Basic Boat Care!

Nothing wakes up the spirit of a boater than to see the ice disappear from the area lakes and rivers. Hallelujah, this is now happening all around us in the Midwest! But before you hunt a new lunker for your wall or fill up the freezer with fresh fish, proceed with caution and protect your boat.

My boat, a 2014 Nitro Z8, is not only my toy; it is my office for much of the open water season. It is imperative I protect it to insure not only success but also safety. Like other investments, such as a vehicle and home, it is important to safeguard. Think of your home. Chances are it is loaded with safety features taken for granted: airbags, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, locks, alarms, etc., and your boat needs to be fitted for protection too.

Fiberglass damage on a boat can turn into thousands of dollars for repair quickly. Damage can come from anywhere - the shoreline as you launch or while traversing the water from floating debris. The easiest and most effective way to protect against this damage is with a KeelGuard. This product is my top recommendation for all boat owners to have. If the KeelGuard gets damaged, that means you saved potentially thousands of dollars in fiberglass damage. And these suckers are tough. Look at what I put my boat and KeelGuard through this past December: (would be effective to embed the video in the blog). This proves the durability and the effectiveness of this product.

Loading a boat is a pain, especially if you are by yourself, and all boat owners know that dreadful thud of boat hitting the trailer too hard. My boat’s bows have always been notorious for having scuff marks on the gel coat. Luckily for me, I discovered a remedy and preventative product: the MegaWare Scuff Buster Bow Guard. It has covered up most of my scuffs (see photos) and protects it from future marks. If I beat it up to the point where it looks poor (very likely!), I can replace it knowing I saved hundreds of dollars from removing scuff marks or even more with fiberglass damage.

While pursuing shallow water fish, my boat comes in contact with all sorts of obstructions just waiting to destroy my investment. Case in point is the skeg on my motor - the image shows the damage a miscalculation cost me. It is not always possible to avoid every obstacle, but avoiding this damage was. Had I installed a Skeg Guard beforehand, there would be no damage. Luckily, installing one now will cover my damage, improve performance, and add value to my motor.

I will admit that my Z8 gets a lot of second looks on the road, and I like it. It is no surprise - she’s beautiful and I keep her that way. My boat receives a scrubbing weekly with Bass Pro Shops Premium Boat & RV Wash.  Do not underestimate how a little TLC goes a long way. Not only does it keep the boat sparkling, but it helps me discover loose screws, minor scuff marks, and other miscellaneous repairs that could lead to larger issues. In addition, scrubbing seats and other hard to reach places prevent mold and mildew from growing.

No doubt you will be heading to the taxidermist several times in 2015, but be sure these moments are not at the sacrifice of your boat and wallet. Before you head out on your favorite body of water, be sure it is ready for the obstructions that await it. A minor investment and a little time can save you from thousands of dollars in damage.

Check out some of our Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats!

Thanks Andy Buss!



Custom Bow Strings

Make your bow awesome


Need a new string for your bow?  Well come down and ask about custom string orders for bows and crossbows, and yes this includes recurve bows.  We are proud to introduce a string and cable customizer, all with First String a trusted manufacturer of quality bow strings.  We will work with you step by step to get the string or cable or both that you need, and here is a fun deal, in the color you want for most applications.   So if you want a red and yellow string and cable set we can get it.  We have a wide variety of color choices available.  First String will make it as soon as it is ordered and will be shipped back to us and we will install it on your bow.   While here take a look at our vast array of archery accessories, arrows and broad heads.  Another area you need to see  is our archery range.  The range is indoors and we use 3D targets.  Look forward to helping all our archer friends so come see us.

And of course, browse our extensive assortment of Archery at


Female Historical Participation in Archery!

Archery has been part of the American social fabric since the early 19th Century. Moreover, feminine participation is nothing new but rather women are responsible for weaving much of this fabric and can take credit for what it is today.


Figure 1 “New York Times November 12, 1916 from the Library of Congress digitized archives.  Top Left Circle Photo – Basket Ball 17 Year Old Girls.  Photo Below Female Archery Tournament.

(Figure 1)

The school system is the mechanism for which female participation of archery, among other sports began and thrived. Female participation was usually much higher than male participation.  Back in the early 20th century, many states instituted laws in which it was required the girls complete all four years of high school. Boys were only required to go for two years and then would either go to work or go to a trade school.  Since the majority of junior and senior classes were made up of females it created the environment in which girls participated in all sports- archery being one of them.  This high-level participation continued for over half a century until the conformity period after WWII and today it has reemerged once again at a high-level of women participation.


On the world level this participation decreased earlier than in the United States. Archery was admitted in the Olympic Games in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1920. Women competed in the 1900 and 1908 games.  Archery disappeared from the Olympics for 50 years until the Munich games in 1972.

The Great Depression and the social negative attitudes towards women during the suffrage movement also decrease the participation levels. However, because of the mechanism mentioned before at the grassroots high school level, women archery still thrived against this adversity.

What was the conformity period? From the battle field to the home front the war was an emotionally exhausting time for the world that was affected by it.  Conformity period was a way for our society to be “normal”. Moreover, communism was the new enemy and setting our culture apart from theirs- in which women were doing the same tasks as men for the sake of the motherland-was important to the American cultural attitude. Some women went back to homemaking and left the world of sporting. However, unlike many of the other sports Archery was still in large numbers done by women.



Figure 2 Library of Congress Digital Archives. Office of War Information/Farm Services Administration.

(Figure 2)

In the early 20th Century women took the center stage in the world of competition archery. For example Dorothy Smith Commings was a seven time Archery National champion in 1921, 1922, 1924-1926 and in 1931 (Figure 2).  These competitions were huge events in which newspapers across the country would report on the results and the contestants. It must be understood the time period; even simple things like taking photographs shown here was an expensive venture. The quality of these photographs is another indication on how important women Archery was to the American social fabric.  People took the sport very seriously in which many would travel great distances to watch the matches. Moreover, young men were attracted to the participants. Magazines and prints a like would use attractive images of women to attract male counterparts to sporting events.



This phenomenon kept moving forward.  Even advertisers jumped on board. The image a female shooting a bow attracted many and was-and still is-appealing. Possibly due to the image that it portrays- beauty and power (Figure 3 & Figure 4).  Also, in this late 40’s Crest Commercial here:




Figure 3

Figure 4

            Today Female Archery is still going strong. Movies like Hunger Games and Brave are not the cause of females being interested in archery, but merely a continuation of a long standing American tradition.  I invite all women- young and old alike- to stop in Bass Pro Shops and speak to one of our Archery Pros, we have girl pros too!

And of course, check out our extensive online selection of Archery on

For more further reading......


Bow Fishing 101

What is Bow Fishing?  Do we have a season for it?  If so what are the dates.  Do you need special equipment?

Bowfishing is a method of fishing that you use special equipment to shoot and then retrieve the fish.

Season:  May 15th thru September 30th

Who can bow fish?  Any person who has a fishing license or a small game hunting license can take carp of any size and in any number by long bow, recurve or compound bow.  This can be done in any water where fishing and discharging a bow is permitted.  Please always check your DEC website to see if the lake you plan to go bow fishing is restricted or not.

On May 2nd at 4pm we are pleased to have Captain Jason Barnes one of our Bass Pro Shop Pro Staffers here to give a Bow Fishing seminar.  Jason has grown up in the area and has been hunting waterfowl since the age of 5 with his dad.  Jason received his Master Captain's license and New York State Guide's license in 2000.  Jason formed Frontenac Fowlers Guide Service and enjoys taking young, old and veterans on guided tours while teaching them the sport.  Now as part of the Pro Staff with Gator Trax, Jason does fishing charters in the summer.  This seminar will talk in detail about the sport and what equipment is needed as well as how to get started.



















Here are a few bows that Jason will touch base on.  The AMS Bowfishing Fish Hawk Compound Bowfishing Package  perfect with all the equipment needed with the exception of arrows.  A smooth draw and it weighs 3.4 pounds.










The PSE Archery Discovery Bowfishing Package includes everything you will need as well as 2 arrows.






So plan on stopping by May 2, 2015 at 4pm for a fun fact filled seminar on bowfishing with Captain Jason Barnes.






Staying bug free on your turkey hunt


It seems that turkey season and mosquitoes arrive at about the same time but now there is a way of getting rid of the mosquitoes without spraying messy chemicals on your skin. The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent system creates an odorless and invisible barrier that mosquitoes will not cross, providing a mosquito free area 15’ in diameter.  It uses a butane cartridge to heat up a chemically treated repellent mat that lasts up to six hours (butane cartridges last up to twelve hours). Also great for bow season, dove season, fishing or anytime you want to keep mosquitoes away.

Bugged While Hunting and Camping?

Another great product to use to keep bugs away is Premium Insect Repellent by Sawyer that contains permethrin. According to, “The active ingredient Permethrin is a synthetic molecule similar to pyrethrum which is taken from the Chrysanthemum flower.” This spray is applied to your clothing, tents and gear before your hunt and when dry will last for up to six washes. This not only repels ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers and mites but also kills them. These two products used together will give you hours of bug-free fun in the outdoors.

With spring warming up and making its way towards becoming summer, your kids will start wanting to go outside. Stay ahead of the bugs by buying Bug Repellant at Bass Pro Katy.



Gearing Up for Spring Turkeys – Calls and Calling

As a beginning turkey hunter years ago, the one thing that worried me most when I entered the turkey woods was that I would make a mistake when it came time to call. Over the years, I’ve found that if I can simply become COMFORTABLE with the calls I carry with me into the woods, my CONFIDENCE in using them soars.


So as we turn the calendar to April and start counting down the days to the season opener, spend some time getting comfortable with your favorite calls.  If you use any type of friction call, you probably don’t need much practice to feel confident with it before the season begins.  But you do need to make sure that it still produces the sound you want it to make.  For box calls you may need to use some sand paper and a bit of chalk to get ‘em to sound like you want.  If you’re like me and prefer to have a friction call in your hands, don’t neglect to check out your striker tip.  A light sanding of the striker tip and pot surface may be needed.  Or, if you’re looking for a new tone or pitch, consider investing in a new set of strikers to go with your old standby friction call.


The calls that I have to spend the most time getting reacquainted with every pre-season are my mouth calls.  I prefer the Redhead Pro Pack of diaphragm calls.  They all provide good and unique sounds and they aren’t so pricey that they break my hunting budget. If I don’t start yelping, cutting and purring with them weeks before I head into the woods with my shotgun or bow, I know my confidence won’t be high enough to use them when I need to.


So make sure you spend some time getting comfortable and gaining confidence with your calls this spring. That way you’ll be ready to use them when you come across something like this!


Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Fishy Facts: Common Snook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin


Turkey Hunting Spring, 2015

Hello Texas Turkey Hunters. It’s time for the Spring, 2015 Turkey Season to begin. Here is quote from the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website regarding sessions and dates and special limits in certain counties.

“Spring turkey hunting gets under way this weekend, March 14-15, with the special youth-only weekend season for Rio Grandes in the 54-county South Zone. The general season in the South Zone runs March 21-May 3 and culminates with another youth-only weekend May 9-10. In the 101 counties comprising the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons are March 28-29 and May 23-24. The North Zone general season opens April 4 and runs through May 17. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee and Milam counties.”

To access TPWD’s full article on the Spring, 2015 season copy the link below and paste it in your browser: 


At Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World we have all you need to make your hunt a successful one.

From decoys and turkey loads for your shotgun to camo clothes, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is ready to help you make this year’s season one to remember.

Stop by and check out our Camo Department for all your camo clothing needs and especially for our full body camo suits. We also have special turkey hunting backpacks with attached seats.

Visit out Hunting Department to see our full display of Turkey decoys, including this year’s big hit decoy: Redheads’s new motorized Jake and Strutting Gobbler. Don’t forget our Camping Department where we have a full selection of Yeti coolers, including Yeti’s new soft side coolers, along with lots of other useful outdoor gear.

Our Footwear Department even has a full line of boots and socks to get you through the season.

Before hitting the field, let’s talk about a few things.

First, be sure to check the TPWD website and check the requirements for the county in which you are hunting. Make sure your gun is cleaned and ready to use.

Next, check your shotgun to make sure it’s ready to go. A good cleaning is always a good idea before hitting the field. And be sure to check your choke tube to get the best pattern (Note: be sure to use a good choke tube lubricant before screwing the tube back in). At Bass Pro Shops we have a full selection of choke tubes, cleaning supplies, and we are fully stocked with “Turkey Loads” for your shotgun.

For those trying out bow hunting for this season, visit our Archery Department and check out our selection of arrow heads that can make your hunt a successful hunt.

And if you haven’t picked up that 2014 – 2015 Texas Hunting or Fishing License yet, stop by our Customer Service Department and they will make sure you are ready to hit the field.

At Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Katy Mills Mall we wish you the best for outdoor adventure. And if you have some luck, stop by and tell us all about it, send pictures and stories to our facebook, or email them to, we’d love to hear from you.






Check it Out List: Bow Fishing

OK! I promise this will be the last bow fishing blog for a while! Sheesh! I know it was bad enough doing this month’s Fishy Fact blog about bowfin, but you can’t blame me. Bow fishing is really awesome. It is one of the few sports that combine two distinctly different outdoor passions into one (archery and fishing). It is also one of the few things that have gone from survival technique to big-league sport. I haven’t seen the International Fire Starters Championship, but there definitely is a U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship!









Your bow can either be a recurve style or a compound style. (I believe Burt Reynolds had a recurve in Deliverance.) Both have their advantages. The recurve is very easy to learn and pretty simple. The compound has more features and gadgets. Crossbow options are available as well. It all depends on you. You won’t have to take 70 yard shots or anything like that, so really just figure out what works for you. Most people go with a compound though.

Hey, ever wonder what happens to all those bows we get from trade-in specials? Well we donate ours to a non-profit group that turns them into bowfishing rigs. So if you can get your hands onto an older bow for cheap, this might be a good option too!

The reel attaches to your bow and holds the line. The line is attached to your arrow. So hypothetically you would spot a fish, fire your arrow and (hopefully) hit the fish. You would then reel your line in, bringing the arrow and fish right back to you. This is nice, because if you miss you can simply reel it back in. Anybody who shoots archery will tell you what a pain it is losing arrows. Now the reel itself can be your standard set up, or one that closer resembles a spin-casting reel used for fishing.

Lines are pretty standard so it is whatever works best for you and your bow. Archery gear can be like anything else where it seems to prefer certain products. Just like your rifle might prefer certain manufacturer’s ammo.

The arrows don’t have any fletching, mostly because they don’t need them. The shots taken while bowfishing really are not that far. Once again, you’ll figure out what your bow likes as far as arrows go. Once you start looking at the different points, you’ll see a wide variety of options. It all kind of depends on what fish you will be going after and what you like shooting. But basically you will hit the fish and the blades will keep the fish from getting off as you reel in.

A big thing lately has been bowfishing for gators. Please note that you will need some heavy duty stuff for that, and it is best done with a guide. Seriously.

Accessories for bowfishing include gloves, scales, sunglasses, hats and all of your standard fishing accessories. Whether it be tools or apparel these are things you can pick up over time or use what you already have.



Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping Reloading


Healthy Hunter: Hunt Ready

So last month I talked about why it is important to be physically prepared for a hunt. This goes right along with the Healthy Hunter series of blogs. And one of my absolute favorite things to do is create workouts. I love it. Before I went on my first deer hunt I did a six-week regimen to make sure I was going to be ready for it. Sure I was mostly hunting out of stands and blinds, but still I wanted to be ready for anything! And besides, we have talked a lot about nutrition with these blogs so it’s about time to focus on the other part of health/fitness goals. Exercise!

So a little background before we get into the workout plan. This program involves both weight-lifting and cardio. Both are important to focus upon and can be a big help on a hunt. This workout is designed for inside a gym, but can also be done at home if you have the space/equipment. In one of the earlier blogs I wrote about how it is important to track yourself. Same goes for here. The goal is to increase time of cardio and weight/reps when lifting.

The human body is amazing at recovery. I remember hearing how we can withstand workouts that would kill a race horse. But be sure you know what you can handle before going all out. And if you need to change certain exercises, do so. Just be consistent whatever you chose to do.

Never lift weights on consecutive days. Give yourself a day of rest from lifting. I like to fill the rest-days with cardio. Make sure your exercises work from your largest muscle groups down to the smallest. So it’d be something like: Legs-Back-Chest-Shoulder-Triceps-Biceps-Core. Some will argue that your core is a larger group, but I like to finish focusing on this.

Don’t be afraid to take some of your gear to the gym with you. I did. Part of the workout is doing cardio with your hunting pack on and adding weight to it. This is a great way to see how noisy your zippers may be, or if the pack rubs on you or how to best distribute weight in it. Just be sure to spray your gear down with scent-eliminator.

This workout is for four days, which should anyone should be able to work in. This gives you plenty of time to rest. The workouts shouldn’t last longer than 45 minutes. Any longer than that and you probably aren’t doing your body any good.

Lifting Days

Aim for 3 sets of each exercise with 10-15 reps. Slowly increase the weight each week. Track your numbers. And like I said earlier, change any exercise that you need to. If you don’t want to do barbell rows then maybe dumbbell rows, just be consistent. Machines or body-weight variants are also completely acceptable.

Cardio Days

Use machines that you can adjust both resistance and positioning on. This way you can practice for going uphill and how hard the terrain might be. Wear your hunting pack on your back. (Leave the bow/rifle at home.) Figure out how much the pack will weigh for the majority of your trip. Use weights/rocks for half of that weight and work your way up to the full weight and then some over the six week period. If you would prefer to not do cardio in a gym then go hit the trails. That is a hundred times better than being stuck inside. Plus, you might get to climb over trees or stumble over rocks just like in the real world!

Hunt Ready Workout

Lifting Day One:

Squats – Pullups – Bench Press – Shoulder Flies – Triceps Extensions – Barbell Curls - Crunches

Cardio Day One:

30 minutes minimum. Increase speed, position or resistance every 5 minutes.

Lifting Day Two:

Deadlifts – Rows – Chest Flies – Shoulder Press – Dips – Hammer Curls - Planks

Cardio Day Two:

30 minutes minimum. Increase speed, position or resistance every 5 minutes.


Don’t know what those exercises are? has a great library online full of these and more! Many of the exercises are also known as compound, because they hit a couple of muscle groups at the same time.

Be sure to think about any health concerns and probably talk to your doctor before beginning this program. But the benefits from doing this workout, or any before the hunt, could prove itself one of your most important tools out in the field.


Proper Motivation Personal Push Habits Track It Limits Simple Sides


Bowhunting Gobblers

Setting up a good headshot on a Tom has more to do with preparation than actual archery skill. The four areas to concentrate are; equipment and setup, coverage and presentation.


During the deer season many archers have their bows set up on a high draw weight. This is not necessary beneficial with hunting turkeys- especially headshots. Remember, you will be shooting at a closer range and therefore knowing your angle is more important than power of the bow. Moreover, in order to make a good headshot you will have to be already drawn back for a minute or two before the shot can be made. So therefore, a high-let-off bow would be more beneficial. You can top off your equipment with a good broad head. One that gives you 4inches in diameter coverage is perfect and more forgiving than small coverage types.



No matter what blind you choose, try setting it up the night before your morning hunt. Ensure that the blind is not silhouetted in a field by the morning sun or that you are not silhouetted inside the blind. Turkeys are very observant creatures and they pay attention to the finest details. For safety, make sure you have enough room in the blind to be confortable as well as shoot safely.


One of the most important elements is the decoy spread. You want that Tom to get close enough and sit still long enough to make that great headshot. Setting the Jake behind a submissive hen with 2-3 feeder hens in the spread could be the way to go. Finally, finish off this great spread with some good sound. Now, turkey calls have a lot to do with the user than the actual call. Some people are just not good at using some calls. Make sure you are using a call and practice using it to ensure that you are producing an authentic sound. Just like setting up a good fishing rig- presentation is everything. Wait for the shot! Wait until the Tom approaches the Jake and assumes his dominant position- it will be his last.


Cheryl Bowden at Garland Bass pro Shops

Cheryl Boowden like many of us grew up fishing in ponds. She got into bass fishing as an adult and soon started fishing with the Dallas Bass'n Gals local club. That grew into fishing a few of the WBFA women's tournaments as a co-angler. When the WBT formed, she began fishing that tour as a co-angler and after two years moved to the professional side. In 2010, Secret York and she formed the Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA). The first full season for that tour was in 2011.S...he has qualified in Angler of the Year points every year to fish in the Lady Bass Classic. In 2011, she was the runner up in the Lady Bass Classic. In 2012, she won the Lady Bass Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama in 2012 with a 3 Day total of just over 40 lbs.

She also participates as a boat captain for the THSBA, working with Steve Holland. Last year they held the first All Girl Bass Tournament on Cedar Creek Lake. They are planning on having the Second Annual Bass and Bows event this summer.

Annually since 2008, she has participated in T.O.P.S. (Texas Oklahoma Patriot Shootout) on Lake Lewisville. This event is an event organized by Al Telese, founder of the Networking Warriors. During this event, This event provides our wounded service men and women an opportunity to get out and fish, enjoy the outdoors and for a short while maybe forget about the physical and mental struggles they are experiencing as part of their sacrifice that provides us our freedoms.

Cheryl will be here at our Garland location on Saturday February 28th at 2:00 p.m. giving a seminar on Spring Tactics, Equiptment Maintenance,and Water Safety. Please don't miss this great opportunity.We have had Cheryl giving Seminars at our store in the past,she is a great inspiration to all of the female aglers out there,but esspecialy to our young girls. She definatly empowers them to do anything they put their minds to.


Fishy Facts: Bowfin

OK. I know, I know. It seems like “bows” have taken up a lot of my writing lately. From focusing on that beastly bow-fishing boat to the fact that bow-fishing was last month’s Fishy Fact blog, I’ve been writing a lot about the topic. But this month’s subject, the bowfin, is a fish and a rather interesting one. So let’s get back into the water and focus on this swimming-star for the month, the bowfin.

The first thing you will notice about this fish is its appearance. The bowfin looks like it came from the time of the dinosaurs, because it did. Well kind of. It is the sole-survivor of an order of animals that dates back to the Jurassic era. You will also notice that it looks like the invasive species of the extremely-aggressive snakehead. Please note that these are two different fish, and while they share very similar characteristics that the bowfin have been a part of the ecosystem for years (millions) and probably won’t have B-grade sci-fi horror films produced about them.

The first time I saw this fish was hanging on a bar’s wall during my father-in-laws birthday. The place was loaded with awesome taxidermy and is by far the best place to get walleye in Arizona. And at first I mistook it for a snakehead. Months later I was waiting for a flight and somehow got talking to a guy from Minnesota who loves to fish. I asked him about the bowfin and he said that they were ugly ************ but put up a strong fight. He also said he lived in the same complex as the brother of Pablo Escobar who was in hiding in the US…. That may have supposed to not end up on a Bass Pro blog. My bad.

These fish are native to North America and are rather common through the eastern US. They prefer to live in lowland rivers and lakes, swamps and backwater areas. You can also find them occasionally in brackish waters. They are predatory fish and are known to move into the shallows at night to capture their prey. Their diet includes fish, aquatic invertebrates and aquatic insects.

These fish can breathe in both water and air which has helped them survive for so long. Other notable characteristics are the long dorsal fin and the characteristic eyespot by the caudal fin. They grow to an average length of 20 inches, but the females usually grow a little bit larger. There is a record of one being as long as 43 inches and weighing 21.5 pounds! Would I like to swim in the same water as that? Nope!

These fish are extremely fast swimmers but also rather silent. This helps them tremendously and they are quite voracious predators. This goes along with the fact that the airport-guy said they were strong fighters. These fish were considered a nuisance for a long time and were handled as such. Now with a better understanding of their role, these fish are respected for what they provide in an ecosystem. But they are still not a desirable target for sport-fishing. Mostly because they have a mouth full of sharp teeth that can either cut line or your fingers if not careful. They are an interesting fish which finds them in many aquariums, both public and private. Commercially these fish do not hold a strong position in the market, but their roe is sold as Cajun caviar in Louisiana.

So here is to you, bowfin! We may have not treated you right or understand you for many years, but that’s OK. You’ve been here before us and will more than likely be here after us.


Former Fishy Facts:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark


Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

Bow Fishing


Backcounty Fishing Report World Wide Sportsman, Islamorada, Florida

Two young boys walked down the dock all decked out in their fishing gear with their father in tow and they all have the same thing in common.  As guides we see it all the time that look of anticipation.  Their Excited about what is upcoming in there day.  They don’t say anything just waiting for Dad to pipe up and introduce them to one of the many guides standing in front of the World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina Bait Shop waiting for their party’s to show up, having prepped the boats for the days adventure.  This particular Dad walks up to Captain Rich Mitchell and the two of them shake hands, and Captain Rich immediately goes to the young lads introduces himself and knows there names.  Now whether they had fished with Captain Rich before or the Dad told him their names, he knew them, they were wide eyed.  I watched as they made their way onto the boat and make their way out.  And I think to myself that is really doting your I’s and crossing your T’s.  I admire Rich for making it that much more, for those young fishermen.   As I turn to wipe the foot prints off the bow of the Pirate for Hire, I saw two your lads bopping down the dock with their Dad in tow now I am up to bat!  After introductions Dan and Vito, load up and I take them to a little boat wreck that they can see as we pass over.  They are already pumped.  They can see all the snappers and a myriad of other fish as well as a rather larger loggerhead turtle lying off the bow of the wreck.  Very shortly after getting anchored in position I tell the boys that they are using new rods to me, that is Offshore Anglers, New Redfish Extreme Series, and boy they knew how to use them, at a young age both of them were on their way to being accomplished anglers.  They spent the morning catching snappers, mackerel, Blue runner, Jack Crevalles, and really giving the rods a true tackle test.  Even a five foot nurse shark joined the party and I watched smiles, I heard the louder voices and the grunts and quicken breaths.  And these kids are not catching Blue Marlin these are not Sailfish or Tarpon.  It is just rod bending with very positive results, Happy boys, Happy Dad, Equals Happy Guide.  And to top off some delicious snappers I fillet for them and they take over to Islamorada Fish Company for lunch.  Hats off to Captain Rich who has been showing folks great fishing trips out of World Wide Sportsman since 1997 and is truly a Wonderful Personality.  A lot of fish are here biting and World Wide Sportsman has many Great Captains and Guides, so come down and catchemup!

Backcountry Fishing Report provided by Captain Ron Brack (305)393-7448, out of World Wide Sports Bayside Marine, Islamorada Florida. If you would like to get out on the water stop by World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina and book your trip for your adventure today.


Tracker Time: Regency 254 DL3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Previous Tracker Topics

Mako 17 Skiff

Grizzly Sportsman 1860 CC

Wildcat Special Edition


Why it Matters: Proper Physical Preparation

When it comes to going on an outdoor adventure, there will always be the need for some kind of preparation. Whether you are just going out to walk around the local community pond you will at least need proper footwear and water. If you are going to Africa on an eight-day buffalo hunt, there is going to be a lot of preparing to do. And it goes beyond any checklist of gear or practice at whatever you are going to be doing. A crucial aspect that is sometimes missed is proper physical preparation.

Now I believe the outdoors should be able to be enjoyed by everyone. It is one of the very few things that anyone from any walk of life can appreciate. Knowing that there are organizations like Outdoor Experience 4 All who work hard to bring kids with terminal illnesses out hunting or fishing really shows that we aren’t completely messed up as a society. Now should nature trails in the National Parks start being paved? Eh, that is a different discussion to be had. But no matter what, people should know what is going to be expected of them and if they can handle it.

People spend years training to climb certain mountains. They know what will be needed from their bodies in order to make it up and down in one piece. This can sometimes be missed when it comes to hunting trips. On certain hunts you may have to cover several miles through harsh terrain carrying a heavy pack. And after all that you’ll need to be able to hit the animal you are after!

One of the best pieces of advice I got was this: “Go to the range with your hunting rifle. Set out your target at least 100 yards out. Do twenty five pushups, twenty five body squats, twenty five crunches and twenty five jumping jacks. As soon as you finish, fire three shots at the target and see where you end up.” While you won’t be having to do a micro-Cross Fit workout on a hunt, you will be needing to rely on your own strength and how well you can control your weapon after exuding yourself. And think about this, you didn’t have on all that heavy bulky hunting gear when you were practicing!

Practicing with the gear that you will be using is essential to a successful trip. Whether it be fishing, hiking or hunting. You need to know how the stuff will work. And always try using your gear with gloves on. Because one day you may need to be able to unscrew your water bottle with thick gloves on or unzip your backpack or fire your bow and so on!

Do you need a six pack to catch a marlin or hunt an elk? No. But should have been doing cardio and perhaps weight-training leading up to the trip before? Yea. Especially since you never know when a normal trip could turn into something much more serious.



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up







Fish Like a Girl

by Andrea Bailey
Bass Pro Shops Altoona Associate

I’ve been fishing since I was a little girl, when my dad would take me. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors – camping, fishing, even landscaping in my other job. Fishing is great, but now I’m hooked on bowfishing.

A friend started me in it last year. I tagged along, following him around the shore, learning and trying my hand at it. I immediately fell in love…with bowfishing. I went almost every day during the spring and summer of 2014. In just a few months, I shot a lot of carp. I’m no expert, by any means, but hopefully I can inspire other people, especially young women, to give it a try.

What is it about bow fishing? It’s exciting, it’s competitive, and it combines two great outdoor activities…hunting and fishing. Many people who bowfish use a boat, but I fish from shore. I’d like to try fishing from a boat this year, but I’m pretty sure I’ll like the shore more.

Why the shore? It’s the hunting aspect. Being in the elements, using your senses and ability to “hunt” the carp. Being quiet, stalking along the shore, wading through water, the challenge of trying to get to different places where you know the carp may be hiding. That’s part of the fun and part of the challenge…challenges like crawling out on branches that are half way in the water, then falling in and scaring away all the fish!

The tree branch incident was just one lesson reinforced in my first year – be careful! Other lessons, challenges, and tips?

  • Look for brushy areas, where the carp can hide. But, beware of shooting into those brushy areas under water – I shot an arrow into a tree and couldn’t get it out.
  • Shoot lower than you think. Shoot 6 inches below every foot the fish is under the water.
  • Watch for breaches and look for large rings from the breaches to know where the fish is. This was one of my biggest challenges in learning about bowfishing - trying to decipher which rings were from carp.
  • Be aware and go slowly. Walking on the shore you need to be quiet and keep your shadow off the water. If you’re not aware, the fish won’t be there. You will scare them off with your shadow or sound. I really had to adjust to going slowly along the shore – you have to go into stalk mode.
  • Spring is the best time and after a rain is my favorite - when water is up and there may be some light flooding. But, use common sense and be careful – always be aware of the weather and water conditions. Don’t push it.
  • Invest in some good waterproof boots – keep your feet dry.

It’s not a huge investment to get started. I use an AMS package that included everything. This year, I’ve already invested in an arm guard, wax for my bow strings, a new arrow with four barbs, and some polarized sunglasses. The better to spot those carp!

With my brief bowfishing experience so far, comes that general good feeling of doing something for the environment and encouraging others. Some of my friends will ask, “Why bowfish, when you don’t eat them?” So, I’m able to educate them about the invasive fish taken in bowfishing and the effect they can have on our waters. Likewise, I invited friends along and posted about my bowfishing on my social media pages…quite a few have started, or want to start, this year. I also explain there are some people who choose to eat carp and I often give my harvest to those folks.

This year, I look forward to venturing away from my usual locations and trying new venues. You won’t find me standing at the fence below a dam just pointing and shooting…you’ll find me walking the shores of rivers and creeks, doing my part to rid them of invasive species.

One of the biggest challenges I face? That guy - and there's always one or more -  who says, “I can’t believe you bowfish. That’s really cool.”

It’s a bit annoying…I know they're saying it because I’m female. But, I also take it as a compliment.

It is cool – I fish like a bowfisherwoman.


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Dog Days Family Event

Did you know that Bass Pro Shops is a dog friendly store? Well we are and we just love our dogs!  Those who bring their dogs in know you just can't come in and out quick here.  Why ?  Everyone stops you to talk about your dog, pet your dog, and of course any owner and dog, know to stop at the greeter because treats are always available.  Because we love our dogs so much we will be having a Dog Days Family Event at the store!  Check out what we have going on.

Dates:  March 6, March 13     6-8pm

            March 7, March 14    11-4pm

During the Event:

Enter for a Chance to Win 1 of 3 prizes!

(Need not be present to win)


1 GoPro Fetch Dog Harness with camera mount and a GoPro Hero 4 Silver Camera

2 PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Fountain

3 Petmate Dog Bed, Bowl, and Toy


Friday March 6 & March 13  6-8pm

6pm Seminar  Socializing & Crate Training Your Dog with Beth from Cayuga County Highland Search & Rescue

(1st 20 people with a dog  to attend the seminar get a Nite Ize S-biner)












Home Made Dog Treats with Recipe to the first 50 people with dogs

Craft:  Make a balloon dog

TBF Service Dogs in the Lobby




Saturday  March 7th and March 14th 11-4pm

First 100 people with dogs receive a doggie bag with a Hyper Pet tennis ball and a doggie bag dispenser with 1 roll of bags inside


11am - Teach Your Puppy to Sit and Heel

2pm - Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Outdoors

FREE Home Made Dog Treats to the first 100 people with a dog!

Dr. Heather Wiedrick will be here from the Rome Animal Hospital doing micro chipping for $20 and you get a 1 year registration FREE. on March 7th






Dr. Thomas Gill will be here from the Brookside Veterinary Clinic on March 14th

Dr. Gill will be doing micro chipping for $76.  This includes all paperwork and he will mail it in for you.











Max 200 Dog Obedience and Agility will be here from Port Byron, NY on March 7th and March 14th













TBF - Service Dogs  March 6th, 7th & March 13th, 14th












Muddy Paws Dog Grooming will be here Saturday March 7th.  Talk with professionals on why grooming is so important to your pets health!








Wag In Tail & Bubbles & Bows Dog Grooming will be here on March 14th to talk about pet health and why grooming in the winter months are so important!












Cayuga County Highland Search & Rescue will be here with one of their search & rescue dogs! March 14th











Please feel free to go on our Bass Pro Facebook page and join our Dog Event. The picture with the most likes will receive a doggie gift basket!



March 7th & March 14th

Receive a FREE Photo of you and your dog as well as a certificate with your dogs paw print on it.  All ink is baby safe and we will have dog approved wipes to take the ink off.


So stop on down to Bass Pro Shop and share with us the celebration of dogs!

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator



Crossbow Emergence

Crossbows have emerged as a major force in the hunting industry. In recent years the advancements in crossbow technology have been simply amazing. One of the premier brands in crossbows is TenPoint Crossbow Technologies out of Mogadore, Ohio.

TenPoint traces its origins back to Horton Crossbows. In the mid-1990s, Rick Bednar grew dissatisfied with the direction of Horton and left to form a new company, which eventually became TenPoint. Bednar’s plan was to produce the highest-quality bow he could. One of the newest models from TenPoint, the Stealth SS, is one of the best crossbows I’ve had the pleasure of hunting with.

Stealth SS specifications

  • Length (with stirrup): 34.4 inches
  • Axle-to-axle width: 17.5 inches uncocked/13.5 inches cocked
  • Power stroke: 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Draw weight: 185 pounds
  • Velocity: 352 feet per second (370-grain bolt with 100-grain field tip)

TenPoint reduces the chance of getting “crossbow thumb” with these slick rubber flaps that guard your hand from getting in the way of the string while shooting.

The Stealth SS has a bullpup design, making the bow very compact. The grip is very comfortable and is of a thumbhole-type design. The main rail is aircraft-grade, fluted aluminum which is very strong, yet lightweight. To reduce the chances of you giving yourself a case of crossbow thumb, the Stealth has TenPoint’s rubber thumb guards helping you keep your thumbs from getting in the way of the rapidly-advancing string when you shoot at a big buck. As one of my relatives found out, that has a way of ruining a hunting trip. It can also put a damper on your hitchhiking career. There is an additional guard included with the bow to help train yourself not to do something stupid during practice. Crossbow companies are being pretty proactive in preventing this condition.

The bow is decked out in Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity camo. It’s topped with TenPoint’s three-power multi-reticle illuminated crossbow scope that is screaming-accurate right from the factory. Most of the fine details you’d expect from a higher-end bow can be found on the TenPoint—everything from swivel studs for a sling to a rubber-coated stirrup for cocking. You can add on silencers to the string and vibration dampers to quiet the bow down if you need to.


Like all TenPoint bows, the Stealth SS is offered with two different cocking aids: the AccuDraw 50 and the AccuDraw. Both aids take the form of a cocking rope that is built into the buttstock. It retracts into the stock when not in use and makes cocking the bow quick and easy.

The AccuDraw 50, which my bow came equipped with, reduces the cocking draw weight by 50 percent. The only drawback to my test bow was that the rope came a little un-sprung during testing and I had to disassemble the entire mechanism and rewind the rope. It wasn’t a big deal in that it still functioned flawlessly, but occasionally the string hook on one side wouldn’t retract all the way when I was in the field. This could have been an issue if I wasn’t watching for it and it made noise when a deer came around. Again, it never became a serious issue. I’d still get the AccuDraw 50 without hesitation. It is the best cocking aide I have used of any manufacturer.


TenPoint’s AccuDraw 50 cocking mechanism reduces the draw weight by 50 percent. It is one of the best crossbow cocking aids you can get.

The top cocking aid that TenPoint sells is the AccuDraw. It is very similar to the AccuDraw 50 but it goes a step further—it has a crank that does all of the work for you. Simply set the hooks on the string and crank up the AccuDraw until the bow cocks. If you need to, you can use a cordless screwdriver to do it. For a hunter with disabilities, this would be the hot ticket. I’ve tested the AccuDraw system in the past and it is slick!

A big plus for the Stealth is the compact feel of the bow. For those of you who hunt from a ground blind, this is one of the best bows you can get. It is compact, fast, and accurate.

I started out shooting at 15 yards with a 390-grain bolt and a 100-grain field tip. Bull’s-eye on the first shot. I then backed up 10 yards, and got the same result. I finally stopped hitting the 10-ring on my target when I hit 67 yards. That is pretty confidence-inspiring. Would I ever take that far of a shot while hunting? No, but it’s nice to know that at ranges I would shoot at, I’m pretty sure I could hit the target. The speeds of bolts put out by the bow combined with the right broadhead is a very lethal combination.


Haveta, Gota, Must have it!!! Part II



1. Weaponry and accessories will make the hunt. You have options, oh so many options. You could go the archery route – you’ll need a bow and a set of arrows that are cut and tipped to your specifications. You’ll need a quiver to hold your arrows and possibly a sight and finger tabs, maybe a wrist or arm guard depending on your shooting technique. A silencer on your bow string might not be a bad idea either. Should you go the gun route though, you’ll need a gun, ammo, eye and ear protection, a scope, and you’ll need a cleaning set up for after you use it.

2. Storage you can carry, like a backpack! You’ll need to be able to easily transport your equipment on your back so a good backpack is a MUST HAVE! You’ll also need a case for your gun or bow depending on how you want to hunt.

3. Seating can be an issue. There are plenty of options. Blinds, tree stands, chairs, stools, take your pick and combine away as necessary.

4. Tools are an absolute addition that must be procured. Knives are crucial for finishing a kill and/or skinning and dressing a kill. Decoys and calls can distract and attract your prey helping you with your kill. Game cameras can let you know when something is nearby.

5. Dogs are not necessarily a requirement, but they sure do make things easier and come in handy.  They scent, track, and retrieve which makes things easier on the hunter. 


We'll keep working on this for you and let you know whenever we update it!!!

Keep on keepin' on!