Sunday, May 30, 2010

Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament

The second leg of the SC Governor's Cup Billfishing Series was held out of Georgetown Landing Marina May 26-29 and was won by Caramba. Owned by Bob Faith of Mt. Pleasant and captained by Dale Lackey, Caramba released two blue marlin over the weekend to finish with 1200 points.

Fishing aboard Caramba was 11-year old angler John Taylor, who caught a nice 13.4 pound dolphin on Saturday.

Bringing some excitement to Saturday's weigh-in was a 148-pound mako shark, and Poe Ratterree, who fished aboard the Christy II, raised some eyebrows with the tournament-best 63 pound wahoo he brought to the scales.

PhotosByBrianCope: Taylor Gaton, who fished on Due Course, picks up the Outstanding Youth Angler Award after a great weekend of fishing. Poe Ratterree hoists his 63-pound wahoo he caught aboard Christy IICaramba angler John Taylor shows off his 13.4 pound dolphin.

Shark! This mako was the source of great interest among passers-by.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Midlands Striper Club May Tournament

37 anglers competed in the latest Midlands Striper Club tournament on May 15 on Lake Murray, and according to Jim Goller, the fishing was awesome. 28 anglers weighed in a total of 67 fish, with 15 of those anglers bringing their 3 fish limit to the scales.

Billy Durant of Chapin was the king of this event, winning the big fish award for his 9 lb, 4 oz striper, and he also recorded the most overall weight, with his 3 fish bag weighing in at 19 lbs, 6 oz. Gary Heichelbech of Lexington came in 2nd, with 3 fish that moved the scale to 17 lbs, 4 oz. In third place was Chapin's Van Cook, whose 3 fish weighed 15 lbs, 12 oz.

Phil Plyler of Lancaster took the smallest creel prize for his 3 lb, 7 oz total weight.

Six of the tournament anglers weighed in sacks of 15+ lbs, a good sign that Lake Murray's stripers are getting bigger and more plentiful, in no small part due to Midlands Striper Club's efforts to help the striper population on Lake Murray and throughout the state.

The club will be holding its annual Hydro Glow DNR Benefit Open Night Tournament out of Jake's Landing June 18 & 19 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 am. $4000 in guaranteed prize money is at stake, and entry fees are $125. For more information, visit . This tournament benefits striped bass stocking efforts carried out by the SCDNR throughout the Palmetto State.

PhotoCourtesyOfMSC: (left to right) Phil Plyler won smallest creel. Billy DuRant won big fish and most weight, Gary Heichelbech finished 2nd, and Van Cook took 3rd place.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hunting Island Fishing

MidlandsOutdoors joined some friends for a trip to the lowcountry this past weekend. Fishing out of kayaks, we were able to get into the skinniest water possible, and had no trouble getting on the fish in the Hunting Island Lagoon even at dead-low tide.

The flounder started things off for us, biting on both live bait (mud minnows) and artificials such as Z-Man Minnowz in pearl color on a white jig head. The flounder bite was good from the walking bridge to the back of the lagoon and lasted a couple of hours. Once the flounder slowed down, the redfish began biting, and several were landed, including a few over-the-slot fish.

Many deer-some in velvet-were sited along the banks of the lagoon, the weather was great, and the fellowship with friends was a bonus. It's tough to beat such a visit to the lowcountry.

PhotosByBrianCope: Dalton Reames shows off a slot-sized redfish that will make a great meal. This over-the-slot redfish was a blast to catch, and just as much fun to watch swim away, none the worse for wear after its visit with MidlandsOutdoors. Dalton shows off another table-worthy fish in this 15-inch flounder.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Midlands Thunder

Shaw AFB is holding its Thunder Over the Midlands Airshow this weekend and the show has something for everyone. There are military-themed rides and games for the kids, vintage planes from the WWI and WWII era, foreign planes, and of course the main attraction, the US Air Force Thunderbirds.

Things kicked off at noon on Friday, with practice taking place for the US Army's Golden Knights parachute team, the Viper East F-16 team, and a flight by a WWII P-51 Mustang. One of the highlights of practice featured one of Shaw AFB's F-16 jets flying alongside the P-51 Mustang, pitting the Air Force's flagship fighter with 1940's era technology.

Besides watching planes fly, spectators have many on-the-ground displays to peruse. In-flight-refueling planes have been open for people to walk through, seeing what it's like to look out the back glass and operate the refueling boom that crewmembers use to fuel other planes while in flight. Cargo planes were also open to show the public a little taste of what it's like for our servicemembers to "sit in the sling" while tanks, Humvee's, and other equipement cramp your leg room.

The Golden Knights kicked off Saturday's activities with a jump by the parachute team that showed the crowd why these guys need all the training they get. One of the team members was having trouble with his parachute and he began a rapid, spiraling descent that was too fast for a safe landing. The paratrooper released his primary parachute and pulled the cord on his secondary 'chute and he landed safely.

The Viper East F-16 team then put on a show alongside F-15's from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Watching these two teams fly together puts the size-difference of these planes in perspective, with the F-15's considerably larger.

A few more demonstrations took place, then the crowd got what they were waiting for. After a long day in the sun, everyone was finally treated to what they really came to see. The Thunderbirds performed, doing their air-bound tricks to the delight of young and old, military and civilian, veteran and new recruit.

The air show continues through 3 pm today, when the Thunderbirds will once again bring thunder over the midlands.

PhotosByBrianCope: The US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team opens Saturday's events. Two Thunderbirds showing the crowd what they came to see. Old and new--an F-16 flying with a WWII P-51 Mustang. Spectators watch this Thunderbird's trick--flying as slow as possible, which is always a crowd-pleaser for those thinking it's just about speed. This F-16 from Shaw's Viper East team cuts up, afterburner glowing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vomiting Caterpillar Outbreak

The South Carolina Forestry Commission has stated that homeowners in the Anderson, Chapin, and Irmo areas have reported caterpillars of the common oak moth (Phoberia Atomaris) feeding on post oaks and other white oaks.

Laurie Reid of the Forestry Commission says this caterpillar is yuckier than most pests because they leave long trails of rusty colored vomit. These trails run from oak trees onto porches and then into garages.

The wintering stage of this creature is that of ground-dwelling pupa, and each spring adults emerge from these pupa. The adults then mate, the female moths lay eggs, and the caterpillars gorge themselves on the new leaves of spring.

These caterpillars have a varied coloration scheme, and are usually a brown mottled color with white, tan, and black mixed in.

There is usually no long-term effect from an outbreak of these caterpillars unless the oak trees are hit with outbreaks multiple years in a row and are also suffering from other problems, but there is a high yuck factor to homeowners. The good news is in just a few weeks, the caterpillars will bed down in underground pupa, where they will remain throughout the summer and winter months.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission develops and protects South Carolina's forest resources, and they have much useful information on their website at

PhotosCourtesyOfSCFC: These damaged oak leaves show the results of the outbreak. These are caterpillars of the common oak moth.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Santee Bream and Crappie Fishing

Ken Nutter of Sumter has been doing a lot of fishing in the Sparkleberry Swamp section of Lake Santee lately, and he reports the crappie and bream have been biting well. He has focused much of his attention on the area in Sparkleberry known as Dead Lake (also shows up on maps as Risers or Risers Lake).                                      Mr. Nutter has been catching the crappie on live minnows fished 2-4 feet below a slip bobber, and has been catching them up close to cypress trees. He simply crosses over Dead Lake and fishes down the outside line of cypress trees. He stresses that you need not fret over getting your bait hung in the cypress stumps--you will get hung up from time to time, and if you don't, then you aren't fishing close enough to the structure to really find the fish.

The crappie bite has been shutting down once the day starts to heat up, but Mr. Nutter has a remedy for when this happens. He crosses back over Dead Lake and trolls up that outside line of cypress trees, dunking nightcrawlers for bream, which have been hitting readily.

PhotosByBrianCope: Ken Nutter does battle with a Dead Lake crappie in Sparkleberry Swamp. A sampling of Nutter's catch on a recent outing.