The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Year: 2012 (page 1 of 11)

Hunting “Real” Deer

Last week I was given the opportunity to make a 3 day long muzzle loader hunt in Central Georgia. The hunt was to take place on the B.F. Grant WMA, and I was honestly quite excited. A buddy of mine who works for Georgia DNR invited me up and loaned me a muzzle loader to use. So the Thursday before the hunt, I drove the Jeep for what felt like an eternity and met my friend outside the town of Eatonton. Once there, I laid eyes on my living arrangements for the weekend.

To say the house was creepy would be an understatement. The lack of heat inside made the whole thing -that- much more appealing to boot. But as I laid there in the creaking darkness on a twin mattress the night before the hunt, I couldn’t help but be excited…even if I could see my breath inside and was fully clothed. This would be my chance to hunt “real” deer. You know, the kind one sees in Field and Stream and other outdoor magazines. Pretty much…Deer that don’t live in Florida. A legal buck had to have a 16 inch minimum main beam or a 15 inch spread. From pictures I’d seen, I was beyond excited. And even if I didn’t lay eyes on a buck, I was hopeful for at least a doe and some venison in the freezer. The next morning couldn’t come quick enough to begin my hunt for “real” deer.

But I forgot something.

Deer aren’t real. They’re myths.

With the exception of a tiny spike I saw the very first morning, neither myself nor my buddy saw deer. We found plenty of sign, hunted great looking areas, and even sat promising areas multiple times. But the mythical creatures eluded us. I’d say I was surprised, but honestly there’s something in the back of my mind that convinces me that not seeing deer is the norm. Rare moments in nature happen from time to time and a deer might materialize every so often, but consistently seeing deer is not what I’ve come to expect.

I was a little disappointed. Especially after forking over the absurd amount of money for non-resident hunting licenses and gas. But I was happy to at least get back out into the woods. I’ve got a few ideas as to why we were unsuccessful on this particular hunt, and I got these little tid-bits of information AFTER I’d arrived.

This muzzleloader hunt was the third hunt this year. Prior to this, the area had two, three day rifle hunts and (I think) an archery season. So the deer had already been hit pretty hard. Also, from everything I’d heard, the deer had already rutted back in November, and post-rut deer aren’t the easiest things to lay eyes on. Finally…there were the other hunters.

Oh Lord. The other hunters.

I’ve hunted public land my whole life, but somehow I’ve missed these 3-4 day hunts where there is a mass migration of blaze orange and trucks into the woods. I’m used to a season stretching a few weeks, and being able to hunt weekdays to avoid other hunters. This, however, was a little different.

There were a good 600-700 people in the woods that particular weekend. My friend and I were both walked in on twice, and I was consistently amazed at the amount of hunters out there. In an attempt to avoid other hunters, my friend and I hiked a little less than 2 miles down a closed path and into some thick areas. The thought being that the deer are so spooked, they won’t be coming out of the thick stuff until almost dark, and there won’t be many hunters willing to walk that far. Well…

We were wrong.

Along this stretch of path, -way- back into the woods, my friend and I ran into 7 other hunters. Not to mention the guys we -didn’t- run into who had obviously dragged a deer out during one of the morning hunts. Bottom line, the deer were spooked, and there were too many people in the woods.

Had I shown up during the rut, I bet our luck would have been a little different. Just looking at the difference in harvest data between the hunts shows that. But I still enjoyed myself at the end of it all. It was nice to hunt some different terrain. Instead of cypress bottoms and pine plantations, there were rolling hills and hardwood creek bottoms. Just that little change in scenery made my hunts more enjoyable.

I know I’ll definitely be hunting Georgia again, but next time it will probably be private land. Just one successful hunt up there will probably change my mindset completely. I look forward to having another chance to turn these myths into real deer.

Long Overdue Blog Love

Since I haven’t been doing much fishing recently, I’ve spent some time doing a little reading. Well, a lot, of reading…actually. All in the form of my fellow bloggers’ websites. I’d be lying if I said their blogs didn’t influence me and mine. I simply enjoy reading their reports, stories, mishaps and reviews. Every blogger enjoys having people read his/her stuff, and its time I dish out some blog love. It’s almost that “giving” time of year anyways…right? They’re in no particular order, and I try not to miss a post from any of these guys. So I give to you my ever changing/ever growing (and definitely non-comprehensive) list of favorite outdoor bloggers.

River Mud

RM is one of my favorite blogs. He’s a “do it all” kind of outdoorsman who loves to hunt, fish, and rant about conservation from time to time. As one of the first fellow outdoor bloggers I stumbled across, River Mud has been influencing the way I run my own blog since its early stages. He’s been running RM since 2007, so if you haven’t checked it out, be sure to head that way and do so. There’s plenty of hunting/fishing reports and quite a few stories about a little addition to his family that I expect will become a fish slayer in just a few years. Oh, and he‘s got an awesome taste in music…so he really can’t be that bad…

Something’s Fishy

Another fellow blogger that I’ve followed since my own blog’s infancy, Something’s Fishy is an all-around fish blog. Fishing news, reviews, reports, tips, beach fishing, pier fishing…you name it, he probably covers it. Just know that almost whatever is written on Something’s Fishy has to do with, well…fishing! One of these days I’ll have to learn his tricks for getting free stuff to review, but in the mean time, I’ll continue reading just about everything that’s written over at his site. Be sure to check it out!

Fontinalis Rising

  Let me be the first to make this clear…I’m a saltwater guy. BUT, if ever there was a blogger who could convince me to go stand in a stream and flail my fly rod wildly at trout, it’d be this guy. Fontinalis Rising is one of my favorite writers. Period. He paints a fantastic picture with his reports and stories and I actually take notes on his writing style all the time. I often catch myself almost wishing I was in up Michigan fly fishing, and it takes quite a bit of self control to snap out of it. Be sure to check out FR if you never have.

Michisippi Fly

Michisippi Fly is a fellow Gulf Coast blogger that I began reading fairly recently. Even though he is all the way over in Mississippi, it’s close enough to home that I can personally relate to some of his fishing trips. He fly fishes for just about every inshore species around and isn’t afraid to take the kayak out on long trips. His blog is definitely worth a read. Detailed reports on chasing tailing Reds in the Mississippi bayous makes one almost feel like they’re with him.

Outdoors Down South

 A blogger from the motherland, Outdoors Down South tells tales all about hunting and fishing in Northwest Florida. On top of hunting and fishing reports, he also covers news and interviews for all things outdoors. Many posts aim not to report or entertain, but rather get one thinking of simpler times or the way we perceive the outdoors as a whole. He’s also a fellow mullet fiend, which are relatively few and far between. 

The Unlucky Hunter

 The Unlucky Hunter is an all around hunting and fishing blog. Tim does everything from chasing trout from his kayak to muzzle loader hunting. His website is full of excellent gear reviews and great looking recipes. I really enjoy reading through his reports and trial and errors in the outdoors. He writes quite often (a lot more than me), and I find myself happily venturing over to his website on multiple occasions each month. 

Mike’s Gone Fishin’…Again

 Mike’s Gone Fishin’ is one of my favorite blogs to read. He takes some absoultely amazing pictures while out fishing and try as I might, I can’t even come close to snapping ones as good as his. An all around fisherman, Mike avidly targets both salt and freshwater species on the fly. I really enjoy his writing style as he paints a fantastic picture of each fishing trip and manages to often slip in quite a good amount of humor; A quality I feel is often lacking in most writing. Be sure to check out his site if you never have. 

Angling Addict 

Angling Addict is all about fishing. But not just any type of fishing. Rob is a diehard kayak fisherman who chases everything that swims around his home with his kayak. He too takes some awesome pictures and catches some insane fish. As an avid kayak fisherman myself, I can relate to just about everything he writes and each report makes me wish I was right there on the water. He makes some pretty awesome videos as well, so be sure to browse through his website. You won’t be disappointed. 

The Impractical Fishermen

 The Impractical Fishermen is a great blog that‘s all about fishing. Daniel is a fishing nut that recently made the move out to California to chase our scaly friends out there. Though I literally have no idea what species of fish he’s catching now-a-days (aside from bass), I really enjoy reading through his reports. He does quite a bit of kayak fishing and makes his own soft plastic baits, which is something I‘d really enjoy getting into. Be sure to swing by his site if you’ve never checked it out before. 

The Florida Blogger (Suwannee Refugee)

If you live in Florida, or are even just visiting, you’ll definitely want to read the Suwannee Refugee’s blog. The website is all about fishing and dining in Florida and everything in between. He gets quite a bit of kayak fishing done and is another fellow mullet fiend. To add, he definitely knows his beers and is my go-to “beer guy” if I have any questions. His site is definitely worth a read through if you like the sunshine state. 

Fishing Fanatic

Fishing Fanatic follows the fishing trips of another fellow diehard kayak angler. If it swims, Justin’s goal is to land it from the kayak. I’m really not sure what they’ve put in the water up where he’s from, but some of the fish they catch up there are grotesquely large. He’s also managed a pretty sweet job that involves making fishing reels which he writes about from time to time. He’s been lucky enough to have a recent addition to his family, and it shouldn’t be long before the little guy finds himself in a kayak as well. Be sure to check out his website and drool at some of the fish he’s landed

 Like I said earlier, this list is not comprehensive. There are other bloggers that I really enjoy reading as well. However, these guys listed above are some of my favorites and I try not to ever miss a post by them. I really look forward to finding new blogs to add to this ever growing list. If it weren’t for other great bloggers, my non-fishing/non-hunting times would be BRUTALLY boring. So thanks for keeping me entertained ya’ll!

The Great 2012 Skunking

It was bound to happen again eventually. If you fish enough, it’s simply -going- to happen.

I got skunked.

And though I generally find an unproductive fishing trip to be less than noteworthy, this one was special.

As any of my regular readers may have noticed, I’ve been terribly quiet lately. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to write anything, but rather, the fact that I haven’t -done- anything. Absolutely nothing outdoor related over the past three weeks. It seems like every time I schedule a fishing trip around my days off, the weather turns bad and I don’t go.

But I got off work for a few days and made the long Jeep ride back to Pensacola for Thanksgiving. My initial plan was to fish Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning and evening, and Thanksgiving morning. That…didn’t happen. I arrived a bit later than planned Tuesday, and rather than go fish, my dad and I opted to go to the gun range. After a full day of driving and shooting, my head found my old bed at my parents house and I was out like a light. Slept right through my alarm at 0530 the next morning, and well into mid morning.

Not wishing to waste any more time on something as silly as sleep, I was resolved to go fish Wednesday afternoon. And go fish I did. My dad and I launched the Gheenoe into the upper Escambia river in search of Flounder, Trout, and Reds.

We explored some new territory and I fairly consistently had fish strike at my lure. Small fish, but fish none the less. I was, however, not landing anything. I kept this up until sunset, and ended the trip without a single fish.

After dinner that evening, I decided I simply couldn’t handle getting skunked for the day. I called up one of my best friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten, and forced him to come beach fishing with me at night. I figured I could at least catch a hardhead catfish and just call it a bad day of fishing. While loading the truck up, my dad asked me,

“You’re going beach fishing…at night?”

“Well yeah…why?”

“You aren’t gonna catch anything”

“Have you ever been beach fishing at night?”


My buddy and I arrived at the beach a little before 10pm. I tossed out 3 rods with two shrimp each. The water was dead calm and it was a clear, chilly night.

At 12am I pulled in the rods, and tossed my 6 untouched and slightly waterlogged shrimp into the gulf. My dad was right. I’d been skunked.

So why was this noteworthy? Well, to be honest, I wasn’t bothered in the least by the fact that I hadn’t caught the first fish. Of course I went fishing to actually -catch- fish, but I still had a blast. I realized while I was home that I hadn’t actually been back to Pensacola in a LONG time. And being gone means that I’ve missed out on quite a lot in my family’s and friend’s lives. So the way I see it, getting to catch up with them when I oversleep, spend time on the boat, freeze to death on the beach at night, and stuff our faces full of turkey was definitely worth it. And worth far more than landing some fish. Very rarely is it all about the fish…

Note: I’m currently in the planning process of some big hunting/fishing trips along with some gear reviews. So my current internet silence in just the calm before the storm. Stay tuned!

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