To the Hunt

Here’s to 2 am alarm clocks and ice on the windshield.

To us not being sure why our hands are shaking – is it the bitter cold, or the monstrous 10 point that just stepped into the clearing.

The sound of a wood duck whistling his way unseen through the darkness seconds before shoot time.  The rattle of the dog boxes as the pointers bang their tails against the side, desperate to find their next quail.  The snap of a twig behind you in the tree stand – Unknown yet full of promise.  The whistles, of bobwhites and pintails and dog handlers . . . The clucks, of hen mallards and hen turkeys . . .

Here’s to the game we respect and pursue . . . The bucks and drakes and Toms and boars . . . The shots we take, the shots we miss, and, sometimes more importantly, the shots we pass on completely . . .

To the old-timers, here’s to one more fall in the field . . . To savoring the moments with friends and family . . . Hunting the same bend where a long gone retriever made an unbelievable fetch on what was thought to be a long gone mallard . . . Walking the same trails you walked with your grandfather so many years ago, now with a grandson of your own in tow, a legacy and heritage prayerfully safe for another generation . . .

Here’s to the kids . . . 5 year olds and 12 year olds and 20 year olds, bribed with powdered donuts and packs of Twizzlers and the promise of unlimited Mountain Dew . . . That sense of wonder in their normally iPad-glazed eyes as they see the indescribable colors in an Osceola as he steps into the sunshine . . . Their enlightenment to the “edges” of the hunt – the snakes, the palmettos, the birds of prey soaring overhead, memories that will grow and shrink through the years but placeholders nonetheless of a world unplugged . . . Their pride in their first harvest, be it a squirrel or a dove or a deer . . . And to a hope that they’ll think nothing and everything of being standard bearers for a new generation of sportsman, ethical and honest, future evangelists of conservation . . .

Here’s to those gone to soon, but never forgotten, in this chapel lined by pine trees and sun rays trying to burn off a fog, while a chorus of cardinals and chipmunks and cicadas raise their voices in song . . .

Here’s to the hunt . . . To pursuing our game, our way, be it with bow, or gun, or spear, with dogs or decoys or by ambush.  To gas station hot dogs and four wheel drives and campfires and more stars than you ever thought possible . . . To pheasants and puddlers, divers and deer . . . To the men and the women and the youngsters . . .

May your straps be heavy, your campfires surrounded by laughter, and your thermos never empty . . .

Here’s to the Hunt!

 

Together.

I’m sick of this mess.

I’m sick of Big Sugar, and Discharges, and Red Tide and Mosaic and Cyanobacteria and Septic Tanks and Glyphosate.

We’ve ravaged Charlotte Harbor, the Indian River Lagoon, Florida Bay, and the Kissimmee Watershed, from Shingle Creek all the way down . . .

We’ve posted up our allegiances – BullSugar, Captains for Clean Water, The Rivers Coalition, Everglades Trust . . . “Vote Water” is the chant . . .

We adamantly defend our choices – Desantis was at this rally, Levine really seems to have a handle on things, Graham’s family didn’t really want to destroy wetlands for a mall, maybe Chris King or Andrew Gillum can find Clewiston on a map, Putnam is a mult-generational native . . .

Yes, our water is bad.

Yes, this is a lousy political cycle.

But the worst part is us.

We allow ourselves to be divided.  To attack and wheedle at narratives that don’t fit our agenda.

Sugar’s at fault.  Sugar is innocent.  The Army Corp is in cahoots with Big Sugar. South Florida Water Management District just wants to keep the EAA happy.  The Fanjuls have paid for the election.  Blow up the dike.  Stop the discharges.  #senditsouth.

We’ve lost a huge part of what makes Floridians special.

We’ve never seen eye to eye on guns or marijuana or immigration or religion . . . But surely we can all agree that we all want better water.

Is the answer simple?  Of course not.

SFWMD.  The Department of the Interior.  The Seminole Tribe.  The Army Corp of Engineers.  SWFWMD.  Florida Wildlife Commission.  National Parks Service.  There are a million moving parts to this.  Not to mention, we’ve placed 20 million plus people on a peninsula that’s supposed to be a swamp.

“The way nature intended” left the conversation the second we swapped out our horses for F-350’s.

So.

Which politician wants to talk about limiting the capacity of the state?

Oh – that’s right – none of them.

Which one wants to address growth and the thousand new residents moving here each day?

I’ll wait.

Just kidding.  Because it’s none of them.

Do I like all the candidates? Of course not.

But I don’t think Putnam or Graham or Desantis or King or Levine is hellbent on destroying our way of life.

I don’t think they’re interested in growing green slime and charging up the red tide to better destroy their constituents.

Meetings around the CERP and all the other funny-sounding “RP” plans have been going on for decades.  The Kissimmee River restoration began when I was in high school.

Which is all my way of saying:

Be nice.

We’re losing our way more and more each day, feted by a social media mob and fertilized by content.  We are a different kind of Red Tide and Blue Tide, intent on destroying way more than our beaches and rivers and waterways.  We’re intent on destroying each other.

Are there real issues that need to be addressed?  Absolutely there are.  And water is at the top of my list.  But so is my kids’ school.  So is my wife’s job, and my town’s infrastructure, and my aunt’s healthcare situation.

There is nuance in life.  I can’t pick anyone in the world and say “See that guy, right there – his name’s ‘Pete’ and his life matches up to mine exactly down to the second . . . “

Yes, there are moments, and causes, and for me this is absolutely one of them.  For a hotel operator, a sugar farmer, a fishing guide, a snowbird, a transplant, a computer engineer, a nurse, a lawyer, a retailer – this moment and their moment may look drastically different, there are nuances and splits that shape our discourse and visions.

This election is important for Florida.  It is important for you.

Just remember it’s important for other people, too.

And tomorrow, we’ll all still be Floridians, no matter the outcome.  And we’ll all still have our same issues that need to be fixed.

Together.

#49: Discharges, Big Sugar, and Red Tide

It’s been a miserable summer in Southwest Florida – a never ending red tide bloom. Discharges from Lake Okeechobee.  An election cycle.

Our state sits in the midst of an ecological disaster that’s being tossed around like a political volleyball.  Misinformation abounds.  Divisions are drawn in the sand.  Confusion reigns.

This week, we take one episode to give you our thoughts.  This is not our normal fare.  This is pure, unfiltered, and raw.

We’ll be back to jokes and punchlines and fishing tips and duck tricks next week.

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
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Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

#48: The Stay Woke Playlist

It’s 4 am.

You’ve got a full, NRA approved Yeti Rambler of coffee, the boat’s gassed up, and you’re headed to the boat ramp.

What’s on the radio?

We asked as many folks as we could for their “on the way to the boat ramp” songs, and this is what we’ve ended up with.  The first ever playlist designed to actually keep you “woke” in the truest sense of the word . . .

You can use Spotify to listen to our entire list by clicking here . . .

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

47: Anonymous Takes

How do you feel about Power-pole?  Airboats? Fly Fishing?

This week, we’re taking apart the hot takes that folks were too chicken to attach their names to . . .

Plus Brad Paisley vs. Garth, Nate catches a 7″ fish and brags about it, and we talk Florida water issues again.

And the First Annual Inaugural Codiment mini-Draft (spoiler: Nate wins)!

Keeps:

Travis – Captains for Clean Water – THE group on the right side of Florida’s Water Issues

Emily – Have y’all seen John Crist? The Ultimate comedian for any youth group kid from the ’90’s

Nate: Dawn Lea McKenna Books – The Forgotten Coast series – fictional procedural drama woven around the Appalachicola lifestyle

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

#46: Hot Takes

We asked “What are your ‘Hot Takes’ for Hunting and Fishing?”

And Holy WOW did you guys and gals come through . . .

Does lure color matter? Do 3.5″ shells? Is it more fun to shoot ducks at 50 yards? What actually is the best cartridge for deer?

We tackle all of these, plus Nate decided to run, Emily discovers “skinny-privilege” and Travis talks about Captains for Clean water and some of the issues our waters have dodged . . .

Keeps:

Travis: Mosaic is defeated in Desoto County, staving off the mining industry and giving a much need victory for an ecosystem under attack.

Nate: In the same breath he discusses exercising, Nate discusses the Hardee’s Snackle box, a tackle box packed full of burgers and fries.  Thankfully, this is a fictional thing, and not a real menu item.

Emily: Every Little Thing, a podcast about the little stuff in daily life

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

#41: Stories, Vol. 2

When last we left our band of intrepid podcasters, Travis was being much maligned for his penchant for foul-weather boating.

Today, we take a run at Nate’s family’s near demise.  Plus, Uncle Tim stories, Travis’ dad’s favorite son (hint: it’s Nate), Travis breaks the law, a bunch of people named Jimmy, and “Dude, where’s my trolling motor . . . ”

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Website

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram – @lovedalocafitness – Instagram

Graduation

Today’s the day.

You’ll walk across the stage, and shake the principal’s hand, and we’ll eat all the seafood and laugh and cry and take a million pictures. This is the tipping point, the entry into adulthood. Everything is in front of you. But, if you’ll allow your dad a few minutes, I just want to press pause for a minute to reminisce about what’s behind us.

I remember the steps up to Watson Clinic Pediatrics. I had been a father for 3 days. I didn’t understand car seats or copayments. Did you know there was a room for “well” kids? Not this guy. I’d say I was braving it alone, except I wasn’t, a tiny little girl in a Noah’s Ark blanket somehow surviving alongside me. Everything she did was amazing, from her toothless grins to the way her little fingers would seemingly tangle around mine. It was perfect.

Your first steps were more of a tumble, a bullfight with gravity that you never seemed to lose. I can remember the dress you wore, and your hair in a pigtail that only a dad could’ve arranged, cackling with your raspy voice as you bounced from couch to chair.

Do you remember the Longhorn Song?

Longhorn, food long on flavor
Steaks you can savor
MOOOOooooooOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Every day, as we’d careen into the HCA parking lot, you’d say “Daddy, I’m glad you didn’t sing the Longhorn Song” and I’d sing it in my absolute loudest voice, and you’d feign anger and outrage until the giggles won out.

Man, do I miss that.

Fishing. We’ve fished about as much as a dad and daughter could fish. Dock lights and mangroves.  Snook and redfish, snapper and catfish and trout. Every time the boat would leave, you’d be on it. Every fish that came over the side was met with the question “is it a keeper?”

How about Harry Potter? I’ve always believed Harry and Ron and Hermione and Snape helped both of us through the divorce . . . there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think about the time we went to Universal, and the wand choosing you somehow in that shop, and how you believed, if even for a moment, that it was magic. And how I never had any doubt.

Road trips to Alabama . . . Duck hunts and goose hunts and Exploding Kittens . . .  Midnight movies and The Incredibles . . . Band concerts and Art shows . . . Talent shows and Hurricanes and Pixie Hollow . . . Up and The Grove City Motel . . . Space Camp and Gary’s Oyster Bar and Little Gasparilla Island . . . Sundresses and Sunsets, Georgetown and Charleston . . . Tornado warnings and first ducks and fishing in the rain and Pub Trivia and Knowledge Cards and Science fairs and Beymer town and Cinnamon rolls “the size of ya head” . . . Meg and Brittany tangling your hair in a fan . . . Gilly taking you shopping for clothes for school . . . Emy babysitting you over summer vacation . . . I remember boat rides, and birthday parties, and trick-or-treating and church . . . bunk beds and room makeovers . . . school dances and radio sing-a-longs . . . Horse drawn carriage rides and looking at Christmas lights every night . . . running around DC with your $2 flip-flops . . . being snowed in and snowball fights and “a ragtag army in need of a shower” and Hamilton and Broadway . . . shrimp boils and peanut boils and frying more chicken and crawfish than should be allowed, just to see your face light up . . . making you clean your room and do yard work and wash cars and load the dishwasher and say “yes ma’am” and write sentences . . . Linkin Park and Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift and High School Musical . . . teaching you to swim, and feigning disapproval at your bathing suit choices . . . taking you for a ride in a convertible and in the bed of the pickup and teaching you to drive in the woods . . .

You’ve conquered the hardest high school program we could find. You’re taking college and life by the horns. My little girl will hold up her diploma and smile a smile of accomplishment and pride.

And I’ll smile too, but more from the sidelines, your biggest cheerleader and fan . . . a dad with no clue, just like so many years ago in that doctor’s office, the little girl in the Noah’s ark blanket replaced by a young lady in an electric green cap and gown. A dad unsure of what’s coming next, but still certain that everything you do is amazing . . .

Congratulations Livjos!

Love,

Dad

#31: Sub-Urban Dictionary, Volume 3

Show Notes:

What if someone said “Billy caught a TOAD yesterday” . . . would you know what they meant?

Or what it means to be “Dishragged” or “Smoked like a Cheap Cigar” . . .

This week, we cover all of those and many more in our 3rd edition of the Sub-Urban Dictionary . . .

Want to catch up?  Here’s a link to Volume 1 of the Sub-Urban Dictionary and here’s the link to Volume 2!

Keep and Release:

Travis’ Keep: The It Pays to Fish Podcast, with Angie Scott . . . You know we were skeptical, but we loved what we’ve heard so far from this show!

Emily’s  Beef Tenderloin Recipe:

1 Tbsp. + 1 pinch sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and stem discarded, tightly packed
2 tsp. fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed and stem discarded, tightly packed
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, tightly packed
2 lbs. raw, lean, center-cut beef tenderloin
1 Tbsp. ghee (organic grass-fed, if possible)
¼ cup crème fraiche
2 tsp. prepared horseradish

Preparation

  1. Place 1 Tbsp. salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in food processor (or blender). Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Coat outside of tenderloin evenly with garlic mixture. Place in a casserole dish and refrigerate, uncovered, minimum 8 hours (approximately overnight).
  3. After minimum 8 hours (or the next day), remove tenderloin from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking to allow tenderloin to come up to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  5. Heat large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. Your skillet must be smoking hot in order to get a true and deep sear on your tenderloin.
  6. Carefully pat tenderloin dry with paper towels. Rub outside with ghee; cook in preheated skillet, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until brown on all sides.
  7. Place skillet in preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at its thickest point reads 125º F for medium rare. Remove tenderloin from oven. Transfer to carving board. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. While tenderloin is baking, make Horseradish Cream Sauce. Combine crème fraiche, horseradish, and
    remaining pinch of salt in a small bowl; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
  9. Slice tenderloin into 8 portions. Serve each with 1½ tsp. Horseradish Cream Sauce.
    RECIPE NOTE:
    Roasted meats should always be rested before slicing for two reasons. First, it allows the hot outer portions to transfer their heat to the center, which completes the cooking process. Our 125º F tenderloin will rest up to about 140º F, for a perfect medium rare. Second, by allowing the temperature to
    stabilize before slicing, we keep the juices in the meat rather than on the cutting board.
    COOKING TIPS:
    • For rare meat, subtract 3 to 5 minutes from the total baking time.
    • For medium, add 3 to 5 minutes to the total baking time.
    • Make sure your prepared horseradish is pure horseradish, and not in a cream-based or mayonnaise sauce.
    • If you do not have fresh herbs, you can use 2 tsp. of dried herbs, each.

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
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Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – InstagramTwitterFacebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – InstagramTwitterFacebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram

#30: Excuses

Show Notes:

Have you ever spent 12 hours on the water, only to arrive home empty-handed?

(shakes head in agreement) “Neither have we”

But, just in case that DOES happen to you one day, we’ve got you locked and loaded with our best excuses for a bad day afield . . . No fish, too many fish, bad weather, bananas, lucky hats, and more!!!

Keep and Release:

Nate’s Keep item – Grilled shrimp, with this butter on it . . .

Trav’s Keep item – What would Teddy Roosevelt Do?  The new website from Back Country Hunter’s and Anglers that examines public land policy through the lens of one of our greatest conservationists . . .

Emily’s Keep Item – The Life Coach School Podcast . . .

 

Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .
InstagramTwitterFacebookWebsite

Want to experience a world class duck hunt or fishing charter?
E-mail Travis to book today . . .

Connect with the gang on social media:

Travis Thompson – @travisthompson – InstagramTwitterFacebook
Nathan Henderson – @nhenderson77 – InstagramTwitterFacebook
Emily Thompson – @lovedaloca – Instagram