The core of any outdoor adventure is understanding it is what we make of it. Whether we’re spending a day on the water, in the woods or at the range, the entire experience is up to us. Finding new pursuits on familiar ground is part of the same excitement.
Fly fishing, clay target shooting and long range rifle disciplines are three departures from the everyday, and each has its own opportunities to be practiced here.
When it comes to discovering the satisfaction and excitement of new shooting disciplines, whether with rifle or shotgun, Lee County is home to the Square1 Outdoors shooting program, with a range open every day of the week. Their Tupelo facility is located on Mt. Vernon Road north of the new northern loop. New visitors should first go to square1outdoors.com for general information, then reach out to the contact person recommended by the site for the shooting discipline or program of interest.
Clay target shooting is an ideal introduction to or practice for wingshooting, and is such a fun enterprise it’s spawned a number of games of its own.
The basic skills required of shooters of any experience level are all grounded in the same beginnings, the core of which is correctly mounting the gun.
Shotguns are designed to be pointed rather than aimed, which means the way they’re handled needs to be natural and smooth.
Getting a new shooter started should begin by making sure their gun’s comb is not too low or too high. The comb is the top curve of the stock, the place where the shooter’s cheek should touch the gun. If the comb is too low, their eye won’t be able to see down the line of the gun. If it’s too high, they’ll be able to see but the barrel can’t consistently be made to point where they’re looking. Because of the angle of the comb, there will generally be a point somewhere along its length that allows any given shooter to see down the line of the gun perfectly. Finding this spot and returning to it each time the gun is mounted is the beginning step to years of shooting enjoyment.
On the rifle side of the shooting world, long-range disciplines have become tremendously popular for target enthusiasts and hunters alike, simply because of the repeatable precision required to do it well. Hunters practicing at extreme range aren’t preparing to shoot a critter that far, they’re refining their technique to do a better job when shooting a critter much closer.
On the water, guided fly fishing trips on mountain streams in Tennessee, Arkansas or anywhere else, the opportunity might be found are an excellent way to make the introduction to a different way to interact with fish.
Once met, tackling pond bass with fly fishing gear is an ideal way to build experience while putting in practice and having a mighty good time to boot. Bearing that in mind, these are the tips experienced fly-fishing bass aficionados most readily pass along.
Flies need not be lifelike. Trout flies typically need to closely resemble a critter the fish are used to eating, and ideally one they’re actually eating that day.
Bass aren’t nearly as particular in that regard. In fact, sometimes unusual and oversized flies can provoke lots of strikes when nothing else is getting their attention.
Try a variety of retrieval speeds. Far more important than a fly’s appearance is the speed at which it’s fished, and figuring out what the bass want requires experimentation.
Use a strong leader, possibly even baitcasting monofilament. Delicate tapered leaders designed for presenting trout flies can be fished for bass, but better results can be had in many cases with 10 or 12 pound monofilament that will allow for a much firmer hook set.