#42: The Topwater Draft

Do you love Skitter Walks?  Zara Spooks?  Tiny Torpedoes?

Is you favorite part of fishing the moment a monster snook crushes a Mirrolure, or when a redfish flips upside down to crunch a Top Dog?

If any of this sounds like your brand of bourbon, THIS is the episode you’ve been waiting for . . . The guys get together to hash out their favorite topwater baits . . . Plus, Keep & Release returns!!!


Nate: Everglades Seasoning . . . Put it on EVERYTHING!!!!

Austin:  73 Days ’til Duck Season . . . Need to book a hunt?  Message Travis today

Travis: Modern Huntsman magazine – try it out.  You will NOT be disappointed.

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

#40: Stories, Vol 1

You asked, we answered!

For months, you guys (our listeners) have been asking for “more stories” . . . Nate’s parents and siblings, Travis’ parents, and the CBFL gang all gather on a recent trip to Little Gasparilla Island to tell some of their favorite stories.

Volume 1 recounts Travis’ misadventures with the fairer sex, Nate’s misadventures with a Skitter Walk, and our parents’ misadventures at the outdoors . . .

#35: Keep and Release

Is this real life? A WHOLE episode of Keeps and Releases!!!!

Plus – more Yeti talk, Travis is in the midst of tarpon season, and more!

Articles we mentioned in Release:

NPR on Decline in Hunters causing Conservation Funding Issues

Sunscreen is killing Coral Reefs in Hawaii



1. SilverKings – watch on Waypoint.tv

2. Academy Sports


1. Crocs – No.  Seriously.  She Kept Crocs.

2. Darkwater Calls – Friend of the show Scott McKinney makes some of the prettiest AND best sounding calls in the industry.  Make sure to get yours ordered in time for Father’s Day!!!


1. Tennessee Elk Hunt Raffle – $10 Secures your chance at the hunt of a lifetime!

2. Emily is coaching BeachBody!!!! Reach out to her through e-mail here – here’s her BeachBody Store – or follow her on Instagram @lovedalocafitness

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 – @lovedalocafitness – 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

#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!

Keep & Release

Every podcast recording session starts out the same way: Emily, exasperated, looks at Nate and I and asks, “Do you guys have a ‘Keep’ and ‘Release’ for this week?”

If you’ve never heard the show, a) consider yourself lucky and don’t click this link, and b) Keep and Release is the segment where we give a little shout-out to whatever the one thing is that we want to talk about this week in a positive light (Keep), and the one thing that irritated us or aggravated us in the previous week (Release).  A release could be leaky waders or faulty spinning reels or lousy internet service or duck ID posts on social media or any of a litany of things.

In fact, it’s become a bit of a joke behind the scenes, the rants that accompany release.  So much so that, while listening to the show last week, Will looked at me before we even got to “Keep and Release” and said “Dad, what do you hate this week?”

“Hate?  I don’t hate anything?”

“Dad – you hate EVERYthing . . . “

His exasperation hit me kind of heavy.  I took a breath, right there driving to school, and replied:

“I love a lot of things, too.

I love hot summer mornings when your shirt sticks to you before you step outside, and the chill of an ice-cold window unit AC when you get back home.  Fall mornings when there’s just a hint of crispness in the air, and winter days when they’re gloomy and overcast and your breath hangs around all day, and spring time when the greens are so bright they hurt your eyes.

I love duck hunting, and decoys, and dogs and hearing the birds before you see them and the way a wood duck whistles or a mottled grunts and the noise a huge flock of divers make, feathers and wings and air harmonizing on this weirdly deafening rumble.  I love the quacks and the tweets and the burrs, the kerplunk of a fresh shell, the chill in the air, how your hands can’t ever get warm once your glove gets wet, and ‘Take ‘em’ and ‘Cut ‘em’ and ‘Kill ‘em’ and ‘Shoot’ and ‘Fetch ‘em up’ and ‘last one’ and ‘think they’re done’ and ‘I got that one’ and ‘y’all wanna go get breakfast’ . . .

I love bird dogs, wacky and rangy and as distracted as a teen-aged boy at a cheerleader convention, locked up and birds brought to hand and sharing peanut butter crackers in between stops . . .

I don’t hate everything.  I love snook, and that glorious pop that sounds like someone launching potatoes into the shallows, the way they’ll chase your lure and tap it around and not commit, or the way they’ll over-commit and miss it entirely, big ones and little ones and in between ones right in the slot, and watching all of them swim away.  And I love redfish, the way they have to almost turn upside down to inhale a topwater plug, and the wake behind your bait right before everything goes crazy, and the tips of their tails signaling you on low tide to stop and hang out for a few.  And don’t forget tarpon, man, I love tarpon, cartwheeling and catwalking and somersaulting and basically doing things that would’ve gotten them burned at the stake in the 1600’s, 120 lbs of gills rattling and tail smacking fun, turning the beach into swiss cheese . . .

I love lots of things.  Turkeys and trout and teal.  Yeti’s and Yellowfins and Searks and Carolina Skiffs, the tackle department at Stone’s and gas station Cuban sandwiches and chumming for whitebait and Spanish Mackeral and under-slots and decoy bags and Zara spooks and picking up spent shells after the hunt and cutting down palm fronds for blinds; wet bird dogs and the way they smell, 2 stroke motors burning oil, cork rod grips and Cabelas catalogs and Mack’s Prairie Wings catalogs and podcasts and new waders and long lines and hi-vis PowerPro.

I love taking you and your sister outdoors, and kids’ first ducks and dogs’ last ducks and limits of mangrove snapper . . . Sunsets on the boat, and sunrises on the boat, sometimes in the same day; wade fishing, and shrimp runs and mullet runs . . . Beagles and Berettas and bobbers and bream . . .

When you say I hate ever-“

“Dad” Will interrupted . . .

“You still hate Duck ID posts, right?”

We hugged.

Why are we Fishing?

When I pulled up to the school, I was ready.

The back of the truck had rods and reels rigged to go. I’d picked up earthworms from the local bait shop, and my buddy had given me a tip to a pretty solid bluegill bite.

As his art teacher opened the door, Will hopped in the truck . . . We made normal small talk about how each other’s days were, lunch, pretty girls, the usual. We stopped for an Icee, and it wasn’t until we pulled up to the bank of the creek that he exclaimed . . . “Dad, are we going fishing? WHY?”

Why? Why are we fishing?

I began to unpack the tackle and bait hooks as I answered him . . .

“Why are we fishing? WHY ARE WE FISHING???”

“To sit on the bank all afternoon with my son, watching the storms building and debating about whether or not it’ll head our way.”

“To watch to dancing of a bobber as an unseen bluegill or catfish or trout decides if it’s worth the risk . . .”

“We’re fishing because it’s part of who we are, a legacy passed down from fathers and grandfathers to their sons and daughters . . . A heritage of harvesting a few bream for the frying pan, or watching a big spawning bass swim away to make more babies. It’s getting skunked and realizing that great blue heron is a vastly superior angler. It’s the rattling of a kingfisher
doing acrobatics overhead. It’s the dolphins and the manatees and the snakes and the bobcat we saw that one time . . . It’s pitching a frog onto a lily pad . . . It’s skipping a greenback under a mangrove, just in the perfect spot . . . It’s earthworms and eagles and channel cats and stringers and tackle boxes . . . ”

“We’re fishing because of possibility . . . Because we have no idea what’s going to come tight on the other end of that line, or when . . . Because of a 5 lb redfish who thinks they weigh 50 lbs . . . Because of the bass that eats the breadball and puts on an aerial display to rival a tarpon . . . Because we love the idea of the drag screaming as line peels off, no idea what’s attached to the
pointy end of our rig . . . The sight of a topwater plug, worked beautifully across a point, knowing, just having absolute certainty, that it’s going to get slammed . . . And that feeling you get when it happens . . . And that feeling you get when it doesn’t . . . ”

“Why are we fishing? WHY ARE WE FISHING? We’re fishing because it’s romantic; it was the vehicle of Hemingway and Walton and Grey . . .We’re fishing because it’s nostalgic; we fish accompanied by the ghosts of our fathers and their fathers before them . . . Why are we fishing? We’re fishing because it’s a challenge, from crappie and carp to tarpon and trout, there is no lure in the world that can MAKE them bite . . .”

“Will, you may not realize it now, but we’re fishing for you . . . To ensure that you know that in this time of xboxes and iPads, that there is a REAL world outside, full of hope and wonder and beauty and nature . . . That somehow, by being disconnected you can actually be more connected, if that makes any sense.”

“We’re fishing because this is America, and that’s what we do. We’re fishing because it’s fun. We’re fishing because it was a cheap way to kill three hours this afternoon and maybe bring home dinner. We’re fishing because it’s a great way for a father and son to spend an afternoon, talking on a creek bank.”

“Son, what I want you to understand is . . . ”

“Dad,” Will interrupted me, staring wide eyed as my rant had gone on for several minutes . . .

I looked in his eyes, bright brown, the only reminder of him as a baby as now here stood a young man before me. I smiled, believing this was one of our moments, that he got it, that he understood what all this meant to me, and what all of it meant to him . . .

“Dad, what I meant was, ‘why are we fishing’ when today’s your anniversary? Weren’t you supposed to be at dinner, like, 20 minutes ago???”

Good talk, son . . . Good talk . . .