Headed North? Alaska Travel Tips

The past month or so, Bass Pro Shops Altoona has had former associate Jake Fergesen, a northeast Iowa native, helping us out.  Jake was with us when we opened, progressing to hunting lead and camping lead positions, then transferred to the East Peoria store where he became Hunting Manager. Now Jake will be the new Fishing Manager at the Anchorage store, which opens in 2014.

Jake is familiar with Alaska, having worked there a few years back. Since so many people travel to Alaska, we asked him to share some basic tips.


Helpful Tips for Travelling to Alaska

by Guest Blogger Jake Fergesen, BPS Anchorage Fishing ManagerJake Fergesen

*  Bug Spray - The beautiful vistas of Alaska are known around the world. But, one thing you don't always see are the bugs. You will need bug deterrent pretty much anytime you're outside in the summer.

As soon as I got settled into my new Alaska location, I was anxious to do some fishing. I had only been there a few days and was ready to attack the fish. On my first fishing outing, after about a minute into it, I realized I was the one under attack.. Even with all my excitement, the fishing only lasted about 5-10 minutes. 

Now, bug spray is with me wherever I go in Alaska. 100% DEET is the best bet, but if you're wearing Gortex and/or fishing, you need to remember a couple of things. DEET can eat away at the fishing line and the Gortex membrane on waders and rain gear. So, a DEET-free product - like Sawyer® Premium Insect Repellent 20% Picaridin - might be a preferable choice, as Picaridin doesn't harm your equipment and gear. Wherever you go in Alaska, always have it with you. I leave my spray in the fishing tackle, kayak, and in the car.

*  Binoculars - Make sure you have binoculars that are compact and easy to carry. You want the most magnification that you can hold steady...a 10 power is recommended. Again, binoculars should always be with you. I've been driving down the Seward Highway and spotted a grizzly and her two cubs on a river bank far away and could enjoy them with my binoculars from a safe distance. You never know when that moose or bear is going to give you a view to appreciate and remember.Alaskan Bear Fishing  

*  Bear Spray – The chance of having a close encounter with a bear are slim, but you always want to have your head on a swivel and be mindful. I was wading and fishing the Russian River for sockeye salmon and had a few encounters with a bear that was also fishing for its food. The bear was within probably 20 yards. You stay calm – talk to it in a loud non-aggressive tone. Unless they are with cubs, surprised, or have been conditioned to people giving them fish, bears are mostly curious. The last thing you want to do is throw a fish. Keep all your gear within arms length. On the river I was at, and many other rivers, you can actually get fined if you have a pack or tackle box and it’s not within 10 feet or so or within reach.

*  Rain gear - Are you going to be in and out of rain? Then lightweight and packable rain gear, like Frogg 
Toggs, would probably work. But, if you know and are planning on spending all day in the rain, go with a heavy duty rain set, like Helly Hanson – real rubberized stuff. Helly Hansen makes rainwear that the fishermen and oil workers use with 100% waterproof protection.

*  Sun Protection - Visitors to Alaska often overlook sun protection due to the cooler temperatures, but coming from someone who's learned the hard way, it is an item you need to remember to take. I was enjoying t-shirt weather, around 80 degrees, on a raft fishing all day Riverside Camping in Alaskalong...warm, but not scorchingly hot. I was having fun and not feelilng the heat...until later that night when a serious sunburn appeared.

*  Camera/Memory Cards - The camera is an obvious one, but you'll take so many pictures you might need to bring an extra memory along with you so you don't run out. Most cell phones have a pretty good camera, but if you have a good digital camera with a zoom, you'll want to bring it. On a trip to Denali I saw pretty much everything – caribou, moose, etc. I took decent pictures of Dall rams up on a mountainside because I had a camera with a good zoom. 

But, keep in mind:  Try not to get so caught up in taking pictures that you miss actually seeing what's around you. Put down the camera, once in a while, and enjoy the beauty without the lens.

Alaska Glacier

*  Layers - In the summer, the mornings can be in the 40s and the middle of the day can get up close to 80. You'll want layers you can shed as the day goes on. Go with synthetic fibers and avoid cotton because there's a good chance it will rain some and you'll get wet.

Alaska in the summer is amazing. It's light out almost 24 hours a day, which allows you to get more out of each day.  As large as Alaska is, you won't be able to see everything in one trip. Identify the area you most want to see and plan your trip for that. Make a list...the next area on your list that you want to see will give you that reason to take another trip north to Alaska!

Seward Highway




Fishy Facts: Northern Pike

Hmm… would you look at that? It appears to be Fishy Fact: 30. Which of course means it is time for another fishy fact. This month let us cover one of those toothy bad boys of freshwater: Northern Pike.

The northern pike is an apex predator in their ecosystem. The veracity with which they attack their prey makes them an awesome fighter when hooked. They also grow to relatively large size, which means the bigger the fish the bigger the fight.

The pike got their name due to the resemblance their structure has compared to the pole-weapon commonly used during the Medieval Period. This pointed structured helps them cut through water and they use impressive bursts of speed to run down their prey.

They are usually an olive green with some yellow and white along the belly. They also tend to have a number of dark spots on their bodies. They look a lot like the muskellunge, but have their differences. The northern pike has a number of sensory pores on their head and along the underside of their lower jaw.

Typical prey of the northern pike include: fish, leeches, insects, amphibians, small mammals and even birds. There are pictures of cute little ducklings swimming along as a hungry northern pike salivates below in the water. Pretty accurate, honestly. Northern pike tend to be solitary predators.

Along with being solitary they tend to stay in the same waters. Their homing sense is very strong, and will keep them in the same area for years. They tend to breed in the spring. In summer they stay closer to vegetation than when it is winter.

Typically fishermen will pitch assorted baits and lures in a semi-fast fashion to try and attract the bite from the northern pike. When I was in Canada it was common to switch to pitching for pike instead of jigging for walleye to break the boredom. If we didn’t feel like pitching, it went to trolling. Plugs, jerk baits, inline spinners, soft baits and spoons tend to be the most effective lures used for pike. Many like to use something with some shine that will glint in the water to attract any possible pike nearby. Ice fishing for these large predators is also popular, just be careful being in that close of proximity to something that strong with that many teeth.

Many fishermen will overlook pike as an edible catch. This is due to the high amount of bones in their long, slender bodies. This makes it very hard to get meat off the fish, which is why many do not spend the time cleaning them. If one were to take the time to learn a little trick for cleaning pike they would also learn just how delicious they are. Pike is a common fish consumed in Europe.

Now because pike are as strong and toothy as mentioned above, fishermen either are very careful when handling them or just club them. When I went fishing for them there were two rules, watch the teeth and don’t drop the net. I was able to follow the first rule but may have forgotten the second. In fact, the story of me is dropping the net right after Uncle Scot said not to is one of his favorites. It took us quite the time to get the fish out, but when we finally did it was worth the effort!

Nice, right? PS- Uncle Scot caught that, I just look too cool with my sideburns.

Pikes Picnickin’ with Prickly Pear Paws! Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts:

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass




The best knife sharpeners for every experience level


I usually get bummed at this time of year. Deer season is almost history, and spring turkey season is still three months away. But one of the things I do to pass the time between now and then is focus on maintaining my hunting equipment. In particular, these cold winter days are a great time to hone the knives we use to dress game or fillet fish.

Of course, Bass Pro offers just about every type of knife sharpener you can imagine.  This two-stage sharpener is extremely simple to use and is great for those who don’t have a lot of experience putting a razor edge on a knife. For more seasoned knife enthusiasts, pad-style sharpeners like this and this are solid choices. And for those of you who love your knives so much you sleep with them, you might consider investing in this high-end Smith’s Edge Pro Electric Knife Sharpener.

As we all struggle to make it through these cold winter days, I’m offering you a chance to win a new Redhead 8” Ceramic Sharpening Rod ($19.99 value). To enter the drawing, click on the "blog raffle" tab at the top of our Facebook page and answer the question it asks. A winner will be chosen Feb. 14.


Good luck, and happy knife sharpening!

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Clearance! A Thrifty Shopper's Paradise

Are you a thrifty shopper when it comes to buying clothes? Are you constantly looking for a good deal? I know that I am. I browse thrift stores, consignment shops, and clearance racks. It is hard, sometimes, for me to pay full price for an item. (Especially if it is one that I don't NEED, I just WANT)

As a parent, (I feel) one of the greatest lessons that we can teach our children is to become an economical shopper. It is not always an easy task to handle. Especially when all of their friends are wearing the name brand clothes and they just want to fit in with the crowd. It has taken me a while but, I am proud to say that 2 out of my 3 children have become money conscientious shoppers. (Please note: the youngest one is 16 years old and is just now working his first job. The other two are responsible for their own car payments!)

It is funny how kids and adults alike start changing their shopping habits when they are responsible for the bill. Well... if you are like me and always looking for a good deal, you need to check out the apparel section at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds. We have hundreds of items that are on clearance throughout the store. Anything from bathing suits, shorts, blue jeans, long sleeve shirts, short sleeves, tank tops, hats, hoodies and jackets can be found on a clearance rack. We have several racks of clearance clothing available in men's women's and children. And believe it or not... some are even name brand. Our selection includes Ascend, Red Head,World Wide Sportsman, Northface, and Columbia, just to name a few. Whether you are stocking up cold weather clothes for the remainder of winter or want to get a jump start on the summer, come in and check out the great deals. Below is a small sample of what you can find.

For the fisherman in your life:

wwsp                                wws


For the ladies:

l3      l3       lady 2       lady


For the men:

    men2                                men         


And of course, who can live without their favorite hoodie?

      hoodie 2                          hoody

For our online selection of clearance, visit www.basspro.com



Do you know CPR?


Hey ya’ll this is Trent and Garrett and we are the supervisors here in the fishing department at Bass Pro Shops in Las Vegas.  We wanted to talk to everyone today about CPR because CPR saves lives.  For those of you who are not familiar with the CPR aspect of fishing this is described as C (catch) P (photo) R (release).  This is what allows more and more world records to be caught because you are preserving the life of these fish for future catch and release.  It is our mindset that you can only eat a fish ONCE, but if you RELEASE the fish it gives yourself and other anglers the opportunity to catch that fish of a lifetime again down the line. For those of you who know who “Dotty” is, she was a largemouth bass caught CPR 3 different times and the last being at a weight that would have exceeded the world record if not had been for being foul hooked. So this goes to show that CPR does work. Do to the recent events at the Willow Beach hatchery it is more important now than ever to practice CPR to preserve the big Stripers that we all have learned to love down on the river. Our final question is….which one of these would you rather have?

Record CertificateFish Sandwhich


How to make a Winter Survial Kit for your Car



Well, it’s finally here folks; blizzards, black ice, and below zero temperatures. That’s right, it’s winter.  When it comes to driving in these conditions you can never be too prepared and that’s why I wanted to go over a few things you should always keep in your car in case of an emergency while driving in the winter.  All of the items below can be stored in a backpack or in a small tote. Make sure to keep these necessities in the backseat of your car (not the trunk) so they are easily accessible.

-Windshield Scraper/Brush

-Headlamp (make sure to keep charged or extra batteries with this)

-Wind-up Flashlight

-Glow Sticks


-Hand Warmers

-Foldable Shovel w/Saw

-Emergency Candle (empty soup can to put candle in)

-Waterproof Matches

-First Aid Kit (make sure it contains tape, gauze and medications)

-Fleece Blanket or Sleeping Bag

-Gloves, Wools Socks, and a hat

-Extra Jacket or Warm Clothes

-Bottled Water

-Beef Jerky or Energy Bars

-Phone Charger 

-Florescent Trail Marking Ribbon (or something bright to tie to your antenna)

Before you venture out into extreme weather conditions...


  1. Always remember to dress accordingly.  If you know it’s going to be 10 Degrees, then wear your coat and boots and layer up!

  1. Always travel with a full tank of gas.

  1. Make sure your cell phone has a full battery.

However, even the most prepared person still winds up in a predicament every now and then. So the next time you find yourself trapped inside a giant snowball, remember these strategies…


            -Call for help, remain calm and do not leave your car.


                -Try to tie the florescent marking tape on your antenna to make it easier for rescuers to see you.


- Run your car for about 10 minutes at a time with the heat, headlights and dome light on. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning and leave the window vented a little.


-Put on extra clothing such as gloves, a hat, socks, boots or anything else you have available in your car. You can also use the candle in the empty soup can for extra heat.


You now have the proper knowledge to prepare yourself for Mother Nature’s wrath in the winter. Stop in to your local Bass Pro Shop, head up to the camping department and let one of our friendly staff members get you set up with everything you need for your emergency winter car kit.

Safe travels and good luck out there!

Holly, Camping Lead



This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Save a Life!

LifeServe Blood mobile at Bass Pro Shops AltoonaDid you know...

  • Only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10 percent donate annually.
  • There is no substitute for human blood.
  • You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
  • About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood.
  • Females receive 53 percent of blood transfusions; males receive 47 percent.

Picture your child, grandchild, spouse, best friend or other loved one in a hospital in dire need of blood...but the resources weren't there.

The LifeServe Blood Mobile will be at Bass Pro Shops Altoona on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 9 - noon. This is YOUR chance to help save a life...your own or someone else's. The LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines has a critical and urgent need for blood:

  • Critical Needs:
  • Less Than 2 Day Supply
  • O Positive
  • O Negative
  • A Negative
  • AB Negative








  • Urgent Needs:
  • 2-3 Day Supply
  • A Positive
  • B Positive
  • B Negative







  • General Needs:
  • 4-5 Day Supply
  • AB Positive


Don't know your blood type? That doesn't matter. Every two seconds, someone, somewhere needs blood.

The rarest type is the one not on the shelf when a patient needs it.

Please join us and help the cause.




Product Spotlight -UCO® Arka USB Charger/Lantern/Flashlight

UCO® Arka USB Charger/Lantern/Flashlight

This is an emergency preparedness dream! A mighty like flashlight, lantern and charger all in one! The Arka is one of the highlights of our Camping Departments cool products of 2013, and here's why:

  • Collapsible, so very compact and easy to transport - great for backpackers, travelers, and emergency access like power outages.
  • While you're using it as a light you can also be charging your phone, camera, or GPS! Rechargeable battery/ recharging station, plus comes with wall charger and USB cord.
  • Five lighting modes - Including three red LED for night vision, strobe and SOS.

Check out this video demo of the Arka!


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Duck, Duck, Dynasty

Duck Dynasty has taken the world by storm! Duck Dynasty is an American reality television series on the A&E network. The show portrays the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their family-operated business, Duck Commander. The business makes products for duck hunters, including duck calls and is located in West Monroe, Louisiana. The family men, famous for the long beards, include brothers Phi and Si, and Phil's sons Jase, Willie, and Jep and are well known for their religious views. Bass Pro Shops in Leeds carries a plethora of Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty products! We carry a the following products and more!

  • Marshmallow shooters
  • DVDs
  • Board games
  • Adventure sets
  • Action figure sets
  • Tervis tumblers
  • Tea cups
  • Books
  • Crappie rods
  • Duck calls
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Hats
  • Vehicle accessories
  • Video games
  • Boots/clogs
  • Dog treats               

Here is a sneak peek at a few of those items:

duck dynasty 1

“The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty” by Willie and Korie Robertson with Mark Schlabach, is perfect for fans of A&E’s hit show “Duck Dynasty”. Readers will devour tidbits about the family that they won’t see on TV, and learn how Korie manages family and work life. You’ll get a taste of the Robertson clan’s food through recipes in every chapter and view childhood photos of Willie and Korie. Hardcover. 272 pages. Made in USA. 

duck cup

Hey, Jack … that's my kind of cup!" This Duck Commander Si's tea cup lets you drink tea just like Uncle Si! Great for Duck Commander fans, this 16-ounce cup is made of polypropylene plastic and features a Duck Commander logo on front. Dishwasher safe. Imported


dvdYou won't miss a moment of Robertson family antics, wit, and down-to-earth wisdom with all episodes of Duck Dynasty in one set. The "Duck Dynasty Seasons 1–3" DVD Combo Pack includes every crazy, laughable adventure from the first Season 1 episode through the end of Season 3, including outtakes, deleted scenes, never-before-seen footage, music videos, and much more. Follow Willie, Phil, Jase, Miss Kay, Korie, Si, Missy, and Jep through their ongoing adventures of turning a backwoods family business into a multi-million dollar empire. Made in USA.


duck setBass Pro Shops has joined forces with Duck Dynasty to create the ultimate Robertson family play set! This Duck Dynasty Deluxe Adventure Play Set for kids incudes Willie, Jase, Phil, and Si action figures, as well as a truck, a trailer, an officially licensed Tracker Jon Boat, and more. Kids even get awesome Duck Dynasty accessories like Si’s tea cup, 2 frogs, a duck, and a beaver. This toy set comes with over 20 pieces and is compatible with Bass Pro Shops Duck Dynasty gift sets. Ages 3 and up. Imported.

duck tervisThe Tervis Tumbler Duck Commander Fear the Beard Insulated Wrap with Black Lid showcases a bold, wrap-around design sealed between tumbler walls. Microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe, this sturdy travel mug is made of a high-grade polymer and features powerful insulation to keep drinks hot or cold. Great for work, travel and your daily commute, this Tervis Tumbler Wrap is perfect for Duck Dynasty fans! Manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee. Made in USA. 

duck video

Be an honorary member of the Duck Commander family and join Phil, Uncle Si, Willie, and Jase as you blast your way through multiple levels of waterfowl, beavers, and frogs with the Duck Commander Plug and Play Video Game. No video game console or software needed, simply plug this game in and play on any TV. This Duck Commander Plug & Play Video Game is a great rainy day activity for kids and kids at heart! 3 AA and 3 AAA batteries required, not included. Ages 8 and up. Imported.


dog treats

Freshen' up your prize dog's breath after a successful morning in the blind with the Duck Dynasty Southern Recipe Style Dog Dental Treats. These mint-flavored, all natural dog treats promote clean teeth and fresh breath in dogs. They contain no corn and no soy and are made with 1 part home cooking, 1 part love, and 2 parts redneck. Dogs love these southern recipe style dental treats. Happy, happy, happy!


To check out these great Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander items, come into the store or check out the web at www.basspro.com




Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

Photo from Beef It's What's For DinnerNot everyone likes venison, which I constantly need to remember. However, it also important to remember that any recipe with beef, can be made with venison, although you may have to adjust cooking times.

So, I'm borrowing this recipe from the Beef It's What's for Dinner web site via the Iowa Farmer Today magazine. Personally, I'd use a venison roast instead and would cut it into more than 12 pieces. It is a really interesting compilation of food...I think I just talked myself into trying it...but with venison.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

1- 2 ½ pound beef boneless shoulder roast
2 C chopped onion
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained
1 C frozen hash browns, cubed
1 C beef broth
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 C broccoli slaw
1/2 C frozen peas

Cut roast into 12 equal pieces. Place in 4.5 to 5.5 quart slow cooker.

Add onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broth, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. (Instead of store-bought, why not use those tomatoes and peppers you canned or froze from the garden last year!)

Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9 hours., or until roast is fork-tender. Note: no stirring is necessary during cooking.

Stir in broccoli slaw. Continue cooking, covered 30 minutes or until broccoli slaw is crisp-tender.

Turn off slow cooker.

Stir in peas.

Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.


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Eyes on Rangefinders!

Lets scope out an amazing tool that is often overlooked and rarely talked about...the rangefinder.

In the event you are unfamiliar with them, a rangefinder is a device that measures distance from the observer to a target. Optical range finders work by comparing the height of an object to a scale. Laser range finders work by bouncing a laser beam of an object and determining how long it takes to return and therefore distance. To select a rangefinder you first need to determine the size, maximum distance and type of object that is to be used to determine distance. Small non-reflective objects at long distances need very high quality rangefinders. Large shiny objects can be detected with cheaper rangefinders. Just determine your needs and budget and research your options.

Ballistics and Tactical

Rangefinders may be used by military or law enforcement snipers as a means of finding the distance to the target in order to set up a "perfect shot". If range is not known before the first shot, it may be necessary to walk the rounds in on the target, such as using tracer ammunition or observing splashes. The laser rangefinder is not always the best option though, as it sends out a light source that may give away the rangefinders position. Many Nikon Laser Rangefinders for hunting and golfing are readily available in different ranging distances. These Hunting Rangefinders include laser rangefinders for bow hunters. Leupold Laser Rangefinders include the RX series of premium quality hunting rangefinders and golfing rangefinders also.


Rangefinders are also used for surveying in forestry. Special devices with anti-leaf filters are used. Surveying jobs such as sale boundaries and stem mapping are great examples of what they are used for.

Virtual reality

Since the 1990s, the entertainment industry has been using lasers to scan objects and create 3-D models. These precise measurements are converted into highly detailed representations in virtual reality. Scientists often use laser rangefinders, as well. Long-range lasers can be used to measure the distance to an object in space, such as the moon. The technology continues to be used more and more in space exploration, where there is no atmosphere to deflect beams of laser light.




The Nikon Archer's Choice Laser Rangefinder is specifically designed with the help of the pros at Archer's Choice and combines Nikon's ID technology with all the features serious bowhunter's demand. The Nikon Archer's Choice Laser Rangefinder with LCD Display has a first target priority mode that allows confident ranging of objects and has a 5 to 100 yard range. The Nikon Archer’s Choice Laser Waterproof/Fogproof Rangefinder features a bright, multicoated 6X optics and proprietary anti-reflective coatings offer high-resolution images in most lighting conditions. The rangefinder is ultra-compact in size and fits in your pocket or pack, and can be worn on a belt without interfering with your shot.

Nikon Archers Choice


NAC Display





One of the featured series is the Leupold RX Rangefinders. They range faster, more accurately and to longer ranges than in previous models. The proprietary DNA (Digitally eNhanced Accuracy) engine responds instantly with crisp precision within 1/10th yard and TBR (True Ballistic Range) gives you all you need to place your shot perfectly.


Leupold RX

Leupold RX1000i Display

This rangefinder is also equipped with an inclinometer. This is a great addition to the rangefinder to aid in the estimated time to travel up or down a slope as well as where to best put your shot.   



The new Leupold Vendetta bow-mounted rangefinder will revolutionize the way you hunt and dramatically improve your game. Vendetta gives you an instant and precise digital readout of your target range – at full draw – with no excessive movement and less busted game. Simply push the trigger pad and Vendetta continually adjusts distance, angles and elevation as your target moves with a range from 10 -70 yards.

Leupold Vendetta


Leupold Vendetta Bow Mount


Rangefinders are a great addition to the gear list and are proven time after time. If you are unsure if you should use on or what model you should get, come down to Bass Pro and try them out. We have more than enough taxidermy mounts to practice on.

Go scope something out!




Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season:Part 3

Not So Fast! Part 3

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13


Fly, Spinning and Baitcasting Rods:

Use an old but clean toothbrush and with hot soapy water clean the reel seat, the fittings  that secure the reel to the reel seat and the screw threads of the reel seat. Clean around all of the guides and the tip top. If the cork grip is discolored, or slick with an oily residue- use a very fine grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool and carefully rub down the grip to restore it's color and smooth surface. (Use masking tape to cover the rod blank and the reel seat immediately adjacent the cork grip to guard against scratching). If there are cracks in the cork or sections where the cork filler dislodged, mix cork dust (sand a wine bottle cork and collect the fine dust) with waterproof glue (Elmer's), and using a flat wooden stick or coffee stirrer, push the paste into the cracks and pits. Wait 24 hrs to allow the cork/glue slurry to cure and then carefully sand the grip with fine grit sand paper to return it to nearly new condition. Wipe down your rod sections with a clean cloth soaked in hot soapy water (use a mild soap). I like to then polish each rod section with a furniture spray wax such as Pledge. Spray the wax onto a clean dry cloth and polish each rod section. For multi-piece rods, apply beeswax, bowstring wax (or paraffin wax at a minimum) to each male ferrule of the rod sections. (The wax keeps the rod sections from coming loose after repeated casting). For fly rods, store the rod sections in a rod sock and secure everything into the appropriate rod tube. (If your rod tubes have a description of the rod on the exterior make sure you've got the right rod in the right tube, otherwise you might be in for a surprise when it’s time to fish. Pay attention to the details. Store the tube in a cool and dry environment. For one-piece rods, several storage related products are very helpful in organizing and protecting your investments. Most anglers will store their rods with the reels attached and that’s fine as long as it’s done carefully. Most however roughly gather the rods together and prop them in a corner of the basement or garage so they are stacked on top of one another. I have several suggestions:


  1. Remove all terminal tackle and wind all the line onto the spool and secure the line with a rubber band or ladies hair tie.
  2. Slip rod socks over each rod to protect the blank and guides from damage. Most of our rods these days are constructed of graphite. If these rod blanks are scratched or nicked they can easily fail under the load of a fish or during the casting process. Protect your rods with simple covers: Bass Pro Shops Rod Sock
  3. Rather than propping the rods leaning against one another, develop a system for storage, whether it’s overhead or standup design. I recommend vertical storage systems in rod carousels. They don’t use much space, and they rotate making it very easy to remove specific rods without sorting through the “pickup sticks” type storage.
  4. Where necessary, replace worn or broken guides on your rods. The following link will take you to a You Tube video that explains the repair process. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki0GviM6WI0


Zippers: Take particular care with any clothing items and gear bags that have zippers. Zippers exposed directly to salt water and salt air can get encrusted and lock up, and when you forcibly try to free them because you're in a hurry, the zipper head or slide will often break. The following link will take you to a blog on my website that offers tips on how to remove salt, clean and maintain zippers exposed to the salt environment. http://www.skinnywaterchartersri.com/SWC-Blog.html?entry=zip-it-up


These suggestions cover much of what anglers should pay attention to as they prepare to put their equipment away for the winter months. Like your car or your house, regular maintenance will help ensure that your equipment will last longer, look better and be ready for next year’s fishing season.

For additional tips, suggestions and announcements from Skinny Water Charters, visit my website at www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com.


Resolution Solution- Keep Fit

Resolution Solution- Get Fit in 2014

The time has come to issue in a new year again and with that comes the dreaded New Years Resolution. Most people have trouble keeping their resolutions through January and the most common would be how to stay more active in the New Year. One way to stay active is to go hiking. Picking out the right hiking or trail running shoe to enjoy the outdoors is essential to making the most of your outdoor adventure. Most people think they have to pick the most expensive or up to date technology in a shoe to succeed with your resolution. That is not the case. The best advice I can give anyone the wants to enjoy the outdoors is keep it simple when picking a shoe. One feature to consider is to make sure its waterproof. This goes a long way with breath ability and keeps your feet cool and comfortable. Next you should pick a shoe that has a good sole or traction an example of this would be Vibram. It has good traction in wet terrain and won't break down in rough terrain. And lastly, the type of sock you should wear with your new hiking shoe. There are many options to choose from when picking out a sock from lightweight to heavyweight just make sure it can breathe(cotton does not) and make sure it does not make the shoe fit tight through out the time you are wearing it.

These are just a few things to remember in picking out a new hiking shoe along with many more we can help you out with at Bass Pro Shops. Remember if you’re a beginner to advanced hiking the most important thing is to have fun while you’re in the outdoors. My name is Billy. I am a Footwear Specialist in our Las Vegas Bass Pro Store. Come on down to Bass Pro and talk with one of our pros or visit our website.


Redhead Roark Hiker


Try a New Sport!

fly fishing 1

Have you wanted to try a new sport and maybe you are just not real sure where to start? Well, if fly fishing is in your thoughts, let me tell you how to make it a reality. Bass Pro Shops in Leeds is proud to offer a "hands on" instructional class for beginners on how to cast a fly rod. The casting class meets each month on the second and fourth Saturday at 1pm at the lake here on our property. (Our lake is located off of the nature trail entrance to the store.) All of the supplies will be provided so you do not need to bring anything except your thirst for knowledge. This class is limited to only six students so that each person can receive individualized instruction based on need. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, don't hesitate to contact the store at (205) 702-7500 today to sign up for the next available class. I will tell you... classes fill up quickly.  


fly fishing 2



Once you get the hang of casting, you should sign up for the fly tying class. Fly tying classes are offered the first and third Monday of every month at 6pm in our own White River Fly Shop.


Using an Alabama rig


We like to showcase different rigs during our weekly fishing demos. Fishing associate David B. is a fan of the Alabama rig, so that's what we used last week. Let’s “school” you on how it works:


Most 'bama rigs come with five arms for hooks, however in the state of Missouri; you're only allowed to have three hooks. The center wire or two bottom wires will catch the most fish, so attach decoy bait on the other two arms.

If used correctly, it can catch a lot of fish. Its trick? It's designed to appear to be a school of fish. When it's reeled in, the lures are pulled together in one direction. Make sure to pause to let the rig change directions for a bit to give fish a chance to catch up.

The best time to use this rig is from the early spring through the summer, and then again in the early fall. It works best on a 7ft medium-heavy rod with bait casters and 30-60lbs braided line. Use soft plastics like Zoom, paddletail fluke or 4 inch grubs. Lake of the Ozarks is a great place to use them according to David. They are good for catching many different species such as largemouth bass or (if using a smaller rig) crappie.

Because of the amount of arms on the rig, make sure to check with the state conservation regulations before using it. Some states like Tennessee don't allow the rig to be used at all, and most of the time they’re not tournament sanctioned either.

The Deadly 5 War Path is a great Alabama rig to use. It starts at $9.99 and can be found in our fishing department.



Top Unique Products of 2013 - Ladies' Apparel

A new year typically means taking time to reflect on the previous year. With that thought in mind, I asked the various departments what their top "unique" products were in 2013...unique in technology, usage, and features.

Ladies' ApparelColumbia Tech gloves

  • Touch Tip gloves - With smartphones and other electronics these days, touch tip gloves are one of theTouch Tip gloves best accessories to have. How many times have you gone to use your smartphone but had to take your gloves off first? With a touch tip thumb and index on both hands, these gloves allow you to use any touch screen device without removing your gloves. The technology is also available in men's and hunting apparel. 
  • Thumbholes on cuffs -  These have become very popular in Ladies' apparel and many vendors are on the Ladies Ascend with Thumbholesbandwagon, including Columbia, The North Face and Ascend.  In most cases, it is on an interior cuff, allowing you to have additional built-in protection in your coat.  If you are wearing gloves, the thumbholes help stop wind and/or snow from going up your sleeve.
  • Omni-Heat Gloves-  Columbia brought their lightweight, yet warm technology, to more gloves this year. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining uses your own body heat, trapping and retaining it to keep you warm.
  • Infinity Scarves - These scarves have been extremely popular for our cold weather blasts this season! Natural Reflections Infinity ScarfAre you all about function or do you lean more toward fashion? There are some designed for all tastes!  


Next up - Camping!


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crappie madness



We are starting 2014 in a big way at Bass Pro Shops ... With CRAPPIE MADNESS!!!!


Whether you are a crappie fisherman or just want to know more about how to get started, join us for two weekends of Crappie Madness!




Fridays- Feb 7 and 14

5-8 pm            FREE Photo download - You on the cover of Crappie Magazine!

7 pm                Pro Crappie Seminars

                         Learn tips and techniques of various styles of Crappie Fishing from local and top professionals!

                         FREE GIVEAWAY- to the first 25 people to attend seminars!!!!


Saturdays- Feb 8 and 15

11am & 2 pm   Pro Crappie Seminars

                           Learn tips and techniques of various styles of Crappie Fishing from local and top professionals!

                           FREE GIVEAWAY- to the first 25 people to attend seminars!!!!

12-6 pm            FREE Photo download- You on the cover of Crappie Magazine!

1-5 pm              Catch and Release Pond

2-5 pm              Fried Fish Demo  


Plus! Seminar attendees enter for your chance to win a Crappie rigged 2014 Tracker Pro Team 175 TF!


Hot Shot Shooters

Hot Shot Shooters

By: Katie Cook

Hot Shot Shooters is an all woman’s firearms club that meets at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee, Illinois. One of our goals is to teach women how to become more proficient shooters and responsible firearm owners.  Our Mission is “To Get More Women Involved!”

Several of our members took an NRA Basic Pistol Class with Bill Worth and wanted to find like minded women to enjoy shooting and learning about firearms. Bill told them to start a group. One of the ladies finally organized our first meeting. Bill sent out an email asking if we were interested in a ladies shooting club. 25-30 women showed up at the first meeting. Our first meeting was basically to ask what we wanted from this group and what we wanted to experience. A few meetings later, we brainstormed over names and voted. Some were very clever and we debated over a few before we decided on Hot Shot Shooters. Our Email list is at 50 women now and constantly growing.

All ladies are welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings and join Hot Shot Shooters. Our next meeting is Tuesday January 21St at 6pm on the 3rd floor of the range at Bass Pro Shop Gurnee.

Also check us out on FaceBook!  www.facebook.com/HotShotShooters



Trapping a New Era

The New Year means many things to different people in the outdoor community.  Many outdoorsmen and women have cabin fever and will wait nearly eight months to cure it with another crack at a big buck this fall.  Some may be grasping to waterfowl hunting as the season draws its last breath.  Several are out with dogs watching them freeze up and point as the scent of quail in a deadfall tickles their nostrils.  Still yet others are following intently behind a group of beagles hot on the heels of a wiley rabbit.  Fishermen are going through their tackle inspecting every inch of it and making sure new hooks, fresh line, and a well tooled boat are all geared up for the inevitable spring.  Turkey hunters form a new mouth call to the bridge of their mouth in anticipation of the warm morning that will spawn echoing gobbles from every ridge and holler around.   Another direction we can go to extend our season and enjoy the pursuit is predators and furbearers.

Coyote hunting and coon hunting are great ways to spend the lonesome days of January.Here I am with a coyote I caught in one of my traps.  What I’m talking about though takes us farther back through our outdoor heritage.  Walk by the river and streams in the shoes of mountain men who blazed a trail for the start of our great nation.  Survival was forefront on their mind as they ran their trap lines to make a living.  Something tells me that the anticipation of those men checking traps was no less than mine as I do it today.  Survival being substituted with conservation is the main difference between the old days and the modern trapper.  The North American Wildlife Conservation Model has been so successful in allowing humans to coexist with wildlife that it almost works too well.  More knowledgeable hunters and anglers allow us to maximize our ultimate renewable resources of fish and game.  Deer, duck, turkey, small game, elk, and nearly every other species that has graced our land are at record high numbers.  Some birds like quail do suffer still from fewer and fewer grasslands and more predation.  With the higher numbers of game species available, the predator counts also inflate.  They are opportunistic and don’t evenly prey on any one species or type of animal, which leaves the weaker game animals in harm’s way.  The inflation in predator numbers started my itch to begin trapping.  Hoping to catch a few coyotes turned into having coon and muskrat traps to run as well.  Going to bed each night, you can’t help to think about what you might have in your traps the next day.  Nothing makes the fire burn more than to be outwitted once only to reset and think about what will happen the next day, hoping to not be outdone again.

Controlling the predator numbers and keeping the raccoons out of your sweet corn patch isn’t the only benefits to trapping, though.  If you take care of your catch and store it properly, you can take it to a local fur buyer and get a little bit of coin out of the deal.  You won’t want to quit your job, but you may be able to put a nice chunk towards buying a new gun or other item that we can’t have too many of!  Check out the trapping supplies available at Bass Pro Shops by clicking here.  You will find a selection of coil spring and conibear traps as well as dog proof raccoon traps.  Additionally, you will find many accessories that you may try along the way like sifters, trap dye, trap setters, lures and more!       

                                  A nice mess of coons.                                            

In the future, I will discuss some more in depth items about topics like trap preparation, placement, tools, fur handling, and general strategies.  I will say that I have spent many days afield and had never taken up trapping.  It was always an oversight for me or something that didn’t sound that intriguing to a deer, duck, and turkey hunter that bass fished.  Having half of this season under my belt, I couldn’t tell you how wrong I was.  Trapping encompasses the essence of all the outdoor skills that you have learned in the field.  Moreover, the anticipation of what may happen is the paramount excitement in everything we outdoor people all share.  Big bucks, big bass, big turkeys, hoards of ducks, dogs on a perfect trail are things we dream of and live as we prepare to pursue our quarry afield.  Rarely are our expectations met but when it happens it’s a special, memorable moment to cherish.


-Brian Eickholtz




PS:  For more great ways to enjoy the cold, winter moths check out my blog "Treasures of January."


Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater

Mr. Heater Portable


In early January the nation suffered through the Polar Vortex.  Temperatures plummetted to the teens in the Savannah area and many people were caught off gaurd by the unusually cold weather.  Due to this weather event Bass Pro Shops had a run on Hand Warmers and our Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater.  This indoor safe heater is an essential item when cold weather is upon us.  This item, listed at $99.99, features a single control for starting and heat adjustment, can put out 4,000-9,000 BTUs of heat with a hi-low setting, and can heat up to 200 square feet of space.  Safety features include a low oxygen safety shut-off system and a tip-over safety shut off.  It can run off of a 16 oz propane bottle or with the addition of a Mr. Heater 5' Propane Hose Assembly users can operate the heater with a 20 gallon propane tank.  A 16 oz. cylinder will provide 3 to 6 hours of heat, while a 20 gallon tank will provide 48 to 110 hours, depending upon the setting you use. It is great for campers, hunters, boaters, and every day general household use.  It is definitely a must have for colder weather.