Christmas Tree Fish Habitat: How To

Do not throw that old Christmas tree out or even burn it! The following video shows you how to make a Christmas tree habitat that will stay in place and create a prime fishing spot by aligning the tree vertically. This method creates an optimal habitat compare to just throwing the tree in the lake with a rock tied to it. See the video below on Man Can’s best practices on making a Christmas Tree Fish Habitat.

For more information on recycling trees for fish habitats, click here to learn more.

Charitable Giving for the Outdoorsman

As the year comes to an end, we enter the season of giving with Christmas and Hanukah. During this time, I reflect on the important things in my life, family and the outdoors. The tranquility of the hunt or the quiet reflection on the lake brings my senses to a calm. Warming my heart, the thoughts of my little cousins first season hunting and his successful first kill. This is what truly what is important in life to an outdoorsman, legacy and sustainability.

Sustainability is very important to me because I love to get lost in the untouched playground of the wilderness and reap nature’s bounty in ways that God blessed me to do so. I volunteer and join several organizations to help sustain our waters, forests and wildlife for future generations.

One way that we all can help during this time of giving is with a monetary donation to an organization that supports sustaining your outdoor passion. Just like tithing, the donation can be tax deductible. I support Trout Unlimited, Chattahoochee River Keeper and the CCA because my passion of fishing. Here is a list of organizations that you could donate to as well.


Ducks Unlimited
Hunting organization | Website | $35 annual membership fee


National Wild Turkey Federation
Hunting organization | Website | $35 annual membership fee


Boone and Crockett Club
Hunting organization | Website | $35 annual membership fee


Trout Unlimited
Fishing organization | Website | $35 annual membership fee


Pheasants Forever
Hunting organization | Website | $35 annual membership fee


Safari Club International
Hunting organization | Website | $65 annual membership fee


Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Hunting organization | Website | $30 annual membership fee


International Game Fish Association
Fishing organization | Website | $40 annual membership

Whitetails Unlimited
Whitetail deer hunting organization | Website | $25 annual membership fee (adult)


Chattohoochee Riverkeeper
River Conservation | Website | $35 annual membership fee (adult)


Coastal Conservation Association (CCA)
Coastal Conservation | Website | $30 annual membership fee (adult)

Outdoorsman’s Christmas Gift Ideas


It is so hard to buy for the Outdoors person in your life. The Man Can Outdoors writers brainstormed what an outdoors enthusiast would want for Christmas. After a few conversations, we came up with a top Here is a quick rundown.

  1. Gift Card to Cabela’s, Bass Pro or any outdoor store is always a safe bet but is not as a personal as actual gear.
  2. Fishing Line, lures or Hooks are essential for every angler and make a great stocking stuffer. Take a sneak peek into his tackle bag for size or style.
  3. Ammo can be another great stocking stuffer. Go to your local gun shop if you know what he carries in the woods.
  4. Filet knifes or skinning knifes are great mid-grade gift ideas. A quality knife can help any outdoor adventure.
  5. Guided Hunting or Fishing Trip is a higher end gift but several outfitters offer black Friday or holidays deals to get people introduced to their service.
  6. Boots/Boat shoes/Wading shoes are another mid-grade gift that outdoors folks will be very grateful to receive.
  7. Sunglasses are essential for any outdoor activity and could be a stocking stuffer to premium gift depending on brand.
  8. Headlamp/Flashlights are always needed for fishing and hunting, and your outdoorsman could never have too many.
  9. Binoculars are used in sight fishing and hunting. They will be a great midrange gift for your outdoorsman.
  10. Raingear is a great gift idea for your outdoorsman. A lot of times, we do not think about the elements and where a simple poncho.
  11. Broad heads for the archer in your life make another great stocking stuffer.
  12. Camo helps the hunter blend with outdoors during his adventure. Check out his closet for his preferred style.
  13. Hats/Beanies/facemask are great idea for a stocking stuffer. The elements are the outdoorsman’s greatest foe at times.
  14. Fishing Shirts with UV protection are essential for your angler. The sun can damage their skin and cause skin cancer and uv-rated fishing shirts are a great solution.
  15. Cover Scents to help your hunter stalk their trophies is another great idea.
  16. Calls for any wildlife that your hunter stalks make a wonderful smaller gift idea.
  17. Tumblers are very popular with outdoorsmen. From keeping their coffee hot or adult beverage cold, they are an awesome gift.
  18. Licenses and Preferences Points help outdoorsmen do what they love legally. If you are bold enough, get them a lifetime license.
  19. Books on fishing, survival and hunting make great gifts for your avid outdoors reader.
  20. Cast Iron Cooking Ware for those camping adventures will make a great gift that will be used for years as the cast iron ages well with time.

As a bonus, I also listed what the Man Can Outdoor writers wanted for Christmas. May our wish lists be a guide to help you shop for your outdoorsman.


  1. Lew’s Lazer Carbon RZ Casting Combo – All fishermen are always looking to add another rod and reel to their arsenal. This baitcasting rig can be purchased for around $100 at most big outdoor retailers. the Lazer Carbon RZ comes with the latest magnetic casting brake system to prevent backlash and birds nests. This rod and reel combo is perfect for any angler.
  2. Pair of Waders – After trout fishing on a few rivers in the Chattahoochee National Forest this summer, I quickly learned the value of a good pair of waders. While the cool mountain water is refreshing in the month of July, it can put a damper on all-day fishing trips. You can actually find a decent pair of waders online at Cabela’s or Bass Pro for fairly cheap. Some are even as low as $15.
  3. Case Lightweight Hunter Fixed-Blade Knife – This hunting knife if perfect for any big game hunter. The blade is 4-inch stainless steel, and fixed with a gut hook for field-dressing animals. This quality knife is one that would last a lifetime, and can be purchased for under $50.
  4. Black Diamond Storm Headlamp – This headlamp is one that can be used in all outdoor scenarios, from finding your stand before daylight on a cool autumn morning to night fishing, or even camping. This light is equipped with 3 LEDs for 350 lumens, which is bright enough to light up any nighttime activity. The headlamp is also waterproof, and features 3-color RGB mode. This headlamp is usually priced at around $45.
  5. Lowrance Hook-4x Mid/High Sonar – This is a quality sonar fish-finder that can be found for just over $100. The Lowrance Hook-4x has brilliant, high-resolution color display on a 4-inch screen. This model combines CHIRP Sonar with Downscan Imaging technology to help anglers distinguish between structure, baitfish, and those lunkers that hangout deep below the surface.


  1. Dexter Outdoors UC133-8-WS-1 PCP Dexter-Russell Flexible Fillet Knife with Moldable Handle & Sheath, 8″ – This fishing filet knife is ideal for the angler in your life. I prefer items that custom fit and the moldable handle makes each knife a perfect fit for their owner.
  2. Columbia Men’s Bahama Vent PFG Slip-On Boat Shoes – A pair of non-slip boat are essential for your angler to keep them on his feet without marking their boat. The Omni-Grip: non-marking rubber outsole is specifically designed for wet surfaces with razor siping.
  3. Rebel Wee Crawfish – I use this lure for trout, bass and panfish. It can work as topwater or diving crankbait. This lure in red is deadly in my small lake, and I have gotten stringers upon strings of shellcracker off one.
  4. SF Fly Fishing Landing Soft Rubber Mesh Trout Catch and Release Net – A rubber net works great to catch and release trout without harm and rubber also does not catch those pesky thrown hooks.
  5. Outdoor Gourmet Deluxe Fryer Stand – For low country boils, chili cook-offs, turkey frying and fish fries, you will need a good propane fryer. I have used outdoor gourmet for years and I need a spare one now.

I hope all the suggestions help you out this holiday season while shopping for your love ones.



Time Traveling to Florida’s Forgotten Coast

Have you ever wished you could go back in time? To a simpler way of life. A place where the frills of the dot com world were considered science fiction. A place where the basic necessities of coffee, beer, bait and fishing, are all that you need. In the hustle and bustle of the workplace and family, I needed an escape, and I bet you do too.

Late October, I continued my fall fishing adventures in the salt flats off the Forgotten Coast in the sleepy town of Saint Marks, Florida. This trip was with my Dad, and we targeted red drum, black drum, flounder, seatrout and Spanish mackerels. Our home base was the rustic Shell Island Fish Camp, a pocket of nostalgia with clean, but simple rooms that were close to the marine garage, bait shop and dock. The bait shop, managed by Bucky, could get you a hot cup of joe, boat equipment, snacks, fishing gear and bait. They also book rental boats and charters at the shop. A piece of advice to the novice, always book a guide to learn the area from honey holes to pesky oyster bars that hide in the tide.  

After we drove down rural 27 south and passed a round Tallahassee, we pulled Dad’s center console skiff into the camp. This pocket of Floridian history has not changed much with the times looking like a page out of a 1960s history book. Bucky was waiting with our key at the rustic baitshop with some friendly banter. After the pleasantries, we gotthe boat in the water and docked in front of the Tarpon infested fish cleaning area. 


The majestic silver kings impatiently waiting on the next scrap of cleaned fish. Within a few minutes after a short walk from the wooden dock, we arrived in our quaint room and prepared to rest up for the night.

At first dawn, we loaded up in our skiff with the gear and headed south down the river toward the first oyster bar in the hazy fall morning. Our first stop on the way out is an oyster bar by the channel marker. With the tide at the right height and direction, we positioned in front of a hole at the edge of the bar and dropped two anchors. A few casts with a live shrimp rigged for the bottom turned up small bites and empty hooks. Eventually, on the third cast and my third shrimp, I hooked into something with a little fight. As I reeled it in, my heart raced for the first hook up of the day. The dark fish broke the surface with a feisty splash, and it was clearly a keeper black drum. I flipped it in the boat and open the cooler to ice my prize.

Dad on the other hand has casted several times and lost numerous shrimp to opportunist smaller fish. He grumbled to me to hand him a shrimp after one cast and fruitless reel-in. And in my facetious ways, I handed a shrimp the size of large mouse to my dad thinking that it would keep the fish from taking his bait and at the same time not catch anything with monstrous prawn.

He hooked the jumbo shrimp onto 1/16 oz. jighead and casted just over the hole. As he reeled in slowly, I was chattering up a storm with him. I was midsentence when interrupted me in angry outburst.

“I hooked bottom!” Dad said. He started to pull the line free and to our surprise the line began to squeal. He had a fish on.

The fish bent Dad’s rod over as it fought hard to get away from the boat. Dad kept his tip up to keep the line tight and ensure a colossal catch. Dad’s heart sunk as the rod went straight and line begin to show slack.

“Did you lose it?” I asked. Reeling in the line, Dad’s silence was my answer. “I would love to see that monster caught,” I thought to myself.

Just then, the line grew taut again. The fish must have swum directly to the boat because the fight was still on.

Dad, much like Hemingway’s Santiago, struggled with the mighty fish. He took some of the line and the fish took more. The reel screeched in agony as the drag pulled against the stubborn fish. The clever fish tried to maneuver around the motor, but Dad swiftly raised the rod high to keep the line from tangling and breaking in the outboard. Eventually, the fish breached the top of the water. It looked like a big red but faded. It was a monster Black Drum, and he ran as soon as we saw it.  

Dad’s final moments of the fight were harsh, but brief. His shoulder began to throb in pain as the last few yards of line were reeled to the skiff. The fish beside the boat broke the surface.

Our guide yelped, “it won’t fit in the net!”

Dad retorted back, “it better!”

As the guide dipped the net into the water, the fish hung out from it like a grown man in a kid’s hammock. He swung the net over into the boat and the 34-inch black drum was caught.

For video of some of the fight see below.

After the photos and release of the fish, Dad took a well-deserved 10-minute break from fishing. We continued the day with a flounder, Spanish mackerel and several seatrout in the flats of the gulf. Later, back at the dock, the chatter was about the big black drum as the old men drank cold domestic beer and shared fish tales from their own adventures of the day.



For more information about Shell Island Fish Camp, click here.

Fall Fishing for Louisiana Reds


A seven-hour drive from Georgia is an oasis of food, culture and nightlife known as New Orleans, and just 45 minutes south of the Hurricanes and Hand Grenades of Bourbon Street is a quiet area of Lafitte. This area offers ideal conditions for saltwater fishing being surrounded by the Barataria Basin, and with great conditions come talented fishing guides and charter companies. One of which, Big Dog Fishing Charters, is a favorite of mine. I been fishing with Big Dog for years and even got a favorite captain, Michael Steib Jr., who always put me on the fish every time.

This mid-October, I loaded up the truck and invited my friend slash fishing novice Jeremy to tag along the Louisiana fishing adventure. We started off the adventure with our girlfriends at New Orleans’s Frenchman street with some awesome spirits, food and jazz music at local jazz joint, Maison. Ordering the Cajun cuisine was a delight as my friends never had the real deal. So, I order jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, poboys and gator bites for the table. To the say the least etouffee was the most concerning to the newbies but their favorite in the end. After dinner, we made our way to a jazz performance at the Spotted Cat Music Club enjoyed a local concoction with the music. Continuing the night, we walked down to Bourbon street for Fish Bowls and Hand Grenades. As midnight was fast approaching, the realization of the next day, first-light fishing excursion popped in my head. The night was called, and we made our way back to the condo.

At 5:30 AM, we made our way to Lafitte and Big Dog charters for a 6:15 meetup. The morning was overly warm and humid but the excitement of the trip overcame the discomfort.  Michael was waiting for us the dock in front of the rental property that Big Dog uses for lodging packages. In his heavy accent, he asks me, “Ready to go?” We nod and jump in his center console boat. The short boat trip out of 10 minutes is relaxing as the sun peaks over the waterway painting the sky with vibrant colors.

Rigging for the reds, we use spinning rods with braided line connected to a popping cork and leader. A jighead with gulp shrimp and piece of frozen shrimp completes the setup. The first cast and a few pops produce nothing. Then Michael belts, “you all need to pop quicker.” With his advice, I increase the action and bam, a small rat Red Drum hits the bait. From then on, I kept up that pace and the fish turned on.


22554945_10210978706439720_1197573796791915162_nThe first fish of slot size hit like a sledge hammer and ran with the line. Pulling it in to the boat, the fight was rewarded with the sight of gorgeous golden scales adorned with a black spot. The fight or a red is like a smallmouth bass, hard and fast, but the color of the scales is a sight to behold in person.

With the wind picking up midmorning and half way to our limits, my friend Jeremy had not landed his first keeper red. He started watching my actions and taking pointers from Michael. The next thing we knew, he surpassed my catch in the boat. He smiled after reeling one of the nice slot reds and said, “this is a lot better than fishing for bream in your small lake.”

For more information on Big Dog Charters, check out their website.