A true story about turkey hunting in the Missouri Ozarks and how things can just go all to shit when you least expect it.
When this big Kansas whitetail buck was born The Lord told him, “Son, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m giving you a BRAIN. It’s a wonderful thing. You can use it to find food and to keep from getting shot by some redneck with a rifle or bow. And I’m giving you a PENIS, which is also a wonderful thing. It will bring you great pleasure and you can use it to propagate your species.” The little buck said, “Golly! That sounds great! But what’s the bad news?” to which The Lord answered, “I’m only giving you enough blood supply to use one of them at a time.”
You can see where this big guy hides out in the daytime. He usually comes out to play only in the daylight. But look what he’s doing. Which of God’s gifts do you think he’s using now?
A big thank you to my buddy Scott and his army of trail cams for sharing this photo with me.
Capt. Andrew Mizell is a third-generation Floridian. Born in Pensacola, he was introduced to the great outdoors at an early age. His father served in the navy, which gave Andrew the incredible opportunity to fish in numerous destinations around the world including Florida, Cuba, Bahamas, Tennessee Maryland and Maine. After his father retired Andrew set roots in Jacksonville and attended the University of North Florida.
Capt. Andrew is owner and operator of Southern Marsh Charters and General Manager of Strike-Zone Fly Fishing in Jacksonville. He has over 25 years of experience inshore fly fishing. If you want to experience a charter targeting redfish in the shallowest of waters during low tide or chase tailing redfish in northeast Florida’s unique floodtides visit the website of Southern Marsh Charters or give him a call at 850-346-0060. Andrew is a supporter of Captains for Clean Water.
I can tell you from personal experience that he will work tirelessly to put you where the fish are and do everything in his power to help you catch them.
If it seems like I’ve been doing this a long time it’s because I’ve been doing this a long time. My first cartoon about outdoor sports was published in Sports Afield…or maybe it was Field & Stream, in 1964.It was followed by a long stream of others too humorus to mention.
I had just started writing and illustrating The Sporting Life column for Wyoming Wildlife News. My new Lab pup Maggie was ready to be trained. I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder so throwing training dummies for her was out. That’s how I came up with one-armed retriever training…indoor version.
This is a tough time for our country, actually for the international community. But this morning it was kind of hard for me to concentrate on how serious the situation is when Capt. Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters and I were taking off for a few hours of fly fishing for redfish. Isn’t that what fishing is all about?
My friend Scott calls the deer in the first nighttime photo the Crabclaw buck. He only poses for the trail cam at night. Scott has been watching this buck for three years as it grows. As you can see by how roughed up he is, this buck is a fighter.
The daylight photo below appears to be a 14-pointer. If he keeps wandering around in the daylight this fall he’ll wind up on the wall of some guy’s man cave.
And look at the herd of turkeys in the right background! Does that make you want to get out your old box call and start practicing or what!
The beautiful eight point buck below is from my friend Dave Zumbaugh’s trail cam. Dave lives on the outskirts of Shawnee Mission Park in a western suburb of Kansas City. The deer in the park are protected and rapidly become so numerous they stand on their hind legs in the winter and munch the bark from trees. Yet every time a controlled archery hunt is proposed the anti hunting crowd raises hell. I guess they’d rather Bambi and his mom die a slow death by starvation.
Moving from Kansas to Florida is not a cultural shock, it’s an ecological shock. Kansans are not used to seeing flocks of curlews feeding in our front yard, reports on the evening news of alligators or black bears wandering around the suburbs.
It’s taken me over a year to find an outfitter who takes clients fly fishing for redfish…and doesn’t have an age limit. Well, I’ve found it: Blackfly Outfitters. Blackfly has a fully stocked shop with all the tackle you could ever dream about, plus a nice inventory of fly tying materials. And everyone I’ve ever met there has been FRIENDLY and HELPFUL.
So…long story short…I signed on for a four hour charter last Thursday Nov. 7th. I’m an experienced fly fisherman so when Captain Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters asked me how far I could cast, I said , “Oh thirty, maybe forty feet”. But that’s standing in my driveway, no wind, and no fly on the leader. In real world conditions…I sucked. I wound up trying to cast a fly the size of a small sparrow with my 7 wt. rod. I soon switched to my 9 wt. It wasn’t pretty. But Andrew was patient and kept putting me into position to catch fish and I finally boated this small redfish. Minutes later I hooked but did not land a much larger fish. Story of my life.
Needless to say I’m already planning my next charter.
If you want to go check out Blackfly Outfitters http://www.blackflyoutfitters.com .