Yeeha for Cheaha: A Guide to One of Alabama’s Most Beautiful State Parks

Just slightly over an hour drive from Georgia is the highest point in all of Alabama. Cheaha Mountain is located in Cheaha State Park in Cleburne County, Alabama. The past Sunday, Abby and I drove up to the mountain on the winding roads to go hiking and explore the park. When we arrived, we paid the five dollars per person entry fee and began our adventure inside Cheaha State Park. IMG_6700.jpeg

With stomachs growling, our first stop inside the park was the Cliffside Restaurant, which sits atop Cheaha Mountain. Sunday lunch was a southern-style buffet with vegetables, fried chicken, pork chops, salad, and dessert. The food was amazing for a buffet but the view from the cliffside dining area was breathtaking. The staff and servers were also friendly and extremely helpful. The scenic dining experience alone is worth the drive to Cheaha. I hope to come back in the fall to enjoy another meal with a view.

After lunch, we looked at the map and decided to take a light trail to walk off our meal in the summer heat. The Bald Rock Boardwalk was just the right amount of ease to help the digestion. An easy .3 mile trail through the green forest via wooden boardwalk leads to a breathtaking view of the Alabama countryside. The summer haze did sadly cut the view shorter.


After our hike back to the truck, we drove deeper into the park to a more intermediate trail to Pulpit Rock. 

The trail itself is short and would be considered easy but the first leg of the hike is a steep, rocky stretch. With the difficulty behind us, the remainder of the trail offered beautiful rock formations and greenery.As we reached our destination, I captured the majestic, rocky cliffs, which offers various photo opportunities.

IMG_6484.jpegIMG_6485.jpegIMG_6543.jpegIMG_6714.jpegAs we hiked back from the cliff, we noticed the nice cabins on the property for overnight stay. Wooden and rustic, they had outdoorsy charm about them.

As we drove out of the park, we passed the highest inground pool in Alabama. Families enjoyed the cool water as we exited the park and headed to the lake in the lower area of the Cheaha. At the lake, kids were jumping from a platform into the water under the vigilant eye of a lifeguard as parents rested and soaked up the sun on the sandy white beach.

Besides the lake, cliff trails, restaurant and pool, Cheaha offers other amenities. These include Gem Mine Self Guided Tour Of CCC Buildings, Walt Farr Native American Relic Museum, fishing, geocaching, a picnic area, playground, waterfall trails, mountain biking trail, Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, rappelling and rock climbing. The park also has facilities for weddings and corporate meetings.

For more information on Cheaha State Park, click here.

Passing It On

Recent data suggests that the number of hunters and anglers are declining steadily. As our society progresses toward a more digital, connected world, the number of outdoorsmen and women are dwindling. As lovers of all things outdoors, we are at a crucial time in history where it is up to each one of us to pass on the love and respect for the great outdoors to our youth.

I was fortunate to be practically raised in the woods and on the water by my father, grandfather and uncles. I was taught from a very early age to respect nature and treat it as if it were something I owned and would one day pass down to my children.

I was taught to never kill anything I did not intend to eat or use in some way. I was also taught to respect all wildlife and other hunters, anglers, and landowners. And I was taught to always leave a place better than you found it.

We, as outdoorsmen and women, hold these values in very high regard. Passing on the love for the outdoors—the exhilarating rush when you shoot your first deer, and the excitement you feel when you have a fish on the end of a line—are easily passed on to the next generation. But, a wholesome respect for the great outdoors is something that must be taught to newcomers.

Now, more than ever, we must take initiative to pass on our love for the outdoors in the right way. And to not only pass on our love for the outdoors to our children, but to other youth and friends who we can introduce into the awe-inspiring natural world that is also dwindling as mankind further encroaches upon the wild.

At Man Can Outdoors, we encourage you to do something this summer to help pass on our love for the great outdoors in the right way to someone. Take a child fishing, take your spouse on a mountain hike to a waterfall, take your friends on a river kayak trip. Do something in the great outdoors and use that opportunity to help instill the same love and respect for nature that was once instilled in us by someone we hold dear.

As our world continues to change, join us in the revival and rediscovery of modern man’s sense of outdoor adventure. In an age where men are accustomed to the frills of civilized life, we seek to encourage an exploration of the great outdoors. There is a primal urge that calls all of us out into the wild. Cast civilization aside and discover the vast oceans, rivers, and lakes, rugged mountains, wide-open plains, and dense hardwoods. While the world, and its closed-minded inhabitants tell you man can’t, we are here to tell you…Man Can.

A Little Snookie at Night: Dock Fishing for Snook

The summer months in South Florida can bring extreme heat out on the water fishing. One way to beat the heat and enjoy fishing is to go night snook fishing. After a July work trip in Orlando, I drove on down to Stuart, Florida for a little night snook fishing with Captain Mark.


I napped most of my day dreaming of fishing for night snook, and then drove to Sandsprit park to meet up with the captain right at dusk. As soon as the sun went down, we were in the St. Lucie River ready to night fish for the snook. The area that we targeted was full of docks. We slowly trolled to the docks that were illuminated by the docks lights. 50 yards out, dark objects were swimming in the light. It was several snook darting in the night to the dock lights chasing bait fish. I threw my plastic paddletail fishing lure and immediately hooked up on a snook. This one of over 50 snook, I caught that night fishing under the docks.

My dock snook fishing rig was a medium light action rod with 10 pound fluro line, but as we tired of the smaller snook, we turned toward the bridge and upgraded my snook rig. This setup was a heavy rod with 30 pound line. After I casted my pinfish under the bridge, I realize that I snagged something. In my mind, I thought it was a piling or bottom. Yet, it began to move and it was a big Stuart snook. As I fought the the snook, it tried to run around the bridge’s pillar. Captain Mark maneuver the boat with great skill in the night to keep the snook from breaking of my fishing gear.

After a ten minute fight, the fish was boated. We grabbed a quick photo and headed back in at daybreak. To learn more about Stuart, Florida, please click here.

Rainbow Trout in Johns Mountain

Nestled among the mountains near Rome, Georgia is one of the state’s best kept secrets for a plentiful rainbow trout fishing experience. This is a continuation of the Man Can Outdoors trip to Johns Mountains blog series.

A quick 45 minute drive north of Rome, GA takes you to a secluded WMA with limited cell service and plenty of scenery from rolling green hills to lush forest. Johns Mountain WMA has plenty of activities from hiking, hunting, camping, fishing and lots more. A winding road follows beside Johns Creek in the WMA allowing for easy access to rainbow trout.


Waking and walking up at the crack of dawn at the campsite next to the stocking section of Johns Creek, we were greeted with a couple of old timers already well into their limits of trout. The stream barely 20 feet wide was full of colorful rainbow trout from the hatchery. The variety of setups for the trout in our arsenal would make the morning interesting none the less, and each cast in the water was met with a bite or flash of interested fish.

35026225_10102325812854658_6475055410838503424_n.jpgMan Can Staffers Donny and Josh used the strategy of a split shot and a small size 6 hook with a Powerbait worm in a wacky worm rig. The setup proved fruitful as they landed their limits in just a couple of hours. A simple cast and steady reel in lead to several strikes and a stringer full of fish. The color of the bait and line size (4-6 pound Fluro) play a serious role in their success. Trout are very visual hunters and high water clarity helps them spot the line and bait.

My strategy of using a size 10 Joe’s Fly short striker lure proved just as productive. Several short bites from a regular lure would have been missed if it was not for the trailer hook on my lure to secure the shy rainbows. Brown, black and red all produced hits, while orange and green produce no bites. A steady retrieve with a split shot made my presentation flawless. My limit was made right in the timeframe with the Powerbait anglers in my party.


For more information on Johns Mountain WMA, please click here.

Hungry Heathro’s Hobo Dinners

Growing up in the country, one fond childhood memory is going camping with your friends and family. This blog entry is a first in a series about Man Can’s pro staff camping/fishing trip to Johns Mountain. On our exciting adventure to the great outdoors, we experienced the elements of June in Georgia. To build our strength and promote moral, I had to exceed expectations of campfire cuisine and go beyond the average hot dog over a fire.

Prior to the trip, Man Can Team Member Donny acquired a pound of ground Elk for our trip. I took the liberty to plan an epic meal in the style of a traditional Silver Turtle or Hobo Dinner for our quest in the great outdoors. Stopping at the local grocery, we picked up my ingredients for my culinary concoction. Small golden potatoes, a bell pepper, a yellow onion, mushrooms, salt, pepper, aluminum foil, butter and Worcestershire sauce filled our shopping buggy.


Once we entered the campground, we all had our specific jobs that included meal prep, fire building and tent erecting.

I took the charge of the meal prep. First, dicing each vegetable in small quarter inch size and placing them to the side, I then began to seasoned the elk meat with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. I continued my prep by rolling out two feet of heavy duty aluminum foil. I divided a third of the meat  and placed it on the bottom, and then layered a third of the vegetables. I topped with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and two generous pats of butter. I folded over the foil and closed the edges by rolling them up to keep the heat and flavor within the pack.


I placed the foil pack to the edge of the fire that was built by Man Can staffer Josh Karr and let it cook and simmer in the butter, spices and sauce. One hour later the veggies and meat were cooked to perfection. With tongs, we removed our individual packaged meals and dump them in our plate. The camp was quiet with content as we devour our savory and juicy meals. We all fell asleep with a full stomach that night. For my recipe, look below.


Hungry Heathro’s Hobo Dinners


Onion Yellow

Bell Pepper

8 small mushrooms

1 small bag of small yellow potatoes

Half a bottle of worchestershire sauce

Salt 3 teaspoon

Pepper 3 teaspoon

3- 2 foot pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil

1 lb of ground elk or lean meat

Stick of Butter



Dice all veggies.

Season with sauce and spices.

Place meat on ½ of foil.

Add veggies on top of meat.

Add more sauce and spices.

Add two big pats of butter.

Fold foil and roll edges

Add to edge of roaring fire.

Cook One hour.

Remove carefully with tongs and enjoy.

Yields 3 Dinners.

Note: Please be careful. Foil packs are extremely hot.

The Ned Rig: The Best Bass Lure You’ve Never Heard Of

Unless you’re a pro angler, you’ve probably never heard of the Ned rig. Most amateur anglers, like myself, stick to the basics for the most part.

I recently went fishing with Costa FLW Pro Jason Mullinax, who introduced me to the Ned rig. I was a bit apprehensive about using a new rig at first, but after getting a bit on the first cast, I quickly gained respect for the Ned rig.

As soon as I felt the fish bite, I quickly jerked the rod and attempted to set the hook.

“You don’t need to set the hook on the Ned rig,” said Jason. “Just let ‘em chew on it a minute then wind down to it. It’s an exposed hook, so it doesn’t take much force to hook the fish.”

The next cast, I again felt the familiar tug of a bass pulling on the lure. After testing my patience for a long ten seconds, I wound the line down as instructed and landed a decent-sized spotted bass. Needless to say, I was hooked on the Ned rig.

I recently read a great article on this little-known lure that was posted on In-Fisherman magazine’s website. You can read the article by clicking here.

The article detailed an interview with Ned Kehde, inventor of the Ned rig. Kehde describes himself as a finesse fisherman and describes how he was inspired to develop the perfect finesse lure—the Ned rig.

Photos by Jason Mullinax

At first glance, I thought the lure might be prone to snagging just about anything it comes in contact with, but the lure’s design allows it to bounce across the bottom with very little effort. I used a Picasso 1/8-oz. Tungsten Ned Head with a 3-inch Roboworm Ned worm in Aaron’s Magic color. You can order the same items on the Picasso Lures website by clicking here.

During our trip, I became acquainted with the Ned rig and Jason explained why it’s a great all-around lure.

I would describe the Ned rig as a do nothing worm,” said Jason. “It’s definitely a finesse lure that will use a stand-up head. It’s a super subtle finesse bait.”

He noted a few tips that helped me understand how to present the lure to fish holding to cover, or simply suspended near the bottom. I have always been a fan of the Texas rigged worm. The Ned rig could aptly be described as a polar opposite lure from the Texas rig.

“Right off the bat, you have to realize that it’s an exposed hook, so the hook set is totally different than a Texas,” said Jason. “There’s no need for a powerful hook set. You’re using a razor-sharp hook that will penetrate like a hypodermic needle.”

I soon got the hang of using the Ned rig and was reeling in bass at just about every location we hit that day on northwest Georgia’s Lake Allatoona.

“I think it excels on post frontal days—bluebird days when the fish are pinned to the bottom and kind of lethargic,” said Jason. “Anytime the fish are highly pressured or in the middle of a high pressure system when they are not in a chasing mood. A great time to use it is after the spawn.”

Jason noted that a fish doesn’t have to exert any energy to get a chance at biting the Ned rig. The lure bounces methodically across the bottom, presenting bass with what looks like an easy-pickings baitfish browsing the bottom.

The lure’s overall effectiveness is unwavering. The Ned rig can attract bites in almost any conditions and in a variety of structure—or lack thereof. If you’re on the fence about trying this lure, check out the numerous videos online featuring pro anglers praising the Ned rig’s versatility and productivity.

Give it a try by ordering your Ned rig gear from Picasso Lures here.

Picasso Ned
Photo credit: PIcasso Lures official website

The Sleeping Bear


This article was written by Jason Swindle and was originally posted on the Swindle Law Group’s official website here. 


In 1979, an epic story about brothers, war, and life in the Montana wilderness was written that no one would hear about until 1994.

Some American Indians in the Montanas believe that an encounter with a bear in the wild changes a man. The bear becomes part of him. While the bear may sleep, he is always with the man. The bear can awaken at any time.

I believe the bear is also a natural part of few men when they are born.

I have known such men.

Because of betrayals the United States government perpetrated on the American Indians, Col. William Ludlow left the army and moved to a remote part of Montana. Along with One Stab, his friend from the Cree Indian Tribe, he built a ranch and raised his family.


Ludlow had three sons: Alfred, the oldest who unsuccessfully sought his father’s approval his entire life, Tristan, the Colonel’s favorite son, who was wild and well-versed in American Indian traditions, and Samuel, the youngest, who was constantly watched over by his brothers.

Ludlow’s wife did not adapt to the harsh Montana winters and moved to the East Coast; Tristan vowed never to speak of her again. At age 12, Tristan touched a sleeping grizzly bear. The bear awakened and injured him, but he stabbed at the bear’s paw and cut off a claw.

From the age of 12, Tristan Ludlow would adopt the ancient ways of the Cree, battle the bear inside of him, and try to protect the ones he cared for the most.

When the boys went to Europe to fight Germany during World War I, Samuel volunteered for a dangerous reconnaissance mission and was killed by enemy gunfire. A devastated Tristan, who arrived too late, held Samuel until he died. Then, as he was taught, cut out his brother’s heart and sent it home to be buried at the ranch. That night, he single-handedly raided the German lines. After his attack, he returned to camp with the scalps of numerous German soldiers.

When Tristan came home, he and Susannah, Samuel’s fiancee before he died, began a relationship. Although he cared for her deeply, Tristan’s guilt over Samuel’s death forced him to leave Montana again. During his absence, Col. Ludlow suffered a stroke, the ranch deteriorated, and Susannah married Alfred, now a congressman. Tristan would never be able to save her from the misery of living with Alfred. She committed suicide just a few years later.

Tristan returned during Prohibition. He married and had two children. Like many folks during that era, became involved in small-scale rum-running, finding himself at odds with a powerful bootlegging family; the O’Banions. When his wife was accidentally killed by an associate of the O’Banions, Tristan took the lives of those responsible; beginning a feud that would end up costing the lives of all the O’Banions.

Years and people passed away. But, Tristan lived to become old in the North Country. While One Stab believed Tristan would die as a young man, it was the people he cared for and wanted to protect most that died young. In 1963, he was once again confronted by a grizzly bear. The old man drew his knife. One Stab would say, “It was a good death”.

The story told in Legends of the Fall was from a different and lawless era. Today, Tristan Ludlow would be in prison for numerous crimes. But, the story provides the best example of those rare men who are inherently good, care more for others than themselves, risk their lives trying to protect others, but also commit violent, vengeful or bad acts along their life journey.

One Stab provides the simple reason. “I think it was the bear, growling inside him. Making him do bad things. Nothing that Tristan did was truly his own fault. It was the bear.”

Hiking Adventures: Cloudland Canyon

IMG_0061In the rocky north west Georgia mountains, nature and time has carved a majestic landmark. It is called Cloudland Canyon. Just over two hours north of Atlanta, Cloudland Canyon State Park is 3,488 acres of outdoor recreation for everyone. From glamping, hiking, geocaching, disc golf, caving, biking and picnicking, the options are plentiful.

My personal favorite are the views of the canyon and waterfalls at the park. The trails are clearly mark to help hikers navigate to their destination. The East rim is a comfortable walk from the parking lot and offers a view that is truly humbling. Following the East rim trail, it will take you to the Waterfall trail. img_0094.jpeg

The trek to the waterfalls is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult 2.1 mile hike down and up 600 stairs. But the hard work is worth it with spectacular views of Cherokee and Hemlock Falls. Cherokee is a personal favorite with a clear pool at the base. Hemlock is nice too but the view is blocked with trees. The hard hike back up is worth the rock formation views. Please pace yourself and drink plenty of liquids. The park offers rest benches along the trail, so take a break and maybe snap a picture of your adventure.


Yeti vs. NRA: Cool Your Guns

An Opinion Piece

National_Rifle_Association_official_logo.svgThis weekend, I spent most of my time off the internet and enjoying my break from the weekday work grind. On Sunday night when I got home, it came as a surprise to me to read that Yeti had cut ties from the NRA. My first source was a Facebook post, and I felt skeptical in the validity due to Yeti’s target audience being mostly conservatives. After researching some more, the NRA President, Marion P. Hammer, did in fact release a statement on Friday saying, “They(Yeti) will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed.” Basically, Yeti was condemning the 2nd amendment by the internet’s and my personal interpretation.

After reading that statement, I felt hurt and disturbed that a brand I trusted would betray me. Yet, I still wanted to hear Yeti’s side of the story before making my mind up about leaving a brand that I supported for years. All night, I looked for their counter statement, and to my dismay, I found nothing on the subject.

It was Monday evening when Yeti release their statement citing a removal in a program that effected the NRA and other companies. They also reinforce their pro 2nd Amendment stance in that post,but three days is a lifetime in the social media world. The delayed statement condemning the NRA’s message and promoting the 2nd Amendment was too little, too late. The damage has already been done to the brand, and Yeti’s competitors were ready.


58198254-D052-46C4-9563-42139B1D0FBDRTIC, ORCA and Pelican brand coolers circled like hungry lions with their pro 2nd amendment posts and campaigns. Brand loyalty is hard to earn but opportunities like this for Yeti’s competitors are essential to gain market share.  Personally, I will not blow up or sale my Yeti, but like the rest of their disgruntle customer base, I will probably not buy Yeti again, and these companies are making the transition easier to another brand.

Springtime Seatrout Tips on the Florida Flats

IMG_7438Fishing is all about opportunities, and nothing is a sure bet in this sport, but certain times of the year at locations can help stack the deck in your favor. Heading down south of Georgia and back to my favorite fishing place, the forgotten coast of Saint Marks, Florida, you will find a fishing oasis as spotted seatrout migrate from the rivers to the saltwater flats to fatten up bait from their cold long winter.

One common favorite setup for seatrout is a 7 foot medium-light rod with 10 lb. braid and popping cork. Under the cork tie a three foot 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader with 1/8 oz. red jighead. Brand wise, I am partial to St.Croix rods, PENN Fierce reels, Power Pro braid line, Seaguar leader line, Billy Bay popping cork and slayer jigheads. You can find these items here for your convenience. Bait on the jig can be a DOA shrimp, Gulp Shrimp 3” in new penny color or a live shrimp.

After loading your skiff in the water in the early morning, head South down the river to channel marker 8 and hang a right. To find seatrout on the flats, look for a water depth of 2-5 feet with a spotty bottom with channels nearby. Also, the seatrout bite is always happening on moving water preferably rising, and a dead tide means trash fish and sharks will be biting. A new moon is your friend too. Predatory fish hunt at night and the lack of light can be hindering them. This turns the day bite on more in my experience.

IMG_7439Locate your ideal location and pull up several under yards against the tide from that location. The drift will take you over the sweet spot. Cast your rig and begin popping the cork to imitate bait fish being attacked or jumping.  If you do half of this right, you should be in the fish.

One last thing to remember is to get your Florida saltwater fishing license and follow the state regulations for spotted seatrout. At this time of April 2018, the limit in Northwest Florida is 5 with a slot of 15”-20”. One seatrout can be over the slot as well. Good Luck and Tight Lines!