The Wild South

Gifts for Sporting Dads

Whether in the dove field, on the boat, or at camp, these gifts make life outdoors a little sweeter


You could spend a small fortune on top-quality binoculars and probably not regret it. Or you could spend much less on the direct-to-consumer models from Maven and feel like you’ve gotten away with robbery. The B.3s in 10×30 are perfectly sized and ride around my neck on just about every hunting trip. $550;

Rod Case

It blows my mind how much gear I can stuff into the sleek, smart Safe Passage rod case from Orvis. On a recent trip to Spanish Wells, I think I maxed out on five rods in the top padded compartment and something like eight reels, who-knows-how-many fly boxes, and squirt bottles of fly dope, bug dope, sunscreen, and raingear crammed in the belly of this beast. And I might have snuck some rum out of the Bahamas in this bag, too. $198;

Fire Grill

This nifty contraption from firepit maker Breeo marks the end of an era—the era of me cussing when my venison kabobs fall off their jerry-rigged rock supports and fall into the fire, and me swearing and sweating as I try to hold a frypan of fish over the coals. Made of stout stainless steel, the Outpost 19 is designed with an ingenious anchoring system that makes it super easy to pound it firmly into the ground. The grill then moves up, moves down, moves all around. It comes in a larger 24-inch-diameter size, too. From $119;

Pocket Knife

If Pops appreciates the classics, you can’t do much better than an Opinel knife. When it comes to value, they punch way above their weight class. Made in France for more than 125 years, these handy blades are built with a beech wood handle and a locking collar ring that prevents the blade from closing. The knives come in both carbon steel and stainless steel, but I prefer the old-school carbon steel. It sharpens up beautifully and will take on a blued patina that will remind your dad time and again of what a class act he raised. $17;

Fly Box

No, Montana is not in the South. But this fly box from Montana Fly Company, designed for hauling honker Zonker flies and other big baits, is also my go-to choice for saltwater fly transport. In one smartly designed box I can carry enough Clousers, anchovies, peanut bunkers, poppers, and glass minnows to handle anything I’m likely to encounter nearshore. $100;

Bamboo Hoodie

I came late to the bamboo-fabric bandwagon. I’d read all the marketing hype: This stuff was smooth as butter, breathable, cuddled your body like a baby panda, and sported miraculous antimicrobial properties that keep it smelling magnolia-blossom fresh after an all-day sliming with trolled-up Spanish mackerel. But really? Now, you can color me convinced. The fabric is indeed a winner, and Duck Camp’s take on the lightweight hoodie knocks it out of the park. $59;

Rifle Sling

There’s a lot going on in this stylish bridle leather and heavy canvas sling from Mississippi’s Wren & Ivy. It’s a gorgeous piece, but also stout, so it’s comfortable on a long carry. The thumb-hole is a smart feature, and it holds a double dose of cartridges in case you leave your ammo box in the truck. Bonus: monogramming included. $80;

Fish Boot Flask

Take a nip. Tuck back into boot. Cast. This smooth move is brought to you by Corbell Silver’s slim English pewter flask. And its svelte shape slips just as easily into a tackle bag, sling pack, or fly vest. $70;


Talk about a tall tale: Four Southern fly-fishing icons—Flip Pallot, Oliver White, Clint Kemp, and Graham Hegamyer—got to talking around a Bahamian campfire, poking around the distillery of a secretive Panamanian rum master, and fiddling with a 400-year-old rum bottle one of the guys found on the beach as a kid. Now they’re partners in Frigate Reserve Rum, which comes in 8-, 12-, 15-, and 21-year offerings. Hook up with your dad, get as far from the blacktop as you can, and sip it neat. It’s currently available in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas, with more states coming. $29-$109;

Dove and Quail Strap

I know. I thought the same thing, at first. A dove strap? Isn’t that what a 5-gallon bucket is for? But I’ve had this Coyote Company Leather version for a couple of seasons now, and I’ve become a big fan. The clips let you snap each strap to a wire fence or branch, so you’ll never lose another dove to fire ants, and you can keep instant tabs on how close you are to a limit of birds. Plus, the thing is just snazzy. $45;

Boat Bag

Yes, this water-resistant bag from Simms swallows reels, fly boxes, fish pliers, and the 274 other loose items required for a three-hour fly-fishing trip. But it’s equally suited for a leisurely day on the boat with family. Sunblock, smartphones, lunch, and wine bottles all disappear inside, topped with a molded lid held tight with a zipper if you need it and a magnetized buckle if you don’t. $300;

Follow T. Edward Nickens on Instagram @enickens

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