Rustic-Esque Recipes: Catfish

There is something to be said about simple Southern cooking… the word would be delicious. Some many times will you go to some new fangled restaurant and they have to have some specialty flair to every dish. Mac and Cheese with eight different cheese from Europe or a half of chicken that has more seasonings on it than a kitchen has in it! Enough! Sometimes the simpler things are all that we really want. In that respect, Rocky has decided to share his favorite and easiest way to make the bottom-dwelling delight: Catfish!

Oh and of course Rocky prefers peaNUT oil for when he is frying!

Catfish

·         4-6 catfish fillets, about 1-2 pounds

·         1 cup milk or buttermilk

·         Salt

·         3/4 cup fine cornmeal

·         1/2 cup flour

·         1 teaspoon garlic powder

·         1 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 teaspoon paprika

·         1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Using whatever preferred oil, fill up a heavy friyng pan with ½” of oil. Turn the heat to Med-High. You will want the oil to be at about 350°F when cooking the catfish.

Soak catfish in milk/buttermilk while oil is heating.

Mix cornmeal, flour and spices together.

Once oil is ready, cover catfish with the breading mix. Make sure to get rid of any excess breading.

Lay one side down for 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness) so it is golden brown. Then flip it and cook the other side in the same manner.

Serve with some tartar sauce and your choice of sides. (Coleslaw never hurt anyone… just saying.) Keep reading for a couple extra tips from Rocky!

I’d shore like to grease my chin with a two pound steak! Giddy-Up!!

Two Tricks:

One- Use the Better Breader to help get those catfish just right!

Two- Place catfish in oven after frying to help crisp the fish up. (200°F)

Other Recipes:

Squirrel

Rabbit

Quail

Goose

Grouse

Crappie

Buffalo

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American Shad Season 2014 On The St. Johns River

Shad Fishing the St. Johns RiverShad season is hitting its stride right about now and fishermen are doing pretty well when they can find the fish.  I've caught a few very nice ones but the season seems to have taken a strange turn by having peaked a bit earlier than expected and while the fishing quality is still there, the quantities aren't what we've come to expect after the last few seasons.  There are some that call shad "Florida's Salmon" which means anyone who likes to catch strong, migratory species needs to give it a try at the very least. 

On the brighter side, we've had the opportunity to introduce some new folks to the joys of fishing the St. Johns River at this time of year and the wonderful variety that's possible.  I had a chance to share with a customer and now friend a couple days ago and he's surely to venture back on his own given the success he found along this wonderful waterway.  John and I meandered along the straights and bends of the river for a few hours this past week and learned a few things about the waterway and each other, which makes time on the water that much more enjoyable.  We chatted about all things fishy, from flies and rods to the places we have been fortunate enough to visit.  He's a budding "big water" fly fisherman, so casting at a distance is still somewhat of a challenge, but he stuck with it and landed some wonderful fish, including a beautiful hybbrid striped bass (albeit on a spinning rod), and an enormous american shad.  Beginner's luck must have had something to do with it.  Either way, we had a great time and I expect to spend more time together on the fresh and salt water.

John's Big American ShadMy favorite thing about shad season is the variety of fish species available if you just take some time away from casting for the main target.  Bluegill, warmouth, crappie, bass, hybrids, catfish, and many others are possible if you just take a little time to get out of the main channel and explore the out of the way spots.  Scott absolutely blasted a reed line full of crappie just to prove he could catch fish better than me a couple weeks ago.  I didn't stick around to watch the fun, but I could hear him yelling "FISH ONNNN!" from quite a ways away.

Kayaking across this section of river is a very enjoyable way to venture around, especially if you want to take your time and fish as you go.  Every sand bar and channel potentially holds fish, so stopping regularly to ply the water is recommended if you expect success and are willing to take whatever happens your way.  With so many types of cover and water structure available a kayak allows you the luxury of stealth and being able to get close.  You also get a chance at some exercise.

This season has been a little tougher than the last couple but it has proven to be a succesfull one anyway.  We've all caught some nice fish, making the effort well worth the rewards and I can gaurantee we'll all be back next year for another go during shad season 2015   

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 

    

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"Slough-Gills" plentiful at J.C. Murphy Lake

J.C. Murphy Lake, also known as Willow Slough, has always been one of the premier ice fishing hot spots in the region. Known for its massive redear sunfish and bluegills, dubbed “Slough-Gills,” the shallow reservoir is among the first to freeze in the area and attracts thousands of anglers each ice fishing season.

Try wax worms or colored spikes on a small #14 ice jig for bluegills. Tip ups can be set out with minnows for bass also. Anglers also catch the occasional catfish or northern pike through the ice as well. The lake has a channel that runs through it, with depths down to 6-8 ft deep. Both the channel and the cat tails are being fished with excellent results, but the entire lake boasts plentiful quality bluegills and is worth the trip. Take a few buddies with to compensate for the 25 fish limit on bluegills and sunfish.

Current ice for the week of Jan 20 is anywhere between 8”-12” thick.

For updated ice reports call The Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Center at 219 285-2704. Stop by Bass Pro and see an associate to get set up for your next ice fishing trip. We’re still stocked up on ice jigs, combos, shelters, augers, and much more!

Good luck and tight lines!

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Smokin' In Cincy : Smoked Cajun Swai Fillets

Cincy Smokin’ Guy here again, bringing you my first venture into the backyard in 2014 to cook up something yummy. The “deep-freeze of ‘14” set me back here for a few days, but I was able to dig out the smoker and get busy last night. In spite a dusting of wet snow and my first venture into smoking fish, we were able to come up with a seriously tasty treat !!  Here’s how it went:

Just ahead of the “freeze-in”, I was able to dodge all of the folks hording all the milk and toilet paper they could jam in their carts and found some frozen swai fillets on sale at Kroger’s. If you have never heard of swai, don’t feel bad; until last summer I didn’t know what it was either. It’s an Asian/Taiwanese catfish, sometimes called Basa, and it’s cheaper than our catfish here. In fact, doing some research I found that many restaurants use this in place of catfish on their menu because it’s less expensive. It doesn’t have much of a fishy taste, which made it perfect for smoking.

So, I have my swai, thawed it out in the fridge, and decided that the weather was not going to stop me from trying to make a delicious smoky morsel out of this fish. Brined the fish for about an hour then I fired up the smoker. I only had Apple Chips and Apple Juice at the house, so apple flavored smoke it was !!

While the smoker was heating, I got the racks ready by applying cooking oil to the grates. I use a butter spray, but it doesn’t matter what you use as long as you make it so the fish doesn’t stick to the rack. I also use my stove top as a prep table, so I put old newspaper down which is easily thrown away and keeps the mess to a minimum. I then placed the fillets skin side down and lightly brushed olive oil on each fillet then lightly sprinkled Old Bay fish seasoning to that side. Flipped the fillets over and after brushing olive oil on that side I generously applied a Cajun-based rub and let the fish sit until the smoker was ready.

Smoked Swai Prep

I had 9 small fillets, so I used the top two racks and set the smoker for 225 degrees. I checked on them at around 40 minutes and they weren’t quite done (internal temperature was at 135 and the fillets weren’t “flaky” yet”. Checked back at about 1 hour and they looked perfect, internal temp was between 145 and 150, so I got them out of there. They turned out amazing !!! You definitely want to try this one soon.

 Smoked Swai

Ingredients:

Swai fillets, thawed

Brine: 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 gallon water - place all in pot and bring to a boil, let cool (or add ice to speed up the process) and pour over fillets, adding water if needed until they are completely submerged

Cajun Seasoning: 3/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup ground cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp. ground white pepper, 2 tbsp. ground black pepper, 2 tbsp. paprika, 2 tbsp. onion powder, 2 tbsp. garlic powder - mix all in jar or bowl

Old Bay Seasoning

Olive Oil

Oil or spray oil for racks

Apple wood chips

Apple juice

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Winter Fishing Report

By: Captain Jon Fetter

Captain Jon Fetter doing what he does best!

 

This past week the fishing really picked up in the backbay. The redfish bite was really good with incoming water around the grass flats with nearby oyster bars. The fish are moving on and off the oysters with the tides and will take cut bait soaking on the bottom. Cut ladyfish on 2/0 circle hooks was the bait of choice. Patience is the key to fishing cut baits as it can take a while for the scent to attract the reds. Set-up with the tidal flow and put out at least three rods to increase your chances. Anglers should stay closer to the oyster bars on high tides and move away as the tide recedes. There has also been a decent red bite along the mangrove islands on high water with shrimp tipped jig heads the go-to method. The sheepshead bite has also picked up around the oyster bars and any blow down near the mangrove islands. 1/0 circle hooks with #3 split shot will work fine, and remember to just use enough shrimp to cover the hook. Anglers will also pick up mangrove snapper with this method. The sea trout bite should start as the water temps decrease over the grass flats in 2-4 feet of water, with Shrimp under a popping cork the best way to locate and catch them. You will also pick up ladyfish, catfish, and a few bonnethead sharks with this set-up.

 

Gearing Up For Chistmas

 

Well Xmas is quickly approaching so it is time to get that list ready for Santa. There are plenty of new items out there worth looking at. Rods, reels, and various tackle are always appealing, but this year I am looking at fillet knives. The Bubba Blade is the one that stands out to me. Great blade with a comfortable handle makes a great combination for hours of fish cleaning. They are rather costly, but it will last and hold an edge for a long time which makes it the perfect gift for the angler that has everything. Make sure to put this on your list for this year and hopefully you have not been naughty and Santa will make the stop at your house and drop one off. Leave plenty of cookies and milk for the guy, he always appreciates good grub. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!!!

 

Captain Jon Fetter works in our very own fishing department in Ft. Myers, FL., and has been known to be a reservoir of knowledge in all things fishing related. Please stop by his very helpful page if you would like to learn more at www.catchfishnow.com

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Local fishing report 10/13 to 10/19/2013

The river was at 3.5ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.2ft with 5,100CF of flow and 78 degrees.

Trip #1 was a half day AM bass trip and we caught 10 bass.  The largest was 18" and we caught them on top water lures and tubes.  We had 3.3ft-6,400CF-steady-clear and 70 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 28.50 and rising.

Trip #2 was a 4 hour PM catfish trip on Tuesday and we caught 11 flatheads and 1 channel cat.  The largest flathead was 19.4lbs and the channel cat was 26.5".  These are both angler award fish and we caught them all on live bait.  We had 3.3ft-6,100CF-steady-clear and 74 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.85 and steady.

Trip #3 was a half day bass trip on Wednesday and we caught 12 smallmouth and 3 stripers.  The largest smallie was 17" and the largest striper was 19".  We caught them on spinnerbaits and jigs.  We had 3.3ft-steady-5,400CF-clear and 72 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.00 and steady.

Trip #4 was a combination PM trip and we caught 50+ sunfish, 3 rock bass, 2 largemouth bass, 4 smallmouth bass, 2 chubs and 2 flatheads.  The largest flathead was 7.4lbs. we had 3.2ft-steady-5,400CF-clear and 75 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.95 and falling.

Trip #5 was a half day bass trip on Friday and we caught 20+ bass and 1 fallfish.  The largest bass was 19.5".  We caught them on top water and jigs.  We had 3.2ft-steady-5,200CF-clear and 76 degrees.   We had a barometric pressure of 29.85 and steady.

Trip #6 was a night trip for catfish and we caught 17 flatheads.  The largest 7.4lbs. and we caught them all on live bait.  We had 3.2ft-5,100CF-steady-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.85 and steady.

 

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Fishing and Fitness

I feel the level of fitness required for the sport of fishing depends on the type of fishing you will be doing. It is obvious that if you plan to sit on a bucket and cast out a bobber with a worm on the end of your line, the level of fitness needed will be very minimal. The challenging part of the trip will be lugging your equipment from the car to the bank of the lake or stream. Even if you break a sweat on the way to your secret spot on the lake, a cold one can be pulled out of the bucket to bring your comfort level back to normal. By all means, there is nothing wrong with this style of fishing. If nothing else it will get you out of the house for the day. I don't know of a more effective way to catch a catfish than to sink a bait to the bottom of your favorite fishing hole, and wait for a bite (Catfish Basics). This is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a tough day working at Bass Pro Shops. I wade out and cast a treble hook full of Sudden Impact into the river. It's never long until a nice sized channel catfish finds the end of my line, and all the frustrations from the day have vanished.

On the other hand, it can be a lot of work to catch a fish. Let me start with trout fishing. It is common for me to travel one or two miles of water during my quest to land a trout. Include walking while wearing a pair of White River waders (Buying Fly-Fishing Waders), and you will have earned yourself quite a workout. Don't forget, as you work your way upstream, it will be the same distance back to where you have parked your vehicle. Often I will hike a the beginning of my trip when I am feeling fresh. Since most of my trout angling is done in the evening hours, a difficult stroll in the dark is avoided by fishing my way back to the truck. If this is your method of fishing I recommend that you at least maintain an active lifestyle. There is no need to train to the point of finishing the Boston Marathon, but you should be able to hoof it a few miles at a comfortable pace. There is however one thing you should keep in mind. At an increased level of fitness, more enjoyment will be received from this type of fishing.

Donegal Creek

Donegal Creek always provides me with a beautiful, but challenging hike.

In my observations, wading for bass requires a bit more fitness for several reasons. You expend more energy during the fishing process. Burn a spinnerbait for a couple hours and you add a new element to your angling experience. When targeting trout, unless I am out with my sons, you will find me fly fishing. Although it looks tiring, it's really very easy if you allow the rod to do most of the work for you. Conventional trout fishing gear is small and light weight requiring little effort in casting and retrieving a lure. Throw some musky lures and you will earn a new respect for large tackle. Second, as you navigate a large river, the water is deeper and the current is much faster than your typical trout stream. More strength is needed to keep your footing. Our Susquehanna River is a mile at its widest point. It is easy to lose track of how far you have traveled and the time it took you to get there. Your trek back to shore can be a workout in itself. If night has arrived, it could also be very dangerous. One advantage is that there is no need for wearing those awkward waders. It is a great way to cool off during the hot summer months. Lastly, there is a need to cover more water when trying to locate fish resulting in the use of more energy. It is a huge factor while fly fishing for bass. Long casts with heavy streamers equals lots of work. Consider the stripping motion needed to retrieve your fly and you can count on a good nights sleep and sore muscles in the morning.

Conestoga River smallmouth from a kayak.Fishing a lake or river from a boat does not require the effort that it takes to wade. In this case endurance is the key to being successfull. Consecutive casts have to be maintained over a long period of time. While participating in a tournament you also have to keep up a high level of intensity and concentration that can become mentally exhausting. It is common to fish eight hours during an event so you may want to consider some light workouts to strengthen your abilities. The amount of your training should match the goals set for your fishing. In other words, you get out of it what you put into it. One thing that is often underestimated is getting the boat in and out of the water. Again, you don't have to be a world class athlete, but the more agile you are the easier this task will be. My favorite bass fishing comes from one of my three Ascend kayaks. They can be difficult to load and unload onto the vehicle, especially if you are alone. Most of your exercise will come from navigating a lake. I prefer to fish rivers but they consist of mostly floating and very little paddling. One negative to kayaking moving water is you need a drop off and a pick up automobile. If I get the urge to float a river by myself I head for the larger water. I'll look for a long stretch without rapids enabling me to get up river and drift my way back to my put-in spot. Rowing at the beginning is always my chosen method. There is nothing worse than having to load a kayak onto my truck after a long paddle

The fitness app I use tells me if you fish four hours while wearing waders, 2,368 calories will be burned. Standing on a boat four hours will take off 1,381. Even sitting on a bucket casting a worm and a bobber a total of four hours will get rid of 987. Running a mile at a ten minute pace will burn 164. I'm sure there is no need to mention my preferred method of burning calories. Know your body's limits. No one knows them better than you. If there is any doubt how much you can handle, see your physician for his or her approval. Ask yourself what level of fishing you want to achieve, then make strides to get there. If exercise is your method of choice, pick a program that you enjoy. If you like what you are doing there will be a greater chance of sticking with it. I am no tournament angler but I love to fish. Whether I am here working at Bass Pro Shops or playing catch in the backyard with my two sons, I try and live an active lifestyle. That is enough activity to meet my fishing needs. The most important advice I can give you is to go fishing. The best way to get into fishing shape is to fish.

Go Fish!

Troy Caslow

Troy Caslow

 

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Saltwater Drop Shot Rig Fishing

The drop shot rig has roots in the eastern U.S., dating back to the mid-70's and was first seen in "Fishing Facts" magazine.  In the 1990's, Japanese anglers resurrected the method for use on their highly pressured waters.  The Japanese refined the technique and it soon returned to the States.  In 1997, the drop shot rig was relatively unknown except to a few Southern California fishermen who had ties to Japanese manufacturers and pros.  The system worked extremely well, and those that knew about it did their best to keep it a secret.  Then, in winter 1999, two major tournaments were won using the drop shot rig - the B.A.S.S. Invitational at Lake Oroville, and the WON Bass Classic on Lake Cachuma.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag - way out!

While largely viewed as a fresh water tactic for finessing finicky bass or fishing in highly pressured waters, the drop shot rig is readily adaptable for presenting soft baits such as Berkeley Gulp or DOA's in our bays for redfish and speckled trout.  The presentation is different from using a jig or a popping cork in that the bait can be rigged to be held just above the weeds.  This will put the bait in full view of the fish we want to catch.  In addition, the weight being below the bait allows for anglers to feel the soft bites more easily.  But this is more of a rig to use when we have a good idea of where the fish are, rather than when we are searching water using a lure.

The basic rig resembles a standard dropper used in the ocean and for freshwater catfish, with one difference - there is no line (dropper) between the hook and the main line.  Tie a standard Polomar knot - start by going through the "hook-point" side of the eye, and leaving at least two extra feet of line on the tag end.  The extra line will be used to attach the sinker.  Once the Polomar is tied, take the tag end and thread it back through the "hook-point" side of the eye, again.  This last step forces the hook shaft to lie against the line, which aids hook setting.  Another option is the VMC Spinshot wide gap hook, which has a swivel through the eye of the hook, allowing the bait to move without twisting the line. 

Once the hook is in place, attach the weight.  Drop shot leads have an eyelet on the top that pinches the line, allowing the lead to pull off if snagged.  Choose one that is heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom, but not too heavy.  In most situations, use a 1/8 to 5/16 ounce, but a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce can be used in extremely deep water or during windy situations.  I use 1/4 ounce normally or 3/8 ounce when the wind is up a little.  Experiment with the weight, as this rig will cast well, and increasing the weight slightly will let you cast further.  The "drop" (distance from hook to weight) can range from six inches to four feet, or more, depending upon how high the grass is relative to the bottom.  Remember, we want our bait just over the top of the grass we are fishing.  Another thing to consider is bottom composition.  Use a cylinder weight over grass, and save the round sinker for a rocky bottom as the round is more likely to snag.

I am just starting to experiment with this rig.  My first trip using the drop shot rig resulted in five specks in about half an hour.  After casting, take the slack out of the line and hold the rod at a 10 o'clock position.  After raising the rod tip slowly 2 or 3 times, reel up the slack to get a tight line again.  Fish this rig slowly.  This rig has a lot of versatility and I cannot wait to try variations of the drop shot rig.  I can see a lot of different ways to use this and to target different species.

Jim Martino

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A 94-year-old angler has another great fish story to tell

By Lee Williams       

leewilliams@star-telegram.com

Moses Lopez spent his early days hunting with a slingshot.

He mostly bagged rabbits and squirrels and was handy with a rod and reel as well.

“I’d tag along with my brother,” Lopez said. “That’s where I learned to hunt and fish.”

It was during the Depression in the 1930s, and Lopez lived in Winnie just east of Galveston Bay with his mother, four brothers and two sisters. Besides hunting and fishing, he found odd jobs and worked in the fields, planting and harvesting crops, doing whatever he could to help out.

“My father had passed away when I was 12,” Lopez said, “and we had a family to feed.”

Now a spry 94 years old, Lopez doesn’t hunt anymore — “that’s too much work” — but he still loves to fish.

“I’ll fish whenever I can find someone to go with me,” Lopez said.

He’s put away a few stories over 80-plus years of dropping lines, but few rival the one that he told a couple of weeks ago.

Fishing Aug. 22 with grandson Nicholas Griffin near Harbor One Marina at Eagle Mountain Lake Lopez said it had been an uneventful day as he cast his line toward the docks.

He felt a little tug, but then the line held.

“I thought it was stuck on a stump,” Lopez said, “but then it took off. It was fast.”

The black bass was a fighter and shot out of the water, giving them a glimpse of its size.

“He was big,” Lopez said. “Both me and my grandson knew that. He said, ‘That’s a big fish!’”

As he maneuvered the fish near the boat, it spit out the Bandit lure — but Nicholas had a net in position and grabbed the largemouth.

“He was so big you could put your fist in his mouth,” Lopez later told his son, Ray Lopez.

Lopez had an electronic scale, but the batteries were low, so after measuring it — 231/2 inches long — and taking a few photos, he turned to Nicholas.

“That was a thrill, but it’s time to turn him loose,” Lopez said.

“I figure it was about 91/2 or 10 pounds,” Lopez said. “That’s the biggest fish I’ve caught that wasn’t a striper or catfish.”

‘I’ve always loved fishing’

After Ray Lopez told his father that the record for a black bass at Eagle Mountain Lake was 11.65 pounds, Lopez suggested that he might have turned loose a trophy.

“I guess I’ll have to go back out there and catch him again,” Lopez told his son. “After all, I know where he lives.”

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Local Fishing Report 8/18 to 8/24 2013

The river was at 3.7ft. at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.5ft. with 8,200CF of flow and 81 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Tuesday and we fished from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM and we caught 20+ bass.  The largest was 18".  We caught them on spinnerbaits, soft plastics, and top water.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #2 was a half day PM trip on Tuesday and we caught 11 channel cats and 11 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 24.5" and the largest flathead was over 30lbs.  Those of you who fish with us know how we mark our catfish and it appears we caught this fish in May.  It was 42" long.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #3 was on Tuesday from 9AM to Noon and we caught 11 Bass.  The largest was 19" and we caught them on top water.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #4 was on Wednesday and we fished from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and we caught 20+ bass.  The largest was 20" and we caught them on top water, soft plastics, and spinnerbaits.  We had 3.6ft-steady-10,100CF-clear and 76 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.90 and falling.

Trip #5 was a half day AM channel cat trip on Saturday and nwe caught 25 channel cats.  The largest was 20" and we caught them all on Team Catfish Sudden Impact.  We had 3.5ft-steady-8,200CF-Clear and 76-81 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.

Trip #6 was a half day PM catfish trip and we caught 2 channel cats and 2 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 24" and the largest flathead was 6#.  We caught them all on live bait.  We had 3.5ft.-steady-8,200CF-clear-81 degrees.  We had a Barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.

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Father/Son Susquehanna River Catfishing Trip

     As the manager of the fishing department at Bass Pro Shops I am constantly searching out the latest techniques and baits used on our local waters. As a father I am forever searching for ways to entice my two sons to put away their video games and go outdoors where two young boys belong. Often times the two go hand in hand. When they do coincide it is a win win situation for everyone. I of course have to compile my "product research", and the boys get a fun day out of the house.
   

  I can always rely on our Bass Pro Shops pro staff and local guide Rod Bates to keep me up on the latest techniques he is using. Rod can frequently be found giving fishing workshops at Bass Pro Shops. It benefits me to know what he is using so I can fill the customer demand after his demonstrations are over. This summer he invited the boys and me to join his Koinania Guide Service on the Susquehanna River fishing for channel catfish. He had been using a new bait called Sudden Impact from Team Catfish and wanted me to experience it. I have never been one to pass on a great opportunity so I gathered the boys and met Rod at a local boat launch on the river.
    

The Sudden Impact performed flawlessly. We couldn't keep the catfish off of our lines when we used it with a #4 treble hook, egg sinker, swivel, and Team Catfish sinker bumper. Much of the time Rod couldn't keep the four rods we were using baited and in the water. When it was all said and done the boys had boated 30 catfish between them. There were numerous doubles and very little down time between fish. The best way to keep two boys happy is to keep them busy. It wasn't until we ran out of Sudden Impact and had to switch to another bait that the boys became restless. With the bite slowing to a crawl, the two brothers were spending less time fishing and more time testing each other's nerves. This seemed like the perfect time to end our fishing for the day so we headed for shore leaving Micah and Noah with one of their favorite fishing trips of all time. It left me with the reassurance that Sudden Impact was a must carry for the Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg, PA.
    

It is easy to catch fish when someone else is baiting your hook. After all, it's Rod's job. If he doesn't get you any fish, you would not be likely to book Koinonia Guide Service again. Noah, my youngest son, and I headed out to the Conestoga River to see how Sudden Impact would perform without the help of a professional guide. We would be wading the Conestoga since it is too shallow for boats. For a young boy of seven, this adds swimming to the list of fun for the day. There would be no disappointment, this trip would leave him soaked from head to toe. Our first hook up was almost the size of Noah. As the fish rolled we got a good look at it and Noah's eyes doubled in size. He handed me the rod and headed for the bank. It was a little intimidating for a guy of 45 pounds. Unfortunately it broke us off and we didn't get a chance for a close encounter. The Sudden Impact once again performed perfectly. It continued to do so for the rest of that trip and every trip there after.
     

Team Catfish has truly outdone themself. Sudden Impact has consistently caught fish for us on every outing. It's ease of use compliments it's effectiveness. A bare treble hook is all that is needed for this fiber enriched bait. Thank you Team Catfish for not only helping to create great fishing stories, but for the memories my sons will carry with them long after I am gone.

 

 

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From Tippet to Stream

Experiencing the Blue River in OklahomaBlue River Photo 1

If you’ve never been there and you put on a blindfold and had someone drop you off at the Blue River, you would never guess you were in southern Oklahoma when you took it off. The Blue River looks like it belongs in Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas or even eastern Oklahoma but not south-central Oklahoma.

The Blue River has swift, clear, braided stream that arises in Johnston County from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, a giant underground water source. The headquarters of the spring-fed Blue River are southwest of Ada. The stream continues until it flows into the Red River in southeast Bryan County.

The most scenic part of the river is along the 6¼-mile stretch through the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area. Here, the granite rocks of the Arbuckle outcrop come to surface and the river comes alive. Along these six miles, the river transforms from a lazy, meandering stream to cascading water that forks through granite and limestone formations. Over and around these rocks is the creation of horseshoe waterfalls and deep, slow-moving pools and fast-moving riffles.Blue River Paradise

The river channel often becomes braided, forming smaller streams with interspersed islands covered with unique seaside alders and native hardwoods. The seaside alders, which grow in clumps along the banks, waterfalls and islands, are typically found only along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Blue River is one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful places. It receives between 75,000 and 100,000 visitors each year. Most of them, an estimated 70 percent, travel to the Blue during the winter trout season which runs from November through March.Most are bait fishermen, but the Blue draws its share of spincasters and fly fishermen as well.

On the north end of Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area is a portion of the stream for the purists — a catch and release only area that requires the use of barbless hooks. Fly anglers gravitate to this stretch of the river where it’s usually easy to find some secluded water. The Blue River has more falls than any other river in Oklahoma.

Blue River Photo 4Beginning near Connerville in Johnston County, the Blue River flows southeast to the Red River.  This spring-fed river has a designated trout area in the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. Other fishing opportunities exist for black bass, crappie, as well as channel and blue catfish. Camping facilities are available only at the Blue River Campground. Float trip opportunities by kayak are available on this Class II-III river, offering several falls and ledges, dependent on seasonal waterfall. No commercial outfitters along the river are allowed and public access points are limited. Supplies and information can be found at Scotty's Blue River One Stop, located at the entrance to the public hunting and fishing area. A Blue River Conservation Passport is required of all persons who enter or use the Blue River area, unless exempt.  Check with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department for availability and criteria.

 

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies - Blue River OklahomaWWS Fly Line

Fly Line:
We recommend a 5 weight, floating fly line for most all of the fly-fishing. We recommend a 6
weight, floating fly line for nymph fishing and streamers. There are some larger size trout that
are stocked in this stream.

Fly Rod
Fly Rod:
The five weight fly rod should be between eight and nine feet in length. A medium to moderate
action would be our choice. The 6 weight fly rod would be best in a nine foot length and a medium
fast action. A slightly stiffer tip would help with the nymphs and streamers.Fly Reel

Fly Reel:
The fly reel for either of these two rods should have a good drag.  Disc drags would be preferred.


TippetLeaders:
You should be using at least a 9 foot leader on the Blue River. A twelve foot length or even
longer length may be the right choice in some situations where the water is smooth. You
should have them in sizes ranging from 1X for streamers, up to 6X for small dry flies. I wouldn't
go any lighter on this stream.Tippet



Tippet:
Carry extra tippet material in sizes ranging from 1X to 6X.

LisaWaders:
We suggest you wear waders or hip boots anytime you fish the Blue River. We prefer the
breathable type but the neoprene ones can help keep you warm if you fish during the cold
season.

Wading Boots:
Felt sole wading boots  would be our first choice but are quickly being replaced by the new rubber soles that may also work well.
 

wooly bugger
Flies:
Many fly fishers will agree that the Wooly Bugger is one of the best patterns on Blue River.  Best colors are olive, brown, and black.  Other patterns that work well include the red midge larva, zebra midge, hare's ear nymph,  pheasant tail nymphs, hare's ear soft hackle, brassies, and copper johns.  When the midges are on fly fishers will want to concentrate on size 20 and 22 midge patterns.

 

 

Fortunately the fishing is only going to get better as the Oklahoma weather cools off.  November on the Blue means big and aggressive trout just ready to slurp down a Wooly Booger

Last year we had the pleasure of fishing with a few very skilled anglers and we were able to target some of the larger fish at a stream just on the other side of the low water crossing.  We landed several fish in the four to six pound range and had some great action mid-afternoon.  If you would like to experience the Blue River, log onto blueriverok.com.

 

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting involved with fly fishing, you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck on the water.

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Saturday Fish Feeding Frenzy

Join us on the weekends for an up close view of fish at feeding time. At St Charles, MO Bass Pro Shop we do a fish feeding every Saturday and Sunday at 2:00p.m. This weekend Jim and Paul from our fishing department gave the crowd a nice show feeding live minnows, crawfish, baby carp, night crawlers, pellet food and protein based gel food.

Species of fish in our tank include:

Jim and Paul

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Spotted Bass

Hybrid Striped Bass

White Bass

Drum

Short nosed Spotted Gar

Channel Catfish

Black Crappie

Common Carp

Bluegill

Walleye

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kids enjoy it......

 

kids

The Adults enjoy it.........

adults

And the fish always enjoy it!

catfishsmallmouth feeding

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Local Fishing Report 7/28 to 8/3 2013

The River was at 4.5ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.8ft with 12,100CF of flow and 75 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Monday and we fished from 4:30 to 7:00PM and we caught 12 smallmouth.  The largest was 15" and we caught them all on spinnerbaits, stickbaits, crankbaits, and jigs.  We had 4.0ft-steady-15,600CF-clear and 83 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #2 was on Tuesday and we fished from 9:00AM to 4:00PM and we caught 30 smallmouth.  The largest was 19" and we caught them on stickbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs.  We had 3.9ft-steady-14,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.10 and falling

Trip #3 was on Tuesday and we fished from 2:45 to 4:30PM and we caught 50+ sunfish.  We caught them all on jig/worm combo.  We had 3.9ft-steady-14,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.10 and falling.

Trip #4 was on tuesday and we fished from 2:30 to 5:30PM andn we caught 20+ bass and the largest was 18".  We caught them on stickbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs.  We had the same conditions as noted in #2.

Trip #5 was a half day combo catfish trip on Wednesday and we caught 14 channel cats and 3 flatheads.  The largest Channel cat was 22" and the largest flathead was 7lbs.  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and we caught the flatheads on live bait.  We had 3.9ft-steady-clear-and 79 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and falling.

Trip #6 was a full day combo cat trip and we caught 15 channel cats and 6 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 22.5" and the largest flathead was 14lbs.  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and the flatheads on live bait.

Trip #7 was a half day bass trip and we caught 20+ smallmouth and the largest was 17.75".  We caught them on crankbaits and wacky rigged dingers.  We had 3.8ft-12,100CF-falling-clear and 75 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.80 and steady with rain.

Please let us know how you are making out with the Sudden Impact bait from Team Catfish.  The Harrisburg Bass Pro is now carrying Team Catfish bait and gear.  Just ask one of our associates in the fishing department if we do not have what you are looking for.

 

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It's National Catfish Month!

Did you know President Reagan designated August as National Catfish Month?  It's true!  Catfish are found across the globe in every continent except Antartica. The freshwater fish have been caught and farmed for food for hundreds of years. Channel catfish and blue catfish are the two most commonly eaten species here in the United States, and are particularly popular in the South.

Catfish are becoming more and more popular as game fish as well.  One of our fishing pros, Jonathan Herndon, is currently filming his own television show called "Maximum Catfishing." They recently caught this 70 lb. blue catfish, while filming on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama.

catfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As mentioned above, catfish make for some good eatin'. The recipe shown below is considered a "standard" recipe and may be found Best of the Best from the Deep South Cookbook, available at your local Bass Pro Shops.

Mississippi Catfish Fillets

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

2 pounds catfish fillets

Oil for frying

-Mix meal, flour, salt, pepper, garlic salt and cayenne. roll fish in mixture until well coated. Have oil hot, about 400 degrees. Add fish in single layer. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or brown bag. Serve hot.

south

Take a few minutes to celebrate the humble catfish. Visit one at your local aquarium or fry some up with a batch of hush puppies. You are sure to have a good time either way!

www.facebook.com/bpsmacon

 

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Local Fishing Report 7/21 to 7/27/2013

Hello Everyone,

The River was at 4.0ft. at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.5ft with 24,100CF of flow and 80 degrees.

Trip #1 was a half day PM trip on Monday and we caught 15 channel cats and 3 bass.  The largest channel cat was 25" and the largest smallmouth was 16".  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and the bass were on a tube.  We had 3.7ft-Steady-11,500CF-clear and 85 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.60 and steady.

Trip #2 was a half day PM trip on Tuesday and we caught 22 channel cats.  The largest was 25.5" and we caught them all on Sudden Impact.  We had 3.8ft-Steady-11,500CF-muddy and 83.5 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.60 and falling.

Trip #3 was a full day catfish trip and we caught 17 channel cats and 17 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 21" and the largest flathead was 32lbs.  We caught all but two of the channel cats on Sudden Impact.  We had 5 angler award qualifying flatheads on this trip.  We had 3.7ft-Rising-11,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.50 and steady.

Trip #4 was on Thursday afternoon and we fished from 4PM to 6:30PM and we did 15+ bass and the largest was 20".  We caught them on stickbaits.  We had same conditions as noted in #3 trip above.

Trip #5 was a 4 hour catfish trip.  We had 2 boats out and we caught 7 channel cats and 5 flatheads.  the largest channel cat was 21.5" and the largest flathead was 12lbs.  We caught the channels on Sudden Impact and the flatheads on live bait.

Please let us know how you are making out with the Sudden Impact Bait from Team Catfish.  The Harrisburg Bass Pro Shops is now carrying Team Catfish bait and gear.  Should we not have what you are looking for then ask one of our associates in the Fishing Department to order it in for you.  The Sudden Impact bait was awesome, we have constant action out on the water when using this bait.

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Staycations Iowa Style - The Rathbun Area

So often I hear people gripe about driving across Iowa and, in their opinion, how boring it is. I encourage people need to get off Interstate 80 (after they've stopped at Bass Pro Shops Altoona, of course!) and experience a bit of our state. In our staycations series we asked our Facebook fans for some recommendations - where would you suggest people visit in our state? One area that received several mentions, and that I visit regularly, is the Lake Rathbun area in southern Iowa. 

Rathbun area map

Lake Rathbun is one of the largest lakes in Iowa, located about seven miles north of Centerville in Appanoose County. If you're coming from the north, say down highway 5, the stretch from Knoxville to Centerville is one of the prettiest drives in our state, as is much of the driving headed east or west out of Centerville on Highway 2.Honey Creek State Park

Rathbun is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility with over 700 campsites available at eight parks at the 11,000 acre lake. It's also home to Honey Creek State Park and Honey Creek Resort, both operated by the state.

The state park has 149 campsites, but another unique feature is its "camper cabins."  The rustic pine cabins are great for those who don't want to tent camp, don't have an RV, or simply want more of a roof over their head, while enjoying the great outdoors. I met a woman at our Family Summer Camp this year who has two sons, both with severe medical issues and confined to wheelchairs, and she loves the camper cabins because they have electricity and her sons can better enjoy the camping experience.

For those who want something even more comfortable, Honey Creek Resort is available. This state-operated resort has a hotel, cottages/cabins, an RV Park, and a water park. 

My two favorite things about the resort are things YOU can enjoy, too, without actually staying there:

canoeing

1. Their naturalist programs and activities are open to the public. It is the resort's goal to connect people to nature and the outdoors, whether they are staying at the resort or just visiting the area for the day. Some activities do have limited spaces available. You can check out their continuously updated list of activities on their web site.

2. The Lakeshore Grille has amazing food...like their bacon-stuffed jalapenos. First-class food in a relaxed atmosphere with a great view!

While you're in the area, here are some other suggestions:

  • Rathbun OHV Park - If you have an ATV, then you might enjoy the Rathbun OHV Park located on the southwest arm of the Lake off Highway 142. It's a 120-acre riding area with a variety of skill-level trails.
  • The Rathbun Fish Hatchery - Open ever day for tours, the fish produced here are use to stock farm ponds, rivers, lakes and reservoirs around the state. According to the DNR web site:

Annually, more than 200,000 large fingerling catfish, 100,000 small fingerling catfish, 50 million walleye fry, 225,000 two-inch walleye fingerlings and 175,000 eight inch walleye fingerlings are produced at Rathbun.

More than 75,000 four- to six-inch catfish are provided for county conservation boards and cities each year for their caged-catfish rearing programs. 

  • Sharon Bluffs State Park is just south and east of Centerville – You can either go south of Centerville or east on Highway 2 and you’ll see signs for it….then it’s about four miles on gravel. Nice little park for picnics and walks.

If you're enjoying the area for more than just a few days, take a drive east to Van Buren County and discover the way life used to be 150 years ago in the Villages of Van Buren. That county has 110 ghost towns!  Scenic highways, hiking trails, gravel, mike, and pedestrian trails, and canoe, kayak and boat accesses provide plenty of ways to enjoy the scenery and history.


Facebook fan Rachel is an avid horse person. She says if you like horse camping head to Stevens State Forest to the west of Appanoose 
River Valley
County. Parts of the 15,000 acres have primitive horse camping available. She also suggests River Valley Horsecamp by the Shimek State Forest. Located south of the Villages of Van Buren, the camp has miles of trails and borders on 40 miles of established horse trails in Shimek State Forest. 

_________________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona or Tracker Marine Center

Tweet us @bassproaltoona

Pin us @ pinterest.com/bpsaltoona

 

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Kayak Fishing

Fishing is a sport that more people enjoy recreationally each year than golf and tennis combined. From catching catfish and panfish, to fishing for big money in professional bass tournaments, we all have one thing in common, we love the challenge of locating and catching fish. Millions of people are already in to fish, whether they are fishing off the bank or in a beautiful Nitro Bass Boat, they already have a passion for being in nature and spending quality time with their children and family members. Now the question is if I am a beginning angler or maybe even someone that has never fished before in my life how and where do I start? That question can easily be answered if you have a Bass Pro Shops near by. There is no better place to go to get all of the gear and equipment you will ever need, as well as having access to knowledgeable associates that are always willing to assist in any way possible. Getting tips and asking questions from experienced anglers is a great way to jump start your learning into a life long passion for fishing.

Now fishing can be expensive and most beginning anglers don't need to get a big fancy bass boat. While fishing from the bank in small private lakes or ponds can be very rewarding and a fun place to start, at some point you are going wonder what that other side of the lake has to offer. The best way to access those rarely sought after fish is with a fishing Kayak. Bass pro shops offers a wide variety of options from sit in kayaks to the extremely popular and my personal choice, the Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak. A sit on top kayak makes a great fishing platform that an angler with good balance can even stand on for improved casting ability. The opportunities with a kayak are endless, not only are they a good way to get on the water, but they are very fun for exploring places that a bass boat can not possibly get too. Areas such as creeks or small ponds with limited shore access are often loaded with fish that rarely see a lure, and are an absolute dream come true to a diehard angler.

Bass Pro Shops offers a wide variety of options you can add on to the kayak as well. Accessories such as Ascend Deluxe Sit-on-Top Kayak Seats, rod holders, and SEA-LECT Designs Zig Zag Cleats can all be found at your local bass pro shops or on our website. I would recommend trying to keep your tackle selection simple, as well as wearing a good pair of Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Ultrathong Sandals, which will provide important grip and comfort for stand up fishing. When I fish out of a kayak I will bring two rods, one spinning and one bait caster. With the limited room this will be all you need. When looking for a rod and reel combo that is versatile and can be used with a variety of baits and techniques there are some specifications I will always look for. For the bait caster a 7 foot medium heavy Temple Fork Outfitters Gary Loomis Signature Series rod is a perfect choice. From flipping and pitching in heavy cover, to casting spinnerbaits this rod will do the trick. It has enough strength and power to horse big fish out of thick cover, but not so much that other techniques can't be used. Having a spinning rod with you is also important if you want to throw light weight or even weightless soft plastic lures with light line. One of the very most effective baits for fishing shallow water in ponds, creeks, rivers, or lakes, is with the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O. These baits can be rigged either weedless, also known as texas rigged with no weight, or wacky rigged, which is rigging the bait directly in the center. Either way will catch an incredible number of fish, especially in places where they have never been seen before.

So if you're interested in getting into fishing but just can't quite take the leap, start by coming in to Bass Pro Shops and checking out all of the incredible things they have to offer. Bring the whole family and you will have a blast checking out all of the amazing attractions at the store, as well as learning how to begin to utilize and enjoy what nature has to offer. Don't forget that at your local Leeds Bass Pro Shops we offer fly fishing classes every month. Our tying classes are on the first and third Monday of each month and our casting classes, weather permitting, are on the second and forth Saturday of each month. So take advantage of having a Bass Pro Shops near you. We can't wait to see you here and share our passion for the outdoors. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

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Top 10 Ways Bass Pro Shops is STILL like the Iowa State Fair

Just five days until the Iowa State Fair! In honor of our great state fair, we once again remind you of how Bass Pro Shops Altoona is ALMOST like the Iowa State Fair...but not quite.

10. The Iowa State Fair is 400 acres of Iowa history. Bass Pro Shops Altoona is 144,000 square feet of Iowa history.

Corn Dog mix9. The Iowa State Fair is renowned for the incredible amounts of good food to be found, including new choices each year! Bass Pro Shops Altoona has good food to offer, too, including cotton candy, pop corn, kettle corn, salt water taffy, funnel cake mix, corn dog mix, and a FUDGE ON A STICK! We have new flavors of fudge all the time...including strawberry margarita and maple bacon walnut fudge!

wild hogs

8. The livestock are always a popular attraction at the Iowa State Fair...I always have to see the big bull and the big boar! Bass Pro Shops Altoona has incredible animals, too, including oxen and pigs. Of course, they're all stuffed, but you get the idea...

7.  The Iowa State Fair has the Department of Natural Resources building with its live fish display and an archery range. Bass Pro Shops Altoona has a very cool 30,000 gallon fish tank with a catfish pushing 90 pounds, state record gar, giant bass, record crappie and more...and we have an archery range.

games

6.  The Iowa State Fair has a Midway full of rides and games for all thrill levels. Bass Pro Shops Altoona has a beautiful wildlife carousel during Family Summer Camp and Santa's Wonderland, an ATV obstacle course during the Fall Hunting Classic, a shooting arcade, the most unique bowling alley in the state at Uncle Buck's Fishbowl, and shopping carts for young ones to ride in while their parents shop!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona shooting arcade

5.  The Midway also has Bobo the Clown welcoming you at the water tank. Fortunately, we don't have anything to compare to Bobo. Our greeters who welcome you to the store are really nice and won't make you cry.

4.  The State Fair museum is open daily only during the fair and showcases a great collection of historical records, antiques, and other memorabilia. Bass Pro Shops Altoona is part museum, with a LARGE number of antiques and memorabilia, including several photographs on loan from the Iowa State Historical Museum. 

3. The Iowa State Fair has loads of free entertainment on multiple stages and some great grandstand acts. Bass Pro Shops has loads of free entertainment held in multiple areas of the store, inside and outside, at any given time of the year.

2.  The Iowa State Fair is great for kids and families. Bass Pro Shops is all about kids and families.

1. Nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair...and NOTHING compares to Bass Pro Shops. It's an experience, not just a store.

 

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Books to help you reel in the big one

Gone Fishing

 

We have an extensive assortment of books on fishing.  If you are wanting to learn the basics or some new techniques we have a book for you.  We have books that cover knots, bait, rigs, tackle and so much more.  We have several books on fly fishing for the beginners and for those that are more advanced.  If you want to learn fly tying we have books and we have work shops as well so our experienced staff can help out.  If you enjoy bass, walleye, catfish and crappie fishing we have concept books for each that will cover fundamentals, locations and presentations.  We look forward to helping you catch your next big fish by proviiding the information necessary.  Next time you stop by our store, come visit our book selection.  We look forward to taking care of all of your fishing needs.

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