Gear Review: Crappie Maxx Crank

I bought these crappie crank-baits primarily as a "catch everything" (largemouths, crappie, white bass) bait for early to mid-spring. In the past, we used the small, straight-backed L&S minnow but that product seems to be no longer manufactured. The good story is the bass and white bass hit the crappie cranks! I was pleased that I could get 6-7' depth when trolling them on ~60' of 8Crappie Maxx Crank# line; that is deeper than the old small L&S minnow. They are good small-fish catchers. This summer, I'll test them for river bass.
Name: Roy Washam
ProductDescription: Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx Crank


Turkey Hunting Continued

It’s that time of the year again.  Spring; even though we just had snow on April 14th. The lakes and ponds are starting to warm rapidly. Already hearing some reports of mushrooms being found and of course the turkeys are starting their annual courtship. The youth turkey season just finished up over the weekend with booming results: A grand total of 4,332 birds taken during the two day season on the 12th and 13th. This is the highest total ever recorded in our great state of Missouri and only the second time ever being over the 4,000 mark. We have to credit the great hatches we had in 2011 and 2012 for all of the luck. I heard mixed results because of the storm that blew through on Sunday. But the numbers don't lie. The regular season opened on Monday the 21st.  It opened with warm temps and clear skies. It was to be another stellar opening day. With that being said, if you are getting a late start on digging all your turkey gear out and you realize that you are missing that favorite call or striker or maybe those decoys don't shine like they once did and you want to upgrade - now is the time!  If a new call is what you seek, Redhead has two special edition calls for this year. One is the NWTF Walnut/Glass Reality Series pot call priced at $49.99. This is a great sounding call that can produce a full range of hen turkey language with easy to control volume. The second Redhead also has is the NWTF Special Edition Purple Heart/ Yellow Heartwood Box call priced at $49.99. This is more of a high-end sweet talking call that is versatile - the double-sided box lets you change pitch and find that right sound. Also, when you purchase one of these great calls included is a free 1 year Membership to the NWTF which is a $35 Value.


If you are looking to upgrade your decoys and you want the best bang for your buck? You have to try our Reality Series Decoys. We have two hen postures and a jake.  Prices run from $22.99 for the hens and $24.99 for the jake.  They include taxidermy eyes and a perfect color scheme and UV-resistant copolymer. With these qualities they will be looking top notch for years to come.

If you are looking for a decoy that doesn't take up much room you should try the line from Montana Decoy Inc.  They have two new silhouette hen decoys, priced at $34.99 you choice! The Dinner bell is in the feeding posture and the spring fling is in the alert setting. The lightweight steel frame collapses in seconds to be easily stored in your cargo pocket or vest. A great way to have that flock set up without sacrificing weight and space. That's all the time I have for now. Have a great and safe turkey season from all of us here at your local Independence Bass Pro Shops.



Kids Outdoor Skills Challenge


Join us for our Free Kids Outdoor Skills Challenge at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, Tn. This special event on May 3-4 will give kids an opportunity to learn skills such as knot tying, rod casting and archery. Then we let them put their skills to the test.


  • CASTING     12-5 pm

How accurate is your casting? Test your skills at our bass casting bucket challenge.

  • ARCHERY     12-5 pm

Test your skills at our Youth Archery Range

  • KNOT TYING  12-5 pm

Learning to tie a proper knot is essential when camping or enjoying the outdoors. Test your skills in our knot tying challenge.

  • SCAVENGER HUNT    12-5 pm

Find conservation or wildlife items throughout the store in this challenge.

  • CRAFTS            12-5 pm

Color a magnetic turtle.


Kids can learn all about fish and their habitats during the "Think like a Fish" seminars at 1:30, 2:30 and 

5:30 pm.




How To Use Your Smoker

There are many ways to cook a good slab of meat, but none has more flavor than using a good smoking technique. This might be a hassle for some people but when done right this is one of the easiest and most flavorful of all the cooking techniques. There are so many different flavors to choose from, for so many different meats, using a smoker is definitely a skill someone should acquire.

The first thing anyone wishing to smoke needs to do is find the right smoker for the job. This depends on how a person wants to smoke their meat, direct smoke or indirect smoke. If using direct smoke the meat is placed directly over top of the wood coals and is directly cooked from the heat. A simple to use smoker that is great for this direct smoking method is the Bass Pro Shops® Smoke'n Grill Charcoal Smoker Grill. This smoker and grill combo makes it easy to smoke meat while cooking directly with a built in thermometer and separate trays for coals and water. This vertical design is great for cooking burgers and other meat cuts like steaks.

BPS Smoker

The indirect smoking method is great for cooking over a period of time, like a few hours. This is where the coals are set not underneath the meat, but to the side of the meat where the smoke is instead used to cure the meat. A great smoker for this job is the Brinkmann® Vertical Trailmaster Smoker and Grill, with its offset fire box this smoker is great for curing sausages or even for slow smoking a larger cut of meat like a ham or venison roast.


Now that the smokers have been found the next hurdle in smoking a cut of meat is finding the right smoking wood. The basic woods are Oak, Hickory, Alder, Cedar, Mesquite, Maple and the Fruit Woods. Here are some tips on which woods work best with what meats, Oak is commonly used to get a very flavorful taste out of a brisket and is great when mixed with a fruit wood and used to cook most beef, pork or chicken. A good Oak smoking wood made from old barrels that cured whiskey is the Jack Daniel's® Wood Smoking Chips, these chips give a hint of that whiskey flavor that many people love with a good smoked meat. Hickory is probably one of the most common woods used when smoking because it gives a very recognizable smoky almost nutty taste to beef, pork, fish and fowl. While at the same time it is great for smoking cheeses, nuts, vegies and wild game. Alder is a great wood and is commonly used to smoke many different varieties of fish. Maple wood is great for smoking pork and poultry because it gives a good sweet taste to the meat that many people like on a good chicken or ham. Many of the fruit woods, apple, pear, cherry, pecan, are great for cooking poultry and the sweet taste of these fruit woods seem to compliment hams and turkeys very well when smoked. A great set of woods to use for this purpose are the WW Wood Smoking Chips, these chips come in all shapes and sizes as well as having a large variety of different woods to choose from.

MapleAppleWood SmokingOakHickory

Now that all the supplies are sorted out it is time to cook. The first step in this process is to soak the wood chosen to cook with in water for about an hour. This is to keep the wood from burning too quickly and not releasing a good smoke that has a lot of flavor. Then set the coals to cook, when the coals have reached the temperature in which cooking the meats is best, add the soaked wood directly over the coals. Now is the best time to add the meat, right before the smoke starts to rise. After adding the meat close up the smoker and let everything cook! This process is one of the best ways to enjoy a meat to its fullest. As always good luck and happy hunting! 


Turkey Hunting with a Purpose

As we wrap up our National Wild Turkey Federation donation month, it's nice to remind everyone about one of the many great programs the NWTF sponsors. The Wheelin' Sportsmen program gives all people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors at events held nationwide and sponsored by local chapters. Recently, the local NWTF chapter held their spring turkey hunt. The hunt pairs up hunters with disabilities with experienced hunting companions. For those with disabilities, it may be a first time experience or it may be a chance to enjoy past experiences once again. For all involved, it is a meaningful, often life-changing, experience.

The Central Iowa Long Spurs Chapter of the NWTF held its 7th Annual Wheelin' Sportsmen Turkey Hunt on Saturday, April 19. The U.S. Corps of Engineers at Saylorville Lake, Camp Dodge, and Polk County's Jester Park were the host hunt sites. Rangers from Saylorville and Jester, along with military staff from Camp Dodge, provided support and a number of volunteers from the chapter guided.

One of the successful hunters was Todd Sanders. Todd fell from his treestand in October of 2013 and sustained multiple injuries, includingCentral Iowa Long Spurs Chapter Wheelin' Sportsmen a broken back. At the hunt, he harvested a nearly 26 pound turkey with a bow and arrow from his wheelchair. 

Rod Slings, hunting safety expert and retired Iowa DNR law enforcement supervisor, helped Todd with his hunt and said it was a life-changing milestone for Todd, but also for him personally.

"From my standpoint, it was an amazing experience that offered up a lot of thanks for the blessing to be able to help Todd!"

Jim Haroldson and Allen Chillcote also successfully harvested turkeys.

Central Iowa Long Spurs Chapter NWTF










Pictured from left to right, back row - Ranger Scott Rolfus & Rod Slings.
Front row - Dan Gracey, Todd Sanders and Zach King


Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
Pin us @
View us @

Spring Turkey Season has Begun!

With turkey season in full swing in most areas and just about to start in some, the search for the holy grail of turkey calls and decoys is also ongoing.




We have added quite a few calls this year at Bass Pro Shops along with new and improved decoys. The absolute most amazing decoy this year is the Avian line. This quality line consists of 3 hens in different poses, a jake, and a strutting tom. The hens are so lifelike that they really do look alive. One hunter even claimed to see a jake try to mount a decoy hen of his. If you haven't seen them yet, they really do look that real.




Equally improved is the RedHead Reality series of decoys. They also have fantastic features consisting of deeper color patterns and taxidermy eyes giving them a distinct advantage over older models.


   The jakes and strutters (toms) come in standard kits or kits with a stand that have a remotely controlled motion stake included. We all know from experience that motion of a decoy is what often creates a frenzy of excitement.

   As you search our extensive collection of calls for the perfect call, you will see some new items and some oldy but goodys. For many years, the basic box calls have changed somewhat, but not the principal or performance. Box calls are by far easier to use and are great for beginners.  Box calls may sound deeper or raspier depending on the type of wood and length, but most of all it depends on how you hold it and the pressure you use. Your duration, cadence, and volume will assure your success. Remember ...  louder is not better. Once a bird is located, going with a softer presentation, and most assuredly fewer calls, will bring that trophy in.

    Friction calls come in a basic shape with different materials used for the pot or carriage of the call. The surface is made of slate, glass, or aluminum. They all give different sounds and can be made to sound very lifelike. Again, practice makes a better caller. The striker is sometimes the key. They come in many shapes, materials, and weights. Usually, the strikers are matched to the call. But, if you have a few different ones (and you will after a few years), you will find your preferred pot striker. Reality series offers a 2 pack and even a 3 pack of different strikers. All make different sounds on the same calls.

    The mouth call selection is also one of the best you will ever find. We have single, double, and triple reeds. We also have a smaller size which is great for kids. These also help you not to have to cut down the edges so they will fit in your mouth.


We have over a hundred mouth calls, 35+ box calls and 30+ friction calls and many of the specialty calls advertised or seen used on T.V. If you need any help choosing just ask one of our many knowledgeable associates. We hope to see you soon in the hunting department!


Mike Casey

Bass Pro Shops

Hunting Lead



What’s New in the Fly Shop at Bass Pro?!

It’s spring on the calendar,  even if I think I saw a snow flake or two on my way to work this afternoon.  Forsythia and tulips are starting to bloom, and a report of a lone nightcrawler was seen last week, frost must be leaving the ground!

Fly Tying Classes:

I’d like to invite anyone interested in fly tying to come in on Thursday nights at 6 PM  to learn to tie a fly.   We have the tables set up, materials and tools are provided so all you need to bring is some patience.  So far we’ve done The Improved Woolie Bugger, crawdads, extend body drake, and pink squirrels.  On the agenda will be pinhead poppers, clausers, damselflies, salmon patterns and tube flies.  

What to buy when you start tying?  First what fish are you going to catch?  Where are you fishing, the water conditions?  Then decide on the patterns that will be the most successful.  Learn 2 or 3 so there is a variety in the fly box and use different size hooks and colors of the same pattern.

Once you learn the basics, you can make just about anything! Over the last weeks we’ve explored the uses of copper wire from extension cords, nail polish, and plastic wrap.  

Fly Casting Classes:

Lew is back to host his popular fly casting classes again this year.  Lew is a certified casting instructor from the American Association of Fly Fishers, a standard that is recognized internationally.  We are lucky to have him teaching here.

If you want to attend, beginner or intermediate level, please call the shop 847 856 1229 and ask for Carol or Frank, if we’re not here, Tyler, Tim, or Bernie can help you out.  The dates  May 7 and 14, are already filled!!  However Lew will give more classes on May 21 and into June if we get sign ups.  We will need your full name and phone number and if you need a rod /reel.

Meet in the fly shop at 6, we set up your rod and reel (outfits)  for you; some participants like to use different weights and lengths that we have on hand.  Remember to dress for the weather, you’ll be outside, and near the nature viewing area, bug repellent is suggested.  If the weather is windy or lightening, class will be rescheduled.

Fishing Reports:

  • I've been hearing that the Root River in Racine is producing salmon,  however the fish are starting to turn dark.  Popular colors this year: black and purple.  Watch the water temperatures for when the fish will be most active. is recommended for you local conditions.
  • Blue gills are active on Delevan.  I saw a lot of guys out setting lines for catfish on the Fox River.
  • Southwest Wisconsin had a good snow melt and now with this week’s rain the streams will be in good shape.   I asked about tick season: ‘’It’ll be bad this year!”  so wear your waders and use repellent.

Trout Unlimited:

The SouthEast Wisconsin chapter hosted a river clean up near the Brewer’s Stadium this month.  Pulling out invasive wild garlic and taking trash out of the water was the objective.

Nationally they have a campaign to encourage more women to take up fly fishing.  See what they offer by visiting their web site:

Hoping to see you in the shop, tying a fly, or casting with Lew!

Carol and Frank


Summerization- What does it do for you?

The weather is warming up and spring is in full swing. This can only mean one thing here in North Texas, the fish are jumping and the lakes are calling! Before you head to the lake to catch that record breaking bass or catch monster air off the wakes be sure to have your boat summerized by your Tracker Marine Boat Center.

During the process of the Gold Summerization the Power Pro Technicians will go over 7 list items to insure your boat is 100% water ready for this year’s season.

  1. Hook up all hoses and install drain plugs on Inboard/Outboard engines.

During the winterization process, all the drain plugs and hoses are removed to insure that any water in the engine and boat will drain completely. In order to get back out on the water the hoses and plugs are re-installed in your inboard engine.

  1. Add fuel system cleaner.

Fuel system cleaner in added to insure that the fuel left in the tank through the winter is clean and wont gum up the fuel filter or carburetor when you start up your inboard/outboard engine.

  1. Run and check all dash mounted accessories.

Power Pro technicians check all the dash mounted accessories, such as your fish finder, to make certain that you will be able to find the fish you’re looking to catch and the depths at which they live.

  1. Replace water pump impeller.

Impellers are replaced to make certain that your inboard/outboard engine won’t overheat through summer use. The impeller is an internal component inside the engine that feeds the engine with cool water keeping the engine cool and running smoothly.

  1. Load test batteries.

In order to make sure you don’t run out of juice on the lake, the batteries will be load tested for quality and longevity.

  1. Run out and check throttle and shift operations.

Power Pro technicians will check the throttle and shift operations to be sure they are fully operational so you won’t be left without any way to get back to the dock after a full day on the lake.

  1. 34 point inspection.

Power Pro technicians give a full inspection from trailer coupler to engine prop, ensuring that you are 100% safe and in good running order for this summer’s season.

Once your boat has been summarized by a Power Pro technician, you will have the peace of mind and comfort of knowing your summer season on the water will be full of fun and excitement without concern!


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Kids' Challenge Weekend!

***Our first weekend event of 2014 for kids! 

Saturday & Sunday, May 3 & 4, Noon-5 p.m.

Let your kids learn AND have fun by trying out their skills in casting, archery, knot tying, and through a scavenger hunt outdoors on our lawn and in the portable archery range.

Bass Pro Shops Kids Outdoor Skills Challenge

  • Think Like a Fish kids seminars at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 indoors in the Fly Shop
  • Free crafts - Noon-5 p.m. indoors
  • First 50 Kids to complete the scavenger hunt each day receive a Bass Pro Logo water bottle!
  • First 100 kids to get their punch card filled from all activities receive a Bass Pro Shops logo tackle box!


***The FIRST edition in 25 years of the second most printed book in English Language history!

The Compleat AnglerBook Signing - The Compleat Angler - New Edition
Saturday, May 3, 1:30-3 p.m.

The first scholarly edition in more than 25 years of "The Compleat Angler," Izaak Walton's timeless classic. First written in 1653, "The Compleat Angler" is the second most reprinted book in the English language...second only to the King James Bible. It is one of the most influential books of all times, as Walton brought together the conservation, recreational, and philosophical aspects of fishing and our natural resources. It also forged and inspired the beliefs of the Midwestern outdoorsmen who formed the Izaak Walton League of America, one of our leading conservation organizations.

Iowa has one of the strongest IWLA memberships therefore Bass Pro Shops Altoona is the only store in the country to host this special event. Renowned editor Marjorie Swann will be here for the book sale and signing and to visit about her newly added introduction to the work, and 50 pages of explanatory notes that help put the book in today’s context.


***The FIRST concealed carry class taught by Legal Heat!

Legal HeatConcealed Carry Classes
Saturday, May 3, 9:30-1:30 p.m.

Concealed carry classes return to Bass Pro Shops Altoona Iowa! One class qualifies you to apply for permits in Iowa, Utah, and Arizona, expanding the states you can carry in to 36. Taught by nationally known Legal Heat, the class is about four hours long and only $75. Visit to register.

Try Before You Buy!

Saturday, May 3 - Our Gifts Department is serving up samples of Uncle Buck’s Sweet-N-Hot Relish & Uncle Buck’s Sweet Onion Relish with a bite of hot dog, so you can taste how good the relish is! Noon-4 p.m. or while supplies last!

Sunday, May 4 - Our Gifts Department is serving up samples of our Uncle Buck's Cabin Mix and Uncle Buck's Cheese Curls from noon-4 p.m. or while supplies last.


Go Outdoors Event and Sale

Come join Bass Pro Shops- Columbia for our largest Outdoor sale and event of the year May 16 through 26 for lots of great sales, FREE seminars, giveaways, Oakley/GoPro Sweepstakes and kid’s events! We will host FREE summer fun seminars May 17 and 18th. Learn useful information of water safety, geocaching, outdoor and the priorities of survival in cooperation with Bear Grylls. The following weekend, May 24 and 25th, will be our free kids’ summer kick-off event! We will offer FREE photo downloads, NEW Bass Pro Shops/ Daisy shooting range, metal detector treasure hunt, adventure scavenger hunt, kids’ outdoors seminars, crafts, prizes and kids’ fishing on the deck!

Workshops May 17 and 18 from 11a.m.-5p.m.
-pack, pitch, play 11a.m. and 3p.m. each day
-first 25 customers to attend pack and play workshop will receive a blue Go Outdoors tumbler
-priorities of survival seminars
-first 50 customers to attend priorities of survival seminar receives survival whistle which includes a compass
-wear it right
-Ultimate Outdoors Getaway Sweepstakes May 16-20
-Cooking demos 1-5p.m.

Kids Adventure Weekend event May 24-25
-Bass Pro Shops Daisy Shooting Range (certificate of completion)
-adventure scavenger hunt begins at 11a.m.
-kids' seminars/workshop
-safe passage Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 3p.m.
-kids' adventures in camping Saturday and Sunday at 11a.m., 1p.m. and 4p.m.
-Free photo download
-Craft: color a wood magnet
-Coloring sheets
*first 100 to fill punch card receives free whistle and water bottle


Hiking, Biking, and Backpacking in Arkansas

It’s so good that spring is continuing to push its way forward despite the recurrent weather setbacks.

We are still going from 70 degrees  in the daytime to 33 degrees at night and the rains are here about every 2 to 3 days.  But because of the rain here in Arkansas, we are blessed with amazing woods with many varieties of plants and trees.  We have several mountain ranges and great , hiking trails and waterfalls. Our two main mountain ranges are the Ozark Mountains which spans into Missouri , and, the Ouachita Mountains which spans from the West to North and Northeast into Oklahoma.

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail ties the Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to the Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. This trail section is a 223 mile trail that takes hikers into some of the most remote territory in Central United States.  The elevations of this trail run from 600 feet to 2,600 feet. Multiple accesses allow hikers to go on day trips of 13 to  26 miles or go for it all.

The Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail is about 165 miles of hiking and some biking trails. The 165 mile trip starts at Lake Fort Smith State Park in western Arkansas, up through the Ozark National Forrest to the Buffalo National River Trail. There are plans underway to connect the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail to the Ozark Mountains Trail in Missouri and thereby making a 700 mile hiking trail system. There are amazing scenic views, dense forest, and breathtaking rock formations on this mountain range.

Whichever of the hiking trails are chosen, it is important to have a proper fitting hiking pack and  some essentials to insure a safe and fun trip.  A few features you might want and need to check out on a pack before buying are:

Does it have any top or side openings to run a water hose out from an aqua pack?

Do you want a front/ center handle used to lift the pack or occasionally carry the pack like a suitcase?

Does it have an attached Rain Cover?

Is the pack frame height adjustable?

And is there plenty of padding at the shoulder girth and at the lumbar support area?

Then you can decide if you want an internal or external frame system. Internal frame means the supports of the pack are covered with cloth and are mainly out of view.  The external frame has the backpack attached to the support frame outside of the pack bag.  Most of the internal frames are a bit more compact and less bulky.  But most of the external frames allow for more attachment  areas on the outside to hang another pair of shoes or a bag of pots and pans.  Also the external frame packs can be easily removed for total washing of the bag.  But mostly it is a matter of personal preference on frames.

Most important of all, Try It On before making  your final choice.

In order to get the best fit for comfort and ease of carrying a loaded backpack, you will need to pull the shoulder straps that go under your arms to a snug fitting position.  These should not cause any numbness in your arms or irritation under your arms. Then pull the top straps that pulls the bag itself, into your shoulder harness.  The bulk of weight of the backpack should rest on the upper portion of the the back at the shoulder blades.  If too much weight is at the lower back area, it will cause lower lumbar strain and pain.  Carrying too much weight down low will fatigue you very quickly.  Now, fasten the chest strap snugly and slide it up or down to rest just above or below nippleline.  This too should be snug but not pinch or compress your chest.  Too much chest compression will hinder your air intake.

Adjust and fasten the waist belt.  This strap should rest a little below the waist right at or slightly above the pelvic bones.  If this strap is too low and falls to the hip joint, it will inhibit your ability to lift your leg high enough to step over logs, or up boulders or leap across a stream.

The size and stature of the hiker is a consideration when choosing the size  of the pack.  Most are measured by liters and/ or cubic inches. The pack will state 30 L or 3300 L,  40 L or 4400 L,  or  50 L, 90 L, 110 L,  and etc.  Remember, the bigger the bag, the more stuff one tends to pack into it, and ounces add up quickly.

It's always a good idea to carry a compass, map, flash light, small first Aid kit, a light jacket, and plenty of water.  Sometimes a planned 4 hour hike can turn into an 8 hour or over-nighter if you take a wrong turn or have a mishap.  With very little effort and a small amount of space, you can insure a happy hike with a happy ending.

Good Hiking

Alicia Ray

Camping Department

Bass Pro Shop, Little Rock, Arkansas










Fishing in May

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


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


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


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


Charlie Bowles- Fishing Guide


Pro Staff & Products:

Bass Pro Shops

BPS Tournament Series Plastics

Johnny Morris Carbonlite Rods and Reels

Lowrance Electronics

Seaguar Flourocarbon





Kids Take the Challenge

Head over to your local Bass Pro Shops this weekend for the Kids Outdoor Sports Challenge!

Activities take place noon - 5 p.m. on Saturday May 3 and Sunday, May 4.  We will be out on the lawn with hands-on activities and demos including:  archery, casting, and knot tying.  These are all valuable skills for any outdoor activity. We will also have free crafts (turtle magnets) and free gifts (kids' tackle boxes). Kids can even spin the prize wheel for an additional prize!

We have activities going on inside as well - a scavenger hunt and kids fishing seminars.  The scavenger hunt takes place from noon - 5 p.m. both days. Simply pick up a checklist from the greeter and complete at your own pace. The "Think Like a Fish" kids workshops take place at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at our aquarium.














For more information, visit our Facebook page at:


Kids Outdoor Challenge!

kids archery

FREE! Kid's Outdoor Skills Challenge!

When: May 3rd and 4th, from 12:00P.M. thru 5:00P.M.

Where: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, 1972 Powerplant Parkway

FREE Kid's Seminar: Can you think like a fish? 1:30 P.M., 2:30 P.M., and 3:30P.M.

FREE Craft: Color a magnetic turtle

Casting: Kids, how accurate is your casting? Test your skills at our casting bucket challenge.

Archery: Test your skills at either the soft or youth archery challenge.

Knot Tying: Learning to tie a proper knot is essential when camping or enjoying the outdoors.  Test your skills in our outdoor knot tying challenge.

Scavenger Hunt: Find Conservation or Wildlife items throughout the store in this challenge.  See store for time.

*****The first 50 kids to complete the scavenger hunt will have a chance to spin the prize wheel!*****

FREE Kid's Fishing Tackle Box, To the first 100 Kids that complete a punch card each day!


Tackle Bags

With so many lures you find you have them in a tackle box here there and everywhere.  I have to tell you that over the years tackle boxes have evolved.  Here are a few tackle bags that not only will hold what you have but look professional to boot.

The Bass Pro Shop Extreme Qualifier 370 Tackle Bag or System has a main compartment that will hold up to 5 370 utility boxes.  It also has a number of zippered mesh pockets to hold gear.  You do have the choice of just the bag or one that includes 4 of the boxes.  There are elastic tool holders to hold pliers, hook removers or whatever you have.  There is also a large shoulder strap you can use for heavy loads.














The Bass Pro Shop Stalker Backpack Tackle Bag or system is large enough to fit  what you need in it, while giving  you room for your lunch and beverage.  This tackle box also comes with enough room for 5- 370 utility boxes, The backpack straps are padded and there is a  line spooling pocket.  Plenty of room for everything plus a lunch is a winner in my book.







New this year is the Plano Hydro-Flo Spinnerbait Stowaway.  This unit will hold 72 spinner baits.   It comes with 3 adjustable spinner bait racks and has a swivel carry handle.  Hydro-flo holes let tackle dry.  The size is quite small no larger than a lunchbox.

















Worry about getting your license wet or your phone wet while in the box?  Here is something you may want to consider the             Plano Waterproof Stowaway Utility boxes.      6 models to pick from and all waterproof.  These units have a dri lock o-ring seal to keep everything dry and safe.
























So, stop on down and check out the large variety of tackle bags we have, then you will have everything you need to fish in one spot.

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator


Product Spotlight - Berkley Fishing Cart

While visiting Michigan this past September, my husband and I were treated to some time on the big Lake. We made ourGrand Harbor, Michigan way eventually to Grand Harbor at the mouth of the Grand River. While fishing the channel, it was pretty obvious that the anglers up on the bridges were well-organized. They were all pulling various types of fishing carts with everything right there at hand, so they could easily move up and down the wall. When we came home, my husband started investigating and found the Berkley fishing cart at Bass Pro Shops. With our open water finally here, he has started to get good use from it!

He went with the Berkley Sportsman's Cart, just the right size for his "stuff." It gives him a place to sit, when he's on a flat surface like a dock or flat lake edge, and simply makes it easier to get all his gear transported in one trip to the spot instead of several, and without risking a fall lugging armloads of gear. From his Bass Pro Shops Crappiemaxx fishing bag to his Pflueger reel and Browning rod, his nets, and his Plano bucket, what he needs is all right there with him...including a chair! His first trip out with it many other fishermen have asked him where he got it.

The cart has:

  • Two removable rod holders
  • An integrated seat and cutting board
  • Handle that extends
  • Storage for up to 8 large utility boxes
  • A 300 lb. capacity of fishing gear...that's a lot of gear!

Purchase now and receive a free Berkley Fishing Tool Kit offer. Shipping and handling fees do apply.

Berkley Fishing CartBerkley Fishing Cart














Graduation Decorations for the Outdoor Lover's Party

May brings high school and college graduations. No graduation speeches in this post, just a reminder to the graduates and the parents that this truly IS your time to move forward and, preferably, on a positive path. Graduates, further your education through books and life. Parents, hope about enjoying your freedom and let your grad learn...sometimes the hard way.

Now, let's get down to brass tacks, here. Graduation parties and graduation gifts. Let's start with parties...and we will assume that your graduate is a hunter, fisherman, or any kind of outdoors lover!Camo gift wrapfishing gift wrapBass gift wrapDeer gift wrap paper

*  Outdoor themed gift wrap...for table coverings! Pink and green camo, vintage fishing theme, bass, deer, etc. Actually, I got this idea last year from a mother who was in the store.

*  Need some streamers? How about toilet paper! We have orange and camo toilet paper perfect for lending to the outdoors theme.

Grass mats for the walls or behind the gift table or to hide stuff in the garage where the party is! Raffia blind grass for down the middle of the table or to tie the camo gift wrap paper tablecloths to the table legs...and don't forget the camo duct tape to bring it all together! You could even get camo netting to lay on tables or camo burlap to use for table cloths, too. Camo burlap RedHead Field Grass

Last, but not least, how about a special glass just for the celebrant.

Redneck Glasses






Most importantly of all, no matter where your path takes you as a new graduate or a new graduate's parent, always remember the path to the outdoors!

Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.

Wash your spirit clean.

~John Muir

Watch for an upcoming blog post on gift suggestions, from one of our own graduates here at Bass Pro Shops Altoona. You can also see some great ideas on our Pinterest page!


Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
Pin us @
View us @



Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

Outdoor Cooking Primer - Venison with Mustard Sauce Two-fer

Typically, my husband and I are purists when it comes to backstraps and loins. Very little seasoning, maybe just a touch of Western Sizzle Trail Dust, or even simply fresh ground black pepper and salt.

However, recently, we "branched out" and tried coating the venison based on a concoction we saw on a TV cooking show. Here are two meals from a quick and delicious way to cook up those backstraps and loin!

Venison with Mustard Sauce

These are the easiest recipes you will ever read here.

#1 - Take Dijon mustard (stone ground or regular) and rub it all over the meat. My husband actually didn't do that, but I would. Either way is fine.

Then, coat the mustard with a good Canadian-style steak seasoning. Actually, if you don't have some of that laying around, make your own:

  • 3 teaspoons each of fresh ground pepper and onion powder for the base
  • Add in 1 tsp each of garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and fennel.

Throw on the grill...remember, good venison should be medium rare...a nice pink/red in the middle. Melt in your mouth.

The kicker here is the fennel. Trust me, I have never liked fennel...until now. So, explore your seasoning options.

Backstraps with Mustard Sauce#2 - We had some left over meat, since there is just two of us. So, two nights later, I sliced and quartered thin pieces and made awesome bruschetta. 

  • Slice a loaf of Italian bread into about 1/2" slices.
  • Brush each slice with some olive oil.
  • Top the bread with your leftover venison pieces, some chopped fresh mushroom, dried cranberries, or whatever else you think sounds interesting!
  • Drizzle with a little peppercorn or regular ranch dressing, top with shredded Italian cheese and you have easy dinner again!



Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
Pin us @
View us @

Book Signing: The Compleat Angler-Latest Edition

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate
and for fools to pass by without consideration.
~Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler

Bass Pro Shops in Altoona, Iowa, along with our conservation partners the Izaak Walton League of America, is proud to host this special, momentous event celebrating the latest edition of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler.

Book Sale and Signing - The Compleat Angler - Latest Edition
May 3, 1:30-3 p.m.
Bass Pro Shops
Altoona, Iowa

Bass Pro Shops - Altoona

As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.
~Izaak Walton

The Compleat Angler, first printed in 1653, is one of the most influential books of all times as Walton brought together the conservation, recreational, and philosophical aspects of fishing to provide a conservation vision for the future. So powerful and meaningful, the writings forged and inspired the beliefs of the Midwestern outdoorsmen who formed the Izaak Walton League of America, one of our leading conservation organizations.

The Compleat Angler is the second most reprinted book in the English language...second only to the King James Bible.

On May 3, renowned editor Marjorie Swann will join League members at Bass Pro Shops Altoona for a book sale and signing. Swann's newly added introduction to the work, and 50 pages of explanatory notes, highlight the Izaak Walton League and help readers put Walton's vision and passion for fishing, conservation, and the outdoors into today's context.

Please join us to help celebrate this moment in history!

Bass Pro ShopsIzaak Walton League of America







Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
Pin us @
View us @

Take Some Shade


Whether you are going for a picnic in the park with the family, to watch the children play soccer, or taking the dogs to the beach, the BRAND NEW Bass Pro Shops Instant Shade Shelter, is perfect for you and your family. Bass Pro Shelter

It is designed to shelter you from the sun whenever you need it.  Not only does it make a day out for your family super fun and cool, but it has some pretty awesome features that make it easy to use. It's lightweight at only 4 pounds, made of water resistant 190T polyester taffeta with 800 mm PU coating, has UPF 50+ silver UV coating for excellent shade protection, and a large mesh panel to keep you cool. Shock corded fiber glass poles making it easy to assemble, and it comes with a carry bag and stakes so you can store it in the car and take it with you anywhere and everywhere you go.  So swing into your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and let one of our awesome camping associates help you find the perfect shelter to keep your family cool all Summer long!