Friday, December 31, 2010

Four Hunting Dogs Dead, 13 Hunters Quarantined and Released

A dog drive on a Lee County hunt yesterday left 4 dogs dead and several others sick, and had 13 hunters quarantined at KershawHealth Medical Center. All but one of the hunters were released last night after being decontaminated. An 11-year old boy stayed overnight at the hospital and is expected to be released sometime today.

The hunting party noticed some of the dogs rolling around in an unidentified substance, and according to one of the hunters, 4 of the dogs died on the spot as other dogs approached and began sniffing the substance. The hunters also investigated the substance and experienced various symptoms. The SCDNR went to the scene and identified the substance as Temik, a pesticide that is used by farmers to kill nematodes and other pests. Unfortunately it is also sometimes placed in hot dogs and other meat products and left in the woods to kill coyotes and other pests, but is indiscriminate with who or what animals it affects. According to one of the hunters, Joie McCutchen, the Temik was "in a pile in the woods by a tree, ground up into something. We don't know yet what it was."

The remaining dogs are undergoing treatment by a Bishopville veterinarian and seem to be recovering well. To leave a comment for this report on the SouthCarolinaSportsman.com website click here.

PhotoProvided: Joie McCutchen, shown here with an early season buck in velvet, was one of the Lee County hunters involved in the Temik incident.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Trees Make Great Fish Structure

Well, the fat man in the red suit has come and gone once again and MidlandsOutdoors hopes everyone had a Merry Christmas. Now it's time to put up those Christmas decorations and toss the tree onto the burn pile, right? Wrong! Take that tree and any neighbor's trees you can get ahold of and make yourself a fishing hotspot in your favorite pond or lake.

It takes a little time but it's one of those things that you can enjoy for the rest of the year. Lash a few trees together and tie a cinder block tight to one of them, sink the brushpile, and mark it on your GPS or by using triangulation with shore-bound trees, banks, or rocks. It will provide much needed structure for gamefish and can save a slow fishing day since you'll know at least one good spot that fish are likely to be.

We've enjoyed our Christmas trees, so now let's let the fish enjoy them as well.

PhotoProvided shows a couple of anglers dropping discarded Christmas trees for fish habitat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hunting Geese in S.C.



The reports of migratory waterfowl are going strong this year, including two fabulous goose harvests over the weekend. First off the Wrecking Crew guide service in Rock Hill got in a good 'whack and stack' hunt when 100 Canadian geese worked their deadly decoy spread. Then a couple of experienced duck callers in Elloree saw these snow geese working an ag field and use throat vocalizations to draw them near enough to harvest! Keep MidlandsOutdoors in mind for waterfowl harvest reports and keep a check of the waterfowl forum on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com here.

PhotosSubmitted: Canada geese stacked like cord wood in the foothills, a pair of snow geese in the midlands

Friday, December 17, 2010

Impressive Buck Taken on Aiken SRS Draw Hunt

Cole Scroggs, a high school student from Augusta, Georgia harvested a deer with an impressive rack earlier this month. Have you ever seen a rack with a 6-inch base on one side and a 5.5-inch base on the other?

Check out the full story of Scroggs' hunt at South Carolina Sportsman Magazine here.

PhotoProvided: The rack on this buck scored 161!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cast and Blast

A friend of mine has a couple of ponds that I fish in quite a bit and in the past few months we've noticed Canada geese showing up occasionally. We've talked about hunting them and I finally got the chance to do so this afternoon. With no decoys or even a goose call, I decided to take along a fishing rod so I'd have a way to kill some time if no geese arrived. Even though it warmed up a bit late today, there was still a lot of ice on the pond, so I heard a lot of crunching as I slid my Native Watercraft kayak into the pond.

I positioned myself under some trees along one bank and hoped the geese would show up, casting a plastic worm as I waited. I didn't get any bites, but I did notice something that looked like an antler shed just in the woods off the near bank. Too early for sheds though, but I pulled my 'yak ashore and walked into the woods to check it out. It was the skull of an 8-point buck with both antlers still attached. The rest of the body was nowhere around, so I assume a dog carried the head a ways and dropped it here. Before long, I heard the telltale honking of geese in the distance so I relaunched the kayak, loaded my gun, and waited. The geese finally came in and offered me a perfect shot. Seven geese approached for a landing but only one hit the water, and that one got wet earlier than it expected thanks to some steel No. 2 Estate Cartridges. I retrieved the goose and waited a while thinking some other geese might show up, but none did. But there is always tomorrow!

PhotosByBrianCope: The 15-inch inside spread on this 8-point rack signaled an unfortunate demise to a promising deer. Native Watercraft, Benelli Nova, Canada Goose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rimini duck hunt in 18-degree weather





The state democratic caucus annual duck hunt was held a the South Carolina Waterfowl Association facilities in Rimini. The state legislators shared the camaraderie of the duck blind the morning after their planning meetings for the 2011 General Assembly. With unusually cold December weather already in S.C., some unusually good duck hunting has been on tap this year. Waterfowlers always yearn for cold weather up north to bring some migratory ducks down to South Carolina, and temperatures in the teens may be even more than most folks wish for, since it freezes up a lot of the duck hunting ponds in the area. For a detailed report on what was in the bag on Tuesday 12/14 visit the waterfowling forum on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com here. How cold was it? Hunter Tony Wielicki coined a new phrase yesterday - a 'bloodsickle' is when you pick up your harvested duck and the blood coming out freezes in an icicle formation. Strange but true!

PhotoByJeffDennis: SC House Minority Leader Rep. Harry Ott, Phil Bailey, Rep. Ted Vick (Chief of the SC House Wildlife committee), Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Matt Nichols; SCWA's wetland wildlife center sign welcomes hunters; Rep. Ted Vick and Jeff (in True Timber camo) are dressed for the extreme cold weather and managed to take their limits in wood ducks; Tony Wielicki and his dog Moon with his black duck and woodies

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

QDMA founder up for Bud conservation award


Did you know that the Quality Deer Management Association was formed right here in South Carolina? Joe Hamilton of Walterboro started the very first QDMA chapter in the Lowcountry, and it has now become an international entity. To read more about Hamilton and to use the Bud link to vote before Dec. 17 visit SouthCarolinaSportsman.com here.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Too Cold to Fish? Not a Chance!

How cold is too cold to fish? Well, last Thursday it was awfully cold; 19 degrees when I woke up that morning. But I still went to Canal Lakes Fish Camp to meet Capt. Bill Saltzman for a day of catfishing. There was ice in the mud puddles and the wind made it seem even colder than it was, but we headed down the Diversion Canal and on into Lake Moultrie just the same. It was all worth it when a big 40-pound blue catfish hit my cut bait while drifting in 50+ feet of water near the dam.

Luckily for me, Capt. Bill has an enclosure on his pontoon boat that allowed us to get out of the wind in between baiting lines and reeling in fish, and I would not recommend going out with a guide who does not have that during a cold winter day. I mean, being cold is one thing, but not having that shelter to warm up in would have made the day downright  miserable. But as it was, we had a great day of conversation and caught some nice fish, including the 40-pounder.

Capt. Bill is a great guide to fish with. His pontoon is roomy and well equipped with gear, and he fishes with Abu Garcia 6500 reels matched with Shakespeare Ugly Stick Tiger rods, which are great combos for catfishing. He's also happy to share his fishing tips and does a great job making his guests feel welcome and entertained. And he's been fishing the Santee Cooper Lakes system long enough to know where the catfish are in every season of the year.

Don't let a little bit of cold weather scare you away from some of the greatest catfishing you'll find in the Palmetto State. Book a trip with Capt. Bill and catch yourself a trophy cat. Call him at 803-524-1951 or visit his website at http://www.captwasbigcats.com/.

PhotosByBrianCope: Capt. Bill prepares some cut bait, then shows off the results of drifting one such bait along the depths of Lake Moultrie.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aiken County 8-pointer, 19-inch spread

A deer with a 19-inch spread in South Carolina is hard to come by, but Aiken's Scott Ray came by one this season and harvested it near Jackson at the River to Rail Hunt Club. The 8-pointer weighed 165-lbs. That's a quality Palmetto State deer.
http://www.southcarolinasportsman.com/lpca/index.php?section=reports&event=view&action=full_report&id=136503

PhotoProvided: Aiken's Scott Ray poses with his nice buck.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Florence County Archery Range Open to Public

If you'd like to get some practice with your bow, the SCDNR has opened a new archery range that is open to the public from 9 a.m. to sunset. There is no charge for using the range, which is located at Lynches River County Park on 1110 Ben Gause Road in Coward. Available for archers is a flat range where bows are required to have a draw weight of 30 lbs. or less, and a 15-foot elevated range with no draw weight restrictions. This platform features a realistic hunting experience, with targets ranging from 10 to 40 yards.

The range is unmanned and broadhead points are not allowed on any portion of it.

PhotoProvided: An archer practices on the elevated platform at the new Florence County Archery Range.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Delta Waterfowl Banquet-Sumter



The Sumter Chapter of Delta Waterfowl held their banquet  Friday night at the National Guard Armory. Bar-B-Que, baked beans, and cole slaw were on the menu and sweet tea and an open bar complemented the meal. Items auctioned off included a Benelli M2 12-gauge and several other guns, a trained black lab puppy, an offshore fishing trip aboard the Wadmacallit, special edition Delta Waterfowl buck knives, and a whole host of duck hunting gear.

Delta Waterfowl's goal is to use science-based ideas and solutions that will conserve waterfowl and keep the future of waterfowl hunting secure. For more information, visit Delta Waterfowl's website.

PhotosByBrianCope: Delta Waterfowl held their Sumter banquet Friday night.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

November WMA duck harvest report




It looks like the waterfowl hunting in S.C. during November of 2010 was far better than say the last four or five years. With drought conditions nearing, it's hard to predict why this year the ducks think our habitat is looking good. Possibly it's because nature revolves in cycles and the replenishing rains of last winter have made a difference in the quality of our forage this year - just a thought for readers to consider. For a full report of the tally number on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Scenes from past Bear Island WMA draw hunts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Savannah River Site 12/1 Hunt Report





The "Deer Control Activity" draw hunt at the SRS near Aiken, S.C. is likely the largest driven deer hunt in the Southeast. With roughly the same amount of acreage as the Francis Marion National Forest, the Department of Energy has consistently held about 10 hunts a year for the past few decades in order to control the deer population. Safety is the hallmark of the SRS hunt with more than 50 standers and 50 dog drivers in the woods, each hunt begins with a thorough safety meeting that drives home what is expected from everyone. Lowcountry Outdoors first visited the SRS for this hunt in 1998 and found it to be well attended by like-minded hunters from other states like Georgia, North Carolina - and even Alabama, Louisiana and beyond. While not for everyone, the SRS draw hunt has stood the test of time as a worthy endeavor and a well-run program. To see more pics on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: William McClure of Mooresville, N.C. with his 237-pound hog; Kym Gainey with one of the fine bucks harvested at the SRS; A hunter admires his harvest; Two S.C. men drag their buck to their truck

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sumter Hunter Kills Dream Buck in Pennsylvania

Sumter's Jimmie "Cricket" Kennedy went to the Keystone State for a hunting trip, and he brought back a rare find. Kennedy killed a buck that weighed 262-lbs, and that's not the only detail that made this a dream buck. The animal was also white. Kennedy is careful to point out it wasn't an albino deer, but rather a rare strain of white deer that is believed to have been shipped in from out west.


PhotoProvided: Cricket Kennedy killed this dream buck in Pennsylvania this past October.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carolina Angler's Team Trail

So you want to compete in a big-time bass fishing tournament series, but don't have the money or time to spend fishing all over the country to compete in the FLW or BASS tours? The answer to your dilemma is right here in the state of South Carolina. That answer is spelled CATT, which stands for Carolina Angler's Team Trail, and the owner of the trail is from right here in the Midlands. Brett Collins of Ridgeway has grown the trail considerably in the past few years.

The trail is actually a series of trails fished on several lakes throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, but most anglers stick to fishing the trail on just the lake closest to their home. This helps keep costs to a minimum since there is little travel and no need to spend money on hotel rooms. Basically, these guys are going fishing at their local lake for the day, and dozens of other teams are doing the same thing.
The 2010 Fall Season of the Lake Wateree trail just wrapped up this past weekend. The winning team of Tripp Owings and Daniel Cook took home over $2500 for their tournament efforts. Along with the rest of the prize money for the day, that brought the overall payback to anglers to over $49,000 in 2010 for just Lake Wateree alone.

Lake Wylie, Lake Murray, Lake Santee, the Waccamaw River, and Lake Robinson are also part of CATT. Each one has a Fall Season, a Spring Season, and a Winter Season, so you can fish year-round in a tournament series against good competition without worrying about traveling the country to do it. For further information on CATT, check out their website at http://www.catttrail.com/.

PhotosProvided: These photos show the quality of fish caught throughout the year during the Carolina Angler's Team Trail tournaments.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve Gains Land

Lexington County's Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve, a 461-acre preserve, is growing by 100 acres thanks to a recent acquisition of land by The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina. The additional acreage includes a high bluff and a longleaf pine forest, an important nesting site for several species of Palmetto State wildlife.

More longleaf is being planted aggresively, with the removal of slash pine to make room for longleaf seedlings and prescribed burning taking place.

Peachtree Rock is only about 20 minutes outside of Columbia and is important for several reasons. It features marine fossils, showing that this area was once shoreline. There is also a species of blueberry that is known to only grow in South Carolina. Peachtree Rock is named for a large, triangular shaped rock that is on the grounds of the preserve.


Bird-watching and hiking are activities that can be enjoyed year-round at Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve, and the 100 additional acreage will add even more to see. To find out more about Peachtree Rock and The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, visit The Conservancy's website.

PhotosProvided: A longleaf pine seedling is poised to provide great habitat for many species. Peachtree Rock stands over 20-feet tall and is made of ironstone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunting Island Lagoon Fishing

MidlandsOutdoors.com visited the coast Saturday for a little fishing in the Hunting Island lagoon, and caught sheepshead, redfish, trout, and spots. The spots were running rampant, the sheepshead were biting good, a few trout bit live mud minnows, and the redfish ate cut shrimp and oysters. The highlight of the day was a 28-inch redfish that put up quite a fight. Read more about the trip at South Carolina Sportsman's website.

PhotoByBrianCope: This over-the-slot redfish was released to fight another day, and from the looks of its tail, it's accustomed to fighting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sumter County 11-pointer

Sumter's Mike Spinks killed a 175-pound buck in the Sumter County town of Borden earlier this week. It's his second 11-pointer from the little hamlet. See the details at South Carolina Sportsman Magazine.
PhotoProvided: Mike Spinks poses with daughter Taylor and his latest 11-point buck.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boat Raffle to benefit S.C. Ducks Unlimited


Da Boat from SC DU is going to be a special year-end fundraiser where 100 tickets are being sold at $100 each, and the winner will be drawn on Christmas Eve. Talk about timing - just get some gas and some lucky waterfowler could be shooting ducks Christmas morning in his new rig!

DU's website recently underwent an upgrade and here is a link to the state contacts for S.C. DU

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SC Outdoor Press Association Conference

The South Carolina Outdoor Press Assn. (SCOPe) held its annual conference last weekend at The Territories (http://www.theterritories.net/) on the banks of the Saluda River. PJ Perea of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) gave a seminar on predator hunting, and two custom turkey call makers, Irving Witt and Steve Mann, spoke and donated turkey calls to raise funds for SCOPe.

The Territories hosted a couple of deer hunts, and professional bass fisherman Davy Hite allowed the use of his property for a deer hunt as well. SCOPe member Teach Corley put on a fishing tournament Saturday morning with participants fishing the Saluda River. South Carolina Sportsman Magazine editor Dan Kibler took 1st place in the tournament's bass division, and outdoor humorist Jim Mize took the panfish division with his flyrod.

Other fishing trips included shellcracker fishing on Lake Murray with Capt. Doug Lown, and catfishing with Capt. Chris Simpson (http://www.fightindablues.com/).

PhotosByBrianCope: Larry Ross enjoyed shellcracker fishing with Capt. Doug Lown, who shows off a fat 'cracker. Custom turkey call maker Irving Whitt poses for a photo with Midlands Outdoors.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pond Management Workshop

Cory Heaton of Clemson Extension came to Sumter Thursday night and put on a Pond Management 101 workshop for residents. Heaton provided a wealth of information on pond stocking ratios, and aquatic weed identification. He also had several handouts from SCDNR and Clemson Extension that covers the same information more in depth. A list of state certified fish suppliers was another handout, and this list surprised some residents of Sumter who did not realize that several fish suppliers are within such close proximity to their private ponds.

Some pond owners/managers brought in samples of aquatic weeds from their ponds. Heaton identified each one, and offered advice on how to manage those weeds. He also surprised several folks when he offered advice for stocking Tilapia in local ponds. These fish, which are a delicacy at many restaurants, can be stocked in the spring as 8" fish, and by fall, many of those fish have reached 2 pounds and have reproduced, with their offspring in the 1 pound range. The only downfall to tilapia is they will not live once the water temperature gets below 55 degrees, but that makes them easy to catch with a dip net, where they can then be filleted and fried, with plenty left over for the freezer.

For more information on Clemson Extension and the many programs they offer, visit their website at http://www.clemson.edu/extension/.

PhotoByBrianCope: Pond Management 101 was offered by Clemson Extension Thursday night at Bethel United Methodist Church in Sumter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big Cats with Capt. Bill Saltzman

Capt. Bill Saltzman recently hosted the family of another captain. Capt. John Altenberg of Sea Tow Lake Murray joined Capt. Bill on Lake Santee for some catfishing, and it was a good day of fishing. Typical of fall days in South Carolina, the day started off on the cool side, and warmed up to short-sleeve weather by lunch time.

Drift fishing with cut bait, Capt. Bill found the catfish, and the Altenberg family caught several cats over 15-pounds as well as a few smaller fish that are perfect for frying. Capt. Bill says if you want to catch a trophy cat, book a trip with him in the next few weeks. The water temperature is cooling down and once it gets right around 60, the small cats will be pushed out by the cold and he will drift fish for the big boys, and catfish in the 45-pound range will be an attainable goal for each trip.

Check out Capt. Bill's website to find out more information about fishing with him. Visit http://www.captwasbigcats.com/ and get ready for a workout on the water.

PhotosProvided: Capt. Bill coaches the youngest Altenberg, who has a catfish on the line.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Backyard 9-pointer - Kershaw County

Austin Presler of Kershaw County didn't have far to go to take a nice 9-pointer earlier this week. Tuesday morning, Presler was getting ready for work when he noticed a deer in his backyard. It's one of the advantages of living out in the country that he enjoys. Now his backyard isn't a well-manicured 1-acre lot with bird feeders and a firepit. His backyard is scores of wooded acres full of deer and other wildlife. A busy young man, Presler enjoys walking through those woods at least for a few minutes each day. So with about 15-minutes to spare before hitting the road for work, he took his gun along for a stroll, spotted the deer right away, and had it loaded in the back of his truck with a few minutes to spare, which he used to convince his mom to snap a few photos.

Anyone lucky enough to have killed a deer just before work knows the logistics that come into play once the quarry has been downed. How to load the deer without getting the work clothes dirty, how to get the deer to the processor without being late for work, and making sure the processor knows just how you want the future mount caped are all details that many hunters wrestle with while also trying to get to work on time. But none of that bothered Presler, because he works at Peach Orchard Deer Processing in Dalzell (803-499-9036). So it was a normal working day for Presler, interrupted slightly by the time it took to load, then unload, his own deer--two tasks Presler was happy to perform.

Never tell Presler that you don't have time to hunt. It's just not an argument that a country boy like him is willing to buy.

PhotoCourtesyOf Kristi Westfall Presler: Austin Presler is all smiles about the 9-point buck he killed and then processed. That's truly being involved in the food chain!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CCA 30 day tagged fish tourney


This November CCA members are eligible to enter the 2nd annual Lowcountry tagged redfish tournament, to look for the five redfish in the waters surrounding Beaufort that have been tagged with special CCA South Carolina tags. For the entire story on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Jon Wood with Danny Rourk of Tail Wind Charters are fishing for the tagged CCA redfish in Beaufort, seen here pre-fishing 10/30

Friday, October 29, 2010

CCA Banquet--Lexington

 
The Lexington Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) held its annual conservation banquet last night at the Lexington Municipal Conference Center. Raffles, auctions, great food, and fellowship highlighted the fundraising event.

Seared tuna, pork BBQ, catfish, and shrimp were some of the items on the menu, which was catered by Charleston Bay Gourmet. One comment overheard about the seared tuna was "I don't know; it looks raw," but followed by "hey, that's gooooood!" My taste buds left me no choice but to agree.

Two Yeti Coolers with the CCA logo were raffled off, and a set of CCA Frogg Toggs joined several other prizes that went home with CCA members lucky enough to have their raffle tickets pulled. And the grand raffle prize was an outdoor kitchen consisting of a stainless still grill, steamer, and turkey fryer.

Some of the items auctioned off included a two-man, two-day hog hunt, an evening of sporting clays at Hermitage Farm, a young and eager-to-please German Shorthaired Pointer, a handmade oyster table, and artwork.

CCA is a grass-roots, non-profit organization made up of fishermen and other conservationists who volunteer their time and efforts to ensure our angling heritage is properly looked after for our present and future generations. This is done in a variety of ways, from being a watchdog on national and local fisheries issues, to coordinating oyster shell restocking, which replenishes habitat for sealife.

To get involved and see the schedule of other CCA banquets across the Palmetto State, check out CCA South Carolina's website at http://www.ccasouthcarolina.com/.

PhotosByBrianCope: The German Shorthaird Pointer was a big hit!This redfish was part of the silent auction. This .17 bolt action rifle was given away in the 'deck of cards' raffle. This piece of artwork brought over $200 in the live auction.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quail Hunting

 Quail hunting season is in full swing, at least on South Carolina's quail preserves. While the population of wild native quail in South Carolina is virtually nonexistant, many property managers are doing all they can to see that change. In years past, most preserves released a certain number of quail--usually about 100 birds per 4 hunters--just before a hunt. Not much thought was given to what happened to the quail that made it through the hunt, and most were killed by fire ants, hawks, and foxes.

But these days, thanks to quail restoration programs and seminars offered by the National Bobwhite Technical Committee and Quail Unlimited, many plantations are taking steps to help these released quail make it as full time inhabitants of their land, leading to breeding populations of the bobwhite. Planting native grasses and doing controlled burns are a couple of practices land managers can engage in to boost survival chances of released birds, and attract what few wild birds may be in the area.

Bulk releases are also becoming popular on hunting preserves. Instead of just releasing 100 birds prior to a hunt, quail are released in bigger numbers several times a year. While this is a bit more expensive up front, it will pay off in the long run as long as other measures are taken to help restore the population of this important gamebird.

PhotosByBrianCope: A Sumter County hunting party stands over their collection of quail and a few chukars. Dog on point! A hunter watches the dogs who are eagerly awaiting to hear their command to flush.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deer Video

video
Midlands outdoorsman Joel Boykin sent us this video of a nice buck on his property in Red Hill. This is the kind of buck land managers strive for when implementing trophy management practices, such as those promoted by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). QDMA is a national organization which promotes safe and ethical hunting practices, conservation, and educates hunters and land managers on management procedures which will enhance deer hunting now and for future generations.

Video: Thanks to Joel Boykin for sending in the video and for practicing QDM procedures.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fishing with Drew

I took a fishing trip with professional kayak angler Drew Gregory last week. Gregory is the founder of the River Bassin' Tournament Trail which held its inaugural season in 2010. The trail's title sponsor is Bass Pro Shops, and the 2010 tour featured 5 tournaments, all with their captain's meetings and weigh-ins at Bass Pro Shops stores in 4 different states.

The River Bassin' Tournament Trail is all about catching bass on river from human powered craft, be they canoes, kayaks, float tubes, or even just humans standing on shore. Gregory, who fell in love with river fishing at an early age while fishing with his dad, had trouble finding the perfect craft for river fishing, so he teamed up with a relatively young kayak company and designed his own river craft. The Coosa, by Jackson Kayak, is a revolutionary fishing kayak. Instead of using base model touring kayaks and slightly modifying them for fishing as most kayak manufacturers have done, Jackson Kayak put Gregory in charge of developing their very first fishing kayak from scratch.

The result is a dream craft for river anglers. It's extremely stable, allowing anglers to stand and even make a few steps forward and turn around. It also features a molded in area for installing a retractable drag chain, an important feature for river anglers who up until now have always had to rig up their own drag chain system.

The Coosa also has a lockable rod storage compartment and a locking mechanism to secure it to your truck or car top. A 2-position seat allows you to sit higher while fishing and lower when running through rapids. The seat also removes completely so you can use it as a camp chair when sitting around the fire after a day of fishing.

To check out the rest of the unique features on the Coosa, check out Gregory's website at http://www.drewgregory.com/ or see it at Jackson Kayak's website, http://jacksonkayak.com/coosa/. And check out the River Bassin' Tournament Trail at http://www.riverbassintrail.com/.

By the way, we caught a few fish on the Catawba River just below the Lake Wylie dam. It's a good time to go, and will be even better once the water temperature falls low enough to start killing some Lake Wylie shad, which get sucked through the dam and discarded into the river, where the bass know they can get an easy meal.

PhotoByBrianCope: Drew shows off a nice 4+ pound largemouth he caught on a buzzbait just a few hundred yards below the Lake Wylie dam.