A new day in retail Almaden Flyfishing has begun with the opening of one of four California Bass Pro Shops two miles from my house and 5 minutes from my office. I attended the grand opening last night joining a huge crowd. Jimmy Houston led the crowd in a prayer along with celebrities Dwight Clark, Kevin VanDam, Ish Monroed, Chris Cheng (TOP SHOT SEASON 4 winner) Theresa Vail and the head of California Fish and Game. The fantastic 12,000 gallon aquarium features a pair of huge striped bass. After shopping, Uncle Bucks Fishbowl and Grill –an underwater themed restaurant and bowling ally– features a menu with Burgers, sandwiches,seafood and pizzas. Dubbed an “Evening for Conservation” ,for every dollar spent at the grand opening, 50 cents was be donated to the California Inland Fisheries Foundation and America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium. I donated 35 dollars in the fly tying section.
The 140,000 sq foot building makes Costco across the street look small, All around the store there are little details that make the store unique to Almaden. for instance an arch over the entrance has Almaden Quicksilver Mine etched across it. The Foyer looks like a hunting and fishing lodge with a giant fireplace and fly tying bench nestled umongst countless fish mounts. A new goal is to catch every species on the wall. The Parking lots 720 spaces makes parking pretty easy, especially if you know the short cut through Sanchez Road and come in through the back way avoiding the freeway traffic. Of the 400 employees, I know at least ten of them. The fly fishing section of Bass Pro is beautiful. I ran into Lee Rice, a long time delta flyfisherman, who is working the fly fishing section. It was great to see such a knowledgeable flyfishermen there. Hopefully we can get bigger flytying hooks and more delta oriented supplies if needed in the future. The fly tying section is pretty good but it is heavy on the trout and bass side. Not that great a selection of Blue Water and Delta flyfishing supplies. A nice selection of Vapen Fly rods amongst other top of the line flyrods were available. For anything they don’t have, Fisherman’s Warehouse is two blocks down the street!
Especially exciting is the Boat Department which not only stocks all the Bass Pro Made Brands , but has a 4 bay service department. Ive already got my eye on the Mako LTS18 Bay Boat. I hope Santa can fit it into the garage or I cant get it. The outdoor cooking section is filled with state of the art smokers and wood chips as well as BBQs, deep fryers and all the accessories you need to cook and process wild game. Uncle Bucks restaurant Bar and Bowling Alley has some interesting food-alligator and Bison Burgers. Most of the food is OK and Im trying to try everything on the menu. Im sure something is pretty good. You cant beat the ambiance though. When you arrive for dinning, get a pager and walk the store for a half hour. So far the average time wait is about that to get in. Its like a fastpass at Disneyland. A couple tips, you can enter the store from the restaurant side so you can park at that end which is closer to Sanchez Drive with no hassles. There is a Pokebowl Reastaurant across the street near the McDonalds which is one of my top ten places to eat if you like raw fish. If you have alot to pay for, Check out and pay inside the store instead of the main checkouts. If you get a Bass Pro Credit Card, you can get 10 percent off a purchase! I would save that for a binge shopping day. All the bass pro branded products are very reasonably priced and of surprisingly good quality. Bring a Bag like in a grocery store. SO far it seem that there is about a couple weeks delay in restocking the store. I cleaned out some flytying material on opening day that have not been replenished, If you see something you like there its best to buy a couple,
It was amazing to see how many people are passionate about fishing in general at the San Jose event. Highly anticipated by local fishermen and the buzz on facebook for months, its wasn’t till I saw all of them standing in front of Bass Pro did I realize how big a group it was. It easy to think that the entire fishing world revolves around flyfishing, but it really doesn’t. The pro bass circuit is the money vortex of fishing. There are probably 50 conventional tackle Bass fishermen to every flyfisherman that is passionate enough to spend a large percentage of there annual income on fishing.
On another note. Fisherman’s Warehouse that use to be a half hour drive to Sunnyvale moved to Brahnam avenue a couple blocks past Bass Pro Shop. The home of Alan Fong renown delta all tackle fisherman and guru, Fisherman’s warehouse has some great seminars and has tons of stuff that Bass Pro Shop does not carry!