Deep Summer Cranking

Summer is here and while many fish still live in shallow water the majority of the fish population spend most of the summer months on deep water structure. A wise man once said while fishing the bank 90% of the fish are behind you. This statement is generally true, and while deep water fishing can be overwhelming and difficult to master, it can also be very rewarding.

When fishing the bank generally you are looking for individual fish catching one here and there. Now when fishing off shore you are searching for the honey hole, a spot or area holding sometimes hundreds of fish. Some keys to look for when searching for deep water fish are points, humps, ledges, rock piles, shell beds, or man made brush piles. Having a good depth finder and GPS unit is very important to mastering deep water fishing. When I am looking for a school of fish offshore I generally will use my GPS on my Lowrance HDS-8 Gen2 Fishfinder to study and locate where drop offs or humps are located. Once I've chosen a couple different places to look I will drive my boat over the hump or drop off, while using my fishfinder to look for brush piles or rock piles. While searching I always have my Bass Pro Shops Marker Buoy in my hand ready to drop it where I see structure that looks promising. This will give you a perfect reference point so you can properly work the structure. The final key to look for while searching is bait fish, if you don't see balls of bait near the bottom you are probably not going to get bit and should search for a different area.

So all of this preparation and searching takes place before an angler has even made a cast. Deep water fishing is really more like hunting, where the preparation and searching is just as important as making a good shot. Once your preparation is complete and you have found an area with all of the proper ingredients then it is time to go to work. There are many different ways to catch offshore fish once you have them located, such as a, carolina rig, football jig, or a texas rigged worm, but my very favorite is a deep diving crankbait. Crankbaits allow you to make relatively quick casts fanning around the area searching for the proper angle to trigger a strike. What I mean by proper angle is, every fish has a certain presentation or cast that will be the best for triggering it to strike, and this can very from day to day or week to week, so keep an open mind. With your marker buoy in place a circle the wagon technique is hard to beat. Simply begin on one side of the structure and work your way around the buoy throwing casts from many different directions and at many different angles. Once you have triggered a fish to bite always throw back with the exact same cast. More often then not you will find that one specific cast through an exact spot will get you bit over and over again.

When deep cranking I like to use a 7'9" TFO Gary's Tactical Series Rod accompanied by a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Baitcast Reel with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. This slower gear ratio will make cranking in big billed crankbaits easier as well as allowing your bait to reach deeper depths with still a good amount of line out. With high speed reels by the time your bait hits the bottom your bait will be half way back to the boat. The slow winch type reel is the way to go. The bait that I have the most confidence in is the SPRO Little John DD Crankbait. Others such as the Strike King 6XD Series and the Bomber Fat Free Shad will also catch fish, and sometimes the fish can be very picky changing which one they prefer from day to day. To make the baits achieve their maximum depth potential, long casts and light line are very important. Generally I will use 10lb or 12lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. And don't forget the key to catching crankbait fish whether in shallow water or deep water is to make your bait hit the bottom and contact the cover.

Keep your bait down where the fish live and are feeding and find the proper angle, and then hold on tight. Deep water fish are generally big and healthy and i'd be willing to bet that the very biggest fish on your lake lives on deep structure in the summer months. Remember starting today May 28th and ending June 16th Bass Pro Shops Father's Day sale is going on. One of my favorite items on sale is the Bass Pro Shops Crankin Stick which is a perfect affordable rod to get started with crankbait fishing from deep water to shallow. This would also make a perfect gift for a fisherman looking to expand his arsenal and grow as an angler!

I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania


Memories of a Lifetime

Big BassBig Bass 2Big Bass 3When I was a little kid I always wanted to just go fishing. I didn't care what it was I was fishing for as long as I could catch it I was happy. Now that I am much older that feeling is still going strong today. I have fishing on the brain 24-7. I had been taken back by one of my greatest experiences to date and I will share it with you.

I remember the days when my dad would take me out to a pond on Fort Carson I would get up early pack a lunch and grab a few rods and spend the entire day trying to catch fish before my dad would pick me up after he got off work. I spent countless hours trying to figure out each species of fish that were in the lake, where they hung out, how do they react to my baits, how spooky they were, watching them feed on minnows and bugs on the top of the water and all the crazy things they did throughout the day.

I pretty much had the bluegills figured out. A small piece of worm on a #10 eagle claw hook under a small bobber was all it took and after seeing the trout hit a grasshopper I scared off the bush as soon as it hit the water it didn't take me long to whack a bunch of them also every time I went out. It was that bass that would always get to me. The little green fish with the black stripe that continues to drive me crazy today. Not to mention its cousins the spotted and small mouth bass. 

The bass seemed to mezmorize me, They would hit that grasshopper I threw in the water but refused to hit the one on my hook.The trout didn't seem to mind it. I flipped a few rocks and threw crawdads at them and they would eat em up but not on my hook. Every now and then I would get a smaller bass to take a whole night crawler but those big ones crusing would just come up and look and just swim off. Stressful for a little kid.

Through the years I studied about bass. I read every book I could find in the library about them and would read every issue of Bassmaster magazine I could get my hands on. Now we have every resource available just by the touch of a button from the internet or a phone call to a buddy. The kids sure have it easy now it seems like.

I still go back to that lake that has been there for forty plus years. it's just ten minutes from my home in Fountain, Co. so a short after work trip is always good for the mind, body and soul. I have seen pictures of giant bass being caught at that old lake and I have yet to catch a good one for myself. I went out with a few of my youth club kids that have held some 4# plus and one 7# in the years earlier and this was more than enough to peak my intrest. Giant bass close to home is like a dream come true.

This year the weather has put the spawn behind and the bass are just now starting to come up. I was out in my Stealth 2000 duck boat looking for active fish and when I saw them I beached it and tried to sneak up on them from the bank. I told my buddy that I had just seen the biggest bass of my life, he laughed and said, "like the ones in the tank at Bass Pro Shops" exactly I said. I knew that was a giant bass I just needed to figure out how to catch it and take a picture with her.

I mentally marked the spot and snuck up to find her and another smaller male on a bed. I covered myself with dead bulrushes and settled in with my rods. I threw a drop shot rig with a BPS teaser tube and the male whacked it instantly. I set the hook and landed him and quickly put him back in the water and right back to the bed he went.

I worked those fish for over two hours and the male kept pushing that big girl back and holding his ground. He picked up my baits several times and I just let him spit them out. The female kept coming closer and closer and as soon as she looked like she was going to hit my bait the male would chase her off. We played this game over and over. I decided I was going to stick the male again just to shake him up a little more and threw in one of my hand tied football jigs with a Lazer Trokar 3/0 hook and as soon as it hit the bed he came up and sucked it in and I swung and missed. I regrouped and pitched back in and he spun around and then just grabbed the tail of my YUM Money Craw trailer and spit it out. I hopped it back on the bed and the female bolted in from the side and crushed it.

I set the hook and the fight was on. I yelled over at my buddy and he and a few others came running over to check out what all the fuss was about and when I finally lipped her I started to shake. I have caught big bass in my travels and my biggest to date was an 8# 2oz.. I didn't have a scale and there was no way I was going to keep or hurt this majestic fish but I know it was my biggest bass ever. I had a few photos taken and put her back in the water and watched her swim away. I always preach "CPR" catch, photo and release. I hope someday she will be caught again and be much bigger.

I have been truly blessed to have landed such a giant bass so close to home.This is one I will never forget. I am glad I have the opportunity to share it with all of you. I thank my dad for teaching me how to fish and I hope all my youth club kids share their knowledge and teach kids how to fish so they can have their own memories of a lifetime....

                                                                           Best of Luck,

                                                                                                   Sam Heckman / Pro Staff


Mark Your Calendars, A Lot

A little while back I mentioned that Family Summer Camp was comin’ to town! Well, today is the first official day of this event! From now until July 14th, Bass Pro Shops is calling all kids to come learn some great skills and make some amazing memories. And it’s ALL FREE!

Summer seems to be when some of the best memories are made. Life goes by a little slower and everything seems a little simpler. We like that and think you should mark in some good old fashioned fun on your calendars. With everything that we have going on you will want to mark in several dates so you can enjoy all the activities throughout the summer!

Workshops will go from Noon – 4PM. This is good stuff for the whole family! Learn the basics of: camping, fishing, hunting and archery, bird watching, wildlife exploration, water safety, backyard exploration and outdoor discovery. These last two will focus on the little and big pictures of the great outdoors. They will range from the little bugs crawling in our backyards to the importance of conservation. The workshops will change hourly, and for every one completed you will receive a collectable pin to attach to your Bass Pro Shops Summer Camp Lanyard. Warning: The lanyard and pins are free.  Make sure to set aside several dates on your calendar for these! That way you can have fun throughout  the summer break and by the time school starts, you will have lots on new information to share with all your friends!

Summer Camp will be held every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the event and will be comprised of fun activities, crafts, workshops and more! Oh and did I mention the price tag? FREE-ninety nine!

Our daily activates will run from Noon – 5PM. Have fun learning how to cast a fishing rod at our casting buckets or proper gun and bow safety at our Daisy BB Gun and archery ranges! For our little guys, we will have our Zing Toys shooting gallery. We will also have our carousel up and running for those of you who love a good ol’ fashion carousel ride.

Crafts will be held from Noon – 2PM. The crafts will include: designing a compass, making a bobber key chain (perfect gift for Dad), coloring a slap bracelet, designing a lizard door hanger, creating a popsicle stick fish and painting a deer track. That is a different craft every week and only while supplies last. So be sure to factor that in when planning to participate.

June 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th from Noon – 5PM come celebrate Father’s Day with us by having our catch and release pond set up where you can catch your first fish or just show off your great fishing abilities! And free photos will also be taken on these dates as well. Be sure to make it down as after these weekends are gone, so are the fish and photos!


The Perfect Time To Take a Child Fishing

It looks, and feels like summer is finally here. The kids are out of school and the weather is absolutely perfect for getting them outdoors, and specifically on the water. In this early summer time frame many different things are happening on our southern reservoir systems. The annual migration of Bluegill are now making their nests in the shallow sandy areas as well as the billions of shad that are spawning around seawalls and marina docks. Making this time of year perfect for taking your children fishing.

Just like other species, when bluegill are on their nests they are extremely aggressive, and the best way to get a child hooked on fishing is for them to catch numerous fish. I like many other anglers fuelled their love of fishing at a very young age catching countless numbers of bream and never getting tired of it. To this day I still love watching a fish pull my bobber under the surface. It is just something that never gets old. The way I used to catch them was very simple, and you can get everything you will need at Bass Pro Shops! A simple Bass Pro Shops Round Plastic Float with a small Bass Pro Shops Premium Reusable Split Shot Weight above a Bass Pro Shops Baitholder Hook and your ready to go. Baits such as live red worms work great, and if you prefer artificial bait the Berkley PowerBait Micro Power Wiggler is a perfect choice. Also, if your children need a beginners rod and reel setup Bass Pro Shops has that too at a very affordable price.

So take the time to come on in to Bass Pro Shops and give your children the opportunity to fall in love with the outdoors just like I had growing up. Chances are you will create a passion that will stay with your child for the rest of their lives as well as a family bond that will never be forgotten. Take them out with the right equipment and let them catch as many fish as they want while still not making them stay out longer then they want and the rest is history!

I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania


Add Life to Your Years

Two daughters of an Iowan recently brought Bass Pro Shops Altoona a special gift.

Ed Morello, an avid fisherman, passed away in Ogden, Iowa, in April. His daughters, Cindy McNeil, who works in the Gifts Department at Bass Pro Shop in Mesa, Arizona, and Dawn Meadows of Ames, presented our General Manager with a 7.5 lb largemouth bass mount their father caught 35 years ago. The lure he caught it on hangs from the fish's mouth.

donationMcNeil and Meadows said their dad made it very clear that when he died he wanted the fish to go to Bass Pro Shops Altoona, so his fishing buddies, family, and friends would be able to see it and remember him. Morello’s favorite saying was,

“Fishing may not add years to my life, but it adds life to my years.”

The bass was caught at Bull Shoals, AR, in May 1978.

How about you? Have you helped someone add life to their years by taking them fishing?  June 7-9 are free fishing days in Iowa for Iowa residents.  Other states around the country also have free fishing days. It's a great way to introduce a child OR an adult to the sport and enjoyment of fishing and to enjoy the outdoors.

So, pack a picnic, pray for sunny skies, grab a rod and reel and take someone fishing. It could add life to their and YOUR years.


For more information on various free fishing days and event around the country, visit



The 19th Annual Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament

Islamorada, Florida Keys

The 19th Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament kicked off Sunday, May 19th at the Islamorada Fishing Club. Outgoing Tournament Chairman, Pat Ford of Miami, and incoming Tournament Chairman Dr. Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas, welcomed a 20 boat field by first presenting a $3,000.00 donation to IFACT Chairman, Kara Lundgren.  The Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust supports local fishing and marine conservation projects as well as providing scholarships to those going into the marine resources education programs.

Ward, Lundgren, Ford

The weather actually was very good through out all three days of fishing. The Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament is a large fish tournament, meaning that the bigger fish of 70 pounds and over will score more points. The smaller release fish of four feet and over all score 200 points but do not count unless a weight fish is scored.

Angler Julian Robertson from Kerikeri, New Zealand and local Captain Joe Rodriguez ran away with day one. They scored two weight fish and two releases for 2,300 points. High points on day two also went to Robertson and Rodriguez with another weight fish as well as two more releases for a total of 3,740 points. Day three high points went to newcomer Ryan Seiders from Texas and Captain Rob Fordyce with a weight fish and a release for 1,240 points.  

Julian Robertson and Captain Joe Rodriguez took over the entire tournament winning the Grand Champion title with a final scoring of three weight fish and seven releases for 4,340 points. The team walked away with David Wirth sculptures, a custom fly reel by Tom Kapusta and a custom fly rod from Randy Towe Signature Series Fly Rods. The team also claimed the Billy Pate Memorial Largest Tarpon Award with a 108 pound tarpon. Captain Rodriguez guided Robertson to High Point Trophies on day one and day two as well as the Most Releases trophy with seven fish released.


Capt. Joe Rodriguez, Left  Julian Robertson, Right

First Runner Up Trophy went to Ryan Seiders and Captain Rob Fordyce with two weight fish and three releases for a total of 2,660 points. Seiders and Fordyce grabbed the High Point Trophy for day three as well as the Newcomer Award. Second Runner Up went to angler Rand Holstead of Houston, Texas and Captain Brian Helms with one weight fish and four releases for a total of 1,800 points. Third Runner Up was Ned Johnson from Charleston, S.C. and Captain Andy Thompson with one weight fish and two releases for 1,145 points.

The 20th Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament will be held May 18-21, 2014. For information please email Betsy Bullard at




Let There Be Light!


Light might just be one of the coolest things in the world. It affects life so drastically that it changes how nature functions. Light can tell us when to get up and when it is time to go to bed. (If you’re like me, a human iguana, you really don’t like getting up before the sun.) Light helps plants grow and changes animals’ habits. Without light, a Jedi would only have a saber! And light is so legit it makes up part of one of history’s greatest band’s name: Electric LIGHT Orchestra. (Don’t bring me down, Grroosss!*)

I polled the guys in camping about things that they would be sure to have in a backpack and they mentioned a light source. As noted then, there has been an increasing trend towards headlamps and other hands-free options. When I was planning a deer hunting trip, I was strongly advised to pack a headlamp along with a flashlight. (I wear glasses and can freely quote Jurassic Park so my inner-nerd quickly embraced this option.) So let’s go over some of the hands-free lighting options, shall we?

WARNING: Puns to follow.

Headlamps – These typically range from $20 to almost $200, with about everything in between. Most come with several different brightness levels and some offer “non-white light”. Studies have shown that red or green colored lights affect animals differently (and they make you feel like you are in a Predator movie). They can be a simple head band or have a secondary strap that gives more support over the head. Just remember that the secondary strap may affect any hat/beanie that you would be wearing. (I found this discovery to be illuminating.)

Hat Clip- We have all seen those hats with the built in lights, and those are even too dorky for me. The hat clip light is nice, because it can come off when not needed. (Like when stepping inside the local Denny’s after an all-night crappie trip.)This Browning model will do both white and green light. These will weigh down your cap, but not by anything too drastic. One should not be turned off by this.

Lanterns-  Coleman lantern on a fold-out table? Classic. These are a great option for illuminating a large area and not just what is in front of you.  No campsite is really complete without one. Set them on the ground or hang them from above and things just light up! Just remember to bring extra fuel sources and accessories. (Please note, when carrying these around Prospector Talk and Western Jargon are necessary.)

Pocket Light- These are newer to the market and like Van Halen, they rock! They are pen-shaped and have a clip on the back. Just click them on and stick them somewhere. These things are bright! My buddy’s dad gave me one and it really sheds some light on things. Personally I like to hang them from my backpack’s strap.  You can also pretend to be with M.I.B. when you turn it on right in front of somebody.

Experimental – Now these are “in the works” and should not be considered as viable sources of hands-free light… yet. The “Mr. T” is pretty cool if you ask me. Hook a floating fishing light to some sort of neck-apparatus and hang it in front of your chest. Bling-bling! The only drawback, carrying a battery to power it. But I’d pity the fool who doesn’t get one once they hit the market! The “Caveman’s Bluetooth” would have been the answer to their hands-free lighting problem. Strap on a saltwater fishing belt rig and instead of a fishing rod, a classic fire torch fits in! If that doesn’t say “BEHOLD!” I don’t know what does. Just make sure the width of the torch will fit into the belt rig perfectly, otherwise it will fall down and its lights out.

Well other than the experimental sources, I hope this has helped you chose a new solution to an old problem. I also hope none of this made you burn out. Hollerin’ on Hobby Horses!

*Had to Google that, I always thought it was “Bruce!”


The Double Slammin’ D’s

It was just your typical Arizona day out on Lake Pleasant. Most people remember it as: April 28th, 2013… but for two young anglers it will always be remembered as: Destiny!

The Arizona Bassmaster program holds youth fishing tournaments as a way to get the youth involved in the sport. (Check out their site for more information.) It is a great program and anybody looking for a way to get their kids engaged should contact the program. We all know it is going to be up to the next generation to protect and preserve our great outdoor heritage.

The winners of this event were Dusty and Dixon. These two troublemakers showed up as contestants and left as conquerors.

Dusty won the Junior Side with a bag of three fish. The total bag weight was 6.16#, with the big fish being 2.23#.

Dixon took the High School Division two solid fish. The total bag weight was 3.13#, with his big fish weighing 2.11#.

Due to their diligence these dudes have earned the designation of: The Double Slammin’ D’s!!! Along with their trophies, they took home a rod and reel combo from our store. Other fishermen and charlatans best be wary when crossing paths with these two! Let it be known that nothing will get in their way of a good day of fishin’! Congratulations, boys!


Getting ready for the summer fun!

Getting ready for the summer fun!


With the temperature rising and the sun shining bright that time is getting ready to fall right on top of our laps again! And why let it surprise us when we are all getting ready for what comes with it! Summer is the season that we all truly love down here in our neck of the woods and we know we like to gear up on all the best gear to go along with it! Well we here at Bass Pro Shops are getting ready right there with you, stocking up on our assortment of warm weather gear, toys, and clothing.pack

Our camping department is gearing up with all of the best survival gear and tools you could hope for. Even with some pretty cool bells and whistles like camp stoves that can charge your smart phones and tablets while you’re out of the camp. We are also starting to see some great deals coming out in our ads for our Ascend kayaks and even a few new makes and models that we are carrying this year. This time of year is also when many of you like to grab a hold of a new hydration bag or backpack for hitting the trail and keeping your load comfortable.

boardMarine is also getting a great boom on all of our water sport accessories such as towables and inflatables. We are seeing a good deal of new pool toys coming in this time of year too. In the next few ads, you will see such items as wakeboards and skis going on sale for great prices. And just as usual will be keeping well stocked on all or your boating needs and accessories to help you while you’re out on the water.

Fishing will also have some great deals going on this time of year.  Replenish tackle you have already used or come on in to pick up those last few items you have been meaning to grab. Just keep your eyes peeled to see the great assorted crank baits, worms, rods, and reels we will be putting out there for you, as well as, everything thing else between.

Also with the weather getting hotter and more humid our apparel departments will be getting in more and more collections of warm weather clothes assorted with shorts, skirts, swimwear, and plenty of fishing shirts to keep you cool. We are seeing great new patterns and frills across the ladies apparel department to keep you looking quite fashionable while also keeping you in great comfort. As far as the men’s side, the fishing gear keeps coming in by the truckload to keep you ready and looking good out on the water or around the town. It will be hard for you to miss all of the great Saltlife and Guy Harvey options we have out on the floor to help you show off what you love.go

As we are moving on in to the hot weather just keep your eyes out for the sales we are setting up for you. Our Go Outdoors ad starts on May 16th and it would have to be nearly impossible for you to not find any of the things you’re looking for in there. Its one of the biggest and best ads geared to the summer fun we all love and love to enjoy! So keep your eyes open and come on in to see the great seasonal gear we have making its way to the floor for all of you from all of us at your Bass Pro Shops.

Samantha Stevenson

Front End Manager

Denham Springs


Seasickess Prevention

Seasickness PreventionSummer is coming and with it comes more picnics, family vacations, and hopefully time on the water chasing fish or just cruising around.  Unfortunately for some though, time on the water can be quite uncomfortable especially if the conditions aren’t quite favorable, and depending on the size of the watershed and the weather, “uncomfortable” can be quite “miserable.”  Just ask some friends I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with on the Chesapeake Bay chasing stripers.  It was pretty nasty to say the least and judging from the sounds coming from the cabin, I was glad I was out in the fresh air minding the rods.

Seasickness can strike anyone from the greenhorn land lubber through the most seasoned scourge of the high seas, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the chances of being a victim.

  • Get a good night’s rest.  Being well rested will improve your mood and level of alertness, making it a bit easier to deal with rocky conditions onboard.  Your body uses a lot of energy coping with the constant rocking motion, so it stands to reason that hitting the hay on time will help you enjoy the next day of fishing.
  • Watch what you eat.  Everyone knows they have certain foods that will trigger an upset stomach on dry land so do yourself a favor and avoid those foods before stepping aboard.  Overly greasy and heavy foods that sit like a brick in your stomach won’t do you any favors later in the day when you get sick.  Eat light and eat right.  Crackers and other relatively neutral foods are good when you start feeling queasy.
  • Don’t go to sea with a hangover.  Enough said!
  • Stay up on deck and in the fresh air.  Going down below and hiding your head under the covers is what you really want to do but staying engaged and in the fresh air is what’s best.  Avoid breathing in diesel exhaust if possible.  Concentrate on the horizon or another stationary object to take your mind off the rocking motion.  Find something to do that will keep you busy and productive.
  • Seasickness is essentially a type of motion sickness, so folks that are predisposed to car sickness, air sickness, vertigo, and any other nausea brought on by rocking motions should plan ahead and purchase some kind of preventive aide.

There are a bunch of commercially available products that will help prevent seasickness, many of which I was able to pick up in the marine and fishing departments at the store, while there are some others available at local pharmacies.  Patches, pills (Motion Eaze, Bonine), inhalers (Quease Ease), wrist bands (Queaz-Away), all have their loyal fans but it only works if you have them on hand and use them even if you feel perfect.  Don’t try to prove how much of an expert seaman you are.  Seasickness can strike anyone at any time regardless of experience level.

Plan ahead and all your crewmembers will have a wonderful time enjoying every minute on the water free of seasickness.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


New –Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade-XPS Micro Guide Rods







Our Bionic Blade XPS Micro Guide Trigger Rods are engineered for sensitivity and feature Pacific Bay Micro Guides for smooth casting and virtually friction-free line flow. The revolutionary IM8 blank is created with our innovative Armor Core Technology—a stronger-than-steel aramid fiber core that is wrapped with ultra-light, super-powerful IM8 graphite to make this one of the most powerful, lightweight rods you'll ever fish. EVA split grips add to your control and fishing comfort. Once you go bionic, you'll never go back!

  • Pacific Bay® Micro Guides
  • EVA split grips
  • IM8 blank with Armor Core Technology
  • Two-piece reel seat


Patrick Mooney

Fishing Department Manager


Is fly fishing hard? What are the best fly lines and rods to use?

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Fly Fishing expert Scott Sickau says fly fishing isn't hard, but it takes patience.

"Patience and perseverance...anyone can learn to accurately cast a fly rod good enough to catch fish. In many ways, you have to be more precise with your casts. DVDs and videos offer some help. But, understand that there are many styles of fly casting and not everyone casts the same way. It is still recommended that you find someone to help you one-on-one. You will then learn a casting style that suits your needs best.

"Fly fishing kits range in price from $50 to over $400 for the more advanced combos. Many lower-priced combos still offer the slower fiberglass rods. These will commonly frustrate beginners to the point of leaving the sport.

"Weight forward fly lines are definitely better for beginners. This is because the belly or weighted portion of the fly line is located closer to the leader and fly. This allows the caster an easier time to shoot or make the cast with less effort.

"For beginning casters, many think that it's easier to use the smaller (7'6" and shorter) fly rods.  I don't usually recommend the short rods due to the fact that beginners oftentimes treat them like a spinning rod, i.e. they have not learned to feel the rod load. I prefer a beginning caster start with at least an 8' rod, allowing them to feel the rod load. An experienced caster can make any rod work even in tight quarters, no matter the rod length."







Does Choosing the Correct Fishing Line have You in Knots?

Fishing line is arguably the single most important piece of equipment used by all fishermen. It plays a key role:

• in lure presentation
• in hooking fish
• in landing the fish

Nevertheless, most anglers remain confused and uneducated on the distinctive types of line that are available, and the special properties each type of fishing line exhibits. My hope is over the next few paragraphs; I can help you understand the pros and cons of the different products, so in the future you will choose the precise line for the right situations. More than anything I want to help you catch more fish!

Monofilament - “High Stretch” line

In 1938, DuPont announced the discovery of nylon, a "group of new synthetic super polymers" that could be made into textile fibers stronger and more elastic than cotton, silk, wool, or rayon. The following year, DuPont began commercial production of nylon monofilament fishing line. This new line, primitive by today's standards, didn't catch on immediately; older fishing lines, particularly braided Dacron, remained popular for the next two decades.  In 1958, however, DuPont introduced Stren, a thinner line of more uniform quality that could be used for different types of reels, including newly introduced spinning and spincasting tackle. This line was quickly embraced by fishermen, and led to a boom in sportfishing popularity because it helped make fishing much easier.

Monofilament products to this day still remain popular, accounting for more than two-thirds of all fishing lines sold throughout the country. As the name suggests, this is a single-component product. It is formed through an extrusion process in which molten plastic is formed into a strand through a die. This process is relatively inexpensive, producing a less costly product. Cost is the number-one factor that monofilament line is so widely popular. Even so, it's important to remember that cheaper brands of monofilament usually don't receive the quality-control attention, additives and attention in the finishing process that premium-grade lines receive. As a result, they may not offer the tensile strength, limpness, abrasion resistance, and knot strength characteristic of more expensive monofilament fishing lines.  In other words, you get what you pay for! Cheap off-brand mono usually doesn't perform as well as  more expensive name brands, so "buyer beware." If you decide to use monofilament, test several name brands and stick with those you come to know and trust.

• What baits do you fish on monofilament

1. Deep Crankbaiting
2. Top water popping baits
3. Shakeyheads
4. Shallow-water crankbaits

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Bass Pro Shops Tourney Tough™ Monofilament Fishing Line
Moderate: Berkley® Trilene XL Smooth Casting™ Line
The Best: Seaguar SENSHI – World-Class Monofilament

Braided - “No Stretch” line

Before the discovery of nylon, braided Dacron was the most popular fishing  line. Dacron possessed poor knot strength, low abrasion resistance and little stretch. So it was used much less after the superior nylon monofilaments were introduced. Today braided line maintains only a very small-market interest, but it does have its usages.

 In the early 1990s, gel-spun and aramid fibers such as Spectra, Kevlar and Dyneema entered the fishing line market, creating a new category of braided lines often called "superlines" or "microfilaments." These synthetic fibers are thin and incredibly tough (more than 10 times stronger than steel). Individual fiber strands are joined through an intricate, time-consuming braiding process to produce ultrathin, super strong, sensitive, yet expensive lines. Anglers who experimented with early superlines were frustrated by low knot strength, backlashes, poor coloration and damaged equipment. To many of these disadvantages outweighed the benefits of strength, microdiameter, and ultra sensitivity considering the high cost of these products. Makers of superlines have made continual advances and improvements to the raw material fibers and the process that converts them into fishing line. Coloration, castability, and strength have all been improved, overcoming some early disadvantages.

Lures do dive to deeper depths and at a faster rate when connected to superlines. And because it's smaller in diameter, superline is less visible to fish than monofilament, and anglers can spool more line on their reels; this is a great advantage for the salt water fishing man. Superlines have little stretch, transmitting strikes instantly to the rod tip, thus providing more positive hook sets. Superlines also allow longer casts, making them ideal for shore-bound anglers. High break strength and low stretch permit better handling of big fish.

Saltwater anglers do use more of the braided superlines than fresh water fishermen. Sometimes, the line is used as a backing for mono, allowing anglers to utilize small reels while increasing line capacity. Many anglers prefer the softness of braid for vertical jigging and trolling. Superlines do require a Palomar knot for best results with a small drop of superglue on the actual knot.  Put mono backing on your reel before spooling these lines to prevent it from slipping on the spool. Using a Uni knot to connect the braid to the monofilament is recommended.
Do not overfill reels with braided line. Overfilling creates loose strands after a cast and which will cause more backlashes. Fill them up to one-eighth inch from the spool rim.

• What type of baits do you fish with braid on?
1. Flipping heavy cover
2. Top water baits
3. Drop shotting
4. Carolina Rigs
5. Spoons

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Spiderwire EZ Braid™ Line
Moderate: PowerPro Braided Spectra® Fiber Micro Filament Line
The Best: Seaguar Kanzen™ Braided Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon - “Low Stretch” line

Fluorocarbon is a polymer that's nearly invisible in water because it is a refractor to light. It is inert, so it resists deterioration by sunlight, gasoline, battery acid, or insect repellents. Fluor also doesn't absorb water.

Fluorocarbon fishing leaders originated in Japan, where anglers are very particular about their bait presentations. Japanese fisheries are heavy pressured; so lifelike bait presentations are extremely important. Most fluorocarbon lines are invisible under the water.

Lately, the popularity of the fluorocarbon line has landed in the U.S. with many anglers. Many of us started using fluorocarbon leaders, primarily in saltwater and fly fishing applications because of its low visibility. Sales currently have increased drastically because fishermen are catching more fish with it. The original fluorocarbon leaders were stiff and very expensive, but new technologies have produced more flexible fluorocarbon at more affordable prices.

Fluorocarbon certainly offers advantages in clear-water situations where fish are heavily pressured or slow to bite. Because  fluorocarbon does not absorb water, it won't weaken or increase in stretch like a monofilament fishing line. Added density makes fluorocarbon very abrasion-resistant, so it's ideal for rough conditions, and makes it sink quicker than other styles of fishing lines. Lures do dive deeper and faster. Fluorocarbon line stretches slower and less than nylon, particularly when compared to wet nylon, and it's more sensitive.

Fluorocarbon lines, like superlines, require special attention. The Trilene knot is the best to use for this type of line. Make all 5 wraps when tying the knot, and excessively wet the line before cinching the knot to prevent line weakening. Always test the knot before fishing, because the knot is the weakest place in your line.

Fluorocarbons are still stiffer than nylon, even when they are wet. This requires more attentiveness to the line when casting. Heavier fluorocarbon line is made to be used on heavy rods, strong reels and big lures. Baitcasting reels may require additional adjustment for the extra momentum created by the larger weight of fluorocarbon. Adjust the brakes on the reel to the weight of the line to maximize casting distance and minimize professional overruns.

• What baits work best with Fluorocarbon?
1. Deep water jig
2. Shallow running crankbaits
3. Worm fishing
4. Spinnerbait fishing

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon
Moderate: Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series Fluorocarbon
The Best: Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon

Fishing line doesn’t last forever that is why you need to store it properly. Heat can have effects on fishing line, but studies have shown that light seems to do even more to break down fishing line. If at all possible, try to store all your fishing lines in a cool dark space. To me, the best place would be an interior closet in your house.  That will prolong the fishing line life and keep it fishing like new line every time you go fishing.

No single type of line is perfect for all fishing conditions. To choose the best line, anglers should consider the size and species of fish being targeted, water type and conditions, the type of tackle being used, and other factors. Nevertheless, today more than ever, with the many types of lines available, it's important to devote time to studying each line and its characteristics so you will have the best for each fishing situation. By doing so, you'll improve your catch rate. And catching more fish, after all, is what we all hope to do.
About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

"Hooked" on Catfish!

They say catfish have a face only another catfish could love.  I disagree, even the mother catfish swims off and leaves her young alone as soon as she sees them, but brothers and sisters, they taste so good!

Millions of fishers flock to the waters of Texas to catch catfish, with just about as many different setup and baits to go around, for each one of them.  Today I hope to share a  basic terminal tackle rig with you. Let’s look at the basic slider rig.  It’s called a slider rig because the line slides through the weight when the fish chomps on your bait.  Hopefully the fish does not feel the weight as an ‘unnatural’ item and spit your bait out.  If we tie a knot around the weight the fish may just feel the weight and spit the bait out. Here’s how to rig it!

 Thread your egg sinker, or any weight that is designed to slip up and down the line, onto your fishing line. Make sure the weight is appropriate to cast with your fishing rod, you don’t want to try throwing a boat anchor with a flyswatter.   Then slide a plastic bead up the line right behind the weight.  This little plastic bead keeps the edges of the metal weight from digging against your knot and weakening it.  A little bead may just save that big old Mr. Whiskers you’ve been after so don’t scrimp on them. 

 Next, tie on a barrel swivel to the end of your line.  Make sure the barrel swivel eyes are heavy enough to hold the fish you are after. Also, make sure you get swivels with eyes large enough not to slide over the hole or brass loop in your sinker.

 Once you have the weight, bead and barrel swivel in place tie in a piece of leader.  A leader can be as simple as a piece of the line off your reel, any variation of line. Some folks like fluorocarbon, some monofilament and some still use nylon braids or steel leaders.  The choice is yours, but most freshwater bottom fishers simply use a good strong piece of monofilament about 18 to 24 inches long as a leader.

 So, now we have everything set up except the part that gets the point across (pun intended).  The hook is exactly as critical as the fisherman is serious.  A lot of catfishers are strictly out for a little time outside and if they catch a few well that’s great.  On the other side of the coin there are catfish tournament pros.  These serious-minded souls have put some thought and experimentation into their hook choice.  Here are a few hook ideas and some catfish-brained logic behind them.

 The “J” hook. That’s the hook that looks just like the letter “J”.  It’s been around a long time and everybody already has a few in their tackle box.  Just make sure they are sharp and not rusted, especially around the hook eye.

J Hook

 There is also the “Kahle” hook.  It has a sweeping gooseneck shaft that allows you to use thicker chunks of bait without having to widen the actual “gap” of the hook.  These were the hook of choice for cut bait fisherman before the “circle hook” came on the scene.

Kahle Hook

 Last, and surging to the front in popularity is the “circle hook.”  Don’t ask me the physics of the thing, but these engineering marvels always seem to hit the fish right in the corner of the mouth when the fish starts struggling.  There is an upside and downside to the circle hook. The up side is, as I already said, they catch the fish in the corner of the mouth an astounding percentage of the time. They don’t swallow the hook…ever.  You don’t even have to guess when to set the hook, just start reeling when you know the fish is on.  Therein is the only downside.  If you try to “set” the hook with the typical herculean, wide sweeping power set that some folks love so much, the hook doesn’t do it’s magic and you miss a lot of strikes, but some of us just love that hook set so much we don’t want to let the fish have all the fun.

Circle Hook

 Some cat catchers prefer a treble hook.  These type hooks are usually employed by fishers using different kinds of “stink baits.”  There are dip baits, dough baits, and just about as many homemade concoctions as the fishing public can imagine.  Treble hooks might also be a good choice if you use chicken livers or some other soft tissue bait like beef or pork liver.

Treble Hook

 One more treble hook joins the parade too.  There is the regular treble hook with a spring or wire wrapped around the shaft of the hook.  This added contraption actually gives dough type baits something additional to hold on to when we fling that bad boy out with a lot of gusto.  They sure do help to keep you from unknowingly fishing with a bare hook from slinging your bait off while casting.

Spring Treble Hook

 So, there is your basic catfish rig, a few hook ideas, and even a little “how to” on the rigging.  Now it’s up to you to decide the “when to” and come on into Bass Pro Shops, Garland, TX to get your gear! Oh, and make sure you get that frying pan ready!


The Perfect Pack

A few years ago I found myself at my local Bass Pro, with my buddy’s girlfriend. She wanted to surprise him with a new backpack for all the outdoor activities we enjoy. (That’s a lady to marry right there!) She settled on a Red Head backpack that had a lot of space and a built in hydration pack. Within two days I received the call from my buddy wanting to break it in. Who am I to deny such a request?  We met at the determined spot and time, strapped on our packs and began our desert trek. I quickly noticed how much more room the new backpack had than mine (a converted high school backpack) and how nice the hydration feature was, especially in the desert. After the hike, I decided it was time to upgrade my pack and headed back to the Bass Pro.


              As man-code goes I could not get the same pack as my friend’s so started going over my options. I settled on the Red Head Hybrid Pack . It had a lot more room than my previous pack, and was hydration-system compatible. It has the perfect amount and sizes of pockets for specific storage for most outdoor activities. Another little bonus is that the pack can come apart into two sections. This lets us have a full sized pack, good sized back pack, or a waist pack that can carry a decent load. (The term fanny will not be used, except for right there.)

                Over the past few years I can easily say I have gotten my money’s worth out of this product.  Whether I am hiking the local trails, fishing small creeks for trout or heading to the range, this backpack fulfills all carrying needs. I especially enjoy the use of the waist pack separate from the main part. Not every situation requires a full sized pack, which makes this quite convenient. Most of my activities really only require the use of the top half. For example, for fishing it will hold a standard sized trout net, my three piece rod (broken down), reel, all necessary tackle, bait, tools and more. When I hit the range, I easily fit my two full size pistols, eye protection, ear protection, ammo and targets. There is always plenty of room to stash my wallet, phone and keys in a pocket as well.

As far as the waist pack goes, I typically have it converted to a survival bag that carries what I have assembled for my kit. (I would like to add that I will be throwing in this comprehensive survival kit, just as extra precaution.) Keep in mind; this is just the waist portion, leaving the upper portion available for more use. I can also toss this pack in the back of my truck, just in case something was to ever happen. Also for those with kids, having them carry the waist pack would be a great way to include them and make them feel like an essential part to whatever activity is going on.

With my first big-game hunt coming up last November, I began wondering if I would need to upgrade my pack. I loaded the main pack with the basics for whitetail hunting, and attached the waist pack as well. I locked the buckles across my chest and slung my rifle over my shoulder. Then using the waist buckles, strapped in over the rifle. It secured the rifle firmly and comfortably, leaving me completely hands free. Between the waist straps and the most comfortable sling ever, hiking with my rifle was a breeze.

If you are looking for a new backpack for yourself or a gift, I am sure by now you know which one I would suggest.


Ice out Lake Trout

Marty's Lake TroutMarty and Me w/lake troutThe high mountain lakes are starting to become ice free and now is the time to catch your lake trout of a lifetime. I have been waiting for the days when I could make the trip over Monarch Pass to Gunnison and finally chase ice off lake trout at Blue Mesa Reservoir with the best of friends. This trip was a trip to remember.

I knew we were heading out on Friday and I have been in another state for a business conference during the week, not a good time to concentrate with lake trout on the brain. I have made the trip from Fountain to Blue Mesa several times to meet up with my buddy Robby Richardson owner of Sport Fish Colorado and we have put a great number of fish in the boat. He has landed several lakers over 20# and I have yet to get one in the boat. I was going to land a giant on this trip for sure I just knew it.

I picked up my good friend Marty Riddle who is the Pro Staff Manager for Eagle Claw and we headed out with smiles and anticipation of a giant lake trout. Marty has never been to Blue Mesa before and I hoping for the best for the both of us. Robby had been on big lakers the entire week on guide trips. Perfect, everything was lining up for this trip to be successful.

We headed out early on Saturday and trolled some baits along the points. The fish were showing up on Robby's Lowrance graph and we were in the right areas. I had to chunk and wind a swim bait off the front to work the areas from the shore to the boat.It seemed like the lake trout had other plans than to take pictures with us. Then I got whacked and the fight was on. This one felt like a big one. It headed straight to the bottom and head shaked. I got a few cranks on it and back to the bottom it went head shaking and then the heart break happened the line went limp and there was no weight on the end of my rod. Wow. not again. Just my luck with the lake trout so far for the last couple of years. the big ones seem to always get off.

The day was long and we were not on the board with any big lake trout so far. Marty got whacked and the fight was on. This was a great fish it dove to the bottom and wasn't going to give up easy. This fish fought him for a good ten minutes and we saw a glimpse of her before she made another dive. She came up again and blew bubbles and Robby was able to get the net under her and in the boat she came. This was an incredible fish. Marty was as excited as I have ever seen him. She choked the bait it was completely gone. Robby quickly removed the bait and we took a bunch of photos of Marty's first Blue Mesa fish a 24# lake trout. Not too shabby.

Sunday was a different day there were several boats on the water and the lake was getting some pressure as luck would have it Marty's rod was loaded up with another giant early. This beauty had a much larger fish come up from the depths with her that had at least another ten pounds on her and spooked when she got closer to the boat. Marty's second lake trout of the weekend weighed 20#. I never got bit until it was time to head back to the ramp. I had a sympathy 3# German Brown show me some love. Although I have yet to land a laker over 20# I had the one of the best times on the water that I will never forget. My stomach still hurts from all the laughs we shared and what better way to spend the weekend with the best of friends.

If it is giant lake trout your looking for this spring give my buddy Robby Richardson a call with Sport Fish Colorado (719) 649-3378 He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Check out his website


Best of luck,

                     Sam Heckman / Pro Staff


Have Fly Rod, Will Travel

Rod WotenBy: Rod Woten, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

Iowa isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions fly fishing. Granted, we don’t have any epic saltwater flats that hold line-stripping bonefish and we don’t have any glacier-fed rivers that hold stunningly beautiful cutthroat trout. There are, however, plenty of fly rod opportunities in Iowa if you know where to look. The opportunities below are just a few of my favorites from around the state.


Farm Pond Panfish

I learned to fly fish on southeast Iowa farm ponds growing up as a kid.  Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Iowa is the land of 10,000 farm ponds and many of them rarely, if ever, get any fishing pressure. That can equate to trophy panfish and the opportunity to be THE ONLY ONE with permission to fish a farm pond or two. Often, all it takes is a knock on a landowner’s door and sharing a bag of fillets with them every once in a while. 

The great thing about panfish on the fly rod is that every fish seems like a monster. One of my favorites tactics for catching farm pond bluegills on the fly rod are foam poppers.  Trust me - if you love the adrenaline of catching bass on top water lures, then catching bluegills on fly rod poppers is definitely right up your alley. Don’t limit yourself to poppers only, though. Almost any dry fly, grasshopper, cricket, or beetle pattern will make an excellent top water presentation for bluegills. If you’re lucky enough to be fishing a pond that also contains crappies, you also stand a very good chance of landing a few of those silver-sided panfish.

For those days when the bluegills just won’t feed on the surface, I’ll tie on a small beadhead nymph of some sort, add a strike indicator above that, and experiment with the depth between the two until I find the exact depth that the bluegills are feeding at.  Another variation on this theme is to tie a foam hopper on and then add a nymph to a short length of line tied to the hook of the hopper. This is often referred to as a “hopper-dropper” rig, and will not only catch those deeper feeding bluegills, but can pick up surface strikes as well.

All of these tactics also work well on any Iowa lake with a good panfish population, so don’t be afraid to give those a whirl either.

Down a Lazy River

Iowa is blessed with a few rivers that have pretty good smallmouth bass fishing. One of my favorites is the stretch of the Raccoon River between Panora and Redfield. On a hot summer day, it feels pretty good to wade a stretch of this river while tossing wooly buggers to likely looking smallmouth haunts and waiting for the strike. Other than an occasional passing flotilla of kayakers, we often have the river to ourselves when we do this. For those that are willing to wade far enough from the access points, you can often forget you’re only minutes away from the nearest highway.

My favorite fly for this is a black wooly bugger with a gold cone head.  Fishing this fly is as simple as casting to a likely looking spot, and stripping line to retrieve the Bugger.  The stripping action causes the Bugger to gently rise and fall through the water with each stroke and looks a lot like a minnow swimming through the current. Smallmouth can’t resist it, but it’s also not uncommon for us to catch walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish, white bass, yellow bass, crappies, green sunfish, flathead catfish and carp on any given cast. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about wading the Raccoon River; even though we’re specifically targeting smallmouth, you just never know what you’re next fish will be.

The Queen Mother of All Iowa Fly Fishing

WCreek Fly Fishingithout a doubt, the pinnacle for fly fishing in Iowa is chasing brook, brown and rainbow trout in the cold water spring-fed streams of northeast Iowa. Most folks don’t even realize that we have trout in Iowa, but they are there and the fly fishing for them can be EPIC at most times of the year. Iowa’s trout streams are often small, and the close proximity of overgrowth can be a true test of anyone’s fly casting ability. It is often said that if you can successfully fly fish the trout streams of Iowa, you can fly fish anywhere with success.

Whether your goal is to fool a truly wild trout, take home a limit of stockers for the grill, chase a true trophy fish, or simply get away from it all and spend the day casting in the solitude of nature, you can find all of these on a northeast Iowa trout stream. Because of the unique geology of the area, (which, in large part is why these streams are there in the first place) you'll be blessed with rock outcroppings, scenic overlooks and flora and fauna that will take your breath away. In this area of the state it is truthfully hard to tell most of the time that you are still even in Iowa! It’s something you truly have to experience for yourself to fully understand, and what better way to do so than with fly rod in hand.

Give it a Try!

It is said that almost any fish that can be caught with rod and reel can also be caught on the fly rod. Contrary to popular belief, Iowa has some humdinger fly fishing opportunities available to anyone willing to pick up a rod, learn to cast and give it a try.  From farm pond bluegills and largemouth to river smallmouths, and from carp (often referred to as the “poor man’s bonefish”) to spring stream trout, Iowa can offer it all.  Bass Pro Shops can provide you everything you need to get started; not only on the equipment side of things, but also with expert guidance on selecting things like line, rod, reel and flies for whatever fish you decide to chase as well as offering casting workshops and fly tying seminars all done in-store. Be sure to stop in and pick their brains if this whole fly rod thing is something that peaks your interest. I also own and operate Coldwater Guide Service, which specializes in guiding beginner fly anglers. While our forte is Northeast Iowa trout, we also offer trips for all of the scenarios I’ve described above, as well as many others, including ice fishing adventures during the winter. If you’d like to have us take you out and show you what this fly fishing thing is all about, be sure to check us out at

Whatever avenues you might take to learn fly-fishing, I highly encourage you to at least give it a try….even if it only remotely interests you. As a fishing professional, I spend many hours fishing with an array of techniques ranging from pulling planer boards for walleyes and spinnerbait fishing for bass to drifting for crappies and fishing through a 6” hole in the ice with a 20-inch rod in the winter…and everything in between, but some of my most satisfying moments in my life have come with a fly rod in my hand.


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Fishing Tips by Teddy Carr

  I just finished up with the Bassmaster Weekend Series tournament on the Potomac River. I caught fish all day but just couldn’t manage a big bite to get me over the hump-so to speak. But one of the keys to success is being on a good pattern that is producing to enhance your odds of catching the big ones you need. I had figured out my lure pattern and choice earlier in the week. I was smashing them on a Booyah Boogie Bait in white. But its not enough to just have the right lure selection, you also have to have the right rod and reel set-up and that reel has to be spooled with the right line. With all the specialty lines out there today we have a huge leg up. I use Bass Pro Shops 30-pound braid for my bladed jigs like the Boogie Bait along with a heavy action rod. This allows me to rip this lure out of the grass and pads that I routinely fish as well as get a good hook set. I spool it up on a Bass Pro Shops Pro-Qualifier reel that gives me maximum casting distance. Even though I didn’t win this tournament my set up is a winning combination for catching bass.


Teddy Carr

 Member of the Aflac Fishing Team and Bass Pro Shops Pro-staff


Fishing Report


by David Brayman


     For the freshwater fishermen, there are plenty of shad to be caught in the lower James River up to the fall line with darts and spoons being the primary lure, no specific color. This fishery will continue for another 2 to 3 weeks before it begins to wind down. Along with the shad the Striped Bass have started to get caught with both schoolies and big fish in the mix. A jig head lure with a white body will produce good results, 4, 6, or even 8 inch bodies will work. For the bass fishermen, the fish have begun to work into a pre-spawn/spawn patterns. Top water and plastic lures producing best results. The Small mouth bite is getting better as well with the fish following their larger mouthed cousins. For the crappie live minnows and and jigs are doing well.


     The croaker and spot are a little slow going coming to us, but they are being caught. The Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum are beginning to make their way to the flats areas in places like Mobjack Bay. The large Drum are making their presence in the ocean going inlets like Fisherman’s Island inlet. These big fish are being caught up to the 50 inch marker. Softshell crab, or cut bait will produce for these bruisers. Another good fish to pursue is the Tautaug. These fish are bait stealing KINGS, if you aren’t paying full attention. Cut crabs, sand fleas, or fiddler crabs are best bait for these guys.

     As Spring comes into play around us, we begin to remember those little things we needed to get done last year. Changing that mono line out, sharpen bait knives, replace last years lost tackle. Getting these things done now, can prevent lost time later.

     Our Feature product this month is the Ascend fs128t Angler Kayak. This is one to get excited about, it has GREAT potential to become a big contender in the fishing community. Come by and take a look for yourself!

  • Sit-on-top/Stand up design provides the ultimate kayak fishing platform
  • Solid casting platform with pull up assist strap for stable switch to stand up fishing
  • Removable 360 degree swivel seat with 3 position height adjustment.
  • Multiple watertight dry storage hatches with easy access
  • Deep molded side storage trays accept all kinds of fishing gear and tackle
  • Multipurpose molded dash - catch all trays, cup holder, and recessed tackle tray storage under seat
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • 4 flush mount rod holders - 2 by seat, 2 forward
  • Molded rod tip stagers on bow deck hold top of rod while fishing
  • Fully adjustable rod tender - provides vertical adjustment and 360° of horizontal adjustment
  • 8 scupper drains - big enough to accept transducer (sold separately)
  • Anchor trolley
  • Maximum weight capacity: 350 lbs.

Single Largest Kid's Fishing Event in the USA!

Destin's Bass Pro Shops along with Lowes, Walmart, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Pensacola Recreational Fisherman's Association, many volunteers and other vendors co-hosted the annual Pensacola Kids' Fishing Clinic on Saturday, April 13th at the Plaza De Luna along the Bay in historic Pensacola.  Some 1000 to 1500 kids and their parents attended this event, billed as the largest in the USA, where the lines extended northward from the park for several blocks.  The kids and their parents attended instructional booths where they learned about fishing tackle, casting techniques, knot tying, conservation, and a hands-on salt water touch tank.  The kids received a free rod and reel combo, a tackle box, terminal tackle, a fishing bucket, booklets on fishing, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Rules and Regulations.  Everything was free, including the great food, drinks, and snacks.

General Manager, Ryan Cox, Gary Feduccia, Dave Lockett, and Melissa and Oscar Zepeda hosted instructional booths and helped the kids with fishing and baiting their hooks.  Destin Bass Pro Shops provided many of the combos and tackle boxes given to the kids.

Kids were encouraged and provided the opportunity to fish along the Bay using cut squid.  Several species of fish were caught and released, including a 10 pound Red Drum.  Since 1996, more than 52,000 kids and some 43,000 parents have participated in the Kids' Fishing Clinics.  Destin's Bass Pro Shops is proud to have been a participant and co-sponsor in this annual event for the past 3 years.  We feel that we are helping to teach our kids responsible marine conservation and stewardship that will last them for a lifetime of fishing enjoyment.