Rustic Recipes: Skirt Steak-abobs!

One of my favorite things about summer is all the flavors that come with it! Those flavors are attached to some of my favorite food, like anything from the grill. And the grill has some of my most favorite sounds and smells attached to it. It is all one delicious circle that keeps me heading out and firing up the grill despite the 100 plus degree heat.

The other thing I love is how healthy grilling can be! It is way healthier to throw a fresh cut of meat or thing of veggies on the grill than just zapping them in the microwave. And instead of frying up fish, try searing it! Still tastes great but with way less calories! I am a big fan of fajitas but also a big fan of using less dishes. So that is why kabobs hold a special place in my heart, because when you think about it… they are kind of like fajitas on a stick.

Kabobs are an awesome choice because of the wide variety of options you can go with. Almost any cooking cuisine can be put on a stick and grilled up to tasty perfection. It is a great way to get fresh veggies into your diet, and a great way to include seasonal veggies as well. Any kind of meat works great on them and so your options are almost endless!

A while back I decided to bust out the ol’ skewers and made up a batch of Skirt Steak-abobs! They were so good that they will be the flavor for this month’s Rustic Recipe.

Skirt Steak-abobs:

2 pounds Skirt Steak

2 Green Bell Peppers

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Orange Bell Pepper

1 Onion

Garlic Salt

Olive Oil

This recipe will make about eight kabobs. I like to use metal skewers as they are reusable and you don’t have to spend 30 minutes pre-soaking them like you would with wooden skewers.

First wash all the peppers. Then core them. Cut up each pepper into multiple “squares” or pieces. You will want to keep everything about the same size so it cooks evenly. I like to have all of the veggies ready before I start sliding them onto the skewer.

Then cut up the onion into similar sized pieces as the bell peppers.

Season the skirt steak how you would like it and then cut up into pieces. I love skirt steak. The flavor and tenderness of it is amazing. It goes great on the grill, and since it is a thinner cut it doesn’t take that long to cook. This is nice because you won’t burn your veggies waiting for the meat to cook.

Then start loading up each kabob. I like to start and end with veggies. It adds color and if it falls off, I won’t be as upset as if I wasted steak.

Once each kabob is loaded, sprinkle garlic salt over everything and then lightly drizzle the olive oil over it.

Fire up the grill and turn it to about medium-heat. Toss down the kabobs and turn as needed.

Once ready, take them off and let them sit for a few minutes. Those metal skewers get up to high-heat and you don’t want anyone burning their fingers on them.

And there you have it! Skirt Steak-abobs! Enjoy!


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 Poultry Balls

From Our Restaurant

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


Rustic Recipes: Smoked Fish Dip

So while running through my long running blog series about recipes and cooking, I noticed a couple things. One, I don’t have that many appetizers. Two, not that many fish recipes either. What the Hey-Howdy-Hey?! I know. So to start to cure both of those issues, I decided this month we should take a look at a delicious fish-appetizer recipe. Now our IFC next door serves a world-class smoked wahoo dip (and sandwich), but I’d put this dip to the test against almost anyone! Let’s see if you agree. (This recipe calls for smoked whitefish, but any smoked fish would work.)


Smoked Fish Dip

Two Cups- Smoked Whitefish, flaked

Two Tablespoons- Mayonnaise, fat-free

Four Tablespoons- Sour Cream, fat-free

Four Drops- Hot Pepper Sauce

Three Drops- Worcestershire Sauce

One Pinch- Old Bay Seasoning

To Taste- Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a spread-like consistency is reached.

The thing I like about this dish is how easy it is and how versatile it is. I am having a hard time thinking of when it would ever be inappropriate to bring or serve some delicious smoked fish dip at a party or shindig. And considering how far we have come over the past few years with cracker choices, the possibilities are endless.


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 Poultry Balls

From Our Restaurant

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


Take A Couple Hours: Urban Fishing

So I am a pretty big Elvis fan, especially considering that I wasn’t alive for the Cold War. One of his songs, Vivas Las Vegas, always gets me going. And there are a few lines of lyrics that I absolutely love. “How I wish that there were more than the twenty-four hours in the day. Even if there were forty more, I wouldn't sleep a minute away”. Now of course in the song he is singing about the night life and bright lights of Las Vegas. And that is quite a boast, that Elvis would in fact spend the entire time available to enjoy the city. But then I get to thinking about those lyrics and how it applies to me. For many of us, if we had forty more hours in a day it would probably be spend working or taking care of tasks. Which is a big reason why so many people are stressed out and stretched to their limits. But a little while back all I needed to reset the clock of my sanity was take a couple hours and put it towards something besides work. It was the best thing ever.

Now that day I started work at a later time than usual, so I got to sleep in a little longer. The extra rest helped. I did get up in time though to hit the gym as well. Getting my blood going also improved the day. But before the trek down to work I decided to hit up an urban lake just down the street from me. It was awesome.

The lake itself is about 2 acres big and only 8 feet deep, so not the biggest. This lake had recently become part of the “Community Waters Program” in our state and had been receiving more attention from our Game and Fish Department. It holds catfish, carp, sunfish, largemouth bass and is stocked with trout during the cooler seasons. Knowing this and wanting to increase my odds as best as possible, I went with a trusty ol’ all-purpose bait: Mepps Agila Gold #2 in-line spinner. (Yup that same bait I talked about month’s ago in that Tie One On Blog.) Using this lure I began my attack.

I started at one spot and just started casting. Slowly retrieving the lure back, I hoped to entice something to bite. I would fan out and cast in all directions possible, at least a few times, before moving to the next spot. There were some other fishermen, so I was sure not to disturb or intrude on them. There were also some very lovely trees that I needed to avoid as well. But over the process of a couple hours I did make it around the entire lake.

One thing I am always sure to do is pick up trash. If I see something on the ground that does not belong, I am sure to properly dispose of this. I pulled out a few food wrappers, bunch of fishing line, couple plastic bags and other assorted junk. As soon as I pulled it out, it was straight to the trash can. Considering the size of the lake, it was pretty clear to the others enjoying the park and lake that I was doing my fair share. I hoped that it would inspire others to do the same. The weirdest thing I pulled out will be pictured below. Considering that the lake is inside a popular park it makes sense that something like that would end up at the bottom of the lake. But considering that we need to do all that we can for nature, I made sure it ended up in a proper place.

That’s right, a kite.

As usual with urban lakes and parks, there were plenty of birds to enjoy watching as well. There were all sorts of ducks and some geese as well. It was funny watching some kids chase the pigeons around as well. But what was really cool was up in a pine tree.

Can’t see it? How about a little bit closer of a look?

Three baby owls! Totally tight! Just hanging out. Lookin’ all cute and whatnot. I wouldn’t have noticed it until I saw a bunch of people pointing up at the tree.

As far as the fishing went, it was not what most people would brag about. One little largemouth bass.

But I’ll tell you what, that one fish made my day. I’m not much of a bass fisherman, and have only caught six, now seven, over my fishing career started in my youth. In fact the last bass I had caught would have been over a decade ago. And it didn’t matter that I didn’t catch a dozen or a giant lunker, or that I caught one at all. It just mattered that I got out. Just look at that big ol’ dumb smile on me.

Who knows what kind of an adventure you’ll have when you just take a couple hours.



Gone Fishing Event 2015- Mesa, AZ

So on May 25th, the Go Outdoors Event came to an end here at Bass Pro Shops- Mesa, AZ. And what a great time it was! We had some awesome seminars, amazing demonstrations and sampling, fun and free activities and much more! Of course one of the biggest turnouts was for our Catch and Release Pond! I have said it a number of times before, but this is one of the coolest things we do at our store. We set up an above-ground pond and fill it full of fish for the next generation to catch. And a lot of the time, the fish they catch here are the very first ones some kids catch! Well for those of you who missed it during the Go Outdoors Event, do not worry! We are going to be holding a brand new event later this month!

On the weekend of June 13th and 14th and the following weekend, June 20th and 21st we are busting out our Gone Fishing Event! And it is going to be loaded with the ever excellent FUN and FREE activities! Here is the game plan below:

Catch and Release Pond – Noon to 5PM both weekends. As usual, participants under the age of 18 will have to have a parent/legal guardian sign a waiver. This past event we had some awesome and big ol’ catfish in our pond. One of them was at least eight pounds and we even had two albinos! (The infamous El Gatos Blancos!) And what is cool for this event, is that kids who catch their first fish ever at our pond will get a “First Fish Certificate”!

Free Photo Download- Noon to 5PM both weekends. Kids can take a picture with the fish they caught that day! We will also have our replica bluegill for kids to hold if they do not want to catch a fish or don’t catch one.

Get Ready, Get Set, FISH! Seminars- All four seminars will be held every day of the event.

11AM- Gone Fishing- Best local destinations for group fishing

1PM- Fishing- The Reel Thing. Choosing the best reel for adults/kids.

2PM- Fishing- Anyone Can Do It! Best equipment for taking friends or family fishing for the first time.

3PM- Go Fish- Batteries Not Required. Info on how to make fishing fun for kids.

Rod & Reel Donations- Remember way back when for the Spring Fishing Classic when we held that HUGE rod and reel trade in! Well on June 22nd these will be donated to a local non-profit organization.

Video Game Trade-In – In an effort to help kids get outside, we are going to have a video game trade-in. Bring in any old video game on any day during the event and receive a $5 OFF Coupon on a new Rod/Reel Combo that is valued at $19.99 or more. One coupon per customer and coupon will expire at the end of the day on June 21st.

Fishing 101 Booklet- We will also have a number of free fishing booklets designed for the beginner fisherman.

Gone Fishing Door Hanger- For the first 100 customers to visit the Fishing Department each day of the event, we will be handing out free “Gone Fishing” door hanger signs.

We hope to see you there!



Fishy Facts: Yellow Perch

To me there are a few quintessential “Americana-esque” images of the outdoors. One being that of those old Chris-Craft boats being rented by lake tourists. Another would be a hunter in the woods wearing a buffalo-patterned shirt, making us wonder if camo really matters. And the last would be a canoe beached on the shore with a hole stringer of yellow perch hanging on it. For some reason yellow perch always just make me think of simpler times, which makes sense because these fish have been a delight for generations to catch. While many focus on the all-mighty largemouth bass or the crazy-fast swordfish, I’d like to slow my roll for this month’s Fishy Facts and take a look at the classic Yellow Perch.

The yellow perch is a freshwater fish native to North America. It does have a cousin across the pond in Europe, but the two are considered separate species. The perch is well known for its distinctive yellow coloring with large dark triangles along their body. Their fins are a touch lighter with orange accents in them. They may not be the “flashiest” fish in the water, but they are quite beautiful to look at.

Yellow perch usually live from nine to ten years of age. Some studies have shown that the northern populations of these fish do grow larger and live longer lives when compared to the southern populations. While they are native in certain parts of North America, they have also been introduced into many more bodies of water. This happened for a few reasons. One being for recreational and commercial fishing purposes and the other to act as food for bass and walleye. Perch patterned baits are common for walleye fisherman, and when on a trip to Canada my stepdad was sure to take some with him.

I do believe it is a rite of passage for kids in the Midwest to catch perch. Scientific studies have not been done, but from what I understand it is so. In fact one of our Front End Leads grew up in the Midwest. I talked a little bit to him about perch and you could see how happy he was recalling catching them growing up. Like I said above, they have been delighting anglers for generations. In fact, the yellow perch is the longest standing record for freshwater fish caught in North America. The fish was caught in New Jersey all the way back in 1865! It weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces and measured 18 inches long. Just think about that, the yellow perch record has not been broken since the Civil War was ending!

Not only have anglers been enjoying yellow perch for decades, but so have diners. They are considered one of the finest flavored of the panfish and are loved for their delicious flavor. This is one of those fish that does not need to be breaded to be enjoyed.

There are many different ways to fish for yellow perch. You can use still bait or action baits, depending on your and the fishes mood for effort that day. Worms, crickets and minnows are extremely common baits and because of this most “perch lures” resemble them. They are a schooling fish and known for their voracious feeding habits, so if you bump into one get ready for a bunch more.

No matter what fish you are really hooked on catching, all fishermen should be able to appreciate and delight in catching the always-in-fashion on line or on a plate, yellow perch.


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 World Fish Migration Day


Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

May is ending up on very positive note and the Crappie, Bass, Stripers have all been on a good bite! If you are fishing a Live Herring, you’ll inevitably get some bonus Channel Catfish mixed in as well!

Striper fishing is basically the same, just everything is a little deeper. The Stripers are still a little scattered out, but as they are moving deeper we are seeing larger schools of fish. Concentrate on humps and long points, and look for two very distinct patterns evolving. Some of the fish are on on very near the crest of the humps, while others are roaming around these structures with a very loose orientation to the top of submerged islands. Live Herring have been the bait of choice, fish them on weighed free lines, floating down lines, or just a standard down line.

Pulling the umbrellas has also been strong, very consistent as well. Concentrate on pulling humps near the mouths of the creeks on the main lake. The Stripers may be over clean bottom, or hanging tight to brush. Either way, if you see them on the sonar you should get the bite. Look for the Stripers to be on the high spots that crest out from 15 to 30 feet. In last the few weeks most of the Striper fishing has been in the upper and middle part of the lake, but this u-rig bite is very strong on the lower end as well.  The Capt. Mack’s 9 bait bucktail rig, 60 to 100 feet (adjust the amount of line out based on the depth of the high spot. For depth charts on the Capt.  Mack’s umbrellas, go to behind the boat has been producing number

The Bass are on a good bite and while there are fish spread out through the water column, watch the sonar and you will notice a great deal of activity around the 20 to 24 foot area. Concentrate on humps and points in the above mentioned depths and you should not have any problem finding plenty of cooperative Spotted Bass. Start out with a fluke, swimbait, or walking bait, and if that does not work, or after they stop responding, switch to the Roboworm for a couple of extra bonus bites. Keep a small compact bait tied on for the surfacing fish, they are showing up regularly all over the lake. Casting Spoons, Game Changers, and top waters should get the bite in this scenario.

If you just want to catch a bunch of fish, or better yet, if you are taking a youngster fishing, Spot tail time is here! These little Minnows are in there typical summer haunts and are easy to catch. Drop one down on these same humps and hang on!

Crappie fishing is also good, arguably as predictable as it has been all spring. Docks are the most productive structure, and while a dock with brush is not a necessity, it is a big advantage. Look for dicks in the middle of the creeks, 15 to 25 deep for the best results. Many small jigs are productive right now, but the Garland Baits will be hard to beat. Keep moving until you locate fish, once you find them they are quick to respond!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ or Visit Capt. Mack online @


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…


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


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



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.


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.



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


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: 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. 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. l



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!


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


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


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!


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


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.


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


Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at

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'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.


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.


Your cut of moose meat

Olive Oil

Minced Garlic


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.


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


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.


Former Fishy Facts:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark


Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

Bow Fishing


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!



























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.


Former Finned-Friends:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark


Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout


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.