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

0 Comments »

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.”

0 Comments »

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.

0 Comments »

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.

 

 

0 Comments »

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.

0 Comments »

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

0 Comments »

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.

 

0 Comments »

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

 

0 Comments »

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.

0 Comments »

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

 

0 Comments »

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

 

 

0 Comments »

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.

 

0 Comments »

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.

0 Comments »

Savoring the Moment Forever

There is NOTHING like watching a child catch a fish for the first time...and there's nothing quite like bringing in a monster fish for the first time.First Largemouth Lately, we've had a many Facebook fans posting their fishing photos...young and old...and we LOVE it! 

Did you know you can keep that excitement going with a little recognition through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources? The Iowa DNR has two great programs to encourage new young anglers and recognize the fishermen and women who catch the big ones!

First Fish

The First Fish Program lets kids get a big "hooray" from the DNR for their first fish!  They'll receive a certificate with the fish details and a photo on it (photo provided by you). Check out some of the recent First Fish celebrants at  www.flickr.com/photos/dnrfishing/sets/72157632640596827/.

Lance Queck - Master Angler - 27" Freshwater Drum - Spirit Lake, iowa

Master Angler

The DNR also recognizes the big memorable catches in Iowa through the Master Angler Program. The fish can be released and still qualify, but a witness has to verify the size of the fish. If it looks like it might be a state record, then a DNR official has to verify it. There are some length stipulations for the more than 40 species that are available.

For more information on the two programs and how to enter your little one's first...or your older one's monster...visit the DNR's web page at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/MasterAnglerFirstFish.aspx.

Lance Queck - Master Angler - 27" Freshwater Drum - Spirit Lake, Iowa

 

Where can you find them and how big do they need to be? (Provided from the Iowa DNR web site)

Largemouth Bass (20 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – use top-water baits close to shore or in shallow water. 
  • Lake Geode, Henry County – use top-water baits in the upper arm and back of coves or crankbaits along the dam and weed lines. 
  • Farm Ponds – about any bass bait will work.   A rubber worm with little weight fished slowly along weed lines are especially effective.  Make sure to get landowner permission before entering. 
  • Lake Sugema, Van Buren County – use crankbaits along jetty, dam and shoreline riprap.  Frog imitation baits fished in and among vegetation is effective. 
  • Diamond Lake, Poweshiek County – use crankbaits or top-waters around brush piles, or rubber worms tossed into structure. 
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use a weedless spinner, crawler or jig through the flooded trees. 
  • West Lake Osceola, Clarke County - use a weedless spinner, crawler or jig through the flooded trees.

Channel Catfish (30 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Geode, Henry County – fish in shallow water in the morning or evening using chicken liver under a bobber. Structure also holds fish and drainage areas after a significant rain should be targeted.
  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – fish the jetties, fish habitat sites and upper end of the lake after a heavy rain.  Use a bobber in the timber and jetties. 
  • Lake of the Hills, Scott County – use shad guts under a bobber to keep the bait above the thermocline.
  • Crawford Pond, Washington County – fish the eastern shoreline and the weed line.
  • Mississippi River Pool 19, Burlington to Keokuk – fish the Burlington Island complex of cuts and side channels, Montrose riprap banks and mouths of small creeks. 
  • Pleasant Creek Lake, Linn County – use cut bait throughout the lake. 
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use sunfish or cut bait fished near the bottom during twilight or during the dark, in less than eight feet of water during the hottest of July and August.
  • West Lake Osceola, Clarke County - use sunfish or cut bait fished near the bottom during twilight or during the dark, in less than eight feet of water during the hottest of July and August.
  • Silver Lake, Dickinson County – fish in the evening or after dark with cut bait on the bottom near downed trees.

Sunfish (Bluegills, 10 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – drift fish with typical bluegill baits above the thermocline.  Target the contour of the creek beds.
  • Lake Geode, Henry County – drift fish and vertical jig the drop-offs. Use dark colored baits when the water is clear or bright colored baits if the water is stained.
  • Farm Ponds – use typical bluegill baits and target weedy or woody habitat. Often a worm and a bobber works best.
  • White Oak and Shagbark ponds, Shimek State Forest, Lee County – use any bluegill baits around structure.
  • Lake Sugema, Van Buren County – move often and target timber areas as well as underwater structure, and drift fishing.
  • Briggs Woods Lake, Hamilton County – use a piece of night crawler on a number 8 hook and fish along the weed line.
  • Yellow Smoke Lake, Crawford County – use a 1/32 ounce to 1/64 ounce black hair jig tipped with a wax worm and fish near submerged trees or just above the thermocline.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – vertical jig with a number 8 hook and split shot over deep rock piles with a leech or crayfish.

Sunfish (Redear, 11 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Anita, Cass County – redear are snail eaters so look for submerged vegetation and use a 1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce black feather jig.
  • Lake Ahquabi, Warren County - fish near the bottom in open pockets of the dense submerged vegetation, using 1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce black feather jig. 

Sunfish (Warmouth, 7 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River – fish the backwaters and around wing dams and closing structures, riprap and other rocky habitat.
  • Conklin Fish Farm, Cass County – make sure to check closely because warmouth look similar to green sunfish.

Sunfish (Pumpkinseed, 9 inches to qualify)

Smallmouth Bass (20 inches to qualify)

  • Wapsipinicon River, Linn and Jones County – use crankbaits, spinners, twister tails or live crawfish below low head dams through the fall.
  • Des Moines River, Polk County – fish eddies, woody debris and deep holes from Birdland Marina to Saylorville, with jigs, crankbaits and spinners.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – fish deep rock piles with a live bait rig with either chubs or crayfish.

White Bass (17 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Pool 19 - in the late summer white bass like open water and Lake Cooper offers excellent fishing.
  • Pleasant Creek Lake, Linn County – use top-water or subsurface lures and look for jumping shad and fishing seagulls.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – use shad colored crankbaits trolled or cast along rocky shorelines, from the Mehaffey Bridge to the dam is best.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – use a top–water lure at inlet areas, like the footbridge, in early morning or at sunset.  Watch the surface for activity.

Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass) (24 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Lock and Dam 15 in Sylvan Slough and below Lock and Dam 19 are the top places to catch wipers, but they can be caught below most of the lock and dams.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – use top-water and subsurface baits or troll shad colored crankbaits.
  • Saylorville Reservoir, Polk County – troll large crankbaits under schools of gizzard shad or fish below the Saylorville spillway.
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use a small crankbait or medium sized spinner near rocky or gravel areas at twilight. Any shoreline could hold fish, but the dam and east shore near the dam are the most popular.
  • Lake Manawa, Pottawattamie County – fish the east shore around boat docks near inflow tube using twister tails and crankbaits.

Brook Trout (15 inches to qualify)

  • Trout River and Trout Run, Winneshiek County – use a variety of live bait and artificial lures.

Rainbow Trout (18 inches to qualify)

  • All catchable stocked trout streams receive an equal number of brood stock rainbow trout. A variety of live bait and artificial lures will work.

Brown Trout (18 inches to qualify)

  • Spring Branch Creek, Ensign Hollow and the Upper Maquoketa River – fish the bank hides or large downed trees.
  • The Catch and Release areas on French Creek and the downstream portion of Waterloo Creek are restricted to artificial lures only and fish must be released. A photo and witnessed length are necessary for an award. Midsummer has abundant hatches of aquatic and terrestrial insects and water levels tend to be stable.

Flathead Catfish (35 inches to qualify)

  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – fish with live bullheads, green sunfish or chubs on the flats.
  • Mississippi River Pool 16 and 18 – fish in the area where rivers drain into the Mississippi with a variety of live baits.
  • Des Moines River, Central Iowa – use ditty poles with green sunfish, bullheads or large bait.
  • Larger Southwest Iowa Rivers – fish areas just upstream from log jams or fallen trees with live sunfish or bullheads during the evening and after dark.

Black Crappie and White Crappie (14 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Rathbun, Appanoose County – target submerged timber and other woody structure with a jig and minnow combo fished vertically or with a slow retrieve.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – drift fish with a jig, a minnow or a jig and minnow under a bobber.

Walleye (26 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Rathbun, Appanoose County – fish submerged points and humps, troll crankbaits or drift fish live baits.
  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – troll crankbaits over the artificial weed beds on the north shore.
  • Storm Lake, Buena Vista County – troll crankbaits, Lindy rigs or 1/4 ounce jigs with a twister tail around the dredge cuts or rock piles.
  • North Raccoon River, Sac, Carroll and Green counties – cast 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with a 3-inch fire tiger colored twister in eddies, current seams and scour holes.

Yellow Perch (12 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Pools 9 to 13 – fish the vegetation in backwaters with a minnow under a bobber or switch to a crawler long the lower portions of wing dams.

Muskellunge (45 inches to qualify)

  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – troll rock reefs or cast docks with muskie sized crankbaits.
  • Brushy Creek Lake, Webster County – cast near any rock piles, weed lines, jetties, dam face with bucktails, crankbaits or top-water lures.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – cast weed lines with large in-line spinners.

Northern Pike (35 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River - target where tributaries enter the Mississippi River where pike will take refuge in the cooler water. Use medium to heavy weight gear and live bait with a steel leader or daredevil spoons. 

Freshwater Drum (25 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River – fish the lock and dam tail waters and immediately below wing dams. Drum prefer quiet water and rocky areas.  Use live crayfish. Drum will hit twice – the first strike kills the crayfish, the second they swallow it.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – drift fish a life bait rig tipped with a crayfish, minnow or nightcrawler in 20 to 22 feet of water.

Yellow Bass (10 inches to qualify)

  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – vertical jig or drift with a small jig tipped with a piece of night crawler or cut bait near the reefs, artificial weed beds or dredge cuts.
  • Arrowhead Lake, Sac County – drift the length of the lake with a small, brightly colored jig tipped with a small piece of bait.
  • East Okoboji Lake, Dickinson – cast 1/32 ounce hair jigs tipped with a piece of night crawler at any of the bridges.

Rock Bass (8 inches to qualify)

  • Turkey River, Howard and Fayette County – fish deeper water in rocky areas when the water is clear and stable with live bait or minnow imitating lures.
  • Cedar River, Mitchell and Floyd County – fish deeper water in rocky areas when the water is clear and stable with live bait or minnow imitating lures.

Bullheads (15 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Anita, Cass County – use a nightcrawler on the bottom.
  • Twelve Mile Lake, Union County – use night crawlers or a small chunk of liver on the bottom in three to five feet of water. Avoid areas with a lot of rooted vegetation.

Common Carp (32 inches to qualify)

  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use nightcrawlers or dough balls on the bottom in two to six feet of water at the upper end of the lake. Carp are most active during the evening and twilight hours.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – bow fishing and fishing in the upper ends of the reservoir above I-380
  • Pollmiller Lake, Lee County – fish worms or prepared carp baits.
0 Comments »

This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Last Chance for Summer Camp!

This is it - the last weekend for your kids to experience free educational fun during our Family Summer Camp! Make sure your kids don't miss out on this terrific opportunity! 

 

Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.

 

Family Summer Camp

Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting BucketsDeer Track Craft

Soft Foam Shooting Arcade

 

12-2 Crafts (while supplies last) - Kids paint their own deer track! 

 

Saturday, July 13 - our last night for free Homemade Ice Cream samples  -  5-6 p.m. Stop by for some sweets treats up by the carousel!

 

Kids' Workshops - Designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and a FREE pin for each workshop they attend.

 

Workshops are:

 

Saturday
Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching

 

Sunday
Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure

 

Other Happenings this Weekend!

2 p.m. - Join our Fishing experts at the Main Aquarium for a Deep Cranking demonstration.

Try Before you Buy!

The Gifts Department will be serving up samples of deep-fried catfish using Uncle Buck's Light 'n Krispy Fish Mix and Uncle Buck's Beer Batter - then liven it up with some Uncle Buck's Camo Ammo Hot Sauce!

Coming Up!  

Bass Pro Shops Tent Sale

  • July 20-28 - Storewide TENT SALE & Clearance Event!

20-50% off regular price on select items! 

  • July 27-28 - FREE PBR Family Event

Free games and activites - Noon - 4 p.m.

  • August 2-18 - The 2013 Fall Hunting Classic

 

0 Comments »

Slam Some Sunfish

I have been very fortunate in the adventures I have gotten to go on. I cherish my memories of: largemouth bass at my uncle’s farm pond in Arkansas, fly-fishing for trout in Lee’s Ferry, tearing into tuna out of San Diego, slaying walleye and northern pike in Canada and even fly-fishing for mako shark! But some of my favorite times fishing have been the absolute simplest. I’m talking about pan-fishing.

Pan-fish are a wide variety of different species. They usually include: bluegill, sunfish (the whole assortment of colors/variations they come in), pumpkinseed, crappie and perch. Other fish are considered pan-fish, but these are the most common.

It doesn’t take much to get into some pan-fish. Really the basics are basic. (Keeping things simple is half the fun of fishing.)

Besides a fishing pole with line you will need:

Hooks & Sinkers

Bobbers &  Bait!

Now a whole slew of baits work for these guys. Worms, mealworms, crickets, corn, bread and more will get them biting. Just like trout, you’ll want to have a few of these baits on hand. And here is another half-the-fun little fact, a number of the baits listed above come in a can!

That’s right! Just pop the top and dig in! Fisher’s Choice™ offers: wax worms, crickets, shrimp and superworms (pictured above). I like that you can reseal the top and keep these around for quick fishing excursions. I have no idea how well shrimp would work, but why not give it a whirl? Trying out new baits is more than likely half the fun of fishing.

Now beyond bait you can get into a whole slew of lures to catch them. Jigs, small crank-baits, spinners, etc. A lot of company sell little kits specifically for pan-fishing and will have a variety of tackle included. This way if you get tired of watching a bobber you can switch it up to something a little more active.

There is usually a local lake where one can catch these frisky fish. Once the bite gets going, it is a blast! It is just pure simple fun. A good friend and I were lucky enough to hit up a little pond before a wedding one day. He pulled out a few respectable bass and one really nice catfish, while I spent my time slamming some sunfish. Roughly twenty-seven fell victim to my angling abilities. Toss ‘em back for the next fisherman or keep a few to fry up at home. Just remember that having fun is half the fun. Great Horny Toads!

0 Comments »

New Species New Thrills

In the United States alone 1,154 native fish species can be found. This being said many anglers tend to focus all of there fishing attention on one or two species, often forgetting about what their local lakes and reservoirs have to offer. In the Southern part of the US Bass fishing is definitely king with with Crappie fishing a close second. Crappie and bass definitely take most of the attention. In this article I want to show you some different species that can sometimes be overlooked. What I like about angling for different species is the numerous challenges that they bring along with them. By challenging yourself with different species you will grow as an overall angler and gain a better understanding of how the entire echo system works in your local lake, river, or reservoir.

The catfish is a species that is probably 3rd behind the Crappie and Bass. While they are fairley popular many people consider them to be trash fish, or bottom feeders. In many cases that is not true. In any southern water system you will find a variety of catfish species such as channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. While they are all in the same family they behave different from one another.

The Channel Catfish is the most abundant in the US. They are extremely tough fish and can survive in extremely low water qualities meaning you can find them in just about any pond, lake, creek, or river you can think of. They are great to eat and will also put up a very strong fight. Channel catfish are generally the species you are eating when you go to a restaurant and are often farm raised for this purpose. They can be caught on anything from earthworms, nightcrawlers, minnows, cut bream, and chicken livers. They also have a great sense of smell making them very vulnerable to stink baits. Channel Catfish spend almost all of their time on or near the bottom making a heavy weighted rig the best. If you are a bass fisherman you probably know about the Carolina Rig, a slightly modified version of this is a perfect rig for channel catfish as well. The rig starts by sliding a Bass Pro Shops Egg Sinker on your line. The weight of you sinker should be determined by 3 factors, the depth you are fishing, the amount of wind you are facing, and also if there is current. For ponds and small lakes a 1/4 to 1/2 oz should be plenty. In bigger rivers or reservoirs it might be necessary to use up to a 4 oz weight in order to keep the bait down on the bottom. Once you have you sinker in place you attach a swivel, followed by a short 12 to 24 inch leader and your hook of choice. 20 lb test Bass Pro Shops Excel Monofilament  will work great for this and a Gamakatsu Octopus Hook in a size 1 to 1/0 is perfect for most situations. Channel catfish are rarely caught over 25 pounds with most from the 1 to 6 pound range making them perfect size for the fryer.

The bigger species in the catfish family are the flathead catfish and the blue catfish. The world record Flathead catfish weighed in at an incredible 123lbs and they are commonly caught from 10 to 30 lbs. The world record blue is 109.25lbs and are normally pretty big when you catch them. Unlike the channel cat flatheads and blues are predators. They eat all sorts of aquatic animals, such as bass, bream, crappie, shad, crawfish and even other catfish. For these catfish I recommend using fresh cut fish as well as live bait, fished on the bottom with the same carolina type rig you would use for channel cats just with heavier weights and bigger hooks. Make sure you use heavy line as well because these fish are extremely strong and have incredible stamina putting up a strong fight for a long period of time. I would suggest a heavy baitcasting combo such as the Bill Dance Catfish Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo in the 9 or 10 foot model. These will give you the strength you need to handle a true fish of a lifetime.

So if you want to search of something new on your local body of water the catfish has a ton to offer. But probably the most overlooked fish is the gar. There are three species of gar. The longnose, the spotted, and the alligator. Gar are generally considered to be trash fish but trust me they are a lot of fun catch. While the longnose are normally 1 to 3 feet long the alligator gar can grow up to 10 feet in length. The smaller species are much more common and can be found in many different lakes and river systems. Some of their main characteristics are their sharp needle like teeth and there extremely bony head and mouth. This poses a slight problem for hooking them with congenial fishing hooks. One of the best ways to catch a gar is with a small 1 to 3 inch piece of frayed rope. While the mouth is almost impossible to penetrate the rope will tangle in the teeth and allow you to bring them to the boat. Gar normally feed off the surface so no weight is the weigh to go. This can be difficult for spinning equipment so what I like to do is fly fish for them. Fly fishing allows you to cast a weightless bait long distances and also creates a great challenge when fighting a strong jumping gar. Give it a try and you will be hooked on what it has to offer. All of your angling needs can be found at Bass Pro Shops, and make sure to ask an associate if you have any questions! I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania

 

0 Comments »

Local Fishing Report 5/12 through 5/18

The River was at 4.9ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.6ft with 26,600CF of flow and 65 degrees.

Trip #1 was a Tuesday PM trip and we fished from 3:30PM to 7:00PM and we caught 12 channel cats and 1 flathead.  The largest channel cat was 4.5lbs and the flathead was 26.10lbs.  The channel cats were caught on catfish gold and the flathead was caught on live bait.  This was a scouting location that we never fished before and I was pleased with the results.  I put a few way points in the GPS.  We had 5.4-falling-44,600CF-muddy and 58 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and falling.

Trip #2 was a Tuesday PM trip and we fished from 4:00PM to 7:00PM and we caught 35 white perch and 20 blue gill.  This was at Lake Marburg and we caught them all on jig/bait combo rigs and jig/soft plastics.

Trip #3 was a half day PM trip and we caught 14 channel cats and 2 flatheads.  Our largest channel was an angler award 9.05lbs. and the largest flathead was 5lbs.  We caught the channel cats on catfish gold and the flatheads on live bait.  We had 5.2-falling-39,600CF-stained and 59 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.55 and steady.

Trip #4 was a half day AM trip and we caught 15 bass, 2 walleye, and 1 fallfish.  The largest Bass was 18" and the largest walleye was 15.5".  We caught them on stickbaits and jigs with soft plastics.  We had the same conditions as noted above.

Trip #5 was a Wednesday PM trip at Lake Marburg and we caught 50+ White Perch, 20 Blue Gill, and one 22" walleye.  We caught them all on Jig/bait combo rigs.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.55 and steady.

Trip #6 was a Thursday PM trip and we caught 7 channel cats and 4 flatheads.  The largest flathead was 30.05lbs. and we also had a 16.06 pounder.  The largest channel cat was 24".  We caught the flatheads on live bait and the channel cats on catfish gold.  We had 5.0-falling-34,700CF-stained and 62degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.50 and rising.

Trip #7 was at Lake Marburg.  We caught 25 white perch and 50+ blue gill.  We caught them on a jig and soft plastic.  We were able to anchor over them and jig them.

Trip #8 was a full day trip on Friday and we caught 17 bass.  The largest was 20.25" and we had a 20" as well.  We caught them on Zell Pop, Senko's, and Salty Spider Grubs.  We had 4.8-falling-29,500CF-clear and 63 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.90 and rising.

Trip #9 was a full day trip on Saturday and we caught 17 bass.  The largest was 20.75".  This was the 3rd fish in two days that we had 20" or longer.  We caught them on Zell Pop, Senko's, Booyah Jig, and Salty Spider jigs.  We had 4.6-falling-26,600CF-clear and 64 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and falling.

0 Comments »

This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Seminars and sampling this weekend as we ready ourselves for next weekend's BIG Go Outdoors Event! 

 

Saturday, May 11

1:00 p.m. – Drift Sock Seminar

2:00pm – Catfishing Basics seminar

 

Saturday and Sunday, there will be jerky sampling at the Jerky Shack from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

 

 

What's coming up NEXT weekend?

The Go Outdoors Event and Sale May 17-27!

Blank Park Zoo

MorelFest 2013 and more!

Stay tuned!

0 Comments »

Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry

Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry

batter

I have been frying fish for over twenty years.  Four years ago I discovered Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry.  It is a product that I never want to be without.  No mater what your personal taste, there is a Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry product for you.  It is a delicious, ready to use mix that comes in a variety of flavors – original, mild, hot & spicy, light & krispy and beer batter.  Whether your big catch is perch, crappie, catfish or shrimp, it’s easy and so delicious.  You can also use it to make homemade onion rings. batter2

Some people just coat their fish in meal and seasonings and fry them.  There is nothing wrong with this.  With Uncle Buck’s, you create a batter following the instructions on the container.  There are three different ways you can cook your fish – bake, deep fry and pan fry.  Either way, they are going to come out golden brown and delicious.   It’s perfect.  So bring on your next camping, fishing or outdoor adventure.  The container for Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry is waterproof and reseal able.  It is located inside The General Store.

 

Melissa Carter

Fudge Lead

Denham Springs

0 Comments »