The Annual Spring Fishing Classic is Back!

 Don’t miss the Spring Fishing Classic going on at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, VA February 28 – March 16, 2014. This sensational event features Bass Pro Shops Fishing University, National & Local Pro Anglers & Seminars, Sweepstakes, Tracker Boat Show & Sale, Rod & Reel Trade in Programs, Next Generation Kids Weekend & Activities and lots more.

The event kicks off with our FREE Bassmaster University where our National Pro Anglers share their top tips and techniques. The class schedule is set as follows:

February 28th

7:00 pm Spring Striper Fishing on the Chesapeake led by Max King (PENN & Berkley Pro Staff member)

March 1st

Noon Spring Striper Fishing on the Chesapeake led by Max King (PENN & Berkley Pro Staff member)

1:00 pm Finesse Fishing led by Chris Daves (2007 PAA Bass Champion / Bassmaster Open Angler)

2:00 pm Pre Spawn Fishing led by Kendall Newson (Former Professional Football Player and Current Professional Angler Fishing the Bassmaster Opens/ Founder of “Teach a Child to Fish”)

3:00 pm All About Jigs led by Timmy Horton (Former Bassmaster Angler of the Year/ 4 Time Bassmaster Elite Series Winner / Host of Timmy Horton Outdoors TV Show)

*Pro Appearances and Classes, Subject to Change.

The event continues with Local Pro Fishing Tips and Seminars Friday March 7- Sunday March 9, 2014:

March 7th

7:00 pm Flipping and Pitching for Bass

March 8th and 9th

11am Locating Bass in New Waters

1pm Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass

3pm Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for River Fishing

The first 25 people (18 years old or older) to attend a seminar on Saturday and Sunday only will receive a FREE tumbler cup. Styles may vary.

Plus on March 8th from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, we will be serving up some samples of fish, fried using our indoor fryers!

The last weekend of the Classic is Next Generation Weekend and this year we have also added a Women’s Workshop.

The Women’s Beginning Fishing Workshop will be held on March 15, 2014 at 3:00pm. The first 50 women (18 years old or older) to attend this seminar will receive a FREE tumbler cup. Styles may vary.

During our Next Generation Weekend Saturday March 15 and Sunday March 16, 2014, kids can learn about fishing and participate in our hands-on activities. The Catch and Release pond is back! From Noon to 5:00 pm, kids have a chance to catch a live fish (rods, reels, and bait provided), enjoy a photo opportunity, and coloring pages. Then from 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm kids can participate in our wood fish craft (*while supplies last). At 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm each day we will have the kids fishing workshop, “Thinking Like a Fish”. A parent or guardian must register the kid for these events in order for them to participate. The first 150 kids to complete the activity punch card will receive a FREE Tackle Box!

Be sure to enter our Spring Fishing Classic Sweepstakes any time during the event for your chance to win a 2014 Nitro Z7 boat and go fishing with Elite Angler Edwin Evers (over $32,000 value). See store for official rules and details.

But that’s not all!

February 28th - March 5th is our Reel Trade In! Bring in your old reel and get a coupon toward a discount on a new reel.

March 7-11 is our Rod Trade In! Bring in your old rod and get a coupon toward a discount on a new rod.

 

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Bass Pro's White River Fly Shop - late winter 2014 report

This winter continues to provide amazing opportunities for very large rainbow trout on the Upper Owens River. With the warming spring like conditions in the Eastern Sierra, these jumbo sized rainbows are running up river from Lake Crowley driven by the urge to spawn. From Benton Crossing Bridge upstream anglers can find pods of fish holding in the bend pools and deeper runs. Nymphing with an indicator is most successful method to take these large fish. The indicator rig allows the angler to fish at distance in order to avoid spooking the fish and gives instant feedback on the soft subtle takes. Some good flies to try are San Juan worms, egg patterns and various nymph imitations such as flashback pheasant tails, brassies, beadhead hares ear nymphs, and midge patterns in size #18 and #20.

Sierra Drifter guide Tom Lowe offers the following tips: “winter time takes are as soft as a butterflies kiss, so set on anything.  If your indicator stops, shimmies, hovers, or plunges, SET IT!  I tell clients to look for reasons to set the hook, not excuses why you didn’t! Swings are free, and you can’t strike out while fly fishing. Try to set the hook moving your rod the direction your indicator is moving. This establishes ANGLE & insures you pull the hook INTO the fish, not out of its mouth. Anything 4 feet or deeper may hold a fish or two.  There is also some decent midge activity; however the flies are very small and clusters or parachute patterns will do the job.  There were a few fish rising around 2 pm. I saw the first mayflies in quite a while, maybe the beginning? I actually caught a few using a dry dropper rig with a para bwo hi-vis #14, and a dark flashback PT #20.”

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Happy White River Fly Shop customer Herb Mathiesen, with a jumbo Upper Owens River Rainbow. Photo courtesy of Tom Lowe.

 

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Spring Fishing Classic

            SPRING FISHING CLASSIC

 

Are you ready for Spring Fishing???

I know I am!!

The official beginning of the season is coming soon. THE SPRING FISHING CLASSIC will begin on February 28, 2014. This is the biggest fishing event of the year!

March 1, 2014 we will welcome some of the best anglers in the industry to our store for BASSMASTER University. These three guys are some of the best- Tracy Adams, Jason Quinn and Boyd Duckett.

 

                 BASSMASTER University

 

BASS MASTER University Seminars

Tracy Adams   1 pm    Shallow Water Jig Fishing

Jason Quinn   2 pm    Topwater Versatility

Boyd Duckett   3 pm    Proper Combinations of Line, Reel, and Rod

 

March 7

                7 pm    Bowfishing for Beginners/Rigging for Bowfishing

March 8-9

2-4 pm  Fried fish Sampling

11 am   Locating Bass in New Waters

1 pm    Topwater Techniques for Bass

2 pm    Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass

3 pm    Does the color of your Bass Lure Matter?

4 pm   Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5 pm    Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

March 15-16

Next Generation Weekend  12-5 pm

  • Free Kids Fishing Workshop                        2:30 and 4:30 pm
  • Free Crafts                                                       1-4:30 pm
  • Free Catch and Release Pond                    12-5 pm
  • Free photos                                                     12-5 pm

*Free Giveaway – to the first 150 kids that complete punch card each day

 

March 15

3 pm    Women’s Fishing Workshop- Women’s beginning fishing workshop

*Free giveaway to the first 50 women to attend this workshop Must be 18 yrs or older

 

There are so many Daily Specials on March 7-8 & 14-15 that I can’t mention them all!

Grab your sales ad, go to basspro.com- make your list ! Whatever you do make sure you check out all the great deals!

 

 

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The Spring Fishing Classic 2014 Seminar Schedule!

Please join us for the Spring Fishing Classic 2014!


******     February 28 - March 16  -  It's 3 weeks of fun/education and yes, even sales!     ******

 

On Friday, Feb 28, we'll have 3 (count them THREE) National Pros with seminars!
Pros will be in the store 5pm -close (9pm) on the 28th.

 

Captain Dale Stroschein

 

Just a handful of the covers in which Capt Dale Strochein has been featured.

 

Prior to chartering full time and maintaining his resort, Dale fished competitively on the Professional Walleye Trail for 12 years-each year qualifying for the national championship. He was the only angler to hold Big Fish records simultaneously for both the PWT and NAWA circuits.

 

These represent just a handful of the covers that have featured Captain Dale Strochein!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon Champion Trophy

 

Competing since  he was a teen - at age 15 he won his first club tournament! Casey Scanlon went on to plave 1st place in the 2012 Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2

Follow this link to Casey's articles on fishing lowland grass resevoirs.

 

Casey Scanlon B.A.S.S. numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Parsons

Chase Parsons with FLW trophy

 

Chase boasts a number of Pro Walleye Tour (PWT) top-tens, Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 and a tournament win at Lake Oahe, S.D. in 2011.

 

Chase Parsons at winning check presentation.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Professional walleye fisherman Chase Parsons is presented with the $50,000 cash prize for winning the FLW National Guard walleye tournament on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March  1st & 2nd Seminars

 

Jim Crowley

Jim Crowley conducting fish tank demonstration at East Peoria Bass Pro Shops.

 We've got Jim Crowely of Hook & Hunt TV.com for the entire weekend! You don't want to be late for his 3:00 seminar - he's starting out with a short video of out-takes from his show.

 Jim Crowley, Hook & Hunt TV.com

 

 

 

 

The following Seminar and Tank Demonstrations will be held on both Saturday and Sunday:

11:00 Tank Demo: How to use lures to haul in the big ones.

1:00 Bass Class 101 - The Spring Connection

3:00 Tank Demo: How to use lures to haul in the big ones.

 

Local Pros Weekend      March 7 - 9

 
 
Seminars: Friday 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: Seminars will begin at 11am each day
 

1st 25 seminar attendees to attend a Saturday or Sunday (3/8 & 3/9) Seminar will receive a SFC tumbler!

Friday     

March 7  

 
  7pm Flipping and Pitching for Bass
Saturday   March 8 & 9   
& Sunday     11am Locating Bass in New Waters
  1pm Topwater Techniques for Bass
  2pm Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass
  3pm Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?
  4pm Become a Smallmouth Specialist
  5pm Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

  

"Thinking Like a Fish"      Workshops for Kids!  March 15 & 16 at 2:30 & 4:30    

 

 

bluegill

We'll be teaching kids what causes a fish to think like a fish, and that alone, will give them insight to become the best fisher people they can be!

We'll cover topics such as where do they live, what do they eat and where you might best them hanging out.

 

We'll also cover fishing equipment and safety!

                                                                                                                               

Women's Beginning Fishing  Workshop!      March 15 at 3pm  Jim Crowely conducting seminar at Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria

 

Join JIM CROWLEY for our new seminar that designed just for the ladies!
 

We’ll teach you about spin casters and bait casters, fishing line, knots,  lures and worms. The workshop will be followed by a question and answer time. Your instructor will make sure to hang out in the fishing department so he’ll be available in case you want more help before or after the seminar!


Giveaways: 1st 50 seminar attendees to attend will receive a SFC tumbler.
Drawing: Ladyfish spinning rod/reel combo

 

Jim will also be delivering tank demonstrations on both days!



Join us on Facebook to stay up to date on this and other events.
Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL

 

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Basics To Build On In The Sport Of Bass Fishing

 

Anyone who has explored very deep into the fishing world knows that fishing at times can be very overwhelming, and frustrating. Especially if you have little or no previous experience, and you are trying to figure out how to get started. The best advice I can give, is keep it simple. There are literally thousands of different types of baits, rigs, and presentations to choose from, and if you don't have a basic place to start then chances are you will get discouraged with the sport and loose interest before you ever give it a chance. I promise once you begin to learn the baits, presentations, and fish behaviors, and start to consistently catch fish throughout the year, a passion will be instilled in you that will last a lifetime. It happened to me as a child at the age of two years old down on my dock with my dad catching hundreds of bluegill and sunfish, and it has now grown into a career in professional bass fishing and guiding. This passion I have has over the years grown far beyond fishing, and has turned into a full love and appreciation for nature and the outdoors. So here are a few very simple baits and techniques that will help you get started in your own journey, utilizing and enjoying what God has given us!

The Bass is a very interesting species of fish consisting of three main types, all of which can be found in the state of Alabama! First we have the most prevalent and probably most popular type of bass the Largemouth. The Largemouth Bass is known best for getting big, with the world record being almost double the size that it's cousins are known to grow too. They are beautiful fish, and just like their name describes they have big mouths often with the same or bigger diameter than their body. They can eat very large baits and will typically be found holding tight to cover or vegetation in most lakes, rivers, and reservoirs across the country. The next major species of bass is the Smallmouth, and like their name they have a mouth that is much smaller than their bodies. Don't be fooled though, smallmouth are incredible feeders and fighters and will often jump upwards of five feet out of the water in an attempt to through your bait. They are found primarily in the northern states, but can also be found in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. Now the third cousin and one of the most prolific in the state of Alabama is the Spotted Bass. A spot looks almost like a cross between a largemouth and a smallmouth, while they rarely get over 7 or 8 pounds they are possibly the most aggressive feeders and hardest fighters of all. The Three baits that I am going to tell you about are baits that no matter where you go across the country, and what species you are targeting will work very well with just a little practice. 

The first, and probably my main go to technique in tough conditions is the shaky head. A shaky head is very simple, all it consists of is a jig head, with a straight tail worm rigged weedless on the hook. My very favorite shaky head jig to use is called a Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Head Hook. It has a patented notch just under the head that is perfect for holding the head of the worm up on the hook with little damage to the soft plastics integrity. The weight of the head should be chosen based on the depth of water you are targeting. To keep it simple in water 15 feet or less use a 1/8oz jig head, if you go deeper than that then I’d jump it up to a 3/16 or 1/4oz head. On the jig head I basically texas rig a straight tail finesse worm such as a Robo Worm or a Bass Pro Shops Finnike Worm. On color selection any soft plastic you use that is a natural green or brown color will consistently produce bass. When rigged properly the shakey head is weedless and works very well around just about any cover you want to fish. An important tip to remember when fishing the bait is less is more. It seems that the less you try to hop and move the bait the more fish you catch. All it takes is little twitches of the rod tip to make the bait move and shimmy across the bottom. I almost always fish my shakey head with a TFO Tactical Series spinning rod, and unless I'm fishing heavy cover like brush piles, I use from 6 to 10lb test Trilene 100% Flourocarbon Line. Fluorocarbon has very little stretch and also sinks which helps significantly with sensitivity. This will allow you to feel every object your bait comes in contact with, as well as increasing your ability to detect light bites. This is a fish catching machine, and is perfect if you are interested in getting a young child into fishing, or if you are a beginning angler that wants to get into the sport.

Another deadly and simple bait that is amazing for bass is a stick bait. Specific brands all have their version of this bait from the Bass Pro Shops Stiko, to the Yum Dinger, and also the originator of the bait the, Yamamoto Senko. They all look very similar and will catch you a ton of bass. There are two primary ways to rig a stick bait, both of which work best weightless. The first is called the wacky rig, the wacky rig is simply piercing a small hook such as a Gamakatsu Weedless Wacky hook through the center of the worm. This allows the worm to flex and quiver as it slowly falls parallel to the bottom which is very difficult for a bass to resist. If you are fishing in extremely heavy cover than weightless texas rigging the bait is very effective, using either 3/0 or 4/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap Hook. This bait works great for fishing shallow cover no matter where you live across the country, and if you have a pond or small lake near by then this bait is almost irresistible to bass that have rarely or never seen it before. A stiko can be fished on a spinning or bait casting setup, based on personal preference. The only time that a spinning rod is critical to success in my mind is when the fish are tucked deep up under docks or overhanging trees. In this situation the spinning rod is the best choice when attempting to skip this weightless bait.

 The first two baits I described are designed to be fished slowly and are great simple options that can help you get started in bass fishing, and more importantly, they flat out catch fish! Now there is a different type of fishing that is the exact opposite of the slow moving techniques it's called reaction fishing. When fishing slow moving bait you are attempting to intrigue a fish into biting in a certain area. When fishing a reaction bait you are attempting to cover as much water as possible and trigger an aggressive reaction from either active or possibly surprised inactive fish. Now, there are a large number of reaction type baits out there and certain ones work better in specific times of the year, but for starters I will give you one bait that you can throw that will catch you fish throughout the majority of the year. The type of bait is called a crankbait, which is designed to be moved fast, and to be worked around cover, letting the diving bill dig the bait into the bottom. The specific make and model that I use most often is called a SPRO Little John MD. The MD stands for medium diving which means it can effectively be worked in depths from 1 foot all the way to 9 feet. They come in a wide variety of colors and by rule I would stick with crawfish imitations in the spring, bluegill imitations in the summer, and shad imitations in the fall. So three different colors and one specific bait model will be all you need to get started in catching fish. All you have to do is simply cover allot of water and make as many casts as possible. Reaction fishing is very effective in low light conditions such as on cloudy days or early in the morning, and will work even better if you can find an area with the wind blowing into it.

So stop by your local Bass Pro Shops, with a list of the baits I just suggested, and ask one of the associates in the fishing department where you can find the specific baits. I promise you that if you give them time they will catch you allot of fish. So be patient, and learn to love and respect the outdoors just like I do. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Most Productive Fly Ever?

A Box of ClousersIf you were stranded on an island surrounded by your choice of fresh or salt water, what one fly would you choose to have along with your favorite rod?  This is a question we often ask ourselves in the shop while surrounded by hundreds of flies that are meant to catch fish just about as well as they catch fishermen’s attention.  Each and every one was designed to produce, but many of them are so specific that put in the wrong conditions, they would be just about worthless except in catching a blind fish with no sense of what his natural prey should be.  What makes a good fly?  What makes a fly universally fishable?

Fishermen have asked the same questions since the first fly was attached to the end of a leader and the first fish was landed.  But even today we still haven’t decided what the end-all, be-all best fly to have on hand in most situations might be.  I know two would top my list after 17 years of throwing, and I’m sure there are more than a few folks that would agree with my choices.

The Clouser Minnow in all its iterations is probably the most productive fly overall ever created and we have Bob Clouser to thank for his ingenuity.  He developed the fly to fish for smallmouth bass in Pennsylvania without realizing that it would be a productive pattern on just about anything that swims in fresh or salt.  Thanks to Lefty Kreh, the Clouser Minnow became a legend overnight, and proved itself on the water for years to come.  I’ve landed more varied species on Clouser variants than any other fly in my box because I have faith, and it works.  Even though it doesn’t really imitate anything specific, it approximates just about everything when tied with the right materials and colors.

The Wooly Bugger is another fly that has gained a loyal freshwater following but did you know that it’s productive in saltwater as well, and there are plenty of flies loosely based on it?  The Crystal Schminnow we know and love bears a striking resemblance to a Crystal Bugger outfitted with mono eyes.  Regardless of what it looks like, it sure catches fish of varied types, especially snook along the beach.  Even a wooly bugger tied in the traditional manner will catch just about anything that swims if you use the appropriate hooks.

So to borrow a phrase spoken by Sean Connery in one of my favorite movies, “There can be only one!” Which would you choose if stranded on an island?  I know my box will contain a Clouser Minnow, or a Wooly Bugger because I know I'll be catching fish.  What color should it be?  That's a question for another day.

 

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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The Best Deal in Town!

Have you ever thought of getting a kayak? For many of us we look at the upfront investment, which can hold a pretty hefty tab.  However, swing into your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and check out our selection of select 2013 Ascend Kayaks that have been clearanced out to move. 

The D10 T was one of two kayaks introduced in 2013.  It sold quickly once they were received, due to some awesome qualities; for starters like all Ascend Kayaks, it is Made in America, has adjustable foot braces, includes two scupper plugs, has built in d-ring bow anchors for custiomizable storage, offered in two awesome colors, has multiple drain holes and drain plug and recessed paddle holders, includes an amazingly comfortable deluxe padded seat, is 10' long, holds up to 325 pounds, and is extremely stable at 34" wide.  This year we will be keeping the Red and Black as long as introducing a couple of new colors, however we will be saying Good-bye to the Titanium model.  Which means a $50.00 savings.  The titanium, SKU: 1972956, model only has been clearanced down from $399.99 to $349.77.  http://www.basspro.com/Ascend-D10T-SitOnTop-Kayak-Titanium/product/12102505321114/

TITANIUM

Along with the Ascend D10 T titanium, the Ascend FS12T in your choice of Sand for your fishermen or Olive for your duck hunters, America's # 1 selling fishing kayak has been clearanced down from $499.99 to $449.77.  This boat yet again is made in America, is 12', 31" wide, includes one rod holder, small dry storage, large dry storage, and a padded deluxe seat making for extreme comfort, and two flush mount rod holders.  This boat has been redesigned for 2014 to better suit all your fishing needs along with a few neat surprises to  make your next fishing trip an absolute success!

Not into the sit-on top kayaks, more of a sit-in kayak person, well never fear.  The Ascend A10 was one of the orginial line-up released in 2010,  The only two things over the years that has changed with this boat is the color and the seat.  The Ascend A10 Red ONLY is clearanced from $299.99 down to $274.77.  This boat is a 9'10", with a removable chair to sit on the beach and tan, and along with a convient paddle holder. 

Don't wait though, because once these hot deals are gone they are gone. Remeber the early bird catches the worm and that worm could help you catch your nexxt big fish.  So swing into your local Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and let one of our great camping associates help you find the perfect kayak for your next adventure, whether it be big or small!

 

 

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Tips on Great Crappie Fishing

If you think you might like to watch a bobber slide under the surface and move slowly away, or if you love to feel that "thunk" of a fish on the end of your line, you might be a candidate for some great days with crappie.  Crappie fishing can be as simple as a cane pole and bucket of minnows or as involved as specialized boats and custom built rods. Either way crappie are fun for everyone, easily accessible and very tasty!

These delicious fish go by several informal names, crappie, white perch, paper-mouths, sac-a-lait and they even come in black crappie and white crappie versions.

black & white crappieSo where should we look for crappie? Crappie can be found in almost every kind of fresh water we have here in Texas so they are plentiful and usually relatively easy to find in all the lakes that surround the Dallas metro-plex. Don't overlook the streams that feed our local lakes either. Many crappie hunters go "crappie stomping" in the streams that feed our lakes.  They are frequently found in farm ponds in large numbers too!  There are more ways to catch crappie than there are names for them. Let's get ready to go catch a few.

It always helps to know at least a little about our quarry if we want to be successful. Here are a few of "rules of thumb" about crappie. If there were one fish that could and would wear sunglasses it would be crappie. They don't really hate sunlight, but successful crappie fishers do usually fish for them as if crappie were vampire-like in their dread of bright light.

The sunlight of early morning and late evening doesn't put a lot of glare on the water and this translates to being easy on crappie eyes. They will usually be more shallow in our waters early and late than later in the day. Get an early or late start if you are fishing from shore.

Look for large shaded areas on your favorite fishing hole. Bridges across lakes give crappie shade in the summer months and are usually great places for us to start. Marinas with covered boat slips are some of the best areas to wet a line.  Fish slowly and very closely to the pilings of both the bridges and boat slips and you're likely to get bitten by crappie.  Fish the shade and you are very probably close to crappie.  If you're fishing standing timber, fish the shaded side of the tree or stump first, but don't avoid the sunny side either, just fish the shade first.

The second rule of thumb is crappie almost always bite up. Their eyes are located more toward the top of their head so it's just easier for them to look and eat, in an upward direction. If you're fishing with a bobber and it just simply lays over on it's side, set the hook , a crappie just lifted your bait up and took the weight off your bobber!  If you're fishing without a bobber and notice your line go slack, set the hook, once again, a fish has lifted your bait without you feeling it.

Crappie Maxx ComboA third generalized rule is that crappie won't try to jerk the rod out of your hand. They bite lightly for the most part. Sometimes you may just see your line move slightly to one side. That's a crappie trying to ease off with your bait. Set the hook! If you're fishing with jigs and no bobber, and you feel a little 'thunk' like a small fish, or someone taping your rod tip once, set the hook! Always fish with line that is in good shape. If your line is curled up, old, or brittle you will miss more bites than you might think. As we've seen, crappie bite with finesse, curled up lines act as shock absorbers and do not transmit that light bite up the line, through your rod and into your hand so the bite goes unnoticed.

Most of the time crappie like to play hide-and seek with us.  They love cover. Cover is basically described as anything that you can get hung up on.  Tree limbs, bushes, rocks, 1938 Fords, anything that can hide them from us or bigger fish. I've heard it said by professional crappie fishers that if you're not losing the occasional bait, you're fishing in the wrong places.

Now for some general info on what to use.  Most good carpenters have more than one tool in their box. Don't go crappie fishing with a hammer.  That is to say, heavy duty bass rods are overkill to detect the delicate bite of a crappie. Use a rod that was designed for crappie fishing. Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx line of rods is specifically designed to detect crappie bites, set the hook properly and lift your scrappy fish out of his hiding place. These relatively limber rods come in a variety of lengths designed for your preferred fishing spots. Whether you need a long rod, a mid-length or longer rod, come in to Bass Pro Shops of Garland and ask the pros.

What baits do we need to use?  If you're a minnow dipper, then you're probably just about set. A good minnow bucket with aerator will help keep your two inch or smaller minnows frisky. You can fish minnows either with or without a bobber with great success.

Jigs are by far the preferred baits for most crappie chasers. Bass Pro shops has a huge selection of jigs and jig hooks. There are tube type crappie jigs like the "Squirmin' Squirt", solid body jigs, like the Bass Pro Shops "Triple Ripple", these are excellent choices. There are also crappie jigs with small spinners, some with paddle tails and some that glow in the dark. Actually there are so many that you might really, really want to come in to Bass Pro Shops of Garland to see them all! Oh yeah! before I forget, you'll also need to pick up either a cooler or stringer to keep all your crappie in!

Tight Lines and Bent Rods to You!

 

 

 



 

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Duck to Fish Commander

Duck Dynasty Telescopic Crappie RodDuck Dynasty Double-touch Crappie RodWell, with Duck season about to wrap up, the Dynasty continues!  It's time to get the tarp off that boat, get your tackle boxes in order, put on your polarized sunshades and head out to the lakes, creeks, rivers or bayous and  get ready to catch some crappie, or white perch, or sac a lait... whichever word you want to call those wonderful white fish!

The Duck Commander is now featuring new rods for crappie season! We now have the Duck Commander Double-touch Crappie Rod with direct blank contact for $59.99

The Duck Commander Telescopic Crappie Rod with Hi-Vis depth monitoring wraps for $19.99

The Duck Commander Trolling Crappie Rod made by B'n'M manufacturers for $59.99

So with the first annual "Crappie Classic" coming up in February, stop in to Bass Pro Shops, join in with the fun!  We will feature Pro Crappie Seminars, with a couple of the Duck Dynasty guys, who will be here signing autographs!  We will have games for the kids, along with some crafts. We will  be frying up some fish both weekends, also, come check out our "catch and release" pond and perhaps try out the new Duck Dynasty rods, along with some of our top selling baits we have featured for the event!  We hope to see you there!

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From The Shack - Ice Fishing In Alberta

It’s that wonderful time of year where the sidewalks are slippery, pipes are freezing, and everyone is looking forward to the next Chinook in a vain hopeing that the 6 inches of ice on the neighbors sidewalk may actually disappear. BUT, some of us, will be outside, slipping and sliding like goofs to get in a little bit of ice fishing.

My first attempt ice fishing with my father was a bit of a gong show. Neither of us had been ice fishing in years,  I had a vague idea of what was needed. Some form of hook and line (possibly bait if permitted), a rod or tip up (though at the time the only tip– up I remembered using was two pieces of a hockey stick nailed into a cross that fit over the hole) and uneven chairs sitting on the ice, in snow pants, getting cold quite quickly. My dad pulled out a 40 year old hand auger, that he swore drilled through the ice like butter– then again anything is faster than hacking away with an axe right? Well maybe anything with the exception of that old ice auger.  If you’re ever in Bass Pro Shops, Rocky View you can see that auger in our antique display (sometimes they don't make them like they used to for a reason.).

With much trial and error, sometimes forgetting half the gear at home, and after coming away skunked more times then I’d like to admit, we managed to get the hang of it and pulled out a few really nice sized fish.

Things I’ve learned:

· Have a sharp auger– a hand auger will do as long as the blade is sharp. To be fair the 40 year old hand auger drilled through a little over 5 feet of ice in about 5 minutes...Although after the first hole, someone with a gas auger felt sorry for us and came and drilled us a couple holes in mere seconds.

· Research where you’re going– the internet is a plethora of information. If your going somewhere you have never been, a topographic map and hints of where people are catching will always help.

· Look for ice reports!!! I cannot stress this one enough, I always do a little poking around to try and find out ice thickness before I go out. If someone had to belly crawl to get off the ice because it was so thin, you wont catch me anywhere near that lake. 6-12” is usually when I will walk out onto the lake, no amount of fishing is worth falling into the freezing water; keeping a pair of ice picks in your pocket just in case is also highly advisable.

· Test the ice– when you walk out, drill a test hole to see for yourself how thick the ice is. Never drive out unless you’re sure the ice is thick enough: Insurance will not cover your vehicle if it goes through the ice, and you have to pay to get it out (not cheap) and you can be fined just to add monetary injury to your  already insulted ego.  Remember just because you see a small car on the ice does not mean it is thick enough for your truck.

This year the ice froze funny, lots of snow too soon. In a lot of places there’s a good foot of slush on top on the ice,  In some cases flood water, it’s really easy to get stuck and even if you’re walking, falling into the slush means cold ice water in the boots.  To put it into perspective, we got an Argo stuck in the slush (full story upon request)  If that can get stuck, so can your vehicle.

 

 · Know  The species in the lake, and what you want to target– For perch, small jigs with maggots or meal worms are always the ticket, if you think the hook is small, it’s probably not small enough. Pike– rattle baits, or smelts/minnows. Walleye-jigs with worms/ minnows/small smelt,bucktail jigs. Burbot– jigs with smelts/raw meat/Anything stinky, jigging lures, and my personal preference buzz bombs with a bit of bait. White fish– Wire worms with a couple maggots on hook.. Trout-Small jigging lures or jigs with or without bait.

· Extra clothes– if you fall in, at least you’ll have something dry to change into.

· People food– even if you’re planning to fry up some fish on the ice bring something anyways, just in case you don't catch anything.

· And the last, and my favorite part, take good company. My favorite thing about ice fishing is going out and spending time with my dad.  So go outside, and enjoy winter, because we live in Canada and have plenty of it!!!!!

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4 Must Have Baits For Winter Fishing

During the winter months the majority of angler’s trade in their bass boats for a tree stand and their fishing rod's for a rifle! For some reason hunting in the cold months of the year just seems to make more sense than placing yourself in the open elements out on a boat. While it can be cold and nasty at times, with the proper 100 MPH Bass Pro Shops rain gear and the right selection of fishing lures you can have some of the most successful fishing days in your entire life. Not only do fish bite in the winter time, but big fish bite. With odds of catching a big fish increasing, no matter what the weather, if I have a free day in the winter I'm going to be on the water. Here are 4 key baits that will help build some mid winter memories on the water!

1) The umbrella rig is one of my primary winter time baits. Actually it's 5 baits on one rig consisting of a head and 5 wires with swivels on the end of each wire. The original model was produced 2 years ago by Manns Bait Company and is called the Alabama Rig, since then many other companies have come out with their own rigs. My personal favorite is the new Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Flashy Times, not only does it have the 5 baits when fully rigged but it is also built with a blade on each of the 4 outside wires. The blades add extra flash and vibration that is deadly for bass that are lurking in deep stained water. There are a few different baits I like to use when on my rig. The first is the new Strike King Swim-N-Shiner. The Swim-N-Shiner is a flat sided slender swim bait with a perfect paddle tail that gives the bait incredible action. It comes in two different sizes, a 4" and a 5" and is offered in 6 different colors. I like to choose my size of bait and color based on water clarity, size of the baitfish, and species of bass I am targeting. For example if I'm fishing Lake Guntersville I use the 5 inch, if I'm fishing Logan Martin Lake I prefer the 4 inch baits. I rig my baits on Gamakatsu Darter jig heads and I select my size based on the depth I am going to be targeting. My rule of thumb is 1/8oz for 15ft or less and 3/8oz or 1/4oz for anything deeper than that. Often the key to catching fish on the rig is letting it hit and drag on the bottom, so make sure you use jig heads that allow you to do that. Another bait option that is a little simpler is the Bass Pro Shops Boss Shad, they come pre rigged on a jig head and are ready to be fished straight out of the pack. They are a perfect option for a beginning angler that doesn't want to mess with rigging the baits themselves. When I'm fishing my rig I look for three main ingredients. One is bait fish, two is the wind, and three is an area of the lake that I know has a good population of bass such as a specific creek, deep pocket, or main river point. If you find those three things and work your bait properly through the school of fish you will be amazed at the success you can have while fishing with an umbrella rig.

2) An awesome way to catch winter time fish is with suspending jerk bait. When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees the jerk bait is possibly the very best option you can turn to. The neutrally buoyant suspending nature of many of the jerk baits on the market today is the real key in why it is so deadly on cold water bass. I love to throw the Spro McStick 110 Jerk bait in cold water using a slow twitch and pause teqnique. The colder the water the longer I let my bait pause which gives the slow moving bass time to swim up to the bait. 9 times out of 10 the bass will eat the jerk bait when it is sitting still so always be sure to watch your line. A good quality rod is very important such as a 7'3" TFO Tactical Series bait caster spooled with 10lb Fluorocarbon Line. A quality sensitive rod with the low stretching flouro carbon will allow you to feel and see even the most gentle bites whether your hands are frozen or not! The ingredients I look for when searching for an area to throw my jerk bait are identical to where I use my umbrella rig. One bait fish, two wind, and three fish that you know live in the area. Very your retrieve and try to learn something from every fish that bites. Once you have triggered a strike you can often repeat the exact same cast and retrieve and catch fish after fish in the same area.

3) The Rapala Shad Rap has been fooling winter time bass for as long as I've been alive! It is made out of balsa wood and has an absolutely deadly action. The reason it works so good on cold water bass is because of two things. First is the fact that the Shad Rap has no rattles, second is the subtle tight wobble of the bait when retrieved in a slow and steady manner. These two factors combined make a subtle bait that has proven to be hard for a bass to resist, especially when the water is cold! The bait comes in multiple different sizes from an SR4 to an SR9. I generally use the SR7 for the reason that it is easier to cast and is really a perfect size to attract fish across the country. There are also a wide variety of colors to choose from yet I still only rotate between three different choices. The original crawdad, shad, and silver black back colors, are all you will ever need to load the boat with fish. I like to throw my Shad Rap on shallow clay and gravel points where the bass will be sunning and feeding throughout the winter months.

4) A good old fashion jig and pig will rarely let you down if you work it properly in the winter months. While the previous 3 go to baits are considered reaction baits, fishing the jig and pig is a slow methodical presentation will slowly entice a slow moving fish to bite. On difficult cold fishing days it can at times seem like there are absolutely no fish left in the lake, but the truth is they are there and they have to eat at some point. Always remember that fish are cold blooded, so if the water is cold then their bodies will be cold. A bass in water that is 45 degrees or is going to be extremely opportunistic, meaning a food opportunity must be worth the effort. A jig is a bulky slow presentation that imitates a hearty worth while meal. If I'm fishing relatively clear water I like to use a natural green or brown color Stanley Finesse Jig with a Zoom Super Chunk Junior trailer. In the clear water the natural color slightly smaller jig with no rattles will definitely fool fish into eating. When fishing stained or muddy water I like to use a darker color such as black and blue, and having rattles definitely won't hurt your fish catching cause. When fishing a jig in cold water I like to move the bait as slow as possible, just simply shaking the jig on the bottom, giving the fish plenty of time to swim up to the bait. One thing I do often is change the skirts on my jigs. PPMB Skirts is a company that makes awesome jig, spinner bait, and chatter bait skirts in more colors than you can imagine. Definitely check there website out so you can start customizing your jigs.

Braving the elements and heading out on the lake could be a decision that will lead you to the catch of a lifetime! Pick up these four simple baits at your local Bass Pro Shops and go give it a shot I have a feeling you will be glad you did. If you are interested in learning these tactics first hand you can find my guide service e-mail address at www.joeyfishing.com.  I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania

 

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Spring Cleaning ..... Getting Ready to Fly

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Fish that is. It's time. Yes, I know that the thermometer still hovers somewhere in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle and you may need to call in an ice breaker to get on your favorite trout stream, BUT the return of outstanding fly fishing is getting so close we can almost taste it. To ensure you're prepared for that first miracle day when the temperature rises, the water flows, and you have the day off, you need to get things ready now.

If you have been lusting after a new fly rod, now is the time to acquire it. A new rod is a great way to start the season and the perfect excuse to go fishing, as in “I have this new rod I really need to go try out” The same “excuse” works for that rod you got as a gift that has been sitting in the corner taunting you all winter.

If your “old favorite” rod and reel have been waiting patiently since you put them away last fall, they probably could use a little attention. A bit of candle wax rubbed on the male ends of the rod segments will refresh the joints and help that rod fit together snugly.

Having spent the past couple of months wrapped around the reel the line has likely acquired a bit of memory. Find yourself a smooth pole (like a basketball pole, not a tree… too rough). Spool off your line around the pole, grab both ends and walk back to the point where you’re stretching the line; not too taut, just enough to straighten it out. This works best on a reasonably warm day with the line at room temperature.

This is also a good time to inspect and clean that line. If your line is more than a couple of three years old it may be ready to be replaced. Look closely for cracks or breaks in the plastic. Damage such as this will let water into the core and the line will not float very well, if at all it deserves to be retired (I usually relegate my old lines to the rod I use for pond fishing for bluegill and bass). Assuming the line looks to be in decent shape, a good cleaning will ensure it’s ready to go.

I have heard many different perspectives on how to clean and treat a fly line. For some (like me) a simple cleaning with a damp rag and dishwashing soap (a gentle detergent) seems to work just fine. Others, afraid the soap will remove the secret-sauce line coating, wipe off the line with clean water and then treat it with one of the many line conditioners available. Should you have any questions about how to clean and treat your particular line; most line manufacturers have recommendations for their products on their websites. Backing, unless it’s about 100 years old, rarely requires any attention or maintenance (as long as you didn’t put that reel away soaking wet which will cause the backing to acquire a nice coating of mold and mildew).

It is likely that your leader needs refreshed. By the end of the season the last one I used looks pretty sad; short broken sections with wind knots, abrasions, and long pieces of tippet tied on the end (hey, the fish were rising, no time to tie on a new leader!). A fresh new tapered leader will get you started right this year.

Now is also a great time to review your outfit. No, I’m not suggesting you reassess your sense of style, but rather the great load of tools, supplies, and implements of destruction we carry forth each time we head for the water. By the end of the season I seem to have added enough stuff to my kit that when fully outfitted in my waders and chest pack I look like a haz-mat team from the waist down and hardware store from the waist up.

Clearly we need a few things. Extra leaders, some spools of tippet, and the basic tools- nippers, forceps, and a zinger to hang them on- are of course required. Dull nippers are nothing more than a frustration. Some nippers may be sharpened, others should simply be replaced. Forceps last forever. Zingers, however, do tend to wear out and will break at the least convenient and most overlooked times. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve looked down only to discover my favorite and most needed tools have disappeared on the end of a broken zinger. Give them a good look to see if they are frayed and worn.

Rummage through all the pockets of your vest or pack to see what treasures may be lurking there unnoticed. That granola bar you stashed last July may need refreshing; if you find a Twinkie it’s probably still good to go. Strike indicators, split shot, floatant, and other miscellaneous supplies may need refreshed or discarded depending upon how often you actually used them. A lighter load makes you a more nimble angler.aquaseal

Waders and wading boots usually require a bit of attention. That annoying little leak was probably tolerable last September, but will feel pretty uncomfortable in April’s 50 degree water. Small leaks, either punctures or in the seams, may be repaired with products such as Aquaseal. Simply clean the areas with rubbing alcohol, let it dry, and apply a small amount of AquaSeal. Rubbing in the sealant with a q-tip works well on leaky seams. Larger rips or tears are harder to repair and may necessitate replacement.

Wading boots can take quite a beating. Check-out your laces and replace as necessary. Synthetic laces, not the cotton ones designed for hiking boots, work best and will not deteriorate in the water. If you notice any seams that have separated on your boots, there are still a few cobblers about who can repair them at a reasonable cost (there is a great old-time shoe repair place in Fountain City-they do great work). If the uppers of your boots are in good shape but you’ve worn off the felt soles, these may be refreshed by grinding off the remaining felt and installing felt sole replacements. I’ve done this a couple of times and, if you follow the instructions provided with the repair kit, it works really, really well. For those with studded soles, check to see if the studs are worn or missing. Replacement packs of the screw-in studs are readily available. Then again, it may be time for new boots.

Last but not least, you need to take stock of your supply of flies. Remember what worked best last year?? Do you have enough?? If not...get busy tying. If you don’t tie your own, get to the store sooner verses later...once the fishing turns-on the fly shops tend to run out, at least temporarily, of the most popular flies fairly quickly. You don’t want to hit the water for the first time this spring without your favorite flies.

And there you have it, from rod to reel and head to toe, the things we all should be doing to get ready for the best fishing of the year that’s lurking somewhere just over the horizon. If you have any questions about the state of your equipment or what flies to acquire, just stop by the shop...we’ll be glad to look things over and offer suggestions. While I wouldn't go sit by the stream fully wadered with your fly rod in hand just yet - we do need to live through the rest of February - its close enough we need to READY!

Local fishing continues to be challenging, although tail water fishing has improved of late. The Clinch River has seen some favorable generation schedules on the weekends and we’ve talked with quite a few anglers who planned to take advantage of the opportunities. The Holston has also been fishing well with wader-friendly schedules. Remember you can check the tail water schedules, updated around 6:00PM every evening, by looking at the TVA Website.

The national park waters were bone-numbing cold, but the rains over the past weekend have warmed the streams a bit. Unfortunately, we got a little too much rain and the streams were pretty blown-out. Little River rose from about 200 cubic feet per second to near 4,000 this past Monday (it’s down to 904 right now-still too high to fish). Unable to fish the park waters I headed to one of the stocked catch-and-release streams and managed to catch a few big dumb rainbows...not exactly the same as catching a wild trout, but in February sometimes “ya just gotta catch a fish”, if for no other reason than to keep your spirits up.

 

 

Bass Pro Outdoor World

White River Fly Shop

3629 Outdoor Sportsmans Place

Kodak, TN 37764

865-932-5600

 

 

 

 

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Satisfy Those Winter Cravings

Satisfy Those Winter Cravings

 

Every year right around this time, the urge to feel a tug on my line becomes too much to ignore. Even though the temperature has been exceedingly cold and the conditions are tough for fisherman, there are still some exciting and fun fishing opportunities for anglers thru the ice. The first and most important thing is to research the ice that you plan on fishing as thoroughly as you can, most importantly, ice safety. Check with other fisherman, or even your local police or fire station may have information on ice thickness. Once you determine that the ice is safe, you’ll need to make sure you have all your gear ready to roll before you head out so you don't get stuck out there with non functioning gear.

I like to head over to Bass Pro shops in Foxboro. They have everything I need from hand warmers to ice augers, jigging spoons to ice fishing tip ups. They have it all and that makes it super easy to grab what I need and go. After our pit stop at BPS we head out for a great day of fishing. Last week before our latest bout with snow, a few friends and I tried our luck at a small pond in Natick, MA.

The pond is known for its clarity and depth so we brought a combination of tip ups and shiners as well as jigging rods. Armed with Swedish pimples and little Cleo's (all of which are available at BPS I believe) we spent a good portion of the day jigging over deep holes. Of course we set a few tip ups just to increase our odds of hooking up with something and to feel the excitement of racing over to the trap not knowing what is on the other end.

The first hit of the day came from a nice yellow perch. Man was it fun to feel the fight on my light tackle jigging rod for first time in a long time. After that, we hit some crappie and pickerel. Nothing too big but we did see some really nice yellow perch a little later in the day right before we left. We spent about 6 hours out on the ice that day and caught more pan fish then we could count. We caught and released everything of course, back to their icy winter world in hopes of seeing them again in the warmer months ahead. 

If you haven't had a chance to get out on the ice this season or ever have never tried ice fishing before, there is still time for you to get out and experience the excitement. There are so many people and places with information that are happy to share and help get you in the best position possible to catch some fish and have a safe and fun time doing it. 

 

Greg Miner

Charles River Charters

508-560-2496

www.charlesrivercharters.com

“Life is better on the river"

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

 

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American Shad Season 2014 On The St. Johns River

Shad Fishing the St. Johns RiverShad season is hitting its stride right about now and fishermen are doing pretty well when they can find the fish.  I've caught a few very nice ones but the season seems to have taken a strange turn by having peaked a bit earlier than expected and while the fishing quality is still there, the quantities aren't what we've come to expect after the last few seasons.  There are some that call shad "Florida's Salmon" which means anyone who likes to catch strong, migratory species needs to give it a try at the very least. 

On the brighter side, we've had the opportunity to introduce some new folks to the joys of fishing the St. Johns River at this time of year and the wonderful variety that's possible.  I had a chance to share with a customer and now friend a couple days ago and he's surely to venture back on his own given the success he found along this wonderful waterway.  John and I meandered along the straights and bends of the river for a few hours this past week and learned a few things about the waterway and each other, which makes time on the water that much more enjoyable.  We chatted about all things fishy, from flies and rods to the places we have been fortunate enough to visit.  He's a budding "big water" fly fisherman, so casting at a distance is still somewhat of a challenge, but he stuck with it and landed some wonderful fish, including a beautiful hybbrid striped bass (albeit on a spinning rod), and an enormous american shad.  Beginner's luck must have had something to do with it.  Either way, we had a great time and I expect to spend more time together on the fresh and salt water.

John's Big American ShadMy favorite thing about shad season is the variety of fish species available if you just take some time away from casting for the main target.  Bluegill, warmouth, crappie, bass, hybrids, catfish, and many others are possible if you just take a little time to get out of the main channel and explore the out of the way spots.  Scott absolutely blasted a reed line full of crappie just to prove he could catch fish better than me a couple weeks ago.  I didn't stick around to watch the fun, but I could hear him yelling "FISH ONNNN!" from quite a ways away.

Kayaking across this section of river is a very enjoyable way to venture around, especially if you want to take your time and fish as you go.  Every sand bar and channel potentially holds fish, so stopping regularly to ply the water is recommended if you expect success and are willing to take whatever happens your way.  With so many types of cover and water structure available a kayak allows you the luxury of stealth and being able to get close.  You also get a chance at some exercise.

This season has been a little tougher than the last couple but it has proven to be a succesfull one anyway.  We've all caught some nice fish, making the effort well worth the rewards and I can gaurantee we'll all be back next year for another go during shad season 2015   

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 

    

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First Aid and Survival

We have some long winters here in Central New York.  Who knows when it will all end?  Here are a few things you may just want to consider in a emergency situation for your home or car.

 

Consider the Bass Pro Shop First Aid Kit-Backpack KitThis pack is not just for backpacking, put it in the glove compartment of your car or in a drawer in your kitchen.  This includes everything you need and nothing you dont need.

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Something that every home or car should not be without is the LifeStrawThis easy to carry water filter is great for home, outdoor enthusiasts or in your glove compartment.  The lifestraw captures dangerous bacteria and protozoa in any water.  Designed to provide clean water in the harshest of conditions, it will provide instant access to safe drinking water anywhere.`

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Everyone usually has a flashlight, but do you have one in your car?  Check out the ACR Firefly Plus-Strobe/Flashlight ComboThis flashlight is perfect for the car its waterproof with good distance at night and only requires 2 AA batteries. Perfect for a emergency situation.

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Not that anyone wants to think this could happen, but consider being stranded during one of our storms.  A great item to have in your car is the  Adventure Medical Kit-HeatsheetsThis quiet compact and durable blanket is good for one or two people.  Bright orange exterior,  this small blanket will reflect 90% of your bodyheat.  Very easy to fold and store away, tear resistant and easy to spot.  Everyone should have one in their trunk!

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Last but not least look at the Chums Smokey Fire Starter Paracord BraceletNot only are these great for camping, but how many times have you had too much in your truck and need extra rope.  This small bracelet has 16' of paracord and can handle 550 pounds.  It adjusts to most wrists,  why not throw it into the glove compartment with everything else in case of a emergency.  Best thing about the Chum is the buckle is a fire starter.  It has a steel washer and firestone rod.

 

 

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These are just a few things to have for that "just in case" scenerio that you hope to never be in.  Living in Upstate, NY you just never know.

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Extreme Ice Fishing!"

Extreme Ice Fishing!

By: Jerry Costabile

I have been ice fishing the Midwest for around forty years and I have never experienced conditions like there have been this winter.

I was excited that by Christmas, we had cold enough temperatures here in SE Wisconsin to have ice to safely fish most lakes. Than by the New Year, there was fishable ice on all of the lakes I usually have to wait until later in January to get on. It was looking like a great start to the season for all! The local bait shops were getting good sales, the bigger stores had good ice fishing sales, and the interest in the Arctic Cat ATV’s and UTV’s here at TRACKER Boat Center was increasing. All this action and it was early in the season!

Then while watching the weather one night, I hear a new weather term, the polar vortex, also known as a polar cyclone, polar low, or a circumpolar whirl. I will leave it to you to look up the scientific definition for what I call just plain cold! We were getting temps in the negative teens with wind chills in the negative 30’s and 40’s, even had reports of wind chills on -50 degrees! Wow, you talk about ice making weather!

Most ice fishermen would have stayed home in the warmth and comfort of their living rooms, but I am not most ice fishermen. I had a day off and I was going fishing. Wind, cold, snow, I didn’t care, I was going. I am lucky enough to own an insulated Clam shelter and a Buddy Heater, I would be fine right?

The trip started with pre-rigging rods and tying knots in the warmth of home the night before. This was probably the smartest thing I did during this trip. I got up early the next morning with my youngest son Kyle, who always is a challenge to get going at a pace faster than a snail in the morning. The coffee was brewing while we got dressed and got all of the equipment outside. My fishing partner and his grandson were to arrive at 4:15am and it was now about 4 and I was still checking that we had everything to battle the elements and I also had the lunch that I was going to grill, fresh venison steaks with onions on a toasted Kiser bun. There is nothing better than a grilled venison steak sandwich out ice fishing!

I was confident that my Frabil Icearmor suit would keep me warm, after all I hunted the last day of the bow season last year in -25 degree wind chills and it kept me warm. Kyle had his cold weather gear together,  so I think we were ready for whatever mother nature would throw at us. Little did we know how hard she could throw!

We loaded everything into the Dodge and headed north for the 2 hour drive to Lake Winnebago to fish for big perch, whitebass, and walleye. The ride up was quite with the two teenagers both asleep in the back seat . Because of the long ride, we were going to stop at a gas station near the lake to get dressed in our cold weather cloths and head to the lake ready for the day.

When we arrived at the access point to drive onto the lake, we noticed the wind was blowing the snow pretty good. This was going to make setting up interesting! The plowed road out to the fishing area that we wanted to fish, was in good shape so ice travel wasn’t going to be a problem. There were Christmas trees marking the road so even with the blowing snow, we could navigate if my GPS I had in my hand failed. After crossing a steel bridge (these are put over pressure cracks for safe travel) we arrived at our fishing spot about a mile and a half off shore. Now at this point it still looked like a cold, windy day that we have fished in a thousand times before. But when I opened the truck door, I was hit by a blast of cold air that was being pushed by 30 to 40 mile an hour winds that got my attention, it was going to be a one set up day. If the fish didn’t bite here, there was no moving to another spot, this was it!

Setting up my Clam Voyager shelter wasn’t too bad to set up, we used the truck as a wind break  and once the support bars were in place, we were up. The other shelter that was to be occupied by my partner and his grandson, was a hub style shelter. These are very light and tall, so it took a lot to get the shelter up and tied to the truck. The wind and blowing snow had now built up to blizzard like conditions, complete white out! You couldn’t see anything, the shoreline, or the other trucks that were less than a hundred yards away. We finally got settled into our heated shelters and fishing. We fished for an hour without anything to show for our efforts and I decided to step outside. What I saw as I walked around the truck, looking in all directions I still couldn’t see anything. There was a 3 foot snow drift building on the up wind side of my truck, this was not good. I voted to break down the shelters and get off of the lake, but I was over ruled by the grilled venison steak sandwiches I promised to cook. Now, the wind is hurricane force, and the blowing snow put us in less than perfect grilling conditions, but I was expected to have lunch ready for everyone! I went into my shelter put away the fishing equipment and turned it into the camp cook tent. The portable grill was set up and in ten minutes the steaks were sizzling in butter with onions grilling next to them. It took about another ten minute and I had two hungry teenagers looking into the vented door opening saying how good it smells, I have to say that the smell of our lunch was getting to me too! After a quick but hot sandwich, we broke down our gear and headed off of the lake. It was a wise choice because we both agreed that this was the worst weather that we ever fished in and it was getting dangerous out there. Thank god nothing happened to the truck, it could have been bad.

We stopped at the same gas station and undressed out of our heavy clothes, found the hot chili and ate until we were full and warm! The ride home was interesting to say the least. There were cars being blown off of the road and it was all we could do to stay on the road when the wind would gust.

I would like to say that we were successful on our fishing trip, but we didn’t catch a fish. What we did get is a lesson learned that sometimes you just have to stay home and pick a better day.

 

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Colorado Hardwater Panfish

Living in Colorado we don't have a lot of opportunity to chase panfish through the ice as most folks in the eastern states have and while I love to catch trout and most other species through the ice there's something to be said about having a huge crappie or a giant bluegill on the end of of an ultra lite ice rod and fighting it all the way up to the hole.

There are a lot of places to catch crappie and bluegill in Colorado and there are several ponds loaded with them that some have an opportunity to fish but for the most part it is tough to find a good spot where the ice is safe enough to provide some good action through the ice. I would say we have a very short window around the metro area for chasing slabs through the ice. One month the ice is good and a few days of warm weather and it all goes back to mush and becomes very bad in a hurry.

I will never say there is safe ice here in Colorado and I always carry a throw cushion with a fifty foot rope attached to it just in case. I have had some close calls in the past and this year I have heard about way too many anglers going through due to poor conditions. Always go with a few friends and use caution when venturing out on metro lakes. Don't risk it if you are unsure. If others are out on the ice there's a good chance it will hold you too. Wear your ice cleats. One bad slip and your day could be ruined this is from experience.

When you have the opportunity to get out and chase panfish through the ice you can do it very easily. A hand auger, A few ultra light rods with a spring bobber with two to four pound fluorocarbon spooled up on an ultra lite spinning reel. Pick up a few tungsten tear drop jigs in various colors and a few wax worms and your set. A Vexilar is nice to have but not necessary.

Look for structure like rock piles off points that have a deep channel close to a flat and cover like trees and weeds and you will be well on your way to finding the crappies and bluegills that live in the area. The best way to know where all this is at is to find it in the summer and mark it on a map or GPS and come back to it during the winter.

I like to drop my jig down to the bottom and work my way up from there if I hit weeds I keep it just above them. I like to use a very short jigging action and never move my bait too fast. The spring bobber is a must when the bite is light which is most of the time with panfish. Tip the jig with a wax worm and pinch off the head to allow the juices to flow into the water for more attractant. There will be pressure on the spring bobber when one sucks it in. Set the hook lightly because they have very soft mouths. Usually when you find one there are more with him. If the bite slows down move to similar spots and look for the school. They move around a lot so you need to be mobile.

Take advantage of this recent cold weather snap and chase some panfish around if you know a spot where they are try catching them thru the ice it is a lot of fun and the action can be constant. Be safe and I will see you on the ice.

                                                                                                                                   Best of Luck,

                                                                                                                                                         Sam Heckman / Pro StaffForrest with BluegillsChris and Sam with CrappiesSam and Bubba dogBubba dog

 

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A Trip to the Bahamas...

Maurice from our Tracker Department recently took a vacation to the Bahamas with a close friend of his with the intention of catching Mahi-Mahi and a 100lb Wahoo. He left the first week of January and was gone for a total of 15 days.
 
                                                      Two of the custom built rods w/Penn 80 Internationals adorning an Offshore Angler cap!
 
 
They outfitted his friends 64ft Hatteras with custom built rods that were fitted with Penn 80 International Wides. Their journey started out at Ft. Myers where they made their way to the Keys, through Cat Cay, then to Nassau to fuel up before heading for the Exumas. The entire time they were battling rough waves caused by the same cold fronts we were dealing with here in the states.
 
                                                                  The Hatteras was outfitted nicely!
 
Finally they were at their fishing destination at a place called Hawks Nest that's in the Cat Islands. Maurice spent 5 days exclusively trolling and experimenting with a variety of artificial lures, such as the Islander Lures we carry in our fishing department. They caught everything from Yellowfin Tuna, to Blackfin Tuna, a 36lb Mahi, a 65lb Sailfish--which was released, and even a 400lb Brown Shark! His goal of a 100lb Wahoo? The biggest one reeled in was 48lbs, however they hooked an even bigger one that they fought to the boat, but not before sharks went on a feeding frenzy, and all Maurice ended up with was the head. He took measurements of the beast in hopes that some day someone will be able to tell him an estimated weight of it.
 
 
                         Maurice (right) with his Mahi-MahiMaurice with his Wahoo
 
All in all, it was a successful fishing trip and Maurice came back all smiles. If you wish to speak to Maurice about our boats or maybe bend his ear about his fishing exploits, he works in our Tracker Department located in the rear of our store.
 
                                              Maurice's sailfish being hauled in by one of our Islander Lures!
 
 
Pictures and information provided by Maurice Gibson
Article writted by Kevin Ballantine
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2014 Spring Fishing Classic at Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops

2014 Spring Fishing Classic

The 2014 Spring Fishing Classic is full of great FREE activities for the whole family, and it will kick off this year on Friday February 28th with our reel trade-in. Bring in a used reel and trade it in for a discount on a new reel from the 28th until March 5th. We will, in turn, donate these trade-ins to local organizations in need of fishing equipment. From March 7th to 11th we will have the same offer for your used rods.

We will also have a sweepstakes that will start on Friday that will give you the chance to win a 2104 Nitro Z7 and a chance to fish with Elite Series Angler Edwin Evers, and this sweepstakes will run from the 28th through March 16th.

We will also have our National Pro Staff members in on Friday night giving FREE seminars and meeting and greeting our customers. At 7pm, Mark Brumbaugh, National Walleye Tour Angler/9-Time Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Champion will be here to talk about Lake Erie Walleye Fishing. At 8pm, we will welcome Dave Mercer, Host of “Facts of Fishing” TY Show, and Bassmaster Elite Series Emcee who will be giving you the “Facts of Fishing”

The weekend of March 7-9 will bring members of our Pro Staff and local professionals and experts to give a host of FREE workshops. The first 25 people to attend each seminar Saturday and Sunday will receive a Free Fishing Classic Mug (must be 18 or older). Here is the weekend schedule:

Friday March 7

7pm – Flipping and Pitching For Bass

Saturday March 8

11am – Locating Bass In New Waters

1pm – Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm – Spinning Reel Tactics For Bass

3pm – Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm – Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm – Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

Sunday March 9

11am – Locating Bass In New Waters

1pm – Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm – Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass

3pm – Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm – Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm – Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

The last weekend March 15/16 will be our Next Generation Weekend for the kids, with an added twist of a Women’s Fishing Workshop as well. Here are the Next Generation events we have on tap:

Noon to 5pm: Catch and Release Pond and Free Photo Opportunity – Both Saturday and Sunday

1pm to 4:30pm – Free Wood Fish Craft Magnet – Both Saturday and Sunday

2:30 & 4:30 pm – “Thinking Like a Fish” Kids Workshops – both Saturday and Sunday

3pm – Women’s Beginning Fishing Workshop – Saturday only 

The first 150 kids each day to participate in our activities will receive a free Bass Pro Shops Tackle Box. The first 50 women to attend our Women’s Workshop will receive a FREE Bass Pro Shops Mug

 

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Spring Fishing Classic 2014 Line Up

The world's greatest fishing event is back!

February 28-March 16, 2014

Spring Fishing Classic - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

 

  • Great savings on the equipment you need!
  • Free seminars from the pros
  • Next Generation Weekend with Catch and Release Pond
  • Free Kids' Fishing Workshop
  • Daily Specials
  • Reel and Rod Trade-Ins
  • Bonus Bucks

 

First weekend - March 1

Join us to welcome our national pros during Bassmaster University!

1 p.m. - Win Stevens - Missouri B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Angler - Using Your Humminbird Electronics

2. p.m. - Chase Parsons - Host "the Next Bite" TV show and Walleye Tournament Champion - Walleyes 2014

3 p.m. - Casey Scanlon - Bassmaster Elite Series Pro - Jig Fishing

Bassmaster University - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Second Weekend - March 7, 8 and 9

Local Pro Fishing Tips and Seminars!Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff - Kary Ray and Lance Baker

March 7 - 7 p.m. - Flipping and Pitching for Bass

March 8 and 9th - (Featuring our Pro Staff Kary Ray and Lance Baker)

11:00 a.m. - Locating Bass in New Waters -  Pro Staff Seminar
1:00 p.m. - Topwater Techniques for Bass
2:00 p.m. - Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass  - Pro Staff Seminar
3:00 p.m. - Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?
4:00 p.m. - Become a Smallmouth Specialist - Pro Staff Seminar
5:00 p.m. - Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

 

Third Weekend - March 15 & 16

Free Kids' Fishing Workshop - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Next Generation Weekend!

  • Noon-5 p.m. Free Catch and Release Pond in our new, larger indoor pond stocked with live fish!
  • Free 4x6 photo with a Keep America Fishing Certificate.
  • 2:30 and 4:30 - Free Kids' Fishing workshops
  • Free Kids' Craft - 1-4:30 p.m. both days - Keepsake magnet fish craft (while supplies last).

 

Watch for details on specific events and specials in future blogs!

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