In the world of Major League Fishing, there’s no such thing as taking a break. Because if you pause for even a second in the fast paced, cast a minute format that allows anglers to move up or fall down the SCORETRACKER Live! Leaderboard, you’ll get lost in the shuffle.
For MLF pro Andy Morgan, that mindset fits his hectic off-the-water lifestyle, one centered around his wife and daughter, his eastern Tennessee home, his western Tennessee duck camp, and a variety of projects that help Morgan make a living as well as a life.
The fast paced life journey that Morgan is on has been a good one, a path that has propelled him to the top of the professional fishing game. Known as one of the most successful anglers in the FLW Tour’s history (now known as the FLW Pro Circuit), the Dayton, Tenn. pro accumulated six tournament victories; Angler of the Year titles in 2013, 2014, and 2016; and some $2.1 million in career winnings.
After joining MLF’s new Bass Pro Tour last year, the 48-year-old pro wasted no time in proving his championship mettle on the new circuit, weighing 80 pounds of bass on the final day to capture the $100,000 top prize in his Stage Four derby victory on eastern Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga in April 2019.
Video courtesy of Exmark’s Backyard Life. Click here to watch the second episode.
In other words, with a rod and reel in his hand or not, life is a blur. But that’s just the way that Morgan prefers it. Except, of course, when hunting season is just around the corner. Because if there’s anything that Morgan likes more than fishing for a living and raising a family, it’s getting into the woods to chase whitetail deer, puddle ducks, Eastern turkeys, and mourning doves.
That, and entertaining a select list of invitees with some great food, good drink, and plenty of smiles and laughter out on the backyard deck.
“I love hunting and eating good,” said Morgan. “I would hate to have to choose between the two.”
While Morgan has always been pretty handy around a hot skillet or a grill, he points out that he’s picked up some key cooking tips—and recipes like the famed Kentucky Sauce he always got in the refrigerator—from people like his wife Missy, his good friend Harold Knight of Knight & Hale Game Calls fame, and FLW fishing pro Ramie Colson.
“Ramie does a lot of cooking for Harold—we’ve done a lot of good meals over there (in Cadiz, Ky.),” said Morgan. “I’ve learned from some of the best. Anytime you go to Kentucky and hang around Harold and Ramie, you don’t really have an option but to learn how to make some pretty good stuff.”
That comes in handy during Morgan’s rare time off from professional angling, downtime like that experienced during the spring of 2020 during the quarantine lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an unexpected break from the BPT fishing circuit, the extra time at home gave Morgan a chance to get the family farm in shape, to do pre-season prep work on his duck hunting ground, to be a bigger part of his daughter Keylee’s high school graduation, and to work on cleaning out the freezer in preparation for next fall.
“Every year, I like cleaning the freezer out for some good meals with family and friends,” said Morgan. “Because after that, it’s time for the annual fall restocking program.”
Already a big fan of wild game for its nutritional value, the fun associated with harvesting wild protein directly, and the joy in cooking it up and sharing it with friends, Morgan thinks that such field-to-table living is becoming even more important in the strange days that most Americans find themselves currently living in.
“Freezer cleanout is now a little more important than it has ever been,” said Morgan. “It’s already my favorite way to eat—and by far, the healthiest option in my book—but this year, that’s even more so. I feel this will be even more important this year on rural America’s kitchen table, as far as people eating clean, living closer to the earth, and having healthy wild game on their table.
With that idea in mind, Morgan, a Realtree Fishing team member as well as an Exmark mowers pro staffer, graciously agreed to provide three scrumptious recipes for all three major meals of the day. Starting off with breakfast (Duck Blind Biscuits and Gravy), continuing through lunch (Grilled Whole Dove), and finishing with dinner (Grilled Whole Backstrap), these meals are simple, easy to prepare, and enjoyed by all.
“We obviously can’t take food supply chains for granted any longer,” said Morgan. “And with most of us experiencing some downtime at home right now, there’s never been a better time to clean out the freezer and to make some great meals.
“Normally, when we put wild game in the freezer, it’s out of sight, out of mind because we don’t think about it until it’s time for the next hunting season,” he added. “But now that we’ve got nothing to do for a while, it’s a great time to put some good food on the table.
“Plus, it’s summer and it’s hard to want to go fishing when there’s no wind, there are scattered thunderstorms, and it feels like it’s 108 degrees outside. Even I don’t always like getting out in that, but it also means that now we’ve got plenty of time to cook.”
Give these three simple, wild recipes from Andy Morgan a try and see if you don’t agree. Because while only a few can rise to become one of the best professional bass anglers on the planet, all of us can turn wild ingredients into some great grub.
All it takes is a willingness to clean out the freezer, fire the grill up, and get to cooking!
Grilled Whole Venison Backstrap Recipe
Yield: 1 venison backstrap
Prep time: 15 minutes + marinating time
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
- 1 whole venison backstrap
- 1/2 cup butter (or 1 stick)
- 4 cups ketchup
- 4 cups mustard
- 4 cups vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
>>Get the Recipe: Whole Venison Backstrap Recipe
Duck Blind Biscuits and Gravy Recipe
To start the day off right, either in a chilly duck blind or at home on a warm summer's morn, Major League Fishing pro Andy Morgan likes to whip up a batch of biscuits and gravy, duck hunter's style!
Prep time: 20 minutes + marinating time
Cook time: 30 minutes
- Duck breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- Canned biscuits
- Hot sauce
>>Get the Recipe: Duck Blind Biscuits and Gravy Recipe
Whole Grilled Dove Recipe
It’s a staple in Texas, the South, and many other parts of the country, the chasing of early autumn’s swoosh as mourning doves speedily fly by on a sultry wind and test a wingshooter’s dormant shotgunning skills. To enjoy your wild bounty after a memorable day of hunting, try this dove recipe from Major League Fishing pro Andy Morgan.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes + marinating time
Cook time: 5-6 minutes
>>Get the Recipe: Whole Grilled Dove Recipe