Stories and Commentary from the Swampland

Jim boat river

The Closing Chapter for Outdoors Down South

Writing this column and the associated blog has been on of the more interesting things I’ve ever done, even in the context of a life that has been pretty doggone interesting. Though More »


My Shirttail Buddy

I’ve known Charlie Cook Bridges for as long as I’ve known anyone or anything, so it’s a little hard to get my mind around the fact that he recently passed away. More More »


Rawhide on My Backside

As I write this, my butt is blistered, literally. That stinging punishment my parents and teachers always threatened has now been delivered some 40 years later. Only it wasn’t misbehavior that brought More »

Ford truck

When the Heat is Off

Anyone who has seen or ridden in my truck knows that I’m not overly concerned with aesthetics. No one would describe me as “meticulous” about the condition of my vehicle. Ambivalent and More »

Cat Snake

The Problems with a “Cat Snake”

I have no idea whether or not it’s genuine, but there’s an ad that made the Best of Craig’s List with the headline, “Found! Cat Snake?” Accompanying the ad is a picture More »

A Buck in the Hand

Bill's Deer

I’ve never been a trophy whitetail hunter. The antlers I’ve collected over the years are mostly small or oddly shaped and I’ve never taken one to a taxidermist. In fact, the only one I actually mounted (33 years later) is the very first one I killed when I was 14.

Bringing Back the Slat Basket: The Saga Continues

Amazing craftsmanship.

I have this recurring dream that Richard and Seab Larkins are looking down on me from above and laughing hysterically while I try to to re-create one of the round, cypress and vine catfish traps that they built for decades on the Florida River. I’m still fascinated by the simplicity and elegance of their design, but duplicating it is a lot harder than you might think.

And then a book happened . . .

cover shot 2

I never really set out to write a book. However, on November 11, Life Along the Apalachicola River is scheduled to hit the shelves. You can actually pre-order it now from Barnes & Noble and Amazon, although I think it’s best to buy from local stores if they carry it. You may also buy direct from me for $15 + $4.99 shipping using the PayPal button below:

A Peek at Pioneer Life


Just a week after my unsuccessful Bigfoot hunt, Mary and I went over to Blountstown for Goat Day last Saturday. The festival itself was a lot of fun, especially seeing all the different crafts and activities. For the record, I consider it a personal victory that we didn’t come home with a baby goat after Mary saw one on a leash, wearing a pink collar.

Hunting Bigfoot Spoiler: We Didn’t Find Him


“Let me be the first to congratulate you on a Sasquatch hunt that I’m certain will be every bit as successful as any funded by National Geographic. While you’re there, keep an eye out for Jimmy Hoffa, the Lost Dutchman’s mine, Manti Te’o’s girlfriend and the Holy Grail.”Text from Bill McClellan on Friday, October 10.

“Glamping” Misses the Point


A few years ago, my father-in-law suggested the whole family take a vacation. He wanted to do something original and started soliciting ideas for something out of the ordinary, something other than a standard tourist trap. My sister-in-law, Leslie, came up with a plan that would involve a beautiful, rugged landscape with plenty of outdoor activities for kids and adults alike.

Another River Rant

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida

I don’t do politics any more. I spent a long time working in the political arena and I look back on it like a bad habit that I quit successfully. Now that I’m not being paid to promote or oppose issues, the only ones I spend any time thinking about are the ones that are close to home, and especially ones that affect the Apalachicola River.

Rails and Moorhens: Hunting Season is Already Here


It’s amazing what you learn when you take the time to read. Mary used to tell me that a lot when I was putting together kids’ toys, furniture and things that included those dreaded words, “Some assembly required.” But it comes in handy in other areas of life as well.

A Cool Breeze and Some Hunting, Please


I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. This has been a wonderful summer. I’ve caught plenty of fish, the frogs were out in force and most of the time it wasn’t as blistering hot as it could have been.

Tastes (Nothing) Like Chicken

Coon skin

My father-in-law was complaining about raccoons recently and debating the best way to keep them out of his garbage cans. From what I gather, he doesn’t mind them visiting his yard or scrounging for food. His biggest complaint is that they don’t clean up after themselves.

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