Davis Love III is among the most accomplished golfers of his generation. He has 18 career PGA Tour victories, including a major (the 1997 PGA Championship), and has been a member of five U.S. Ryder Cup teams. Just last year, he won five tournaments and $6 million in prize money.
A peek into the tricked-out motor home he uses to travel between tournaments, however, reveals what may be his true passion. Tucked among the golf shoes, tees, balls, and wedges is his 6-weight fly rod, his club of choice on the myriad golf-course ponds he encounters on tour–ponds that the average guy never gets to fish. Being a pro has its privileges. In the afternoon at the Doral (in Miami), Love will sneak down to a pond and make some casts. He does the same at the TPC in Jacksonville, where, a few years back, he landed an 11-pound bass. “It’s like fishing private farm ponds,” he says. “The fish are pretty much left alone, and you always have the chance for a big one.”
But Love would rather be fishing on the Georgia coast, near his home in Sea Island, where he gets in a few fishing days a week when he’s not playing on tour. And unlike those private ponds on the golf links, you can fish there, too.
HOME WATERS “Near my house, between St. Simons Island and Sea Island, there are a ton of creeks and rivers that flow into the ocean, where tarpon are rolling everywhere in the summer. It’s not well known, like Homosassa, but there’s great fishing. I like to take my boat out into the ocean to net menhaden for bait and then come back into one of the creeks– the water gets pretty muddy, so you’re not fishing flies there. If the tarpon aren’t biting, the sharks will keep you very busy. There are four or five public marinas where you can put in your boat.” Contact: Brunswick–Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, 912-265-0620; brunswick-georgia.com/chamber
SECRET SPOT “There’s a big hole near the mouth of the Hampton River where I like to anchor up. It’s where a big river and big creek meet, less than a mile from the ocean. There are no waves and a nice breeze. You can look all around and not see any houses and feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere. There are pelicans everywhere, and sometimes the porpoises come through in groups.”
MEMORABLE MOMENT “A couple of years ago, when my son was about 6, I took him and the son of my best friend and guide, David Black-shear, out to that spot on the Hampton River. I was the guide for the day. I hooked a 150-pound tarpon, and the two boys took turns bringing it in. They wore themselves out on that fish. We got it in eventually and took tons of pictures. The boys still talk about that fish– about the mouth that was as big as a 5-gallon bucket. That’s their big fish story.”
LOCAL CHOW “Brogens [912-638-2060; www.brogens.com] serves great burgers and beer. For local seafood, the Crab Trap [912-638-3552] and Crabdaddy’s [912-634-1120] are right beside each other. At the Trap, you can get deep-fried southern-style seafood; at Crabdaddy’s, they grill the fish.”