Tackle overload at Bass Pro

ON the final day of a recent trip to the US for the launch of Evinrude’s innovative G2 E-TEC outboards (see report HERE), myself and a bevy of other Aussie fishing/boating writers dropped into a Bass Pro shop located halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago.

Expectations were high as we walked towards the imposing entrance. Once inside we split up and spent an hour or so wandering the aisles, lost in a sea of soft plastics, stuffed animals and rampant consumerism.

Bass Pro shops are testament to Americans’ love of the outdoors – or at least, their love of outdoors products. If you like fishing or hunting, then a Bass Pro shop is designed to cater to your every whim.

Given its geographical location near the Great Lakes, the shop we visited was geared towards freshwater species like largemouth bass, walleye, trout, salmon and the various “panfish” species common in this area.


Wall of soft plastics


Lure testers?

There were aisles filled with various soft plastics, trolling lures and specialist tackle. Many of the lures were similar to those we’d use for flatties, bass or bream but others were way out there and obviously designed for specific applications.

The plastics were pretty cheap – $3.99 seemed a common price for a pack of 10 lures – and hard-bodies ranged from $5 to $20.

I bought quite a few packs of plastics, mainly stickbait models I plan to use for lizards, reds and jewies, plus some cool frogs I’ll keep for summer bass expeditions.

inline_838_ Pro.jpg

A selection of taxidermied fish and animals adorning the wall at the entrance to Bass Pro.

Once finished with the tackle aisles, I wandered over to the boating section. An array of Tracker alloy and fibreglass boats, all rigged with Mercury engines, were on display. A 23-foot Tracker bass boat rigged with a Minn Kota at the bow and a 300hp Verado on the transom retailed for less than 50 grand. Over here a similar boat would be at least $100,000. A 4.8m Tracker tinny on a trailer with a Merc 40 four-stroke was priced at $7990 – the Yanks certainly have it good when it comes to cheap boats …

inline_886_ Pro 9.jpg

The boating section featured quads, Tracker boats, Minn Kota electrics and Mercury outboards.

I also perused the hunting section. Bow hunting is huge in the States and there were various displays of bows, arrows and full-on camo gear used to hunt everything from jack rabbits to moose. The gun displays were pretty interesting. Amid all the usual hunting rifles and shotguns were semi-military AR-15s and rows upon rows of handguns ranging from “Dirty Harry” style revolvers to the sort of automatics you’d expect a Navy SEAL to use.

One thing that surprised me was the amount of space devoted to clothing. You had all the specialist fishing and hunting clobber but also rows of more “normal” clothes suitable for men, women and kids. Most of it had an outdoorsy theme but some just looked like everyday wear.

inline_257_ Pro 4.jpg

Moose …

inline_863_ Pro 3.jpg

… and only in America…

There was also significant space devoted to the cooking of meat and fish. Americans are very keen on BBQ, dried meats and smoked fish and meat. There were any number of smoking devices plus arrays of jerky, BBQ sauces, rubs, marinades and spices on display.

I bought a couple of packs of “bacon jerky”. As you’d expect, this was insanely tasty but you could almost feel your arteries clogging as you chewed …

As well as being connoisseurs of BBQ sauces, Americans also have a deep fondness for chilli. We found displays of various “hot sauces” and sampled quite a few. They were all pretty hot but with amazing flavours. Some of the labels were pretty funny – “Sphincter Shrinker”, “Anal Angst”, “Butt Pucker”, “Flamin Flatulence” and “Colon Cleaner” give you an idea of the ingredients used in these condiments …

inline_681_ Pro 10.jpg

Hot sauce central


Lifelike display over fishpond

I walked out of the Bass Pro shop with a depleted credit card and a vague sense of disquiet. Can there be such a thing as too much stuff? Is bigger necessarilly better? To my mind, the Bass Pro shop was impressive, even awe inspiring, but also a bit scary. You could easily spend more time in there wandering around dreaming of all the stuff you could buy than you could actually spend out fishing …

All up, Bass Pro was a cool place to visit but I’m not sure I’d go back …


What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.