Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - May, 2014

Spring time is a great time for the angler!  Fish begin coming o the bank, and are easier to find and catch!  The annual spring migration starts with bass staging on points on the main lake, at the mouth of coves.  As water warms up, bass move into the coves, often hugging the bank, as they journey deep into the coves.  Any warm spring rain, will drive the fish into the very back of the coves, as they seek warmer water and the bait fish and craw fish that move in the same direction. 


Square billed, shallow running, crank baits, will begin working as the fish move into the shallows.  On any windy, rainy day, try a spinner bait.  Top water hard and soft baits will begin working this month, as will wake and swim baits.  Ask an associate to help you find the right baits for the day you are going out.   All finesse baits, such as shaky head jigs, finesse Carolina rigs, Texas rigged short worms and lizards, will work this month.

There is a jig bite now.  Crawfish spend most of their time on the bottom.  A crawfish imitation needs to move slowly, from behind one rock, to the next rock.  It is hard to fish this bait too slowly.  Right now, bass are at all levels, looking for the most comfortable mix of oxygen and temperature they can find, from 2-35ft.  Look for them, especially off or next to, main lake and secondary points.  Try a 1/4 to 5/8oz. round or football head jig, brown, peanut butter and jelly, or green pumpkin in color, and add a trailer, green pumpkin, watermelon candy, or cinnamon purple.  Add scent to your jigs.  The jig bite really comes on, as the water warms up.  As bass patrol the lake points, looking for a meal, there is an interest in crawfish!  Remember, fish this bait slowly! 


Don’t forget the Wiggle Wart bite!  It comes on fast, lasts two weeks, or so, and the action is fantastic!  Be on the lake at this time, if you can, and have a Wiggle Wart tied on. 


Try fishing a drop shot rig, vertically.  Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is.  This technique works well, on fish suspended on the sides of main lake points.  You can also fish this drop shot rig like a finesse Carolina rig, by casting it out and retrieving it the same way you would a Carolina rig.      


Remember, during this time of the year, as the sun warms the water, or if there is a warm rain, fish will begin to move into the coves, first just inside, the main lake pints, then straight into the backs of the coves.  Warm rains will accelerate this migration.  When you have fish concentrated in one area, it can make for an unbelievable day of fishing. 


This is THE month of the year, for fantastic fishing!!!                        


                                     They are out there!!!


                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!



3 Easy Techniques For Spawning Spotted Bass

In the great state of Alabama we are blessed to have the opportunity to fish for all three of the major species of bass. In north Alabama on the Tennessee River System all three species can actually be caught on the same day. Lakes such as Pickwick, Wheeler, and Wilson while having strong populations of largemouth are also home to some giant smallmouth bass that would rival any lake in the country! Further south the Coosa River System is loaded with both largemouth and some world class spotted bass. The spotted bass found throughout the Coosa River System actually is considered by many as its own sub species. Unlike spotted bass found in other bodies of water across the country the Coosa River spot is a longer, stronger, and meaner species that will put even the best equipment to the test! They are an absolute blast to catch and the months of April and May are possibly the easiest months of the year to catch large numbers of spotted bass.

Generally in the month of April the spotted bass are in a full spawning mode. Unlike largemouth which generally spawn in protected pockets or on key pieces of shallow structure the spotted bass more like a smallmouth is comfortable spewing in more open areas closer to deep water such as long flat points and road beds near the main creek channel. On the Coosa River the water clarity 99% of the time will not allow you to see these spawning spotted bass but with a few simple techniques you can learn how to load the boat without even looking at them.

When searching for key points, gravel flats, or road beds holding spawning spotted bass I generally start my search with the Carolina Rig. I rig my set up my Carolina Rig with a 3/4 oz brass Bass Pro Shops Carolina Rig Weight followed by a bead and a small Spro Power Swivel. To the other end of the swivel I connect a leader approximately 18 to 24 inches long with a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG Hook on the end of it. I like to use 17lb test Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon Fishing Line for my main line as well as my leader. The new KVD Signature Series Flouro is one of the strongest lowest memory fluorocarbon fishing lines on the market, and the low stretch quality will allow you to feel subtle bites as well as allowing you to drive the hook home on a long cast. As far as the bait goes just about any soft plastic that you have confidence in will work! Baits such as lizards, brush hogs and stick baits will all put plenty of fish in the boat! I like to use a TFO Gary Loomis tactical Series 7'3" Heavy Casting Rod accompanied by a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier high speed reel. The 7'3" heavy rod will allow you to drive the hook home no matter how the bass bites the bait. Always be aware that spawning bass will often pick up your bait and quickly move off with it directly towards you. Always be ready to quickly reel up your slack and set the hook because if you wait too long there is a high probability that the fish will move off quickly and then spit your bait out before you even know it.

Another great technique for catching spawning bass you have already located is with a shaky head. The way a shaky head makes your bait sit directly nose down really provokes a protective aggressive spotted bass into striking. This time of year I like to use a shorter worm than normal in order to eliminate the problem of the spawning bass just picking up the tail and not eating the entire bait. I generally use a 1/8oz to a 1/4oz Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Head Hook on 8 to 12lb KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon with a TFO spinning rod. The reason I don't use the Shaky head when searching for the spawning fish is because of the weight of the bait. The nature of the Carolina Rig is what makes it a perfect option for making long casts and dragging the bottom to get a good feel of what is going on!

The final technique and one that is often overlooked is using a topwater bait to locate aggressive fish whether they are spawning or post spawn. My very favorite bait to use while searching with a topwater is a walk the dog style bait such as a Spro Dawg 100, or a Zera Super Spook. I like to focus my search on shallow gravel points and don't be afraid to utilize the topwater all day long. Some of your biggest spotted bass of the year can fall victim to a well worked topwater bait. Not only is it effective it is extremely exciting. Unlike when I'm using the subsurface slower moving baits with fluorocarbon, on my topwaters I always use monofilament, for the reason that it floats and will allow you to efficiently walk your bait back and forth to the boat.

Not only is the fishing good in April and May in Alabama but the weather is beautiful as well. So get the family rounded up and head on out for an action packed day of fishing that will make memories that will last a lifetime! For information a guided trip visit my website at! I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania




"Bonus" Bluegill Can Be Awesome !!!!

Sometimes  the simplest days of fishing can bring the biggest of smiles to even the seasoned fisherman.  Catching keeper bluegills by the dozen while tossing jigs rigged under a slip bobber can provide loads of fun.



While reeling in fish after fish, keep an eye out for things “lurking in the dark”.  This BONUS FISH was spotted slashing through the bluegills while Nick Ranes of our fishing dept quickly took hold of his BPS baitcasting rod and reel, quickly tossed a soft-plastic swim bait at the “shadow” and took advantage of the preying largemouth’s verocious appetite!  A great day of bluegill fishing turned even better – you never know when the moment will STRIKE!!! 


Organizing Your Tackle Box

When it comes to organizing a tackle box, one of the biggest mistakes that I see fisherman make is throwing away the packaging of their lures and tackle. The packaging of most lures and tackle have so much information that can be applied toward the fishing you plan on doing.

Rapala for example, has the weight of the lure and how deep it can swim, Yozuri's do the same. Almost all hard lures will have the bait fish it is suppose to resemble on the packaging. Most of these lures will also tell you if they can float or suspend in place if you pause the action. Some soft plastics like Gulp will even give you suggestions as to how they can be used and rigged. Without this information you could be picking lures out of your tackle box without ever really knowing how their used or how they swim.

Hooks also have useful information on the packaging like the size of the hook and what it is made of. Sometimes the packaging can even serve as protection. If you want the best performance from your lures and tackle remember what they do and what they are used for by keeping the package. Your fishing will improve and your success will only be a hook set away.

Henry Morales


"Feeling Froggy?" Top Water Fishing

  You have no doubt heard the phrase, "If you feel froggy, jump." It's that time of year fellow frog fishing fans! The croakers are beginning to sing their spring "Love" songs and move around our lakes and ponds! If you like top water action, there is no single family of baits out there that generate a more exciting bite.

 Spring is finally sewing together enough warm days and nights to instigate insect propagation. As soon as there are bugs to eat, frogs instinctively end their hibernation and start their long awaited feast. Frogs will eat just about any kind of insect they can flick their tongue around. To the top water bass fishing aficionado the beginning of the insect, frog food chain marks the end of winter and time to get out and wet a frog hook.

 Many times while the frogs are paying attention to their bug meal, the bass are paying closer attention to the frogs. The spring time food chain is a wonderful thing for those of us who fish plastic frogs! Fish frogs in all the places a frog might be found and you'll find bass peering up at the surface looking for a big, relatively easy meal. Bass are not only looking for frogs to munch on, but they are listening as well. Bass can feel the commotion a frog kicks up as he legs his way across the surface (or just under it). Unfortunately for the frog the noise is a dead giveaway, pun intended.

 Kermy FrogBass Pro Shops of Garland has a full section of frogs! One of the most popular frog-bait models is the Bass Pro Shops "Kermy" line.  The Kermy frog line features devilishly sharp, weed resistant hooks that ride with the gap of the hooks curving upward so they don't act like a grapnel hook in hydrilla and other weedy areas. Kermy's body comes in  great colors and can take the pounding of fish after fish, but one of the best part of this lure is it's firmness. When most bass take a frog they bite down on the body exposing the twin hooks. some frog lures are to soft and smart fish might let go. A frog that is too hard will not allow the bass to crush the offering sufficiently to expose the hooks. The Kermy body is just right, not too squishy, and not too hard for the perfect hook-set.

  How do we fish frogs? We'll start with a brief description of the perfect rod. Rods should be long enough to allow you to make a broad sweeping hook-set motion and be strong in the butt end. I prefer a little softer flex in the tip end. I feel it allows me a fraction of a second to wind whatever slack I have in my line, to prepare for my hook-set. The fairly flexible tip also does not telegraph my presence to the fish. 

 You'll usually be fishing frogs around some pretty weedy, or stumpy areas this time of year so you'll want to pick a fairly sturdy line. I like a 30lb test braid, tipped with a fluorocarbon leader on the business end. This arrangement gives me plenty of horsepower to turn Mr. Big from returning to his tangled up lair. As lily pads begin to pop up I'll absolutely target the areas, but I usually skip the fluorocarbon leader because if my frog gets under the pads I have a better chance of not having to break my lure off. 

 Some folks prefer a relatively heavy spinning reel because they are more accurate with spinning gear. Most, however, feel the additional power of a baitcasting reel to be more advantageous.

 There are so probably as many ways to fish a frog as there are people who love fishing them. Here are just a few presentations: Cast your lure to an area of heavy cover then just let it sit still as you slowly retrieve ant slack you have laying on the  surface of the water. Slow is the key. Let all the ripples from your cast subside, then just barely twitch the frog to "show " the bass that it is a live, fresh meal.

You can also just use the plop, crank, pop, sit, pop retrieve...actually this is one is pretty self explanatory.  If the sit-n-wait doesn't work, and the erratic movement of the plop, crank, sit, pop retrieve doesn't deliver, try reeling just a bit faster, sometimes bass are fooled into thinking the frog is fleeing for it's life and clobber it before it "escapes." Remember what retrieve you were using when you got that first strike and repeat the pattern as you fish. By all means, experiment with all kinds of retrieves ,but don't forget that first one that got you bitten.

 There are also frogs that are subsurface baits. I get chills just thinking about all the times I have seen that big wake of a fat old bass hustling toward my bait just below the surface! I have to make myself wait until the bait has been engulfed before I set the hook...I could best describe it as "buck fever" !

 Either way you cut it, it's time to break out the frogs! So if you're feeling froggy it's time to jump on some great frog fishing!



What's a Good Bait for Peacock Bass?

As an employee at Bass Pro Shops one of the most frequently asked questions I get from customers is "what's a good bait for peacock bass". I try to give them a guide line to follow without actually picking out a lure for them. I believe one of the greatest joys of fishing is being able to pick out a lure for yourself as long as you have the right idea as to what works. The guide line I set in place for the customer is to follow 4 basic steps when choosing a lure for peacocks.

1. Brightness or anything that looks like a baby peacock bass.  If you can add a little flash in there to it wouldn't hurt.

2. Keep it small. Preferably under 3 inches if you can. Anything over that and peacock bass have a tendency to run away from it.

3. Make sure it's a hard bait. Peacocks are not know to hit soft plastics.

4. Noisy!! Peacock bass are easily annoyed and anything loud provokes them further.


Try to keep these general tips in mind when selecting your next peacock bass lures and success is just a hook set away.


Henry Morales



Key Bait's For Imitating Crawfish

Bass are absolutely one of the most ferocious predators that swim. They will eat basically anything that they can fit their mouths around, and they have been known to attempt to eat things that they can't fit their mouths around. They have amazing appetites and I say it all the time. "If bass got as big as great white sharks, then anyone that swims in our local lakes and rivers would be in big trouble." Animals such as snakes, lizards, frogs, rodents, and even birds and baby ducks are frequently found in the gullet of a bass by anglers. With all of these strange food sources as well as the more common shad, bluegill, and crawfish, selecting baits throughout the season can be a very difficult task. Understanding which food sources are key for the certain time period you are fishing in is very important. The one I want to touch on now is one of my absolute favorite food sources to imitate which is the crawfish. These crustations are like filet mignon to a hungry bass, and trust me they will take every opportunity they have to eat the hardy meal a crawfish offers. Crawfish can range in size from 1/2 inch long all the way up to 5 or 6 inches long, and can be found in a wide range of colors. Generally the base colors are an olive green or brown, but in fall and early spring the crawfish will often have orange or red in their legs and claws, and can even turn blue in certain situations. Generally in the spring or fall I want my crawfish imitation to be brown with a hint orange mixed in. A good way to tell exactly what color the crawfish are is by setting a trap such as a Frabill Deluxe Crawfish Trap. Simply set it near a rocky area and let it sit over night, the next morning you will have an up to date sample of what colors you need to be using in your crawfish imitation lures. So if you're heading out on the water right now in the month of March there are a few key baits that you really should have in your arsenal. You can either base your color selection on the sampling you've done, or you can just stick by the rule of thumb that fall and spring crawfish generally have orange or red in their claws or legs.

One of my favorite baits to turn to in the fall and early spring is a jig with a soft plastic trailer. A few of my favorite jigs are the Stanley Finesse Jigs, War Eagle Finesse Jigs, as well as the Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig. The trailer I use the most in the fall and spring is a Zoom Super Chunk, or Super Chunk Junior. I like this trailer because of the subtlety of it. When bass are cold they often prefer baits with less action and the super chunk is perfect for that application. I often determine my jig and trailer color by figuring out exactly what color the current crawfish population is but in most cases when fishing water below 65 degrees I use a jig that is brown and orange with a green pumpkin trailer that I often dip in orange Spike It. When fishing these jigs I like to target banks that have significant rock structure on them as well as working them through brush piles from 4 to 12 feet deep. The colder the water gets the slower I like to work my jig. Be ready because the jig is a proven big fish bait and there is not a better time to throw one then in the cold water months of the year!

Another great crawfish imitator is a crank bait. Numerous companies produce baits in either an orange or red color and they catch a ton of fish when worked around banks that have an abundance of rock on them. In the fall I like to look for steeper rock banks close to deep water, while in spring I often catch my larger pre spawn fish on clay or gravel banks, as well as on points that have chunk rock mixed in. Whether its spring or fall here are the baits that I like to through. The first is a Spro Little John MD in the spring craw color. This bait is small in profile and has a great action that really triggers fish when the water is in the mid 50s to low 60s whether you are fishing it in the spring or fall doesn't matter. Another crank bait for that same water temperature is the Storm Wiggle Wart. The wiggle wart has been catching fish for far more years then I have been alive and is still producing today. They have a wide variety of crawfish colors to choose from, my two favorites are the orange brown craw, and the natural brown crawfish. The Spro and the Storm both have a relatively aggressive wobble that the fish really love in the early fall and late spring. Both baits actually have what is called a hunting action which means when retrieved they wobble while at the same time subtly changing course from left to right. However when the water is cold, from 42 to 52 degrees the number one bait is the Rapala Shad Rap in the SR7 or SR5 size. When targeting cold water bass with the shad rap I generally use the SR7 size in the crawdad color or the dark brown crawdad. There are two keys to why the shad rap is such successful cold water bait. First is the fact that it is silent while most crank baits have rattles, secondly the bait has a very subtle tight wobble. These two factors are a deadly seductive presentation for a fish that is in a slow feeding mode.

The Jigs and the Crank baits are by far the top two baits when imitating crawfish, but there are some other more innovative baits on the market that are sure to catch crawfish eating bass. A new bait was recently produced by savage industries the bait is called the 3D Craw. It is an incredibly realistic bait that actually has air in the head of the bait and in the pinchers, which makes the bait stand up in an aggressive posture. You can rig the bait on a stand up jig head or for a great weed less application you can take the skirt of a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig and simply slide the craw up on to the hook. The Huddleston Huddlebug is another great option when trying to perfectly imitate a crawfish.

Between the jigs, crank baits, and the realistic craw imitations you have plenty of baits to choose from. Remember to always pay attention to water temperature and try and match the color of the crawfish as accurately as possible. The next step is learning where, and how to fish the baits, and finally go out and load the boat with big cold water bass. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania 


Crappie Fishing made easy with Bass Pro's Crappie Maxx & more!

Crappie Fishing made easy with Bass Pro's Crappie Maxx & more!

By Frank Hollie

                I took advantage of a break in the weather and made a quick trip to local lake in Oakland, Tennessee, for a few hours of crappie fishing. I walked around the lake and decided to try out one of our Trout  Magnet soft plastic lures. I used a black and green striped Trout Magnet on a 1/64 oz. jig head. I fished it under one of the small Trout Magnet bobbers. It was a little windy so I just let the bait bounce along with the wind. BAM! I caught several crappies and one big bream in about 3 hour’s time.

 My rod was a 7 foot Crappie Max light action rod with a Bass Pro Shop tournament series reel with 6 pound Crappie Max fishing line. All in all it was a great lightweight rig with excellent action.  I found the Trout Magnet to be very durable and I used the same one the whole time that I fished.

I would highly recommend the Trout Magnet. It is a durable and versatile bait which can be used in cold weather to attract several different species of fish. It comes in a variety of colors and the jig heads come in various weights and designs.

While you are getting ready to go fishing, don't forget that the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Classic is going on now through March 16th. We have some awesome deals for all you fishermen. We hope to see you soon! Happy Fishing!

Product Information:

Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx Fishing Poles- These poles range in price starting at $39.99 and up.

The Bass Pro Shops Crappie Mass Fishing Line: Starts at $7.99 and up.

The Trout Magnet Lures: Start at $2.49 and up



Spring Fishing Classic 2014

We are less than 1 week away from Bass Pro Shops Rocky View, Spring Fishing Classic!  You can expect some great in store specials!! Our famous Reel trade in, and the Rod trade in will be back as well! On top of that, we will be having our Bass Master University and fish tank demonstrations given by fishing pro's such as "The Facts of Fishing" presented by Dave Mercer and "Fishing Alberta Lakes" Presented by Wes David professional Walleye Angler. Brad Fenson will also be doing a fish fillet demo!  We are going to kick off the Classic by having a Preferred Rewards Event on March 7th from 6pm-9pm. There will be some prizes and awesome give always for Preferred Rewards members!!


Bass Pro Shops Rocky View's Spring Fishing Classic runs through March-7th-23rd.  Come into the store to see whats new and exciting for the the upcoming fishing season!! This is a major opportunity to learn about the newest products for the upcoming fishing season!! We will be be having lots of in store specials as well as giveaways for attending the seminars! (While Supplies last).


Reel Trade runs from March 7th-12th. You can bring in unwanted reels which are in good working order to trade in for a discount on your reel purchase that day. Discounts may vary by price of the new reel, but you could get up to $100 off the purchase of the right in stock reel that day!


Rod Trade in which runs from, March 14th-18th. If you have any good older rods that are unwanted, bring them in and trade them for a discount on up to $100 on on a new rod!!!


Our Bonus Points promotion runs from March 13th-17th! receive  up to 4000 Bonus points!


Our Fried Fish sampling will be March 8,9,15 and 16th!




The Schedule for the Seminars will be as follows:

March 7th

7:00pm Wes David Tank demo  "Fishing Alberta Lakes

March 8th

11:00am Brad Fenson, Fish fillet Demo

12:00pm Dave Mercer "Facts of Fishing"

1:30pm Wes David "Spring Time Walleye"

2:30pm Rapala "Local Fishing"

3:00pm Brad Fenson "Selecting the right rod"

March 9th

12:00pm Wes David "Fishing for the Ultimate Predator"

1:00 pm Rapala "Local Fishing Tips"

2:00pm Wes David " Spring Time Walleye"

3:00om Rapala " Local Tips"

March 14th

7:00pm "Selecting the right Crank Bait"

March 15th and 16th

11:00 am "Walleye Techniques for Southern Waters"

1:00pm "Best Practices for Ice Fishing"

2:00pm "Best Pike Techniques"

3:00pm "Choosing the right soft Plastics for Walleye"

4:00pm "Mono,Flouro,Braid?"

5:00pm "Choosing the right rod for pike or Walleye"

March 22

3:00pm Womens Fishing Workshop


And for the family, we will end the event with the

Bass Pro Shops Next Generation Weekend on March 22 and 23rd.

Casting pond 12:00pm-5:00pm

Picture U 12:00pm-5:00pm

Crafts 1:30-4:30

Thinking Like a Fish Workshop 2:30 and 4:30


Thinking like a fish workshop is designed to learn how to catch a fish by thinking like they do!


Be Ready for the Worlds greatest Fishing Show and Sale!













Which Fishing Line is Best for You?

If you are new to Fishing - or even if you are an "Ole Pro" - sometimes just walking through our Fishing Department can prove to be overwhelming.  Every Year, something bigger and better comes out and on starts the trial and error checklist.

I emailed our Local Pro Staffer, Joel Ross - and asked him to break down the different LINE SELECTIONS that you may see in our store.  His awesome response is as follows:

Fishing Line

Man, what a broad subject with all the lines out there today.  I am going to break it down pretty simple for everyone since I don’t do complex very well.  Bass Pro has excellent line and here are the three I will be discussing:

XPS Signature Series Monofilament—it has ideal sensitivity with easy handling and high abrasion resistance.

XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon—it has unparalleled abrasion resistance while maintaining softness and is virtually invisible underwater.

XPS 8 Advanced Braid—it is woven from 8 Dyneema fibers for unparalleled strength and consistent roundness for smooth casting.

I just got my reels cleaned up and ready for the 2014 season, so I will be re-spooling with fresh line.  I tournament fish, so I have a rod and reel for every purpose I will be targeting based on the lake I will be fishing, thus a need for the correct line for each purpose.  In the following, I will use Ross Barnett as my lake to pick the line for each purpose targeted:

Jig Fishing—two different approaches will be covered with the jig.  If flipping heavy grass or standing grass—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid.  If casting a jig—20 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon.

Worm Fishing—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Hollow Body Frog Fishing—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid

Spinner bait Fishing—15 to 20 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon, pick depending on color of water, clearer water go with 15.

Buzz bait Fishing—40 lb green XPS Advanced Braid

Soft/Hard Jerk Baits—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Top Water (Spook)—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Ribbet Frog/Weighted Skinny Dipper—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Crankbait Fishing—12 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

As a rule, braid is very strong and visible, so use in thick cover.  Fluorocarbon is strong and virtually invisible, so use in clear water conditions.  Mono floats, is strong and has memory so it is used on the jerk baits and top waters, thus making it easier to walk the dog and keeping the jerk baits closer to the surface.  It is extremely frustrating to try and walk the dog with a spook with a line that sinks.  Also, a good rule of thumb is to retie often while fishing to make sure you don’t loose the big one when she decides to eat.

When re-spooling, never take all the line off the spool.  Leave some on as backing and tie an in-line knot to the line coming on.  This will allow you to use less line re-spooling.  Fill the spool all the way up.  If you leave it low on the spool, it will be harder to cast the reel.  A full spool is always easier to cast that one that has less line.  When money is on the line, change your line often and retie often.

God Bless and always catch and release so we can catch again.


** Please feel free to post any questions to our Local Pro on this thread below.  Thank you!  Happy Fishing!!


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.



A Simple Guide to Cold Water Fishing Tactics

     No doubt midwinter is the most challenging time to consistently catch fish . Often the coldest water temperatures are accompanied by dingy water and even cloudy days which further impinge on the fishes’ desire and ability to feed.  Ask any ‘old school’ fisherman and the answer will be “low and slow is the way to go.”

     Bottom bumping with Carolina rigged soft plastic ‘wavy tail’ worms (like Culprit, Zoom and Bass Pro) in freshwater or soft plastic ‘minnow tail’ bodies (by Fin-S, Zoom, Saltwater Assassin, and Offshore Angler) on a ¼ ounce jig head in salt and brackish water rivers and creeks is the normal pattern for cold water fishing in this area.  While that ‘low & slow’ adage is true much of the time in winter, there are days or even periods when the fish respond to prevailing environmental stimuli of sun and sustained  warm temperatures which affect their schooling and feeding behavior. After all, fish being ‘cold-blooded’ simply means they tend to take on the activity level of their surroundings. So when the water is cold (or ‘cooling off’) they tend to be less active than in times when the sun or air may warm the water even by a few degrees. The days are getting a little longer now and at our low latitude, the sun angle is high enough in the sky to occasionally ‘energize’ shallow waters, especially those that are clear and dark or containing vegetation.  

     These times may simply be an hour or two at the end of a sunny afternoon when the wind has died off and allowed the shallow end of a pond or lake or backwater oxbow (in fresh water) to get a few degrees warmer than the surrounding (deeper and dingier) waters. Or (in saltwater) similar warming occurs in small, shallow, protected bays especially if the water is clear and the bottom dark. The whole foodchain sparks to life during these episodes as the sun promotes activity at each level leading up to the fish, which are stimulated by the relative warming of the water and the availability of food. Gamefish may briefly move into shallower waters or rise up in the water column to follow their foodsource, providing a brief feeding frenzy or even a prolonged pre-spring ‘fling’ which savvy anglers have learned to capitalize upon.

     Mild winter evenings spent fishing the edges of shallow weed-lined freshwater lakes and ponds may provide an hour or two of ‘heart stopping’ bass action using a variety of topwater lures or dark colored frog imitations rigged weedless. Bass Pro has an extensive selection of plastic frog and toad lures well suited for this as well as the weedless double frog hooks.

     Similarly, in saltwater bays or brackish river bends at the end of a ‘warm’ winter day speckled trout often go on a feeding binge just before dark. This is a great time for majestic sunsets and sizzling topwater action using lures like Rapala Skitterwalk, Mirrolure Top Dog,  or Heddon Spook especially in the vicinity of mullet schools. The hours preceding an evening topwater bite can often be productively spent throwing or slow trolling suspending or sinking hard baits like Rapala X-Rap, Mirrolure Mirrodine, Glad Shad, Catch and TT series or the NEW Offshore Angler Red Eye Mullet .     

     Taking advantage of these winter ‘windows of opportunity’ is not only a great way to overcome a case ‘of cabin fever’, but will keep your tackle and fishing skills polished and just maybe get you a fresh fish dinner ;-)


David Thornton

January 2014









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 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





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!


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    




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



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









Fishing: Catching Crappie in the Fall and Winter

Fishing for crappie in the fall and winter can be one of the most interesting experiences in the outdoors when done right. There are many places that crappie like to hide out in these months where the weather is steadily changing to be colder. Being able to pinpoint where these tasty fish will be located during the different times of the year will make fishing a lot easier.

When summer temperatures begin to drop and the water temperature starts falling, this is when shad begin their annual migration into the creeks and major tributaries. During this time of year the crappie tend to follow the shad into these bodies of water just off the main lake. Often times the crappie will be found in fairly shallow water. Looking for crappie around shallow stumps, trees, and laydowns is a prudent idea being that they are following the schools of shad into these areas. Because of these structures, and how close the crappie tend to get to them, a suggested jig for fishing these areas is the Bass Pro Shops® Curltail Stump Jumper® Jig Bait. This jig gives the fisherman the ability to maneuver over these structures without losing a jig every cast. If a fisherman can locate a school of shad it is a very good bet there are a lot of crappie around the nearest structure to the school. During this time of year the location of the crappie seems to be the biggest factor in being able to catch crappie, the color of your lure doesn’t seem to affect the prospect of catching fish in the fall and winter. But making a good presentation to the fish and having the right lure is key to catching a limit of fish during the fall. The best bait that has the proper action for crappie is the Bass Pro Shops® Crappie Maxx® Paddle Tail Minnow, this bait attracts the attention of the crappie during a slow retrieve and can get some powerful strikes.


Once the temperatures begin to decline as, fall turns to winter, shad will move back out of the creeks and tributaries back into the main portion of the lake. As in fall the crappie will follow the shad back into the lake. Once in the lake the crappie will usually go deeper in the lake to remain close to the shad. This time of year the crappie can be found in and around deep water brush piles. When a brush pile is located in the lake a fisherman should lock the coordinates into a GPS or on a map so they can return during the winter. During this time of year another good place to look for crappie is around docks. The best docks are sticking out from a point and are located over deep water or at a drop off in the lake. This is where crappie tend to congregate during the winter in order to stay near the shad. Unlike during the fall where color does not matter much to the crappie, during the winter natural colors tend to work a lot better than others. A slow vertical presentation with a 1/16th -1/8th oz jig with a soft plastic body is one of the best approaches to use during the winter. Good bait during this time of year that comes with a wide assortment of colors is the Bass Pro Shops® Curltail Stump Jumper® Jig Bait. Bass Pro Shops has the largest and best selection of all the crappie fishing baits you need! Check them out here: Now that you know where the fish are and how to lure them in we will wish you happy fishing!

Check out our other crappie fishing blog: Fishing: Crappie in the Spring and Summer!


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



January Fishing Report by Capt. Jon Fetter

Fishing Report Week of January 20th

The cold weather this past week made early morning fishing quite interesting, but some of the fish didn’t seem to mind. The sheepshead are spawning and willing to take #1 circle hooks tipped with shrimp. Anglers should add a split shot to keep the bait on or near the bottom. Remember they have a really soft bite so keep the line taught and be ready for the bite. Fish around structure like dock pilings, blow down near mangrove islands, or even oyster bars for this is their hang out. There has also been a decent seatrout bite in the 2-5 feet water depth. Shrimp under a popping cork or paddle tail grubs worked slowly is the ticket. Work the grass flats near the passes or with good moving water to increase your chances. As the water heats up toward late mourning hit the mangroves and shallow oyster bars for redfish. Try cut ladyfish or shrimp tipped jig heads. Be patient as it might take a while for the fish to pick up the scent.

- Jon Fetter



Snook caught by one of Jon Fetters customers

Capt. Jon Fetter is an associate at our Ft. Myers store and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things fishing. Please stop on by and see if he may help you with your fishing needs. Also, support Capt. Jon by visiting his website and learn more about what he does and keep up on his fishing reports.


Crappie Madness Event and Sale Info



Bass Pro Shops loves traditions, but this year we're starting something new! Join us for our first ever Crappie Madness event and sale February 7 & 8 and 14 & 15. We'll have pro Crappie seminars, a free photo download, giveaways and sweepstakes. See schedule below.

New items on sale include the Browning Midas Balck Bass Cast Reels, Crappie Maxx Signature Series Combos and many Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series soft plastics. Click here for list of sale items or grab a tab on your way in to our store. 


Here are some tips from fishing associate David to get you excited about Crappie fishing:

-Use light line- 4-6lb test line especially in clear water.

-When fishing around docks, use a shorter pole, if you're on a boat use a longer rod, and if you're fishing on the shore use a 10ft-16ft pole to reach certain areas.

-Fluorocarbon line disappears in water, use fluorescent green or blue line if you want to see line better.

-In warmer months, use crappie grub/tube.

-Everyone has favorite colors, but the most popular are black chartreuse, all chartreuse, pink and white, blue and white or exotic colors like electric chicken and John Deer green.

-In clear water use clear bait i.e. firecracker, smoke- black glittl, pumpkin or a more natural color i.e. minnow color.

-Fish around submerged brush, dock pilings, submerged tree tops, cedars and hard woods.

-Be versatile because they won't always bite on one color, try new targets.


5p.m.-8p.m. Free photo download
7p.m. Pro Crappie seminar

2p.m.-5p.m. fried fish sampling
Noon- 6p.m. Free photo download
11a.m. Pro Crappie seminar
2p.m. Pro Crappie seminar

Saturday, Feb. 8th 1p.m.-5p.m. catch and release pond

*The first 25 people to attend seminars will receive a free Bass Pro Shops travel mug


Spring Fishing Classic 2014

In my 55 plus years of fishing I have never caught a fish that was wearing a watch or carrying a calendar. I guess in a way fish might be considered lucky in that one respect. They are governed by nature to do very few tasks. They eat to survive, reproduce to continue their species and try to stay comfortable and uneaten while doing these tasks.

  If we will remember this simple list, we will catch more fish. We humans are governed by a host of things that do not apply to fish. We deal with clocks, daylight savings time and calendars to conduct our daily lives. Fish, to a large degree are governed by temperature, daylight, water content and the availability of food and that’s about it.

As Winter begins to slowly and reluctantly give was to Spring we find the days starting to get longer. This gradual process begins in January here in North Central Texas. The daylight hours get a little longer each day and the Sun travels a higher arc across the sky. As the northern hemisphere turns more and more toward the Sun the water begins to warm thus setting the reproductive cycle in progress on largemouth bass.

Sorry folks, but the bass don’t employ flowers, sweet phone calls or romance in any way. In a nutshell, the male bass starts to fan out a nest with his tail when the water temperature approaches 58 degrees. He then finds a female bass and coaxes her to the nest he has prepared. The female will come to the nest, deposit her eggs and stay in the area for a few days to protect them, but she soon moves on to her other duty of just being a bass. The male stays behind and defends the nest area against all intruders.

 This is one of the best times of year to catch that big mama bass. Many fishers don polarized sunglasses and patrol the shallows around cover looking for the large female tending her eggs. Some of the preferred baits for this tactic include soft baits that imitate natural egg predators like, salamanders, crawfish, and bream or perch. My personal favorite is a white floating lizard attached to a shaky head jig. Other good baits include, jigs with a trailer of pork or synthetic trailer designed to present a “threatening” profile to Ms. Bass. There are times when the big females will slam the bait, there are others when she will delicately pick the offending intruder up in her mouth and simply escort it out of her protective zone. Either way it’s time to set the hook!

Some other great spawn fishing lures include neutral buoyancy “twitch baits” like the suspending Rattling Rogue, and Bass Pro’s Excaliber  baits.

 When fishing for these early-season fish remember a couple of basic things. One is to understand that smaller bodies of water tend to “warm up” quicker than others. Ponds, or tanks here in the area will almost always warm to acceptable spawning temperatures than the main bodies of our favorite lakes. Those of us who don’t have access to private ponds should look  in the north ends of our lakes for the warmest water available that is close to cover and if possible close to deeper water.

  Another factor in water warmth is the clarity of water. Clearer water, though nicer to look at, warms slower than slightly stained water which absorbs the Sun’s rays. If you have a thermometer use it!

Remember that bass are simple creatures whose single job it is , is to survive and you will catch more and bigger ones earlier in the year. You also stand an even better chance of landing that bragging rights monster if you’ll stop by Bass Pro Shops of Garland Tx and talk to the pros who have the experience and knowledge. They are there to help you with all your fishing needs and may just give you that little tip that puts you on your personal best.

Tight Lines and bent rods to ya!

Enjoy Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic from February 28- March 16 2014!!


Spring Fishing Classic 2014



Fishy Facts: Northern Pike

Hmm… would you look at that? It appears to be Fishy Fact: 30. Which of course means it is time for another fishy fact. This month let us cover one of those toothy bad boys of freshwater: Northern Pike.

The northern pike is an apex predator in their ecosystem. The veracity with which they attack their prey makes them an awesome fighter when hooked. They also grow to relatively large size, which means the bigger the fish the bigger the fight.

The pike got their name due to the resemblance their structure has compared to the pole-weapon commonly used during the Medieval Period. This pointed structured helps them cut through water and they use impressive bursts of speed to run down their prey.

They are usually an olive green with some yellow and white along the belly. They also tend to have a number of dark spots on their bodies. They look a lot like the muskellunge, but have their differences. The northern pike has a number of sensory pores on their head and along the underside of their lower jaw.

Typical prey of the northern pike include: fish, leeches, insects, amphibians, small mammals and even birds. There are pictures of cute little ducklings swimming along as a hungry northern pike salivates below in the water. Pretty accurate, honestly. Northern pike tend to be solitary predators.

Along with being solitary they tend to stay in the same waters. Their homing sense is very strong, and will keep them in the same area for years. They tend to breed in the spring. In summer they stay closer to vegetation than when it is winter.

Typically fishermen will pitch assorted baits and lures in a semi-fast fashion to try and attract the bite from the northern pike. When I was in Canada it was common to switch to pitching for pike instead of jigging for walleye to break the boredom. If we didn’t feel like pitching, it went to trolling. Plugs, jerk baits, inline spinners, soft baits and spoons tend to be the most effective lures used for pike. Many like to use something with some shine that will glint in the water to attract any possible pike nearby. Ice fishing for these large predators is also popular, just be careful being in that close of proximity to something that strong with that many teeth.

Many fishermen will overlook pike as an edible catch. This is due to the high amount of bones in their long, slender bodies. This makes it very hard to get meat off the fish, which is why many do not spend the time cleaning them. If one were to take the time to learn a little trick for cleaning pike they would also learn just how delicious they are. Pike is a common fish consumed in Europe.

Now because pike are as strong and toothy as mentioned above, fishermen either are very careful when handling them or just club them. When I went fishing for them there were two rules, watch the teeth and don’t drop the net. I was able to follow the first rule but may have forgotten the second. In fact, the story of me is dropping the net right after Uncle Scot said not to is one of his favorites. It took us quite the time to get the fish out, but when we finally did it was worth the effort!

Nice, right? PS- Uncle Scot caught that, I just look too cool with my sideburns.

Pikes Picnickin’ with Prickly Pear Paws! Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts:

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass