By James Elledge
March 19, 2020 - Given the strange times we live in, we thought it’d be prudent to put together a sportsman’s style survival guide. Staying cooped up inside will be relaxing for only so long. We all need fresh air, vitamin D, and engaging activities to keep us both sane and entertained. Stay safe out there and be sure to wash your hands - even if it’s in saltwater.
Here are the top 5 ways to break away from the pack and have great fun in the outdoors over the next couple months:
1) Cast a Line: Whip out your fishing rods and go wet a line! In a group of less than 10 people, or by yourself, fishing is a great way to relieve your mind of stress and anxiety. Indeed, fishing can be meditative. Block out all of the world’s turmoil and focus on the pocket of the stream or the tailing redfish in front of you. (Pics or it didn’t’ count!)
2) Go Turkey Hunting: getting in the turkey woods is one of the best ways to not only pass the time but enjoy the time away from the office. If you have never been, find a mentor or a reputable outfitter to help you learn the ropes. Look into a turkey choke for your shotgun, pattern your gun up to 40 yards, get proficient with your call, pluck and purr, and go sit by a tree with your fingers crossed for a gobble. Shameless plug: get the best turkey hunting clothes here.
3) Tie Your Own Flies: we get it – tying your own flies can be daunting at first for any level of fly fisher. Buying a local maker’s flies is never a bad idea, especially as we look to boost our economy. But if you’ve ever had the itch to tie your own flies, you might as well capitalize on the extra free time and give it a go. Catching a fish on a fly rod with the fly that you tied is extremely rewarding. Grab a vise and a fly tying tool kit, like this one from Loon for $45. Pick one of our go-to flies below and give it a spin (or 65):
- Wooly Bugger: a staple in any fly fisher’s box, the woolly bugger is great for both trout and bass. Emulating a leech, the wooly bugger is simple to tie and downright effective.
- Clouser Minnow: the favorite food for bass, the minnow has been a popular pattern for fly tiers for quite a while now. Bob Clouser developed the pattern in 1987 and it has since been a staple for bass fishermen and saltwater fishermen alike.
- Diving Frog: this fly always has to make sure it’s at the center of attention. Diving, flickering, streaming along, it will be sure to attract the attention of hungry bass. This one is a little trickier to tie, so do some research before starting. It’ll be well worth it once you hook a 4-pound largemouth!
4) Practice! Shoot some Clays: many of us wait until the very last minute to get on the skeet range to knock off the rust right before dove and duck season begin. Don’t be that guy this year! You don’t have to go to a clays facility to shoot clays; simply grab a buddy or two, a hand clay thrower, clays, and some open space. Pro tip: keep the bead in front of the target the whole time and aim for the ‘nose’ of the clay target.
5) Hunt for Sheds: Shed hunting will be much more productive for those of you living in more remote and wild areas, especially out west. But those of us who get out in natural areas where deer, elk, moose and other horned animals frequent can find these modern-day jewels. Springtime is perfect for shed hunting because these members of the deer family drop their antlers during this time of year. Utilize your dog to hunt sheds, or just keep a keen eye out. Send us a pic of your harvest! Bonus points for a matching set.
Have other ideas for quality time outdoors during this viral time? Comment below!