The first quarter of the year is always a busy time in the outdoor world. I am trying to wrap up quail season in the southeast while fly fishing on the Florida coast is getting fired up. I spent 3-days in Winghaven lodge hunting at 20 Degrees, and had a banner hunt. Then a weekend at Prairie Wildlife hunting quail at 30 degrees. The quail were flying very hard in those colder temperatures. Then three days later I was getting off a plane in Miami Florida with enough gear to open a small fly shop, and it was 85 and Sunny!
It was my first time at Winghaven and it sure was a treat! We had great food, fabulous bourbon, and a wonderful quail hunt in the rolling hills of Eastern Kentucky. Our guide was a young lady named Brittany and her pack of dogs Lucy, Lacy, and Daisy. What a treat it was to see a young lady working hard in the outdoor community. We tend to just say “we need to recruit more women into the outdoors”. I disagree and think we need to recruit the right women and Ms. Brittany is one of those women. It was cold, the quail flew hard and the dog work was amazing.
The next weekend found me down at Prairie Wildlife in West Point Mississippi. Now this is what I call my home lodge and I love everything about it. From Ms. Emily at the front desk to Marty the gentleman who keeps the fires burning and gets hunters their birds. A couple years ago I hunted there and was paired with Todd Robertson as my guide, and I have tried since that day to make sure I hunted with him. All the guides are great but hunting with Todd is much like hunting with an old friend. His pace and demeanor are that of a gentleman bird hunter from back in the glory days of southern quail hunting. We normally hunt his dogs Izzy and Hootie. This trip he asked could he bring a young pup to see how he worked. We didn’t hunt the young pup long but he sure did do a great job! We managed two good days of hunting, despite the cold. I am typing this thinking about getting back down there one more time before the end of the season.
There are a lot of great hunting lodges these days and they all offer great hunting opportunities. However Prairie Wildlife offers an experience rather than just a hunt, and the experience is phenomenal.
I left Prairie Wildlife on a Sunday. Then Wednesday I was getting on a plane in Nashville Tennessee headed to Miami. The plan was to link up with “On the Fly Magazine” for a few days of fly fishing for my favorite saltwater fish, the snook. When I boarded my plane it was 34 degrees and raining. When I deplaned in Miami it was sunny and 85 degrees! Talk about a great feeling after two weeks of bird hunting where is was lucky to get above freezing. We were scheduled to head to the everglade’s but a scheduling conflict prevented us from going that way,
So we headed to Stuart Florida to fish with 772 Fly and Light Tackle Charters. On the way there we stopped at a couple fly shops that were, in total honesty, not all that impressive. Then we happened upon Whites tackle shop. White’s is a fly shop with a gear shop around it. The staff was extremely welcoming, knowledgeable, and they were happy to point two tourists in the right direction! Since the first trip out was night fishing for snook we hunted up some food and a good cigar from Southern Draw Cigars before we headed to the ramp. We caught plenty of fish and laughed until our stomachs hurt. If you want to catch fish, learn a little biology of the area, and improve your cast then 772 fly and light tackle is your guy!