Bass Pro Shops Tacoma Offers Indoor and Outdoor Fun

As the weather begins to turn warmer there’s no shortage of activities to partake in the Tacoma area. Luckily, Bass Pro Shops Tacoma has all the essentials and gear to meet the needs of outdoor enthusiasts no matter their skill level or interest.

Anglers of all types will find our selection of rods, reels, lures, lines, jigs and other fishing equipment available to help catch a variety of species. There are also waders, nets and a bevy of other supplies for fishing enthusiasts to choose from.

Our hunting department has a wide-range of merchandise, perfect for aiding hunters in their pursuit of numerous types of game, from deer and elk to fowl. The knowledgeable staff in the hunting department can guide our customers in the selections of calls, decoys, stands, blinds and camouflage clothing.

There is more to Bass Pro Shops than hunting and fishing. The natural beauty of the outdoors in Tacoma and the surrounding areas beckons to be explored and admired. Bird-watchers should be sure to check out the selection of binoculars carried in our optics department.

There’s no shortage of camping and hiking opportunities in the Tacoma area and our selection of backpacks, tents and sleeping bags will ensure that time spent outdoors is dry and warm. Camping doesn’t have to be a completely rustic experience, bring some of the comforts of home to the outdoors with a portable shower. There’s a variety of cooking supplies available in our camping department such as camp grills or cast-iron cookware, perfect for using over an open fire.  Additional items like hydration packs, water filtration systems and first-aid kits are just a few of the items we carry to help keep campers and hikers safe and prepared.

The area boasts plenty of waterways, with the numerous lakes and rivers, plus Puget Sound and the nearby Pacific Ocean, boaters have many places to explore. Bass Pro Shops Tacoma carries kayaks and canoes perfect for setting out on smooth waters. Or maybe the more adventurous long for a white-water kayaking experience on some of the local rivers and falls. Our Tracker Department carries an assortment of boats, from small fishing and bass boats to pontoons and much more.

Outdoor recreation is wonderful, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. At Bass Pro Shops Tacoma, there’s lots of opportunity for fun for the whole family right inside our store.  Relax by the fireplace in our lobby and take in the mounted game, fish and water fowl on display. Visit the 12,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, which has a three-dimensional diorama of a waterfall and is filled with a variety of local species of fish.

Hungry? Stop by the restaurant located inside our store for lunch or dinner.  Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill offers casual family dining and serves grill-type fare. There’s also a sixteen lane bowling alley, decorated with an under-the-sea theme, sure to delight the little ones and those who are young at heart.

In addition to all the outdoor equipment, recreational items, restaurant and bowling alley at Bass Pro Shops Tacoma, there’s also a variety of in-store events, such as our Spring Fishing Classic, Fall Hunting Classic and Go Outdoors event. In addition we will have numerous other seasonal and kid-friendly events throughout the year. Be sure to like our page on Facebook or visit the events page on our website to stay informed on everything that is happening at Bass Pro Shops Tacoma.

Potluck Fishing in South Florida's Freshwater

Peacock BassI can’t even begin to tell everyone how lucky Floridians are when it comes to fishing opportunities, but I’m quite sure readers of my Blogs and newsletters are quite aware of how many chances we have to hit the water and the incredible variety we enjoy throughout the year.  South Florida holds a special place in our hearts, mine especially, and I sometimes wish I didn’t live 200 miles from some of the best fishing anywhere.

Scott and I just returned from another stupendous trip to the region, hitting more water than ever while fishing over a wide variety of habitats and cover types including clear and deep canals, residential lakes and retention ponds, tannin stained sloughs, and Scott even took a few casts into the saltwater side of a water control gate to land his first puffer on fly.

Mayan CichlidOur trip started at 2 AM Sunday morning as we departed my house in northeast Orlando, ultimately reaching our first stop, a Denny’s, somewhere close to Pembroke Pines to fuel up for the coming day and to outline a plan of attack.  Location number one was only a few miles away according to my phone’s map application, so we took our time getting there, and it proved to be a wonderful residential pond full of willing peacocks.  They were schooled up and smashing small baitfish, so we just had to lob a few Polar Fiber Minnows into the fray, and it didn’t take long to land a half dozen feisty fish and essentially destroy the first fly of the trip.  But you can only hit them so hard and we had plenty of ponds to explore.  One of my favorites, an unassuming section of canal along Flamingo Road proved to be productive for a very nice peacock, and a good bunch of mayan cichlids.

Three more stops including one of our best producing municipal parks yielded a very good number of cruising and bedding fish that were very willing to smack the living daylights out of a well presented fly, but we were careful not to over pressure the bedding pairs so as not to adversely affect their spawning activity.  Besides, sometimes it’s just too easy to pick what’s essentially “low hanging fruit.”  We finished off the day with our traditional “first-night pizza,” a much needed shower, a drink or two, all capped off by rapidly falling asleep while sitting up watching a movie.  Seven miles of walking, 11 hours of fishing, and essentially being awake for 40 hours sure can take it out of you.

Green SeverumMonday saw an early morning drive a bit further south to one of the best canal systems in the region.  This particular one sees a lot of pressure but the fishing can be very good at some point along its path if you can find it.  We covered a good portion of the canal reachable by foot and caught some decent sized fish, but the biggest peacocks I’ve ever seen refused to commit to the bite despite taking some pretty good shots at them.  We wondered if they were more in the mood to spawn than to chase food.  Overall, the fishing was a little off what we’ve seen in the past with fewer mayans and less peacocks on the structure than normal.  Runoff, temperature, sunlight, love, who knows what the reason for the less than spectacular fishing.

The highlight, or should I say low light, of this part of the adventure was an exceptionally lucky cast I threaded through the cover across a small pond alongside the canal.  There was an immediate flash as the line snapped satisfyingly tight to something much more immense than anything I expected.  I screamed “THIS IS A BIG FISH!!!” as I firmly set the hook and struggled to winch the monster out of the cover, through the lily pads, and across the pond, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen as it became embedded in the obstructions between us.  Recovery took a few minutes after breaking off the leader and re-rigging with trembling hands and a pounding heart.  Tarpon, snook, monster bass, peacock…  We’ll never know.

OscarThe final location of the day was right alongside a busy thoroughfare and although we always think it’s going to be over pressured and the fish more skittish, we caught another five or six beautiful peacocks and a spotted tilapia before the fading sunlight made sighting the fish and remaining in contact with the fly difficult.  It had been a long and successful day, totaling seven more miles of hiking and 10 hours of fishing.

MudfishWe visited a number of spots alongside the Tamiami canal during our last day of fishing, and were lucky enough to find a great variety of fish including oscar, spotted tilapia, mayan, stumpknocker, bluegill, largemouth bass, gar, and the rarest of the bunch, the green severum.  Scott was able to legitimately hook and land one by jumping in on a pair I’d worked long and hard to entice, but I returned the favor by absolutely slamming the Oscars and by landing a mudfish (bowfin) before him.  He did land one though in the eleventh hour and deserves congratulations on checking another one off the list of fly-caught species.  We just happened to pull over to the side of the road and discover a canal where we could sight fish to cruisers with limited obstructions and good water clarity.  All we had to do was accomplish a decent presentation and a good battle was sure to ensue.

I had the opportunity to re-learn a valuable lesson we should all take to heart when fishing in Florida, and that’s the fact that there are alligators everywhere (especially in the Everglades region) and they’re HIGHLY attracted to the disturbance caused by struggling fish.  I had two close encounters with our reptile friends approaching a little too close for comfort, but none of us was injured so I guess “No harm, no foul,” is the motto of the day.  I can claim to have landed a six footer on eight pound tippet and a size 10 topwater fly.

American AlligatorOverall, we enjoyed one of the best fishing trips of our lives without having traveled to a far off land and spend thousands of dollars trying to get there.  Although I didn't get to check any fish off the "To Catch List" there's no way the trip could have been any better since the weather was nearly perfect, the fish cooperative (for the most part), the flies effective, and company top notch.  He drives, I navigate, and we both catch more fish than should be realistically permitted.  This trip is becoming something of a tradition that I hope will continue for years to come.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

Fishy Facts: Common Snook

In the effort to break up the alliteration of Fishy Fact blogs starting with the letter B (brook trout, bowfishing, billfish, bowfin, bull shark) we are going to the letter that follows it! We are also getting out of the freshwater realm for the first time in a number of months. April is a month for change right? Sure. Any who, let’s take a closer look at the common snook!

First off, you would be surprised at how many times I have used the “Add to Dictionary” feature on “misspelled” words according to Microsoft Word. Maybe they should get some more fishermen and hunters involved for their next platform, because it’s getting ridiculous.

Second any who for this blog, a record, the common snook is a prized saltwater game fish. It is also called robalo and the sergeant fish. There are several species of snook, and this one is one of the largest. They can grow to over four and a half feet but are more commonly found at three feet shorter than that.

I remember hearing that the uglier the fish (or at least the less colorful) the better it tastes. Now I am not calling the common snook ugly, but its coloring is quite drab. It has a grayish-silver color to most of its body, except the long black line that runs lengthwise on its body. During the spawning season though, some of its fins will turn a bright yellow.

If that rumor is to be believed about taste and appearance, it holds true for the common snook. It is a delicious fish but special preparation must be taken. Remove the skin before cooking otherwise an unpleasant taste will occur.

Beyond their desirability for taste, these fish put up a great fight! My best friend’s dad caught some down in Florida and loved every second of it. He loved it so much; he bought car-magnets of the fish and added them to his ride.

These fish tend to spawn from April to October. The common snook will move out of the open-ocean and into near-shore waters with high salinity. After the young are born they mature into juveniles and move towards more brackish water. Slowly but surely they eventually move out into the open ocean and continue the circle of life.

Snook are predators. They will opportunistically take on prey, but what is cool is that their prey changes with them. As snook grow larger they will actually start pursuing larger prey. They simply want to pursue prey that will provide them the most nutrition. Any reports of cannibalism with these fish are few and far between.

These fish are preyed upon by larger fish and other marine predators. Once of their biggest killers though is weather. These fish are very susceptible to changes in temperature. In 2010 there was a large cold snap in the snooks’ native range. In one area of Florida it was estimated that close to 97% of the snook population died because of it. Luckily a ban on commercial snook fishing took place and fishermen began to strictly practice catch-and-release fishing on them. This helped the population grow and has allowed the ban to be lifted. There will be another study done on their population this year.

People love their snook and will do what it takes to keep them around. This should be an example for all sportsmen. Conservation must come first, as without it we won’t have anything left.


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin

Opening Day of Trout Season in New York State

Opening day of trout is April 1, 2015.  Do you have your license?  Everyone must have a fishing license with them while fishing or helping someone to fish if you are 16 years of age or older.  The license can be obtained right here at Bass Pro Shops!  Stop at our Customer Service counter.  Your license is valid for 365 days after purchase.  Here are the 2015-2016 prices for fishing in New York State.

Resident for a year

Fishing (Age 16-69)             $25

Fishing (Age 70+)                $ 5

7 Day (Age16+)                  $12

1 Day (16+)                        $ 5

Fishing(military/disabled) *  $  5

(*Military Disabled persons with a 40% or more disability)



Fishing (Age 16+)                     $50

7 Day (Age 16+)                       $28

1 Day (Age 16+)                       10

Always check your current New York Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide which you receive free of charge when you purchase your license.  You may also go on at any time to view all the regulations.

You may also replace your license if lost for $5.00.

Fishing is good for any age.  It brings a sense of delight to children and peace to adults.  Bass Pro Shops is dedicated to children fishing.  Teach them young and they will have the sport for the rest of their life.   Fishing teaches patience, skill, you learn about conservation and best of all it gets you outside.

R. Piedmonte

Tracker Time: Regency 254 DL3

I remember hearing several years back that Arizona had the most boat-owners per capita in the United States. This is weird, because we live in a desert. But when you actually start to think about it, it makes sense. Arizona has several large lakes throughout the state and one can drive to Mexico or California for the ocean in hours. Also we have a lot of people from the Midwest that have moved here and brought their passions with them. So really it makes sense, but still weirds me out.

While writing up the blog about the sweet bow fishing boat last month, I couldn’t help notice another newer boat to our store. And honestly, no one can help not noticing this boat as it is probably the largest one we have ever had! I’m talking about the Regency 254 DL3. This thing is a pontoon boat like you have never seen before.

Regency is a newer name to our line of boats, but it is making quite the splash. It is our line of luxury pontoon boats. There are currently three different models, and the 254 DL3 sits right in the middle of them.

The 254 DL3 sits at 27.5 feet and can hold up to 15 people. Now immediately I am sure you brain gives you the visual of over a dozen people on a boat looking like cattle in a chute, but nothing could be farther than this. This boat has several spacious seating areas for you and your passengers. There are two lounges in the front. A L-shaped lounge in the middle. And in the back there is a huge sun lounge facing aft.

And speaking of what else in in the back, this baby has some serious giddy-up! Using the super powerful but also quiet Mercury Verado 200, the 254 DL3 can get up to 35 mph! That is the smallest model Verado though, so upgrading to the larger ones will get you going even faster. (The boat we have in-store can get up to 50 mph.) To help handle this power, the boat uses three pontoons instead of the normal two. This gives the boat better buoyancy, lift, speed and handling.

What really sets the 254 apart from other pontoon boats is the interior. For the captain this boat has an adjustable captain's chair, tilt power-assist steering, multifunction gauges, back-lit switch panels, depth finder and chart plotter. For the crew they can enjoy the built in sound system, starboard aft refreshment center (including on-demand freshwater sink and food-prep area), LED accent lighting located throughout the interior, ample storage for everyone's gear and more!

Of course with something like this, it is a bigger investment. You’ll want to take care of it, and we will help you with that! This boat comes with our 10+Life™ Warranty. That is a 10-year bow-to-stern warranty plus limited lifetime structural and deck warranty. It is also completely transferable to a second owner!

All of the features for the Regency 254 DL3 are available online, but really the best way to get the facts is by checking one out in person. Our Tracker Team will take care of you! The cool thing about our company is how it lets us share our passions with you. (Just let us know when the maiden voyage will be and if there’s room for one more!)


Previous Tracker Topics

Mako 17 Skiff

Grizzly Sportsman 1860 CC

Wildcat Special Edition

Freshwater Fish Conservation Month

February means Spring Fishing Classic and the return of our donation month directly related to fishing.

Freshwater Fish Conservation Month

Did You Know?

  • More Americans fish than play basketball (24.0 million) and football (8.9 million) combined.
  • Fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing golf, target shooting, hunting with firearms, backpacking and wilderness camping, baseball, mountain biking and skiing.
    (Statistics from the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, 2nd Edition)

A $2 donation helps keep our streams, rivers, and habitat healthy for fish and keeps our next generation fishing! All donations will be matched by the Johnny Morris Conservation Creel of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Where Do the Donations Go?
The donations go to The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), which has supported thousands of conservation programs across the U.S. since 1985, including freshwater fish conservation programs designed to:

  • Educate the general public regarding the perils facing our fish populations.
  • Motivate people to support the cause of freshwater fish conservation.
  • Use the donations received to fund various initiatives around the country toward improving fish habitat, species health, etc.

What Does it Mean for Iowa?
Here is a sample of projects that have benefitted in Iowa:

  • Raccoon River Valley Restoration
  • TreeKeepers program
  • Iowa Buffer and Declining Habitat Programs in several Iowa counties
  • Cooperative Conservation for Watershed Health
  • Nutrient Soil and Habitat Management in Upper Cedar Watersheds
  • Upper Iowa River restoration and education
  • Managing Biodiversity in the Iowa and Cedar River Valley
  • Engaging landowners in farm bills affecting the Driftless Region of NE Iowa

For research how the NFWF benefits your state, check out their interactive map!


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Crappie Madness is Coming!


Black Crappie



January 19 - February 8th


It's crappie season and there's no better time to gear up for your next trip perch jerkin'!  The first Crappie Madness Sale and Event for the Savannah Bass Pro Shops will begin Monday, January 19th.  We will have all the crappie fishing gear you need on sale, as well as great seminars and fishing demonstrations on our giant aquarium! 

Also known as speckled perch and white perch, crappie are one of the best freshwater fish to target during the late winter/early spring period.  Although they are found all over the United States, Down South our crappie grow GIANT, with fish over 2 pounds being a frequent catch.  There are quite a number of ways to fish for them, whether it be trolling, jigging, or using live bait under a slip float.  We have all the gear and accessories for all techniques!

Did I mention that crappie are one of the most delicious freshwater fish out there?  A good fillet knife and scaler are a must for cleaning a cooler full of big slab crappie!  We have a huge selection of fillet knives, fish cleaning accessories, and cooking gear to help you get ready for your next fish fry!

Come visit our knowledgeable staff and they'll help you get geared up during Crappie Madness!


Fishy Facts: Smallmouth Bass

You all remember that one younger kid on the playground, that no matter how hard they tried they could not get out of the shadow of their “big brother”? Yeah. Sometimes I wonder if that is how smallmouth bass feel when compared to largemouth bass. Think about it, largemouth bass has made modern fishing tournaments what it is. Look at any associate’s polo at your local Bass Pro Shops and that is definitely not a smallmouth embroidered on their shirt. So what’s the deal? Are they not as good as the largemouth? Does everyone expect the smallmouth to go to community college while the largemouth gets in on a full ride scholarship? Nay says I! The smallmouth bass is one of the most fun fish to catch and should be respected just as much as the largemouth bass. So that’s why this month it is the star of our Fishy Facts blog.

The smallmouth bass is a freshwater fish, considered a member of the sunfish family. Its true home is with the other black basses (including the largemouth). They are a prized sport-fish due to their strength and intriguing patterns. They can grow up to 27 inches and weight close to 12 pounds.

Because many anglers enjoy these fish, they have been stocked in non-native areas for game. Anglers have many nicknames for these fish including: smallmouth, smallie, bareback bass, brown bass, bronzeback, brownie and bronze bass. These fish are usually brown with red eyes, an upper jaw that extends to the middle of the eye and has dark vertical bands.

These fish prefer clearer waters than the largemouth live in. The kinds of water they live in can actually have an effect on their coloring or shape. In rivers they tend to be darker and more narrow while in sandy water areas these fish can be more yellow in color. They can stand cooler waters than the largemouth, but are more sensitive to changes. These fish can be affected easily by pollution and are a standard species monitored when checking the health of an ecosystem.

These fish are carnivorous and like to eat smaller fish, crayfish and insects. Fishing for smallmouth bass has a range of techniques. Almost anything can serve as a good lure, just keep it moving. Smallmouth bass tend to chase their prey rather than ambush them. But don’t retrieve your bait too quickly as it can tire the fish and turn them off. Fly-fishing for these feisty fish is growing in popularity and is quite fun.

Now just to clarify a statement at the beginning, smallmouth bass are sometimes allowed in the creel for professional tournaments. But they do not nearly get as much publicity from these kinds of events that the largemouth bass will.

While they are edible, think about if you really want to keep one. It is not that they are vulnerable as a species but always consider catch and release. As long as you got a picture with your prize, it might not need to end up on your dinner plate.

“Catch” ya later! Speaking of catch, look at what our very own Cole caught himself a while back!


Former Finned-Friends:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark


Tie One On: The Adams

So far we have covered a few fly patterns that are infamous in fly boxes. Another pattern, that was straight out of a B Sci-Fi movie and a knot. For the final Tie One On blog of the year I decided it was time to let a little guy shine. But just like Yoda, judge him not by his size. This month’s pattern of choice is the Adams!

The Adams is a dry fly that some say would be the most famous fly in the world. This pattern is specific for trout, but can catch most other freshwater fish species. Of course like all other patterns, this fly comes in an assortment of sizes, colors and slight variations.

Universally though this patterns mimics a wide variety of items that could be on a trout’s menu. So it is not weather, location or any other way specific to fish with. Some estimate that this pattern has caught more trout than any other one.

This pattern will be celebrating its 93rd anniversary next year, as it was first tied in 1922. It came from Michigan via a man named Leonard Halladay. Like many in that area at that time, he worked in the lumber industry. Slowly though he transitioned away from that but always kept fishing. He and his wife ran boarding for lumber workers, but as that slowly dried up they found new tenants in fly-fishermen. Halladay was by all means an outdoorsman. Besides fly-fishing and fly-tying, he raised chickens and hunting dogs. This pattern got its name for the client (a Mr. Adams) who was the first to use the fly and saw immediate success out of it.

Fly-fishing had always been more of a European tradition, as that is where it was founded. Around this time though it was growing in popularity here in America. The fact that this pattern was created by an American during this “growth spurt” really helped established American fly-fishing. Like most other patterns, the Adams was tied to the strictest of measures but slowly gave away to evolution. Many now do not tie the original tail on this pattern anymore. What once were two specific golden pheasant tippets is now a bushier rendition and no longer made using the original material.

While it may have changed, its success rate has not. This pattern still catches fish and will for as long as imaginable. And while considering American history, this fly pattern may not be as well-known as apple pie or baseball it is a legend of its own.


Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph


Trilene Knot

Fishy Facts: Tilapia

Well. Had another brain fart when it came to deciding which fish to do a Fishy Facts blog about. If you remember way back when I did the one about the Dolphinfish, I had a rather extravagant way to break through such things. (Involves throwing a pair of binoculars at options, but at the new office location it is a little frowned upon.) So in a less possibly hazardous form, I just called over and asked the lovely Janine in our Tracker Department for a suggestion.  Not only did it sound like a good option for a blog, but also for lunch. She chose: Tilapia!

What once was an obscure fish; tilapia has now become quite the staple worldwide. Its appeal as a game fish and table fish has made it quite popular. This fish can put up a strong fight and grow to quite impressive sizes (depending on the species). They also lend themselves extremely well to being raised in commercial or individual farms. Tilapia quite commonly finds themselves being utilized by people doing aquaponics or other sustainable processes.

Now tilapia is the common name for over a hundred species of fish, so like I said there are variances. These fish are found naturally in almost everywhere but North America. They prefer warmer freshwater. Tilapia are vulnerable to cold water temperatures, so many who own them have to keep a heater going for them in the winter. Pretty much since they first started arriving in North America, they have made a big splash.

They look very similar to our sunfish and pan fish species only with a more extravagant dorsal fin (almost a sail) and in different colored patterns. Now in some areas they are considered invasive species, so some have a very negative outlook on them. This brings into mind that everyone should be conscious of what they are doing. An organism that does not belong in a habitat can wreak havoc and destroy ecosystems. This seems to be happening more and more as the world becomes more connected. While they may not look or be as menacing as the snakehead fish that have started making themselves present in our waters, they should not be released into public waters.

Tilapia will feed upon algae, which can be a convenience for some. They are commonly being put into golf course ponds to help naturally keep algae at bay. They do not mix well with other fish as they tend to destroy the bottom going after food which can offset other fish species. These fish also breed profoundly and can grow at extraordinary rates. Currently China is the largest producer of farm raised tilapia. Many American backyard enthusiasts are reducing a need for foreign imported fish.

This is of personal interest to me, as getting away from commercially created/cultivated items is healthier overall. So let us talk about raising tilapia. I mentioned aquaponics, which is a topic for a different time, but let us look at basics. First you will need a place to put them. Aquariums work but an in-ground or raised pond can quickly amplify your stock. You need to start with a “breeder stock” where you have several females to one male. Give them food, space and time and then let nature take its course. Of course you will want to keep an eye on water quality as that can have consequences on these animals. Also be sure to look into the legal issues pertaining to this, as some places will require permits for building ponds or prohibit the import of certain species.

So next time you are out fishing and happen to catch one of these fish, feel free to keep it if allowed. Not only will you enjoy the beautiful appearance of these fish but the versatility of preparing this fish as well.



Former Finned-Friends:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark

Bass Pro Shops Again Supports Our Wounded Warriors

There was a happy crew of Wounded Warriors and their families who returned to the Destin Harbor on Saturday, October 11th, after a successful day of fishing on board the Pescador III.  Plentiful Red Snapper, King Mackeral, and other fish were the catch of the day!  Destin Bass Pro Shops donated a number of items, including the Bass Pro Shops caps shown in the photo to make this fishing trip a memorable outing for these Wounded Warriors.

Previously, on Friday evening, September 26th, Destin's Bass Pro Shops held an old-fashioned fish fry for another group of Wounded Warriors and their families at beautiful Live Oak Landing on Black Creek near Freeport.  Our local Pro Fishing Staff were on hand and Nick's Seafood Restaurant brought additional food.  Lodging was provided that night by Live Oak Landing and the next morning, the Warriors and their families were treated to a day of freshwater and Bay fishing by our Pro Fishing Staff and members of the local bass clubs.

Destin's Bass Pro Shops supports our active and retired military community and will continue to support Wounded Warrior functions in the local area.  Please remember that Bass Pro Shops offers a 10% discount to all active and retired military personnel with proper ID.

Gary Feduccia

Tie One On: Crawshrimp

Just like this month’s Fishy Fact, we are gonna get a little salty with this month’s Tie One On! Not only are we getting salty but we’re going slightly 1950’s B-Grade Horror Film with it. It is almost straight out of one of those cheesy monster movies, ladies and gentlemen I give you: The Crawshrimp!

No please note, every time you say Crawfish it needs to sound like how Lord Business from The Lego Movie would say “The Kragle!” Please note, if you have not seen The Lego Movie that you have permission to stay inside and watch it instead of being outside fishing or what-have-you.

Just like you use certain patterns for certain fish in freshwater, the same goes for saltwater fishing. Fly patterns are an attempt to create/mimic natural prey to initiate a strike from a fish. You wouldn’t toss a big ol’ bass plug at a dainty brown trout, and you’re not gonna use a salmon egg for snook or redfish!

So now we have to think about the kind of prey saltwater species go after and start making flies to match! The Crawshrimp combines two very common prey items for saltwater fish, especially inshore ones, a crustacean and shrimp.     

This is a sinking bait, as it is not common to find these kinds of prey floating on top of the water. Commonly, sinking saltwater flies are designed to bury themselves into the sand. This one does not. Because of this, it is easy to work off the bottom in a number of ways. This allows the fisherman to create a number of scenarios with the pattern including the bait being injured or fleeing in order to tempt a strike. If a fisherman were to retrieve in short successive strips it gives the illusion of being a shrimp scurrying away.

Commonly this pattern is used on sea trout, snook and redfish. All of these fish are a lot of fun to catch and put up a good fight. One thing to consider with getting any kind of saltwater gear for fly-fishing is how corrosive saltwater can be. Just like with regular fishing, you will want a good saltwater reel specially built for that purpose. Stop by the White River Fly Shop and get all the goodies you could possibly need. Our very own Ed just took a saltwater fly-fishing trip with his family. You can bet he took stock before heading out.


Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph


Fishy Facts: Bull Shark

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

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

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

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

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

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


Former Fishy Facts


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass







Fishy Facts: Grayling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Former Fishy Facts

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Fall Catfishing Rigs & Baits

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

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

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

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

"The Dance" -- Fly Fishing the Gulf

Fly Fishing --- a well orchestrated dance between the fish and the fisherman.   Using the rod as the conductor’s baton, the fisherman rhythmically entices the fish.  Fly Fishing is more an art than sport.  You are hunting and luring the fish.  You are enticing the fish to eat.  Presentation is everything.  It takes patience and study, waiting for the perfect moment.   Yes, all this is true in sport fishing yet; the presentation in fly fishing takes harmony of balance, rhythm, and motion.

When we think of fly fishing, the first thing that comes to mind is Brad Pitt’s character in “A River Runs Through It.”  Standing in swift running freshwater streams, we watched the line dance through the air as he gracefully lured in the trout.

So… when we think about fly fishing, we see a cool mountain stream, surrounded by towering trees with trout jumping after bugs…Or maybe… let’s see…. How about South Padre Island.   REALLY?  You fly fish in saltwater?  Is that even possible?  Answer:  Yes.  It is not only possible it takes fishing for the Gulf’s inshore fish to another level.

South Padre Island has several professional fishing shops that carry fly fishing rigs and plenty of expertise.  Roy Lopez at Bass Pro Shops is one of these avid fly fishermen.  He has found a way to marry his love of fly fishing with his love of saltwater fishing.   I came into the White River Fly Shop specifically looking to get my husband started in a sport that he has wanted to do for years.  Here’s what I learned.

What are you fishing for off the shores of South Padre?

Tarpon have a natural migrating pattern from Florida and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Their arrival at South Padre is still a mystery.  They seem to follow the Gulf Coast.   The tide dictates feeding patterns and their location.   According to the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the migrations take the tarpon up the eastern coast of the U.S. to at least the Chesapeake Bay, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and southward to the Caribbean Sea.


Tarpon are fished for sport.  Roy says, “I wait all year for the tarpon to come back around in the annual migration.  I put the time in to find out their patterns and eating habits.  I have respect for the fish.  They travel from Florida and the Yucatan to get to Padre. “


But there is more than Tarpon off of South Padre’s shores.  Fishing Kingfish, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Jack Crevalle, Spanish Mackerel and Bonita can all be found on the surf or jetties during ideal summer weather conditions. They can be found off the Gulf Coast year round.  Typically flashy, obnoxious flies in loud colors with a wire tippit can be used to entice these toothy fish to bite


South Padre offers wading from the East Side sand flats to the West Side silt and estuaries.   Fishing from the rocks or in the water, we use different tools for different fish.  Consider the rig.

Roy generally ties his own flies, but has a few that he might use if needed.  The picture shows four of the possibilities.  A) Tarpon Toad –  Premier Tarpon Fly.   B)  Red Fish Toad – great fly for south Texas red fish and trout.  C)  Merkin Crab – another red fish fly typically used when red fish aren’t feeding, generally the fall months.  D)  Sea Ducer – fly that you would use in shallow water from 5 to 15 inches of water.  It has a real soft lay down. 


9’ 8-weight rod typically with a stiff backbone to punch heavy flies through the wind (we have horrible prevailing south winds that don’t let up) for red fish, trout, flounder and any other species you’d find inshore.

9’ 10-weight rod with heavy backbone to punch flies for bigger fish from the beach or jetties – kings, Jacks, Spanish mackerel.

Inshore reel doesn’t necessarily have to be top dollar.  It needs a sealed drag system and is tolerable to the salt.  Roy suggests:  Lamson Konic/Guru and any of the Sage line-ups from the 1800 series to the 2200 series.  They retail anywhere from $150 to $185.


10-weight series – you are dealing with bigger fish.  You need a reel with stouter drag.  The Lamson offers the Konic/Guru 4 and Sage 2210 ranging anywhere from $150 to $250 for catching these bigger fish.

Your line in the inshore scene will typically consist of a weight forward floating line that can be matched to a rod.  The line is dictated by the rod or the casting preference of the fisherman.   Bass Pro Shops can typically fit the fisherman with an ideal rig to fit his/her preferences.  This is true for the 8-weight or the 10-weight.

Recently, Roy hooked a tarpon of about 5 feet/100+ pounds and watched it swim away after breaking the line.  With a smile, he remembered the “dance” and walked away satisfied.   Ok… maybe a little disappointed.

Can Freshwater Gear Catch Fish in Saltwater?

I am asked all the time can you use fresh water baits in saltwater? The answer is yes; however, only for some. In the world of inshore fishing some of the baits that are typically used for Largemouth Bass can indeed be used for Snook and Redfish.

Let’s start off with the most common and my favorite; swim baits. Most swim baits are meant to resemble certain bait fish and in most instances bait fish in freshwater will have similar characteristics to the ones found around the shorelines of Florida.

Another favorite of mine is the classic jerk bait. These hard baits have been around for years and most of them haven't even changed the design. Being as effective today as they were back then. They are definitely a good choice to use in both freshwater and saltwater.  My only advice with this is that you change out the hooks. Tarpon and bigger Snook have been known to straighten out hooks.

Another good bait to use is flukes. These baits are meant to resemble sick or injured fish in the water; basically an easy meal. When you rig these bait, weed less you can throw them into any thick cover without having to worry about getting hung up.

Almost all baits are meant to be appealing to several species of fish so if you ever have the opportunity to try a freshwater bait in saltwater go right ahead. You never know, your success could be hook set away.

New Sights, Smelts, and Experiences

Isn’t food just that?  A common experience, time shared with others, a memory that is tied forever to that food and the events and people which surrounded it?  All things social and familiar involve food (don’t they?)…on some level of course!  Dishes reappearing each year at the holiday’s or for the big game, making their way onto our plates during specific seasons and celebrations, and impressing on our memories the good times we had with those who helped prepare and/or share (…or maybe even catch!) said food…

A chocolate chip cookie (or even the warming aroma of it) can transport one immediately back to Grandma’s kitchen; the sight of a perfectly char grilled steak carrying your thoughts to a night grilling-out with friends in the back yard under a summer night sky; and maybe you’ll be stirred by something in…the plateful of hand-breaded deep fried smelt on your plate at Islamorada Fish Company!  Perhaps if you (or someone you know) were around for the days of “Smelting” on the great Lake Michigan, then it will prompt memories of those times or those people…

A short walk up and over the Dunes (albeit carrying such cargo that it didn’t exactly feel short), bonfires and groups of people lining the shore as far as you could see, “tall” tales amongst the fishermen abound, kids digging and playing in the sand knowing that a beach trip at night is something really special, a chill in the air laced with excitement for the fun to come.  Nets and lanterns, blankets and coolers, buckets and waders (first test of the year to be sure they aren’t leaking!)…and maybe a freshwater feast if the wind was right and your timing was too!

New experiences that we have with food can evoke great memories that we associate with them, and we can’t wait to hear your stories!  If it’s been some time since you had a smelt dinner, if there are good times to look back on and reminiscing to be done…come out and spend some time with us at Islamorada Fish Company inside your Portage Bass Pro Shops.


Got Smelt?  Yes, actually we do.

Tips & Tricks for Bow Fishing from the Pro’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q&A With Fly Expert Joe Mahler

I am interested in tying my own leaders for freshwater and light saltwater fly fishing. Is there an easy formula to follow for a range of line weights?

Alex B. Fort Myers, FL


There is. For most all of my fly fishing, I use the same simple formula. I call it the “50-25-25 leader. The name refers to the percentage of leader material with respect to diameter or strength. This leader is comprised of three parts- the Butt, the midsection and the tippet. The butt is the heaviest and will be 50% of the leader. For an eight foot leader, this section would be eight feet long.  The midsection will be 25% of the overall length, or two feet for our eight foot leader. Lastly, there is the tippet, the remaining 25%.

To determine how heavy to make the butt section, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the line weight times five. An example would be if you are using a weight forward #8, your butt material will be 40 pound test. If you ware using a six weight line, your butt material will be thirty pound test. From that point you can step the diameters down, but no more than a difference of ten pound test per connection. Here is an example for an eight foot, eight weight, twenty pound tippet leader:    4 ‘ 40lb.+ 2’ 30 lb. + 2’ 20lb.

If you would like to drop down to a smaller diameter line, you may simply add more sections to this basic leader formula.



About Joe Mahler

Joe Mahler is an author, illustrator and fly casting / fly tying instructor living in Fort Myers, Florida. Joe has spent his life fly fishing for anything with a “tug” and teaching others to do the same. His articles and illustrations appear regularly in Fly Fisherman Magazine and other national publications. Mahler’s “StrawBoss” fly pattern, for both fresh and salt water, is currently featured in the Orvis line-up in three color variations and has been featured in several magazine articles and most recently in Drew Chicone’s book “Feather Brain”. Joe is also the author and illustrator of “Essential Knots & Rigs for Trout” and “Essential Knots & Rigs for Salt Water” (Stackpole Books). You have seen Joe casting away in national television commercials for Bass Pro Shops, Tracker and Mako Boats.

Joe is currently a SAGE ambassador and member of the Dyna-King Professional Tying Team. When not fishing the crystal waters of Southwest Florida, he can be found teaching fly casting and tying to enthusiasts of all levels. Joe’s easy-going approach has made him a popular guest speaker at fishing clubs and sports shows. To learn more, visit