Outdoor Column

March’s Outdoor Column

March brings about the thoughts of big bass and wild turkeys so let me mention a few things about each.

Once the ice leaves and the water begins to warm big bass begin to prowl in the waters of Illinois and Indiana and the chance to take the biggest bass of the season is at hand.
Big bass generally just don’t happen to people and many times the same anglers come home with the prize. Understanding the movement of big bass in early spring may help you take a big one this year.

Bass have color factors built in their skin called pigments and these pigments move about giving them their vivid colors and their darker blotches. These dark pigments also absorb sunlight as heat and are transferred throughout the body by their circulatory system. This heat, even though in very small amounts, begins to speed up their systems and they are ready to feed.

I fish a lot of strip mines for big bass and, in the early spring, I fish the north banks most of all. These north banks face the sun and big bass lie there absorbing the sun’s energy and wait for an early spring meat. Once the water warms in late March or April I look for bass in other areas but in real early spring, I like the south-facing banks.

I also pause many of my lures when I retrieve because many times a big bass in following behind but can’t catch up; this pause may either trigger a strike or allow the big bass to catch up to the lure. I’ve had several big bass almost rip the rod from my hands when I made a pause in the lure in early spring.

This is one reason I like the jig and pig so much in the early spring. The jig is constantly pausing as it drops and big bass love that action.

While hunting turkey in the spring, a hunter needs to find the roosting spot of the turkeys in his area. Once the roosting spot is located, the next areas to locate are the feeding areas of which there could be several within a given area.

Noticing which food plots are being used most often is critical as a hunter needs to find a spot between the roost and the food. When a turkey wakes up in the morning it flies down from its roost and heads for food much like we head for the kitchen for breakfast. Finding their rout from roost to food and finding a good spot along their trail to hide is a key element in bringing home a good turkey.

Your local Big R Stores have all the equipment necessary to take a big bass or to bring home a big turkey this spring. While you are at the store, don’t forget your fishing and hunting licenses need to be renewed!

10 Grilling Tools for the Best BBQ in the Midwest


We are saying good-bye to the snow and hello to the rising temperatures – you know what that means! Everyone’s starting to get out and enjoy the outdoors again with blue skies and warm sunshine. Can you truly think of a better way to celebrate the new season than with a group BBQ? At Big R, we have a surplus of top tools for you to make your next BBQ the best in the Midwest! Here are some of our favorite tools:

1. Char-Broil 6 Burner Gas Grill

This traditional 6-burner gas grill is built to last! It can also hold a large amount of your food while still doing the job efficiently. The charbroiled finish on your BBQ favorites creates a taste that is hard to beat! It also features 900 square inches of working space, so you have plenty of room to enjoy your grilling.

2. Weber Bamboo Grill Brush

This bamboo grill brush from a trusted brand like Weber helps to clean up your grill’s surface, making for a truly delicious and thoroughly grilled product! The scraper end removes all rough spots with ease, so you can save your arm power for the actual grilling. Bamboo is also known to keep from rusting, which will increase the longevity of your brush!

3. Simple Green Heavy Duty Cleaner

There is a way you can still try to be green while creating your BBQ. This non-toxic formula provides reassurance for you and your guests that the safest option was used in cleaning the grill. The fast-acting formula works efficiently to keep surfaces clean, and the aerosol doesn’t have any damaging CFCs.

4. Western Apple BBQ Cooking Chunks

Did you know that smoked apple is becoming a very popular flavor for grilling and smoking? The subtle sweetness and robust smokiness helps to give your food a delicious kick! We especially recommend apple wood chunks for poultry and pork BBQ products!

5. MintCraft Stainless Steel Tool Set

This 3-piece tool set is made with stainless steel, perhaps one of the best materials to use when handling meat. It features aluminum handles and a rubber grip that makes grilling easy and efficient. The set includes all of the essentials: a turner, tong, and fork. You’ll look and feel like a pro!

6. Kingsford Matchlight Charcoal

Lighting up your BBQ will be easy with Kingsford’s charcoals! They’re both fast-acting and safe, and you won’t even need to buy lighter fluid to get them rolling! All these charcoals take is one step – no lighter fluid needed! All you need to do is light them up and then let them burn for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, you’re ready to go!

7. Char-Broil Charcoal Grill

This grill is extremely popular, not just for its affordable price and compact size, but also because it gets the job done right! The convenient side shelf helps you cook faster because you can utilize the 225 square inches of cooking area to make approximately 10 burgers all at once! This will quickly become your favorite BBQ tool to use in your backyard!

8. Weber Charcoal Grate

This convenient charcoal grate replaces 22 ½” grills with ease and sophistication. The grate is also incredibly easy to clean with a brush and a cleaner! The grates are made to perfectly hold onto your favored BBQ items, so you won’t have to worry about a lack of stability when you’re busy grilling up tonight’s delicious meal!

9. Kingsford Charcoal Lighter Fluid

Kingsford is a brand you can trust, and this lighter fluid gets you one step closer to the perfect BBQ in no time. Lighting up your charcoal will be easy, so you can spend time on the marinating and grilling — the things that really matter! The lighter fluid is clean, high quality and odorless, giving you the ability to create whatever flavors you’d like!

10. Weber Grill Rack

This convenient grill rack is easy to clean and easy to use! With storage space for 5 racks, you won’t have to worry about making a mess and delaying your BBQ! Even better, the grill rack is dishwasher safe, so getting rid of your mess won’t take long at all.

With these 10 awesome tools, you’re probably already salivating at the fact that BBQ season is right around the corner! Come to Big R today and get going on your backyard BBQ!

Best Tools for Spring Cleanup



The flowers are blooming and the sun is officially shining, spreading its warmth. Spring is finally here and you’re probably itching to cleanup and refresh your home! Winter has officially faded, but the bitter winds and icy remnants may have left a lasting impression on your plants, landscape, and home’s exterior. To prepare for the new season, it’s time to get outdoors, grab some tools, and begin to refresh those flower beds and lawns. Here are a few of our favorite tools to help make spring cleaning one of the best times of the year:

1. Stihl High Performance Engine Oil

It’s in your best interest to replace your engine oil after months of not using certain tools and devices. When oil sits inside a tool for too long during the cold, harsh winter, it will often lose its performance quality. To keep your tools running good as new, we recommend using Stihl’s engine oil for a cleanup that won’t too hard. You’ll notice a huge difference in the performance of your tools and the time that it takes you to get the job done!

2. DeWALT 16 Pc. Pilot Point Drill Bit Set

This drill piece set is perfect if you’re in the mood to get crafty and creative this season! Starting new projects will be fun and engaging with these tools within arm’s reach. The Pilot Point marking is famous for starting instantly on contact, leaving clean and precise holes without any frustration. The tapering construction also increases durability, meaning you’ll have this set for a long time!

3. Milwaukee Electric 1/2 Magnum Drill

Milwaukee is a brand that you can trust, and this product in particular is a great investment that will be a reliable tool for years to come. With its easy-to-hold handle that makes construction and industrial work easy, it will quickly become one of your favorites. It moves forwards and backwards through wood, plastic, composite and metal materials with precision, and is remarkably speedy! DIY projects never looked so easy!

4. Stihl Motomix

Stihl Motomix has long been known to be one of the best fuels for your tools! It is made with high quality ingredients that ensure you’ll get a powerful impact from your devices with the best possible efficiency, every time. Its non-ethanol and high-octane, premixed and blended for the greatest performance possible.

5. DeWALT 20V Max Impact Driver

This brushless impact driver by DeWALT is truly worth its weight in gold! With 3 speeds powered by lithium ion, this drill provides application specific control for the user. The brushless feature provides approximately 57% more run time than tools with brushes. Accessory changes only require quick and easy operations – you can even do it with one hand! Also built to be compact, you can fit the impact driver into tight spaces with ease.

6. Milwaukee High Torque Impact Wrench

This tool is unrivaled in its class! It is incredibly powerful and more compact than any other comparable tool, and supplies a precise and efficient 450 ft-lbs of torque. The trustworthy 4-pole motor from Milwaukee is able to make your time as efficient and impactful as it can be. This is a tool you’ll definitely want to have on your tool bench!

For more power tools and accessories, come on in to Big R anytime to get our suggestions on the best tools to help you on your next project!

8 Equipment Maintenance To-Dos for Spring Cleaning


With springtime on its way, you know you’re going to have to get out and do some cleaning soon! The sun is shining again and the snow is officially holding off. With all of this change, are you prepared to get into your garden and spruce up the mess that winter left? There’s no better time than now to get out your tools and fix them up. You can’t have a successful green thumb if your thumb is all rusty! Here are a few ways to make your tools and equipment effective and ready for the upcoming season.

Equipment Preventative Maintenance 101

1. Check your spark plugs.

How are they doing? Rusty? Need a little T.L.C? Getting your spark plugs replaced isn’t too difficult of an ordeal. It won’t be too hard on your budget either! Your power tool will thank you.

2. Clean up your air filters.

It’s possible that some dirt has gotten in there while sitting there unused. Make sure debris hasn’t caused any damage. If there is a lot of dirt or damage, a replacement is suggested. Make a note to also clean debris from your other tools as well.

3. Retighten screws and nuts.

This is more important than you may think! If your nuts and screws aren’t tightened all the way, they aren’t effectively helping your tools on the job! Be patient as you tighten them, as this is a very important step and shouldn’t be rushed. The IRWIN 9-in-1 multi-tool screwdriver is the perfect partner for this task!

4. Sharpen saw chains.

Having sharp saw chains is absolutely vital for making sure that your saw is working at it’s best! If you don’t want to go through the effort of sharpening the chains, at the very least, change them. This is also a good time to think about replacing your trimmer line.

5. Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate!

This will make your life so much easier in both the short and long run! Be logical and inspect any part of your equipment where friction will undoubtedly occur. All those places need to be  lubricated! This will make working with your tools a lot easier and give them a longer life.

6. Mix in fresh fuel.

Your tools need fuel to get them going! Since you probably haven’t used the tools in a while because of the winter season, it is more important now than ever to use fresh fuel for that first startup. Use fuel that’s been stored for less than a couple of months, then add two-cycle engine oil.

7. Warm up your tools.

After a season of storage, don’t start using your tools just yet! Make sure you look them over and let them warm up. Take about a few minutes or so to just examine that everything is working fine before you start using your tools.

8. Inspect everything.

Inspection is key – This includes power cords on electric tools. Excessive damage and wear are a red flag that replacements are necessary. Check all of your equipment for any broken parts, as certain issues, can potentially be dangerous. Be sure that everything is in top working condition before using!

At Big R, we have a plethora of resources so you can get into spring cleaning the right way! Come swing by and we can show you how to get your tools back into tip-top shape.