Pro Advice for Southern Sportsmen

From fly fishing to bird-dog training, these are the tips top sportsmen live by

Photo: Susanna Love

Look Ahead 
“When you’re following a target, don’t focus on the whole target, but on the leading edge of the target.”
Chuck Baker, Pursell Farms

Roll with It
“Don’t get down on yourself for making a mistake. We’re always aiming for perfection, but you have to realize you’re never gonna hit it. I’ve never reached it, and you won’t either.” 
Bill Oyster, Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods

Mind the Beak
“We’ve never domesticated birds of prey. They’re not pets. So I always remind people: Don’t think you can just be petting on the birds.”
Jeff Curtis, Biltmore

Tame the Wind
“On salt water, the number-one challenge is casting into the wind. But if you can learn how to identify where the wind is coming from and even present the fly off the backcast, you can make the wind your friend.”
Sarah Gardner, Blackfly Lodge

Start with the Basics
“If you can have a dog heel on a loose lead, you can do anything with it.” 
Susanna Love, Ronnie Smith Kennels

Fool Trout in Paradise
“With wild fish, line management is so important. You want the fly to be
the only thing the fish sees.

Kevin Merritt, Primland

Ride like Polo Royalty 
“Grip with your knees and keep your heels down. You’ve got to keep your center of gravity on the back of the horse.” 
Joey Casey, Palm City Polo Club

Keep Your Eye on the Prize
“Don’t look at the tip of the gun when you pull the trigger. Look at the clay break or the bird fall, and that way you finish your shot.”
Mark Heath, West London Shooting School

Read More: Brush up your skills at these eight elite sporting schools.