#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 . . .


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


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

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!



#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


  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.
    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.
    • 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 . . .

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 . . .

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

#29: Overrated, Underrated, and Properly Rated

Show Notes:

Are Power-poles overrated?  What about Mud motors? Mojo Decoys? Shimano reels?

Plus – Tacos?

Keep and Release:

Nate & Kaley’s Keep item – the Little Gasparilla Island Facebook Group

Trav’s Keep item – Barkeeper’s Friend


Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .

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

Who Killed Waterfowling?

Does it seem like everyone is grumpy these days?

Not enough ducks, not enough land, too many hunters – the list is longer than a goose gun in the 40’s.

It felt like, maybe, it was time to lay out who, exactly, is to blame for the state of our waterfowling.

Is it Duck Dynasty, and Duck Commander, and the entire Robertson crew, spreading waterfowling from the swamps and speakeasies of rural America into 10 million living rooms every Tuesday? Or is it Social Media, a medal-less competition to see which Instagram account can post the most dead ducks each season?

Was it too many wannabe pro-staffers, stacking piles upon piles on top of their Yeti’s and tailgates?  Or was it too few guides taking a personal responsibility and a stewardship view of the resource, trading a few bookings for a generation’s future hunts . . .

Maybe it was all the Duck ID posts, driving folks like me up the wall as we answer, for what seems like the billionth time, whether that’s a Mottled or a Mallard . . . Or maybe it was too few of us taking the time to answer, thoughtfully and respectfully, which choke is best, or which gun is best, or, maybe, just maybe, actually identifying the Mottled in that picture . . .

Kids, there was a time not that long ago when you went waterfowling, shot ducks, and the only folks who may have known were your friends at school and your family, maybe 10-15 people.  Now, we don’t get out of bed for less than 250 likes . . .

Was it motorized decoys, and e-callers, and e-collars?  Was it surface drives, or maybe longtails, or airboats, or all of them?

Is it the number of hunters at the ramp, or in the blinds, day in and day out?  Or is it the number of ramps, too few to accommodate the growth, leaving swaths of public land completely unreachable?

Perhaps it’s the sale of hunts in previously unmanaged fields north of wherever you are . . . the lease rights to a cornfield driven up by a second crop of bands and bills, leading to short stops and slower migrations?  Or landowners de-icing ponds that should’ve been frozen solid by early December, convincing the mallards that, hey, snow ain’t that bad . . .

Was it the $28 boxes of shells, or the $2000 guns, or the $40k boats?  Maybe it’s all the brands with their logos stitched and hashtagged and @ symbols on the side of their truck wraps . . .

Can we blame the Game Commissions doing a lousy job of managing your state’s resources, or would it be better to blame one of the non-profits for spending your money somewhere else entirely, making sure that only the upper echelon sees the fruits of their labor?  Or maybe the Federal system for making a mess of the NWR’s all over the country?

Is it YouTube, and Vimeo, and Facebook, and Snapchat?  Or was it the podcasts and TV shows and magazines and books?

Who, exactly, is to blame for the state of our waterfowling?

Maybe we should all take a look in the mirror.

Dogs I Have Known

I’m not exactly sure how or when my infatuation with hunting dogs began.

I came by this naturally, I suppose . . . My maternal grandfather was a quail hunting tour-de-force, almost always with a pointer or 3 leading the way.

My dad raised beagles when we were very young, so gun dogs were abundant.  There were always 2 or 3 in the kennels, until a litter came along.  Toby and Max and Dutchess and Bear wandered through my adolescence with their tri-colored saddles and soulful howls.

But somewhere, and I don’t remember the switch exactly, we ended up with a Brittany.  Abracadabra was her name on paper, which we shortened to Magic.

Magic was an appropriate name for her, as she promptly disappeared anytime there was gunfire.  She had those piercing green eyes that come standard issue on Brits, and I was determined to cure her of gunshyness.  My plan was two fold – I took my portable electronic drum sticks, complete with belt attached speaker; I would crank the lawnmower up, and have it idle in the background so my parents would think I was mowing, plus it added to the noise.  Then I’d stand over poor Magic, that speaker precariously close to her ears, and bang on those imaginary drums.

It didn’t work.

Copper was a natural, another Brittany who pointed a covey of quail his first time out.  He was dad’s dog, really, orange dappled with style on his points.  A freak accident took him from us before his time . . .

Daisy was an English setter – a Llewellyn, to be exact, with blonde feathering beneath the silky white.  Daisy was another born natural, minus a couple of quirks . . . She covered so much ground that she’d be on point in the next county before you’d get near her; also, she hated me.  This one is still baffling, as when she was small she slept in my room, my hand in her crate all night.  But, for some weird reason, she would not come near me.  My sister, who never spent any time with the dogs, Daisy would lick her in the face; me, begging to show her affection, nada.  She would run in circles, just outside of arms reach the whole time I was in the yard.  In hindsight, Daisy was like a prep course for my first marriage.

Ozzie, the gigantic liver and white Brittany who towered over my mother but had no interest in hunting.  Swish, the ill named and incestuously bred Brit that yelped every 4 seconds for 7 straight days.

Toby.  Sport. Penny.  Ginny.

Alf and Chuck.  Max and Ace.  Kasey.

Even today, my house is alive with the clatter of nails on hardwood as two French Brittanys clown their way through life.

I’d love to romanticize the idea – a cold, rainy, winter’s night; the hunter sits in his chair, in front of the fire, reading a Ruark novel, the Brittany asleep at his feet, worn out from the morning’s hunt.

In reality, though, I’m probably watching a rerun of the Office, one dog chewing on my shoes while the other dog lays in front of the fire, but not too close in case he farts and ignites the entire scene.  Having just taken them out to pee in the rain, the smell of wet gun dog mingles with the smell of the fire, some mystical humidifier from hell permeating the room.  My wife, like a million wives before, will come in to chastise the pups for some trash can they’ve overturned, or bed they’ve unmade, or chew toy they’ve destroyed, and I’ll watch as they cock their head and look at her, trying to understand, and I’ll smile, and I’ll think . . . there’s just something about huntin’ dogs . . .

#27: Listener Questions

Show Notes:

This week, we empty the mailbag and tackle YOUR questions about anything and everything, from “How to get your kids more involved in the outdoors” to “who wins a fight: a taco or a grilled cheese” . . .

Keep and Release:

Nate’s Keep item – SladeNW Youtube Channel

Trav’s Keep items – BackCountry Hunters and Anglers


Follow Cast and Blast Florida . . .

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


You had to wake him up 3 times just to get in the truck to head to the water.

You bought him Pepsi, but it turns out he prefers Coke.

You swing through McDonald’s, and he orders a chicken biscuit, but it’ll be 10 minutes before they’re ready.  You talk him into a Sausage McMuffin and head down the road.

At this point, you realize you really should’ve filled up the the truck night before.  10 minutes at the gas station, call it 15 after you track down an attendant to unlock the bathroom door.

You pull into line at the boat ramp 9 boats deep.  Any urgency usually put into getting the thing ready to launch is lost on today’s partner; he’s dozing in and out of sleep in the backseat while 15 guys wearing high end sunglasses and driving high end boats are muttering cuss words under their breath at you holding up the line an extra 2 minutes.

You finally get the boy into the boat, the boat into the water, and begin idling out of the marina.

The fishing stinks.  2 short trout, a few “trash” fish . . . One decent bite and run, but whatever it was broke him off.  He may have cried.

Boats break down.  Lines snap.  Reels fail.  Ice chests get stolen.  Pliers get misplaced.  Engines sputter.  Winds shift.  Barometers rise and fall. Weathermen make stuff up.

All these things, on these trips, go “wrong” or “imperfect” – you just want something, anything, just one thing good to happen.

As you pull back into the driveway that night, sunburned and probably riddled with the Zika virus, this is the question you ask yourself: when is something good going to happen?

The boy has been asleep for the entire trip home.  You look back to see his Mountain Dew spilling onto the leather next to him.  You sigh as you turn onto your street.

You back the trailer into it’s spot, and you hear his door slam shut as soon as you put it in park.  You do a quick rinse of the boat before slipping your shoes off and stepping in the back door, the one that leads him into the kitchen . . .

“And daddy triiiiiiiied to get me a chicken biscuit but they were all out of them so I ate a sausage one instead and it was. So. Good. And Dad let me steer the boat and we hooked something really really big but we don’t know what it was but Daddy thinks it was a shark or a redfish or a gigantic megladon – don’t laugh – he really thinks that – and then we caught tons of fish but none of them were keepers and Daddy got sunburnt but he didn’t let me get sunburnt ’cause he brought my special floppy hat and guess what? He brought Mountain Dew AND Pepsi and he let me drink as many as I wanted and we saw a dolphin and a manatee and I heard the oysters clicking under the boat and Dad thinks we may have seen a school of redfish but they just wouldn’t bite today and . . . ” On and on.

Finally my wife directs him to the shower and turns to me, grinning from ear to ear.

Almost as though she knows, she looks at my face and says “Still waiting on something good to happen?”

It already did.

If you enjoyed this column, you’d probably like this one, or this one.  We’d also love it if you’d check out our weekly podcasts . . . We talk about stuff like our favorite Boat Songs or Bucket List Trips or Unwritten Rules of the Outdoors or, well, you get the picture!