Debuting the Yamaha Helm Master EX and Why You Need Garmin Livescope

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re giving you a full walk through of Yamaha’s latest innovation, the Helm Master EX! And Later, It’s all about Garmin electronics, and why Garmin’s Livescope is an essential unit for any angler!

For years, Yamaha has dominated boat control standards with the original Helm Master boat control system. Once again they’ve raised the standards of boat control and maneuverability with the debut of the Helm Master EX. The latest boat in control is all about expandability and functionality, and with the Helm Master EX, boaters and anglers alike will have several different options of what level of control they prefer, with the ability to expand the system if the need arises in the future. Over the course of our time on our water, we’ll learn about the features of the very base level, known as the DEC or Digital Electronic Control level, that every boat with Helm Master EX will come equipped with. Next up we’ll learn about the second stage you can expand to, known as the DES or Digital Electronic Steering level. This is an incredible new advancement in which Yamaha has removed hydraulic systems from the boat and gone completely digital. The Third level has even more exciting new advancements, and introduces the safest autopilot features on the market! From heading hold, to course hold, pattern steer, and track points, the autopilot level of the Helm Master EX gives customers the ability to focus on conditions around them. Rounding out the four levels of the Helm Master EX system is the cherry on top, the joystick control. The joystick offers a new, innovative, and more efficient approach to controlling your boat. As Captain Sean Gill will tell us, “Having the Helm Master Ex system on your boat absolutely makes sense, it’s a much more efficient way to drive the boat, it’s the safest auto pilot out there, and it’s got a ton of standard features at every level!” To learn more about this exciting new generation of boat control, head on over to yamahaoutboards.com!

Up next, it’s all about Garmin electronics and why Garmin’s Livescope is an essential unit for any angler to have on their boat! When Garmin debuted Livescope, and gave anglers the ability to view a real-time image of what’s happening below their boat, it changed the game of fishing as we knew it. Today we’ll be on the water with several anglers who have incorporated livescope into their fishing arsenal of must-have gear, and we’ll see first hand how they use it to find those perfect fishing spots, and to find fish. From fishing Choke Canyon Reservoir with Wade Middleton as he capitalizes on the benefits of using Livescope, to watching fish react to bait in real time with Clark Wendlandt and Michael Wersig at Fayette County Reservoir, we’ll see just how incredible Garmin Livescope is for anglers. We’ll also get an opportunity to hear how this unit greatly helped Clark throughout his year to secure the title of Angler of the Year on the Bassmaster Elite Series!

Confidence is the key word we hear both pro and weekend anglers consistently using when talking about Livescope.  When you add a Garmin Livescope to your boat, not only are you increasing your chances of reeling in more fish, you’re maximizing your ability to see why you’re catching those fish! Visit garmin.com for more information on this and other Garmin products!

On The Hunt For Red Stag and Turkey

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re joining Kevin Giesecke on a thrilling multi-day hunt that a massive Texas red stag led him on, and later, we’re tagging along with Michael Wersig on a Turkey hunt with a Tenpoint Havoc RS440 paired with the Garmin Xero X1i Crossbow Scope!

To kick things off, we’re jumping in on the third day of Kevin’s red stag hunt out an an area of the property dubbed, “The Middle Field.” Towards the end of the evening, the red stag that Kevin has been hopeful to see finally makes an appearance, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint. His incredible mass absolutely dwarfs that of the other three bulls standing in front of the pop-up blind. As it’s the rutting season, this bulls huge size doesn’t deter the others from challenging him, and Kevin is treated to one of the most exciting duels between four red stag bulls that we’ve ever seen on the show!

When we return to the field, it’s been another two days since Kevin last spotted the red stag he’s determined to bring home. On this night, the red stag makes another appearance, but once again, he’s just out of range, and Kevin returns to camp empty handed. Before heading back to the field, Wade takes a trip out to the hunting site to spice it up with deer blocks and corn courtesy of Record Rack. By scattering these irresistible treats around the area, they’re hopeful that will tempt this red stag into Kevin’s bow range.

Never one to give up, Kevin heads back out on the eighth day of his hunt for the red stag. Once again, the red stag emerges through the tree line, but this time, he heads straight towards the Record Rack deer blocks in front of Kevin’s pop-up blind. It’s not long before the stag turns and presents the perfect broadside shot, but as Kevin prepares to take his shot, the stag gets spooked and runs several feet away. Tune in and see if Kevin can still take his shot and finally bring home this incredible red stag!

Before we move on to Michael’s hunt with the TenPoint Havoc RS440 paired with a Garmin Xero Crossbow Scope, we’ll hear one more time from Wade as he gives us the rundown on the evolution of the Garmin Xero. When Garmin first introduced the concept of the Xero Bow Sight, it almost sounded too good to be true. Sure enough, they developed it and changed the game for bow hunters. After several years of seeing its success in the field, Garmin once again out did themselves and debuted the Xero X1i Crossbow Scope. If you’re looking for a sight that gives you perfect, consistent accuracy, the Xero X1i is the way to go. Learn more about these incredible options for the Garmin Xero Bow Sight and Xero X1i Crossbow Scope by visiting garmin.com!

To round out this episode, we’re joining Michael Wersig at the Dead Oak location of our deer camp property, where he’ll be using the TenPoint Havoc RS440 paired with a Garmin Xero X1i Crossbow Scope. This area promises to hold a lot of game, be it whitetail, exotics, or turkey. One thing Michael loves about hunting in Texas is the opportunity to take turkey in the fall. To Michael, it’s always interesting to observe the different behavior patterns between turkeys during the fall and the spring. As Michael’s hunt moves along, a group of turkeys make their way into range, and Michael see’s his chances at bringing home one of these birds!

AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open and Bass Fishing with Swim Jigs

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re beginning with coverage of the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open, and later, we’re heading over to Choke Canyon Reservoir where Wade Middleton is throwing Secret Lures Swim Jigs!

Coming off a successful event at Kentucky Lake last month, the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series is off to a hot start this fall. Now, the schedule brings them to Lake Dardanelle in Russellville Arkansas for the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open! Central Arkansas is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, and the Association of Collegiate Anglers has been contesting premier no-entry fee tournaments on Lake Dardanelle for nearly a decade. This year is no exception, and Lake Dardanelle is producing incredible bags of fish for anglers as they cross the stage to weigh in. On just the first day of tournament competition, Cameron Smith and Cole Breeden of Drury University weigh in a whopping 19.90LBS, giving them a commanding lead going into day two at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open! The pressure is on as we head into day two, and we join several teams on the water as they reel in fish after fish. Will Cameron and Cole hold on to their lead, or will another team catch a giant at the last minute and clench the first place title? Tune in and find out!

To close out this show, we’re joining Wade Middleton at Choke Canyon Reservoir where he’s throwing a Secret Lures Swim Jig in some rather cloudy conditions.  Swim jigs are a great bait for covering lots of water, you can impart a lot of action on them, and they’re great for generating strikes and showing you where the fish are in the water. The Secret Lures MVP Swim Jig is available in three different sizes, with a multitude of weight variations, which allows you to switch up your presentation styles. The sizes include the North version, which is 1/4oz with a 5/0 Medium Mustad Hook, The South – A 3/8oz with a 4/0 Heavy Mustad Hook, and the HD, which is a 1/2oz with a 5/0 Saltwater Hook. Each of the sizes are designed with lifelike features and come in a plethora of skirt colors. As Wade will say, “Swim jig fishing will actually wear your arms out a little bit because you’re imparting a lot of action on the bait, and you really have to let the fish tell you what’s going on, but once they do, that bite on a swim jig is one of the most exciting bites you can have.” Tune in and see how the Secret Lures Swim Jig performs on the water today!

Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake and Bass Fishing Lake Whitney

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re on Kentucky Lake covering the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, and later, we’re traveling over to Lake Whitney in Texas and fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro’s Clark Wendlandt and Frank Talley! 

To kick things off, it’s time for the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash! The goal of this event is to reel in one big bite to win it all, and the winner of the event will bring home thousands of dollars in prizes and contingencies. The Big Bass Bash is a two day tournament, broken down into four sessions on day one, and three sessions on day two. Each of the sessions is presented by a different sponsor, giving anglers the opportunity to snag incredible sponsor prizes throughout the day by winning a session. Along with the tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and contingencies that are on the line this week, teams are also battling for valuable points towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year Presented by Abu Garcia.

The competition is fierce out on the water, and anglers are bringing back some huge catches with small margins between weights separating first place from tenth place in the overall leader boards. Tune in and find out which collegiate angler will reel in the biggest fish and win it all at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash!

Up next, We’re in Texas fishing on the great waters of Lake Whitney with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro’s Clark Wendlandt and Frank Talley. They’re fishing in the midst of an extreme cold front that even dropped a few inches of snow on the ground. During their day trip, the guys will be throwing various crankbait sizes and colors from Strike King. As they start their morning, Clark is throwing a Strike King Pro Model 3XD crankbait, and Frank is throwing a 1.5 square bill while targeting rocking banks. With water temperatures are in the 40’s, and facing wind blowing up to 15mph from the north, today promises to be an educational day on the water!

As Clark and Frank move along the rocky banks, their morning starts off a tad slow, but that doesn’t stop them from reeling in fish. While the day progresses, we’ll hear from Clark about a few of the tools he uses from TH Marine, including the Tackle Titan and the Money Pole, to help keep him organized throughout his day, as well as what he does to recover baits after they’ve been snagged on the bottom. Later in the afternoon, after the water temperature has a chance to warm up a few degrees, Clark and Frank start seeing more catches, and take note that the Strike King Pro Model 3XD crankbait is the bait of the day. At the very end of their time on the water, one of these two Bassmaster Elite Pro’s reels in a massive 7lb fish. Tune in and see which angler wins big bass of the day!

Port Aransas, Texas

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re taking a look back on some trips we’ve taken to one of our favorite Gulf Coast hot spots, Port Aransas, Texas and its surrounding areas! Port Aransas is known for its sprawling shore lines, year-round outdoor activities, and unlimited options when it comes to dining on some of the best freshly caught seafood. From sport fishing, parasailing, and dolphin watching, to taking a stroll through the streets and visiting all of the local shops, galleries, and restaurants, Port Aransas boasts the island life and is one of the only tourist destinations that has something for everyone!

Our first throwback revisits when Wade Middleton and Clark Wendlandt took their wives out to the coast for a relaxing weekend getaway and good times on the water. After loading up on their baits and getting all of their lines tined, they jetted out across the water to kick off the first day of their vacation! One of the best things about fishing at the coast is you never know what you’re going to catch, and as the day wears on, we’ll see everyone reeling in all kinds of species of fish, making for one memorable day on the water. On the second day of their Port A stay, the girls stayed behind to enjoy some local shopping, and Wade and Clark headed back out to sea to a familiar jetty Wade has fished around before. Once again Port Aransas does not disappoint, and while fishing off the jetty’s Wade and Clark get tons of bites, and more importantly, reel in tons of quality red fish and trout that will make for a delicious fish fry later that evening!

Up next, we’re bringing you coverage of the IFA Redfish Tour that was recently held right here in Port Aransas. Port Aransas began as a fishing port and a fishing town, and has since turned into something more. With a healthy fishing marina, Port A loves bringing in as many tournaments as possible, and the hospitality and kindness shown by the locals and the Port Aransas Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce is what has the IFA Redfish Tour returning to these pristine waters year after year. With a total cash purse worth just over $40,000, and a Ranger RB190 awaiting the first place team, 54 teams eagerly duked it out on the coastal waters of Port Aransas. Tune in and find out how this premiere grass roots in-shore tournament panned out!

Field Testing The Garmin Xero X1i and the Trinity Oaks Purple Heart Heroes Celebration Hunt


This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re joining Wade on a whitetail hunt where he’s testing out the brand new Garmin Xero X1i Crossbow Scope, and later, we’re covering the Trinity Oaks Purple Heart Heroes Celebration Hunt, sponsored by Saulsbury.  Before we join Wade in a pop-up blind for his opening season hunt, he’s going to fill us in on some of his methods of giving himself the best chances at having a successful hunt. Some of these tips include setting up your pop-up blind in an area that gives you the best tactical advantage. By getting out and looking at it from the perspective of a deer, you can see what changes you need to make to the area by spicing up its surroundings. Another tool Wade uses is setting out deer blocks around his blind from Record Rack. Deer love these highly nutritious feed blocks and can’t resist the wild berry flavor. Another step you can take is setting up a Stealth Cam. Having one of these nifty cameras set up around your hunting site allows you to see when deer are coming in, and which deer are visiting that may be the perfect dream buck. Keep these tips in mind next time you go hunting, and hopefully, you’ll have no issues bringing home a whitetail of your own!

Well, it’s the morning of opening bow season in Texas, and Wade is heading out to his hunting sight in the Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R. During this hunt he’ll be field testing the brand new Garmin Xero X1i Crossbow Scope, mounted atop his TenPoint Vapor RS470. This Crossbow/Scope package is unlike any other, and hopefully, we’re about to see the full potential of its power. Not too long into Wade’s first sit, the slightest wrong movement triggers the deer to clear the area. Not one to be phased by this, Wade waits it out and the deer slowly make their way back to the hunting scene, including an impressively sized shooter buck. Will Wade get an opportunity to take a shot on this buck, or will the deer bust him once more?

In November of 2020, Americana Outdoors had the privilege of covering Trinity Oaks’ Purple Heart Heroes Celebration Hunt, sponsored by Saulsbury. This event honored Purple Heart veterans from world war two, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars. Trinity Oaks is a Texas based, non profit organization founded on the premise that participation in the outdoors is a powerful and fundamentally life-changing experience, and their mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others through the use of hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities. Our journey today brings us to their Thumbtack Ranch location.  While staying on this expansive two thousand acre plot of land, not only will our veterans get to hunt, but they will also have the chance to partake in some relaxing fishing over a pond, hit up the shooting range, and enjoy a host of other activities. Bringing our service men to Trinity Oaks for this hunting experience is the epitome of what it means to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, and gives our veterans an opportunity to connect with others who have endured similar circumstances throughout their careers in service to our country. We would like to thank Trinity Oaks for hosting this incredible hunt, and extend a sincere thank you to the brave men and women who have donned the uniform to protect and serve our country.  If you know a veteran who would benefit from participating in one of Trinity Oaks’ many programs geared towards making a difference in a veteran’s life, visit their website at trinityoaks.org/veteran-programs.

Special Thanks to the camera crews who donated their time and work!

Rusty Weed – Careco TV

JD – Kalamazoo Films

Nathan Wilson – Muddy Water Creative

Brandon McDow – Bar MC Media

Bass Fishing Tips and Tricks

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re taking a tour across several states to bring you some of the latest tips and tricks in bass fishing!  To kick things off we’re meeting up with Clark Wendlandt and Amanda Masters in Florence, Alabama, as they tackle some Tailracing on Pickwick Lake! Tailrace fishing is angling below natural or man-made dams on rivers, canals, streams, or any other flowing current. Fishing in a tailrace demands a certain set of skills from an angler as fishing the tail race can present many different challenges and is often unpredictable. With a little patience and attention to how the fish are behaving throughout the day, it can yield some huge rewards for those anglers willing to take a shot at it. Clark and Amanda see the rewards of their hard work throughout the day, reeling in large small mouth, drum, and white bass!

Next up we’re hopping over to Texas where Mike McClelland is showing us his insider secrets when it comes to crankbait fishing on Fayette County Reservoir! Mike will be covering which crank baits to use depending on the depth you want to fish at, what time of year is best to use crank baits, how to set up your electronics, and what type of rod and line to use on the water. When you follow these tips and tricks that Mike McClelland has to share with us today, you’ll reel a ton of fish into your boat and quickly see why they are the personal favorite of many professional anglers!

Last up on this quest for the best tips and tricks in bass fishing, we’ll be hanging out in Kentucky on Lake Beshear with Terry McWilliams and Jeff Reynolds. Terry is best known as the pioneer of the Stupid Tube™ made by Secret Lures. This little tube has taken him from fishing several local state tournaments, all the way up to landing him a fourth place finish in the 2007 Bassmaster Classic. Join us as we get an in depth look at how this tube and jig head expertly work together as a rigging system that is guaranteed to reel in lots of fish into your boat!

Fishing The Ice and Bass Fishing in the Spring


This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re revisiting some exciting ice fishing trips and reminiscing on all of the fun that can be had while fishing over a frozen lake! If you don’t know any better, Ice fishing sounds like a good way to just end up with frozen hands and a runny nose. While that can and does happen, ice fishing is more like having a really cold picnic with friends, that just happens to take place in below freezing temperatures!

Our first trip we’ll be looking back on is the time when Wade’s good friend Steve Pennaz, who is an expert on all things ice fishing, convinced him to leave the warm Texas waters and travel up north for his first experience with ice fishing in Minnesota! We’ll see just how incredible and addicting ice fishing can be when Wade makes his first catch through a drilled hole that’s no bigger than the size of a dinner plate! As Wade continues his first day of ice fishing, he’s taken back to the first time he ever caught his first blue gill fish as a kid. The same excitement he felt catching that first blue gill as a kid is the same excitement he’s feeling fifty years later catching a blue gill while ice fishing. Before the day is over Wade is already looking forward to his future return to the ice!

Up next we’ll continue our ice fishing adventures by checking out what it’s like to fish out of a wheelhouse! There are times during ice fishing outings when it’s just too cold to sit outside. Many anglers have taken to fishing from permanent or portable shelters with propane heaters inside to keep warm. This was the case when we accompanied our Garmin team on another ice fishing expedition, and the first day of fishing saw a wind chill of negative forty degrees! Brrr! One of the new advances in ice fishing is the development of Garmin’s Panoptix™ Ice Fishing Bundle. This kit, with the addition of Livescope™, gives anglers so much more clarity to see what’s down below. The image is so clear, they can make out what species of fish are below just by referencing their screen! The next day, the weather had warmed up to a comfortable six degrees, which gave our team the opportunity to get outside, drill some holes, and enjoy the great outdoors!

In closing, always make sure you’re safe and prepared.  Sitting on a frozen lake and staring down a hole the size of a dinner plate may not sound like fun to those who haven’t tried it, however we promise you ice fishing can be incredibly rewarding, and it’s an activity that helps many anglers up north get through the long winters.  Mix in the Garmin Livescope and it’s one of the most exciting ways to fish!

To wrap up this show, we’re thawing out and migrating south like a duck for some spring time fishing at the famous Lake Amistad! Wade Middleton and Jeff Reynolds have met up to enjoy a simple and relaxed day of fishing. Of course, between these two, there’s no such thing as, “easy-going” fishing, and the guys keep a tally throughout the day to see who comes out victorious. By the time we join them, the guys have already been out on the water for several hours, and the current standings have both anglers with 8 fish apiece, so it’s safe to say fishing is pretty good so far. Back and forth they reel fish in, but who will reel in enough fish to edge out the other? Tune in and find out!

Cranking Rocks, Dragging Ledges, and Junk Fishing

This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re revisiting several fishing trips where we experimented with throwing baits of varying colors and sizes to reel in the most catches possible.   First up, we’re looking at a trip where Wade Middleton and Jeff Reynolds discovered that the bait of the day was a Little Jon Crankbait.  Crankbaits are a great way to search areas that fish may be hiding and cover lots of water when you’re looking for largemouth, spotted bass, or smallmouth along rock banks, dams, or similar types of structure. Often times it’s the person tossing one color of bait that best mimics the color of the bait-fish, or the bait that shows up best in the conditions, that will get the most bites. Now, we all know Jeff will be the first to admit that crankbait fishing is not his favorite way to fish. However, on a day like today where Wade is reeling in fish, after fish, after fish, and he hasn’t caught one, it’s hard to deny the benefit of switching up your style and trying something new. It’s not long before Jeff ties a crankbait onto his own line and immediately starts to see a difference!

Up next we’re joining Wade and Jeff on yet another outing on Lake LBJ, but this time the baits of the day are the MVP Football Jig and Ledge Shaker from Secret Lures, which are two baits that are right up Jeff’s alley! The MVP Football Jig allows an angler to really feel the bottom, as well as present the baits they’re using in a perfect manner when fishing off shore structures. The Ledge Shaker is another great tool that combines the proven concept of the Secret Lures Pivot Divot Head and the screw-lock bait attachment fo the Tail Shaker. In part two of Wade and Jeff fishing together, we’ll have a great opportunity to see these two baits in action, and also see why it’s a good idea to have more than one kind of bait tied on to your lines at any given time.

Next we’re hopping over to another legendary bass fishing location in Texas, Sam Rayburn Reservoir. With a massive thunderstorm looming in the forecast, Wade is out here throwing a variety of baits and seeing what triggers bites. From poppers on a dam, to jerkbaits on rocky points, and crankbaits, wacky worms, and frogs, there’s a plethora of baits you can choose from. The Spro McStick 95 in Blue Bandit is another favorite of Wade’s to throw. As Wade reels in yet another fish, he shares a valuable lesson for anglers watching. “When you can see a point and see the wind crashing along it, and right where you get that break, it might be one pound, it might be five pounds, but it’s a perfect ambush spot.” Another tool many anglers use while fishing is their electronics. Using mapping and sonar on your boat will help you locate areas that might hold fish.  It’s not uncommon for some anglers to spend more time looking at their electronics than fishing.  What they’re looking for can be anything from a jagged rough spot on the bottom, to a brush pile. Once they find this area and see the fish, all that searching pays off with immediate bites. The fun thing about today’s outing is that it’s simply about fun fishing. Throw what’s in front of you and see what bites. Don’t be afraid to try new things or learn new spots as you evolve as an angler. The most important take away, is to get out there and cast a line!

2020 Collegiate Bass Fishing and the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation


This week on Americana Outdoors, we’re covering the twenty twenty BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops! And later, we’re learning about quail conservation efforts with the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation in West Texas.

Four hundred of the top college anglers have earned the opportunity to compete on Pickwick Lake for a National Championship.  They’ve put in the time, studied the lake, and are ready to sack up the winning bag of fish! As we navigate through day one of competition, the teams fiercely duke it out, reeling in fish after fish. The stakes are high, and the coveted title of Bass Pro Shops School Of The Year presented by Abu Garcia is also up for grabs. Currently, McKendree University holds a solid lead, with over 1,000 points over the second place team. By the end of Day one, Bailey Fain and Preston Kendrick from Bryan College are sitting in first place, with a total weight of 19.82 pounds! As we roll into the final day of competition, the teams make their way onto the water thirsty for a win. Just like day one, the teams are catching fish left and right. Tune in and find out which of these teams will walk away as the 2020 Collegiate Bass Fishing Champions, and which school will grab the prestigious School of the year trophy!

 

Up next, we’re heading over to South Texas where we’re meeting up with the Garmin team and Dr. Dale Rollins of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation, and gathering insight into quail conservation efforts. As we journey through the brushy fields today, we will have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Rollins on the importance of quail habitat management, and how this organization approaches achieving their goals. A few of the other topics we will hear from him include what a quail diet typically consists of, and how to age and identify the gender of the birds. Throughout the day, each of our team members are able to harvest some birds. Tune in and find out how these hunts go down, and to learn about what you can do to get involved with the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation!