Rustic Recipes: Poultry Balls

Now I try to keep it to only one “food-blog” a month but what I am about to share with you is so good, it has earned a second one for this month. So a little while back there was that little thing called Easter. As usual at Bass Pro we had our Easter Event going, with tons of families having a great time getting free pictures with the Easter Bunny. We also had our awesome Easter Egg Hunt, which was egg-celent. Every-bunny was happy. After work though I headed to my family’s to catch the last hour or so of their get-together. What shortly made its way onto my plate and into my stomach changed my life.

My stepdad is no stranger to making delicious food. Especially on his Traeger Smoker. I mean all of those pictures from my blog about Traeger Smokers came from him! He got his hands on some pheasant meat and below will be by far the best way I have ever eaten that bird. Now it will work with any kind of poultry and below it is put out for chicken, as that is the most common kind of poultry consumed. Don’t be afraid to try it on duck, goose, quail or what-have-you! Enjoy! As a hidden bonus, this recipe gives you a great excuse to actually use that meat-hammer! And I do apologize for no pictures of the end result, but I wasn't going to waste any time "snappin' photos for Pinstagram!"

Poultry Balls

2- 4oz Chicken Breast (any kind of poultry would work)

12 pieces of thin-cut Bacon

Cheese Mixture

16oz cream cheese

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons onion powder

3 jalapenos, seeded and diced small

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Dipping Sauce

½ cup Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon Onion Powder

 

Cover chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound it out into ¼ inch thin piece. Cut lengthwise into three pieces.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture in each strip and roll up. Wrap each ball with one strip of bacon and refrigerate for one hour.

Cook at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked.

Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Uh-Oh. My flock at home heard about this recipe and tried to hide in the bushes! Poor little Mesquite, she looks so scared. Just keep layin’ and you’ll be fine…. For now…

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch

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Catfish Event

 

 

What’s your favorite game fish?

If you answered Mr. Whiskers (aka the catfish) this weekend is for you!!

Our first ever Catfish Event is headed your way May 16 & 17. Everyone can catch a cat- young, old, skilled or novice fisherman. Find out all you need to know here from our Bass Pro Shops Pro-Staff Anglers and Associates.

  • May 16, 2015

11 am & 3 pm

  • May 17, 2015

2 & 4 pm

 

Be sure to stop by the front stairs on Saturday from 2-5 pm and try a sample of fried catfish dredged in our very own Uncle Buck’s Fish Batter.

 

Hope to see you soon!!!

~ BPS Sevierville Events Team

 

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This Weekend @ BPS Altoona - Go Outdoors!

It's our Go Outdoors Event and this weekend is our Free Kid's Weekend Activities May 16 & 17, including the Catch and Release pond!

May 16 & 17 - Free Kids' Activities Weekend!

Free fun for kids on this special weekend! All events BOTH days!

11 a.m.- 4 p.m. - The free indoor Catch and Release Pond returns! We supply everything the kids need to try to catch a fish in our indoor pond!

11 a.m.-5 p.m. - Free photo download! Kids can choose to capture the moment with the fish they catch in our pond or be photobombed by a raccoon!

11 a.m.- 5 p.m. - Free kids' crafts!
1:30 - Boy Scout demonstrations
4 p.m. - Adventure Scavenger Hunt.

Free giveaway for the first 150 kids to complete a punch card each day - Kids' Outdoors Collection Bucket with magnifying glass - while supplies last!

Also on May 16:

10:00 a.m. - Community Conservation Series - Landscaping for Wildlife!

Stephanie Shepherd, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, Iowa DNR! Ever wish your yard could be the setting for an episode of Wild Kingdom? Or perhaps you'd just like more butterflies and other pollinators? This presentation will give you some tips on how you can transform your yard into a sanctuary for wildlife of all kinds. Not only will you be conserving and being a steward of Iowa's wildlife, you'll be creating an oasis for yourself that you can feel good about!

May 16

  • VFW post 738 Distributing Poppies for Memorial Day - come support our veterans!
  • Maui Jim Rep Ben Goforth is here - come learn more about Maui Jim sunglasses!

May 16 & 17

  • Catfish Seminars - May 16, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. and May 17, 2 and 4 p.m.!

Coming Up

May 23-24 - Free Family Activities and How-To's for Family Outdoor Fun!

Saturday, May 23 - FREE seminars
11 a.m. - Capable Kayaking - The basics of family kayaking fun
2 p.m. - Local Trails & Treasures - Where to go for Family Outings - Parks, water trails, hiking trails, and more! With Melissa Schmeling, Polk County Conservation!

Sunday, May 24 - FREE seminars
11 a.m. - Conquering Campfire Cooking - Best practices, procedures, and cookware
2 p.m. - Kids and Camping - Make camping fun, comfortable, and exciting for kids.

Free cooking demos and sampling:
Saturday: Flossie's Funnel Cake Samples - 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Fish samples with Uncle Buck's Fish Batter, 2-5 p.m.
Sunday: Dutch Oven Cooking, 1-4 p.m.

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Rustic Recipes: Bacon Cornbread

We all have those few recipes or foods that are so good but enjoyed so few times throughout the year. Certain season or holiday specific foods can make our mouths water but only at the right time. And some meals take so long to prepare that they make themselves unwanted from a weekly regimen. One such food for me is my cilantro-bacon-cornbread stuffing. This stuff is amazing. Sure after eating it you could sink to the bottom of the Dead Sea, but it is a once-a-year item.

The flavor of mixing cornbread and bacon is something one must experience. But with the holiday season still months out I went on a quest to discover a simpler and more everyday friendly way to mix the two. So without further ado and much assistance from decimals:

Bacon Cornbread

1.5 cup Cornmeal

1.5 cup Buttermilk

.5 cup Flour

.25 cup Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Sugar

.5 teaspoon Baking Soda

.5 teaspoon Salt

4 (or more) slices of Bacon, cook crisp and crumble up

Grease desired pan and heat oven to 450.

Mix all ingredients together and stir for half-a-minute.

Pour mixture in pan and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with extra bacon, because we know you cooked up a ton more than needed.

Enjoy!

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch

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new fishing gear Looks Hard, But it isn't

New Bass Pro Shops StrataMaxx with Line Counter Bass Pro Shops is proud to introduce another combo into our family with the StrataMaxx. For any angler looking to troll for those trophy trout this is the combo that will fit all your needs. These combos feature a STM-X 20 Reel; featuring a Line Counter and a 7’ 2-piece rod or a STM-X 30 Reel with an 8’6” 2-piece rod. These combos are equipped to use monofilament, braid or lead core lines. The STM-X 20 combo is at a great price of $79.99 and the STM-X 30 combo at $89.99.

These reels are also sold separately. Visit the following link for all specifications on these two reels: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-StrataMaxx-Line-Counter-Reel/product/1409190710391/ The Yellowtail Bite Is On It’s been another great start to our inshore season as our ¾ Day and Overnight Trips are catching yellowtail on a daily basis. Come visit Bass Pro Shops for all your needs.

Please stop by and check out all the new latest Offshore Angler products. Let our associates fit you with the right reel, rod, line and terminal tackle that will help you have success on these trips. Also visit us for discount coupons to Davey’s Locker and ask our associates about the right trip you should go on. Visit the following link for Daily Fish Counts at Davey’s Locker. http://www.daveyslocker.com/fish-count/ Sierra Trout Fishing Is Almost Here As our local Regional Parks and Private Lakes begin to switch from trout to catfish the Sierra’s will be the place to visit to catch those trophy trout. Come visit Bass Pro Shops and have our associates give you tips on gear and places to fish in the Sierras. Our associates will be able to suggest places to fish, places to stay and any other questions that you may have about fishing the Sierra’s.

Visit our website for store hours and browse through all our trout gear that will fit any angler’s needs. lhttp://www.basspro.com/

 

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Fishy Facts: World Fish Migration Day

Ever hear about World Fish Migration Day before? Well get ready to, because that will be this month’s focus on our Fishy Facts blog. I chose it for May because that is the month when World Fish Migration Day (or WFMD) happens. But before you get too excited to purchase your WFMD Trucker Caps or post any #WFMD tweets just know that we are a year out. That’s right, sad face; the next WFMD will be May 21, 2016. But that is no reason to wait to learn about this awesome event.

The upcoming WFMD will actually be the 2nd one in history. The first took place on May 24, 2014. It was considered a huge success around the world. Internationally there were over 270 events held by over 1000 different organizations in over 50 countries that participated. Social media helped build the buzz surrounding the inaugural event, and there is hope to double the size of this event next year!

But what exactly is it?  Basically it can be summed up by their core concept and that is “connecting fish, rivers and people”. Worldwide there are numbers of migratory fish that provide the livelihood for millions of people. The fish need open waterways in order to migrate safely and reproduce. With so much development going on, fish are finding it harder than ever to get to where they belong. The waterways of the world looked very different before the creation of dams and other structures.

As usual the best way to battle something is with knowledge and public attention. That is exactly what WFMD does. Their game plan was to have local groups set up their own participatory-effort all under the WFMD goal. As the statistics above show, they had a success with their one-day global initiative. It had lasting effects though as some places are seeking changes. One organization is even opening up a permanent education center for school kids to teach them about the importance of this matter.

Now any subject like this can get red-hot pretty quickly. Think about the discussion of Global Warming. I bet that just by reading that term some sort of emotion came to you personally. The thing with WFMD is that it is looking to raise awareness, secure commitments, build communities and share ideas concerning this issue. They aren’t asking you to buy a Prius and yell at diesel drivers or anything like that. And you don’t have to be a scientist to see how much fish populations have been affected by water developments.

Can you get involved? Heck yea! That is what it is all about, anybody and everybody doing their part to raise awareness. They encourage you to be creative with your events which means have some fun! Hopefully reading this blog and the fact that you will have a year until the next WFMD will get you and some friends into action!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin Common Snook

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Rustic Recipes: Squirrel

So when it came to Anchorman 2 I was rather disappointed.  I was in high school when the first came out, and just like any young man at that time absolutely loved it. You couldn’t go a day without quoting it. Sometimes only an hour. Anchorman 2, not so much. But by far the best part of that movie was when they were getting the group back together and Champ had his own fried-chicken shop. He let it slip that he actually used bats instead of chicken for the food. He referred to them as “Chicken of the caves”. And then later referred to cats as “chicken of the railroad”. But this month’s recipe will actually feature the “chicken of the trees” the honorable squirrel.

Country-fied Squirrel

2 cups of Water

2 squirrels

6 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

Flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start heating the oil in a skillet, make sure you have a lid for that skillet.

After cutting the squirrels up into small bites, add salt and pepper to taste. Then roll these bites in flour.

Toss the squirrel into the skillet and fry until golden.

Remove the squirrel and drain the oil from the skillet.

Return the squirrel to the skillet and add the water. Cover and lower heat. Let cook for an hour.

And enjoy!

 I might suggest not telling your guests what it is until they comment on how good it is!

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch

0 Comments »

Fishy Facts: Common Snook

In the effort to break up the alliteration of Fishy Fact blogs starting with the letter B (brook trout, bowfishing, billfish, bowfin, bull shark) we are going to the letter that follows it! We are also getting out of the freshwater realm for the first time in a number of months. April is a month for change right? Sure. Any who, let’s take a closer look at the common snook!

First off, you would be surprised at how many times I have used the “Add to Dictionary” feature on “misspelled” words according to Microsoft Word. Maybe they should get some more fishermen and hunters involved for their next platform, because it’s getting ridiculous.

Second any who for this blog, a record, the common snook is a prized saltwater game fish. It is also called robalo and the sergeant fish. There are several species of snook, and this one is one of the largest. They can grow to over four and a half feet but are more commonly found at three feet shorter than that.

I remember hearing that the uglier the fish (or at least the less colorful) the better it tastes. Now I am not calling the common snook ugly, but its coloring is quite drab. It has a grayish-silver color to most of its body, except the long black line that runs lengthwise on its body. During the spawning season though, some of its fins will turn a bright yellow.

If that rumor is to be believed about taste and appearance, it holds true for the common snook. It is a delicious fish but special preparation must be taken. Remove the skin before cooking otherwise an unpleasant taste will occur.

Beyond their desirability for taste, these fish put up a great fight! My best friend’s dad caught some down in Florida and loved every second of it. He loved it so much; he bought car-magnets of the fish and added them to his ride.

These fish tend to spawn from April to October. The common snook will move out of the open-ocean and into near-shore waters with high salinity. After the young are born they mature into juveniles and move towards more brackish water. Slowly but surely they eventually move out into the open ocean and continue the circle of life.

Snook are predators. They will opportunistically take on prey, but what is cool is that their prey changes with them. As snook grow larger they will actually start pursuing larger prey. They simply want to pursue prey that will provide them the most nutrition. Any reports of cannibalism with these fish are few and far between.

These fish are preyed upon by larger fish and other marine predators. Once of their biggest killers though is weather. These fish are very susceptible to changes in temperature. In 2010 there was a large cold snap in the snooks’ native range. In one area of Florida it was estimated that close to 97% of the snook population died because of it. Luckily a ban on commercial snook fishing took place and fishermen began to strictly practice catch-and-release fishing on them. This helped the population grow and has allowed the ban to be lifted. There will be another study done on their population this year.

People love their snook and will do what it takes to keep them around. This should be an example for all sportsmen. Conservation must come first, as without it we won’t have anything left.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin

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Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at basspro.com.

Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal favorites...well...you'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.


  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!


You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.


 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.


Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.


  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.


 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.

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Rustic Recipes: Moose

I have noticed that I write a lot about food. Whether it be recipes, products we have in-store, dishes from our Islamorada Fish Company or suggestions on the health/fitness blogs food is a pretty common subject. In fact this blog will be roughly my 25th article about food. Considering that I have written over 250 blogs that means roughly 1/10th of them are about grub. And there’s no real secret as to why, food is awesome! I remember hearing somewhere that food is a universal language, and straight-shootin’ is that right! No matter where you come from, something delicious can always be appreciated and bring people together.

I am a huge fan of game meats. My buddy gave me a venison steak for my 17th birthday (from his first deer). Our family will use meat like currency. If any of us guys got dumped in high school, it was straight to the Toad for the best fried chicken in Arizona along with singing to the song “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast. (If that didn’t get your mind off of the heart-breaking hussy, nothing would!) A newer game meat though that has made its way onto our tables, is moose.

Moose is probably one of the most delicious and nutritious game meats out there. A whole pound of it contains about 450 calories and close to 100 grams of protein. Compare that to 90/10 ground beef and the beef has more calories and less grams of protein. Moose is also a very lean animal, so their fat content is minimal. Commonly people will mix their game meat with beef or pork when grinding it, but this should be avoided with moose. You went through all the trouble to either purchase or (better yet) hunt your moose meat, so you should enjoy it as is.

So for this Rustic Recipe we will look at making a Moose Steak.

Ingredients

Your cut of moose meat

Olive Oil

Minced Garlic

Salt/Pepper

Yup, that’s it. Just drizzle some of the olive oil onto the meat. Rub in a little bit of garlic (any kind will do, just not salt or powdered). Salt and pepper to taste. Grill to your form of perfection and enjoy.

The best way to cook this meat is the simplest way to cook it. The flavor of the animal will speak for itself, you don’t need a dash of cumin and a glaze of capers of whatever. Pair it with either a baked potato or yam and some other simple side. No one ever said things had to be difficult to be delicious.

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch

0 Comments »

Fishy Facts: Bowfin

OK. I know, I know. It seems like “bows” have taken up a lot of my writing lately. From focusing on that beastly bow-fishing boat to the fact that bow-fishing was last month’s Fishy Fact blog, I’ve been writing a lot about the topic. But this month’s subject, the bowfin, is a fish and a rather interesting one. So let’s get back into the water and focus on this swimming-star for the month, the bowfin.

The first thing you will notice about this fish is its appearance. The bowfin looks like it came from the time of the dinosaurs, because it did. Well kind of. It is the sole-survivor of an order of animals that dates back to the Jurassic era. You will also notice that it looks like the invasive species of the extremely-aggressive snakehead. Please note that these are two different fish, and while they share very similar characteristics that the bowfin have been a part of the ecosystem for years (millions) and probably won’t have B-grade sci-fi horror films produced about them.

The first time I saw this fish was hanging on a bar’s wall during my father-in-laws birthday. The place was loaded with awesome taxidermy and is by far the best place to get walleye in Arizona. And at first I mistook it for a snakehead. Months later I was waiting for a flight and somehow got talking to a guy from Minnesota who loves to fish. I asked him about the bowfin and he said that they were ugly ************ but put up a strong fight. He also said he lived in the same complex as the brother of Pablo Escobar who was in hiding in the US…. That may have supposed to not end up on a Bass Pro blog. My bad.

These fish are native to North America and are rather common through the eastern US. They prefer to live in lowland rivers and lakes, swamps and backwater areas. You can also find them occasionally in brackish waters. They are predatory fish and are known to move into the shallows at night to capture their prey. Their diet includes fish, aquatic invertebrates and aquatic insects.

These fish can breathe in both water and air which has helped them survive for so long. Other notable characteristics are the long dorsal fin and the characteristic eyespot by the caudal fin. They grow to an average length of 20 inches, but the females usually grow a little bit larger. There is a record of one being as long as 43 inches and weighing 21.5 pounds! Would I like to swim in the same water as that? Nope!

These fish are extremely fast swimmers but also rather silent. This helps them tremendously and they are quite voracious predators. This goes along with the fact that the airport-guy said they were strong fighters. These fish were considered a nuisance for a long time and were handled as such. Now with a better understanding of their role, these fish are respected for what they provide in an ecosystem. But they are still not a desirable target for sport-fishing. Mostly because they have a mouth full of sharp teeth that can either cut line or your fingers if not careful. They are an interesting fish which finds them in many aquariums, both public and private. Commercially these fish do not hold a strong position in the market, but their roe is sold as Cajun caviar in Louisiana.

So here is to you, bowfin! We may have not treated you right or understand you for many years, but that’s OK. You’ve been here before us and will more than likely be here after us.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

Bow Fishing

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Special Paddelfishing Season For Iowans

Are you ready for the paddelfish snagging season?  We have you covered here at Bass Pro Shops, we have everything you will need to make your season a great one.  We have a nice display set up just for this specific season, with a paddelfish mounted as the cherry on top.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                        

The Iowa DNR has opened up a special paddelfish snagging season that will be running from March 1st through April 15th, 2015.  There is limited licenses available from the DNR for this special snagging season to prevent the overharvest of paddelfish.  A total of 1000 snagging permits will be issued (950 for residents and 50 for non-residents).  Anglers are allowed one license with a transport tag, the special license is $22 for residents and $42 for non-residents.  In addition to the snagging permit anglers must also have a valid Iowa fishing license.  The exception to this is youth anglers under the age of 16, however they must obtain a special ID card from the DNR and obtain the snagging license for paddelfish.

There are size requirements for the paddelfish to be taken into possession.  A fish measuring under 35 inches or over 45 inches maybe kept as a legal fish.                  

                                                                                                      

Fish falling into the 35-45 inch slot when measured from the eye of the fish to the fork in the tail must be released alive upon catch.  A flexible measuring tape (as pictured above) is the ideal device to use when measuring a paddelfish.  When you do catch a taggable fish you must adhere the tag to the fish's lower jaw.  Here is a link to the Iowa DNR to for all of the specific regulations for paddelfish.

For all of your gear needs look no further than our paddelfish snagging display to make sure you have the proper equipment.  Our Snagging Special rods paired with our snagging reels are a favorite for snagging and the upcoming catfishing season. When you do hook up with one of these beautiful fish make sure that line is going to hold up to the fight like our XPS 8 braid.  An important thing to remember when shopping for your terminal tackle is that your treble hooks may not exceed 5/0, when two of the hook points are placed on a ruler they must not exceed 1 1/4 inches in length.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 So starting this March Iowa waters on the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers (including all backwaters, sloughs and any tributary of the Missouri) will be the place to be for snagging a beautiful and very delicious paddelfish.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at Bass Pro Shops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishy Facts: Bow Fishing

So this month we will be taking a different approach to our Fishy Facts blogs. Instead of focusing directly on a fish itself, we will take an in-depth look at a certain way to catch fish. And if you read last month’s Tracker Time blog you would know exactly what kind of fishing we are talking about: bow fishing!

Using specialized equipment, bow fishing allows fishers/archers the opportunity to take fish. I am not sure what you would be classified out of those two (fisher or archer) exactly but you definitely get the best of both worlds. The main differences between regular archery and bow fishing is that the bow will have a line holder that holds the line attached to your arrow. Your arrow does not have any kind of fledging as it not necessary in water. What is necessary though is understanding how your arrow will react when in hits water. Also the arrowhead used will usually be a barbed one that will hopefully keep your fish from getting away. After a fish is pierced it is reeled back and taken.

Typically bow fishing takes place on a boat, as you need to be rather close to the fish to get one and they spook quite easily so be prepared to cover some water. The most common species harvested are bottom feeders including carp but also alligator gar are common targets. In saltwater though, things get kicked up a notch and sharks are a targeted species along with rays. Bow fishing also typically takes place at night when fish are slightly more active and using bright lights are easy to spot.

Of course you will want to look at your local rules and regulations concerning bow fishing. Because not only could you be fishing in the wrong place but now “discharging a weapon” as well if you find yourself in real trouble. Bow fishing has increased significantly over the past few years. What once was a smaller niche market is now proving to be a huge game-changer. Not only in sporting good stores but also ecosystems.

Unfortunately invasive species have done a good job and making a mess of our waterways. One of the most prolific is the Asian Carp. You know, that fish that jumps out of the water when disturbed and have caused serious damage to ecosystems and people that they have hit. Huge efforts to eliminate these fish have been undertaken, and bow fishing allows people the change to specifically target them and remove them much quicker and safer than other methods.

The son of the founder/owner of Bass Pro Shops is huge outdoor enthusiast. Bow fishing has become a huge passion of his, and he loves to show it on his YouTube channel. Our stores now carry a wide variety of bow fishing products as well. Bass Pro Shops also started its own Bow Fishing Championship! It is pretty awesome and definitely deserves a checking out!

While the new products and advancing technologies definitely have a lot of people drooling, it is cool to think about how this sport has evolved from its once simple and survival-importance ways. Our ancestors had to learn to bow fish in order to get the food they so desperately needed.

So do your homework and look into what it would take to get into bow fishing. It may provide that niche sport to get your fisher into archery or your archer into fishing. Either way it is a great way to get outdoors and make some awesome memories on the water. And that is what it is all about.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

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Enjoy The Day With Your Best Friend At Bass Pro Shops

We here at Bass Pro Shops love and respect our nature’s wildlife.  From the fish in streams and ponds to the deer that run wild, we “are” about nature, and all that comes with it.  That’s why at Bass Pro Shops you can bring your best friend, shop in a casual atmosphere with knowledgeable associates who will help you with whatever your needs are, and answer questions that you might have.

So if it’s that big catfish your determined to catch, or your aching to tell your buddy about the whitetail that “didn’t” get away….we’re here. Bring your 4 legged best friend (just abide the leash law), walk around and enjoy our world for the day.  One little dog named Baby visits our Cincinnati store quite a bit.  His owner has been bringing his best friend in for some time now.  Together they check out our great deals, and keep the associates on their toes.  It’s always a pleasure to see our customers and their companions visit us and to “just see how we’re doin’”.

Like I said, professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy.  Whether it’s a new leash or a cozy bed you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. We here at Bass Pro Shops love nature.  Come visit us with your best friend and make some memories. 

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Fishy Facts: Brook Trout

The lovely Mary in Fishing chose this month’s species for our Fishy Facts Blog. Which is ironic, considering she has never caught or even eaten one but it is on her “to-catch” list. This month’s species star is the Brook Trout!

The brook trout is a species of the salmon family that is native to North America. Like many other fish it has several nicknames including: squaretail or speckled trout. The brook trout also finds itself in a peculiar place as it is called a trout but is actually a char. And don’t forget that it’s also part of the salmon family, so things can get quite confusing.

The brook trout is a favorite among many anglers, especially fly-fishermen. Affectionately called “brookies” these fish are both beautiful and delicate. They are so cherished, that eight states have elected the Brook Trout to state fish. Those states being: West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Michigan.

Due to expansion of the species, brook trout can be found in most states throughout the U.S. They prefer cool and clear streams or ponds to live in. They are also found in lakes, rivers and creeks. Brook trout are not the most tolerant fish as they require water with high purity and only a narrow pH range. These fish are drastically affected by changes in pollution, pH range and oxygenation.

Brook trout are known to feed on a diverse diet. They consume insects, all forms, and more. Their diet can include crustaceans, amphibians, other fish and some small aquatic mammals. As mentioned before, these fish are extremely attractive. They have vivid colors and spots that stand out. A while back I caught my first brook trout and honestly it was tiny. But the deep purple color and vivid yellow dots made it truly the prettiest fish I have ever caught. Different areas though do produce differently colored or patterned fish.

Two somewhat of a subspecies of these fish are coasters and salters. The coasters are a population of brook trout native to Lake Superior. They migrate into rivers to spawn and then return back to the main body of water. They are typically larger than other brook trout but have had their numbers drastically reduced from overfishing and habitat loss. Salters are a sea-run brook trout found on the East Coast. While these fish are in the saltwater, they will lose some of their markings and get a grayer color to them. Once they return though, it only takes a short time for their true coloring to come back.

What is interesting about brook trout is that they are playing two roles in our ecosystems. Much of their native range has been destroyed or developed. Areas that once had thriving brook trout populations now have none. Outdoor organizations like Trout Unlimited have worked hard at restoring and protecting such habitats. In other areas though, the brook trout is considered an invasive species. They can out-compete native fish species and have had adverse effects of other species such as the cutthroat trout. Certain places have an unlimited bag limit or must harvest ruling to try and reduce brook trout numbers.

I wish Mary the best of luck in her goal to catch one. They are fascinating fish that put up a good fight and taste good as well. We tip our rods to you, the majestic Brook Trout! Until next time!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

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Fishy Facts: Smallmouth Bass

You all remember that one younger kid on the playground, that no matter how hard they tried they could not get out of the shadow of their “big brother”? Yeah. Sometimes I wonder if that is how smallmouth bass feel when compared to largemouth bass. Think about it, largemouth bass has made modern fishing tournaments what it is. Look at any associate’s polo at your local Bass Pro Shops and that is definitely not a smallmouth embroidered on their shirt. So what’s the deal? Are they not as good as the largemouth? Does everyone expect the smallmouth to go to community college while the largemouth gets in on a full ride scholarship? Nay says I! The smallmouth bass is one of the most fun fish to catch and should be respected just as much as the largemouth bass. So that’s why this month it is the star of our Fishy Facts blog.

The smallmouth bass is a freshwater fish, considered a member of the sunfish family. Its true home is with the other black basses (including the largemouth). They are a prized sport-fish due to their strength and intriguing patterns. They can grow up to 27 inches and weight close to 12 pounds.

Because many anglers enjoy these fish, they have been stocked in non-native areas for game. Anglers have many nicknames for these fish including: smallmouth, smallie, bareback bass, brown bass, bronzeback, brownie and bronze bass. These fish are usually brown with red eyes, an upper jaw that extends to the middle of the eye and has dark vertical bands.

These fish prefer clearer waters than the largemouth live in. The kinds of water they live in can actually have an effect on their coloring or shape. In rivers they tend to be darker and more narrow while in sandy water areas these fish can be more yellow in color. They can stand cooler waters than the largemouth, but are more sensitive to changes. These fish can be affected easily by pollution and are a standard species monitored when checking the health of an ecosystem.

These fish are carnivorous and like to eat smaller fish, crayfish and insects. Fishing for smallmouth bass has a range of techniques. Almost anything can serve as a good lure, just keep it moving. Smallmouth bass tend to chase their prey rather than ambush them. But don’t retrieve your bait too quickly as it can tire the fish and turn them off. Fly-fishing for these feisty fish is growing in popularity and is quite fun.

Now just to clarify a statement at the beginning, smallmouth bass are sometimes allowed in the creel for professional tournaments. But they do not nearly get as much publicity from these kinds of events that the largemouth bass will.

While they are edible, think about if you really want to keep one. It is not that they are vulnerable as a species but always consider catch and release. As long as you got a picture with your prize, it might not need to end up on your dinner plate.

“Catch” ya later! Speaking of catch, look at what our very own Cole caught himself a while back!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

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Fishy Facts: Tilapia

Well. Had another brain fart when it came to deciding which fish to do a Fishy Facts blog about. If you remember way back when I did the one about the Dolphinfish, I had a rather extravagant way to break through such things. (Involves throwing a pair of binoculars at options, but at the new office location it is a little frowned upon.) So in a less possibly hazardous form, I just called over and asked the lovely Janine in our Tracker Department for a suggestion.  Not only did it sound like a good option for a blog, but also for lunch. She chose: Tilapia!

What once was an obscure fish; tilapia has now become quite the staple worldwide. Its appeal as a game fish and table fish has made it quite popular. This fish can put up a strong fight and grow to quite impressive sizes (depending on the species). They also lend themselves extremely well to being raised in commercial or individual farms. Tilapia quite commonly finds themselves being utilized by people doing aquaponics or other sustainable processes.

Now tilapia is the common name for over a hundred species of fish, so like I said there are variances. These fish are found naturally in almost everywhere but North America. They prefer warmer freshwater. Tilapia are vulnerable to cold water temperatures, so many who own them have to keep a heater going for them in the winter. Pretty much since they first started arriving in North America, they have made a big splash.

They look very similar to our sunfish and pan fish species only with a more extravagant dorsal fin (almost a sail) and in different colored patterns. Now in some areas they are considered invasive species, so some have a very negative outlook on them. This brings into mind that everyone should be conscious of what they are doing. An organism that does not belong in a habitat can wreak havoc and destroy ecosystems. This seems to be happening more and more as the world becomes more connected. While they may not look or be as menacing as the snakehead fish that have started making themselves present in our waters, they should not be released into public waters.

Tilapia will feed upon algae, which can be a convenience for some. They are commonly being put into golf course ponds to help naturally keep algae at bay. They do not mix well with other fish as they tend to destroy the bottom going after food which can offset other fish species. These fish also breed profoundly and can grow at extraordinary rates. Currently China is the largest producer of farm raised tilapia. Many American backyard enthusiasts are reducing a need for foreign imported fish.

This is of personal interest to me, as getting away from commercially created/cultivated items is healthier overall. So let us talk about raising tilapia. I mentioned aquaponics, which is a topic for a different time, but let us look at basics. First you will need a place to put them. Aquariums work but an in-ground or raised pond can quickly amplify your stock. You need to start with a “breeder stock” where you have several females to one male. Give them food, space and time and then let nature take its course. Of course you will want to keep an eye on water quality as that can have consequences on these animals. Also be sure to look into the legal issues pertaining to this, as some places will require permits for building ponds or prohibit the import of certain species.

So next time you are out fishing and happen to catch one of these fish, feel free to keep it if allowed. Not only will you enjoy the beautiful appearance of these fish but the versatility of preparing this fish as well.

-Giddy-Up!!

 

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

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Fishing for a New Catfish

Recently we lost a member of the Bass Pro Shops Altoona family. "Timmy" as he was affectionately named when we first opened, was an 83 pound catfish and a "must-see" for every child who came in the store. Because of this loss, we are now looking for another blue cat, preferably between 40-50 lbs.

Donating a fish to the Bass Pro Shops Altoona aquarium is an opportunity to have your trophy enjoyed by thousands. In fact, we'd like to see additional other live, native Iowa fish donations for our main aquarium. Specifically:

  • Blue Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Walleye
  • Crappie
  • Striper
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sturgeon
  • Any other fish native to Iowa (No flatheads)

However, it's not just a matter of showing up and dropping off your catch. We thought we'd fill you in on the basics.

1. These are donations. Those who provide live fish will NOT receive money, gift certificates or merchandise for doing so. The fish then become our property and responsibility.

2. Bass Pro Shops Altoona must be contacted within 12 hours of the catch and should be in our possession within 24 hours.

3. Bass Pro Shops Altoona must be contacted before the fish is transported here so we can make sure someone is here to accept it. All fish will be inspected at delivery prior to us taking possession. Additionally, all donations have to be pre-approved by Corporate and we reserve the right to refuse any donation based on fish health, display needs or other issues.

4. We don't accept endangered or protected species.

5. Anglers must abide by all state and federal laws relating to fish capture, possession, and transportation. For example, it's illegal in some areas to transport fish across state lines.

Hints for Successfully Transporting

  • After catching, place the fish immediately in a well-aerated livewell.
  • An addition of 1/2-1 cup table salt will help the fish.
  • Fill your livewell with the same water from which the fish was caught. Don't use water from around the boat launches.
  • Transport them immediately to reduce stress and make sure they're in a container large enough to fully extend.
  • Don't put them on a stringer at any time.
  • If you want to hold for a picture, support the entire body and touch the fish as little as possible.

Remember, if you think your fish is a state record, you need to contact the local DNR immediately.

If you think you have a fish that measures up for donation, contact your local Bass Pro Shops.

It's your chance to make a child's face light up day after day after day!
_______________________________

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Trash Fish or Day Savers?

BluefishFlorida residents are quite lucky when it comes to fish to chase and the destinations to visit in this pursuit.  We’ve got so many different species of fish that sometimes we forget that even the lowliest of them can be worthy of our efforts.  In fact, they can prove to be the best game in town when nothing else wants to come out and play.   Tarpon, snook, bonefish, permit, redfish, and seatrout may be what people think of when they contemplate fly fishing around the coast but it’s players like ladyfish, bluefish, mackerel, jacks, and catfish that account for more bent rods than we all want to admit.

The fall bait run is a giant fish magnet that draws anglers and fish with equal power and with the exception of some tarpon and snook, people are chasing after some of the others on the list.  Their numbers are mystifying and they have appetites and attitudes well beyond their diminished status among anglers.  They may not be a premier species but they’re plentiful and widespread at this time of year.

The best thing about chasing these lesser desired fish is that you don’t have to be fancy with your equipment to have a great deal of success.  A moderately sized rod and a pocket full of Clouser Minnows will be the ticket for a day full of fun and excitement when you hit the tide and location perfectly.  Hundred fish days are quite possible when things come together.  Oh yeah, don’t forget to carry plenty of spare leaders and tippet material since many of these guy have teeth that’ll wear through lightweight mono pronto.Ladyfish

Trash fish, by-catch, whatever you want to call them, they’re well worth taking time to catch while you can, and stock up the memories before the winter hits and things slow down.  These species are tailor made for kids and the uninitiated who just want to catch a lot of fish in a short period of time.  Just be sure to keep everyone’s fingers safe and sound when handling these wonderful but toothy and slimy critters.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Fishy Facts: Bull Shark

So I found myself in a conundrum if you will. I seem to focus on freshwater species when it comes to my Fishy Facts blogs. In fact, it would appear that I have only done two about saltwater species. So I feel bad for our saline-loving friends, but I’m from Arizona! I know about as much about the ocean as Fozzie Bear does in Muppet Treasure Island… “Oh! The big, blue wet-thing!!!” So why not cover a species that is mostly found in saltwater but is notorious for being in freshwater as well… the bull shark!

The bull shark is found throughout the world in warmer waters. They typically are also found in shallower waters. Like I stated above, they can make the transition into freshwater and brackish water. Brackish water is the level in between fresh and salt water when it comes to salinity. If you haven’t ever seen Shark Week on Discovery Channel… well one, go away and two, get on it! They always drive this fact home about the bull shark.

Another thing that sets bull sharks apart from other species is their general temperament. There is the stereotype that sharks are evil. People believe they are mindless-killing machines. This is mostly because of horror movies and the fact that you only hear about sharks in the news when there is an attack. Luckily, more and more information about the true nature of sharks is making its way to the general public and people are more understanding of them. So really sharks that bite onto something are seen as being curious, because that is how sharks investigate things. So the mindless-killing machine viewpoints are disappearing, but the bull shark can be one tough fish. They can produce massive amounts of testosterone which can lead them to being more aggressive.

So here we have a shark that not only swims in waters we think should be shark free, but also are more aggressive. Could be a recipe for disaster, and while bull sharks are the most common species of shark in shark attacks, but shark attacks are really uncommon occurrences.

Bull shark are strong fighters because of their size and temperament, which makes them an awesome fish to catch. The key is to hold on… and don’t fall in. There was an episode of River Monsters that covered the bull shark. The show’s host caught one, tagged and released it. The shark then swam off and was located several times under other fishing boats. This shows how intelligent and opportunistic they are. The shark was literally waiting for fishermen to do its work and would just eat the catch off the hook.

I have not been able to find any reviews on how the shark taste nor any recipes. But it would be safe to assume it tastes great fried!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

 

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