After a cool winter, we are all ready to take full advantage of the sunshine and warmer weather. As we usher in this season—representative of new life, energy and happiness—we’re turning to nature for all kinds of adventures. And nature sure is ready for us. It beckons us from all corners of The Ford Field & River Club, from the glittering waters of the great Ogeechee River and the Atlantic beyond to our acres of wildlife-rich oak groves and marshland.
We asked The Ford’s Outdoor Pursuits (ODP) Director Mike Womble for advice on what adventures we should embark upon this spring. Below, Mike shares five activities that are most popular among members (and staff) during this beautiful time of the year.
The most popular ODP spring activity is Sheepshead Madness, a team tournament that has anglers trying to catch and weigh in three sheepshead—a fish that can grow up to 30 inches. The winners of the tournament will have the heaviest overall weight of three fish, which can be upgraded during the two-month-long tournament. These fish are excellent fighters on light tackle and excellent table fare as well.” Sheepshead Madness began February 19 and ends on April 30.
The Ford has more than 300 acres of fresh and brackish water lagoons, providing excellent fishing for such species as largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, redfish and flounder. As the water warms up, the bass in the lakes begin to spawn, which makes them great to catch with fly or spinning tackle. Also, striped bass in the Ogeechee River are spawning in the early spring—they are great fighters on light tackle.
The Ford residents and members can arrange guided fishing excursions through our freshwater lakes, Ogeechee River frontage, Ossabaw Sound and the Intracoastal. Contact Mike Womble for more information.
Spring is a great time for bird watching at The Ford, as the spring migration of neotropical birds hits its peak. Neotropical birds winter in the southern hemisphere and fly here for spring, so they never see cold weather.
Spring is also the perfect time to spot bald eagles and great horned owls. Since they are early nesters (two of the few animals in general that have a wintertime nesting season), they are out and about and ready for action in the spring.
Members and residents of The Ford can contact our on-site naturalist Brittany Dodge for more birding information and activities.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Springtime temperatures are perfect for getting out and exploring The Ford’s lakes and rivers. The canoe is the perfect platform for families with younger children to explore together. You can take a relaxing, guided canoe trip and explore the many islands of The Ford’s Lake Clara and check the nesting activity of our wood ducks by examining the nesting boxes perched throughout the lake.
Kayaking is the best way to get close to wildlife on Lake Clara. Kayaks are quiet, low profile and sleek, making them perfect for wildlife viewing. Kayaks are also perfect for exploring The Ford’s vast network of canals left over from the late 1700s. It is fun to paddle through history while exploring the natural world, looking for wildlife like alligators, boars, beavers, otters and numerous bird species, including herons and eagles.
As boaters feel the spring temperatures rise, they long to be on the beach. Fortunately, the pristine beaches of Wassaw and Ossabaw Islands—both of which are protected Georgia wildlife refuges—are just a short trip from The Ford. While there, you can look for feeding dolphins, search for sand dollars and view a wide variety of shore birds.