onX has acquired Toprut, the premier draw odds and application tool. By bringing Toprut into its fold, onX Hunt becomes a year-round tool, from pre-season scouting and field use, to finding the data needed to navigate tag applications across the west.
For decades, reloading has been the driving force behind the Hornady name. Beyond the essential equipment of a reloading press, powder measure, scale, set of dies, case lube, and a loading manual, you will find an extensive line of tools and accessories.
Chevron has committed $500,000 to Ducks Unlimited (DU) for projects along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission disappointed recreational fishing and resource conservation advocates throughout the Chesapeake Bay region yesterday by siding with Canadian-owned industrial menhaden harvester Omega Protein over the concerns of tens of thousands of Virginia anglers and residents.
- GEAR -
TenPoint Crossbow Technologies is excited to announce that Field & Stream has selected the Nitro 505 as their “Best of the Best” in the crossbow category.

MidwayUSA announces the release of "Hunting the King’s Forest," a short story by Larry Potterfield, Founder and Executive Chair of Board of Directors.
Kinsey’s recently announced the addition of KelTec to their vast assortment of distributed archery and firearms products. Kinsey’s is excited for the new partnership with KelTec due to their specialization in designing and manufacturing industry-leading pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
Beginning in 2023, Kahr introduces the “Last Full Measure Project”. An initiative to expresses thanks to the brave Americans who stand between the innocent and evil, or in the face of natural disaster. The Last Full Measure Project makes available firearm donations for non-profit charitable organizations servicing American active duty, veterans, police, and first responders. These items can be used by the recipients to raise funds to help heroes and their families.
Fire N The Hole has developed a trigger mechanism for the 1x4 inch Slang Blade which opens on impact every time. The bowhunters have named this mechanism the reverse scissors.

Nosler, Inc. announced a partnership with Grayl, the leader in innovative water purifiers and filters, to bring the world’s first titanium water filter and purifier bottle.
Andrew Zimmern has released Season Two of his Outdoor Sportsman Group digital original series Andrew Zimmern’s Wild Game Kitchen now on The show also will appear on Outdoor Channel in 2023.
With the retirement of three long-time Board members, the Civilian Marksmanship Program is excited to announce two new members joining in 2022.
The Fillmore County Minnesota Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited was able raise more than $12,000 in support of the Mabel-Canton Clay Target team located in Mabel, Minnesota.

Each year, youth shooting teams and organizations that hold an endowment with MidwayUSA Foundation are eligible to apply for a cash grant. MidwayUSA Foundation is currently accepting cash grant applications through December 15.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has filed an amicus briefin a high-profile public access case, Iron Bar Holdings vs. Bradly Cape et al. seeking toestablish the legality of a means of accessing public lands known as “corner crossing” and potentially opening up access to millions of acres in 11 Western states.
For 2023, the Waterways for Wildlife initiative is looking to expand its impact on critical riparian habitat. The landscape-scale initiative is again accepting applications for financial assistance in support of projects that improve wildlife habitat in riparian systems and those with a direct benefit to water conservation.
The Feb. issue of GUNS Magazine features the resulting outcome of what began life as a standard Ruger New Model Blackhawk in .44 Special sent to Bowen for “a bit of work.”

Houston Safari Club Foundation (HSCF) and “Hunting Matters” welcomes Annie Farrell, District Biologist (TX, OK, KS, & NE) for the National Wild Turkey Federation.
SK Guns new collection of one-of-a-kind firearms, the SK Bespoke Collection, features beautifully hand-carved 24k gold, fine .999 silver and pure platinum-inlaid one-of-ones, including some of the rarest select Colt® firearms left untouched.
Brown County State Park ranks sixth on a list of most beautiful state parks in the country according to a study done by Travel Lens.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently advertised for bids to begin much-anticipated work on Snowmobile Trail U.P. No. 3 between Dollar Bay and Lake Linden.

The Baxter State Park Authority (BSPA), a three-person authority consisting of Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, Maine Forest Service Director Patty Cormier, and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso, is accepting applications for the position of Director of Baxter State Park.
Atkins Global has been retained by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and will hold a virtual stakeholder engagement meeting for a study of the impacts of long-term stored vessels on local communities and the state of Florida as a whole.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council will meet Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department in Newberry.
Waypoint TV is hosting the Preserve. Promote. Protect. three-hour event presented by Pope & Young tonight (Thursday, December 8) from 8 to 11 PM ET.

Waypoint TV has added an all-new block, Thursdays in December. Catch Primos Truth About Hunting block from 6 to 8 PM ET each Thursday night through December 22.
Yesterday, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation hosted a virtual briefing titled “Beyond the Farm – A Look at Fish and Wildlife Conservation Priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill” to discuss priorities shared by the sporting-conservation community as we near the reauthorization of the U.S. Farm Bill next year.

Most of us don’t have forward scan sonar on our boats yet so we can go full video game mode when chasing bass—although that could change in a lot of households by December 26.

But we don’t necessarily need it at this time of year.

Plain old no-frills “fish finders” can be good enough for finding a lot of bass from now through early spring because we don’t have to see bass on the screen, all we have to do is see their chow.

And largemouths anywhere south of the line where the water gets hard at this time of year are totally into baitfish mode, primarily shad in giant lake chains like those on the Tennessee River but also blueback herring in some mid-South lakes like South Carolina’s Santee-Cooper lakes and Alabama’s Lewis Smith.

The great thing about winter fishing in these areas is that just about any serviceable sonar is capable of “seeing” a ball of several thousand shad huddled close to bottom. The schools can sometimes be massive, covering hundreds of yards and layered 20 feet deep. But even a small school of several hundred shows up as a big fat “snowball” on the screen.

Shad schools show up clearly on conventional 2D sonar (lower right) as well as on down-scan (left) and side scan (upper right). (

And these winter snowballs are often surrounded by small individual dots. Some are crappies, some are white bass—and some are largemouth bass. The predatory fish don’t hang out far from the groceries in winter. When they get hungry, all they have to do is make a quick rush and they’ve got dinner.

While not all shad schools hold largemouths, many of them do. They typically show up as rice-sized dots close to bottom on down scanning sonar, or as small arches on conventional 2D sonar.

It’s possible to catch these fish by making vertical drops. Basically you need at least 15 feet—20 or more is better—between you and the fish. Otherwise, they usually sense the boat and either move out or huddle close to bottom and won’t bite. If you drift into range or ease along on the troller at lowest speeds, your odds of not spooking the fish are best.

Where to Find Baitfish in Winter

Shad often school next to steep vertical drops off rock ledges. Currently on my home lake, Guntersville, there are numerous pods on drops from around 20 down to 35 feet. They’re usually podded up right against the bottom.

Blueback herring, on the other hand, typically school in midwater. Again, they’re likely to be at 30 feet and deeper, schooling over channels that are 40 to 100 feet deep in some vertical lakes.

What to Fish

Baits that get deep quickly are essential to this tactic. Swim jigs can do the job, and because you can control the sink rate by altering the head weight as well as the soft plastic tail size and buoyancy, these lures can be made to fall slowly right in front of the fish, often successful for larger bass and for spotted bass schooled in mid-water next to herring schools.

Also effective are all-metal “blade baits” like the Heddon Sonar Blade, Bass Pro Shops XPS Lazer Blade and the Rapala Rap-Vee. Tail-spin baits like the classic Little George and Damiki Vault Tail also do the job.

These lures are typically fished with a pull-and-drop motion, causing them to vibrate as they’re pulled up two to four feet, then flutter back toward bottom like a dying shad. Strikes often come on the drop, so it takes a good touch to know when to set the hook. (Braided line helps, but you’ll need a rod’s length of 15-pound-test fluorocarbon to act as a “stiffener” and prevent the soft braid from looping over the treble hooks.)

It’s not nearly as interesting as working a spring shoreline with a buzzbait, frog or topwater, but for the next few months, chasing deep water baitballs may be the only game in town across much of bass country, and all you need to play is your old 2D sonar.

— Frank Sargeant

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