A New Way To Cook

In today's world, you can never be prepared enough. You can prepare for any number of things as dramatic as the dreaded end of the world or a natural disaster, a power outage or a hiking trip just to name a few. Today I'd like to hit on the last two and tell you about a few things that could and should go into the preparation of those two scenarios.

First, let's take a look at the Esbit Foldable Pocket Stove. This is an awesome little nugget to have around for hiking trips but also in your car for an emergency or even in the disaster kit at home.

The Nesbit stove comes with 6 - 0.5 oz solid fuel cube so right out of the box, you're ready to go. It's made of electrolytic galvanized steel, only weighs 12.7 oz. and is small enough folded to fit in your pocket. It has two heat positions for low and high (direct heat). A real steal at only $9.99!


Now, you're of course going ot need extra fuel. I have Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes. These come 12 in a pack for only $7.99. Esbit fuel cubes are non- explosive and non- toxic which makes them a great fire starter! They are waterproof and get as hot as 1300°. Depending on conditions, one little cube (0.5 oz.) can heat water to a boil in about 8 minutes and when it's burned out, there's nothing to dispose of and no residue. These would be a great addition to your camping trip just so your camp fire will light a little easier and also would put off a little bit of heat for a short time in case of an emergency.


Lastly, there is the EmberLit Foldable Wood Stove for only $39.99.

This thing is AWESOME! It assembles in seconds, only weighs 11.3 oz. and folds down to 1/8" (folds thinner than an iPhone5) so it can fit easily into your pocket! Fuel for it is always available as it uses just a handful of sticks or anything else burnable that you picked up along the trail. This little puppy is very durable and stable and strong enough to hold a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven. The best part.....? It is 100% made in the USA!

We have alot new and exciting items here at the store and I'd love to show them to you. 2014 Camping season is going to be a great one if you judge it by all the new gadgets we have.

Come see me....

Thanks for allowing me to share once again.

Deedee Smith
Camping Team Lead
Sevierville Bass Pro Shops


Shad Fishing

by Grant Alvis

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

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

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

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

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

I hope to see you on the water,


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


2014 MAKO Pro 17 Skiff CC


The 2014 Mako Pro 17 Skiff CC measures 17’ 4” long and is designed with an exclusive advanced inverted V hull design. This hull design ensures that whether you’re cruising shallow-water inlets, choppy bays, rough-water inland lakes or skinny bayous, you’ll enjoy a smooth, dry ride and nimble handling. Also with only 8 inches of draft this boat is capable of accessing shallow water. With a wide stance and large casting decks the Mako Pro 17 Skiff provides a stable, roomy fishing platform. We tested a Pro 17 Skiff CC packaged with a 60-hp Mercury EFI four-stroke, the hull’s maximum recommended power. So rigged, we reached a top speed of 34.9 mph at 5800 rpm burning 5.1 gallons per hour. We found the optimum cruising speed for the rig to be 21.3 mph, turning 4000 rpm while consuming 8.67 miles per gallon, giving the boat a cruising range of 47 miles with the standard 6 gallon fuel tank. The 2014 Mako Pro 17 Skiff CC has a starting price of $13,995 and for limited time if you purchase a new Pro 17 Skiff CC you could choose either 3.99% APR Financing or a $300 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card! Plus, you'll receive a VIP Owner's Card, providing up to a 20% discount on Bass Pro Shops merchandise for 2 years! Financing option for qualified buyers, restrictions apply.

For more information come on over to Miami Bass Pro Shops and speak to one of our Tracker Associates.




Goin' Cattin'

Big Catfish are waiting!  Mr. James Wiggins and his fishing partner, Bill Hart of 15 years from Cookeville Texas, have living proof!  They mainly fish Lake Tawakoni with excellent results with these monster cats!  They have only been fishing Tawakoni for the past 3 years, but state that other lakes such as lake Texarkana, Bob Sandlin and lake Cypress also have their share of these monsters!

James has a 22' Lowes aluminum boat set up just for catching catfish.  They have 14 Driftmaster pole holders surrounding the boat with plenty of room to land the big ones.  He preferred Bass Pro Shop Catmaxx 7'6" rods suited with Abu Garcia 6500 and 7000 Level wind bait cast reels.  He states that you need this type of set-up to catch the monsters, smaller rods and reels sometimes fall short when trying to land the bigger ones.  He also prefers 80 lb. pro braided line with a 9/0 double trouble circle hooks.  The Santine Cooper rig is the set up to catch the bigger ones because of its ability to not hang up easily.  He says that he can drag this rig across brush without hanging, this is very important.

All species of catfish are in our lakes, but they prefer to catch blue catfish because they grow to be the biggest.  James and Bill only do this for fun and are very conservation-minded by releasing all they catch.  The blue catfish takes 7 years of growth before they become fertile.  James states that we must throw the fish back to conserve our resources and keep the bigger fertile catfish in the lake.

To catch these bruiser catfish, they like to drift, but will tie up on occasions when they locate a big school.  With many fish coming from 15-25 ft. of water, James says that when you catch fish that deep that it is a must to release the pressure from their swim bladders.  They do this by inserting a piece of tube down their throats to release this pressure so the fish can swim back to the bottom of the lake.  After water temperatures get to 70-78 degrees, they find the fish go shallow to spawn.  To locate these fish, electronics are important.  You must have a plan before going to the lake, and always stay with your plan.  This will help you learn how to find the fish quicker and be more consistent in catching.

The bait they use is cut shad.  Cast nets are the best way to catch the shad.  For the beginner, the smaller radius nets 4' monofilament are the easiest to throw and manage.  There is some practice needed to learn how to throw a perfect circle with the net to achieve the maximum catching ability  of the net.  When the shad are caught, they are cut into pieces to fish with, the head portion being the best choice.  Also, use your favorite fish attractant.  This will enhance the bait.  Then it's just a matter of holding on to one of these monsters, which is a suitable challenge for any angler.


We hope these tips will help you in catching a big catfish and maybe a fish of a lifetime.  Always wear your life jacket and practice safety at all times.  If we practice safety in front of our children, our children will learn how to be safe and enjoy the great sport of fishing for the rest of their lifetimes!


Ask the Pros - Basic Turkey Calls

There are three basic turkey calling techniques that Primos Prostaff member Rick Adams uses. At our recent Spring Turkey Hunting seminars, Adams says he typically uses the cluck, the yelp, and the purr, and a combination of the three. He says he often combines or makes adjustments for conditions. In this video, Adams demonstrates the different sounds.

Adams adds that if you ever think you've done something wrong and made the birds nervous, the yelp is a good calming call to use. If you see them starting to periscope their heads and doing the high-pitched "alarm putt," try yelping to calm them down. He says it doesn't always work, but sometimes it does.


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Reel Deal in Fishing !!!


As you may know, the Shimano Curado G Series baitcasting reels have been marked down from a regular price of $159.99, to $99.97.  This discount is to help make room for the new Curado I Series reels that are starting to trickle in to the store.  We have a few of the G Series reels left, only in a 5.5:1 gear ratio.  Slower gear ratio reels are ideal for crankbait fishing, and we have put together an incredible deal on a combo that will fit just about all of your cranking situations.

For a limited time, we will pair a 5.5:1 Curado G Series reel with a Bass Pro Shops Crankin’ Stick at the awesome price of $159.98!  This is the original price of the reel, with a Crankin’ Stick thrown in!  These combos are available with either a 6’6” medium action rod, or a 7’ medium-heavy rod.  The 6’6” rod is ideal for smaller crankbaits, jerkbaits, and even most topwaters.  The 7’ model is perfect for lipless crankbaits, larger square bill plugs and topwaters, and even deeper running baits for summertime fishing.

If you are not familiar with the Bass Pro Shops Crankin’ Stick, it is a composite rod that has the perfect action for treble hook lures.  It is a combination of an IM6 graphite blank, with a fiberglass tip section.  The graphite helps maintain maximum sensitivity, while the fiberglass allows for a little more flexibility in the tip of the rod.  All of this makes for the perfect rod for treble hook lures.  Sensitivity to be able to feel what the lure is doing at all times, but just the right amount of give that allows a fish to take the lure deeper into its mouth.  The more of the bait in the fishes mouth means a much higher percentage of strikes that end up in the boat.  The softer tip section also helps landing fish that aren’t hooked great.  This shock absorber will keep these fish hooked up without tearing off.

If you need some evidence, check out footage of the 2014 Bassmaster’s Classic on Lake Guntersville.  Bass Pro Shops professional angler Edwin Evers led the event after two days, eventually finishing in 3rd place.  He caught almost all of his fish on treble hooked lures using, you guessed it, Bass Pro Shops Crankin’ Sticks.

The 5.5:1 gear ratio of the Curado is perfect for fishing these lures.  This speed gives you the power to pull big plugs all day, or work shallower baits effectively through cover.  This reel contains 4 shielded stainless ball bearings and 1 roller bearing.  It also contains super-stopper infinite anti-reverse, and 1/8th turn-key internal access which allows the user to set it up for any types of lures.

We have a couple of these combos set up for you to get the feel of.  We will have this special available until we run out of reels!  So don’t wait!

See any of the associates in the fishing department for more information.




Speed Cranking Calm Waters for Big Bass

by John Hutchins

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

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

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





Stay Protected in the Sun

   Fishing, hiking, and swimming are some activities we do outside. Well, with summer just right around the corner everyone should be protected from the Sun's harmful rays. There are a couple ways to be outside and still protect your skin from the Sun. We all know sunblock lotion can stay on your skin temporarily but everyone hates that greasy feeling. Why don't we just toss that lotion aside and pull out a shirt with a built in sunblock protector? Bass Pro has such a variety of sunblock clothes for men and women. Pants, shirts and even hats!


Sun protective clothing is clothing specifically designed for sun protection and is produced from a fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet protection. A novel weave structure and denier (related to thread count per inch) may produce sun protective properties. In addition, some textiles and fabrics employed in the use of sun protective clothing may be pre-treated with UV inhibiting ingredients during manufacture to enhance their UV blocking capacity.

Not only limited to UV-inhibiting textile use, sun protective clothing may also adhere to specific design parameters – including styling appropriate to full coverage of the skin most susceptible to UV damage. Long sleeves, full collars, and full-length trousers and skirts are common styles for clothing as a sun protective measure for men and women!


A number of fabrics and textiles in common use today need no further UV-blocking enhancement based on their inherent fiber structure, density of weave, and dye components – especially darker colors and indigo dyes. Good examples of these fabrics contain full percentages or blends of heavy weight natural fibers like cotton, linen and hemp or light-weight synthetics such as polyester, nylon, spandex and polypropylene. Natural or synthetic indigo dyed denim, twill weaves and canvas are also good examples. However, a significant disadvantage is the heat retention caused by heavier weight and darker colored fabrics.

As sun protective clothing is usually meant to be worn during warm and humid temperatures, some UV-blocking textiles and clothing may be designed with ventilated weaves, moisture wicking and antibacterial properties to assist in cooling and breathability.

UV Skinz sun protective clothes are stylish and carry a UPF rating of 50+, which blocks out over 98% of the sun's harmful rays, protecting delicate skin from damaging sunburns. Sunscreen isn't always enough and is often not used correctly. Some folks have skin allergies or sensitivities to chemicals that sunscreens can contain. UV Skinz are sun shirts that are not made with any chemicals or lotions. The UV protection is in the tight weave of the fabric. Wearing UV protective clothing, such as our fun, cool UV Skinz sun protective swim shirts, is an important step in preventing sunburns, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

 So protect your skin from the harmful sun rays and check out our great deals on sunblock apparel at www.BassProshops.com


What Do I Need To Begin Fishing?

You have always in the back of your mind wanted to fish.  Perhaps you remember when you were a child fishing with your dad or grandparents.  Life moves on, and now that need to escape for a hour or so is calling you back.  People who fish come into Bass Pro at all ages and sizes. People who do it for a livingl.  Young children wanting to learn, and yes adults who due to a busy life have never had time.  Therapy is what I hear many fisherman say.  It gives you time to just think about something else that has nothing to do with work,  money, or day to day problems.  Fishing as in any hobby can be as expensive or inexpensive as you wish.  Lets start out light.  

First things first.  Do you need a license?  If you are 16 or older,  then yes you do.  We sell Fishing Licenses right here at the Customer Service Department.  It does not take long, all we need is your driver's license.  You can get a license for a year, seven days, or just one day.  Once you have that continue down to our Fishing Department.

The Bass Pro Shop Brawler Spinning Road & Reel Combo is worthy of that first fishing pole.  It has great sensitivity, and  made of solid shock absorbing fiberglass.  Priced just right to keep around and use until you want to change to a different pole.







What lure do we recommend with this combo?  Fishing stated that this time of year most are out fishing for trout.  They recommended the Panther Martin-Spinner Spinnerbait.  The blade is easy and fast with a weighted body.  It casts like a bullet due to the blade mounted to the shaft.  It comes in many different colors and the hooks will keep that fish caught.  Check out the reviews on line.














So, if you feel that the lake, pond, or river calling you back, stop on by.  We will be happy to get you outside and we can fit the price for your wallet.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator 






Bass Pro Brand Rod and Reel



Bass Pro Shops  Bionic  Blade XPS Trigger Micro Guide Rods

Impressive rod! I bought a 7'6" Medium Heavy to see if I would like the Micro Guide concept and was pleasantly suprised at how well it performed. The rod is light and the split grips are comfortable. The upper grip is a good size and fit for my hand. (Some manufacturer's products the upper grip is a bit too small). At first it didn't seem like I could throw the bait as far as with a traditional eye casting rod; however, after loosening the reel tensioner a bit more than where I usually set it on a traditional eye rod, I found I could get the expected distance I was hoping for. The Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade XPS Trigger Micro Guide Rods has a IMS 50 Million Module blank which is exceptionally good when priced @ $79.99


Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier  Baitcast Reel

Love this reel for it's price range. I bought the first one a few months ago and have since picked up another one. Plan on replacing some of my older "not so happy" reels with Pro Qualifiers as the budget allows! I got the 7.1:1 which has a 29" recovery per turn. I tournament fish and at 8.8 oz it's light and comfortable to throw all day. The dual braking system is smooth and I'm also liking the one piece frame from a durability perspective. Paired this reel with the Bionic Blase Micro Guide Rod and it built out to a nice combo!


See this blog for information on the New –Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade-XPS Micro Guide Rods.








Legal Heat Coming to Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Concealed carry permit classes are returning to Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

Concealed firearms permit classes will be offered by Legal Heat starting May 3. According to the company, this one class will qualify you to obtain a permit for Iowa, but also the popular Utah and Arizona permits.

(Not from Iowa? Visit Legal Heat's web site and check out their classes around the country in over 12 states and 50 retail locations, including several Bass Pro Shops in Nebraska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia!)

Why the Utah or Arizona permit? According to the company brochure, the Utah and Arizona concealed firearm permits are widely recognized in the U.S., and between the two of them are honored by 35 states. As you can see in this map from Legal Heat's web site, the red states do NOT honor Iowa's permit. Four of those states are Utah, Arizona, Minnesota and Washington.

Legal Heat graphic - States that reocgnize Iowa's permit

The Utah permit is recognized in Minnesota and Washington and Arizona is recognized in New Mexico, so acquiring the combination of the three permits allows you to carry in 36 different states.

Legal Heat - States recognized with combo of three permits

The 3 1/2 hour classes, from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., emphasize state and federal laws, including firearm laws and self-defense laws, from one of the largest known providers of concealed carry training in America. Class participants will receive everything they need to obtain a permit, including passport-sized photographs, a CD with several training videos, and pre-addressed envelopes. PLUS, at the Altoona classes, onsite fingerprinting services will be available for a small additional charge.

The classes are only $75. Register for the May 3 class online at www.mylegalheat.com or stop in the store at the Customer Service Desk. Keep an eye on their web site for registration opening for May 31 and June 28 classes!

Concealed Firearm Permit Classes - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
May 3
May 31
June 38



Product Spotlight - Colorful Guns

Every day we see more guns coming in catered to the female customer. This spotlight is on a long gun and a handgun that our Gun Vault Specialist Alicia says are especially hot!

Guns for Ladies at Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Long gun

The Savage 64F 22LR  Muddy Girl Camo

This beauty has a 21” barrel and is currently $189.99 at Bass Pro Shops in Altoona. We had this one in around the holidays and it was popular!  It's a bolt action rifle with a 10 round mag.

The Muddy Girl camo pattern is quickly becoming Alicia's favorite pattern. Why? Because it's not just pink - it combines a bold variety of pink shades with deep purples and neutral colors to make it stand out from the other "just pink" patterns.


Hand Gun

Ruger LCP 380 Automatic Compact Pistol (ACP)

The 2.75” barrel holds six rounds. The lightweight (just under 9.4 oz. unloaded) Ruger LCP Compact Pistol has always been a popular carry for men and women. But, this is a vendor special color of Lilac, currently for $349.99 at Bass Pro Shops Altoona. The same dependable back-up or personal carry gun, but in a fun color for those who desire it!


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Fishing and Boating Activities in Iowa

Summer vacation time is fast approaching! Whether you live in Iowa and are looking for events to enjoy or you're from out-of-state and or even just passing through and looking for fun activities, we have SO many ways to enjoy the outdoors and we're definitely more than just cornfields (although those are plentiful).

Our friends at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have many fishing and boating events they help promote and support throughout the year in Iowa. From kids, youth and family fishing events and clinics, dragon boat races and ski team shows...who KNEW that there was a regular waterski show in IOWA?

Shannon Hafner, with Education and Outreach at the DNR, says when they are contacted by a group wanting to host a fishing clinics, the DNR provides them instructions to register the event on the DNR Special Events calendar. They also are give access to the DNR tools to help format and organize a fishing clinic.Kayaking

Here are some of the events coming up related to fishing and boating in April and May:

April 12, 9 a.m. - Canoe, Kayak, and Stand Up Paddleboard Demo at Lake Ahquabi State Park outside Indianola, Iowa

April 26, 3 p.m. - The University of Iowa has a collegiate rowing competition at Lake Macbride, north of Iowa City

April 26, 11 a.m. - 2014 ASCE Midwest Regional Concrete Canoe Competition - Coralville Lake, West Overlook

May 3, 7 a.m. - Annual Burlington High School Dragon Boat Races, Lake Geode State Park Beach.

May 17, 7:30 a.m. - Kids Fishing Tournament, Heron Bend Fishing Area, Fort Madison, Iowa

May 29, 6 p.m. - Five Season Ski Team Waterski Show  - an Hour long water ski show on the Cedar River (LaPorte City to Cedar Rapids) - They will have several shows throughout the summer on the Cedar River at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids.

May 31, 9 a.m. - 34th Annual Kids Fishing Seminar - Fishing Derby and Education Stations, Environmental Discovery Park North Pond, Muscatine, Iowa

May 31, 8 a.m. - Outdoor Adventure Day - Fishing Clinic, Langwood Education Center, Wapello, IowaKids fishing derby

The DNR Aquatic Education Program partners with local organizations and agencies to provide educational materials and promotions for fishing clinic. For tips for designing and conducting a fishing clinic, contact their office at edinfo@dnr.iowa.gov or call 641-747-2200.


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Local Fishing Report 3/30 to 4/5/2014

The river was at 4.7ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 8.3ft with 102,500CF of flow and 47 degrees.

Trip #1 was a PM half day Channel Cat trip on Tuesday and we caught 10.  The largest was 22.5" and we caught them all on Sudden Impact.  We had extremely high, muddy water with a lot of floating debris.  We had 10.9ft-157,200CF-rising-muddy and 44-61 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #2 was a full day scouting trip on Thursday and we launched from 3 different ramps.  We caught 20 Bass and had 3 over 19" and another 3 over 20".  The largest was 20.75" and we caught them all on jigs with soft plastics.  We had 9.0ft-115,300CF-falling-muddy and 44-47 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29,90 and steady.

Trip #3 was another scouting Trip on Thursday and we fished for 2 hours and caught 2 Bass.  The largest was 18" and we caught one on a dinger and one on a hair jig.  We had 9.0ft-115,300CF-falling-muddy and 44-47 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29.90 and steady.

Trip #4 was a full day trip on Saturday and we had 7 boats out.  We had extremely difficult conditions with high muddy water and extreme winds but the boats did a good job.  We caught an average of 16 Bass per boat and we had a giant Carp and a large Channel Cat in the mix as well.  We cuaght them on jigs with soft plastics.  We had 8.3ft-102,500CF-rising-stained to muddy and 47 degree water.  The barometric pressure was at 28.70 and rising.

In general Bass fishing should stay good until they go out of season at the end of April.


How To Choose the Perfect Turkey Hunting Vest


Spring has finally arrived and that means it’s time for warmer weather. Buds will begin blooming and forming a beautiful shade of green across the land and for many avid hunters, it means spring turkey season!  For most hunters there is nothing better than the sound of a spring gobbler sounding off through the morning fog, roosted in a nearby oak tree,  looking for his next lucky lady to try a woo.  Gobblers are sometimes unpredictable and there is nothing more important than being able to set up at a moment’s notice to bag that bird of a lifetime. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just beginning, Redhead has a great line of turkey vests and chairs to always have you prepared for whatever that wise ol’ gobbler throws your way.

If you are just beginning to get into the wonderful world of chasing turkeys or don’t want something “too fancy” a great vest to start with is the Redhead Classic Turkey Vest. This vest is economical in price at only $29.99, while still being very functional. This vest offers an upper portion that is constructed to provide full range of motion, it features two large external pockets that give you plenty of space for calls, masks, gloves, etc., a rear game bag for when you bag your trophy bird, fully adjustable shoulder and chest straps, a drop-down seat cushion to help aid in comfort no matter when you have to set up, and a detachable blaze orange safety flag.  This vest available in Realtree Xtra Green and Mossy Oak Obsession, it is made of 100% microfiber polyester and is a one size fits most.

The best bang for your buck turkey vest on the market anywhere is the Redhead Striker Turkey Vest.  This vest is priced right at only $59.99, while giving you many great features to help give you all day comfort and also give you plenty of storage space to harbor every tool needed to fool that tough old tom! The Redhead Striker vest features individual pockets for a box call and a striker, a mesh mouth call pocket, 2 slate call pockets, and additional accessory pockets. A magnetic fold down seat cushion made of memory foam will give you unmatched comfort on any terrain. We have also given you a thick foam padded back cushion to protect you from the uncomfortable ridges that tough old oak bark can present. An adjustable game bag in the back holds decoys or your trophy gobbler, and a detachable blaze orange flags adds a measure of safety to your walk in and out of the woods. When you’re running and gunning you need to stay hydrated which is why Redhead has made this vest 100% hydration compatible (Bladder not uncluded). This vest is offered in two great camo patterns, Realtree Xtra Green and Mossy Oak Obsession to help keep you hidden from the best eyes in the woods!

Are you a seasoned turkey hunting veteran? Then you understand how hard it can sometimes be to find a good tree or brush pile to set up against, until now! I’d like to introduce to you the Redhead Bucklick Creek Turkey Lounger Vest. This patented vest/chair system features a dropdown, self-supporting seat that gives you the freedom to sit comfortably and in excellent shooting position, regardless of terrain. Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps assure you a custom fit every time, while a Smart Pocket System makes your calls and other accessories easily accessible. This great vest is assembled from tough, waterproof mircofleece fabrics, which all your external pockets are highly water resistant, which will help protect your valuable tools from the elements. This vest features a hydration compartment (Bladder not included) to keep you from getting thirsty and a roomy game bag, to carry decoys into the field and carry that gobbler of a lifetime out of the field!

Spring turkey hunting is a fun and sometimes difficult thing to do and having the right tools and equipment can help you have a successful hunt. There is not much more as exciting as bagging a spring turkey, and whether it is your 25th gobbler of a long hunting career or your 1st gobbler of many future birds, Bass Pro Shops and Redhead can’t wait to go along with you on your journey and be a part of the memory of a lifetime.

By Landon Perry- camo team leader


Turkey Season is complete with the Redhead Reality Series Decoys!

     Turkey season is right around the corner and the turkeys have already started gobbling. This year Bass Pro Shops has all your needs for a successful hunt day-in and day-out. The new Reality series turkey decoys are as real as they get and don’t hurt the pocket book to bad. The new 2014 line up starts off with the new Reality Series Remote Crazy Jake. This is a dominant looking turkey with a remote motor for it to move and peak the interest of other jakes in the area. It comes with a fabric fan for the tail feathers to make it a big decoy.

     The second brand new decoy set of the year really isn’t new but has received a nice upgrade! The Three Foam Hen Decoy pack is the deal for all turkey hunters. It's a great deal!  These very realistic decoys come with one upright hen, a relaxed jake, and one lookback hen. If you add these to your crazy jake, you wont have a problem collecting beards this season.

     This year the NWTF (National Wildlife Turkey Federation) has teamed up with Bass Pro Shops to make a box call through the reality series calls. With every purchase of this call, you receive a free year membership with the NWTF. This is a great opportunity to be a part of a federation to help conserve the wildlife in your county.

The Redhead Reality Series Crazy Jake Turkey Decoy:

The NEW Redhead Reality Series Remote Crazy Jake Turkey Decoy System:

The Redhead Reality Series HD Turkey Decoy-Lookout Hen



Preparing for Severe Weather

This time of year, in many parts of the country, the National Weather Service and states sponsor Severe Weather Parkersburg tornado 2008 by McMahonAwareness weeks. I've not been in a tornado, and hope I never am, because I've witnessed the immediate aftermath firsthand in the community of Parkersburg, Iowa, when the F-5 tornado went through there six years ago in 2008.

We can't preach enough about natural disaster/severe weather preparedness. From the basics of having an emergency medical kit, an extra set of clothes, food, and water tucked away where it hopefully won't blow away, to generators and solar chargers, there are so many ways to be prepared. But it doesn't do it by itself. We could go on and on here about what you need to do and buy, but I want to just focus on a few basics. Mostly I'm doing this as a reminder that my husband and I need to get our act together and get our emergency prep gear together.

  • To start with, get a weather radio. A Midland weather alert radio, or the Acurite NOAA Weather Alert radio, are good basic pieces of technology that could save you in the event of a tornado or flash flood. Program it specifically to your location and put it where it will wake you up and get you out. Make sure to keep fresh batteries in it, in case power goes out. My biggest fear is being asleep if a tornado hits. The tornado sirens in my town aren't loud enough to wake me up if the windows are closed and the air is running...and chances are the the air will be on if the conditions are right for a tornado. Tornado sirens are designed to wake you up at night...they're designed to warn folks during the day.
  • We're essentially talking about your home base here, however, you might be camping, RVing on a long trek, or boating, so there are also weather radios designed for those situations. They come in hand-held sizes, and with hand cranks and even solar charging capability. The last place you want to be is in a tent or camper when severe weather strikes.
  • First Aid kit - Invest in a good first aid kit with the basics to get you and your family through two or three days, if needed. While you're at it, get one for your car, too!
  • Gather together and extra blanket or sleeping bag for each person.
  • Put a change of clothes for everyone in the same location as the sleeping bags/blankets.
  • Buy a case of water.

Some people may go the route of getting a generator. I've been in severe electric storms trying to pump water out of a basement, all the while praying and crossing fingers that the power wouldn't go out. From portable gasoline generators to machines that run on gas or propane to the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit, you can have back up power for disasters if at home or on the road.

There's even more you can do in regard to staying connected in the event of an emergency. I remember during the previously mentioned torrential storms watching the radar on the computer screen in our basement trying to track the storms and, again, hoping the power wouldn't go out. The charger line from Brunton includes the Hydrogen Reactor that can produce energy on the go in varying conditions, and smaller chargers good for keeping that smartphone or cell phone running for at least a bit more.


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Basic Knot Tying for the Beginners

Basic Knot Tying for the Beginners

By Garry Owings

 When it comes to fishing I learned at an early age is that tying the proper knot for each fishing situation is of the utmost importance. Most fishing stories of the “one that got away” could possibly be traced back to an improperly tied knot. There are hundreds of different knots to choose from and this can be overwhelming for a novice. I believe if you master just three or four, that’s enough to get you through a lifetime of fishing. I’m going to focus on a few situations where I chose to one knot over another.

One of my favorite knots that can be used for many fishing applications is the Palomar Knot. I’ve used this one for a variety of situations in bass fishing such as attaching crank baits, buzz baits, spinner baits and even hooks, directly to my fishing line. This knot is one of the strongest which means it is less likely to fail when you’ve got that big fish on. In this example we will use a hook.  http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Lazer-Eye-Pro-Series-Spinnerbaits-Double-Colorado/product/90119/


There are four steps to tying the Palomar Knot.


  1. Pass your line through the eye of the hook and then back through creating a loop. Make sure you create a big enough loop to pass over the hook. Use the loop to tie a square knot.
  2. While holding the main line and the tag end of the line with, take the hook and pass it through the loop.
  3.  While holding both the main line and tag end in one hand and the hook in the other hand, pull the line tight.


The next knot is called the Fish N Fool Knot. I use this knot for connecting conventional swivels or snap swivels to your main line. I use this knot you cannot tie the Palomar on both sides of a swivel.


  1. Pass your line through the eye of the hook or swivel and then back through the eye twice.
  2. Create a loop with the tag end of your line and pass it through the loop five or six times.
  3. Pull the tag end of the line to gather the knot.
  4. Pull the mine line to draw the knot to the hook or swivel.



Knot three is the Surgeons Loop. This simple loop knot has many uses. It can be used to attach leader line to a swivel or when you snell hooks.


  1. Double your line and make a loop.
  2. Past the doubled end of the line through the loop twice.
  3. Hold the double end of the line with one hand, the main line and tag end with the other hand and pull tight.                                                       


  1. The fourth and final knot for this article is Dropper Loop knot.  I use this knot when I want more than one hook on a line.


  1. Make a large loop in your line. Wrap the tag end of the line through the at least 7 times.
  2. Find the middle of the wraps. Open it up and pull your loop through.
  3. Take the tag end in one hand and the main line in the other hand.
  4. Pull tight to form your loop.

If you make two dropper loops in a line and make a Surgeons Loop on each end, you’ve just made yourself a top and bottom rig. This is a great rig for all kinds of pan fish.

Like anything else the more you practice knot tying the better you will get. Soon you’ll be tying these knots faster than you tie your shoes. http://www.basspro.com/Mr-Crappie-Troll-Tech-Double-Drop-Rigs/product/1307120621063/




Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - April, 2014

As soon as the water warms up enough, bass in Table Rock and Bull Shoals will begin thinking about eating!  Another few degrees or so, just a few warm rains, and bass will begin to stage on the main lake points, waiting to attack passing schools of shad.  Look for where the main lake channel swings in toward a main lake point.  If there is generation, there will be current around the main channel, and shad are drawn to this current, so, a great fishing opportunity is possible.


The Alabama rig is working now!  This is an exciting bait to fish, and many anglers have caught more than one fish on a single cast!!!  Ask a fishing associate about this rig, how to fish it, and how to set it up.  Take a rig home, and try it out on the lake. 


The suspended jerk bait has tapered off a bit.  This bait will still work, but hungry bass in warmer parts of the lake, are easier to attract with the greater food value presented to them in the form of the Alabama rig.   
Do not give up on the jerk bait, though, since, as the water begins to warm up, this bite will pick up.  Suspended black bass, positioned in the water column at a depth that offers both comfortable temperature and oxygen levels, will attack a dying shad, if it looks real, and it stays around long enough to attract attention.  Present the shad imitation above the suspended bass, and employ a jerk and wait retrieve.  The longer the wait, between jerk retrieves, the better, as this allow the fish to react and attack.

There is a jig bite now.  Crawfish spend most of their time on the bottom.  A crawfish imitation needs to move slowly, from behind one rock, to the next rock.  It is hard to fish this bait too slowly.  Right now, bass are at all levels, looking for the most comfortable mix of oxygen and temperature they can find, from 4-45ft.  Look for them, especially off or next to, main lake and secondary points.  Try a 1/4 to 5/8oz. round or football head jig, brown, peanut butter and jelly, or green pumpkin in color, and add a trailer, green pumpkin, watermelon candy, or cinnamon purple.  Add scent to your jigs.  The jig bite really comes on, as the water warms up.  As bass patrol the lake points, looking for a meal, there is an interest in crawfish!  Remember, fish this bait slowly!  Don’t forget the Wiggle Wart bite.  It comes on fast, last only a week or so, and the action is fantastic!  Be on the lake at this time, if you can, and have a Wiggle Wart tied on. 


Try fishing a drop shot rig, vertically.  Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is.  This technique works well, on suspended fish!  You can also fish this drop shot rig like a finesse Carolina rig, by casting it out and retrieving it the same way you would a Carolina rig.      


Remember, during this time of the year, as the sun warms the water, or if there is a warm rain, fish will begin to move into the coves, first just inside, the main lake pints, then straight into the backs of the coves.  Warm rains will accelerate this migration.  When you have fish concentrated in one area, it can make for an unbelievable day of fishing.                            


                                     They are out there!!!


                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!



The Bite Is On!

It's been a long time coming for the Bass and Crappie to start biting.  Now and for the last month, the crappie have moved to the shallow water and are biting very well!  Reports from all of the lakes in our area have been on fire! 

For crappie, various types of artificial baits are working very well. One of the best baits for crappie at this time is the Bobby Garland baits in Baby Shads and the swimming shad in colors like Electric Chicken, Cajun Cricket, and Blue Thunder. Colors will vary from lake to lake because of water clarity.  The Bass Pro Shop Squirmin' Squirts are also a hot item because of the large variety of colors and lengths.  Most of the fishermen prefer line size in the 6 or 8 pound range.  We carry high and low visibility lines, really, this is the fishermans' preference.  Now, don't think you have to be in a boat right now to have a great outing, most of the fishermen in boats are fishing shallow around the bank.  So if you know of a spot that is accessible, the fish are probably there waiting on you!

The Bass bite is very good right now!  The Bass are spawning and are easy to catch.  What I look for are shining round spots on the bottom of the shallow parts of the lake.  I was on the lake yesterday and saw beds in all of the shallow areas we went to! 

We could approach a bed very carefully and the bass were on the beds.  Some had one bass and some had two.  The smaller bass are usually the males and the larger ones are usually the females. They are protecting the beds as the female lay their eggs, and are very protective of any creatures that venture into their nest.  After the females have laid their eggs, she will leave the male to protect the nest until the eggs start to hatch.  The process of spawning is very strenuous on the female and she will move out to deeper water and suspend to rebuild her strength.   As the eggs start to hatch, you can virtually see small bait balls of bass.  After a week or two, these bait balls will disperse and all of the  juvenile bass will go their separate ways.  At this point, the bass will be much harder to catch.  That is unless you can locate where they went after leaving the bedding areas.  Sometimes this can be a very big challenge. 

Some of the best baits to use during this period are lizards, creature type baits, Stick-O's and minnow baits.  Not to say that your favorite baits won't work, because they will.  Remember the bass are very protective during this time.  This is a very exciting time, so remember to take the kids along when you go fishing!  This is how memories are made for them and who were in their memories!? Who knows, that child may catch the biggest fish of their life!  Wouldn't you love to be a part of that?  The main thing, is ALWAYS wear a life preserver and practice safety at all times!