Bream Fishing Year Round Like A Pro

Bream, red-ear, bluegills, sunnies, shellcracker, goggle-eye or perch, whatever you call them, the chances are that one of them was the first fish you caught as a kid.  These wonderful little fish don’t get enough credit.  They’re relatively easy to catch, they don’t require a lot of tackle, they fight surprisingly well and they can make excellent table fare if you choose.  Let’s just refer to them as bream for today.

  Larger fish like bass and catfish are sought for their fighting prowess.  I’ll match the fight in a bluegill ounce for ounce with any of the larger species and you don’t have to make excuses if you feel like taking a few home for the dinner table.  If you take a close look at members of the sunfish family you’ll see that they are also as colorful and artistically hued as any wild trout.  The best part is that they are practically in your back yard.

  Bream will usually bite all year if you are in the right spot.  Take some light fishing gear like light or ultra light spinning rods and you’ll have a blueprint for a good day.  Add the right baits and you’ll be surprised how much fun you can have.  Like many other fish they seek, shelter, a comfortable water temperature and food.

 Some good places to hunt in spring include sandy edges of lakes and ponds, and calm pools in rivers or streams.  Take along some wax worms, crickets or small sinking fishing flies to catch a stringer full.  A favorite technique is to employ small bobbers about three feet above your bait and slowly retrieve your offering around brush, sand or rocks to discover their spawning areas.

  In the summer try small in-line spinner like Panther Martins or Rooster Tails.  Small spoons that imitate tiny baitfish are also winners for the spinning reel enthusiast.  You still can’t go wrong with wax worms on cane poles for fun.  If you can find the shade of a bridge, overhanging trees or if you have access to the docks around marinas, you should do well.

  In the fall, as the water starts to cool, try dabbing small worms, crickets or even small crappie jigs like the Bass Pro Shops Pro Lite jigs found in the White River Fly Shop.  The fish are still going to be in the marinas, under bridges and along rocky, brush-laden shorelines, but they tend to hang out just a bit deeper.

  Winter can be a great time for bream if we use just a little logic. We’ve all heard that we need to downsize our bait for other species like bass and crappie in the colder months.  The same holds true, for bream, but for a slightly different reason.

  During the warmer months we see dragonflies, damsel flies and a myriad of different bugs flitting onto the water and dancing around the edges.  These flying versions of the bugs are the adult stage.  They do not live very long.  As a matter of fact, just about the main thing an adult flying insect does is mate and die.  We get to enjoy their mating dances as they reproduce.  Most of the water born, like mayflies, midges, caddis, stone flies and dragonflies’ eggs drop through the water column, and begin their pupae and larval lives in the water or very nearby.  The flying “parents” bugs have long since died, so we don’t see them, but the life cycle continues underwater out of sight of the angler’s eyes.  They also become number one on the menu for bream. 

  You can find some outstanding bream baits in the White River Fly Shop in Bass Pro Shops of Garland.  Try bead headed Squirrel Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, or Wooly Buggers just to start with, I’ve used them on bream with great success for many years. Try trout style nymph flies in size 10, 12, 14 and even smaller. Don’t be put off by the miniscule size, they’re deadly.  While you’re here ask your pro fishing staff what kinds of baits they’ve used!


Forming the Next Generation - Patience for the "Fighty" Ones

My husband Brian and I had headed to Storm Lake, Iowa, for a day of taking engagement pictures. That day at the lake was so overcast we decided to just go fishing instead and took along my niece Isabelle -then age four.

Izzie Goes FishingWe sat down on the dock, I cast and immediately she started reeling in…after a few casts she snagged this lil' walleye and was absolutely tickled! 

For her birthday in November, she told me she wanted her very own fishing pole. So what better one to get than a kid's light up Tinkerbell combo sold at Bass Pro Shops? It took a lot of reminding from us that she couldn't use the pole any more that year until spring came and the weather was right.

She told us she kept the pole underneath her bed, so it would be ready.

This past July, we went out to visit the now five-year-old Isabelle. More importantly, we were going to take her fishing! It was sprinkling off and on all morning, but Isabelle didn't care, she just wanted to go fishing with us.Kayla and Izzie

She needed a little help casting at first, but by the end of the day could manage a decent cast and, even more impressive, she was patient enough to leave the line out and watch her bobber instead of automatically reeling it in right away. She ended up outfishing me and my husband that day by catching six (none of them bigger than the palm of my hand), but she was still proud. "This one's a fighty one," she would say, as she was reeling in one of the better-sized fish.

I asked her if she wanted to touch the worms and help bait her hook and she said yes. We were ripping the night crawlers in half and I had my hands full, so I asked her to take hold of the worm and pull him. Sure enough, she grabbed hold and yanked the poor little guy right in half without even hesitating. We only caught one that was "stringer worthy" and she made sure to keep an eye on him, so he didn't’t get away, even volunteering to hook the stringer through her flip-flop, so the fish couldn't escape

That day Isabelle learned simply about being patient for the fish to bite and that sometimes you’ll catch 10 fish and sometimes you’ll catch none. It’s all part of the sport.

Oddly enough, I struggle with the patience factor myself, so I guess it was more of a little reminder for both of us!

Kayla Voss is the Events Coordinator for Bass Pro Shops Altoona.

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iCAST 2012 - Best In Shows And The Hottest Rig

The world’s largest sportsfishing trade show, the International Convention of Allied Sportsfishing Trades, or iCAST for our more efficient readers, has wrapped up its 2012 show in Orlando.


This year more than 9,000 attendees and 3,000 buyers were in attendance as enthusiasts,  manufactures, resellers and more saw the latest and greatest sportfishing trends and technological advances, even before they hit the shelves for the general public to see.


New lures, reels, rods, boats and more are all on display, along with some of the best fishermen in the world giving advice on how and when to best use them.


The Alabama rig has emerged as a trending fishing rig, and that continued at iCAST 2012. FLW Magazine Managing Editor Curt Neidermier was quoted in the Lufkin Times saying, “The umbrella rig [also known as the Alabama rig] was the talk of most tackle companies...Most rod makers have added technique-specific umbrella rig rods, but consumers will also see new jigheads and swimbaits, along with variations on the umbrella rig itself for an array of situations - even topwater frog fishing.”


Bass Pro Shops has umbrella rigs with placements for anywhere from 2-5 lures. Be sure you’re not breaking your states maximum hook requirements though - you can use a 5 lure rig, but just make sure not all five have hooks on them if your local regulations don’t allow it.


Of course iCAST had plenty more to offer in terms of finding the best new gear. Check out the full list of Best In Show winners:


  • Overall Best of Show, Hobie Cat Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak
  • Best of Show - Apparel: Columbia Sportswear Airgill Chill Zero Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Best of Show - Boat:  Hobie Cat, Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
  • Best of Show - Boating Accessory: Power-Pole Drift Paddle
  • Best of Show - Combo: Pure Fishing, Inc., Penn Battle Combo
  • Best of Show - Electronics: Johnson Outdoors, Humminbird 360 Imaging
  • Best of Show - Eyewear: Costa DelMar, Costa 580 P Sunsrise Lenses
  • Best of Show - Fishing Accessory: American Premier Corporation, The Ultimate Line Winding System
  • Best of Show - FishSmart Tackle: The SeaQuilizer
  • Best of Show - Fly Fishing Accessory: Luna Sea, LLC - Master Guide Fly Rod “Cush It”
  • Best of Show - Fly Fishing Reel: Wright & McGill Sabalos Saltwater Fly Reel
  • Best of Show - Fly Fishing Rod:  G. Loomis – NRX Fly Rod
  • Best of Show - Freshwater Reel: Abu Garcia Revo
  • Best of Show - Freshwater Rod: St. Croix Rods,  Legend Xtreme Series
  • Best of Show - Giftware: 3D Picture Store, Inc. - Jigsaw
  • Best of Show - Kids’ Tackle: Shakespeare Hide-A-Hook Bobber Kit
  • Best of Show - Line: Berkley Trilene XL/XT
  • Best of Show - Hard Lure: Koppers Live Target Frog Popper
  • Best of Show - Soft Lure: Lunkerhunt Bento Baits
  • Best of Show - Saltwater Reel: Penn Spinfisher V
  • Best of Show - Saltwater Rod: St. Croix Rods, Legend Inshore
  • Best of Show - Tackle Management:  Magnetic Marine,  Gear Grabbar Lure Hangar Kit
  • Best of Show - Terminal Tackle - Berkley Gulp! Jig Heads


Check out the American Sportsfishing Association (ASA) for more information on upcoming trade shows and events in your neck of the woods. And stop into Bass Pro Shops to find the best fishing gear and pros that can help you maximize your chances at landing the big one on your next fishing trip.


Summer Fishing

Summer is Hot! Hot! Hot! this year.  What better time to pick up a pole and go down to your local pond, stream, or lake and enjoy a little down time.

Justin Drinkwine, one of our leads in the Fishing Department at Bass Pro, loves this time of year.  Stressful day, go down to a stream and fish.  Bored? Go to a pond and fish.  Need to get away from it all and clear your head, drive just a few miles in any direction and fish.  This is a hobby one can do actually any time of year.

I asked Justin when a customer comes in regardless of their age, is there a product you would always recommend.  Something that would be good for someone who has never fished, someone who has not fished in years, and someone who loves to fish a lot.  The Pflueger President spinning reel sold at Bass Pro popped right out.  This reel is perfect for ages 8 to 99.  It comes in 5 sizes large to microlite.  It comes braid ready with 9 bearings.  The quality is great and the reel is moderately priced.  You can be a first timer or a pro and this reel will fit you.  The reel is meant to last for many years of fun.

Justin enjoys fishing on lakes, streams, and ponds.  He actually has the Pflueger President spinning reel along with the Bass Pro Bionic Blade and loves it.  Justin catches all kinds of pan fish such as sunfish, rock bass, and perch as well as pike and muskies.  He finds fishing relaxes him and enjoys time on many of our local lakes such as Skaneateles, Otisco, Owasco, and Cranberry Lake in New York.

As we continued to talk Justin shared a story about a women who had bought the Pflueger President spinning reel and the Bass Pro Bionic Blade.  She went right to Skaneateles lake put a North Land mimic minnow on the end of her hook dropped the line off the pier and caught a 5 pound small mouth bass right away.  Not the norm I know, but what a thrill!

So, what is the point of this story?  Well people life is short, we get caught up in the daily grind and stress of a fast paced world.  Maybe we should stop and look at what our grandparents did to de-stress.  Go for the simplicity of it all and fish people. Just fish!




Robin Piedmonte-Events Coordinator


Summertime Crappie Fishing

If you can stand the heat, those crappie would say…Catch Me If You Can.

As the summer temperature gets hotter the crappie (specks) tend to move into deeper water but you can still find crappie shallow under docks, lay downs along the rivers edge or pylons. We were vertical (jig) fishing Fourth of July using 10' Wally Marshall rod and reels with 10# high vis line. The water temperature was 84° and we were slaying those big crappie. The crappie were on the shady side of the pylons on Lake George (central FL) anywhere from 8-10' deep. We would drop our line on each side of the pylon and BAM-BAM…almost the same time the crappie would hit our jig. Each pylon would have 1-3 fish on/or around it then we moved to the next pylon.

crappie 1

We started out using Bass Pro Shops Squirmin Squirt colors Chartreuse Sparkle and Hot Pink Sparkle with a 1/16 oz. pink-pearl head and as the sun got higher we changed to 1/8 oz. Blakemore Roadrunner Natural Science (willow blade) with the Lake Fork Live Baby Shad Limetreuse tipped with Berkley’s PowerBait Crappie Nibbles.  We caught some GOOD fish in just a few hours and headed back to the house for a fish fry.

crappie 4

crappie 2

So, if you want to have some fun on a hot summer day, take one pole, artificial jigs and learn to vertical (jig) fish structure.

crappie 3

Come see us at the Orlando Bass Pro Shop soon. Hope to see you on the water and don’t forget to “Take A Child Fishing.”


Don and Toni Collins – Bass Pro Shops Fishing Team

2010 Angler Team of the Year

2010 Sportsman of the Year



Dads - Honoring, Being, and Becoming

My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne. 
~Hank Williams, Jr. 

Chad Gebhart and son

"I love being able to sit back and watch my son Cale cast and reel in fish all by himself. My dad and I started him fishing on his third birthday and he loves it! He practiced casting in the driveway this spring when it was still too cold to fish and, now, at age four he is a great caster. Christy and I are expecting another boy in November, so in the near future Grandpa, Cale and I can teach him how it’s done, too.  There is no other sport, hobby, or career that is more rewarding than being a dad! Thank you, God and Christy, for the wonderful gifts!"
~Chad Gebhart, Facilities Manager


" Everything I've learned about the outdoors, hunting and fishing has pretty much come from my dad. I was the oldest, so for the first few years of my life my dad took me everywhere he went, including hunting and fishing. I remember going out squirrel hunting with my dad when I was really young. He would take me out in my little red wagon and I would sit under a tree while my dad would hunt the area around there so he could keep an eye on me. My dad has been my hunting and fishing partner my whole life. Every year we go shotgun hunting for deer. He was there when I shot my first deer and was the first person I called when I got my first buck. We still go fishing, mushroom hunting, and hunting together any chance we get. He’s the first person I think of calling when I want to go do something. My mom always says that I'm just like my dad and to me that’s a huge compliment because I look up to him and because of him have learned to both love and respect the outdoors.' 
~Alicia Bricker, Hunting Associate

  Gail and Dad
"Because of my dad, I respect the land and the tranquil enjoyment it can bring. Whether digging in the garden, watching wildlife, casting a line, or relishing in the beauty of the mountains, this six-year WWII Pacific war veteran taught me to appreciate and truly love the grandness of the outdoors and this great country; made even stronger by the service he gave to protect it."

~ Gail McMahon, Merchandising Specialist, Social Media


Lance and Dad

 "I have been lucky enough to grow up in a household of fisherman from my dad all the way down the line to his’s just in our blood. Fathers Day means one thing to me…TRADITIONS!  From catching giant stripers with my dad in Tennessee, reeling in little spotted bass with my Papaw in Alabama, (that's Southern talk for grandfather!) to casting Snoopy poles and watching my little girl Kesney make a mess of all my bass fishing soft plastics here in Iowa. That’s what it’s all about!  Happy Fathers Day everyone...keep our traditions rolling on!" 
~Lance Baker, Pro Staff

 "My dad started his career as a New York City window display specialist. He moved to Minneapolis and did a lot of freelance work and would take me and my brothers on his many trips out of town. He always stowed our fishing gear in the back of the big Ford station wagon, so we could fish on the way home. He’s now in his 90s and can no longer fish, but he got me my start in visual merchandising which brought me to Bass Pro Shop. I still have memories of catching sunfish or crappies, while learning a trade that I’m still active in today."
~Jim Spizale, Visual Merchandiser

Amanda and Dad"My dad, Tim McMaster, and I are your everyday common fishin' buddies. He taught me how to fish when I was pretty young and, boy, do we have fun.This was my first fish I caught, and from there on is when I fell in love with the sport. As I got older, we started making it a little more interesting by having our own personal competitions. Fishing has always been our little getaway to bond and just go relax. Now, as an adult, I can wholeheartedly say, "Thank you, dad, for taking me fishing...let's go again soon!"  ~Amanda McMaster, Gifts/Footwear Associate


"Some of my best childhood memories, when I was younger, was the time I spent outdoors with my dad. From the time I was eight-years-old, my dad taught me about hunting, fishing and trapping here in the Midwest. Spring and summer we would fish just about every chance that he and I could get; most weekends we would start fishing early in the morning, come home to take care of things around the house, then go back at night to fish more. Late summer and fall we would start practicing for the upcoming bow season and shoot competition archery leagues until late winter. He also showed me how to prepare traps for the upcoming trapping season. The time that I was able to spend with my father allowed him to become more of a brother than a father to me.

Since becoming a father of two daughters I've tried to pass on some of the things that I learned, especially the love of the outdoors. I'm glad to see they've taken that enjoyment daughter is a certified 4-H shooting sports instructor and the other is currently serving as secretary for our local NWTF chapter. I hope they continue this love of the outdoors and are able to pass it on to their children."
~Scott Sickau, White River Fly Shop Fishing Associate


Islamorada Flats Fishing

Greetings from World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. It has been an interesting spring here in the Florida Keys. Water temperatures warmed much slower than anticipated, partially due to the extraordinary amount of rain we have received. This has been the wettest spring we have had in recent memory. After the last downpour that was associated with what became Tropical Storm Beryl, water temperatures have stayed warm and many, many more tarpon have been prowling the flats. Big groups of fish have been moving north spurring rumors that they are migrating out of the area. We have also heard that Atlantic side anglers are seeing these groups moving north and south. We will have good numbers of big tarpon here for a few more weeks. 2012 islamorada Tarpon

We did have a Palolo worm "hatch" during the recent new moon but the BIG hatch should come with the full moon on June 4. These reef dwelling invertebrates gather in mating swarms and after spawning on the Florida Bay / Gulf of Mexico they ride the stronger, out-going tides around the full and new moon back out to the reefs on the Atlantic side. When the worms move through the channels, they get "funneled" into high density swarms that make them easy prey for the fish. These worms are much smaller than their Pacific ocean cousins but they still draw the attention of every carnivore that swims near the Florida Keys shoreline.

Spring 2012 Islamorada PermitThe slowly warming spring water Islamorada Permit Spring 2012temperatures also had an effect on the permit fishing. Good number a of permit have been staying on the flats, delaying their transition to deeper water around the wrecks and reefs. These hard fighting members of the jack family will remain on shallow water flats for a few weeks and provide exciting sight fishing opportunities for fly fishers and those using tough spinning rods and reels. They can be tough to feed and are considered a real accomplishment to catch consistently. These beautiful fish were both caught this spring by anglers fishing with Capt. Rich Burson of R U Fishing Yet Charters based here at World Wide Sportsman.

Islamorada Bonefish with Capt. Rich BursonBonefish anglers have enjoyed seeing a lot of less pressured fish due to tarpon receiving most of the angler's attention. Good numbers of fish in groups of 10 and more big fish have been spotted on the Atlantic and the Florida Bay side. Most of the bigger groups have been seen "Bayside". Live shrimp and crab flies have been the most consistent performing temptations for the big bonefish that call Islamorada home.

The new "Pole, Troll Zone" imposed on Snake Bight and Garfield Bight in Everglades National Park has seen fewer anglers and is still producing incredible action for redfish and now snook are cruising in good numbers during their spawning season. Once again with the main focus of anglers firmly fixed on big tarpon, the numbers of redfish available and less angler pressure has provided action all day long for those looking to escape to the Everglades.

To book a fishing trip, please call (305) 664 3398. Forget about the spring time chores, come on down and enjoy the world class fishing opportunities available here in the Sportfishing Capital of the World here in Islamorada, Florida! We look forward to seeing you, thanks for your interest!




Being a Pro Staffer for BASS PRO SHOPS, one of my duties is to test new Bass Pro fishing tackle, including rods and reels. Since my boat is equipped with light tackle, I prefer to use Inshore Extreme and Inshore Elite rods and Inshore Extreme reels and Johnny Morris Signature Series spinning reels. My clients always remark as to how much they like and enjoy fishing with these rods and reels.  We have several BASS PRO SHOPS located in South Florida that can outfit any fisherman, whether he fishes from his boat or whether he fishes on the side of a lake or canal.MATTY WITH JUST ANOTHER TROPHY

Did you ever stop to think how fortunate we are to live in South Florida?   For those of us who have a passionate love of fishing, whether it's fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Biscayne Bay, Lake Okeechobee or just  fishing in the local canals that wind their way throughout southern Florida, we are very blessed to be surrounded by these magnificent bodies of water.  Anglers have their preference as to where and which type of fishing turns them on.  

This past year Biscayne Bay has been my focus for chartering trips with local residents, as well as tourists from out of state.  I have found  that the grassy flats of Biscayne Bay yield spectacular catches of Spotted Sea Trout and Mangrove Snappers and this year of 2012 is one of the best yet!  From the beginning of March through May, large Sea Trout move from the deeper, cooler waters to the warmer temperatures of the grass flats which rangYOUNGSTOWN FISHING TEAMe in depth from 2-5 feet. 

My charter clients agree on getting an early start, just before the sun comes up, because the larger Spotted Sea Trout will attack top water lures during the early part of the day.  So, after launching the boat from the ramp in downtown Miami, I motor east  towards Miami Beach, travelling the channels (10-14 ft. deep) until I reach the east side of Biscayne Bay.  From Government Cut (Port of Miami) north to the Broad Causeway, the grassy flats range from 1ft. to 6ft. deep.  

After quietly and stealthily cruising the flat, I choose the spot where I decide to fish.   I then shut the motor down and  anchor the Power Pole into the grass.  Now is the time for the chum bag and its contents to do its work.  By this time anglers on the boat are casting  Storm Chug Bug top water lures and Offshore Angler Scamper Grubs.  It doesn't take long before a 4 lb., 21 inch Spotted Sea Trout clobbers the Chug Bug on top of the water.  What a thrill to actually see the fish smash that lure!   Better yet, children (their Grandpas too) squeal with delight as they reel in their catch.  Not only is the fish hooked, but the kids, their Dads and Grandpas never forget this experience!  Carefully netting the catch is of utmost importance since it's possible to lose the fish right at the boat because of their soft mouths.  After successfully boating the catch, pictures can then be taken to capture this memorable moment. 

Now the chum bag, which has been doing its work, has caused the surrounding water to come alive with pilchards and pinfish.  When youngsters are aboard they like to use the Sabiki rod to catch the bait themselves.  They love this as much, if not more, than catching the big fish since it enables them to bring up several fish at a time.  If this isn't enough bait, I then fling my cast net into the water and hoist up a "mother lode" of bait.  Supplied with more bait ensures us of a better catch  for the rest of the trip. 

Not only do these fishing trips provide educational opportunities for the children, but they never forget these happy and exciting trips with their parents!  So, for young and old, and those in between, fishing is a most wonderful form of recreation for anyone to experience!

 This is best  time to fish BISCAYNE BAY











Get Your Ready To Fish Gear

Well spring time is finally here! If you are like me you haven't made the time to get out there and get to it, here are a couple of things you can do to keep the sanity and prepare for this season. First thing is to check  your fishing line. If you fish with monofilament, it's time to change it assuming you haven't within the last 3 months). Many factors can weaken, if not destroy, your mono. Most will be from the sun and the heat. Here at Bass Pro Shops you'll find a massive selection of weight,colors,and quantities. If your fluorocarbon line is older than 6 months or if it feels "chewed up," it's time to replace it. You'll also find a large variety of fluorocarbon in our stores or online. Lastly, is the braid. Braid can be a little bit more forgiving as far as longevity, just make sure your spool is filled properly so you get the best performance out of your gear. Once you've made sure that your fishing line is up to par, it's time to focus on the internals of your reel. You'll want to clean and relube all of the moving parts of your fishing reel. We offer many brands and types of reel oil and reel grease. If you're not comfortable with disassembling your prized possession, on page 155 of our catalog we offer reel repair and servicing of most models and brands.There are also a couple of "line and lure sprays" that will prolong the life of your reel and your fishing line. Next it is time to check your fishing pole for damage. Be sure that your reel seat still holds the reel secure, your rod  guides are probably the most important thing to check out. You want to make sure all the inserts are still in place (no cracks,chips or nicks), they will lead to a broken line which will lead to lost lures or worse, lost fish. If any of your guides are in question, time to repair. The most common would be the tip guide, which is easy to repair. Just match the size of your rod tip to one of our many replacement tips. If it is any of the other guides, it isn't the end of the world, we have those as well. Once you've gone over your gear there is nothing left to do but make time to go catch fish.Unfortunately, we can't help with that, so get your gear cleaned up and ready. You'll be more confident, have more fun, and  put more fish on the stringer.     

Tight Lines Everyone. 

David Perry


"Look Daddy, My First Fish!"

First FishThe first time catching a fish is a momentous occasion for any child. Recently, a local family shared this wonderful story and photo about their daughter’s first catch and eye-opening experience.

The story starts with dad, Mark, buying his 6-year-old daughter, Hope, a pole at Bass Pro Shops in Altoona.

 “I purchased her pole at Bass Pro the weekend before this trip. She was so proud and so was I. I put my old trusty Zebco reel on the pole and she went out and caught her first fish."

Mom, Jenn, adds that their daughter's first fish was an exciting event for the whole family!First Fish Jenn says their child had often wanted to go fishing, but never got to. But, finally, the big day came…Daddy wanted to go fishing, so he took her along.

“It was late afternoon getting towards evening. She cast out and a couple minutes later started yelling for daddy who said, ‘Well, reel it in.’ At first he had her hands on it with his on top showing her how to do it and then he stopped and let her do it. She got it reeled in and was so excited.”

When their daughter found out the next step was to take the fish off the hook, she let dad take over...she was not going to touch it!

Jenn says since that first catch, now 7-year-old daughter has become even more interested and can't wait to go fishing this year.

“Our plan is to try to buy her a bow within the next year, so she can start deer hunting with daddy. She is so stoked to learn new things and to do them with daddy. She has been seeing people out fishing and keeps asking him when they are going to go fishing again."

The experience with fishing has now sparked interest in another outdoor activity…hunting! After watching dad bring home deer, she is now interested in bow hunting…an idea that mom is still getting used to.

A new generation experiences the thrill of the catch…another child gets outdoors…a future fisherwoman and/or female born.


  • The upcoming month of May at Bass Pro Shops is the More Fish Campaign Donation month. Bass Pro Shops and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation partner in this campaign to raise awareness and funding to protect, conserve and enhance the nation's fish populations and their habitat, create more fish, more fish habitat, and more fishing opportunities for you, your kids and grandkids.
  •  For more information on how to get your child, family, or grandchildren involved in fishing, visit
  • For more information on youth hunter education courses, and other outdoor skills programs for kids, contact your local natural resources offices.

The Spawn is On!

There is a certain time of the year when love is in the air, and my friends we have hit that time in North Carolina. The water is in the high 50’s and low 60’s and fish are starting to do what fish do in the spring. The buck bass have started moving up and getting the beds ready for the female of their dreams to arrive. This year’s weather has been so mild that many lakes are seeing spawning occurring weeks ahead of normal.

When people ask me ”why do you like sight fish” my answer is “ locating a bass, finding the sweet spot in the bed, and then figuring out how to flip that fishes trigger is awesome. For those fisherman who have never seen the bass on beds, there a couple of key components to make sight fishing a success. First and foremost is a quality pair of sunglasses that are polarized. I often carry several pairs with different lenses to adapt to water clarity and levels of sun. Polarization is key to see those “big uns” in the deeper water. Secondly I believe that patience and good bait control are imperative to a successful day of bed fishing. These fish are extremely focused and it is key to be calm ,subtle, and as stealth as possible to keep these fish from becoming wary to what is going on.

I am not sure that bait color makes a huge difference in scheme of things. I often throw white lizards and tubes and even white floating worms and had great success. I use white because I can see it deeper in the water than I can a natural green or pumpkin color. If you like the more natural colors, I recommend dip dye to add a flare to the tail and make easier to see for the fisherman as well.

I also like to carry a push pole so I can trim up my motor and float my Nitro Z9 in the skinny water and sneak up on them. I do my best to not use my trolling motor when I am going down a bank, and if I do I put it as low as I can get it to make as little disturbance as possible.

One thing about bed fishing is that you do not have to have a big bass rig and tons of tackle. Every year I take my kids bed fishing from the bank at local ponds and they love it. My son is 17 and has been going with me for years and has the advantage of young eyes over his Dad. He often sees them before I do and has already made a pitch toward them before he lets me know. My daughter caught 10 bass on the bed in one trip to our favorite local pond. All of these fish were on the beds. None of them were huge fish , but that did not matter to her or me. Time spent walking the banks with your kids enjoying God’s beauty will not only get your kids outside away the TV, but also will allow you to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Check out this "Big Un" that was caught at a local pond right on the beds where they are heading this time of year. With a whole lot of patience and persistence I was able to land it.

big un


If you haven’t come to Bass Pro and bought your new line for this season, hurry on over and get your favorite rod and reel ready to go. Spawning season has a few more good weeks here in North Carolina, at least for bass. We will talk again soon, because just a little while after the bass finish spawning the shad will start and then we will be able to get after the bass with top water favorites. That however will have to wait for another time as I have got to go…cause the fish are biting.


Let's Look At Kitchenware

When it comes to Bass Pro Shops, most of the time, we think of fishing poles, rods, reels, tents, kayaks, paddle boats, hiking boots, GPS, Camo Clothing, Guns, Ammo, and anything else that can be used in the outdoors.  But the next time you visit your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, think about the lady of the house and visit the gifts section and check out kitchenware.

Plate Sets:

-Offered in Realtree Deer, Woodland Sheds, Great Hunting Dogs, and Deep Woods

-Glazed Stoneware

-16 piece set, dinner plates, salad plates, bowls;  Set includes four 10-1/2'' dinner plates, four 7-1/2'' salad plates, four 24 oz. bowls, and four 16 oz. mugs 

-Dishwasher and microwave safe



-Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Themed 20 Piece Flatware Set:

-Offered in Deer, Bass, Antler, and Pinecone

-20 Pieces; 4 salad forks, 4 forks, 4 butter knifes, 4 soup spoons, and 4 spoon


-Bass Pro Shops 6 Piece Steak Knife Set: Includes 6 Steak Knives, Offered in Deer, Pinecone, Bass, or Antler        

-Bass Pro Shops Outdoor-Themed Flatware Collection: Offered in Deer, Bass, Pinecones, or Antlers, Crafted from stainless steel blended with 18% chromium for superior shine and stain resistance, Includes Oversized Serving Spoon, Oversized Serving Fork, and Oversized Meat Fork                 


-Bass Pro Shops 16 OZ. Camping Mug: Offered in Pale Blue, Hunter Green, Cobalt Blue, or Burgundy, Two-toned speckled stoneware, Oversized gripping handle, Holds 16 oz., Dishwasher and Microwave Safe


-Rednek Wine Glass: Glass mason jar with candlestick base, Screw on lid to prevent spills, Measures 3.5"W X 9.25" H


-Rednek Tini Glass: Screw on lid to prevent spills, Holds 6 oz., Measures 3.5"W X 6" H


-Rednek Rita Glass: Screw on lid to prevent spills, Holds 12 oz., Measures 3.5" W X 7.75" H 


-Rednek Champagne Flutes:  Holds 12 oz., Measures 3.25" W X 9.375" H, set of two, screw on lid to prevent spills



So the next time you visit your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, stop by our gifts section and let an associate help you pick out some special new decorative pieces for your kitchen or to take to that special lady in your life:)


'Bama Madness - Bass, Bass, Bass...!

Fishing the Alabama rig for bass is amazing!  The rig works great on both black bass (especially largemouth) and white bass!   As winter changes into early spring, both black bass and white bass will begin to stage off shore lines, as they get ready for the annual spawn.  Look for them  in coves with water flow into them (especially on channel swings),  points (both main and secondary), and on shore line that is adjacent to main lake points.  

White bass will run up every place where water runs into the lakes, and this run will be during and shortly after every warm late winter, and early spring rain.   These bass, using their slab sided bodies, will fight unbelievably hard, as they thump...thump...thump, in a battle that is unforgettable.   After a day of catching white bass, anglers will have both a tired rod arm, and a giant, permanent smile frozen onto their faces.

Lighter 'Bama rigs are great for the white bass, as they journey up the creeks and rivers of the Ozarks.  These fish tend to congregate in deeper areas of the water with some, but not a great, amount of current.  Successful anglers will find these deeper areas, often located directly behind ledge rock, on the outside of earthen bank curves, or behind chunk rock or small boulders.  Try any slightly deeper, slower flow areas of the stream, and hold onto your rod tight.  The bite is strong, and the fight is even stronger!  Let's go! 

Black bass are often difficult to find in late winter.  As the natural, yearly shad kill occurs, during mid to late winter, black bass take advantage of the chance to feed, and this yearly seafood buffet offers a perfect chance to use the "Bama rig, with great delight!  Success will fall to the angler who pattern fishes.  If a fish is caught, was it on a main lake or secondary point?  Was the fish caught on a windy shore line, and was this shore line in shadow or full sun?  Was there deep water right next to this bank, or was it in a cove, with or without a channel swing?  Was there brush, pole cedar, chunk rock or a transition from one type of bank to another, present?  From which direction is the wind coming?  Are there fish-eating birds congregating at any one spot?   Answer these questions, and more fish will fall to your rod and reel, as you have identified a pattern!  You have found them!  Get ready for some fun!  

Steve Fritz, Fishing Lead

Bass Pro Shops White River Outpost      


Make a Memory

"Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self." Ted Hughes

Working at Bass Pro Shops in Kodak, TN, I have a front-row seat to the latest and greatest innovations in the fishing and boating Industries. I have been fortunate enough to attend seminars discussing the newest lures, equipment, boats, electronics...etc. All of these form an amazing image of how far this sport has come in a relatively short period of time. What started with a cane-pole, bobber and some string is now a multi-million dollar industry in which fishing poles are no longer made of wood, but rather carbon fibers, titanium and special lightweight alloys. We have lure companies using computers and laser technology to create near perfect replicas of actual forage. We have boat companies making boats lighter, stronger and faster to aid tournament fisherman in their quest for victory. We have fishfinders that can now show us up to 320 linear feet of the bottom...leaving the fish seemingly no place to hide. We have super-lines that are invisible to fish, yet nearly unbreakable; super-hooks that can be set with just a light tug of the wrist that will not bend or straighten out and reels that are as light as a feather, yet as smooth as silk and built like a tank. We have improved not only our ability to find fish, but our odds of putting them in the boat should we be so fortunate as to have one take our offering. What more could we possibly come up with?

All this said, fishing is still special. It is still different. It is still a chance to spend a day outside, with no computer, no television, and no phone. (OK, maybe a phone...but only for safety purposes and picture taking). Fishing is different because it doesn't matter how good your equipment is, how fast your boat is or how good you think you are at finding fish...there is still a chance you come home without so much as a bite. Unlike hunting, golf, baseball, football...etc, when you're fishing, you can't see your target. You have to 'feel' it. You have to rely on knowledge, experience and a little bit of luck if you want to come home with a good story to tell. People often ask me what my absolute favorite thing about fishing is, and I always tell them the same thing. It's the first 5 seconds or so after the fish bites and I've hooked him, because for those few seconds there are only two things on my mind: "I've fooled him!" and "I wonder how big it is?" For those few seconds there could be anything on the end of my line and that excitement is unmatched to me. The whole process gives each fish I catch its own story...its own memory.

At Bass Pro Shops we are in the business of making memories, and right now is our busiest time of the year. The Spring Fishing Classic starts this Friday, February 24th. We have some terrific products on sale, terrific activities for children and adults alike, as well as seminars from fishing professionals: Boyd Duckett and Jason Quinn. I say this not to promote an item, a sale or a company...but to promote a fishing trip. I don't care if its in a huge tournament on a local reservoir with 200 boats or a trip to a creek with someone close to you, do yourself a favor and just 'go fishing'. Whether I was using a 10 dollar combo and some night-crawlers on the bank of a pond with my dad, or a top-of-the-line outfit on the deck of my bass boat, fishing has always created vivid memories that I will have forever. Memories of friends and family. So, as the weather is warming up and the fish are becoming more active than they have been in the last few months, I am encouraging you to make a memory. At Bass Pro Shops, we pride ourselves in having everything you'll need to plan that trip and make those memories, whether its the latest and greatest rods, reels, baits, and electronics...or simply some advice about the area and species you plan to catch. We at Bass Pro Sops hope you'll come in and let us help in any way we can.

Its worth it.


"Faith, Family, Friends...and Fishing."

Houston Kress

Team Lead/Marine Department

Bass Pro Shops  Kodak, TN






Ice Fishing: Then & Now…

Ice Fishing: Then & Now…

New to the Ice Fishing scene, I am asking questions, learning some history, and exploring tactics, past and present.  Thanks to our local experts and the continued appreciation of the sport, which in some cases remains sustenance-harvesting, I am being enlightened and sometimes entertained by this fascinating topic.  If ice happens this winter in Central New York, I may even try my hand at it.  Please enjoy my facts and findings…    


Fishing associate, John Grace, knows his ice fishing history.  He comes from generations of ice fisherman who have handed down the pasttime and history for some three hundred years of living on the Chemung River-meaning “Big Tusk” in the Seneca tongue, for the many mammoth tusks found on the river banks.  With access to ice used for refrigeration in by-gone years, fish for sustenance, and lately, sport, John is a great wealth of information on the Then & Now topic of ice fishing.  

Cutting Ice and Skating on the Chemung, pre WWI

Cutting Ice and Skating on the Chemung, preWWI

Photo (above) provided by Joyce M. Tice’s Tricounty Collection


On Jan. 3rd I sat down with John who was kind enough to provide a brief historical
perspective. One main theme became obvious during our discussion
Ice Fishing has evolved to say the least!

Ancient Ice Fishing

Its beginnings are estimated some 4,000 years ago when Native Peoples used stone tools and axes to dig through the ice in the Bering Strait, spearing their prey with barbed bone tips which sometimes even included strings for pulling in their harvest.  Most fresh water fishing occurred on rivers and streams and shallow perimeters of lakes in order to gain access to panfish and top feeders like Pike.  Deep water species like trout were not practically feasible.

Centuries later, after the European-Scandinavian migrations, North America adopted new tactics using chisels and saws to gain water access.  Poles became “fishing rods” and spinning reels replaced wooden thread spools.  In effect, specialized equipment was developed.

Man Fishing
Pieces of plank and cotton string were the extent of the fishing technology, as late as fifty years ago.  The “pole” was thrown down and the catch was hand- lined.


Some countries like Russia still employ old school tools as preferred standards.  
Fish biologist, Mikhail Skopets points out… [The] ice-auger is not very useful at Amur River ice - the ice has lots of sand in it, so the blades of a drill get dull after 2-3 holes.  Ancient tools - ice-pikes - are still popular in Khabarovsk.Amur Ice

Chisels remain a modern ice fishing asset, especially when using a power or hand auger is not feasible.  These are simple, but effective.  Our Auburn store carries several sizes and brands including, the
Eskimo® Redneck Dual Headed Bucket Ice Chisel and the Eskimo® Redneck Economy Ice Chisel.  Frabill and Eskimo each make short chisel options as well.

Modernity has altogether revolutionized ice fishing, making the odds more favorable at a time of species decline and optimized feeding habits (prey selection).  This is largely due to the advancements in mobility, and technologies like sonar and temperature probes.  Once found, bringing in the catch is less of a gamble, at least from an equipment perspective.  And that’s because rod manufacturing has come a long way.  The first productions were steel, (Horton Manufacturing, 1913); and then fiberglass followed in the 1940’s; boron fiber had a short run in the 70’s, and now we’re in the era of graphite and carbon fiber hybrids… with seemingly endless choices to sometimes confuse the consumer…

Rods today are specialized to target species and personal tastes.  The general idea is to have something with both sensitivity and the best suited action.  It is all a custom fitting process these days, but many rods will deliver success for a number of various species at a time.  This is the case especially with non-casting rods like the shorter ice fishing rods.

Bass Pro Shops, Auburn carries eleven different brands of ice fishing rods, many with multiple series options.  Popular choices include:

Ice Team and Ice Busters series by CLAM

Fenwick                                                                                             South Bend

North Star                                                                                     Uglystick (multiply series)

Frabill, Bro Series and Panfish                                         St. Croix (multiply series)

Uglystick (multiply series)                                                      Berkley (multiply series)

Eagle Claw                                                                                    Frost Bite


Getting started doesn’t have to break the bank, with affordable combo options from Clam and Shakespeare®. One of our Leads here, Frank Doll, has used an inexpensive rod like one of these for years fishing professional tournaments.  Much like the car industry, it’s as much about personal preference-your particular tastes, or in this case, fishing style (more on this later) as it is about finding a rod that you have confidence in.  It doesn’t take a seer or a magical connection; I recommend the help of our fishing experts to outfit you for your next (ice) fishing adventure.

Maybe I’ll see you on the ice?


Anita Michels

In collaboration with John Grace, Ryan Hyde and Frank Doll


Ice Fishing Pre-Season Checklist

You can already feel it in the air. Days are getting shorter and overnight temperatures are getting chilly. Water temperatures are beginning to drop in the local lakes, so surely ice up can’t be far away. Heck, ice fishing threads are even starting to pop up on Internet discussion forums...a sure sign that hard water is on the way.

All these things are also a good sign that it’s time to start thinking about getting all your hard water gear ready to go. Here’s a quick checklist of things you may want to do, in order to ensure that you and your ice fishing gear are ready as soon as the lakes are ready to be walked across.


Now is the time to strip the old line off those reels and put on fresh line to start the season. Some folks change all their line out at once, while others change half their line out one winter and the other half of their line the following winter. Regardless of your line change interval, now is the time to do it!

Now is also the time to inspect your ice rods for damage that may have occurred while they were in storage over the summer. It’s much better to replace or repair those rods now, rather than have to deal with a broken rod during your first ice outing of the season.

I also like to take this opportunity to clean old hardened grease from the internal workings of my ice reels and replace it with a low viscosity lubricant, that doesn't stiffen up in the cold.


This is probably where I spend most of my prep time in the months before the lakes freeze. Most people store their ice shelter over the summer, so now’s the time to dig it out of the shed, lower it from the garage ceiling or take it down out of the rafters. If you remove the fabric from your shelter to store separately, now is the perfect time to re-install it. Set it up outside somewhere in the sunshine and give it a chance to breathe a bit. Inspect the fabric and look for any places that might need repair. Unfortunately, if mice decided to take up residence in your shelter over the summer, you might have a fair bit if patching to do. I also extend all the poles several times and flip the top over to ensure everything is tight and functioning smoothly. Replace or repair any bent poles and lubricate any sticky places in the sliding poles, hinges, or flipping mechanism of the shelter. Also, be sure to pay special attention to fasteners in the seats, poles, brackets and the like, and tighten as necessary. The last item I inspect is the plastic tub or base of the shelter and repair or replace as necessary.

ELECTRONICSRod Woten - BPS Altoona Pro Staff

Electronics are all about the batteries. Take care of the batteries and 90% your electronics issues will be avoided. Ideally, you have been putting the batteries for your flasher and underwater camera on the charger for a few hours per month for the past handful of months now. If you have, you should be ready to go once ice arrives. If you haven’t, now is the time to get all the batteries out, top them off for charge, and ensure they’re going to give you a decent amount of power for the winter. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out your flasher battery is no good as you start your first ice fishing trip for the season. Get those batteries charged up now, and replace any that don’t take a charge, won’t hold a charge for a reasonable period of time or won’t give you at least a few hours worth of use.


Now is also the time to open up all those jig boxes and find out exactly what being in storage all summer has done for them. The biggest thing I look for is rust. If there was even the slightest bit of moisture in you tackle containers when you put them away for the season, there will definitely be rust. With their fine wire hooks, rust can be a death sentence for many ice jigs. Rust on a hook point can also render the business end of any jig useless, so sort through and replace or re-sharpen any rust damaged jigs. Now is also a golden opportunity to restock any jigs or other lures that you may have lost over the course of the previous season. My jigs are organized so that I can tell exactly what I’m missing with a simple glance in my jig box. Any empty slots in your jig box should be refilled now, so you’re fully stocked once you’re able to hit the ice.


No need to wait until your first trip out onto the ice to dig your ice fishing outerwear out of the closet, either. Today’s modern ice fishing outerwear, such as Clam Corporation’s IceArmor, are a marvel of modern technology. They enable us to fish more comfortably in the IceArmor Outerwearelements than we ever have before. They do, however, require a minimal amount of care to keep them in peak operating condition. Once your outerwear is taken out of storage for the season, give it a good once-over, looking for tears, burn, rips, as well as broken zippers, snaps and buckles. Replace or repair any broken fasteners or zippers, and patch damaged spots in the fabric. Most outerwear manufacturers can provide you with patch material that will match your particular suit and ensure that the suit’s waterproofing and breathability are maintained. I also like to give my suit a good cleaning before the season starts. They can get pretty grimy after a season of handling fish, auger exhaust, oil and gas fill ups for ATV’s and snowmobiles, and the like. I like to wash mine by hand using a mild soap and cold water. If you choose to machine wash yours, I highly recommend the gentle cycle and air-drying.  


Augers are often overlooked in the preseason, but some preparation in this area can help ensure your first ice trip for the season is a smooth one. Obviously, for power augers, fresh fuel is in order. Mix up a brand new batch of gas for 2-stroke drills and a fresh tank of fuel and an oil change is appropriate in 4-stroke machines. I put a fresh new spark plug in at this time, too. This is especially true if you fogged the engine as part of your summarizing process. Fogging oil can foul a plug badly, so a fresh plug is a necessity in this case. For both power and hand augers, go over the entire auger and tighten any bolts or nuts that are loose…particularly where the auger shaft attaches to the transmission (power augers only) and where the blades attach to the auger. 

While you’re at the blade end, be sure to inspect the blades themselves and replace the ones that have obvious nicks in them.  Also, check here for rust and replace as necessary. I typically have three sets of blades for all my power and hand augers. In preparation for the season, I replace the blades with the newest set I have in reserve. The second newest set goes into my “tool kit” for on-ice replacement…if it ever becomes necessary…and the third set gets returned to the manufacturer for re-sharpening. Once this set of blades is returned to me or exchanged for a new set, it becomes the third, or “just-in-case,” set of blades that I keep at home. 

Once the auger has fresh gas and oil, good blades and everything is nice and tight, go ahead and fire it up! Open the throttle up a bit and let it spin. Now shut it off, and smell that exhaust. Breathe deeply...if that doesn't get YOU ready for hard water, you might as well have a big garage sale, because nothing will. But don’t take my word for it……

Rod Woten
BPS Altoona Pro Staff

PS:  Catch Rod at the Bass Pro Shops Altoona Ice Fishing Event Weekend Dec. 10-11, where he'll be presenting seminars and available for questions. Stay tuned for details!

How to Assemble a Speckled Seatrout Live Bait Rig

By Ty Butler

Necessary Components For a Standard Seatrout Rig:

  1. 10 or 12 inch Pole Float
  2. Bobber Stop Knots
  3. Glass Beads
  4. 20 Pound Fluorocarbon Leader Line
  5. 1 and 1 ½ oz Trolling (trout) Weights
  6. 1/0 Kahle Hooks
  7. Line cutters

  • Lindy Pole FloatsAfter running the main line from your reel through the rod guides, thread it through the tubing on a bobber stop knot.  While pinching the knot in place, pull the tubing down and off your main line.  You may discard the tubing.  Now tighten the knot onto the main line and trim the tag ends down to about 1/10 inch from the knot.  Do not over-trim, as this may result in the knot coming undone.
  • Run a glass bead onto your line and move it up the line until it meets the bobber stop knot.  Make sure the knot is large enough to stop the bead.
  • Thread your float onto the main line.  If you have difficulty doing so, make a loop with wire or thick monofilament and pull your main line through.  Place another bead on the line below the float.
  • If you are using a 10 inch float, you must use a 1 to 1 ¼ oz  trolling weight with swivel  to balance the float properly.  For a 12 inch float, use 1 ½ ounces. 
  • Tie an 18 inch section of fluorocarbon leader line to the bottom of the trout weight.  Finally, tie on a Kahle hook to the bottom end.
  • Now you are ready to fish!  Use live shrimp or mud minnows for best results!

Fall Crappie Fishing

As the cool weather settles in, a person might think it is time to retire the fishing pole until spring.  Actually, fall can be a great time to take out your Microlite Rod and Reel and hit the lake for some outstanding Crappie Fishing.

Here are some general things to remember while fall Crappie Fishing:

  •   You might have to do a bit more scouting for the fish.  With the water temperature starting to cool, they may not be in the same spots they were back in May or even July.  Make sure you are patient.
  •  These fish will be at many different depths in the water.  A good depth to drop your bait for fall fishing is 6-12 feet.
  •     Minnows seem to be the way to go in the fall.  Fish are trying to find plenty of food before it gets really cold, so the wiggling and movement of a small minnow might be what it takes for you to reel one in.
  • If minnows are out of the question, I have also had a great deal of luck on Feather Crappie Jigs such as the Bass Pro Shops® Marabou Tinsel Crappie Jigs.  These little jigs give just enough flash to get you a keeper.  I suggest having a variety of brights, darks, and lights.  Dependent upon the clarity of the water, these fish are going to bite on something different every day.  I can take a bright pink jig, toss it out and get no bites, but I could then take a grey colored jig and toss it in the same spot and catch 2 or 3 fish.
  •  Don’t forget to try other great techniques like the Spider-Rig.  While this technique works well in Spring Crappie fishing, it can also work well for Fall as well.

After your successful trip, make sure you stop by and post a photo of what you caught on our brag board inside the store! Also, check out the Missouri Department of Conservation for a good source to Missouri Crappie Fishing and Fishing Reports April through September.   As always, enjoy the great outdoors and happy fishing to everyone!

April Vertako


Gearing Up for Flatheads - Part 2

By: John Barr

FLATTY FACENow that we have the rod and reel, its time to talk about what fishing line and terminal tackle to use. First we will talk about fishing line both Monofilament and Braid. A great monofilament option would be Berkley Big Game anywhere from 20-60 lbs. This line is highly abrasion resistant and can take a great deal of abuse; it also comes in low vis green and clear and is very economical. Other great mono filament options would be Cajun red line or Ande’s Fishing line in 20-50 lbs. . A great braid option would either be Power Pro, the new Suffix 832 with GORE performance fibers, or Spiderwire braid. Since all of these lines are superlines they have little to no stretch for great sensitivity and strength. 

Next on the list is terminal tackle beginning with hooks. The type of hook you want to use can vary due to your fishing situation. For tightlining an angler can use a circle hook or a J (modified) hook. For circle hooks a couple of great options would be Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks from 6/0-8/0, Daiichi CircleChunk Light hooks from 5/0-7/0, and Team Catfish Double Action circle hooks from 5/0-8/0. These hooks work great when the rod is secured in a rod holder to let the fish load up the rod to hook itself. If a fish is picking up the bait and you have the rod in your hands sweep the rod in a steady motion to hook the fish because you are using circle hooks and require a specific type of hook set.   For J (modified) hooks, the BPS Catmaxx hooks are a large more traditional baitholder hook from 6/0-9/0 and work well for large baits. Other good options are the Gamakatsu 5/0-7/0 Octopus Hooks and the Team Catfish Supercat J-hooks. With these hooks you can have a more traditional hook set


(tightlining or using a float) as soon as the fish picks up the bait. (Note: Make sure that the hooks being used are appropriate for the size of the bait because if you use to big of a hook and are using live bait, it can kill you bait faster). For sinkers, one of the best options to use is the BPS No-roll sinkers from 1oz-4oz. The flat teardrop shape of the sinker allows the current to move over the sinker holding it in place more effectively. Other sinker options include BPS Bank sinkers, Bass Casting sinkers, and Egg sinkers (adjust weight accordingly to current). The Offshore Angler Barrel Swivels (100 lb) are great heavy duty swivels to go along with a slip-sinker rig. Adding a bead to this rig greatly helps reduce the wear to the knot from the main line to the swivel from the sinker sliding up and

down. The offshore angler Crossline swivels are also great for a 3-way rig too. For Float fishing, depending on the size float you want to use the Lindy Little Joe Pole floats are available in different sizes and in weighted and non-weighted variations.

Making sure that heavy duty equipment is being used for these behemoths will make the difference in whether an angler lands or loses a fish of a lifetime. Since we now have all the basics to start fishing for some Big ole’ Flattys the only thing left to do is to get out and fish! See you on the river!



Biggest Speckled Sea Trout Catch of the Year

How does one General Manager from Bass Pro Shops in Dania/Ft.Lauderdale, Florida entertain a visiting Bass Pro General Manager from Spanish Fork, Alabama? That's easy! You charter a fishing trip with Captain Brian, Pro Staffer. So, on a beautiful Saturday morning, Danny Vinson, General Manager, his son Dex and Derrick Watkins, General Manager of the Spanish Fort Bass Pro Shop set out for a day of fishing with Captain Brian to Biscayne Bay in Miami.

Danny`s 25 inch Speckled Sea TroutAfter launching my Pathfinder Bay boat we headed out to the channels of the grass flats that have produced some spectacular catches of speckled sea trout this year, especially during April and May. Having prepared Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme spinning reels and Inshore Extreme Elite spinning rods with 10 lb. test Ultra Thin Monofilament, I attached Offshore Angler popping corks and added XPS 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader with a #1 circle hook. The guys baited their hooks with live shrimp and started catching some small barracudas, Mangrove snappers, houndfish and a few speckled sea trout, none of which were large enough to keep. However, that didn't prevent an 8 ft.-150 lb. nurse shark to visit a little too close to the boat and to investigate our bait. By the time I readied a live pinfish on a wire leader, the shark took off for more lucrative feeding grounds.

At that time I decided to lift the Power Pole that was anchored in 5 ft. of water and to motor off to Flagler Monument Island which was surrounded by grass flats, another perfect spot. It wasn't long before Danny yelled that he had a big trout on his line and he wasn't kidding! When the fish was finally reeled into the net, as luck would have it, that 22 in., 4 lb. sea trout turned over, pulled the hook out of his mouth and took off into deeper water. We were all stunned that it happened so fast but Derrick tried to make us feel better by saying, “That's why they call it fishing instead of catching!”

Derrick, Dex and Danny with a Gator SeatroutIt was now time to try out my “honey hole,” an area on the way to the Miami Public Boat Ramps, off a large white-sand flat in 3 ft. of grassy water where some of this year's biggest trout have been caught. When we reached the last hopeful spot of the day, we baited with slabs of pinfish, hoping for a huge trout. Throughout the day Danny's son Dex skillfully caught more than a dozen perfect-sized pinfish bait and caught the first keeper trout of the day, over 17 in.  He was so excited to catch  his first speckled sea trout!

THEN IT HAPPENED!  Danny screamed, “I have a monster trout on the line!” When the fish took a big run, Danny masterfully maneuvered the fish by short pumps of the rod, still fishing with a loose- enough drag that gradually brought him into the net. This time the fish was not going to get away! WOW! Danny caught the biggest speckled sea trout of the season, 25 in. and about 6 lbs., which happens to be huge for Biscayne Bay since speckled sea trout get bigger as you fish to the north of South Florida.  But this was the largest one I have seen caught this year!


Captain Brian Leibowitz, Bass Pro StafferCheck out Captain Brian's website at If you want to CATCH MORE FISH book a charter trip with Captain Brian by emailing He can also be reached at 954-822-8568.

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