Prepared for Camping



March 21, marked the first full day of spring.  Everyone’s looking forward to a break from the frigid winter we’ve had, and are busy getting ready to hit the Great Outdoors again.  However we need to keep in mind that just because the calendar says it is so, doesn’t mean Mother Nature totally agrees.

Many people are buying hiking packs, tents, and sleeping bags and are heading out this weekend in all directions for camping trips.  But, this is the time one really needs to pay attention to the predicted and unpredicted weather changes. This week in Central Arkansas, alone, we have gone from 28 degrees and snow to 60+ degrees and sunshine in 5 days.  It is extremely important to keep that in mind when preparing for an outing regardless of the number of days one plans to be outside.

Hypothermia is a serious issue at this time of year and can quickly become fatal if it occurs.  Hypothermia can begin when the body core loses as few as 6 degrees and decreases rapidly if the situation isn’t dealt with immediately. To help prevent this from happening, particularly at night, some simple steps can be taken to keep one safe and comfortable.

Tents, Sleeping Bags, and Clothing are major factors in this issue.  Many tents are now rated as 2, 3, or 4 seasons compatible. Be aware of the temperatures in the area you are going to, then check out the label on the tent package or go on line to the manufacturer, to see which season ratings are given on the tent you plan to take. Be sure the tent is water proofed and that it is sturdy enough to hold up to mixed weather conditions such as rain, snow or winds.

Sleeping Bags come in many varieties and types, weights, lengths, widths, and temperature tolerances. For example a sleeping bag rated suitable for 55+ degrees would not be suitable for colder regions at this time of year. If you prefer only camping out in the warmer summer months, a  -0 or -20 degree bag would probably be uncomfortable.  A s far as shapes of sleeping bags, the smaller interior Mummy bag is a good choice for the extreme cold areas.  Some of us prefer to have more leg room and interior mobility in our sleeping bag and would rather have the Rectangular shaped bag. Rectangular sleeping bags also have temperature ratings that fit your needs.  Another factor to consider on purchasing a sleeping bag is the person’s size. You will be more comfortable if the sleeping bag isn’t too tight across your chest or too short for your height. The bag should be able to be zipped up easily around you and allow for some “wiggle” room.  Keep in mind that in the cold, heavier clothing will be worn in addition to your body size and you don’t need to be compressed too tightly in the bag.

When it comes to clothing, you should “layer what you wear”.  A sleeveless undershirt is a great place to start. It should fit snuggly but not too tight.  From there you can add a  long john shirt or long sleeve Under Armour  shirt  then Flannel shirt or sweat shirt, and  jacket or coat, or coveralls  or whatever external clothing your prefer.  By putting the sleeveless shirt on first, you will be able to change out the clothing without losing all your body heat and your modesty.   A stocking cap for the nighttime is a necessity.  90% of your body heat can be lost through you head and face.  Socks or foot coverings will also make your efforts to stay warm in the sleeping bag easier to do.

If you will be sleeping in your bag on the floor of the tent rather than on a cot, the bag should be placed on a mat or blow up type mattress.  When choosing a mat to put under the sleeping bag, it is recommended to use a very tight, closed cell pad rather than the wider, looser foam mats such as an egg-crate type mattress, because the wide weave allows for the cold temperature of the ground to be absorbed by the sleeping bag.  Keep these tips in mind when shopping for yourself, and for others that you are responsible for; especially small children.  Be Safe, Be Smart, and Enjoy your trip.

Alicia Ray-Camping Dept.

Bass Pro Shop-Little Rock,Arkansas  




How To Catch Big Bass After Ice Out


largemouth bass

Andy Buss | Portage BPS Pro Staff


It is likely the two feet of ice is going to hang on well into April, but, believe it or not, the ice will melt. When it does, anglers better move fast. Being later in the spring than normal, the thaw will coincide with air temperatures higher than typical of first thaw. Combine this with longer days and anglers can conclude water temperatures will rise much faster in April than they do in late March when the ice normally melts.


After a normal winter, water temperatures will hover in the 30’s to mid 40’s for several weeks, but this period may last only a week in 2014. On small, dark lakes, it may only last a few days. During this brief time, bass will still be found around popular ice fishing holes and fooled on traditional blade baits such as an XPS Lazer Blade.  Keep colors simple: gold and silver work regardless of water color.


Once the water temperature reaches the upper 40’s or low 50’s, bass will become aggressive and roam the shallows in search of prey. In Northern Indiana, that means bluegill, so it is wise to mimic this prey. The main weapon of choice for many anglers, me included, is the ½ ounce lipless crankbait. I keep color choices simple. In stained water, crawdad colors work best. In clear water, chrome with a blue back is my first pick.


Bluegills come shallow to feed in the spring and the bass follow; thus many of the best areas on the lake are also shallow. If you see bluegill in an area, the bass are close. The north end of nearly every lake warms first, so this is typically an ideal area to begin searching. Once there, fish the shallow ends of flats and points; target channels, or other areas out in front of spawning grounds. A trough leading to a spawning area is a gold mine. Remember, bass spawn on hard surfaces such as gravel, rocks, wood, and lily pad roots. I spend over 95% of my time in four feet of water or less.


Anglers must remember that bait will not wait around to be eaten, so bass are often on the move. Thus, anglers must be on the move too: keep the trolling motor running! One spot may produce a bass, or many; regardless, they will not hold there for long. It is normally more productive to stay on the move and cover water rather than waiting for them to show up. In more ways than one, get ready to move.


smallmouth bass


Smallmouth love blade baits! These fish were caught from the St. Joe River in 41° water in early March. We went on to catch over 40 bass by working the blades around stumps in water 10-12 feet deep.



KVD Signature Series XPS Fluorcarbon Fishing Line

Check out the new KVD Signature Series XPS Fluorcarbon Fishing Line at Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops today !!


Product Spotlight - Award-Winning RedHead Striker Turkey Vest

RedHead STrikler Turkey Vest"The beauty of the Striker lies in its simplicity."
Strut Zone - Gear Review: 5 New Turkey Vests for Spring 2014


Well laid out - fully-functional - quiet. These are just some of features that have earned the RedHead Striker Turkey Vest the Great Buy Award from Outdoor Life!

The new RedHead Striker Turkey Vest for men is a high-quality vest with features hunters need at an affordable price - a variety of pockets include a mesh mouth call pocket, double slate call pocket, and a box call and striker pocket, plus additional accessory pockets. Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith likes the fold-down seat and the way its magnets quickly closed the seat. The detachable orange square gives just a little added protection on your walk into and out of the woods.

As the Strut Zone blog calls it, the RedHead Striker Vest is an "inexpensive starter vest and a great value."Striker Turkey Vest


Join Shaun on Facebook LIVE on Thursday, March 27, at 11:30 as he takes your questions about spring turkey hunting!


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Hiking Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

The 16 mile hike to Half Dome and back begins at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley.  It is a grueling hike up to Half Dome from the Valleythe top of half dome with a 3800 foot gain in elevation to 8800 feet above sea level over approximately 8 miles.  Along the way, you'll see outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap and Half Dome.  From the summit  you will be treated to fantastic views of Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and other prominent points of interest along with panoramic views of the High Sierras. You will also most likely catch a glimpse or two of some of the native wildlife as you hike the trail to Half Dome.

Half Dome SummitTwo metal cables stretch up the last 400 feet enabling hikers to reach the summit without climbing equipment.   And while a relative few in number have fallen to their death during this part of the ascent, one must approach this area with utmost reverence.  It is not the place to be goofing , showing off or acting irresponsibly.  The journey up the cables is inherently dangerous but with the right precaution can be a safe and fun adventure.  The cables usually go up just before Memorial Day and come down the day after Columbus Day.

Most hikers take 10-12 hours to make the hike up Half Dome and back to the valley floor.  For this reason it Cables on Half Domeis best to start this hike very early in the morning.  One should also be in reasonable shape for this hike due to the length and elevation gain which make it somewhat strenuous.  I would also mention that for the last several years it has become necessary to obtain a permit from the park service to ascend Half Dome via the cable route.

There are some items you will want to make sure to include in preparation for your hike.  A good place to start is our Manteca Bass Pro Shop where you can gear up for the hike up Half Dome.  The first item probably being a good set of hiking boots with good ankle support.  Take a look at the RedHead Ridge Point Hikers or perhaps the RedHead Granite Peak Hiker..  Either one of these would make  a great choice for the hike up Half Dome.  While not mandatory, you might want to include a pair of gloves to grip the cables as you climb up the last 400 feet.  Another item you will want to have with you would be a small sack lunch.   You just might get hungry.  Probably most important would be water.  You will View from the Topneed approximately one gallon of water for the trek up and back.   In our camping department you will find the perfect item to carry your gear, lunch and water in the form of one of our many hydration packs.  The Ascend H1250 or Ascend H2000 are two excellent choices.

Now for a few safety tips.  Check the forecast before your trip.  The summit is a dangerous place to be during a lightning storm.  If you notice a storm moving in, do not attempt the summit.  And while lightning storms are more common during the afternoon hours, keep in mind that they can strike at most any time.  Do not attempt to summit during wet or rainy conditions.  The trek up the cables is no place to be slipping and sliding.  The summit is typically 15 degrees cooler than the valley floor and can be windy.  Be prepared and dress appropriately.  A few people experience problems with altitude sickness each year with symptoms such as severe headache or nausea.  If you experience these symptoms you must get to lower elevations immediately.  Last but not least one must stay out of the river above Nevada and Vernal Falls.  Nearly every year someone is swept over the falls because they do not follow this precaution.

The trip up to the summit of Half Dome and the views one encounters once you reach the top make this hike well worth the effort.  And while there are dangers one must be aware, the trek can be quite safe as long as the proper safety precautions are observed.  The hike up Half Dome is an adventure waiting to happen.  Have fun and be safe.


Phil Steele

Camping Dept.

Store 49, Manteca

Bass Pro Shop


Building a Weekend Survival Pack

A weekend in the great outdoors is a wonderful experience, the sights and sounds can fill the time with beauty. But many times spending the weekend out in the wilderness is a hassle, the tents, the food and the schedules often times get in the way of just having a good time in the woods. This is where survival camping becomes a fun idea. The premise is that a small group goes out into the wilderness for a weekend and brings nothing but the necessities. Here are some of ideas on what to put in this survival pack.

First things first. Any survivor needs to get the necessities, starting with fire. So bringing a small compact fire starter is always a must. One of the easiest to use and lightest fire starters on the market is the Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter. This fire starter can be used one handed and is essential for the new survivor.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter

The next necessity is of course water. While finding a good source of water during the survival weekend is a necessity, having a way to purify the water is also needed. A great way to do this is to invest in a good water purifier, one of the best on the market is the Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System. This system allows a person to use a single bag specifically for non-purified water and a bag for clean water making it easy to use and store. The large size makes it great for those trips where a few people are out on their own and in need of water.

Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System

After water is found the next need is definitely food. Finding the right food for a survival bag is crucial. Using freeze dried or dehydrated foods are often a must, a great company for this is the Backpacker's Pantry®. They have an easy to use packaging that allows a person to boil water and add the water directly to the food inside the package. This makes the entire process quick and painless for a survivor in the wilderness.

Backpacker's Pantry® Colorado Omelet                                                                                        Backpacker's Pantry® Pad Thai Rice Noodles with Vegetables and Roasted Peanuts

As for pain a necessity of all survivors is the first aid kit. These should have a wide array of tools needed to keep an injured survivor healthy until medical personnel can arrive. A good pack that has all the necessities like bandages, trauma pads, gloves , and a first aid booklet is the Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit. With a wide array of medicine and bandages this kit is perfect for those people who want to survive a weekend in the wild.

Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit (Level 5 Care 10 People/6 Days)

The last necessity in any survival bag is definitely the knife. Now the choice in knife is always hard because there are so many styles and sizes to choose from. For a survival kit though a must have is a fixed blade knife that is sharp, durable and preferably made out of stainless steel. This means that the knife will not break under moderate use and will not corrode over time like other steel blades. A knife that matches all these requirements is the RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife. The stainless steel means keeping the blade oiled is not a problem, so checking the status of the survival bag is far easier.

RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife

Now that the necessities have been covered, here are some of the things that are good in a survival pack but not a necessity. The first thing is a good length of paracord, this light high tension cord makes great binding for improvised shelters or for general uses around a camp. A great length of paracord is the Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord. This gives a person enough cord to use around camp as well as keep some in the pack for later, just in case.

Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord

Another option for the survivalist pack is a foldable saw. These saws are usually made to cut through small trees and saplings with ease while at the same time being able to be folded up into a small bundle in order to be stored in as little space as possible. A great tool to use for this is the Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCut™ Saw, this saw can cut through limbs and saplings with ease and at the same time folds into a small pouch that is easily carried on a belt or backpack zipper.


Another must have for a survivor out for the weekend is a tarp. The tarp can be literally used for any number of things in the wilderness, from a ground covering to keep a survivor off the wet ground to a quick shelter in case of a sudden downpour. A good tarp for the job is the Texsport® Ripstop Tarp in a size of 10’ by 12’. This is big enough to make a good shelter or to cover enough ground to keep a few survivors off the wet ground.


Surviving for a weekend in the woods has the possibility of being one of the most fun things a person can do. Having the right survival bag ready can help make that weekend a lot easier and far safer. These few helpful hints on what to include in a survival bag can help the would be survivalist start their bag successfully. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Bowfishing - What is it and Why?

Bowfishing combines the love of bow hunting with fishing, while serving a very useful purpose for our waters. The Bowfishing Association of Iowa was recently at Bass Pro Shops Altoona to answer questions. Billie Summers from the Association is also a member of the PoorBoys Bowfishing Team and on the Pro Staff for AMS Bowfishing.

Summers says they get many questions about bowfishing, such as what can you fish. With the growing popularity of bowfishing around the country, he wants to make sure that people are clear on WHAT can be fished, which can vary from state to state. In Iowa, it's strictly rough fish and the invasive species that do so much damage to our waters.

For more information on bowfishing:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Bowfishing Association of America

Interested in the US Open Bowfishing Championships May 3-4, 2014? Pre-register at!


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Product Spotlight - Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 Air Rifle

New at Bass Pro Shops Altoona - this is not your Daisy BB gun. This is the .25 caliber version of the Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 Air Rifle, which also comes in .177 and .22 caliber.

But, as our air rifle expert and Hunting Lead Wes Gudenkauf explains this is not a toy, but an ADULT air rifle that can easily take care of those varmints for you!

One big advantage for this air rifle is it's fairly quiet. The advantage to a Nitrogen Piston gun over a spring-operated is that the NP guns are about 20% quieter.

Wes explains more about the Benjamin in this YouTube video clip:

For more information on air rifles, check out this blog post that Wes wrote. It has some great basic information and explains the differences and how it could be a viable alternative to hunting down .22 ammo!


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Don't Become A Statistic: Always be Prepared When You Go For A Hike

The nick name bestowed upon me for a couple of decades now by those who know me best, has been Little Miss Preparedness.  I always had everything that might possibly be needed stowed somewhere in my pack. The one thing that motivated me above all else was a desire to NOT be a statistic, to NOT be the person written about in the newspaper article. You know the type…the ones that are embarrassing. Experienced back country hiker found frozen….It seems every story about stupid choices are written about those who should have known better. THAT was NEVER going to be about me.

But when hiking near home, I developed a bad habit. I became complacent. And one day not so long ago it caught up with me. That date was December 7th, 2013.

I had an unusual afternoon off, and a brief window to take my dogs out for some exercise and spiritual renewal. It was to be a brief 45minute excursion that would put wags on their tails and increase the oxygen circulating in my bloodstream. We went to a local run of woods that we had visited in the fall, where we would be less likely to run into others. I wanted to let the furbabies off leash to run for maximum expenditure of energy and didn’t want anyone else to feel imposed upon.

I wasn’t worried about losing sight of them since outfitting them in their Redhead Safety Vests. The bright orange with florescent yellow stripes not only assured me that hunters wouldn’t mistake them for targets, but also that I’d be able to spot them at a distance while enjoying the woods. Since I have 4 dogs, the price of $11.99 each at Bass Pro made this an affordable investment in peace of mind.

Things started out relatively well, but within 30 minutes the light sprinkling of snow, changed to massive globs of white dotting the sky, and covering everything including our tracks. I still hadn’t calculated any threat since this was ME, and I NEVER got lost, and this was SO CLOSE to home. I just continued to follow frolicking furbies as we ventured further into the thicket.

It wasn’t even that much longer when I decided that we should turn around, and my decision, quite honestly had everything to do with other things needed to be accomplished and nothing to do with the whiteout conditions that were descending quickly. These conditions were initially enjoyable.

As I continued to video and photograph the doggers, I thought we were on the way out. We were after all, following tracks, our tracks, back to a trail. Wasn’t that a trail? Wait a minute….

Here is where things went frightfully wrong… for four hours. Yes, four hours. And little miss prepared had NOTHING that she always advocated that everyone should have no matter what, when they venture into the woods. I should of refered to My top 10 Survival items but I was to create my own teachable scenario, getting lost in woods, so very close to my home.

As I trudged around looking for where to go, my glasses and sunglasses fogged up. I tried reading the GPS and Compass on my phone but wasn’t able to see through the lens.  How many times had I looked at the Nikon Fog eliminator and thought what a useful way to spend $7.99? That price was a bargain taking my current situation into consideration, and it became even more winsome desire as in my struggle to orient myself, I was wearing the battery on my phone down.

Had I brought along a Ray-O-Vac instant charger or 7 hour power charger, another useful purchase I considered but passed on, I might have been able to use my electronics to determine my whereabouts. Instead, I knew my general location, but not my relative location, which would get me back to my vehicle and home. My phone was now dead and I had no idea which way was what. I own both a Silva Scout, a survey compass and a Brunton orienteering compass. Neither was in my pack. I also didn’t have a Coglan ball compass pinned to my coat, something I sold every day to others. Relying on my cell phone compass just made me look more the fool.  I was really starting to kick myself.

Luckily, I was able to stay somewhat warm since I was dressed in layers. Starting with my Redhead base layer that wicked the moisture away from my skin so that I wouldn’t get the chills, I followed up with a mid-weight XPS zip collar and bottoms long underwear. Columbia Storm Surge Pants stuffed into my Bogs, good to -40 were keeping my lower half warm and dry, my Columbia Omni Heat Down Jacket was keeping my trunk pretty toasty. But I was starting to worry about my dogs…and about how well this would all do should we not make it out before dark. The Sun, despite not being able to see it, was setting.

 I found myself calling out for help. I knew full well that my voice would blend in with the wind, carried away unrecognized. How many times had I encouraged customers to spend a mere $4.99 to purchase a whistle? The sound of such a small instrument could always be recognized above nature, assuring to draw the attention of those who might seek out the inhabitants of a remnant car left in a parking lot. I could have also benefited from having a signal mirror, using the hole in the center to target my best guess towards civilization. Perhaps someone would have seen the pattern of light dance in their family room as they watched TV and called authorities….

The temperature was starting to drop. Typically I would have at least one 9 hour candle with me, a Sparkie fire starter and an SOL silver heat blanket. With these, I could set up a heat station for myself and the doggers, trapping the heat from the candle and reflecting it back with the blanket. If I’d had two of these blankets, or a Scout Kit that included duct tape and some fishing line, I could have set up a lean to with closed in walls and a roof, maybe even a floor, to keep our collective body heat from escaping.

Once shelter was established, I might have even been able to gather enough wood to build a fire in the entrance using a wet-pack, guaranteed to burn even in conditions like these. While waiting for the smoke to draw attention, I could have used ESBIT hexamine tablets and stove to melt snow in my GSI Soloist. We’d have water to drink after filtering it through a sawyer squeeze filter. Staying hydrated would mean less chance of becoming hypothermic, while staving off injury and exhaustion.  Extra melted snow water could have then been used to cook some dinner with dehydrated mountain house dinners.

But instead of surviving with confidence and in style, I struggled for four hours, trying to break free of circling back upon my own tracks, while being unsuccessful, navigating out of this in a whiteout.

Eventually I found a fence and was able to follow that out to a main road to be rescued, ice frozen in my hair. The dogs were no worse for the wear, and they would have never shared my secret shame. But I would rather use my foolhardiness to encourage others to be prepared.  The extra weight of the items I’d left behind is minimal, take up as much room, and will never be left behind again!

So, whether it’s a brief hike in a local woods or a more adventurous excursion, it is important to always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Everything you need can be found affordably in the camping section of Bass Pro. Knowing its available doesn’t mean you’ll have it when you need it.  So plan ahead.

Whether you buy supplies individually or in a preassembled kit, your Bass Pro Professional Staff can help you outfit your pack to be prepared so that you don’t become a statistic or write your own teachable moment.

We have what you need. This is Bass Pro Tammie and your adventure starts HERE.


Smarter Trolling Motors

          The spring season is officially upon us, and the cabin fever felt by all from a long, cold, icy winter is coming to an end. And even local lake levels’ staying low is not enough to hold the average boater or the professional angler back! With many already in full throttle to gear up for this season, the latest trolling motor technology is in high demand. And just in time to answer the call is “Motor Guide’s” new release of the “Xi-5” series. This new wireless and GPS capable trolling motor system even rivals the competition, “Minn Kota’s I-pilot”, and has been long awaited!

          The new series of “Motor Guide’s Xi-5” comes in three distinct models that are available in multiple thrust and shaft lengths. 1). The first is just a simple yet efficient wireless version, with a wireless foot pedal and bow mount. 2). The second is the wireless motor with a built in sonar transducer compatible with specific Lowrance units. 3). The third is a wireless motor with a built in transducer, and all the functions of an integrated GPS system. This revolutionary GPS system Motor Guide is calling, the “Pinpoint”, and much like its predecessor and rivals version, the “I-pilot”, this new system offers almost the same features. These features are an anchoring system that at the click of a button hold ones boat in that exact position while compensating for wind and water wake! This system also offers a track recording option that allows the boater to have hands free operation of the boat while running along a specific recorded trail saved previously to the system. With this kind of control over ones trolling motor, vital time is spent casting and fishing, and catching fish while the internal GPS system does all the work. Even if we are just putting in a pontoon and cruising acrossed the lake, or looking for that new lake record, this system from “Motor Guide” promises to hold its ground.  

So where can one go to find out all the details and advantages of such a sophisticated trolling motor system? Why you’re local “Bass Pro Shops” of course! Come visit any of the local stores to find out the latest and greatest trolling motor and sonar/fish-finding technology and knowledge that will give one the cutting edge against all the compotision this season. So drop into your local “Bass Pro Shops”, and let us help your adventure truly begin!




What's a Good Bait for Peacock Bass?

As an employee at Bass Pro Shops one of the most frequently asked questions I get from customers is "what's a good bait for peacock bass". I try to give them a guide line to follow without actually picking out a lure for them. I believe one of the greatest joys of fishing is being able to pick out a lure for yourself as long as you have the right idea as to what works. The guide line I set in place for the customer is to follow 4 basic steps when choosing a lure for peacocks.

1. Brightness or anything that looks like a baby peacock bass.  If you can add a little flash in there to it wouldn't hurt.

2. Keep it small. Preferably under 3 inches if you can. Anything over that and peacock bass have a tendency to run away from it.

3. Make sure it's a hard bait. Peacocks are not know to hit soft plastics.

4. Noisy!! Peacock bass are easily annoyed and anything loud provokes them further.


Try to keep these general tips in mind when selecting your next peacock bass lures and success is just a hook set away.


Henry Morales



This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

There is always something going on at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!  Pink KayakCome check out our fish fry display at the front of the store and our new kayaks...including a PINK one! 

Saturday, March 22

Noon-4 p.m. - Our Gifts Department is serving up samples of Sloppy Joes, using the 3 Little Pigs Kansas City Competition BBQ Sauce.


Also, on Saturday, Jay Green and his dog Zeus will be conducting a dog obedience demonstration in front of the aquarium at 3:30 p.m. immediately following the fish feeding.


Sunday, March 23

Today the Gifts Department is handing out samples of Uncle Buck’s summer sausage from noon – 4 p.m.!


What's Coming Up?

The Easter Bunny hops in to Bass Pro Shops on April 12! Visit our Facebook page for the details!

Concealed Carry classes are returning to Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Details to come!


Product Spotlight - Avian Turkey Decoys

Turkey season is coming up fast in Iowa and the Midwest. One of the most popular decoys at Bass Pro Shops Altoona is the Avian X LCD (Lifelike Collapsible Decoy) Jake Decoy. The feather detail and true posturing make it hard to tell from the real thing. Hunting lead Brian Green shows you some of the features and benefits of the decoy, along with the Avian X LCD Hen in the YouTube video clip:

Iowa's Spring Turkey Hunting Season begins April 5 with the Youth Season. For details on the season dates and regulations, visit

Join us Saturday, April 5, for our Spring Turkey Hunting seminars - Advanced Spring Turkey Calling and Selecting the Right Turkey Decoys. Rick Adams from the Primos Pro Staff will present these seminars to help you get ready for spring turkey hunting! Attend either of our seminars this day and be entered in a chance to win a free AVIAN- X TURKEY DECOY!


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The Women of Duck Commander

The Duck Commander merchandising behemoth forges onward, but this time the focus is on the women of the Robertson family. The new book The Women of Duck Commander focuses on Miss Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica and Lisa.

The book details how each of the women joined the Robertson clan and reveals some of the difficulties and challenges each have faced. The women also discuss the spiritual foundation that guides their lives and their love for Phil and Kay.

women The book contains a number of fun and inspiration stories including Kay's relationship with Phil and Korie's wedding to Willie. Missy tells the story of her daughter being born with a cleft palate, while Jessica details her first meeting with Jep. And Lisa provides tips on a successful marriage.

There are 16 pages of photos included in the book with pictures of each of the women along with their children, parents and grandparents.

Miss Kay even includes her biscuit recipe in the book:

Homemade Biscuits

2 cups Pioneer Original Biscuit and Baking Mix, plus a little extra

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup Sprite or 7 Up

1 stick of butter

Mix all ingredients except butter with a pie blender (pastry blender)

Pour a little biscuit mix on wax paper.

Put a cup of dough in the middle of the biscuit mix.

Form a ball and pat it down so you can cut the biscuits with a glass.

Cut just enough to fill a skillet or cake pan with biscuits (I use a skillet).

Melt a stick of butter in the skillet or cake pan.

Roll biscuits in butter and place them in the pan.

Bake at 375 degrees until brown.

To find this book or any of the other Duck Commander books, head over to the Gifts Department at your local Bass Pro Shops.


Fishing Homework

Whether it's Google Earth or other aerial maps, maps you buy, or maps from the state department of natural resources, our Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff bass fisherman say work ahead!

During the recent Spring Fishing Classic Local Pros weekend, Kary Ray and Lance Baker both spoke about the importance of using maps in conjunction with electronics. You can determine ahead of time where deep water is, possible structure and secondary structure locations, etc. But the most important thing is to take the time to use them.

Questions for our pros? Post them here or ask on our Facebook page at We'll get your answer posted right away!


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Tracker 1860CC Sportsman Utility Boat at Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops

This is great for bowhunters, but can have many applications, check it out !!! For more information go to 1860 CC Sportsman


A Simple Guide to Spring Coho Fishing in St. Joseph, Michigan

Sitting atop the bluff along the shores of Lake Michigan is a picturesque town called St. Joseph, one of Michigan's best beach towns in the state. Old fashioned brick streets lining downtown welcome visitors as they browse through the interesting shops and restaurants. While there you will find art, antiques, collectibles, clothing and giftware. Below the bluff sits Silver Beach which stretches 1600 feet along the lake and claims title as one of the best US beaches, as reported in Parents magazine. While at the beach there are many kid friendly things to do. They have a fantastic carousel and huge fountain containing 28 water jets of varying heights with eight water cannons spraying water 35 feet up and 75 feet out. All in all, this place is one of the best that Michigan has to offer and we haven’t even talked about the fishing.

When it comes to spring time fishing for Coho or Brown Trout, nothing beats the piers in St. Joseph. There are two piers, one on each side of the St. Joseph River, that jet out into Lake Michigan. The south pier is located at Silver Beach and is wheelchair accessible and public use of the South Pier is allowed at your own risk. The pier is a navigational structure maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Although access is provided by connecting walkways, when you are on the South Pier, you are no longer on Silver Beach County Park property. On the north side of the St. Joseph River is Tisconia Park and Running alongside the south edge of the park is the North Pier. This pier is also wheelchair accessible and public use is allowed at your own risk. Containing a catwalk and two lighthouses, this pier is one of the best. Both parks do charge a small parking fee but it is well worth the price.

Now let’s talk fishing. Both piers offer some exciting fishing opportunities in early spring. From March to the start of May, fishing on the breakwater is productive for Coho Salmon, Brown Trout and even the occasional Steelhead. Once the Coho are in you can usually catch a limit in an hour or two. The best way to catch these tasty Coho is with skein (eggs that still have a casing on them). Fishing With Fresh & Treated Spawn (Roe) For Trout & Salmon does work but not as well as skein. As far as proper rod, reel, and tackle it’s pretty simple. Below is a list of what I would use but there are other manufacturer’s and choices. This is just my personal preference, feel free to choose what you prefer but keep the general principles of the list.


Rigging the rod is pretty simple. Place the pyramid sinker on the main line loose so it will slide up and down your line. Next, place on the bead and then tie the swivel onto the end of you main line. You will then want to tie on a leader line. During this time of year you can still use the 10# Flouroclear for this. I usually will tie on a 3 to 4 foot leader. From there slide on the rig float and tie on the treble hook. It’s a pretty simple rig to use and is very effective. All you have to do now is bait the hook with the skein, cast it out and wait for a hit.

Good Luck and Good Fishing

Patrick M. Stringfield


Bass Pro Shops


Tying a Fly For Big Bass and Trout


2014 Spring Fling

Join us this year for our 2014 Spring Fling Event. The event will be held on March 22nd from 11am to 5pm.

Come on out and spend the day with the family enjoying FREE activities. Activities this year include:

-Fashion Show from the apparel department. Join our Bass Pro Shops apparel team as they prepare to model the latest spring fashions for you. Our team will begin a fashion show at 1pm and will have a variety of apparel. Styles will be from the children's department, men, women's, and even camouflage.


fox 6

-Fox 6 News - Rhonda Robinson will be the emcee for the fashion show!
                      You see her on TV at night, now come see her in person.



red cross

- The American Red Cross - See how you can make a difference this year. Check in with this booth and get lots of information.



barber   -Barber Motorsports - Rated as one of the best motorcycle museums in the world, we are lucky enough to call them our neighbor. Come see what all the fuss is about!



-Alabama Partners for clean air - A little change can go a long way. Are you doing your part to keep Alabama's air clean from pollutants? Stop by and become a partner.



-Turkey Creek Nature Preserve - Where unique natural wonders and rich history flow together.



There will also be an exotic animal show and more! Don't miss the opportunity to have a FREE, fun family day at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Alabama.




Why Air Guns?

by Wes Gudenkauf, Hunting Lead, Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Over the past year or so, as we all know, rimfire ammunition has been in short supply. With spring fast approaching, everyone is ready to get outside to do some shooting. An air rifle makes a great alternative to the never-ending search for .22 Long Rifle.

An air gun can come in just about any configuration that a person could want. From the beginner's Daisy Red Ryder to Gamo Whisper Fusion and even on to Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) rifles capable of extreme accuracy, better than their rimfire relatives, at only a fraction of the cost to shoot. Calibers include .177, .20, .22, and .25, just to name the most common. 

  • Multi-pump rifles. These are common just about anywhere that sells air guns, ranging from around $50 to $100. They generally shoot dual ammo, meaning pellets or BBs, in .177 caliber. These are a great option for backyard can plinking or the occasional pigeon hunt at close range. However, the Benjamin 392 is a .22 caliber that I think stands out in this category.  It fires a .22 caliber Rabbit in the crosshairspellet at 950 fps (feet per second) with eight pumps and is extremely accurate at ranges of 20-30 yards. At a price of $189.99, it is at the top of its class. 
  • The next step up will be the single-stroke, spring gun. These are the guns like the Gamo Silent Cat all the way up to their Varmint Hunter. These guns are also usually in .177 or .22 caliber, but do not shoot BBs. They can fire anywhere from 900 all the way up to 1450 fps. Yes, that's faster than a .22 Long Rifle. These are popular for pest control under 40 yards, and can be extremely accurate with the right pellet. 
  • Most manufacturers are developing Nitrogen Piston (NP) guns as well. Contrary to popular belief, some of the spring guns I talked about above are actually quite loud, with decibel readings up over 100 decibels. A .22 Long Rifle operates at 134 decibels with standard 1200 fps ammo. With that being said, even the loudest air gun is still considerably quieter than a .22. Just don't be deceived when an air rifle is advertised to be "quiet." The advantage to a Nitrogen Piston gun over a spring-operated is that the NP guns are about 20% quieter. With a .22 caliber pellet, the Benjamin Trail NP can operate at 950 feet per second -- more than enough energy to dispatch squirrels and other varmints!
  • The final category are the PCP or Pre-Charged Pneumatic. They have an internal reservoir that is filled with either CO2 or High Pressure Air (HPA) from a paintball tank, scuba tank, or high-pressure pump. Once these guns are filled, they provide anywhere from 20 shots in a .25 caliber capable of taking down coyotes less than 50 yards, to 70 shots in .177 caliber, making it easy to fill the rifle up with air for an afternoon of hunting or an hour at the range honing your shooting skills. Prices range anywhere from $120-$500 for commercially available rifles, like the Crosman RepeatAir 1077 with a 12 round rotary mag, and, just like regular firearms, the sky is the limit. Pre-Charged rifles often come with a shrouded barrel, which acts to muffle the report of the rifle. These guns can be so quiet you may wonder if they even went off until you see the target fall. 

Pellets for these rifles usually run about $12-$15 for 500, with more or less expensive varieties available. With that being said, it's about half the cost of .22 long rifle and they're always available. 

One last thing about the air gun - they might be neighbor friendly. Many cities allow the use of air guns within city limits. Please check with your local law enforcement before air gunning in city limits. 

Happy Shooting!


Wes has been shooting and hunting since he was seven and, like most other hunters, his first rifle was a pellet rifle. He always enjoyed airgun hunting and recently became involved with the sport again. Wes is a competitive shooter in trap and skeet, USPSA (United States Pistol Shooters Association) open class, and IDPA (International Defense Pistol Association).