Fishing With Youth

Fishing with kids

A day out fishing is one of the most relaxing and fun ways to spend a day off from work, but taking the kids out with you can quickly complicate the relaxing part if a fisherman is not careful. The trick for kids is to constantly keep them occupied with something while teaching them how to fish like a sportsman. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep the kids busy and entertained while teaching them the ins and outs of fishing on the lakes and rivers.

The first step to getting the kids hooked on fishing is to have them experience the thrill of reeling in a fish. A quick way to do this is get them a rod that fits their size, for the really little between 2 and 7 years old a rod like the Shakespeare® Disney Princess® Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the girls or the Shakespeare® Spiderman™ Lighted Fishing Rod and Reel Kit for the boys. These colorful rods and reels are small and built for a child’s grip while still being a functional combo for the kids.

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For the kids a little older a great combo for them would be the Zebco® 202® Spincast Rod and Reel Combo, the bigger size lets older kids get the feel of the rod and reel, while still giving the simplicity of the spincast setup. Finally for the kids that have a little experience in fishing a good combo is Bass Pro Shop’s Brawler Spinning Rod and Reel Combo. This rig lets the kids get a feel for the action of a better rod and reel while still having the versatility that is needed for a learning kid.

spinning rodzebco

Now that the rod and reels are all set up and ready it is time for the bait and tackle for the kids. When it comes to fishing with kids a simple rig with bait is the easiest way to do it. For the kids between 2 and 7 a simple rig with a small hook like the Bass Pro Shops® Baitholder Hook, where the hook helps hold the kids bait on the hook so after every cast they don’t have to replace the bait. About 6 inches above the hook putting a float for the little kids is a good idea, a good float for this is the Bass Pro Shops® Round Plastic Float. These floats allow the kids to feel and see when they have a bite and get them actively engaged in the fishing. Now, how should a hook be baited for a kid is the big question for many people teaching kids how to fish. The simple answer is to bait the hook with a live night crawler. This rig will almost always get a strike from the fish around the lake and river, everything from bluegill to bass and everything in between.

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Now that the bait and tackle is all figured out it is time to head out to the lake or river to find the fish. The places to look for fish on the river can be a little trickier than on the lake so finding the kids a good fishing spot is key. The best spots one a river for easy fishing would be in the deep pools in a bend on the river. Having the kids cast out to the far end of the deep hole, then every few seconds reel in the bait just a little till it is in the middle of the open and deep hole. If instead the family is heading to the lake then here are some spots to look for the kids to fish. An area where there are a lot of dead stumps sticking out of the water. Have the kids cast into the middle of the stumps and watch the bobber for a bite. Or if on a deeper lake have the kids instead stand on the dock and drop their bait just over the side. Finally if on a boat and fishing find an area inside a cove where a creek or stream enters the lake and have them cast over top of the entrance of the stream. These spots are great for the kids to get a quick bite and hook them for life on fishing.

The rods are packed, the bait is ready in the cooler and the spot is picked out for the family to go. It is finally time for the kids and the rest of the family to go fishing! As always happy hunting and good luck!
 

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Gear for Cave Exploring

Cave exploring is a guaranteed adventure for almost anyone. While exploring alone is attractive to some taking the whole family on a cave diving adventure is just as fun. Exploring a cathedral room or finding a hidden chamber deep underground is the kind of stuff stories are made of, and in the Ozarks caves are definitely not in short supply. But a cave exploring expedition can become treacherous if the right gear is not on hand to deal with situations that might arise along the way.

First thing any caver is going to need while underground is a good light source. This needs to be not only a steady source of directional light but also a solid design that can take a beating and will not need constant maintenance while in the cave. It is also a good idea to take a few forms of light for exploring underground. A headlamp is the first order of business. For the new caver a simple light that is rugged should be used. The Primos Top Gun LED Headlamp is a good starter headlamp because it has both high and low settings for while in the cave and an easily adjustable head strap to keep the light in place.

LED headlamp

After the headlamp a good idea would be to have a regular flashlight that can be stored in a pocket just in case the headlamp goes out. For this job the Bass Pro Shops® Mini LED Flashlight Combo - 6 Pack, because there are 6 lights in this pack it is easy to put one in a pocket, one in a backpack and hand one to each child in the cave exploring. Also these little lights are very bright and durable making them perfect for the cave!

BPS

Another light source that could be used in an absolute emergency would be a chemical light stick or glow stick. A good choice for glow stick would be the Texsport® Glo Lite Stix™, these glow sticks provide 6 hours of continual low light making them good for an emergency in a cave.

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The next stumbling block that many cavers will run into while exploring underground, will be dehydration. While the temperature in the cave might be cool and moist, the physical exertion of climbing over rocks and crawling through narrow passages does tend to cause sweating and dehydration. An easy way to avoid this would be to carry a hydration pack with at least a liter of water in it. This pack will need to be durable enough to make it through the cave without tearing a hole in it and keep the water drinkable for an extended period of time. A good pack for the job is the CamelBak® Rogue™ Hydration Pack, with a coated nylon outer casing this hydration pack is great for the scrapes and bumps a caver is going to run into while exploring. Another pack that is great for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 1.5L Hydration Pack, this pack has a low profile and durable polyester coating making it perfect for climbing through tight spaces and over rough surfaces.

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In a cave, regular clothing tends to be ripped to shreds on the limestone and gravel that is throughout. So finding the right clothes to cover softer underclothes is needed. Styles that tend to work well for the cave are the coveralls and bib overalls. What a caver should look for in coveralls and bib overalls is the durability and wear ability. If the coveralls are going to fall apart after crawling on knees for a few hundred yards then they are not going to be caving material. While at the same time if the overalls ride up or chafe when walking then they will definitely not be usable in the cramped spaces of a cave. Carhartt® Sandstone Bib Overalls are a great set that fits the bill for the rigors of crawling around a cave. The double ply knees make this pair great for being down and dirty while still remaining comfortable in tight situations.

carhartt

Now that the clothing is covered it is time for the boots that will be needed in the cave. These boots need to be tough and most certainly waterproof, while also having the traction needed for walking on the slick limestone and loose gravel of the local caves. A good pair of boots that fits the bill is the Columbia Woodburn Mid Waterproof Camo Hiking Boots. This pair of boots has a solid hard sole made for hiking over rough terrain, and is comfortable enough to wear on a long walk, making these boots great for being in a cave environment. Another good set of boots for this job is the RedHead® Osprey Hiking Boots. These waterproof boots have a good set of removable insoles that keep the feet comfortable while providing the support and stability needed for walking and crawling around in a cave environment.

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Now that the gear is gathered and clothing is ready to go it is time to head to the cave and go over a few tips and tricks for being in a cave. Before leaving for the cave, it is a good idea to let a friend or relative know the exact location of the cave that is going to be explored. Also tell them how long the trip will take and to contact the proper authorities if a certain amount of time has passes and they don’t get a confirmation that everyone is alright. Keeping a phone turned off in the car is a good idea, while taking a phone into the cave is also important, if more than one phone is available. Note that some phones are able to work well in certain caves so having a phone can come in handy. Keeping a small stock of chemical stick lights is a good way to assure that even if all electronic lights fail there will still be enough light to find a way out of the cave. Finally keeping a length of cord handy, so kids and adults have something to hold on to while walking and keep from getting split up from the group. Now that the gear and tips are dispensed it is finally time to go into the cave! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Fall Walleye Fishing

Fishing for small fish like crappie and sunfish might be fun for the kids but sometimes having a little adult fishing is just what is needed. This is where fishing for walleye comes into play. These fish grow large in the temperate waterways and lakes here locally, and are great fish to fight on a line. But the best thing about walleye is definitely their meat. This firm, white and mild tasting meat is perfect for everything from a fillet to a grilled medallion. Here are some tips and tricks for catching the walleye of the year.

The first thing many people who fish for walleye will notice is their mouth full of teeth, this is due to their place as one of the apex predators in the waters. On the other hand there is another feature of the walleye that fishermen need to look at in order to get a sense of how they hunt. This is the eyes, walleye have big and often times oversized looking eyes. Given this fact walleye are very susceptible to changes in light, particularly increases in light. So when fishing for walleye it is good to time the day around what fish you are looking for. If you are spending the entire day on the water fishing, try out walleye fishing in the early morning, in the evenings, on cloudy days, or days when wind puts chop in the water. During other times of day, or when the conditions are not right it is probably safe to try catching other fish in the area. When the light is right or the conditions are right for walleye fishing it is often a good idea to use a Strike King® Pro-Model® Walleye Crankbait, throwing this bait across an area with a lot of bait fish and cranking it steadily will give the action that the walleye can’t resist giving a rapid strike.

Strike King

Another solution to getting the walleye to bite is to simply go trolling with a specific rig set up for walleye. This is usually a crankbait or a bottom bouncer with a live night crawler or minnow strung through the hooks. A good crankbait for this is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Nitro Shad Dancer Crankbait, this lure has the shine of a shad while also having the action of an injured shad. This along with a wiggling minnow or night crawler in the hooks will be irresistible to the walleye in the direct area.

Nitro Shad

If trolling is not the best thing for a fisherman then using the wind to propel the boat through the water is another idea for the new walleye fisherman. While the wind is pushing the boat drop a jig along the bottom for the walleye to get a shot at. One of the jigs of choice would be the ERC Jig-A-Beast Swim Jig, accept remove the minnow attachment on the bottom and replace it by running the hook through a Bass Pro Shops Double-Dipped Tube. This combination is great for getting the action the walleye are looking for in the choppy water during the day.

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Being out on the lake during the fall is always a great experience no matter what the occasion is. Making this experience more fun by adding a fun fishing trip with big fish and a catch that might just bite you back is always a plus. Not to mention that once the walleye are caught they make one of the best meals where fish are concerned. We hope these tips and tricks have been helpful in catching these great fish! MMake sure to check out anothe blog post, "How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing here:http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/how-weather-patterns-affect-fishing As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Preparing for the Best Campout Possible

Campouts are a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature while letting off some of the stress of family and work. Whether the campout be in the backyard or in the middle of the woods, good preparation is key to a successful campout. Where should a tent be placed, what type of tent should be used, what foods are needed, and what to do about a fire can all be taken care of at home.

To start out finding the right campsite is needed when planning a great campout. Let us first look at what is wanted in a good campsite. The first thing any camper needs to figure out about their campsite is do they want to be in an established campsite or is building a campsite more of their speed. Established campsites are great for the beginning campers because they often times have bathroom facilities, running water close to the campsites, and every so often cooking facilities on the property. Whereas building your own campsite requires a camper to build their own facilities and pack in water or water filtering tools. When looking at building a campsite what is needed is often what is not readily seen. This area should be mostly flat with a little of an incline, no more than a few degrees, this allows water to run off of the campsite if there is precipitation. A good campsite should also be near a water source, but should be uphill of running water in case rain causes the river to flood while in camp our out of camp. Also a good campsite should have at least a little shade provided by either trees or an overhang of some kind. This is important in a scenario in which the temperature becomes dangerously high, having shade allows a camper to cool off and keep them from hyperthermia (overheating), and heat stroke.

Now that the campsite is found it is time to figure out what tent is going to be needed for the duration of the campout. The tent that is packed needs to reflect the weather, terrain, and duration that the campout is going to take place. If the weather is going to be sunny and warm, with open terrain on grass, a good tent for a family is the Coleman® Weathermaster™ 10 Ten Person Tent, this tent not only has the durability to stand up to a family going in and out but also has the room to sleep 10 people comfortably.

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For a campout on the move where a heavy tent is just not an option and there are only one or two people hiking a rocky trail a good tent to keep in mind is the Ascend® H2.2V Two-Person Tent, this tent is both light weight and sturdy. This is especially important when hiking because equipment tends to be jostled and banged around inside the backpack so having a tent that can take a beating is a must.

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For an extended stay during the winter where there is going to be large amounts of snow a different type of tent is needed. The best tent for this job would be the Alaska Tent & Tarp Arctic Oven™ 10, this tent is built to be outdoors for extended periods of time while having snow and ice precipitation while still keeping the occupants dry and warm.

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Once the tents are taken care of it is time to start looking for the right food for the campout. Since every campout is different the food needed for each campout is also different depending on the situation and the campers. If the campout is also a long hike there are some basics for the hike that are needed when it comes to food. These snacks and meals need to be high in calories while not being too rich to make a hiker sick. So finding a good balance is the key. A good way to start this is to look at beef jerky, a good jerky for the trail is the Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's Premium Beef Jerky. This beef jerky is both nutritious and filing while still maintaining a light weight making it perfect for hikers. Another good food for hikers is homemade. Add about a cup and a half of a non-sweetened grain cereal like Cheerios to a gallon zip bag, then add a cup of a chocolate candy like M&Ms, finally add a cup of lightly-salted peanuts like Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's Extra Large Virginia Peanuts. Then shake the bag and carry in the backpack, this mix is great for hiking because it has the sugars to keep energy up while having the salt to replenish sodium lost from sweating. Now if the campout calls for more of a filling sit down meal there are some easy solutions that all come pre-packaged. When camping a great solution for a meal is soup, and one of the best is the Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's® Two Step Tortilla Soup. This soup takes very few steps and is great for a small group that doesn’t want to sit and cook for a couple hours.

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The last consideration that prospective campers need to consider is will a fire be needed at any time during the campout. Fires are great for not only warmth but cooking and having a gathering point for all the campers. When packing to build a fire the location of the campsite needs to be taken into account. If the campsite is a pre-built campsite there are often times designated fire circles for each campsite, and wood readily available on site, so bringing in wood is not a problem. However for a new campsite building a fire circle is a must, use local stones around where the fire will be and clear the immediate area of brush in order to keep the fire from jumping out of the ring. Also remember when lighting a fire a little kindling is needed to get the fire going. A good source of kindling is drier lint. Take this lint from the drier and place it in a zip bag to keep the lint dry. Now that the kindling is done it is time to find a good fire starter. One of the best fire starters on the market right now is the Ultimate Survival Technologies BlastMatch™, this fire starter is spring driven and allows a person to use one hand to apply sparks to the center of a kindling pile.

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Now that the site is picked for the campout, the tent is in the car, the food is safely packed away, and the fire is as ready is it will ever be, it is time to head out to the great outdoors and camp! Remember while camping to respect the environment and the landowners by picking up all trash on the ground. Leave the campsite better when you leave than it was when you got there! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Hiking Trails for Beginners

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Hiking on local trails is a great way to see nature and learn about the surroundings while relaxing and having a good workout. For beginners finding the right gear that is suited for the trails and is comfortable is always a struggle. While at the same time finding the right trails for beginners is also a challenge simply because building the stamina that is required for good hikes takes time and a concerted effort on an easy trail.

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Gear is one of the most important parts of any outdoor expedition and hiking is no different. The gear a hiker uses has to be top notch or a hike can become a nightmare quickly after it starts with blisters and chaffing becoming a huge problem. When it comes to boots there is a big difference in the type of boot for the terrain that will be traversed. If the trail is a very well kept paved trail having a hiking shoe like the RedHead® Granite Peak Hiking Shoe or the Columbia Helvatia Waterproof Trail Shoe for ladies is good because there is very little ability for a hiker to roll an ankle so the comfort of a shoe is preferred to the support of a bigger boot. If the trail is well kept but still a dust trail then going with a hiking shoe like the Merrell® Yokota Waterproof Mid Hiking Shoe or the RedHead® Gaston 5'' Hiker Shoes for Ladies, is a good idea. This hiking shoe rises a little higher than the other hiking shoes so it is able to offer more ankle support for the trail that may have a little less stability than the paved trail. For a trail that is a little wilder with rocks and tree roots, a bigger more sturdy boot is a must. RedHead® Everest Hikers are a great boot for the job, these boots are built sturdy and are meant for everything from walking around the block to the heaviest of trails. For those heavy trails with many rocks and roots a good boot for the ladies would have to be the RedHead® McKinley Hiking Boot, the boot is lightweight and durable enough for a long hike making these boots great for a long trek through rough terrain.

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The next challenge for the new hiker would have to be the right socks for hiking on any trail. When looking for socks a good pair needs to be made from crew to quarter length so the ankle and at least the lowest part of the calf is covered. This keeps the boot from rubbing any exposed skin raw while walking or hiking. A good sock for this purpose is the Ascend™ Hiker Quarter Socks, these come fitted for both men and women, the socks are made from merino wool which keeps the feet comfortable and wicks away sweat very effectively.

ascend sock

Now that socks are taken care of it is time to address one of the most important components of hiking clothing, chaffing. Chaffing happens when skin is rubbed raw and can be painful for even the most advanced hikers. One of the worst spots for chaffing is the inner thigh. The only blessing is that this is also the one place where chaffing is the easiest to prevent. A good pair of compression or hiking underwear is purpose made to keep chaffing from happening and can make a hike easier for all involved. A good pair for the money is the Under Armour® The Original 9'' Boxerjock® Boxer Briefs, these boxers breathe very well and wick away sweat making them great for reducing or eliminating chaffing.

boxer briefs

Since the clothing is now left in the dust it is time for the fun part of hiking, finding the right trail for the hiker. Here locally there are great examples of all three kinds of trails covered earlier. For the paved hiking trail in Springfield would be the Sequiota Park Trail is a great example of this type of trail. When talking about a dust trail or cedar chip trail a good local example would have to be the Nature Center Trail. This trail is a cedar chip trail that is perfect for a new hiker who wants to break in hiking boots or get a feel for a short hike. For those new hikers that want a challenge there is always a good trail close here in Springfield! Busiek State Park offers several long trails that are perfect for getting used to hiking in the Ozarks!

Now that the hiking boots are bought, the socks fit, the chaffing is dealt with and the trail is picked it is officially time to hit the trail and have some fun out hiking! Don’t forget to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery all around while getting a good workout! For more information about socks, check out our blog, "The Right Sock for the Right Hike":http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/the-right-sock-for-the-right-hike. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Fall Shed Hunting

Fall is the time of year when everything is changing, the leaves are falling, the grass is becoming brittle and the temperature is on the way down. This is the time when deer hunting is at its best. Rifle season and bow hunting is well underway and the deer are on the move. But there is another great sport to engage in that doesn’t need tags or a rifle. Shed hunting, or hunting for a deer’s shed antlers, in the fall is a difficult but often times a rewarding undertaking. To help new shed hunters find sheds in the fall here are some helpful tips and tricks.

Even though deer lose their antlers in the mid-spring the sheds tend to stick around all year. Many times these sheds will be worn down by little critters like squirrels nibbling on the stumps and other animals tromping over them throughout the year. But even though there are some degraded antlers on the ground it is still possible to find great sheds in the fall. The first thing to know is where to look. At this point the sheds in the fields have been destroyed often times by tractors and replanting of crops over the summer so looking instead on the edges of the field at the fence lines and on the tree lines is a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to use a pair of binoculars. A good pair for this job would be the RedHead Rubber Armor Binoculars - Porro Prism, these binoculars are built to be carried around in rough terrain and still work great, so they are perfect for scanning the tree lines and the edges of fields for those elusive fall sheds. Another good set of binoculars for shed hunting is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars, these binoculars are perfect for shed hunting because they have such a clear and crisp sight pattern it is easy to spot anomalies on the ground like a little white antler sticking out of the foliage. A great idea to consider in the fall when looking for sheds is that the shed is probably partly buried by debris so looking for an entire shed during the fall is not the way to proceed. Instead look for the tines or points of a shed poking through the brush or from under leaves. This entails looking for white and brown shaded points along the ground or suspended in light brush, this is where a lot of deer tend to lose their antlers as they get stuck in the foliage.

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Now that the human aspect of shed hunting is done it is time to get some help from man’s best friend. Having a dog on the hunt for sheds is a great way to increase the number of sheds found and have fun with the family pet. A good way to get a dog ready for the shed hunt is to get them used to the smell of the shed and the shape of the shed. One of the best ways to do this is to get an antler scent and a plastic antler to train with. A good antler scent to use is the DogBone Antler Scent, this scent helps the dog associate the scent of an antler with the sport of finding stuff in the back yard making it fun for both the owner and the dog while actually hunting sheds. Another shed kit to use for this same purpose would be the DogBone Shed Antler Retrieving System. This allows a shed hunter to hide the shed in the backyard with the scent of an actual shed on the plastic antler. The dog then gets to go find the shed in the yard training them to find sheds while having fun in the backyard. This is a great training tool but a potential shed hunter needs to make sure to teach the dog to hold the shed lightly or it might be damaged while the dog is retrieving an actual shed in the field.

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While shed hunting in the fall is fun and a good challenge shed hunting can be done all year long. The skills learned in the fall can be applied to all seasons especially the winter when looking under leaves can be substituted for looking for points in the snow. As always happy hunting and good luck!

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Trout Fishing Lures & Tactics

A day on the river trout fishing can turn any weekend into an adventure especially when the fish are biting from sun up to sun down. But with trout it is all about finding the right bait at the right time and making good use of the surroundings to make a god fishing trip into a great one. Asking questions like where are the fish located, when do they feed, and what are they feeding on can help an angler tremendously. Here are tips and tricks when fishing for trout.

Trout are a very aggressive species by nature and give a very good fight in good cold water lakes and streams. The problem with many trout populations is that they are highly pressured in that there is almost always a person fishing around them. This in turn makes the fish very line shy or wary of heavy lines in the water. A sneaky way of getting around this fear of line is to use a light 2 or 4 pound test line in either the monofilament or fluorocarbon line. For monofilament line a great brand is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel®, this line comes in the light 4 pound line that is needed for trout while at the same time being clear in the water making it harder to detect by the fish in clear spring fed lakes and streams. When talking about fluorocarbon the brand that is best suited for the job is the Bass Pro Shops® Excel® Ice, when in the water this line stays clear and nearly invisible to fish, and comes in the light 2,3, and 4 pound test needed for fishing trout in pressured waters.

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When fishing for trout there are many different difficulties that can be undertaken while fishing. The first level of this would be fishing with live or natural baits. This includes fishing with night crawlers, fishing with salmon eggs or fishing with things like meal worms and crickets. While thinking of meal worms and crickets it is good to look to the backyard or a shed. The crickets and worms tend to be there for the taking so stocking up in the backyard before an adventure to the river is often a good idea. But if instead a fisherman is looking for an edge using some salmon eggs is a good idea. One of the best is the Pautzke's® Premium Balls O' Fire® Salmon Eggs, these salmon eggs are soft like a natural egg while having the scent and taste of the real thing. Also these eggs are a little tougher than a natural egg making them easy to retrieve and cast back out.

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Next in the line of difficulty for fishing trout would be the soft plastic baits and spinner baits. Some of the soft plastics that tend to work well are smaller worms and grubs with a weight tied off around 3 to 4 inches above the bait. This allows the bait to float ever so slightly off the bottom of the stream or lake’s bottom and with a little movement from the tip of the fishing rod gives a lifelike movement to the bait. A great bait for doing this is the Bass Pro Shops® Triple Ripple™ Grub, with a few packages of different colors an angler is sure to find the right color and movement for the trout in any lake or stream. When it comes to spinner baits one of the best is the Bass Pro Shops® Tournament Series® Micro Spin Lures, matching the colors on this spinner bait to the hatching insects or the smaller bait fish in the area will make this lure irresistible to the trout in the lake or stream.

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Finally the hardest type of trout fishing is fly fishing. This requires a lot of patience and a good knowledge of the type of food that is available to the trout on a regular basis. It is important to remember one major thing, match the hatch. What this means is that whatever insect is hatching at that time in the lake or stream is the type of fly that an angler wants to be throwing. If there are a lot of grasshoppers around throwing a Montana Fly Company® Clipped Head Hopper is a good idea, as it looks remarkably like a grasshopper. If the midge flies are hatching throwing a Brassie Zebra Midge Fly is a good idea. So matching whatever an angler sees hatching or skimming the water is the best way to catch trout while fishing with flies.

brassie zebraclipped head

While fishing for trout is very fun and relaxing there are some different rules that need to be followed while fishing. These rules change from stream to stream and from location to location. So checking with a local guide book or with the conservation department before going out fishing is a good idea. Many times certain types of lures can only be used in certain areas of a body of water, or no fishing at all can be done in a certain area of the water. Keeping track of this is the responsibility of the angler, so double checking the fishing areas before that weekend trip is a must! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Setting Up A Food Plot

Food plots are a great way to attract a wide variety of animals to a plot of land while making the land look better and more usable. Finding the right area for a plot though is a large task that takes careful planning and a lot of work. The area used needs to fit the animals that are supposed to be drawn to the plot. This land must also be in an area that won’t flood readily, while having the shade for the target animals and the cover for the more shy animals to hide when they are threatened. Lastly the plot must be accessible for hunters if harvesting animals is the goal.

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The best food plots are positioned in a shallow valley with two to four shallow ditches running along the edge of the plot. This allows the target animals to feel as if they are hidden when they are entering and exiting the food plot. If the food plot is meant for taking pictures of the animals a great place for a game camera is at the entrance of the food plot facing the food plot and another facing into the ditch away from the food plot. If the food plot is for hunting purposes then a tree stand position for the best vantage point would be on the downhill side of the plot about fifteen to twenty yards from the entrance ditch where the trail cameras are located. A note on the stand, this tree stand should be well hidden and good camouflage should be used in the stand in order to keep the target animals from becoming spooked.

Next step to building a great food plot is to choose the right food for the area and the species that is being targeted. For deer it is often a good idea to use a large patch of clover surrounding the main body of the food plot. Inside the food plot using either turnips or radishes is a good way to raise healthy deer and keep them coming back over and over to the plot. A good mixed bag of clover to use on the food plot is the Evolved Harvest® ProVide Clover Game Seed. This seed is specifically made to promote healthy growth in deer throughout the year making it perfect for a food plot. While for the main body of the food plot a good bag for both radishes would be the Mossy Oak BioLogic Deer Radish. This bag is formulated to attract deer with a sweet root packed with nutrients to help promote an overall healthier deer. If the radishes are not for the land being used a good substituted is the turnip. A great blend for the money would be the Evolved Harvest ShotPlot Forage Attractant, this mix is great for the new food plot builder for the simple fact that it grows quickly and doesn’t need a disc plow for planting.

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Having the right plot and the right seeds to plant will help make any food plot great. But having the right location and the ability to find the right location whether it is accessible with heavy machinery or not is key. If there is an easily accessible spot just off a road but doesn’t have cover for the target animals in the right places then it is not worth seeding. While at the same time if there is a less accessible spot where maybe a truck cannot get through but has all the elements of a good food plot, seeding the area is a better choice, even though a tractor might not be able to get there.

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Now that the plot has been found and the seeds have been sown it is time to let nature take its course. Let the seeds sprout and the target animals come sniffing for the plants. A few days after the seeds have sprouted walking the food plot looking for bald spots is a good idea. Throwing a little more seed on these bald areas will fill in the field and give a little more food for the target animals. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Camo for Fall

The weather in the fall is all over the place. There could be 100 degree days followed by a freak snowstorm the next week. So finding the right camouflage for the season is a must in any area. The camo needs to not only be functional at hiding a person’s outline but must have the added ability to protect the wearer from the elements on any of the crazy days that often times happen in the fall. As the leaves start to turn it is a good idea to change to a more open pattern on the camo like the Realtree Xtra. This pattern specifically has a lot of twigs and branches in the pattern mimicking the openness of the surrounding woods very well.

Now that one of the patterns that is good to use is established it is time to look for the right camo for those warm days at the beginning of the fall. These shirts and pants should not only be comfortable and breathable but also have to have a little greenery in the print, as all the leaves on the trees have not completely turned. A good shirt for this is the RedHead® True Fit Camo T-Shirts Long Sleeve. This shirt comes in the Realtree Xtra Green, which hPants for the early fall are next on the list for the guys and a great pair would have to be the RedHead® Stalker Lite II Camo Pants. During the early fall this pair of pants is great at wicking away sweat and breathing while allowing for the full range of motion for hiking or hunting. Another great feature for these pants is that they are easy to get in smaller sizes for those outdoor kids!as a few green leaves thrown into the more open pattern making it perfect for the outdoorsman who wants to stay hidden in the early fall.

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For the ladies, a great shirt during this early fall period would be the SHE® Outdoor Tech Tee - Long Sleeve. This long sleeve shirt is great for hiking or hunting and is specially fitted for the ladies making it more comfortable and breathable during the warmer days in the early fall. In the beginning of fall a good pair of pants for the ladies would have to be the SHE® Outdoor Utility Pants. In the early fall these pants for ladies can’t be beat giving the rugged durability of hunting clothing while at the same time being light and breathable for a warm day in the outdoors.

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Now for the kids. A great shirt for the early fall has to be the Carhartt® Work Realtree Xtra® Camo Pocket T-Shirt Long Sleeve. These shirts are great for the outdoors kid who enjoys any activity outside during the early fall. The shirt wicks away sweat from the body so warmer days are no problem in this shirt while at the same time this shirt is comfortable and durable making it perfect for the rough and tumble kids!

Carhartt

While early fall is all well and good being warm and all too often a very humid, late fall tends to be chilly and windy. The pattern for the camo that hunters and plain outdoorsmen will want to wear will also change. The green from the early fall is now completely gone and a more open pattern with twigs and branches that are bare, with a cedar branch mixed in is now far more appropriate. For the guys a good light jacket for those chilly days is the Scent-Lok Full Season Velocity Bowhunter Hunting Jackets. This jacket is great for the late fall season because it has both the warmth for the chilly mornings and the waterproofed with the durable water repellent. A good pair of camo pants for the late fall is the Badlands® Hybrid Hunting Pants.These are perfect pant given that they are not only warm and waterproof but breathe like a much lighter pair of pants.

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For the ladies a great camo top is most definitely the SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Jacket, the jacket is cut for a feminine form for better comfort in the field and warmth even on those chilly late fall days. Another great aspect of the Outdoor C2 is they come in a set. The SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Pants are great for mornings sitting in the chill of fall with a weatherproofed fleece that keeps an outdoors lady warm while still being flexible and breathable in all conditions.

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For the kiddos a good late fall jacket that is both warm and comfortable is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Hoody. Even in the cold wind of late fall this great hoody is able to keep kids dry and warm so a hunt in the morning can be as long as needed without having to head back to the cabin. A good set of pants to go with this hoodie for the kids is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Camo Pants for Youth, these pants are able to bend and move like kids while staying dry even in the wettest conditions.

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The craziness of the fall season makes finding a good camouflage a pain. But knowing the different patterns and how effective they may be during different times of the season can help pick the best camo pattern for the event. While knowing the conditions that are almost always associated with fall can help pick out the proper gear for the dry season or the wetter part of the season. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing

Spending a day out on the water fishing is one of the most relaxing activities on the planet, but having a sudden storm front move through has a tendency to wreck any plans for fishing. The big question many fishermen ask regularly is how does this cold or warm front moving through effect the fishing? Do these fronts move the fish down deep or up towards the shore, or do the fish stay put during the storms. Or is it a better option to stay put during a storm and fish on because the fish are biting.

When a nice big cold front is moving through the fish in an area are affected, the change in pressure is enough to cause the fish to recognize the weather patterns moving. So the fish tend to start eating before the front. As the pressure changes the fish move closer to the top of the water in order to feed in front of the coming weather pattern. Typically during this time before the front has moved through there is a lot of wind over the water. When the wind is blowing hard before a front this is the perfect time to get out and start fishing top water. Find a bank where the wind is blowing the hardest and get in a position where there is an easy cast across the bank. In many cases while the wind is blowing the fish feel safe in feeding at the top while at the same time the small bait fish like shad are being forced close to the bank by the wind. This is a great time to throw a crankbait like the Rapala Scatter Rap Shad in the silver color. The combination of the shad color and the erratic action of the crankbait makes this perfect for a windy bank.

Shad

As the front moves through whether it is cold or warm, when it starts raining the fish tend to come to the surface to feed. This is because they feel safe in the top water because the rain obscures sight from the surface. The fish tend to feed throughout the rain on bait fish and insects in the top water. A good bait to use at this time would be the spinner bait. One of the best spinner baits for this time would have to be the Bass Pro Shops® Lazer Eye™ Spinnerbaits - Double Colorado in the white color. This color combo grabs the attention of the fish in the top water and tends to give a good strike on the surface during a light rain.

spinnerbait

When a warm front moves through during the spring and winter the fish tend to move into shallow water as the chilly water is warmed slightly as the front moves through. So during this time throwing a shallow swimming jig or crankbait is a must. A great option for this would be the Strike King® Pro-Model® Crankbaits - 3XD Series, in the gizzard shad color. In general when this is thrown in the shallows off a point when a warm front has just moved through the fish will be feeding very heavily. During a warm front moving through in the summer and fall the fish tend to move deeper as the water warms up. These fish tend to feed just before the front comes through, but will still tend to be in deeper water. So throwing a deep diving crankbait is very good idea. The bait for this job is the Rapala® Scatter Rap® Crank Deep, this deep diving bait is great just before the front and will elicit a strong reaction and strike from the fish.

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Cold fronts are very much the opposite from the warm fronts, during the hot summer and fall the fish move to the surface. While during the chilly winter and spring the fish tend to move to deeper water where they are protected from the cold weather. At this time throwing a deep diver like during warm fronts in the winter and spring is a good idea. So again throwing the Rapala® Scatter Rap® Crank Deep is the answer. During the warmer summer and fall the fish tend to come to the very top of the water when a cold front moves through. They will in general move to the top ahead of the front and ensuing storms to feed at the top of the water. So throwing a top water spinner bait works best. One of the best baits for this would be the War Eagle Spinnerbaits - Tandem Willow in the white silver color scheme. This bait stays on the top of the water and gets a strong bite from the fish before and during the front moving through.

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Where the fish are very active just before a front moves through, after the front the fish are generally lethargic and will often times not bite. This is because the fish have gorged before the front, and the pressure and temperature changes are affecting the fish’s behavior. So in general fish before the front and during the storms and after the front has moved through the fish will be still and not biting. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Get Into The Swing of Things

A summer campout is great, but the heat tends to be a pain especially when using a hot sleeping bag on the ground. A great solution to this problem of being too hot is to use a hammock. These great swinging beds keep a camper off of the ground which lets the air around the camper cool them off while they sleep or just hang out. Hammocks are also a great way to just relax and enjoy the day in the backyard, on the beach, or even by the pool. Here are some helpful hints on finding the right tent for the activity.

When hiking long distances it is imperative to keep a pack light so stress on the back and legs is reduced. A great way to do this is to use a hammock with a rain fly instead of having an entire tent, sleeping bag, and rainfly. A great hammock for this specific purpose would be the Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Hammock, not only is this hammock light weight but it also is able to be used as a hammock or a bivy tent if there are no trees convenient in the area. This tent comes with both a rain fly and a screen to keep bugs away from any camper who is inside. Another great hammock for hiking is the Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock, this hammock weighs approximately 17 oz. making this one of the lightest weight sleeping options on the market right now and perfect for those hikers who want a comfortable sleep on those warm summer nights. The hammock is also great for those kids who want to have a campout in the back yard but do not want to deal with a lot of tents. These hammocks are perfect for any backyard adventure because of their easy set up and breakdown. Another great hammock for backyard or hiking with a buddy would be the Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock, the hammock is made with a heavy duty stitching and has more material so two people can sleep comfortably. With the durable design this hammock is also great for those younger campers who might be a little harder on their gear, while at the same time being light enough, 20oz, for those campers to easily carry the hammock without problems.

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Camping and hiking with a hammock is fun but just relaxing in the backyard in a hammock is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. These hammocks for the backyard need to be sturdy and built to last. The perfect backyard hammock is also able to hold two or three people comfortably without being strained or breaking. A good hammock for the backyard is the Texsport® Lakeway™ Hammock, this hammock is great for the backyard simply because it is built durable from quilted cotton and has a capacity for 400 pounds. So for this hammock all that you need are two good trees and a relaxing summer is just around the corner. Another great hammock for the backyard would have to be the Texsport® Seaview™ Hammock, with heavy duty cotton cords this hammock is light weight and comfortable for a day lounging in the backyard. Lastly the Bass Pro Shops® Folding Hammock, is a sturdy hammock with a stable base that is great for a small backyard where a larger hammock is not an option hung on trees.

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Now that all the hammocks have been hung and the camping has happened it is time to just relax. Having that hammock in the backyard is perfect for just letting everything go and taking a nap. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Hiking Shoes vs. Hiking Boots

When on a hike the difference in a good day and a bad day can come down to something as simple as what type of footwear a hiker is wearing. The types of footwear for hiking are mostly broken down into two different categories. For a good majority of avid distance hikers a lighter more maneuverable shoe is the obvious answer. While for a cross country hiker a more rugged and supported hiking boot is a must. For the rest of us finding the right footwear is a pain. So here are some tips and tricks on finding the right footwear for a hike.

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When hiking long distances over fairly well maintained trails it is often in the interest of the hiker to keep their packs and everything else fairly light. This means cutting down one weight in the places where it is the most prevalent, and often times an easy target is the shoes. Finding a hiking shoe that has the support and has less weight is the key. Many hiking shoes are light and well-made but there are a few that stick out for their great support for the ankles and the foot while on a long hike. A great hiking shoe for distances is the RedHead® Gaston Hiker Shoes, these shoes are lightweight and can take a beating out on the trail making them perfect for the avid hiker on a budget. Another great pair of hiking shoes is the Vasque® Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoes, these shoes are meant to be worn on long hikes where a heavy pack will be worn, and make the entire trail more comfortable for the hiker. A hiking shoe for the ladies that has good support and the comfort for a long hike would be the Teva® Sky Lake Waterproof Hiking Shoes, these shoes have proven themselves over the trail and are still comfortable enough for even the most sensitive feet.

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While hiking shoes are awesome over the very nice and groomed trails, for the more back country hiking that many campers and avid hikers like, a good hiking boot is a must. These boots need to be both sturdy and comfortable with enough support for a hiker’s ankles that they can easily navigate rough terrain without worrying about injury. One of the best hiking boots out there right now is the RedHead® Roark Waterproof Hiking Boots, these boots give the ankle support needed for a back country trek while at the same time keeping a hikers feet dry while walking through wet grass and puddles. Also these boots are built to be light weight making them great for those long hikes on and off the trail. A boot that has a good history of being both comfortable and functional on the trail would be the Danner® Roughhouse Mountain 7'' GORE-TEX® Waterproof Hiking Boots. These boots are heavy duty and can take the long treks over rough terrain while still staying waterproof and comfortable. While guys hiking boots are great there are some awesome hiking boots for the ladies as well. A good hiking boot for that remains comfortable while at the same time giving support to the ankle and cushioning every step is the RedHead® Caliber Waterproof Hiking Boots, the boots have a comfortable liner which makes wearing the boots during a long hike more comfortable while at the same time providing a waterproof platform for traction and stability. Another great boot for those off the trail hikes would have to be The North Face® Storm Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. These boots are great for distance hikes where wet conditions are a possibility because of the well-insulated lining and waterproofing built into the boot. Now that the boots are taken care of and the hikes can proceed as planned as always happy hunting and good luck!

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Rain Gear to Keep You Dry

The worst thing that can happen during a hunt or a hike is to have an unexpected downpour that drenches everything including a hunter or hiker. A good set of rain gear can help keep any event from turning into a sloppy mess. The problem with this is that rain gear comes in so many shapes and sizes it is often times hard to decipher what works well for what event. Here are some helpful hints on what to look for in rain gear for specific activities.

The first activity many people think of that has the tendency to run into problems is hunting of any kind. With long periods of time either sitting down or sneaking through brush looking for the perfect shot, the ability for a little rain to ruin a good day hunting is always present. For this instance what a hunter needs for rain gear is something that is very durable in case the first shot doesn’t immediately drop a target and a little creative maneuvering through brush is needed. While at the same time the gear needs to be flexible so drawing a bow or lining up a shot is not impeded by the rain gear. A great set for this purpose is the RedHead® Squaltex® II BONE-DRY® Rain Jackets and the RedHead® Squaltex® II BONE-DRY® Rain Pants, this set is specifically made for an avid hunter and comes in the two of the best camouflage patterns available. For the ladies there is a better set the SHE® Outdoor Performance Rain Pants and the SHE® Outdoor Performance Rain Jacket, this set of rain gear was specifically made for a lady hunters while providing the best protection from wind and heavy rain.

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While hunting in the rain is often times a pain, one for the best times to fish is in the rain. So for those anglers that know the secrets to fishing in the rain there is of course a set of rain gear for them. This set of gear needs to be completely waterproof without restricting the ability for a fisherman to cast and retrieve effectively. So the sleeves need to be looser with an adjustable wrist and waist. The set that has done wonders for those anglers that love fishing whenever is the Bass Pro Shops® 100MPH GORE-TEX® Light Jacket and the Bass Pro Shops® HPR BONE-DRY® Waterproof Rain Pants, this set is great for those days where the wind is blowing and the rain just won’t stop. The set not only works as a wind suit but also keeps the wearer dry all day.

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Hunting and fishing in the rain can be soothing or even exciting but having a hike or camping trip in the rain can be a chore. So finding the right rain gear for the trip is always a must. This gear needs to be able to stand up to a couple days of moving without wearing out or developing a hole, while at the same time being able to allow free movement for those times where the campsite needs to be broken down in the rain or set up during a downpour. The best suit for this purpose is the Ascend™ Water Shield 2.0 Jacket and the Ascend® Watershield 2.0 Pants, the great thing is this set comes in both men and women styles as well as youth sizes. The set is great for walking in without getting a base layer wet while allowing the body to breathe naturally. This is perfect for anyone who has problems sweating on hikes, the outer layer allows air flow making chaffing a less likely occurrence. Now that the rain gear has been selected and the plans made, as always happy hunting and good luck!

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How To Break Down A Campsite

Camping is one of the most fun activities for everyone during the spring, summer and fall. The problems only seem to start when it is time to break down the campsite. How does a person properly store a tent, how does the canopy need to be stored, what needs to happen to the cast iron before it is stored, and what has to happen to the stoves?

fire pitThe first thing that needs to be done when breaking down a campsite is to check the fire pit. The fire should be completely extinguished and all coals should be cool and no longer able to start a new fire. The best way to do this is to bury any of the still hot coals in a shallow hole in order to keep the coals from reigniting a fire once all the campers have left.  A way to check is simply turn over the ash in the bottom of the fire pit and check the underside of the fire, or having an elevated fire pit can keep the process fairly simple by dumping the fire pit. A good elevated fire pit is the Landmann USA Northwoods Outdoor Fireplace, these elevated fire pits allow a person to simply turn the fire pit over and burying the ashes.

tentOnce the fire pit has been taken care of it is on to check out the tents. The tents need to be properly stored for the trip home. To do this break down the tent then when storing the tent instead of rolling the tent up tight with the poles inside the role simply fold the tent loosely. This is meant to keep any moisture that might be still clinging to the tent from permeating all of the fabric. This requires a tent that is made from a good material and is also able to take a little moisture for a few hours as it is driven home. A good tent for the job is definitely the Bass Pro Shops® 8 Person Speed Frame Tent, even though this tent has poles that are pre attached the durability of the tent makes it ideal for a campout where it might be rainy or just humid. Once the tent is finally back at the house it needs to be immediately set back up, this is why the speed frame tent is so handy, so the little moisture that is left in the tent can be evaporated. The tent can even be set up inside if need be so it can air out. By turning on an exhaust fan and drawing in new air to the house the tent will quickly dry, then the tent can be properly stored in a cool dry place.

canopyNow that the tent is all packed and taken care of it is time for the canopy. These canopies need to be stored in much the same way as the tents, the fabric top needs to be taken off and loosely folded away from the metal body structure. This again is to insure that the moisture from being outside in the rain or humidity doesn’t set in the fabric spurring the growth of mold or other nasty things. A good canopy that is currently on the market is the Bass Pro Shops® Deluxe Straight Leg Instant Canopies, these canopies are able to hold up to the rigors of being outside while at the same time having an easily collapsible design for quick packing and storage. After the canopy has made it home it to needs to be set up for a little while to let the fabric and the metal support structure air out. Once it is aired out the canopy can easily be stored next to the tents. Just as a note breaking down any cloth chairs should be handled similarly to the canopy accept the cloth material should stay on the chairs, but once home the chairs should be set up to dry.stove

Once the canopy, tents and chairs are taken care of it is finally time to deal with the cooking equipment. Before cleaning this equipment make sure to close any propane tanks and unhook all attached hoses to the equipment. Once this is done remove the grates from the cooking stoves or the cooking grate used over the top of the fire. It is a good idea to clean these regularly, preferably after each campout. To do this, use a sponge with an abrasive pad on the top. Add a little water to the sponge as well as a little dish soap, then vigorously scrub with the abrasive pad till the grime and char has been removed. Then simply rinse the cooking surface. If a stove is being used it is a good idea to use the sponge with a little more dish soap to clean around the burners, this keeps the burners from becoming clogged and a danger. A good stove that is very easy to clean is the Bass Pro Shops® High Output Propane Grill and Stove, the grill and stove portions are easily taken apart while the burners are easy to access and clean, making this a great stove for a campout. Now that the stove is clean packing it in a clean cloth bag is best for storage in a cool dark place. The campsite is clean, now the only thing left to do is police the site for any trash, remember that any trash left is a problem for any animals and people that might next call the campsite home! As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Dealing with Dehydration in the Summer

Possibly one of the most deadly conditions during the summer for an outdoorsman would be dehydration. Not only does this condition drain the body of needed energy in any situation but it also robs the effected person of the ability to think clearly. So here are some tips and tricks on how to combat dehydration and prevent it from ever becoming a problem.

The first step to dealing with dehydration is to know the warning signs of dehydration. The first is simply an increase in thirst, this is usually just a sign that the body is beginning to become out of balance in water intake and output. This is of course easily remedied by drinking a good amount of water, at least 16 oz. and then continually drinking more water throughout the day. By doing this a person should keep the secondary symptoms of dehydration from ever manifesting. These include dry mouth, dizziness and if not treated an inability to sweat. When the body finally gets to the point where it no longer is able to sweat, the skin of an individual will often times become red and warm to the touch. At this point the first thing that should be done is to get the individual to a shady cool spot. The individual should be given sips of water, giving to much water at a time can cause the person to become ill exacerbating the issue. A way to help the person cool off is to lay a cool moist cloth across their forehead. Keeping the individual taking sips of water and in the shade will help to start the process of rehydrating the body. So keeping the person in the shade and drinking water for an extended period of time is a very good idea.  If at any time the individual’s condition worsens or they lose consciousness emergency personnel must be called.

backpackNow that the symptoms are dealt with here are some ways to keep from having to deal with them. First way is to have a large amount of water readily available and quickly accessible while outside and exerting oneself. A great way to do this is with a camel back, one of the best on the market is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 2L Hydration Pack. This pack gives the wearer the ability to have water literally on their back, where the weight is easier to take and less likely to be ignored. A great way to keep from getting dehydrated is to simply add ice to the water in the camel back. tankThis keeps the water cool while at the same time helping to cool down the person’s body that is drinking the water. Another great way to keep from becoming dehydrated while working in the yard is to keep a water jug close at hand. These jugs will hold 1 to 10 gallons of water and can easily be kept cool by adding ice or being put in a cooler with ice. A great water jug for setting on a counter or a deck is the Reliance Aqua Tainer™ Water Jug, this 7 gallon jug is easy to move and fill with a large removable valve for easy access and pouring.

 

canopyNow drinking water is good but another thing to consider is the comfort while working in the yard or outdoors in general. A good way to stay more comfortable and help stay hydrated is to set up a canopy with some shade and perhaps a chair. A good canopy for the heat of the summer is the Bass Pro Shops® Instant Canopies, these canopies can be opened and set up in about five minutes by an individual if need be. The sturdy build means that when staked down properly this canopy will not go flying away.chairWhile under the canopy, getting off your feet is often the goal so having a comfortable chair in the shade is always a must. A their that can stand up to the rigors of the summer is the Bass Pro Shops® Big Outdoorsman Lounger Chair, this chair allows a person to lounge while still being outdoors and in the shade. Now that the signs of dehydration and how to keep from having to deal with them have been ironed out as always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Summer Fishing: Bass and Crappie

The summertime is the greatest to just get on the boat and head out to the lake. This is made far better when the day is just spent fishing and relaxing. What can make this day on the lake more fun is when the fish are biting and giving a good fight. Knowing where the fish are hiding and what lures to use can make fishing easier.

In the morning bass tend to congregate around the points on the lake, they are also relatively shallow at this time of day. The best time for this would be from about 6am to 7:30am. This is the time of day the bass will be near the top because the water is still cool and there are prey fish in the area so throwing a Bass Pro Shops® XTS™ Lures – Crank, this crank bait is a shallow diving bait that has great action and will elicit the big strike many anglers are looking for in a crank bait. A good color for the crank bait is the natural green craw, blue chartreuse, and ghost spook.

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Later in the day after the bass have moved away from the points it is a good idea to go looking for them in deeper water. When the water has finally heated up for the day the big bass tend to hang out around the thermocline between 18 and 24 feet deep. Even though the bass have moved to deeper water this does not necessarily mean that they are no longer active and should be disregarded. These fish that have gone deep are still very hungry and will put up a very big fight when hooked. A good lure to use during this time is the Strike King® KVD Swim Jig, this jig works great in the green pumpkin color with the ¼ oz. jig head.

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During this time of day another great combo to use is the ¼ oz. Bass Pro Shops® Enticer® Pro Series Football Jigs, in the green pumpkin, this combined with the Bass Pro Shops® River Bug, also in green pumpkin, make an irresistible bait for bass. The bites from these bass will not be distinct like the bites from the morning on the top water but will instead feel either like reeling in a small stick or like the bait has disappeared. This means that the bass has grabbed the bait and is swimming toward deeper water, and while fishing in a boat usually means swimming toward the fisherman. This is the time to set the hook and start retrieving the fish.

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In the morning crappie seem to be very similar to the bass in that they are usually shallow and feeding from around 6am to 8am. During this time the crappie are feeding on smaller bait fish so rigging up a 1/8 oz. jig head with a Bass Pro Shops® Baby Shad, in the smokin shad color will drive the crappie crazy. This rig many times will get a quick and aggressive strike from the crappie in the morning making this perfect for those new fishermen who want a quick strike and a good fight for the time spent. 

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After the crappie move out of the shallow water when the water finally starts to warm up around 8am they tend to hang around in the standing timber poles or under and around docks where they can be in the shade and still feed. After the crappie move, getting a bite becomes a little harder, but having a bait like the Bass Pro Shops® Weedless Curltail Stump Jumper®, in the Chartreuse Black Chartreuse 1/8 oz. that catches the crappies eye makes this a lot easier. By taking and running the stump jumper through and around the stumps or between boat slips the crappie will bite quite quickly and a lot like in the morning with a very aggressive bite. Now that the tips and tricks are out as always happy hunting and good luck!

 

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Warm Weather Camping

Camping in the warm weather is always a great idea. The weather is nicer and the outdoors are alive with new colors and the sounds of all the animals finally out and about after a long winter. So here are some things a warm weather camper will need this year to have a successful campout.

The most important thing to find for the perfect warm weather campout is the right tent. A tent needs to fit not only the group that is going but also the place in which the group will be staying. If a big group is going out on the campout, ten or more, then it is a good idea to get either a very large tent or a two or three medium tents. One tent that is great for big groups is the Coleman® Vacationer 2-Room Ten-Person 15' x 10' Cabin Tent, this tent allows a large group to split into two different groups and sleep separately while still only having to carry one tent. A tent that would be good for a smaller group would be the Bass Pro Shops® Six Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch, because it has enough room for a group while at the same time giving a sitting area on the front that can be easily zipped up to keep out bugs and other critters.

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While a tent is important having food and water is far more important. Having a water filtration system with any group out on a campout is a great idea. This system needs to be able to not only filter water but do it quickly and passively so the group can do other things than crank a water filter. One of the best water filters on the market right now that not only is passive but has a high capacity is the Sawyer® 4L Water Filtration System. This system is great because the dirty water bag can be hung anywhere above the clean water bag and the weight of the water will force the water through the filter making the system fast and passive. As for food having the right utensils and cooking equipment is a must. When out on a campout and cooking breakfast the two things that are most important are the stove and the griddle. The stove needs to be sturdy and should be propane for its ease of use, while the griddle should be large and preferably be made of cast iron as it is the easiest to use and clean during a campout. For the stove a solid recommendation is the Browning Two Burner Camp Stove, this twin burner stove gives enough heat to cook just about any meal quickly while providing enough space for an entire meal to be cooked at the same time. Now for the griddle there is a lot of wiggle room on the type and size that can be made but a good choice is the Lodge Logic® Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle, this griddle gives two sides for not only pancakes and sausage but to also grill chicken or veggies.

stovegrill griddleWater

Now that the food is taken care of it is time to relax. This part of the campout is for telling stories and just catching up. For this one only need look for a simple camp chair. The best kind are big enough for anyone and tough enough to be tossed in the back of the truck when the weekend is over and don’t need to be worried about till everyone is home.  Bass Pro Shops® Hard Arm Folding Chair, this chair is built to last and is comfortable making it perfect for a weekend out camping.

BPS Chair

Now that the essentials have been covered it is time for some direction on how to keep a camp healthy and in order. It is a good idea to always bring a large amount of trash bags, being on a campout can generate a lot more trash than anyone ever thought possible. Another must have on a campout is a basic bed sheet. Since the weather has warmed up and the use of a sleeping bag is probably not the most desirable thing in the world having a simple bed sheet can keep a camper covered while at the same time still keeping them from getting a chill. This being said bringing a warm weather sleeping bag is a good idea, a good bag for the job is the Ascend® 55º Rectangular Sleeping Bag, this bag will keep a person warm while at the same time not overheating. Now if the bag does get to hot in the night simply crawl out and sleep on top with the bed sheet.

sleeping bag

While camping is all fun and games there are a few things that need to happen as soon as all the equipment gets home. First set up the tent in the backyard for a few hours with nothing in it so that it can air out and dry out. If the tent is stored even a little wet mold can grow and ruin the tent. This is especially important after a warm weather campout where humidity tends to soak everything. After the tent is taken care of the water filtration system needs to be cleaned out. This consists of running clean tap water through the filter backwards in order to knock all the particulate matter out of the filter. Doing this will not only extend the life of the filter but keep the filtered water better for longer. Finally the last very important step is to wash the sleeping bag. This may not seem necessary after a single night campout but just like the tent, storing the sleeping bag with even a little moisture can cause all kinds of nasty things to grow. Now that everything is settled for warm weather camping, as always happy hunting and good luck! 

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The Right Sock for the Right Hike

When hiking what is the worst feeling in the world? The answer is being in the middle of a long trek and finding a bright blister on the bottom or side of your foot because the sock being worn has rubbed the foot raw. Finding the right sock for each hike has been a problem for many people over the years. Here are some helpful hints on how to find the right sock for the hike.

There are realsockly many different hikes that all need different types of socks for each. The first hiking difference would be a short hike compared to a long hike. For a short hike the need for a thick heavy sock is not always necessary. This type of hike usually calls for a lightweight sock that will readily wick away sweat while keeping the foot from being rubbed around the ankles and on the heel. For men a good choice is the RedHead® Lifetime Guarantee Lightweight Quarter Socks, these socks are high enough to keep the ankle and heels from rubbing while at the same time giving that sweat wicking that is needed for a day hike. A great sock for the ladies on a day hike is definitely the Ascend® Hiker Quarter Sock, these socks are lightweight wool which wicks away sweat efficiently while at the same time giving the support   needed frsockom a good hiking sock.

The next type of hike where specialized socks are a necessity is the long trek. These hikes are usually a weekend long and having a blister after the first day can be disastrous.  So the type of sock needed is very different from the sock used on the day hike. This sock should be comfortable while being able to breathe, and at the same time give the support and sweat wicking ability without compromising any of these other functions. For a long hike it is also a good idea to pack a few extra socks just in case one pair does run through or a blister does start to form, putting on an extra pair of socks can help keep a blister from getting worse! A pair of socks that has stood the test of time for men would be the RedHead® Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Socks. These socks are great for long distance hikes because they offer the support for the foot inside the shoe while at the ssockame time giving a superior level of sweat wicking even on the hottest of hikes. The best choice for ladies Natural Reflections® Lifetime Guarantee Sock, is basically the men’s sock accept with a fit for a ladies foot, making this a great sock for a long hike where a comfortable and wearable sock is needed.

sockFinally the hike that most people would prefer to avoid is the hike in wet conditions. Sometimes even the best plans turn south quickly, but having the right socks for a hike where rain comes unexpectedly is a must. By packing an extra few pairs of socks that can be worn in the rain any hiker can keep comfortable on a hike. A set of wet condition socks need to be able to keep the foot warm while at the same time being able to dry quickly and still remaining comfortable. A sock that everybody can wear in wet conditions is the Ascend® Hiker Crew Sock, these socks are for men and women and are purpose built for comfort. They are able to wick away sweat while at the same time keeping feet warm and comfortable inside a wet shoe. So keeping a few of these awesome socks in a hiking bag is not a bad idea in case Mother Nature decides it is time for a little rain.

 

The sock can basically make a hike or break it. So knowing what type of hike will be taken and what socks are best fitted for the hike is always a must. Having a few extra socks on any hike is also a plus making it easy to trade out socks that may become damaged or just aren’t fitting correctly. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Grill Cleaning 101

Grilling out is definitelgrilly one of the top American pastimes during the summer. The smell of charcoal brings back memories of cookouts with family and good times with friends. This is why keeping your grill in top shape is such a necessity. Having a grill that is dirty or rusted it can affect the quality of the food in a negative way. Here are some tips and tricks to keep a grill running like a champ all summer long!

First finding the right grill for the job is a necessity. When looking at grills, choosing whether a cook likes charcoal or propane is a must. When it comes to charcoal a great grill for the job and the money is the Char-Griller® Outlaw Charcoal Grill, this grill is awesome for large families and people who like to throw parties but don’t like standing at the grill all day. As for the propane grill an awesome design and quick cooker is the Brinkmann® 4grill Burner Gas Grill, this grill is perfect for any patio or deck and can cook any meat quickly.

Now that the grills have been chosen and the parties have been thrown it is time for cleanup and storage. The first thing any grill needs is a preliminary scrub with a wire brush on all the cooking grates. Using a wire brush with a top handle is a must, this handle gives the leverage for the brush to knock off all the built up grime from the cooking and also loosens any residue from the charcoal or propane. A brush that meets the needs for most grills is definitely the Charcoal Companion® Dual Handle Monster Grill Brush™, this wire brush can power through just about any grilled on grime from even the biggest of parties. After the grills racks and grates have been scrubbed with the wire brush it is also a good idea to use a sponge with an abrasive pad and a little dish soap in order to get off the last of the grime from the cooking surfaces. After the cooking surfaces are clean it is a good idea on a charcoal grill to clean out the excess ash and charcoal from the bottom of the grill. Simply scooping out the ash with a small gardening shovel is the easiest way to do this. Then after the grill has cooled effectively wiping down the bottom of the grill, where the ash is, with a moist cloth is the best. Finally brushfor the charcoal grill cleaning out the grease trap is the final step. This is easily done by replacing whatever device is used to capture the grease and simply cleaning it in a dishwasher.  With the propane grill cleaning the grates and cooking areas is exactly the same, but after that the cleaning gets a lot easier. A light scrub on the burners with the sponge and abrasive pad with a little dish soap will keep the grease from building up on the burner and the subsequent charring from clogging any of the faucets for the propane. Again removing the grease trap, emptying and washing it is a must.

After the warm weather is over the grill is often times forgotten and left out in coverthe cold for the winter. The best thing to do for a grill that is not stainless is to use a cloth and rub it down with a little oil for the winter, a good one to use is coconut oil. This oil will keep the iron from becoming compromised with the frequent and harsh changes in temperature associated with winter here in the United States. Finally the last step to keeping any grill safe between cookouts is to get a good grill cover. These are usually inexpensive and will cover a wide range of grill sizes. A great cover for the money is the Classic Accessories® Cart BBQ Grill Cover, this series of cover has sizes and styles for almost any type of grill making it great for covering a grill after a party or for the winter.

Now that the grills are clean and ready to go it is time for another party! Have fun and grill with confidence, knowing that the grill being used is clean and ready to go. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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How to Properly Fit a Life Jacket

One of the most fun things about being on the water is the ability to safely enjoy some relaxing time in the water, but the main problem for many people is keeping everyone safe. The only way to do this is with a lifejacket. While life jackets are meant to keep people afloat and their heads above the water a poorly fit lifejacket can be one of the largest hazards while on the water.Life Jacket

While not all lifejackets are built the same many manufacturers follow a very specific set of guidelines in order to keep their wearers safe while on the water. Every lifejacket comes with a size and the approximate weights that the lifejacket services or the size of the jacket is based on the chest size of the person wearing the lifejacket. These guidelines for the size of the jackets are very important in that if a person is able to put on the jacket but does not fit the prescribed size of the jacket the flotation device will not hold up that person. A great life jacket that encompasses a wide variety of body types and sizes is the Type II Life Vest for Adult or Youth, this basic lifejacket is great for a little time on the river in which fitting a very specialized jacket is not the best idea.

Jet PilotWhen on the lake and doing specialized activities like wakeboarding or waterskiing a different jacket is definitely a must. These jackets must be fitted properly in order for them to work even in the slightest. The jacket should be snug around the chest, without constricting or binding in any place, while at the same time being pulled down on the shoulders. Then the jacket straps on the shoulders are pulled directly up the jacket should not move or slip in any places. This means that the jacket is effective and will not slip off of a person when they hit the water. This is especially important with children while tubing or wakeboarding. A good jacket to use for these activities is the Jet Pilot The Cause Neoprene Water Ski Life Jacket, this jacket is purpose built to accommodate heavy activity in and around the water making it perfect for all sorts of water activities.

BPS

While in a boat fishing it is always wise to wear a lifejacket. These jackets made for the fisherman are commonly made to allow seamless casting and retrieval with a rod and reel. Most of the lifejackets for a fisherman are fitted similarly to a skiing lifejacket. The straps should be snug around the chest and stomach while at the same time not constricting breathing or causing pain. The shoulder straps should be snug on the shoulders and should not lift when the jacket is pulled from the top. A good lifejacket for this purpose is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Deluxe Ripstop Fishing Life Jacket, this lifejacket comes equipped with extra pockets for baits and line. The lifejacket also comes with larger cutouts for the arms so casting and retrieval are not impaired because of the jacket.

On the water, on the bank or just on the dock it is always a good idea to wear a lifejacket when near the water. Having the right lifejacket for the activity is key to being safe and having a fun time on the water. As always happy swimming and good luck!

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