Fishing for a New Catfish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hints for Successfully Transporting

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

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

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

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

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Trash Fish or Day Savers?

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

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

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

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

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Fishy Facts: Bull Shark

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

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

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

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

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

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


Former Fishy Facts


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass








Fishy Facts: Grayling

So last month for the Tie One On reoccurring blog about fly patterns, I mentioned a particular fish.  That fish would be the grayling. For fishermen who know the fish, they often have a soft spot for. Fishermen who are not familiar with them are missing out one of the greatest species to target. So what better way to bring awareness to this fish than making it this month’s Fishy Fact Star?!

Grayling are a freshwater species of fish and are a member of the salmon family. They are found near the Arctic areas of North America, Europe and Eurasia. They are well spread throughout Europe, where they are a common quarry for fishermen.

The easiest way to identify these fish is by their large sail-like dorsal fins. Like most other species in nature, the males are more vibrantly colored than the females. The colors on these fish include: darkish purple, bluish black, gray, white, dark blue and silver gray. These fish also have spots that can range in color from red, purple, green or orange.

  Certain kinds of grayling can live close to two decades. Despite this longevity these fish are quite sensitive. The smallest of differences in their habitat can have adverse effects on grayling. They need a cool, well-oxygenated body of water to live in. They also prefer to have a swifter current, which helps keep their water cooler and better oxygenated. Because of this they are considered an “indicator species”. This is a species that can directly show how a change in an ecosystem has an effect on life.

Unfortunately, like most animals, since human development has expanded their natural range has contracted. Once a member of the Great Basin Lakes ecosystem, they are almost completely gone. That means that these fish should be treasured when caught. In contradiction though, they should also be eaten after being caught. Their taste is considered one of the best in freshwater fish. If you do not want to eat a wild-grayling you can still sink your teeth in some that have been raised in an aquaculture system.

These fish are fished for in similar ways as to salmon and trout. Fly fishermen can take extra delight in catching one, as they tend to put on a good fight and show when hooked. This is why I stated earlier that fishermen who know the fish often have an appreciation for them.

Well that will do it for this month’s Fishy Fact. If you have a species of fish that you wish to know more about, comment below!


Former Fishy Facts

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass







Fall Catfishing Rigs & Baits

     As Fall time comes around the waters cool and the bite picks back up after the heat of summer.  With summer being one of the most common and often times most effective time to catch lots of catfish.  But the fall is also an amazing time to go fishing for these freshwater giants.  It can also be a opportune time to catch a personal record cat.  With winter getting closer and closer everyday, the water temps are starting to drop.  Catfish like most other fish often gorge themselves right before the freeze of winter.  

     The catfish itself is a very warm watered fish.  Usually preferring water with the temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  They are a opportunistic omnivores - feeding on all kinds of baits, and a wide variety of animal and plant materials.  Often times you will find them on or next to the bottom of the lake.  They are predominately a bottom dwelling fish, but they will still feed and take baits near the surface.  They have numerous taste buds all over their body, the most being on the whiskers of the catfish.  Its almost like a giant tongue swimming through the water, that is why we often try to get the smelly stuff to fish with.  Often times the more it smells the better it works. 

    We offer a wide variety of different dip baits here at our store. The dip bait hooks themselves have a treble hook and a rubber plastic on it that hold the dip and its smell while its in the water, and it gives the fish something to put into its mouth and eat.  Dip baits work great, they almost work like a chum bait drawing the catfish into you.  Working more effectively in ponds or lakes.    Another easy yet very effective way to catch catfish is to use shrimp. They are similar in smell to crawdads as they are both crustaceans. The Shrimp will hold on the hook well and they do a good job at holding smells and scents that i can spray on, anywhere from garlic or a blood spray or dip.  Probably the best all around hook to be using on a cat fishing rig would be the circle hook, which is a hook that when is pulled on works its way into the corner of the fishes mouth and insures the same strong hook set every time. Its a strong hook that sets its self by the fisherman just reeling the line and keeping tight pressure on the fish.  NOT a quick jerk like most other common J-Hook type hooks.  The circle hooks come in a variety of sizes and make sure the ones you have for cat fishing, have the bait keepers on the shank of the circle hook.  Having them will help out a-lot for keeping the bait on the hook at all times.  No matter if you are in a boat or on the shore cat fishing a simple slip rig is probably the most effective way to catch them.  It allows the catfish not to feel any pressure on the line and give him any reason to drop the bait. The slip rigs looks like this.  I often find myself using this rig near 70% of the time when i catfish.  It works very well with the circle hooks.  You can find all the weights and terminal tackle on our Basspro website.  The different things that you will need will be leader line, swivels, glass bead(to protect your knots from your weight), and of course hooks you don't have to only use circle hooks on these rigs they would work great with the standard J-Hook. 

       When it comes to the right gear, as in the rod and reel. Personally i prefer to use a bait-caster reel it is must easier to cast those larger weights with some precision.  One of the best ones on the market are going to be the Abu-Garcia Ambassadeur C4,  then pair with a medium heavy to heavy action rod.  You want something that is going to be a bit longer, to help you out in handling and directing those bigger fish and help you get farther casts.  If you are not looking to spend that much money on a quality  fishing reel,  We always have our different combos that are specially designed for cat fishing, which would work well and get the job done.  You can look at a few of the ones that we carry a very popular one would our Bill Dance line of combos.  They have larger reels and rods to handle bigger line and ultimately bigger fish. Lastly would be the line, most popular would be the braided line you can get 80lb braid that had the same thickness as 20lb mono.  So you can get a line that is 4 times as strong and a fourth the thickness than a similar mono line.  Braid works great for your mainline.  The line Is amazingly strong and is almost impossible to break. The best leader material to use would 100% fluorocarbon line, for the fact it has great abrasion resistance.  Often times you will find yourself fishing around rocks, trees, brush you name it.  It can all rub and wear down mono and braided lines to the point were they get weak and break.  There is more information on different types of fishing lines and there properties on this link right here Choosing the Right Fishing Line.


Outdoor Cooking Primer - Braised Rabbit with Onion, Garlic and Herbs

The Iowa Roadside Survey report is out and it shows, among an increased number of pheasants, there is also a big increase in cottontail in some parts of our state. Rabbit and squirrel season started this week in Iowa and we like rabbit, so time to start featuring and trying some new recipes for them. I picked up a cookbook from a GAMO vendor display at a store event a couple of years ago. Haven't made it, but it look good and easy! I think you could use a slow cooker just as easily as a Dutch oven or other oven-safe heavy duty pot. The recipe is from the Small Game Cookbook and is credited to Keith Sutton,

Braised Rabbit with Onion, Garlic and Herbs

4 servings

1 rabbit, cut in serving pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 C chicken broth

1 1/2 tsps dried thme

1/4 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 C lemon juice

5 Tbsp cold water

In a Dutch oven or other oven-safe, heavy duty pot over medium heat, cook the rabbit pieces in heated olicve oil until lightly browned. Remove rabbit and keep warm. In the same pot, saute the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the broth, thyme, a pepper and bay leaf. Return rabbit to the pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and place in a preheated 325-degree oven. Cook 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Arrange rabbit on a serving platter. Discard bay leaf. Whisk together the four, lemon juice and water until smooth. Stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil, while stirring, and continue to stir for two minutes more or until thickened. Sauce can be ladled over rabbit or served on the side.


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Fishy Facts: Catfish

That’s right! Fishy Facts is back. Don’t act like you haven’t missed your monthly posting of more-than-you-ever-needed-to-know-about-a-specific-fish-for-any-reason-besides-being-on-Jeopardy blog! And we’re bringing it back from the dark murkiness of forgotten blogs with a fellow bottom dweller to be this month’s star! The Catfish!

Ah yes, Mr. Whiskers. That hard hitting, semi-unattractive, tastes great fried or blackened, bottom dwelling fish. You ever seen an episode of River Monsters? More than likely it was about some kind of catfish, and for good reason! There are a multitude of different species of catfish found all over the world. Including the largest species (the Mekong giant catfish found in Asia) and the second largest (the Wels catfish found in Eurasia).

These fish literally grow big enough to swallow a human! And there are plenty of stories here in the good ol’ U.S. about swimmers going missing and divers refusing to go into certain lakes after getting a look at the catfish down there!

But for the most part the catfish is like most other fish. It swims and it eats and it makes baby catfish. They get their name for the characteristic whiskers on their face. Urban legend tells you that those whiskers can actually ZAP you, if you touch them! The thing you really need to watch out for are the sharp and hard spines found behind their fins. (Last year at our Fall Fishing Classic a few people learned that the hard way… or should I say the pokey way!)

These fish are notorious for being bottom feeders and are sometimes called the vacuums of the lake. Contrary to this concept of them being slow moving fish just eating away, catfish are well adapted predators. Catfish will strike at prey much more ferociously than one would expect. In fact a new style of fishing for them is to use spoons! I wouldn’t have believed it either until a buddy of mine caught one on a stock pond and then read an article about it three months later.

There are several catfish species found in North America. That includes channel, flathead and blue catfish. Most Bass Pro Shops have examples of them in the large aquariums. Our big ol’ girl is known affectionately as Big Blue!

Typically fishermen go after these kinds of fish during low light times as they seem to be more active. Almost anything can be used as bait for them (worms, cheese, minnows, bread, chicken livers, etc) and most people seem to go with “the smellier, the better” theory.  These fish can be found in almost any kind of water and are not just limited to lakes. Another way people go after these fish is called noodling. This is where one gets into the water and probes around likely hiding spots for catfish using their hands or feet. Once one has located a fish, use whatever means necessary to get the fish to bite onto ones hand and then lift the fish out of the water. Crazy as it sounds there are national contests for the sport (and TV shows).

Now the whole thing with catfish growing huge in certain is that fish are not bound by gravity as we are. Being in water, fish can grow to enormous sizes because the stress of gravity is not pulling them down or as controlling. So if a catfish were to get stuck in the turbine area of a dam, it could possibly grow as big as possible just by floating and eating whatever it comes its way.

And once last thing about the catfish… and definitely not least… is their taste. These fish are delicious! There are many ways to prepare catfish and most of them are always good. These fish are also able to be raised in farms, making them a sustainable source of seafood. That’s another reason why one may be seeing catfish popping up more and more on the table at home and a menu at a restaurant.

Until next time! Alluring Armadillos! Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






2014 BIG CAT QUEST Like a Pro!

The Big Cat Quest - Saturday March 15, 2014

The Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest is an annual nationwide catfish tournament with big prizes and tough competition.  The tournaments are located in several cities and take place throughout the year, with a championship event in the fall.

Captain John Garland, Bass Pro Staffer, arrived at Jordan Point Marina at 4:30am to put his boat in the water.  After arriving at the perfect spot, the fishing lines were in the water by 6:00am. It was a very cold morning with a water temperature of 48 degrees Farenheit. The rain was unrelenting with the tide going out and the wind coming in making it difficult to maintain the boat’s position.  Luckily Captain Garland was outfitted with his Bass Pro Shops 100mph Gore-tex rain suit to keep him dry!  The lines were set at a depth of 25 to 45 feet of water. Nearly 4 hours would pass before the first fish was landed, a massive 43.3 lb blue catfish for 3rd place on the hour.  Captain Garland credits his great equipment set up for making it easy to land the big blue cat.  He was using  80 lb Magibraid line. The rod and reel combo used were an Offshore Angler™ Offshore Extreme™ Conventional Kingfish Rod and Offshore Angler™ Ocean Master® 4000 Round Casting Reel.

Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA would like to thank all the anglers that participated in the 2014 Big Cat Quest on the James River.   Special thanks go out to Ken Freeman for putting on another great tournament!

Captain Garland will be looking forward to the 2015 Big Cat Quest next spring!

John Garland is the Captain of Screaming Reel Fishing Charter in Chesterfield, VA. Captain Garland has been a Pro Staffer at Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA for 3 years. He is a Master Angler and has over 25 years of cat fishing experience on the James River.


Submitted by John Gardner                                                                                                                                

John Gardner is the Special Events Coordinator at Bass Pro Shops, Richmond VA.  



Honey...Where's the First Aid Kit?

Mangrove SnapperFlorida is full of things looking to bite, sting, stick, or otherwise hurt you and it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit available and well stocked with supplies to handle a variety of situations that start out simple, but if left unattended, could cause bigger problems later on down the road.  I’m not talking about trauma-level surgery here, just minor cuts, scrapes, and the like.  You just never know what critter is going to clamp down on your finger and be unwilling to let go no matter how much “persuasion” you use.

Snapper, bluefish, mackerel, gar, sharks, and barracuda are a few of the fish you should watch out for because of their teeth and the resultant cuts or punctures.  Bream and catfish have piercing spines that will cause a great deal of pain, bleeding, and potential infection if left untreated while stingrays are a real hazard and would likely need more than “first aid” but having gauze and tape can suffice until real help is reached. Even the bait can be dangerous if you're using live blue crabs and one gets hold of your finger while trying to fish him out of the livelwell.

Jellyfish season is coming and meat tenderizer should be added to everyone’s kit, and I speak from experience when I say that their sting is HIGHLY painful and any relief would be welcome.  Dramamine, Benadryl, Aspirin, and maybe even epi-pens for people with serious allergies should all be added to your kit and travel with you every time on the water, on a hike, while camping, or hunting.  Sea urchins inhabit much of the southern inshore rock structure and their sting can be a traumatic experience for an inquisitive youngster (or playful adult man for that matter) so be prepared to take action.Backpackers First Aid Kit

Fire ants are one of the most common pests in Florida and their attack can be extremely vicious, leaving the victim with burning welts that will eventually itch like crazy, then burn again if unprepared so keep some after-bite treatment available to fight the itch.  Being prepared for plant related injuries is a good idea as well so don’t become complacent by thinking that everything that’s going to hurt you walks, swims, or slithers.

I almost forgot what's probably the most dangerous creature out there...OURSELVES!  We're using sharp instruments like hooks, gaffs, knives and broadheads while climbing trees, scrabling over rocks, and pitching around on boat decks, so do you think accidents are bound to happen at the worst possible time?  You betcha!  Who can we rely on to give immediate care when needed?  Only ourselves and we all need to be prepared.

There are plenty of reasons to be prepared for minor medical emergencies and very few good excuses for not having some simple items on hand when needed.  Most folks will admit they think help is always available and don’t feel the need to be even moderately self reliant, but imagine the piece of mind a simple thing like a first aid kit can provide in an emergency.  Pick one up, stock it up, and carry it on your outings.  You’ll be thankful you did.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


CatfishSeminars May 31 @ 1:00pm

Catfish Seminar on May 31st at 1:00pm



"Captain Catfish" aka John Trager and Steve Green from TopCat Fishing Tackle will be conducting seminars on catfishing local waters.

John Trager specializes in targeting catfish within river systems and has developed specialized techniques that allow him to consistently put his clients on both numbers and quality fish.

Steve Green specializes in targeting catfish in lakes. Again, as a guide, he has to put his clients on fish, so he has developed techniques that work day in and day out on lakes that allow him to do just that.

Having both of these catfish specialists together at the same time will give our guests the opportunity to glean information from them that will allow them to be successful in their outings regardless of the waters they are targeting.

The plan is to have each of them present on each of their specialties for 30-45 minutes, and then follow up their presentations with a question and answer sessions with the seminar attendees.



How to Catch a Fish

 The first question we always ask ourselves should be, "What kind of fish do I want to catch?" Probably the easiest and most plentiful fish in our area are bream (Pronounced brim), or perch as we call them here in Texas. They like worms, grubs, crickets and small grub-like baits. Whereas, bass, larger catfish and hybrid stripers won't bother with small panfish offerings, they prefer minnows and larger meals like big worms, or stuff that looks like it might get away if they don't gobble it down on the spot. So the first question is answered with what kind of fish do I want to target. "Target" is the functional word because if we don't aim at something we don't stand a very good chance of hitting anything.

 You can search the internet for the kind of fish you choose or even use the web to determine which kind of fish you want to target. There are clubs for almost every kind of fish in the area. Granted there are a lot of bass clubs which concentrate on Largemouth Bass, but there are also clubs for crappie, perch, catfish and even carp fans. 

 Spend a few minutes searching on google and you'll see what I mean... clubs galore. These clubs are always a source of an almost infinite info for either the novice fisher or the seasoned veteran.

  Perhaps you have a friend or family member who already has a favorite fish they like to chase around our Texas waters. By all means go with them, pick their brains and spy (but don't borrow without permission) from their tackle boxes. Watch them closely as they fish, mimic their movements. If they've been catching fish you should start catching some of your own in very short order.

 Here's a  Guide to What Most Fish Eat:

 Bream, sunfish, perch, bluegill, longears, and shellcrackers are all part of the bream group. Most of these panfish are caught on smaller hooks, about size 6 through 10 wire hooks will work well. Offer these fish, redworms, mealworms, bits of nightcrawlers and crickets to start that bobber dancing on the surface of your local pond or lake. Use a small light bobber, a split shot for weight and you might just take home a mess of fish and a fond memory.

  Crappie, also known as  "Papermouths”, "Sac-a Lait", Caloco Bass or Slabs are a finesse kind of fish and that require both a light attitude and touch. Crappie diets consist mostly of minnows that are found in the home waters of the crappie you are after. Lakes generally provide threadfin shad as the main forage food for crappie. In small impoundments where threadfin shad are not found, use a small jig that mimics the colors found in small bream because that is their main source of food for them in tanks or ponds. One-sixteenth of an ounce jig heads with or without spinner blades will usually garner a stringer of these delicious fish.

    For crappie in lakes, choose just about any color you want... as long as it imitates shad in some fashion. Presentation is more the key to success than color in catching lake-bound crappie. Sensitivity and a little bit of backbone are prime in picking the right rod for the job.  Crappie generally do not crash into your bait like a pro football player, they almost whisper a soft "thunk" up the rod to let you know they are there. They also seem to prefer slow moving minnow offerings, so don't buzz your bait past likely spots. Remember finesse, sensitivity and s-l-o-w is perhaps the most important factors with Crappie. 

  Sandbass are very popular all across Texas. Many years ago I was fishing in all the wrong places with all the wrong baits and using all the wrong presentations. I thought if I found some slow moving water and chunked the biggest stinkiest hunk of meat I could find, that I was going to catch catfish. My failure here was just plain respect. Catfish actually prefer clean, water that moves a little except during their spawn season.  Get some stout equipment, line, flat weights and circle hooks.  For bait I prefer fresh dead shad for blue cats and”stink bait" or worm offering for the channel cats. Either will give you a tussle and are great table fare.

  By far the most popular species in our area is the Largemouth Bass. Bass, Bucketmouth, Footballs, Ditch Pickles or whatever you want to call them, these hardy fish prove to be great sport to chase and outsmart.  Bass are ambush feeders. That is they will lay in shadows, behind logs, stumps, or hang out in places where they know food will eventually present itself. Bass generally do not like to spend a lot of time chasing minnows, frogs or lizards around the water. All this effort would expend more energy than the meal they are after would provide. They can't afford to spend 20 calories to take in 10. No they don't have a diet plan like some people, but they do know what is profitable to eat and how to go about getting it.

 Again, you'll need some fairly sturdy equipment to tackle this fish. They may not weigh much, but they put up a heck of a fight. You can choose to go after numbers of bass bites or go after that trophy or any combination of sizes in between. Bass rods generally run from "light" actions all the way up to extra heavy action. Hooks, oh my goodness! Hook selections are critical. Come in and let us fix you up with the right hooks for your plastic worms, craws, lizards or creature baits. Spinner baits are almost always a good bet. Crankbaits also account for a large portion of all the bass caught here in Texas, so be sure to load up on ranks, like the Rat-L-Trap, KVD Squarebills, Rapalas, and a host of other crankbaits that either dive , float, dip, suspend or run erratically.

 As you've seen from this all -too-brief overview there are a lot of factors to consider. Our staff here at Bass Pro Shops of Garland are all anglers. We can help you "target" whichever fish you decide to go after. Come in and let us walk you through our selection. We will ask a lot of questions and put you in touch with the right equipment at the right price to give you the right results on your fishing trip when you really just want to catch something!



What’s New in the Fly Shop at Bass Pro?!

It’s spring on the calendar,  even if I think I saw a snow flake or two on my way to work this afternoon.  Forsythia and tulips are starting to bloom, and a report of a lone nightcrawler was seen last week, frost must be leaving the ground!

Fly Tying Classes:

I’d like to invite anyone interested in fly tying to come in on Thursday nights at 6 PM  to learn to tie a fly.   We have the tables set up, materials and tools are provided so all you need to bring is some patience.  So far we’ve done The Improved Woolie Bugger, crawdads, extend body drake, and pink squirrels.  On the agenda will be pinhead poppers, clausers, damselflies, salmon patterns and tube flies.  

What to buy when you start tying?  First what fish are you going to catch?  Where are you fishing, the water conditions?  Then decide on the patterns that will be the most successful.  Learn 2 or 3 so there is a variety in the fly box and use different size hooks and colors of the same pattern.

Once you learn the basics, you can make just about anything! Over the last weeks we’ve explored the uses of copper wire from extension cords, nail polish, and plastic wrap.  

Fly Casting Classes:

Lew is back to host his popular fly casting classes again this year.  Lew is a certified casting instructor from the American Association of Fly Fishers, a standard that is recognized internationally.  We are lucky to have him teaching here.

If you want to attend, beginner or intermediate level, please call the shop 847 856 1229 and ask for Carol or Frank, if we’re not here, Tyler, Tim, or Bernie can help you out.  The dates  May 7 and 14, are already filled!!  However Lew will give more classes on May 21 and into June if we get sign ups.  We will need your full name and phone number and if you need a rod /reel.

Meet in the fly shop at 6, we set up your rod and reel (outfits)  for you; some participants like to use different weights and lengths that we have on hand.  Remember to dress for the weather, you’ll be outside, and near the nature viewing area, bug repellent is suggested.  If the weather is windy or lightening, class will be rescheduled.

Fishing Reports:

  • I've been hearing that the Root River in Racine is producing salmon,  however the fish are starting to turn dark.  Popular colors this year: black and purple.  Watch the water temperatures for when the fish will be most active. is recommended for you local conditions.
  • Blue gills are active on Delevan.  I saw a lot of guys out setting lines for catfish on the Fox River.
  • Southwest Wisconsin had a good snow melt and now with this week’s rain the streams will be in good shape.   I asked about tick season: ‘’It’ll be bad this year!”  so wear your waders and use repellent.

Trout Unlimited:

The SouthEast Wisconsin chapter hosted a river clean up near the Brewer’s Stadium this month.  Pulling out invasive wild garlic and taking trash out of the water was the objective.

Nationally they have a campaign to encourage more women to take up fly fishing.  See what they offer by visiting their web site:

Hoping to see you in the shop, tying a fly, or casting with Lew!

Carol and Frank


Goin' Cattin'

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

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

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

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

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


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


Tips & Tricks for Bow Fishing from the Pro’s

When shooting larger Carp, always have someone with another bow for a backup shot, or at least a gaff. Most large fish are lost at the boat. Connor Hankinson

Know your bow! Aiming low is a rule of thumb, but for longer shots you will need to compensate for the trajectory of your arrow (how far it drops). This is different for every bow. Jonah Powell - River Bottom Outdoors

When shooting grass carp, aim behind the gills because there is a rock hard plate that covers their head, you have a much better chance of full penetration if you don't shoot this. Tyler Gerber -back country bow fishing

When you go bow fishing, take a friend or someone new to the sport. Your friend can back you up on a second shot if you miss or shoot the second fish. They love to travel together in schools. If you can't get your friend to go, take a person that is curious about the sport. It is a great way to make our sport grow and it is always more fun with others. - Dan Swearingin

You really can't aim low enough, especially if shooting in Deep waters. -- Austin Armstrong, Sand Lake MI

When shooting catfish, the best time is at night in between sunset till about one in the morning. -- Justin Dillon Lexington, SC

If you shoot a fish and it bleeds a lot go back to that spot later and there may be gar or bowfin that were attracted to the scent. - Austin Armstrong, Sand Lake, MI

Make sure you use the right point for the fish you're going after. This was a lesson I learned quickly when I lost a nice size Gar because I was using a Ray point. He spun and released the barbs. - Leo, S. Louisiana

I do a lot of shooting in deep water situations, and I have found that using an arrow point with barbs that fold down very close to the arrow shaft causes the arrow to move straighter in the water for those shots over a foot deep or so. - Brian

When shooting spawning carp, the Females are usually the larger in a small group and the males will chase her, shoot the largest in the group and don’t pull her out of the water. Let it settle down and your partners will shoot the rest of the remaining males because they won’t leave her. --Tyler

Don't bow fish on a very windy day. It’s almost impossible to see fish. - Rod

Do not over fish one spot; it will stay a good spot if you do not over fish it. - Rod

If legal in your area, chum with corn, bread, and dog food as much as possible to keep large amounts of carp in one area. - Rod

At night, walk along irrigation ditches with a spotlight. You'll be surprised at how many fish there are. - Rod

Sometimes a fish can be just a slight discoloration in the water. - Austin, Sand Lake, MI

When fishing freshwater dogfish, just look for their fins. They do the wave. - Austin, Sand Lake, MI

When shooting anything from a boat make sure to use a gaff, easiest way i have found to get fish in the boat. ~ Zach Clausing WI

The best way to fish is at night time. You don't really have to worry about shadows and with a good spotlight you can find the fish more easily than they can find you. - Daniel Ballard

I have found that toward dusk or dawn you get a bad glare on the water and to help with the glare buy a nice pair of polarized sunglasses -- Aaron Black, Onsted MI

When bow fishing Southern Louisiana marshes, bring a big ice chest. --- Matt Weber, N.O., La

When bow fishing for big grass carp or anything big for that matter, DO NOT grab the line when the fish makes the first run. I learned that today....9 stitches going up my finger!!! - Michael

When bow fishing off of a dock or off of the bank, put some corn 3-4 feet out in the water and huge amounts of carp and buffalo will come. -- Chance Tuder

A tip for muddy water carp slayers: When going for buglemouths in mud-bottomed waters, keep a close eye for fins sticking out of the mud, as carp will often bury themselves in it when spooked, only to be revealed with a loud thrashing as you go by them in the boat. -- Andy "Carp Slayer" Waltman, Little Falls, MN

Learn How to make boilies, those carp baits used by carp fisherman. Drop them near a likely carp spot; they're great because most other fish ignore them. They are a carp magnet! - Bill Young

While shooting carp from the bank, move very slowly and look for the top outline of the fish in the water. It helps if you have polarized sunglasses. -Jared McCreary Durant

OK When fishing in deeper water for buffalo and you see the bubbles coming from the bottom where they are feeding. Try waiting for a minute or so before moving on, often he fish will feed for a few minutes and then rise and move over a few feet to a new place to feed. When they rise to move this will offer you a shot on them. Often times the bigger and faster the bubbles rise the bigger the fish will be. -- Mike Tubbs, Mississippi

Put a loaf of bread in a minnow trap and throw it within shooting distance. Tie it in place with a rope so it does not float off. Carp will come up and suck on the minnow trap allowing for an easy shot. (Put a rock in the bottom of the minnow trap so it does not roll around on the bottom) --- Chad

Look in shallow swamps connected to lakes about 5" to 10" of water with fallen trees and cattails I have found carp a month after ice out going to the shallows ---Aaron Black, MI

On hot days when you are not seeing any carp look under logs and brush piles. ----Luke, Minnesota

To get an easy shot on carp, put dog food in a metal minnow bucket (the ones with holes in the sides), and put it in the water. You can either let it drift or tie it to a tree or other cover sticking out of the water. The carp will come up and suck the dog food out of the bucket, allowing for an easy shot. ----Rusty Nace

We will drift from 50 or 60 yards out into the shallows, between two groups of carp while they are rolling. Some of them will get curious and move from one group to the other. Be patient, and watch both sides of the boat. If you miss a shot stay there and wait you will get another shot. I've shot at the same carp three times before connecting. - Jason

Often times when you shoot and miss a carp they will spook, but many times they make a circle and return to the same spot, as if curious as to what caused the commotion. If you do not disturb the shot arrow, your partner will get a shot at the same fish. They are on high alert then, so be ready for a fast shot. — Dick Bassetti

If carp are gathered in a submerged tree and you can't get a clear shot, then throw a few stones several feet away from the tree. Carp are curious and the bigger ones tend to investigate allowing an easier shot! — Timothy Fynn

When bow fishing in creeks or rivers, concentrate your efforts on deadfalls and other obstructions, as carp will consistently gather to feed on what builds up in front of the blockage. — John Alan Caddell

When hunting carp in shallows, keep your shadow off the water. It will spook the fish. — Michael If you put the big fish on a stringer and let them swim alongside the boat, other fish will come and swim next to them, allowing for an easy shot.— Jeff Hogue, Omaha, Ne

When bow fishing for carp, you will usually find them in warm, shallow water around bushes, rocks and any other cover. — Joey

Look for carp in cattails at any time of the year. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

On Lake Michigan, carp will feed on seagull droppings. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

After shooting a large grass carp, don't put pressure on the line. They will sometimes stop after running a short distance, allowing you to get another arrow into it to ensure it doesn't get off. — Jeff, Stratford, WI

When shooting carp in rivers (from the bank) draw your bow before you get to the water allowing you to get a quick shot off before the carp spook off. — Morgan Longshore

After a successful hit on a carp, push the arrow down into the sand (or mud). With one hand on top of the arrow, dip the other hand into the water and grab the bottom of the arrow so your fish won't slide off! This only happened to me as a youngster!-live and learn. — Joe Roe

If you see a decent amount of carp holding in one spot, chances are they feed that area consistently. Even if they don't show themselves the minute you arrive, give it time. Hot spots and patience are the keys to successful bow fishing. — Dominic Coville

When wading for drum in creeks don't be afraid to chase a fish down, They tend to take off fast and slow down just as fast (unlike carp) making it possible to get in close for a shot. — Christian Goodpaster, Southern Indiana Bow fishing

Anytime bow fishing in shallow creeks look for pools; they may be only 3-5 inches deep in some cases, but these "holes" gather fish from shallower water and provide holding areas. — Christian Goodpaster, Southern Indiana Bow fishing

When shooting fish coming directly at you, shoot just below the mouth of the fish and you will hit just behind the head. — Michelle Moskala

When you think you’ve aimed low enough, aim lower and keep one sight pin on your bow for surfacing fish and turtles. .It’s a lot easier. --Wrightson, Christopher

I use a slightly modified quick shot whisker biscuit on my bow fishing rig. I coated the bottom bristles with a spray adhesive to stiffen them up. This allows for quicker shots because I don't have to worry about my arrow falling off. — Cody, Pinckneyville IL

Shoot a bit lower than where you want to hit, since water will make the fish seem higher than it is. — Josh De Guzman

If a fish is quartering towards you, wait for a broadside shot. — Thomas Aim low and let go!!!!!!! — Rick, Stevens Point, WI

When shooting off of large culverts, wait for the fish to get almost inside of the culvert and then shoot, giving you a perfect straight down shot. — Justin Marc Pelzer

Be careful on long shots in lily pads. Your arrow may skip on the lily pads. — Aaron Black

If you lose an arrow in a fish, keep your eyes peeled. My cousin and I lost 3 arrows one day and shot those 3 fish the next day and got our arrows back. — John VanDusen

When bow fishing from shore or boat, don't shoot the first fish you see. Learn the patterns that the fish are swimming if possible before sending that first arrow. Whether you score or miss, you will now know where to look for the next rising fish. Fish are very predictable. Once you find a hotspot, always a hotspot as long as they aren't disturbed. — Dan Swearingin

When fishing for gar, try using a container filled with blood to attract them where legal. -- Susan

When river fishing, look for gator gar in a deep hole by creek inlets.—Jeff, Stratford, WI

When you see a couple of big gar rolling throw four or five dead buffalo or carp around the anchored boat. Be quiet and still. The gar will mosey on up giving you an easy shot. If that does not work (which it will) throw some jug line out with a big chunk of buffalo on it about a foot deep from the jug anchor with a 1oz weight when the gar hooks on follow the gar and take as many shot as you like. Jay -- Palestine, TX

To have a more durable arrow, you can insert a fiberglass arrow into a 2213 aluminum shaft.—Tim, Georgetown, TX

If you lose an arrow in a creek or river bank or brush, come back when the water is low and get your arrow back. If you lose an arrow in the water, don't dive in after it unless it's your last one! It's not worth it, I know from experience. — Tyler Krukar

Keep a marker to throw if your arrow breaks off, it makes them much easier to find. — Kelby Scott

To get rid of the fish smell on your hands, take some toothpaste or a citrus soda like Mountain Dew and clean those smelly hands. It works great.—Tim, Georgetown, TX

When fishing with a trolling motor, set it as low as possible and drift into the school of fish, don't make any sudden movements and wear polarized sunglasses.—Scott

When shooting carp from a boat, make sure you put the plug in the back or it will sink, I speak from experience. —Scott


Fish Feeding Frenzy and The Fish Guy!

Meet Jason McCoy or what most people call him as  "The Fish Guy."  Jason is our biologist who takes care of all our fish in our 18,000 gallon  fish tank.  Jason knows fish.  He can answer just about any question you may have.  Jason has been with us since we opened in 2004.   With Jason comes his partner and who he calls his boss  "Jack".  Jack is half cairn terrier and half shih tzu.  Everyone of our associates welcome Jack each and every time he comes in.

Jason not only feeds our fish but is their crusader.  He takes care of them when they are sick.  He introduces new fish into the tank, as well as cares for fish who have been donated to us until they are ready to be put into the tank.   Jason also maintains our Utica store.  Jason takes care of  private companies, doctors offices, law offices, and more.

Jason does not just feed the fish, he also keeps the tank in good condition.  Every week he backwashes the tank's filter to clean it.  Jason puts on scuba gear and gets inside the tank to scrub and power wash the rocks and gravel.  He then vacuums to clear the debris.  Jason feeds our fish 10-12 meals a week.

The tank needs to be around 58 degrees and is filled with Auburn water.  The only chemical used is a chlorine neutralizer.

We do public feedings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 12 noon.  Saturdays are the day we get up on the tank during the feedings  and talk a little about what Jason is doing and a little about the store.  Once he arrives, the fish just know its feeding time and they start moving around.  They eat the food immediately.  When a fish is not aggressive enought to eat,  Jason never forgets them. Jason puts a long narrow plastic tube in and drops food from the top of the tank and it comes out near those fish who dont fight for their dinner.  Jason uses both natural and artificial food.  A few examples of food are pellets, earth worms, crayfish, minnows and other small fish.

What fish do we currently have in the tank?  Well stop on by and see if you can find the following:

Large and Small Mouth Bass

Rock Bass

Blue Gill

Sun Fish

Black Crappie

Tiger Muskie

Brown Trout

Rainbow Trout

White Bass

Yellow Perch

Channel Catfish

Freshwater Drum

Common Carp

Every day is a fun exciting one at Bass Pro Shop.  So bring the family by and watch Jason do his magic.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

fish guy













Local Fishing Report 3/23 to 3/29/2014

The river was at 5.2ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.7ft with 27,400CF of flow and 41 degrees.

Trip #1 was a PM Channel Cat trip on Thursday and we caught 15.  The largest was 28.75" and weighed 6.27lbs.  We caught them all on Sudden Impact.  We had constant action but could not hook them because of the extreme south wind.  We had 4.9ft-32,900CF- falling-clear and 39-58 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.30 and falling.

Trip #2 were 3 full day bass trips on Friday and we averaged 30 Bass per boat and we caught 4 Walleye and 1 Musky that was 35".  The largest Bass was 19.25".  We caught them on jig/plastic, stickbaits, and hair jigs.  We had 4.7ft-28,300CF-falling-clear and 41-43 degrees.  the barometric pressure was 29.90 and steady.

Trip #3 were 2 full day Bass trips and we averaged 32 Bass per boat and we had 7 Walleye.  The largest Bass was 20.25" and the largest walleye was 25".  We caught them on jigs/plastics,hair jigs,stickbaits,and jigging spoons. We had 4.7ft-27,400CF-rising-stained and 40-41 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29.90 and falling.  The bite was very soft and hard to detect.  We had extreme wind and rain.

Trip #4 was a full day Musky trip and we caught 5, lost one, and had another follow.  This was our best trip of the season.  The largest was 40" and the smallest was 27".  We caught them all on stickbaits.  This is probably the last trip of the season for Musky.  We will start back up around the 3rd week of October.  We had 4.7ft-27,400CF-rising-stained and 40-41 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29.90 and falling.

In general, Bass, Catfish, and Musky fishing has been very good under some very difficult conditions.  WE canceled our trips for a few days due to the river being high and muddy.


Local Fishing Report 3/16/14 to 3/22/2014

The river was at 8.8ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 5.2ft with 38,400CF of flow and 48 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Monday afternoon and we fished from 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM and we caught 15 bass.  The largest bass was 19.5".  We caught them on hair jigs and jigs with soft plastics.  We had 7.2ft - 74,200CF - falling - stained and 39 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.85 and steady.

Trip #2 was on Tuesday and we fished from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and we caught 20 channel cats.  The largest was 23.5" and we kept 3 to put in the tank at Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg.  We caught them all on Team Catfish Sudden Impact.  We had 6.5ft - 66,700CF - falling - stained and 52 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 30.00 and steady.

Trip #3 was a half day channel cat trip and we caught 20+ channel cats.  The largest was 24" and weighed 5.5lbs. and is an Angler Award fish.  We caught them all on Team Catfish Sudden Impact.  We had 5.8ft - 52,500CF - falling - muddy and 59 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29.80 and steady.

Trip #4 was a half day trip on Friday and we had 22 bass and we caught one Musky.  The largest bass was 20.75" and weighed 4.4lbs.  We caught them on YUM Dingers, craw papis, hair jigs, stickbaits, and minnows.  We had 5.3ft - 42,000CF - falling - clear and 44 degrees.  The barometric pressure was 29.80 and steady

Trip #5 was a a full day musky/smallmouth trip and we caught 15 smallmouths.  We had 5.3ft - 42,300CF - falling - clear and 44 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of -29.00

Trip #6 was a half day trip on Saturday and we caught 20+ bass and the largest was 19".  We caught them on stickbaits, jigs/plastics, hair jigs, and minnows.  We had 5.2ft - 39,400CF - falling - clear and 46 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 26.00 and rising.

Trip #7 was a half day trip on Saturday and we caught 12 channel cats, 1 bass, and 1 fall fish.  The largest channel cat was 26.5" and weighed 6.11lbs.  We caught them all on Sudden Impact.  We had 5.2ft - 39,400CF - falling - clear and 58 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 26.00 and rising.  It was extremely windy and they had a hard time hooking the fish.

In general bass, catfish, and musky fishing is getting better by the week.  Team Catfish picked one of our videos and they edited it and put it on their you tube channel.   You can see the edited version by going to the Team Catfish web site and then click the button for videos and watch the video on Susquehanna River Channel Cats.


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!


·         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:









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 



"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!