The Journal

Guest post by Charles Ray Matthews

Man recording his activities by writing in a journal.
Man recording his activities by writing in a journal.

I began writing a “sportsman’s journal” about 20 years ago. I’m not exactly sure why…..there was no compelling event other than I liked to write and I felt obligated to start documenting my outdoor adventures.  My sons were 8 and 10 years old at the time and they were quickly becoming a cherished and integral part of our hunts and other outdoor adventures.  As the pace of our lives quickened, so grew the sense of urgency to capture in words the images and feelings I experienced on our trips. My fear was the same fear every sportsman dreads…….. to wake up one day, discover that you are 80 years old, are ravaged by some cruel, memory robbing disease and have no recollection of the most cherished and exhilarating days of your life.  In an effort to forestall the effects of the inevitable, so began my “sportsman’s journal”.

My journal may not be the typical sportsman’s journal.  Like most sportsmen, I try and capture the basics of who, what, when and how many of the adventures we are lucky enough to experience.  Ironically though, these are the details that I will most likely remember when I’m 80 years old.  But regrettably, these are not the most cherished details that I will want to remember when I’m 80 years old.  Therefore, my goal is to capture the “essence” and “soul” of our outdoor adventure.  I want to chronicle the subtle nuances that make me stop and reflect on a special moment that may seem insignificant to others but means the world to me.

I want to write about the special people we meet on our hunts and trips……like the old man with white hair and a red face who can hardly walk anymore but is in the field participating in the hunt and sharing his wisdom about an obscure fact or detail regarding his Browning Sweet 16 shotgun. I want to capture the joy in the face of an 11 year old as he shoots his first dove on the wing in a September corn field in the low-country of S.C.  I want to remember how blue the sky was that afternoon as momentous events were unfolding. I want to remember the rustling sound of the golden, late season corn stalks as they swayed in the wind on a cold, blustery November dove shoot.  I want to be able to remember the pride a father feels when his 19 year old achieves a “double” on a covey of quail at a South Georgia plantation using a vintage 1905 Parker shotgun. I want to remember the hickory smell of the BBQ that was served by our host before the hunt that October afternoon. I want to remember the taste of the salt water as it stings my face in rough seas as we make our way to fish for sheepshead at the Charleston jetties. I want to write about the feeling of pride I got when my 25 year old son was the guide on my first fly fishing trip to a remote trout stream on the SC/Georgia border. I want to remember the warm, mellow sting in my throat from the flask as we toasted the first “brookie” of my life. I want to remember how cold and clear the mountain stream was that day in May and how I only fell once on the slippery, green, moss covered rocks.  I want to remember that I caught my trout using a 47 year old fly rod that was mine as a kid.

These are the events and details I want to remember as I am warming by the red, glowing fire in my leather chair when I am 80 years old. It will not matter much how many birds we killed or fish we caught that day. But it will matter what we talked about on our journey to the field or stream. So I encourage every sportsman to keep their own version of their journal. I am convinced it will become their most prized possession.  Mine is.

No words were ever more true………it is all about the journey.


Your Ticket to WIN a YETI Hopper at Jesse Brown’s


Want to WIN the hottest outdoor accessory out there? Your ticket to win a YETI Hopper 20 is as close as Jesse Brown’s! To celebrate the upcoming Fly Fishing Film Tour, we’re hosting a one-of-a-kind raffle to win one of these YETI soft-sided coolers. The YETI Hopper is the ultimate soft-sided, leak-proof cooler, and YOU could win one! Better still, 100% of the raffle proceeds will support fly fishing here in the Carolinas!

Here’s how to get YOUR ticket!

  • Earn one (1) raffle ticket with your in-store purchase of Fly Fishing Film Tour event tickets
  • Purchase one (1) raffle ticket at Jesse Brown’s for $10, or three (3) for $20
  • Last chance raffle ticket purchase available at the F3t on March 24
  • Drawing will take place at intermission of the Fly Fishing Film Tour. You do NOT have to be present to win.

Small print:

  • Entrant must fill out red raffle ticket at time of purchase.
  • Ticket for entry MUST contain name and phone number CLEARLY WRITTEN.
  • Does not apply to F3t tickets purchased online, at Visulite Theatre, or purchased before sweepstakes start date of 3/18/2016.
  • Winner will be contacted by phone and have one (1) week to respond. If winner does not respond, Jesse Brown’s will draw second ticket.

Proceeds from raffle will go to four (4) great organizations that support and promote the sport and conservation of fly fishing. Project Healing Waters, Trout Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association, and Carolina Fly Fishing Club.


Do you know what the term “Cager” refers to?


If I said that the CIAA “cagers” just left town or that March Madness is about to unleash a lot of “cager” excitement; it might be a hint.

As a basketball fan growing up in I always looked forward to the weekly headlines of “Clover Cagers defeat York” or maybe the less positive headline of “Local Cagers succumb to defeat”.  But I always wondered why basketball teams were referred to as cagers in the paper?

Basketball-2It’s a nickname that was given to basketball players in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s when many courts had a 12-foot-high cage made of chicken wire.

Why the cage?  A ball that went out-of-bounds was given to the team of the first player to touch it out-of-bounds.

Therefore players were going into the stands to fight for the ball (with both their opponent & many times with fans). As the game evolved the wire eventually was replaced with steel mesh and eventually rope.

Also, there weren’t backboards, so missed shots also went into the stands.

In the 1920s the rules for out-of-bounds was changed & backboards had been added to goals but the term cagers remained popular with headline writers across the nation & to this day there are high schools, colleges & other teams that still play with the nickname, CAGER.

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2016: Tickets On Sale Now!


Get Your Tickets NOW for the 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour!

Live music from Fudd and Company starts at 5:30PM, show starts at 7PM.

Discounted tickets ($14) are available in advance NOW here at Jesse Brown’s, or through F3T online and at the door on the night of the show, of course!

For more information contact the crew at Jesse Brown’s or head over to or, or check ’em out at The Visulite Theatre!

If you’ve been, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, we hope to see you there!


Stuff We LOVE Right Now

There’s plenty to love about this time of year, no matter where you are. Despite the current weather, we’re sticking to the Groundhog’s script on this one: Spring is on the way! And that’s better than a good thing… it’s a great thing. And yes, there’s lots of stuff we love right now at Jesse Brown’s. Here are just a few of the things that have us excited about the coming season.

yetiYETI Rambler Tumblers

Yeah, that’s right. We couldn’t get enough of these over the holidays – and neither could most of you! Whether you’re all about that big 30-ounce YETI Rambler, the 20-ounce, or the 10-ounce YETI Lowball, we’ve got you covered. But we’re ready to switch gears from hot coffee to something a little cooler. Keep us in the loop for that first lemonade stand sighting!

ENO Hammocks

There’s nothing we don’t like about taking a little solo time between the trees in our ENO hammock. Yeah, they make a double, too… but sometimes we just don’t want to share. Is that wrong? Your ENO Hammock and straps pack light and tight, and weigh so little, there’s practically nowhere you can’t take them to enjoy a little slow-down time. You’re welcome!

chacoChaco Sandals

The official footwear of the seasons we like best! Chaco sandals are comfortable enough for all day (and night), adjustable to fit any foot type, and go from campus to campsite, from yoga to the rest of your run-around day. And you don’t have to wait until spring to get your Chaco sandals. New styles for men and women are at Jesse Brown’s right now!

Southern Tide

Here’s another one of our favorite brands for spring! Just saying “Southern Tide” conjures up good vibes of hitting the beach with friends, warm sands and a bucket of cold bevs! Southern Tide polos, tees, and button-down shirts (if you MUST dress up!) are already here and ready to welcome the warmer weather. Honestly, aren’t we all ready for that?

Fly Fishing Film Tour

YES! It’s that time of year! Jesse Brown’s once again is proud to sponsor the Fly Fishing Film Tour’s Charlotte debut. We’ll get together at the world-famous Visulite Theatre on March 24th starting at 5:30PM. Drinks and the whole bit, of course are available, plus we’ll get the evening started with some live tunes from our friends Fudd and Co. Call us or pop by the store for tickets!