Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas

Dad can sometimes be a little hard to shop for. Not to fear, Bass Pro is here! We went around to every department asking for their tips and best gift ideas, so here's what the pros said.


If your dad needs a new pole but you're not sure which one, our associate suggests Bass Pro Shops Megacast baitcast combo. It's pretty basic, but is a nice combo with bait caster. If he prefers a spinning reel, we have plenty of those in our store too. This combo is on sale for $49.99.




Our associate's favorite best seller right now is the Ascend Mid Hiker which he says if paired with the Ascend wool socks, makes for an amazing hiking experience. The boots have Vibram outsoles, the number one sole in the business, and is perfect for a hiking dad. It has bone-dry waterproof technology and moisture-wicking Cambrelle linings. They are also on sale for 69.97.




A popular item in the hunting department is the Kershaw volt II, an assisted opening, straight edge stainless steel pocket knife. It's on sale right now for $24.97 and going fast.

A trail cam would also be a great Father's Day gift since it's about that time to start putting them out. Along with the trail cam, you could get your dad attractant. Our associate gave us a tip though to go for the Trophy Rock Four65 package. Although it's a bit more expensive, they're broken up so it's more for your money.




A lot of people come in looking for 5.11 Tacticle Taclite vests and your dad is sure to love it too. It's lightweight with a ton of pockets and work for shooters, emergency personnel and authorities. It's pockets are of various sizes as well as conealed carry compartments.

If your dad is more in to hunting, our associate really likes the ever-popular Redhead camo hoodie that satarts at $44.99. He also suggests the True Fit Essentials t-shirts that are tagless and super soft that come in long or short sleeves starting at $12.99 for short and $14.99 for long




A great gift for dad would be a GPS. If he'd like a handheld, our associate suggests the Garmin GPSMAP62s for $349.99. If he likes to fish, the Huminbird Fish Finder 597ci HD DI Combo  would be a great idea as well for $599.99.

If he's a more adventureous father, the GoPro camera is an extremely hot item right now. It shoots video or photo with wifi capability. It can be mounted on a bike, helmet, vehicle and more for hands free footage. Very, very cool.




The Browning two burner stove is on sale for $99.99 and our associate has one and absolutely loves it. He told me I needed to tell you that. He also said dads would like the Bass Pro Shops fish fryer also on sale for $29.97. It has a 10.5qt strainer basket and is really great if your dad likes to fry.

Our associate also suggested the antigravity lounger on sale for $89.97as well, describing it as a "big man's chair." So while your dad is waiting for his food  to be done cooking, he can lay back in this nicely padded, recliner chair with adjustable pillow.




The men's RedHead Ringer pcoket tees have been flying off the shelves. They're on sale right now for two for $15 and are very soft and comfortable. To go with the shirts, you could get dad some RedHead Macks Creek Shorts too, on sale for $14.97




Our gifts associate had a ton of great ideas for dad. If he likes to cook, she suggested one of our many BBQ or grilling books with some of our BBQ sauces to go with it. These would also pair really well with that Browning two burner stove. If he's a hunter, we have many hunting DVDs and books as well as Timex or Casio watchse that have special features geared for outdoors. She also said that anything on our Duck Dynasty display would make great gifts for Father's Day because they are so popular.



If you have any questions about these items or need help with other gift ideas, don't hesitate to ask one of our associates in our store. They're here to help and they all have some pretty great ideas.








Can You Say "Amurica!" ?

Summer is on the way and everyone seems to have a new priority around this time of the year. Lookin’ cool in the heat! (Sure escaping the heat is also at the top of the list, but we pretty much do that all year long in Arizona.) I’m a big summer time person. I don’t even care that my vehicle does not have air conditioning. Windows down and sleeves off, or as I call it “AZ-A/C”.

Right now our hot ticket item is our Bass Pro Shops Flag Tee.  And for only $5 you can be looking good too!


The best things about these shirts are their simplicity and pure awesomeness. They come in white, gray and pink. They come in all sizes, even kids! (3XL Shirts are $7)

The logo is pure America. BOOM! Bass Pro Shops! THE YE-KA-KA-KA-KA OF AN EAGLE! Bald Eagle above the American Flag! WHIZ OF A FISHING REEL! Two fishing poles pointed out in pure patriotic positioning! If it doesn’t say “Land of the Free” then I don’t know what does. (Then again this does come to mind.)

For those of who know that there was never as classy of a fashion trend as there was during the 1980’s these shirts will easily fit into your style. From fish gills to off-shoulder cropping, these bad boys can handle any 80’s alterations. Personally I’ll be cutting the sleeves off of a few I picked up for a family trip this month (my future father-in-law might just have the whitest arms in history). I’ll also be marking the backs of them to represent the event, “Team Suns Out, Guns Out! Minnesota -2013!”

Come on by and snag a few for yourself while they are still here. Get ya some!


April Free Seminar Offerings

We have some exciting Free Outdoor Skills Workshops coming up in the month of April.  Fly tying, Beginners Archery, Turkey Hunting Seminars, and knot tying are just a few of the seminars we will be offering this month.  Please see below for dates, times and descriptions and how you can pre-register for these classes!


Fly Tying: 

Ever wondered how to tie flies? We have informational and hands-on training sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm in our fly shop. Come learn a new hobby! Registration is required. Please call 816-795-4300 and ask for a fly shop associate for more information. Class sizes are limited; classes are free but you will need to bring or purchase your own supplies.


Choosing the Right Camo For Turkey Hunting:

This seminar will take place upstairs near the Optics counter on our bridge at 2pm on Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, April 7th.  Come and discover which camo is going to work best for Missouri turkey hunting.  Make sure you have all the right gear before heading out. You will not need to pre-register for this class.


Take Aim!  Beginners Archery:

This class will focus on the basics of archery:

• Learning the safety first

• Importance of the parts of the bow

• Proper stance

• Achieving a good shot

This is a great family activity – they are open to the public, FREE, and taught by some of our seasoned Archery Staff in the store. Take Aim is a class for those who want to explore the sport of Archery. You are more than welcome to bring your own equipment, but it is not required.  Please call or e-mail April at 816-795-4307 or to reserve your spot. Classes will take place in our Archery Range in the Hunting Department on April 9th and April 16th at 7pm. Class size is limited and you must sign a waiver to participate. 


Advanced Turkey Calling:

Join us for instruction on Advanced Turkey Calling on Saturday, April 13 & Sunday April 14 at 2pm. This seminar will be taught by Norbert, who is an active member of NWTF and a very seasoned turkey hunter and caller. This seminar will be held upstairs on our bridge near the optics counter.  No need to preregister for this seminar. 


Basic Knot Tying For Fishing:

Friday, April 19th at 7pm in the Conservation Room

Knots do not have to be difficult, but you need to make sure you have the right one on there to reel in that big fish.  Come discover some basic knots and bring your questions.  There will be hands on demonstrations.  We ask that you please preregister for this seminar by emailing April at or by calling 816-795-4307.



Youth Archery:

We will be having a Youth Archery seminar on Saturday, April 20 & Sunday, April 21 at 2pm in our Archery Range.  No supplies needed.  Bring the kids up to learn proper stance, safety, and how Archery can be a fun sport.  Please preregister for this class by calling April at 816-795-4307 or e-mail at



Hiking 101:

Thursday, April 25th at 7pm

Come join Jeff as he talks about everything you need to know about making your next hiking trip the best trip of your life.  He will discuss proper footwear, hiking packs, and what to pack.  Please preregister for this class by e-mail - or by telephone at 816-795-4307.



Spring Food Plots:

Come join us as we talk about getting Spring Food Plots planted on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 at 2pm.  These seminars will be held upstairs on the bridge near our optics counter.  No need to preregister for this seminar.


Camping Critters:  Let’s Talk Fishing!

Tuesday, April 30th in the Conservation Room at 10:30am

Open to toddler's aged 2 - 5 years.

Come in and have some fun with our new Toddler Program - Camping Critters!  This month, we will talk about how much fun fishing can be.  Some of our topics include local fishing, learning the different parts of a fishing pole, and let the kids try their skills out at casting.  We have some drinks and snacks as well and will finish up the morning by reading a story.  This program normally lasts about an hour long.  Space is limited - we ask you call or e-mail April for preregistration - or 816-795-4307.


We hope you will be able to come in and join us for one of these fun free seminars soon!


Fishing With Kids

The toddler days with pretend fishing sets are over and your child is ready for the next phase.  You can't wait to take him/her out for the first time.  Stop on over to Bass Pro Shops with your special little one and we will be happy to show you just what you need.

The 5 or 6 year old does not need much.  Try the Zebco SpongeBob Squarepants rod and reel combo or the Shakkespeare Disney Fairies lighted fish rod and reel kit.   Great to practice casting and to take that first lesson on the water.


Your child learned on a small kid pole.  Now that is too small for them, but they are not ready for the adult range yet.  Try the Ugly Stick Ultra Light rod and reel combo.  This reel is light and a few inches shorter so the jump to a adult pole is not overwhelming to them. Once your child is about 10 the Bass Pro Shops Stampede Spinning combo is great!


Just a few more things to think about.  Perhaps a small tackle box to start them out.  Our associates will be happy to show you where the bobbers, bait hooks, and weights are.  Why we even have the worms to go with you.  So stop on by to Bass Pro Shops and give us a chance to help you get out on the water with your kids.

Robin Piedmonte

Events Coordinator

 take me fishingplano







Friday Featured Fan Spotlight

Bass Pro Shops Altoona fans are among the most LOYAL fans in the world. They stick with us through...well...through fishing, hunting, boating, camping, hiking, shooting sports seasons and more!  They live the outdoors and they love the outdoors...and we'd like you to meet them through our new Featured Fan Spotlight.

Featured Fan - JordanFeatured Fan

My family and I own and operate a whitetail and wild turkey outfitting company in southern Iowa. I love turkey hunting, whitetail hunting, shed hunting, fishing, and hiking. I also participate in conservation efforts, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the local Pheasants Forever chapter.

I love being outdoors, whether sightseeing or watching wildlife. I also love sharing my passion with others and teaching them things about the outdoors that a lot of people overlook.

I never miss the opportunity to take a friend or relative hunting and fishing.

How Long Have you Enjoyed the Outdoors?

 I've enjoying the great outdoors since I can remember. I began fishing when I could pick up a pole, the same with hunting and shooting.

My grandfather, Larry Wisecup, has guided me to be the successful outdoorsman I am today. He has inspired me to continue the passion he has for the outdoors and to continue it with my family and others.

Another very close friend, Steve Allsup, has shared his passion in angling for the past several years with me. He took me under his wing and taught me a lot of tactics and strategies on ways to catch the fish and to become a successful angler. He also inspired me to begin a fishing club and team here at Central College

Although I love hunting...especially bow hunting all-time favorite activity is competitive bass fishing. I grew up watching the Bassmasters on ESPN and I've had interest in the bass fishing industry ever since.

The day of my junior year prom, I bought my first bass boat. I bought a 19' Xpress bass boat and I still have it.

I love to take family and friends out on it and teach them how to catch fish and have a great time on the lake. I also participate in tournaments throughout Iowa, I get the opportunity. I would love to expand my knowledge and experience beyond where I am today. 

"Go-To" Gear? 

The gear I have in my tackle box consists of a wide-variety of tackle and equipment. First, I'll start with my fishing rods and reels. I love the G-Loomis brands, although they can be expensive, and especially like the GL3 series. My second favorite brand has to be Falcon rods. I have several of these in my arsenal. My favorite reels have to be Quantum and Pflueger, especially the Trions. They're affordable and very durable. I like using Sufix fishing line, because it's durable and very tough, long-lasting. If I had to choose which baits to pick out of my tackle box for a weekend's fishing trip with a buddy, I would choose Chomper's spider craw grubs, Zoom baby brush hogs, War Eagle finesse jigs, and a handful of Rapala crank baits (blue gill). 


Words of Wisdom

Ever since I can remember I have been involved with the great outdoors. It gives me the drive to become a better person and to appreciate a lot of things in life. I am a senior at Central College, looking to graduate in May. I don't know where the road will take me in the future, but I do know that I will always have family, friends, and the great outdoors to guide me in the right path. If there ever comes a time to share your passion, whether it be football, basketball, baseball, track, cooking, gaming, art, music, the outdoors, share it with your friends, family, and others and make sure you continue your passion.

Also, don't forget that every day is a great day for fishing!


You can become a fan of Bass Pro Shops Altoona - like us on Facebook at!





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