Sight Fishing for Springtime Bass

Sight fishing during the spawn, it’s one of the most exciting, frustrating, and rewarding ways to fish. During the springtime, when water temperatures near the sixty degree mark, every bass in the lake starts to think about moving shallow to build a bed and prepare for the spawn. This presents anglers with the opportunity to see and cast to some of the biggest fish in the lake. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we will break down how to catch these fish, as well as take a look at some of our favorite sight fishing bass caught throughout the years!

Bass all act in different ways when setting up to spawn. Some fish are very skittish, while others can become extremely aggressive when defending their beds. It is important for you, as the angler, to identify the behavior of the fish. Paying close attention to these clues will help you to determine how to present the bait and where to cast.

Bait color is another important detail to take into account when targeting spawning bass. The color of the bait can make it easier for the angler to identify the bait on the bed. This includes white, pink, and orange based colors. However in some cases, going with a more natural color can work out in your favor. This includes greens and watermelon based colors.

Tune in to this great episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook to learn about all things sight fishing!

Bass Pro Shops World’s Fishing Fair

On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we highlight the World’s Fishing Fair, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops! The World’s Fishing Fair is the largest sale and show in the history of fishing. The event celebrates the 50th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops live from America’s Conservation Capital at the Grandaddy of All Outdoor Stores—the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.

Host Wade Middleton had the opportunity to travel to Springfield, MO and participate in this great event. Consisting of great sales, seminars, contests, concerts and more, the World’s Fishing Fair is one-of-a-kind showcase of fishing, boating, conservation, and the great outdoors. It is a five-day celebration of fishing—and all of the people, products, stories, places, traditions and experiences that make it so wonderful.

Conservation is a very key item prioritized by Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops. On Saturday night, April 2, Johnny Morris presented a donation of $1.5 million to benefit conservation during the Hank Williams Jr. concert, representing 100% of all ticket sales to the World’s Fishing Fair and Concerts for Conservation – doubling the initial pledge of 50% of all ticket sales.

“I have never felt more proud of our Bass Pro team, our vendors, and our conservation partners,” Johnny Morris said. “Thanks to this collective effort, and with the support of our generous customers and the City of Springfield, we are able to make this donation that will help further crucial conservation efforts for years to come. The fact that we were able to host this event and make this donation to help celebrate our 50th anniversary right here in Springfield makes us very proud and very happy!”

Tune in to this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook to learn more about the World’s Fishing Fair, Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, MO, and many things to do in the surrounding area!

Preparing for a Successful Bass Fishing Trip

An angler’s success during a fishing trip is determined long before they arrive at the lake and make that first cast. Preparation and planning are key off the water factors that dictate an angler’s success later down the road. Whether it’s having the right bait in a tackle box or knowing exactly where to find that perfect leader line in the boat to get rigged up quickly, it is important not to overlook these various items when preparing for a fishing adventure.

Host Wade Middleton starts the show by looking through baits and tackle in his shed. Here, Wade will store all of his gear and when it comes time to go fishing will grab the specific tackle he needs to load in his boat to go target the given lake. Learn about tackle organization and how to better identify the baits in your tackle box during this segment.

Next up, Wade goes on outside to load up his boat with the baits, line, and tackle that he just organized. Each angler has a specific preference for how they organize and lay out gear in their boat. Find out where Wade stores baits and terminal tackle, as well as how he packs extra line to use while out at the lake!

Lastly, we take to the water to run the new boat and test out the organization items we just walked through. The lake that Wade is fishing is Medina Lake. Medina is close to 40 feet low during the time of this trip. Bass are in the pre-spawn phase, staging on steep rock banks, and Wade catches a boat load of bass using the SPRO RkCrawler!

Swimbait Bassin’ in Shallow Grass

Early springtime is one of the best periods of the year to be out on the water bass fishing. Temperatures are warming, bass are moving shallow from their deep water winter haunts, and anglers are chomping at the bit to go fishing. This particular time of the year presents anglers with a variety of ways to go out and catch bass. Grass, wood and rock are all in play, meaning soft plastics, swimbaits and hardbaits are all lures that will work effectively.

On this particular fishing trip, host Wade Middleton is taking out on to Choke Canyon Reservoir in south Texas during the early spring. Bass are pushing up shallow around grass and wood cover. As the sun rises further overhead and water temperatures warm near 60 degrees, Wade moves into a particular section of the lake where he’s had success in the past. Opting to throw a Big Bite Baits Finesse Swimmer Texas rigged with a light weight, he proceeds to have a phenomenal afternoon of fish catching!

Watch this latest episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook to learn about the Big Bite Baits Finesse Swimmer, which Sunline to use in this scenario, and the exact Johnny Morris Platinum Signature rod & reel combo to throw with light swimbaits!

How Boat Positioning Helps You Catch More Fish

Boat positioning is a key element to factor in when targeting bass. The position of your boat can be the difference in triggering a strike or not getting a bite at all. This includes the angle at which you’re presenting your bait, as well as the ability to make repetitive casts to a specific fish holding spot. In this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, learn about boat positioning and how it can help you catch more fish!

During the first half of this episode, we focus on the Garmin Force® Trolling Motor. The capabilities of this trolling motor, including anchor lock, give anglers the ability to control their boat positioning down to the most specific coordinates. Hear from top touring pros and go out on the water to learn more about the Force® Trolling Motor.

Following that, we take a look back at a trip with Clark Wendlandt and Wade Middleton on a windy day during the early springtime. The duo uses the wind to their advantage, positioning the boat to go with the wind. Working a mid diving crankbait over submerged grass, Wade and Clark catch a bunch of quality bass.

Lastly, we look back at a different trip during the springtime where Wade is making repetitive casts to one particular spot and catching fish cast after cast. Wade is utilizing his Power-Poles to hold the boat in place. By dropping both Power-Poles, the boat is being held firmly in place, allowing Wade to target fish and not worry about the boat moving.

Tune in to watch this episode dedicated to boat control!

The Best Fishing Products & Gear

Every year, new boats, baits, and products are introduced to the fishing market. Companies work diligently to design and produce the latest and greatest items to make anglers more successful. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we introduce you to some of the latest and greatest items to hit the market recently.

The first item we take a look at is the Ranger Boats Z520R. The all-new Ranger Z520R heralds the next chapter in bass boat evolution and a quantum leap in design, functionality and dominating performance at all levels. Ranger Boats has taken the most proven and successful hull in the industry and reimagined it for even more fishability and capability across the board. A redesigned industry-first touchscreen delivers whole-boat control that complements twin 12” console graphs, revamped NASCAR-inspired seating that sits atop a performance-driven hull and retooled angler-centric decks for our largest storages yet. Inside and out, the Z520R lets you release a new level of domination. The Z520R. It’s a whole new era of Ranger.

Fishing line is a category that is constantly evolving and improving. Sunline implements the latest and greatest technology into their production process to create fishing lines with the strength to guarantee your confidence. Listen in as top pros provide insight into tips, tricks, and specifics about choosing fishing line.

Next up, we highlight a variety of products from T-H Marine. Offering a complete lineup of items to outfit your boat from transom to trolling motor, T-H Marine has everything from boating essentials to fish care items. First, we head out to ICAST in Orlando, FL to hear from Luke Dunkin as he introduces us to the Boating Essentials lineup. Following that, Luke then shows us several fish care items designed for tournament anglers.

Lastly, we highlight several great soft plastics from Big Bite Baits. From jig trailers, to swimbaits, and even topwater baits…Big Bite Baits creates products designed to bring the big bite to your line. Watch as industry professionals and top touring pros talk about the greatness of Big Bite Baits!

Fine Tuning Your Fishing Electronics

Garmin Panoptix LiveScope™ is one of the most revolutionary products to hit the fishing market in recent years. Anglers are able to see a live view of what’s happening under the water that’s never been seen before. Distinguish the species of, watch as a bass eats your bait, and much more with this top of the line product from Garmin. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we take a closer look at rigging, setting up, and fishing with Garmin Panoptix LiveScope.

To start the show, we hear from top touring pros like Jason Christie, Hank Cherry, Josh Bertrand and Fred Roumbanis. These anglers provide insight into how they use the state of the art technology to help them catch more fish!

In the following two segments, Garmin staff demonstrate step-by-step processes to mount the LiveScope transducer, as well as how to install software updates and fine tune specific settings.

To finish the show, we go out on the water with professional angler Alton Jones. Alton walks us through how he incorporates Garmin Panoptix LiveScope into his daily fishing routine. From targeting bass in the grass, all the way out to scanning for bass on offshore structure, Alton covers it all during this day of fishing out on the water.

Crappie Fishing

Crappie are one of the most popular fish for anglers to target in freshwater. They are extremely fun to catch and make for great table fare. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we go into detail about how to target and catch crappie.

First up, we take an in-depth look at the Big Bite Baits Pendulate Jig. The Pendulate Jig was designed for use with forward-facing sonar techniques to help you better present your soft plastics in those situations. Many times, when using forward-facing sonar you may be dropping baits to as deep as 50ft plus. As your jighead rigged with a plastic falls, it will commonly spin and create line twists. After continued drops, your line will become more and more twisted making it difficult to use. The Pendulate Jig features an innovative design where a swivel is molded directly into the head of the jig to prevent line twists. Having the swivel molded directly into the jighead, and one end used as the line tie, creates a smaller profile for the jighead, thus making for a more natural appearance in clear water or when targeting pressured fish. Another added benefit of the molded-in swivel is that the eye will spin when under strain from a fish, allowing them to apply less pressure when hooked. The Pendulate Jig features a custom Gamakatsu hook that has a larger gap and acute bend to provide greater holding power. It also has a molded wire keeper to hold plastics and a large reflective eye to attract all species. Hand-painted with powder-coated paint and clear coat finishes provide realistic baitfish patterns to match any soft plastic color.

Following that, we take a look at a crappie fishing adventure with Wade, Jim, and Chase on Choke Canyon Reservoir. Chase works for Choke Canyon Charters, a guide service out on the lake. He puts Wade and Jim on some great brush piles that result in a day full of fish catching fun. During this trip, learn about Garmin Panoptix LiveScope, products from Engel Coolers that help keep bait alive and fish chilled, as well as find out about particular details to pay attention to when targeting crappie!

To round out this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we highlight Garmin Panoptix LiveScope. The segment begins with professional angler Brent Chapman explaining how LiveScope benefits crappie anglers. Following that, representatives from Garmin take us out on the water to demonstrate how to dial in settings on LiveScope to enhance your fishing experience. Tune in for this and much more on the latest episode!

The Table Rock Experience

The Ozarks is known for being home to some of the most beautiful scenery and fisheries in the Midwest. Rolling hills, gently flowing streams, and heavily wooded forests create an amazing backdrop for outdoors enthusiasts to explore nature. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, we highlight several great fishing adventures on Table Rock Lake, as well as break down some specific techniques that work well on this particular fishery.

To start off the show, host Wade Middleton takes to Table Rock Lake on back-to-back days during the late spring. Recent rains have raised the lake level significantly, creating muddy water conditions and flooding shallow cover. On the first day, Wade flips soft plastic baits into debris piles to catch fish. However, on the following day, conditions change ever so slightly. Those minor changes force Wade to break out the spinning combo and target docks for bites.

Next in this episode, we take a look at the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s CLUB Ranger Boats Experience. CLUB members fish with Ranger Boats pros on Table Rock Lake in a two-day bass fishing tournament. Watch as these pros and CLUB members set the hook on plenty of Table Rock Lake bass during the Ranger Boats Experience.

To wind out this show, SPRO Pro Mike McClelland joins us to talk about one of his favorite baits to throw on Table Rock Lake…the SPRO RkCrawler. Learn about different bait sizes, specific pound test lines to use, and where to throw this bait for success at Table Rock Lake!

What’s New For Bass Anglers

Year in and year out, the top companies and brands in the fishing industry work diligently to continue to develop new baits and products to improve each angler’s success out on the water. On this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, host Wade Middleton takes a look at some of the newest products to hit the market that will help you catch more fish.

The first bait we will introduce to you is the Skipping Toad Buzz from Big Bite Baits. The Tour Toad Buzz has gained massive popularity since its release, so Big Bite Baits decided to expand its offering by creating a skipping version. It’s got a slightly heavier wire than the original, and the lead is hidden inside of the toad. The result is a super compact frame that’s easy to skip under docks and into tight places that other buzzbaits simply can’t go!

Next up, Wade hits the water to show us the new Flappin’ Frog from SPRO. The SPRO engineers worked diligently to create the new Flappin’ Frog, part of the Essential Series, extending the company’s footprint in the world of topwater with a frog meant to be buzzed. The skirted legs have been replaced by paddle-tailed appendages that can be buzzed across the surface or retrieved in a stop-and-go pattern. They’re deadly over thick cover and in open water alike. The frog is made of elastomer material, which makes it float and stretch.

After introducing several new baits, we will now take a look at some advancements made to the Garmin Ice Fishing Bundle. Unveiled at ICAST, the Garmin LiveScope™ Ice Fishing Bundle LI is a chartplotter and transducer bundle with revolutionary Panoptix LiveScope sonar powered by a lightweight lithium battery. Weighing one-third of comparable lead-acid batteries and offering up to 65% more battery life, the new included lithium battery helps anglers cover more ground on the ice, and spend more time doing what they love—finding and catching fish.

To round out the show, we take a look at the latest edition of a tried and true fish catching lure, the XPS All-American Spinnerbait from Bass Pro Shops. Step up your spinnerbait game while saluting America with the Bass Pro Shops XPS All-American Spinnerbait. You can be proud to fish these All-American spinnerbaits because each is made right here in the USA! XPS components live up to their highest quality standards for bass-catching action. Each comes equipped with a TroKar® Pro-V hook, Hildebrandt blades, Worth swivel, Z-Man® EZ skirt, and Mustang wire. A clear gloss finish adds a lasting layer of protection to the painted head. Made in USA.

Tune in to this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook to learn about the latest and greatest items to hit the market!