Pro Shops

Johnny Morris Carbonlite Rods and Reels

Lowrance Electronics

Z-Man Lures



Catfishing on the James River

Congrats to Buddy Blankenship on his once in a lifetime catch! Buddy was the Grand Prize winner at our Outdoor Rewards Night this past July! He won a fishing trip on the James River with Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff – Captain John Garland. After spending all day on the water they successfully hooked an 82 blue catfish before sunset! Buddy’s catch measured 4 feet in length and a 33 inch girth!


Captain John Garland has been a member of Bass Pro Shops – Ashland, VA Pro Staff for 5 years! He has over 25 years experience fishing on the James River. If you would like to take a catfishing adventure with him, check out his website at  Captain Garland will be at our store on February 20 & 21, 2016 for our Spring Fishing Classic. He will be giving catfishing seminars at 1:00pm both days!

2014 BIG CAT QUEST Like a Pro! 


Fishing for Brown Trout in New York

Patrick Farmer from the fishing department and Michael Simon from the White River Fly Shop recently returned from a fishing trip to New York State! The destination was a small river on the South shore of Lake Ontario. They both landed some amazing brown trout!

Patrick was able to field test his Bass Pro Shops Osprey Chest waders and was impressed with their durability and construction. They used a combination of flies to land the brown trout including Chartreuse eggs, Wooly Buggers, and damsel flies. Patrick prefers to use his 8 wt. TFO fly rod when fishing for large fish and it looks like he definitely put it to the test on this adventure! We encourage you to stop by and ask them about their fishing trip. Check out a few of their catches!

Have Fly Rod, Will Travel


Fly Fishing on the Rapidan River

        On the first cool, crisp morning of the fall, Charles and I headed up the rutted road that led to the headwaters of the lovely Rapidan. Arriving at the Meeting Pool, we chatted with three visitors from Korea who had come to hike along the scenic trail that led to Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp - a short distance downhill from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

        Charles and I headed downstream at a nice, leisurely pace and breathed in the Autumn air. For the next couple of hours we took turns fishing alternate pools as we worked our way back upstream. We noticed a few mayflies here and there but no signs that the trout were actually looking up and taking them. Nonetheless we decided to fish dry flies and settled on a size 14 Stimulator as an attractive pattern that could be easily spotted by the brookies and the eyes of senior citizens as well.

        We used our favorite cane rods on this historic little river where President Hoover had fished his Hardy "Marvel". My rod was similar to Hoover's as it was 7 and a half feet long and limber and slow in action. It was made for me by Bob Nunley of Poteau, Oklahoma. Bill Harms made the 7 foot 4 inch quadrate rod that Charles chose to fish the Rapidan on this lovely day.

       We fished through the early afternoon and raised a fish or two in nearly every run, pocket and pool. Most of the beautiful little brook trout were too quick for our reflexes but we did manage to bring a couple of them to hand for a moment's admiration and a gentle release.

Come see me in the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro Shops – Ashland, VA!

Michael C. Simon

Brook Trout Basics Trout Fishing Great Smoky Mountain National Park


Summer Salmon Fishing in Alaska


         Every year in the summer months of June or July, I host a group to visit the Alagnak Lodge in the legendary Bristol Bay region of Alaska. This year my planning had a bitter sweet cloak as one of my best friends who is the marketing manager had left my and formerly his home state of Virginia to move to Kuwait. His wife had accepted an offer to join a pediatric group there and he will continue to be a stay at home parent. He tried valiantly to arrange a schedule for our annual visit but at the last minute was unable to make it.

          This year’s group now consisted of a father with an adult daughter from Virginia and two friends from the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. One of these two guys owns Despedida Lodge. Trust me that’s a long ways to come to go fishing! I could only hope they would think this arduous amount of travel was worth the effort! I had completed the planning for the group to meet in Anchorage and travel from there to King Salmon where we boarded a chartered float plane for the half hour ride over the tundra to the lodge. All went well and we all enjoyed a low calm flight where we saw nesting swans and some groups of the young born earlier.

         Once at the lodge we were shown to our rooms where the guides had placed the luggage while we were provided lunch and a brief introduction to the planned fishing periods. We assembled gear and gathered at the dock. It was explained in pre-trip letters that we would be targeting Chum (Dog) Salmon during our week. This species is known for its explosive strikes and strong, long runs. We attached short four foot 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader to the floating fly lines. The guides provided and tied on their own versions of flies that were pink, purple and mylar blend flash material with loop knots that allowed the flies to articulate. The guide selected a sand bar a short distance from the dock still in view of the lodge and anchored. 

         Alagnak guides performed brief but necessary boat safety explanations then make suggestions about casting weighted flies in the company of others! This is one case when a tight loop is not proper! The fishermen have a choice of casting from the boat or wading on a hard sand bottom in three feet of water. The fish are constantly coming across the sand bar in waves….wave, after wave, after wave. This is great fun for the fishers that are paired. Double hook ups are very, very common. The cast is made at 45 degrees downstream and the fly is allowed to swing in the current until below the angler then left to sway in the current a bit before a slow erratic retrieve.

           During our visit the third week in July the King Salmon (Chinook) should have completed their run….those trolling incoming tides using very stout boat rods with wobbling lures were still catching very large bright fish! Sockeye Salmon (Red Salmon) were still around but not in great numbers. An early Silver (Coho Salmon) was caught the day we departed, early for that run. All salmon species on the Alagnak were long and strong. This river is legendary in supporting species and good upriver Rainbow Trout fishing as well. Fly outs were available daily but no one felt they were needed with what was right at the lodge!

          The steps (48) from the lodge to river seemed a bit steeper this year as I am dangerously close to 8 decades use of life’s calendar. I plan to be there next year and already have a few committed to the group.  If all goes as I plan it I will be returning to Nicaragua for a demonstration to guides of the Rio Indio Lodge.  The New Guinea trip for this November is ALMOST the bottom of my bucket list…we shall see?

Stop by The White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA for all your Fly Fishing needs!

  -Harry Robertson

 Pro Staff at Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA                                                                    

A busted trip to Nicaragua Fly Fishing on the Big Hole River in Montana


Fly Fishing on the Big Hole River in Montana


       I was asked several months ago by two brothers who are good friends from California to find a lodge for us to fly fish with no international travel involved. There were stipulations besides the travel. Three full days of guided fishing, and a lodge that would accept and store carefully a case of wine sent before we arrived. I knew just the place, Five Rivers Lodge in Dillon, Montana.

      Five Rivers Lodge is located near legendary rivers such as the Beaverhead, Ruby and Big Hole so that with short drives from the lodge daily floats are easily accessed. The lodge is owned by my friends, a married couple Jay Burgin and Mary Jaque. The have managed and orchestrated the expansions of the property for over thirty years, and still strive daily with the guests’ comfort and expectations their goal.  Jay retired some years ago from developing real estate properties. Mary is a priest who works when called by the local churches as need during the winter months.

      Upon arrival from the Bozeman, Montana airport about an hour away we were ushered to a comfortable, well-appointed room with a stunning view of five mountain ranges in the distance. Each room has a private bath, and opens onto a deck we often enjoyed during cocktail hour. The lodge has the capacity to receive 25 guests.

      Each day of our stay started with a coffee at the ready well before the breakfast gathering of the guests. Fresh fruit, a variety of juices and cereals served in buffet style. Jay handles the kitchen requests with eggs, pancakes and French toast cooked to order for each guest.

       After breakfast we walked by a counter with an array of choices for packing lunch. After making sandwiches and adding choices like boiled eggs, fruits and homemade cookies the assembled meal was packed in plastic boxes, names added. The boxes were picked up by the guides and housed in coolers with a selection of beverages.

        The guides arrive at 8:00 A.M. Jay has an inventory of guides that he can rely on to deliver the type experience guests expect. Each guide will entertain two guests each, and arrives towing a drift bat or zodiac styled craft for the days float trip.

       Water levels were low in the area that had suffered minimal run off from the surrounding mountain ranges in the spring. Our guides selected sections of river, and we stopped to arrange the ferrying service for the truck, buy licenses. We launched and floated, and would find the truck waiting downstream at the prearranged take out. We were told right the first day…you missed the Salmon Fly hatch. I have always missed the Salmon Fly hatch on my trips out west. It is a calendar lottery that I do not attempt to win. We enjoyed fine days casting to the shoreline of the Big Hole with dry flies. Flies that worked well were the Kaufman Stimulator, Dark Elk Hair Caddis, and PMD and Yellow Sally imitations of various colors, all small size 12 delivered on 6 lb. leaders 9’0 long. I found those with 9’0 medium fast tipped rods were able to accomplish the necessary mend for longer fly drifts and rewarded with more strikes. The fishing was best in the afternoons when natural hatches began to show in great numbers. We caught adequate numbers to hold our interest of Browns and Rainbows with a few White Fish. Few fish were under 12” and some over 16”.

         In the afternoon at the conclusion of fishing we would journey back to the lodge to freshen up then gather to be regaled with tales from Jay and other guests about their day, Lyndon is always a pleasant time. I visit many lodges during a year in many countries. I can assure you the evening meal accompanied by lodge selection of wines is as fine as any I have enjoyed.

          On the last day of our stay before leaving the lodge I booked the same period for 2016, and have inked it on my suspense calendar. The two brothers who accompanied me are agreed and several from the Richmond, Virginia area have opted to join me. If any of you would like to enjoy the hypnotism of the beauty of the area and consummate care of this lodge please get in touch by visiting the information to reach me at   WWW.HANOVERFLY.COM

I wish no wind knots for you all,                                                                        

Harry Robertson                                                                                                                                                                                    Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA – Pro Staff


If You Struggle With Musky, Then Read This!


Muskellunge, or Musky, is quickly becoming one of Virginia’s premier game fish species.  They can grow to enormous sizes, occasionally exceeding the 50 inch range and well over 30 pounds.  They are known to be a very difficult target. Due to their diverse diet, it can be difficult to trick one of these large predators into eating.  Musky by nature are also a very curious fish because they will often follow lures without ever striking.  Virginia hosts some of the best Musky fishing on the East Coast. Virginia’s relatively stable climate allows for nearly year-round fishing for Musky. The best time to target Musky is in the spring, early summer, fall and early winter. As long as the water isn’t frozen over, Musky can be caught in the rivers and lakes they call home.

                In the early spring, Musky fishing is usually as good as it gets. As the waters begin to warm up, the fish are preparing to spawn and feed heavily on just about anything they can find.  This is the time of year when most Bass anglers begin to catch Musky on Bass lures while targeting Smallmouth.  Targeting Musky in the spring can be relatively easy.  Look for shallow water close to ledges with quick access to deep water nearby.  Musky like current breaks as well as any other structure they can use as an ambush point.  Eddies, riffles, laydowns as well as emerging weed beds are all great locations to focus on.  In the spring you don’t typically have to throw as large of a lure as you would in the fall or early winter.  7-10” jerk baits, swim baits and medium sized Musky inline spinners and spinner baits are great options for spring fishing as well as into early summer. 

                Summer fishing for Musky can be tough, but it can also be very productive. Smaller fish typically make up most of the catch, but larger Musky are still rather common in the summer months.  Summer is when many Musky anglers try to target these fish on the surface.  Large torpedo style lures, walking baits, or buzz baits are the best options for top water Musky.  During the heat of the day, Musky will be looking for the coolest water they can find.  This means they will be looking for shade in the form of overhanging trees, as well as in submerged weed beds.  Deep water fishing is typically the most productive daytime summer tactic. To fish deep for Musky, large inline spinners are a great option to generate vibration for the fish to locate the lure in the deep dark water.  Another great option is a heavy bulldog style lure or large soft plastic tubes and grubs weighted heavily to get to the bottom.  Live bait is also a common tactic in the summer. Baits are rigged on circle hooks and dropped into the deep holes.

                Fall and early winter is a favorite time for Musky anglers.  This is when the larger Musky fishing is at its best.  As the water cools off, the Musky target larger bait in order to fatten up for the coming winter months.  Heavier gear is typically needed for throwing the larger baits that Musky seem to prefer in the fall.  Large 10”+ swim baits, large double bladed inline spinners and large 10”+ bulldogs are often the baits of choice.  Live bait is also a great option this time of year. The fish are typically in or near their spring time locations, but the larger fish certainly seem to favor the deeper water in the fall.

                Winter fishing for Musky can be slow, but it is often a favorite for many Musky anglers.  The winter isn’t known for producing a lot of fish, but it is known for producing large fish.  Many anglers will go days without catching a Musky in the winter, but when they are caught, they are large. Most of the winter Musky catches exceed the 40” mark. Live bait is often the best option in the winter due to the lethargic nature of the fish.  Some fish are caught on large tubes and soft plastics hopped slowly along the bottom in the deep water.

                Most of Virginia’s Musky water is located in the western part of the state. The upper James River, Shenandoah River, and New River are all great places to target the fish of 1000 casts. Rigging for Musky isn’t too difficult.  A large bait caster set up, capable of throwing at least 4oz. lures is best. Reels should be spooled with at least 50 pound test braided line.  A leader of at least 50 pound test fluorocarbon is a great addition due to how Musky follow lures. The clear fluorocarbon will prevent them from seeing the line, and will increase the chances of a hookup.  Rods need to be at least 7 feet, that way when a curious Musky follows a lure to the boat, the angler can effectively “figure 8” the lure beside the boat in a last effort to trigger a strike from the fish.    

Musky have earned the nickname “The Fish of 1000 Casts” for a reason.  They can be frustrating at times to say the least, but that is what makes them such a great sport fish. They require some time and effort, but that is what makes them such a rewarding fish to target.  There are few feelings in fishing that are greater than landing a trophy Musky, and Virginia has many options year-round to target these elusive fish. Don’t forget to stop by Bass Pro Shops to pick up all the essentials for your next trip to target Musky!


And check out our online selection of fishing gear:


Tight Lines,

Grant Alvis

Fishing Associate 

Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA



A Trout Fishing Rod and Reel Setup You Can Be Proud Of


             I recently went trout fishing with my father at Cedar Springs in Rural Retreat, Virginia and I had the opportunity to field test some fishing gear.

        The rod I used was the Browning 7 ft. Air Stream Ultra-Light Spinning Rod.  This rod is perfect for trout and panfish because it is lightweight and supersensitive.  It has a High-strength HTSC20 blank, stainless steel guides, premium Fuji reel seat and rubberized cork with a split-grip handle.  The reel I used was the Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite #10. It has a 7-bearing system, powerlock instant anti-reverse, double-anodized-aluminum spool, machined-aluminum handle and 5.2:1 ratio.  Understanding ratios and what it means is very easy.  The number before the colon is the number of rotations the spool makes per one complete turn of the reel’s handle.  So a 5.2:1 ratio means the spool revolves 5.2 times with each handle turn.  The larger the first number, the more line retrieved on each turn.  The Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite has about 20” IPT or (Inches per Turn) the amount of line reeled in with each full rotation of the handle.  The line I used was the XPS Fluorocarbon 6lb. which is perfect for freshwater spinning or baitcasting.  It has unparalleled abrasion resistance, and is virtually invisible under water.

          I used two different types of bait during my fishing trip.  The first bait I used was a Black Wooly Bugger Fly that was tied by our associates in the Fly Fishing Department.  The second bait I used was the BPS Gold Nitro Spinner bait which is compared to the Mepps #2 Gold Spinner.

        We fished from early morning to about mid-day, and the weather was nice about mid 80s and warm.  We caught about 20 total trout between my father and me.  About 6 were on the fly and the other 14 were on the gold spinner bait.  Overall the fishing trip was a success.  The reel did really well with the drag, and the rod had nice action to it.  I would recommend this rod and reel to anyone because it was successful and performed well.

        Stop by Bass Pro Shops Ashland, VA to talk with me about my trip, and feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you may have.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Gear Review submitted by:

Patrick Farmer

Fishing Team Lead – Bass Pro Shops, Richmond, VA

Spring Trout Fishing Give Me 45 Minutes -- And I'll Show Unbelievable Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo



Summer Fun In The Sun

Does packing for summer vacations overwhelm you? We all know how easy it is to forget something or not know exactly what to bring on your trip. Bass Pro Shops has everything you need for your summer vacation. Here are a few tips and must have items that are perfect for your vacation plans this summer.  


Don’t forget your Banana Boat sunscreen to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.  It is important to consider sunscreen (SPF) or Sun Protection Factor. An SPF of 15 will block about 94% of the UVB rays, an SPF of 30 will block about 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF of 45 will block about 98% of rays. It’s best to apply sunscreen to dry skin fifteen minutes prior to going outdoors. It is good to reapply every two hours or follow the directions on the manufacturer’s bottle.  Another good tip to remember when purchasing sunscreen is that broad spectrum sunscreen not only protects from UVB rays, but it also protects from UVA rays.


What better way to relax on vacation then to sit down and enjoy the view? We have a variety of chairs in our camping department that are perfect for all occasions.

Sun Shade

Ever feel like you need a break from the sun? Well, we have the perfect solution for that. The Bass Pro Instant Shade Shelter can be used at just about any location and is easy to assemble. It has a water-resistant polyester roof and side panels that offer great shade protection. There are also large mesh panels that offer a nice breeze to come through. A carrying bag and stakes are included. The size of the shelter is 9”L x 5”11”D x 5”2”H and it weighs about 5lbs.


We carry a variety of cooler brands including Bass Pro Shops, Coleman, Igloo, and YETI. New for 2015 is Igloo’s Super Tough STX-120 Chest Cooler priced at $154.99.  The STX-120 is made in the USA, comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty, and is rated at 5-day ice retention at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


Towels are a must have when surrounded by water. We have a large selection of beach towels including Bass Pro, Browning, Red Head, Guy Harvey and Salt Life.


What better way to protect your eyes from the sun then a nice pair of sunglasses? We offer a variety of brands including Costa Del Mar, Maui Jim, Oakley, Wiley X, Under Armor, Ray Bands, Salt Life, XPS, Spy Optics, Body Glove, Strike King, Ironman Triathlon, Native Eyewear, and Smith Optics.  The Costa Blackfin 580P Polarized Sunglasses are a staple of any fisherman.  The polycarbonate lenses deliver quality eye protection and crisp vision in any conditions. You have to wear them to see and believe the difference! Costa lenses come in many colors for various light conditions.

Costa Lenses:

  • Blue Mirror Encapsulated mirrors deliver superior contrast and color in full sun and eliminate glare (gray base).
  • Amber Excellent all-around lens delivers the brightest field of vision.
  • Gray Maintains color saturation and natural contrast in medium to bright sun conditions.
  • Copper Cuts glare and enhances contrast and color in all conditions.
  • Green Mirror Encapsulated mirrors enhance visual acuity and eliminate glare (copper and amber base).
  • Silver Mirror Encapsulated mirrors enhance visual acuity and eliminate glare (copper and amber base).

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses on


Floats are a perfect way to kick back and relax in the water. Whether you want to lie down or sit up, we have the perfect floats for you. The Intex 18 Pocket Suntanner Pool Lounge is a perfect float for lying down and relaxing around the pool and they come in two different colors. We also have tubes and kids wings available that provide comfort and safety for the summer.

Swim Goggles

Whether you’re swimming laps in the pool or exploring the coastline, we have you covered!  Speedos Vanquisher Mirrored goggles are comfortable to wear and mirrored design helps reduce brightness and glare on the water.  The hypo-allergenic, anti-fog lenses offer UV protection of 95+ and are PVC and latex free. For those looking to explore underwater, check out the Agua Lung Sport Magellan Purge Silicone Swim Mask.  This mask is loaded with great features including a double-window design with tempered glass lenses.  This is a mask you will want to take your next snorkeling adventure.

Swim Wear

The Bass Pro Shops Stripe Swim Shorts for men are 100% polyester allowing them to dry fast and be comfortable on the beach or on the boat! For ladies, we also have Natural Reflections bikini’s and tankini bathing suits.

Water Toys

Water toys are perfect to keep kids busy and entertained. We have a wide variety of water toys that can be for all ages. There are different toys such as Swim Way Toypedo’s, the Stream Machine Water Gun, and the Swim Ways Battle Reef Micros and Shark toys.



When you head to the water, don’t forget your footwear!  We have a great selection of men’s and women’s sandals!  The women’s Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 are very popular. The footbed is even made from real yoga mat with a rubber outsole! They are available in several colors and patterns.

Spending time outdoors with your family or friends is a great way to relax and visit new destinations! Whatever your plans are this summer, remember to bring along the fun!

Off the Rack Sunglasses Versus Costa Del Mar Protect Yourself


A busted trip to Nicaragua


Left: Harry Robertson with fishing guide Santos Duarte, after landing a Machaca fish. Right: Rainbow Bass


          My return to Rio Indo Lodge on Nicaragua’s southern border had been on my schedule for many months. I plan very far in advance any tropical trip where water levels are seasonally high and low.

          This is to ensure the targeted species have been forced from the freedom to roam over thousands of square miles of jungle making a fishing nightmare next to impossible to find numbers of fish.

          This May, I had pushed the envelope forward a bit in the prime time low water weeks in deference to the lodge’s many visiting guests, all with the same hopes of perfect jungle fishing conditions in the local rivers and lagoons.

          I was traveling with two friends who are seasoned anglers, realizing how infrequently the conditions are mercurial not always what we hope for. We were not surprised at a cloud cover encountered as we climbed out to reach our assigned altitude. We were all excited about the aspect of the next few days. Our departure was from San Jose, Costa Rica anticipating a brief thirty minute charter to the lodge. As we descended we were quite low when we dropped through the cloud cover within sight of the runway in rainy conditions.

          We cleared the ritualistic customs routine and were met by the staff of guides, and boarded a roofed panga style boat for the ten minute transfer to the lodge in the pouring rain.

          We were told that the weather was really unseasonable with gusty winds night and day from the east that pushed the tides into the river mouth as they flush into the Caribbean Sea carrying the food source the Tarpon gather for, this time of year. This wave action also does not allow the water levels in the jungle to drop as anticipated. This actually stops the jungle fishing dead in its tracks.

          Now what to do with several days of dubious fishing potential while we were all held captive by Mother Nature and daily thunderstorms, la bruja (the witch)!

          Several years ago the owner of the lodge had asked me to bring the staff up to date on fly fishing. I fashioned a daily schedule that included continuing the in depth explanation of the guides’ needed attitude and behavior when attending fly fishers. We had practice sessions of actual casting with explanation. The weather was no better for our entire stay so I searched to find constructive fun small trips to explain different casts and what they would be used for. Jungle fishing often requires casting in tight restrictive circumstances. A decent roll cast is needed more often than the straight overhead casting strike we all become adequate in performing.

          Afternoons consisted of a lunch, a nap, and then some writing on the notes for a book that I seem to never be satisfied with about the dissection and executing of fly casting arm and body movements.

          After dinner each evening I kept up with E-mails about forthcoming trips spaced as far as a year to worldwide locations. I spent copious amounts of time with the owner as we planned advertising, shows, and lodge improvements.

         On the fifth day, we departed quite early for a charter to San Jose then later in the day a flight to the United States. I felt satisfied that I and the participants had not wasted our time at the lodge. The catch numbers were not great but they had learned how to fish the jungle and had caught some fish. We had good fellowship with all offering genuine suggestions for improvements to the lodge and livery of boats.

Our trip was busted but not our spirit or the will to rain…and as we departed, yes, it was raining!

Til next time!

Harry Robertson

Pro Fly Fishing Staff, Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA

Hanover Fly Fishers

Fly Fishing in Central America by Harry Robertson January Report   April's Report

Bass Pro Shops, Richmond's Maintenance Manager Mike with a Tarpon from a previous trip to the Rio Indio Lodge.


Food Plot 101


         Building a food plot sounds a lot easier than it actually is. You must know what to plant, where to plant, and when to plant. Those three things are very crucial when wanting to have a successful food plot for the deer. If you are having trouble with your food plot or would like to start one, here are a few tips on how to get your food plot looking better than ever.

         First, it all depends on what you want to plant in your food plot. However what you want to plant is not always suitable for your local environment.

        Next, you want to figure out where you’re going to put your food plot. Depending on the deer density, plots should be about 1 to 2 acres in size.

        Lastly, you want to know when it is good to plant your seeds. If they are not planted at the correct time of the year, they may not produce to their best quality.

        Listed below are some examples of crops to plant in your food plot, and how to get them growing perfect for the deer.


        Buckwheat is an easy-to-grow, warm seasoned plant that grows best in sandy soils. It can be planted with cowpeas, grain sorghum, soybeans or it can be planted alone. There is little to no seedbed preparation, but when the seedbed is prepared there is a higher chance of success for the seed. The best time to plant is in the spring, but it can also be planted in July or August. Buckwheat performs well in a cool, moist environment and is best suited for the Northeast or Upper Midwest, but it can be planted in the south. This plant is relatively short-lived, and it will provide some temporary forage benefits for the deer. The best way to plant this seed is by broadcasting or drilling 1 to 2 inches deep. If seeded in a pure stand, broadcast buckwheat at 50 to 60 lbs. /acre or 30 to 40 lbs. /acre when using a grain drill. Test soil to see how much fertilizer to use. This is a fast growing plant, and it is good for early bow season.


         Alyceclover is a warm seasoned, annual legume that is usually used in pastures as livestock forage or it is managed for hay production. This plant does not tolerate wet soil conditions, and its best production occurs in sandy loam to clay soils. This plant is moderately preferred when wanting to attract deer. This plant is very good with drought tolerance and can go days without needed water. When planting this seed it is always important to test the soil, but with this plant it does not need nitrogen fertilizer because it produces its own. When broadcasting, create a smooth and firm planting surface because this promotes optimal germination. When no-till planting, kill the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate weed competition. This should be done a couple of weeks prior to planting. If planting pure stands, broadcast 20 lbs. /acre or drill 10 to 12 lbs. /acre at a maximum depth of 1/4- to 1/2-inch. The best time to plant is April to June in the southern regions, and May to June in the northern regions. In conclusion, this plant is excellent in providing nice summer forage for the local deer.


         Corn is a warm seasoned grass that produces grain on the ears that grow along the stem. This plant is a great source of energy for the deer, especially in the fall and early winter. It also makes good bedding and thermal cover for the deer if left not harvested. Corn does best when planted in very fertile soils, and it prefers well-drained, loamy soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Corn does not handle droughts well, and it does better when there is a lot of rainfall. One downside of corn is that it does not compete well with weeds. A good solution to this problem is to use Round Up Ready Corn because it can control the weeds without damaging the corn. The best time to plant corn is mid-March in the south, April in the middle part of the country, and May in more of the northern climates. When planting the seed it is good to make sure that the temperature of the soil is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can plant the seed by using conventional tillage and planting it in rows, or you can use broadcasting in a prepared seedbed. During no-till drilling, the corn is normally planted at a rate of 5 to 10lbs. /acre, but when broadcasting the corn is normally planted at a rate of 10lbs. /acre. The seeds do best when they are about an inch deep and cultipacked after planting.  Corn requires for the soil to be very fertile, and it is a big nitrogen user. Since corn needs to be in very fertile soil it is good to not plant the corn in the same field in two or more consecutive years. Corn is an excellent plant to use when wanting to attract deer.


Black-eyed pea pods on plant in Hong Kong.jpg

           Cowpeas (black-eyed peas) are a warm seasoned legume that originated from Ethiopia, and has widely adapted to soils and climate conditions all throughout the country. They are extremely drought tolerant and good for the south. Cowpeas can produce in excess about 8,000 pounds of quality forage per year. It is good to have the plot size at least 1 acre depending on the deer density. It’s important to remember to test the soil so that you know how much lime and fertilizer to apply. When broadcast seeding, remember to have a smooth and firm planting surface free of any debris. When no-till planting, make sure to get rid of the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate any weed competition. It is good to plant about 70 to 80 lbs. /acre if broadcasting, and cover the seed about an inch by lightly disking. If you are drilling the seed, plant approximately 40 to 50 lbs. /acre. It is good to start planting Cowpeas around mid-April in the south, and in the north they should be planted starting in late May or early June. Cowpeas are an excellent way to change things up in your food plot and attract more deer.

          These are just a few examples of things you can plant in your food plot. A few other crops include Grain Sorghum, Lablab, Soybeans, Sugar Beets and many more. If you would like more information on food plotting, check out the two links below. One link will take you to the QDMA website and the other will take you to the Bass Pro Hunting 365 website. June is QDMA donation month at Bass Pro Shops, so make sure to make your donation at your local Bass Pro Shops to help improve wildlife habitat, and ensure healthy deer populations for future generations!

Resources: Food Plots Planting Spring Food Plots

Check out Bass Pro Shops assortment of Food Plot and Land Management Products!

QDMA articles

Bass Pro Shops Hunt365 "United We Hunt"

Photo Credits:

Wikipedia commons


Shad Fishing: Quickly and Easily

        Shad fishing becomes popular in Virginia’s rivers every spring. Once the temperatures reach the mid to high 40’s is when they will start showing up in Virginia’s rivers. Right now is the perfect time to begin Shad fishing and there is only about a month left. There are two primary species of Shad, Hickory and American Shad. The Hickory is more common and usually will show up in the water first. It is known for its speed and big jumps out of the water. The American Shad will appear about one to two weeks later, and they are a lot bigger in size. Unfortunately, the American Shad are illegal to keep in the state of Virginia because of the declining numbers over the years. The Shad usually appear in the James River first, and then begin to move up north throughout the weeks.

       There are a few different ways to attract these fish. One of the most popular ways is with the traditional spinning gear. With a 5 to 6 foot light action rod and a 1500 to 2500 size reel spooled with 2 to 8 pound line, it will be all that is needed to catch the right Shad fish. Make sure that the rod has fast action and a real smooth drag because it will be beneficial catching the Shad fish. The most popular lure used for Shad fishing is shad darts and small colored spoons. An easy way to rig these is tying a shad dart or spoon under a barrel swivel with about 16 to 20 inches of a leader. Next, above the barrel swivel slide a 1/8oz. inline weight onto the main line and attach the mainline to the top of the swivel, then peg the egg weight to prevent it from sliding. This allows the fishermen to have enough weight so that they can cast the lure, but it is also still light enough to allow the bait to drift and float naturally with the current. Begin by making a long cast across or with the current, and then allow the rig to sink. Then begin making slow retrieves with an occasional pull because that will start to ignite the strikes. Change up the retrieve throughout the fish to find out what is working best for that day.

      Shad like to stay in different places throughout the rivers. The most common place to find Shad is a current break. Different things such as wing damns, channel turns, islands, bridge pilings and obstructions on the bottom can all cause eddies in the current. These eddies are what the Shad like to hold in because they can rest without having to swim constantly. Shad usually flood the rivers and you can catch them most anywhere during the spawn, but focusing on areas like these will give you the best chance. Tide is also a large player in Shad fishing. Personally, I have always had better luck when the tide is moving. Shad do not seem to move around much on a slack tide, and the best bite is usually right after the tide change. The Shad utilize the tide in their spawn as it helps them move up and down the rivers with ease.

      These fish can be a lot of fun to catch, and when their season is in full swing, it is not uncommon to have about 100+ fish days. Some good things about Shad fishing is that it is inexpensive and you can really enjoy catching a ton of hard fighting fish. I hope that this information was beneficial, and be sure to make a trip to Bass Pro Shops to gather all your supplies for your fishing trips. 

Good luck with your Shad fishing!



Fall Flannel Fest


              Flannel Fest has been extended through November 23rd!  We love flannel at Bass Pro Shops!  It makes you feel nice and cozy on a chilly fall day.  We carry a wide variety of flannel and brands in our store. We have RedHead, Ascend, Natural Reflections, Bob Timberlake, Carhartt, and Columbia Sportswear! One of our favorites is the RedHead Ultimate Flannel Shirt! Made of 100% cotton combed yarns it resists pilling and is virtually shirk-free! It’s on sale right now starting at $19.97 (November 10-23) Reg. price starting at 24.99. With eight different colors to choose from there is one for everybody!  Redhead Flannel-Lined Jeans start at just $39.99!

          Natural Reflections has a great selection of flannel for women!  Flannel shirts start at $24.99.  Natural Reflections Flannel-Lined Jeans or Twill Pants for $44.99!



          If being decked out in flannel from head to toes is not enough for you, we also have Redhead Flannel lined Insulated Waterproof boots for men and women! The RedHead All-Season Classic II is only $49.99 with the options of lace-up, pull-on, or zip-on!



         Our camping department also has a wide variety of Flannel lined sleeping bags! The Bass Pro Shops 0º Oversized Duckcloth Sleeping Bag is our most popular bag with hunters. Our premium rectangular bag is thickly packed with 6 lbs. of hollow fiber insulation. The 10-oz. cotton duckcloth shell and cotton flannel lining ensure years of warmth and enjoyment.

The Bass Pro Shops 0º Oversized Duckcloth Sleeping Bag is $99.99 and measures (40" X 84").

Bass Pro Shops -20º Oversized Duckcloth Sleeping Bag is also available for those really cold nights and is only $119.99.  The -20º Sleeping back is packed with 7.5 lbs of hollow fiber insulation.

Our associates have really enjoyed wearing our flannel on these cold days!

Use hashtag #FlannelFest to show us your favorite flannel on Facebook or Twitter!

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Santa’s Wonderland 2014

     It’s that magical time of year again at Bass Pro Shops! Santa Claus will arrive at our store on Saturday November 15th at 5:00pm on his bass boat, and greet all the nice boys and girls! After spreading some Christmas cheer outside and with some encouragement, Santa will enter our store and light our Christmas tree! The unveiling of Santa’s Wonderland will then take place with FREE 4x6 photos and crafts beginning at 6:00pm and lasting until 8:00pm!

          Our convenient Bass Pass system will help reduce your wait time. A Bass Pass provides a designated time during the day to return to Santa's Wonderland® for your photo with Santa. Once you have a Bass Pass, you have the freedom to explore the store while waiting in a virtual line until your designated Bass Pass return time arrives. When it's time to return, line up and get ready to share your Christmas wishes with good ole St. Nick. This is why you may not see long lines in Santa's Wonderland, because our Bass Pass system is in place with several people ahead of you in their own virtual line. Bass Passes are available on a first come, first served basis each day. For your convenience, Mondays-Thursdays are typically days with shorter wait times to see Santa.

           There will be FREE crafts, games, and activities to enjoy with your family! Our FREE Crafts* vary by week so you may want to visit more than once! *All Crafts are while supplies last and only available on the dates listed below.

November 15 – Gingerbread Stocking    

November 16-23 – Decorate a Stuffed Reindeer                                                                                            

November 24-30 – Color a Plaster Ornament                                                                                               

December 1-7 – Decorate a Foam Bird Ornament                                                                                          

December 8-14 – Decorate a Santa Bobber Craft                                                                                     

December 15-21 – Decorate a Stick Soldier Ornament                                                                               

December 22-24 Decorate a Large, Iced Cookie


           Please remember this is a busy time of year for Mr. Claus as he prepares his naughty and nice list! All of his elves will be working diligently over the coming days to prepare for his big night ahead! Santa has been kind enough to set aside several hours each day to visit us and take photos! See the schedule below for hours and dates Santa’s Wonderland is open.

Visit for more details and information about our Santa’s Wonderland Event!

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2014 Halloween Event – It’s The Great Pumpkin!

          Please join us at Bass Pro Shops in Ashland, VA for our annual Halloween Event!  Our Halloween activities are recommended for kids 12 and under. We have FREE 4x6 photos with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all their friends!  Put on your Halloween costume and come create some great memories with us. The first 100 kids to get a free photo (Monday through Friday from 5pm to 8pm) will receive a FREE pair of glow-in-the-dark glasses!

         We also have FREE fun crafts for kids!  We will have a Stuffed Owl to decorate Monday through Friday from 5pm to 8pm, and there will be a felt Jack-O-Lantern refrigerator magnet to create on Saturday October 25th & Sunday October 26th   from Noon-5pm!  We will also have FREE Lucy Coloring Sheets during the event!

        There will be a scavenger hunt throughout the store on Saturday October 25th & Sunday October 26th from 1-2pm and 3-4pm. We will have a special surprise for all the kids that find all the Halloween Creatures in our store!

       Halloween Night, we will have a costume parade around the store beginning at 6pm! Costume parade participants will receive a FREE Owl Drawstring bag! One winner from the parade will be selected for best costume, and will receive a $10.00 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card! We will also have real miniature pumpkins to decorate from 4-8pm on Halloween night only!

*All crafts and giveaways are while supplies last.

Schedule of Activities by date and time.

October 24th through October 31st

Oct 24:  5-8pm FREE Crafts and 4x6 Photo

Oct 25:  Noon-5pm FREE Crafts and Photo

                Scavenger Hunt 1-2pm & 3-4pm

Oct 26:  Noon-5pm FREE Crafts and Photo

                Scavenger Hunt 1-2pm & 3-4pm

Oct 27:  5-8pm FREE Crafts and 4x6 Photo

Oct 28:  5-8pm FREE Crafts and 4x6 Photo

Oct 29:  5-8pm FREE Crafts and 4x6 Photo

Oct 30:  5-8pm FREE Crafts and 4x6 Photo


Oct 31 Halloween Night!

4-8pm FREE Crafts! Decorate a real Pumpkin*

4-8pm Trick or Treating* (Candy Baskets in 5 Departments)

5-8pm FREE 4x6 Photo

6pm Costume Parade

*While supplies last. - Bass Pro Shops, Ashland, VA (Richmond)


(c) Peanuts Worldwide LLC


A Simple Guide to a Smoked Pork Picnic


2014 BIG CAT QUEST Like a Pro!

The Big Cat Quest - Saturday March 15, 2014

The Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest is an annual nationwide catfish tournament with big prizes and tough competition.  The tournaments are located in several cities and take place throughout the year, with a championship event in the fall.

Captain John Garland, Bass Pro Staffer, arrived at Jordan Point Marina at 4:30am to put his boat in the water.  After arriving at the perfect spot, the fishing lines were in the water by 6:00am. It was a very cold morning with a water temperature of 48 degrees Farenheit. The rain was unrelenting with the tide going out and the wind coming in making it difficult to maintain the boat’s position.  Luckily Captain Garland was outfitted with his Bass Pro Shops 100mph Gore-tex rain suit to keep him dry!  The lines were set at a depth of 25 to 45 feet of water. Nearly 4 hours would pass before the first fish was landed, a massive 43.3 lb blue catfish for 3rd place on the hour.  Captain Garland credits his great equipment set up for making it easy to land the big blue cat.  He was using  80 lb Magibraid line. The rod and reel combo used were an Offshore Angler™ Offshore Extreme™ Conventional Kingfish Rod and Offshore Angler™ Ocean Master® 4000 Round Casting Reel.

Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA would like to thank all the anglers that participated in the 2014 Big Cat Quest on the James River.   Special thanks go out to Ken Freeman for putting on another great tournament!

Captain Garland will be looking forward to the 2015 Big Cat Quest next spring!

John Garland is the Captain of Screaming Reel Fishing Charter in Chesterfield, VA. Captain Garland has been a Pro Staffer at Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA for 3 years. He is a Master Angler and has over 25 years of cat fishing experience on the James River.


Submitted by John Gardner                                                                                                                                

John Gardner is the Special Events Coordinator at Bass Pro Shops, Richmond VA.  



Fishing in May

This month usually offers more stable weather than the previous months and allows anglers to catch fish using many different approaches. At least a third of the fish have spawned and the subsequent spawns will happen within the next couple weeks. Some fish will be very aggressive as they are feeding or protecting their beds & fry, while others will be nearly impossible to catch because they are recovering from all of the stresses of laying eggs, fishing pressure, etc.


Bass spawn at different times during the spring. By the first week or so in May the early big fish spawns are finishing and the early stages of post spawn fishing are revealed. There will still be a couple waves of spawning but the playing field is changing. There will be fish that are thinking about going back to their summer brush piles and ledges but they haven’t quite made it out of the spawning grounds.  These fish will be roaming around on the flats and will get very hungry whenever they recover from the stress of reproducing.  My three favorite baits to find these fish are lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and poppers. Spinnerbaits are also a good choice, especially in areas with sparse vegetation.  Since you are looking for transitional fish you are trying to cover a lot of water between the spawning areas and the summer hangouts. Once you get a couple strikes in an area you can slow down and present jigs, worms, or tubes to some of their nearby friends.


Nothing compares to seeing a 35” inch striper crush a 10” shad on the surface, except for casting your super spook right on top of it..twitch..twitch..WHAM!!! On the right morning or late in the evening you can run into some of the most impressive feeding action available in fresh water. This Month, Big Stripers will begin to transition to main lake areas. They will feed heavily throughout the month on larger baits. If you miss the early morning action you will have to pull out to the deeper flats and channel edges to troll crankbaits, swimbaits and bucktails. If you are equipped with a nice bait well and are proficient at catching bait, you can use free lines, planar boards, and down lines to target Lake Anna Linesiders.


Nice size slabs can be found all over the lake. Bridges, docks, brush piles, beaver huts, and grass are home to thousands of Crappie. Many citations have been taken in the last couple of weeks.... One method is to try casting grubs, tubes, and beetle spins as close to whatever cover you are targeting. Another approach is to use a slip bobber above a #6 gold aberdeen hook tipped with a small minnow.


Charlie Bowles- Fishing Guide


Pro Staff & Products:

Bass Pro Shops

BPS Tournament Series Plastics

Johnny Morris Carbonlite Rods and Reels

Lowrance Electronics

Seaguar Flourocarbon





Shad Fishing

by Grant Alvis

Living in the Richmond area, it’s only natural to have been exposed to the Shad fishery that the local rivers have to offer. Every spring the annual Shad Run sweeps through the tidal rivers of Virginia and the fun begins!  Once the water temperatures reach the mid to high 40’s the Shad begin appearing in Virginia's rivers. There are two primary species of shad, Hickory and the American Shad. The Hickory is the more prevalent of the two species and tends to appear first, usually around the 1 - 1.5 pound range. The Hickory is known for its speed and the acrobatic jumps they will be sure to perform as soon as they are hooked. This is what earned them the nickname “the poor man’s tarpon”. The American Shad usually appear one to two weeks later and they grow to a much larger size. It’s not uncommon for an eight plus pound American Shad to be caught each year. These fish are characterized by brute strength and long drawn out runs. Americans don’t tend to jump as much as Hickory Shad but the fights usually last much longer. The American Shad are illegal to possess in the state of Virginia due to their declining numbers in recent years, but they have begun to make a comeback. The Shad usually appear in the James River first, and then begin to show up further north in about 1 week increments.

There are a couple of different ways to target these exciting fish. The most popular way among anglers is with traditional spinning gear. A 5 – 6 foot light action rod with a 1500 – 2500 size reel spooled with 2 - 8 pound line is all that’s required for the setup. Make sure the rod has a fast action and that the reel has a smooth drag. The fast action rod allows for a better feel of the lure which is helpful when the fish aren’t hitting lures hard. The smooth drag allows the angler to handle the constant runs that the fish will make. The typical lures of choice for shad are shad darts and small colored spoons. The way I like to rig these are: Tie a shad dart/spoon under a barrel swivel with about 16 - 20 inches for a leader. Above the barrel swivel slide a 1/8oz. inline weight onto the main line and attach the mainline to the top of the swivel, then peg the egg weight to prevent it from sliding. This rig allows the fishermen enough weight to cast the lure, but it is still light enough to allow the bait to drift fairly naturally in the current. Make long cast across or directly down current and allow the rig to sink. Slow retrieves with the occasional twitch will trigger the strikes. Vary this retrieve until you find what is working that particular day.

Another popular way to target the Shad and my personal favorite is fly fishing. Anglers will need a 9 foot 5 - 8 weight rod with a large arbor reel to match. The large arbor is to allow you to fight the occasional fish that will take you into the reel on a run. The fly line is the most important part of the entire combo for shad fishing. In the James River in Richmond, I typically use a 24ft sink tip fly line. The sink tip usually weighing in at 250 grains. This fly line sinks around 7 - 9 inches per second which allows you to get down to where the shad are in the water column easily. Make medium to long length casts down and across the current. Allow the fly line to sink different amounts of time until you find where the fish are holding. Short quick continuous strips until you retrieve the fly all the way in. If you miss a fish keep stripping the fly in because they will usually hit twice. Once you find the depth the fish are holding, you can repeat the same process again and again and you should hook up every time. Eventually the school moves in the water column (usually deeper) and you will have to find them again.

Shad like to hold in different places throughout the rivers. The most common place to find shad is a current break. Wing damns, channel turns, islands, bridge pilings and obstructions on the bottom can all cause eddies in the current. These eddies are what the shad like to hold in because they can rest without having to swim constantly. Shad usually flood the rivers and you can catch them most anywhere during the spawn, but focusing on areas like these will give you the best chance. Tide is also a large player in shad fishing. Personally, I have always had better luck when the tide is moving. Shad don’t seem to prefer to move around much on a slack tide, and the best bite is usually right after the tide change. The Shad utilize the tide in their spawn as it helps them move up and down the rivers with ease.

In closing, these fish can be a blast to catch, and when the run is in full swing it is not uncommon to have 100+ fish days. Additionally, one of the best things about it is that you typically don’t have to break the bank in order to have a good time and catch a ton of these hard fighting fish. I hope this has given you a better understanding of Shad fishing and be sure to stop by Bass Pro Shops for all of your Shad fishing supplies!

I hope to see you on the water,


Grant is currently majoring in Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s been an avid fisherman since he was old enough to hold a rod!


Speed Cranking Calm Waters for Big Bass

by John Hutchins

It’s widely known that crankbaits and other reaction type baits excel in windy conditions. What's not as commonly known is exactly why this is. Although increased oxygen levels and bait displacement are key byproducts of a wind driven shoreline they are not typically the biggest contributor in the willingness of a fish to strike moving bait. The seemingly extra aggression is directly related to the fish’s inability to see your bait clearly. In the clearest of Lakes, a chop on the water not only decreases light penetration but it also refracts light in a distortion of beams shooting through the water column. Simply put, you get more bites in the wind because the fish can’t quite make out your bait as well.

With that said, it seems to make sense to count out the reaction bite altogether on a calm day. Doesn't it? Well I can say that if you do, you may be missing out on a big often overlooked opportunity when it comes to cranking. Over the years I have discovered that by speeding up my retrieve or even "burning" my crankbait I can lure the fish into eating my bait on a calm day for the same reason he eats my bait in the wind. That reason is that he just can't quite get a good look at it. For this technique I recommend a high speed reel with a 7.1:1 gear ratio. Speed is your friend in this scenario, however it is also important to consider the importance of varying your speed. A quick stop and go, med to fast to extra fast in any combination will do. The key is increasing your overall speed and making your bait as erratic as possible. More often than not theGary Yamamoto Chikara Crankbait more erratic and random you can get your crankbait to move the more bites you'll get. One of my favorites for this technique is the Chikara Crank by Gary Yamamoto. This bait does a lot of the work for me, as at high speeds it really jumps around creating that erratic action I'm looking for. So the next time you're   headed out to the lake and the weatherman is calling for light and variable winds, make sure you don't leave your crankbaits at home because you may just be missing the boat.

John Hutchins is a local Tournament Pro and Lake Anna Fishing guide.  With more than 15 years guiding experience and 11 years on the tournament scene, he is one of the most accomplished and well recognized anglers in the region. In addition John is an accomplished public speaker and outdoor writer who is passionate about sharinghis knowledge with others.