Tuesday, June 29, 2010

America's Great Outdoors - Longleaf Pine

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to Charleston on Monday June 28 to hold a 'listening session' concerning Longleaf Pine Restoration. Secretary John Vilsack was introduced by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley at the Founder's Hall facility at Charles Towne Landing. Riley said, "This historic location where the colony was founded in 1670 is fitting as we meet to talk about longleaf pines which used to occur here and across the Southeast." Secretary Vilsack said, "At one point there was 90 million acres of longleaf pines and today there is more like 3.4 million acres. Hunters, anglers and multi-generational small private landowners are very important to the rural areas where longleaf restoration is most likely to occur." With most of the Southeast in private hands, it is certain that whatever happens will be with their support. A panel discussion ensued with speakers from the Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and several others. In a separate press conference Secretary Vilsack said, "Forest lands are important to people in this region and I bring the President's message for conservation of our natural resources." The listening session ended with breakout groups to address what works on the ground, what are the challenges ahead, and what should the role of the federal government look like?

PhotosByJeffDennis: Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Clemson Extension Agent Bob Franklin from Colleton County and E.J. Williams of the Longleaf Alliance - Bob Franklin will be retiring very soon and LowcountryOutdoors looks forward to trying to keep up with him in retirement

Monday, June 28, 2010

Carolina Billfish Classic

MidlandsOutdoors.com visited the Lowcountry this past weekend to experience the Carolina Billfish Classic, held out of the beautiful Charleston Harbor Marina. Several tuna, one wahoo, and many mahi-mahi were brought to the scales, including Anne Brady Moore Carlson's 62.4-pounder that won the mahi category. It's always good to see youth involved in the sport of fishing, so I was glad to see 15-year old Dylan Wallace of North Charleston and 8-year old Maken Glover, both fishing aboard Scout 34, walk the dock toward the scale with a pair of mahi-mahi on the final day of the event.

A number of conservation organizations were also on hand including the Billfish Foundation, whose goal is to advance the conservation of billfish and other species. Vendors were also present, and one such vendor is a midlands-based company called the Blue Water Shirt Club. Based in Florence, the Blue Water Shirt Club is a portion of International Cotton, which offers full-service screenprinting and embroidery and can handle jobs as small as a single shirt order, and as large as anyone in the industry. The Blue Water Shirt Club portion of the business offers a unique service to club members. Join the club, and you'll receive a new t-shirt every month from their collection. This won't be a mass-produced t-shirt that you'll find in any store, but a one-of-a-kind shirt that features graphics of an offshore boat, tackle store, or marina. To join the club, or to get a quote on screen printing or embroidery, visit http://www.bluewatershirtclub.com/

To see the full list of winners from the Carolina Billfish Classic, visit http://www.fishcbc.com/, and for your next vacation, consider visiting the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina (http://www.charlestonharborresort.com/).

PhotosByBrianCope: Forced out of Louisiana's Gulf waters due to the oil spill, Capt. Jason Woodham and crew of Trust Fun were happy to get this 39.4-lb dolphin during the Carolina Billfish Classic. This graphic shows one of the t-shirts members of the Blue Water Shirt Club have received in the past. Maken "Dolphin Slayer" Glover, who caught several mahi-mahi in his two days of fishing this event, poses with Dylan Wallace, who won the youth angler division with this 12-pound mahi-mahi.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lake Wateree CATT Tournament

Lake Wateree has been a solid largemouth bass lake this year, and last Saturday, 25 teams of anglers lined up against one another to fish in the Carolina Angler's Team Trail's 3rd tournament of 2010. Fishing out of Clearwater Cove, first place saw a slight dip in winning weights compared to the two previous tournaments. Still, 18 lbs, 13 ozs was a solid performance by Brad Keels and Steven Lynch, and put $550 in their pockets.

2nd place was a pair of Lake Wateree mainstays. Walt Almond and Chad Rabon brought 16 lbs, 14 ozs to the scale, and thanks to the bonus money, they collected more than the winning team. $620 was the payoff for their efforts.

A close 3rd place, with a total weight of 16-8, including the Big Fish award with a 5+ pounder, Jimmy McFarland and Calvin Griggs took home $375.

The CATT visits Clearwater Cove on Lake Wateree again this weekend. Stop into http://www.midlandsoutdoors.com/ for results.

PhotoByCATT: Brad Keels and Steven Lynch took 1st place in the June 19th CATT tournament at Lake Wateree.

Carolina Angler's Team Trail-Santee

Last Saturday, June 19th, fishing out of Pack's Landing, 11 teams faced off in CATT's 2nd Summer Qualifier of the Santee-Cooper Division. Bass fishing in the area has been tough, and this tournament was no exception. Only 7 teams brought fish to the scales, and the top weight was 14.58 lbs. Randy Griffis and Chris Gramling got the well-deserved win, picking up Big Fish with a 6.85 lb bass to boost their winnings to $402.

Larry Avins and Joe Avin finished in 2nd place with a total weight of 12.53 lbs, taking home $255.

2nd place Big Fish went to the 7th place team of Brett Mitchell and Jerry Montjoy, who took home $33 for their 3.91 lb. largemouth.

Tournament director/founder Brett Collins looks for the fishing to pick up on Santee-Cooper by the next time the trail stops at Pack's Landing. That will be July 10, and Collins says the fishing improves in the area as the weather heats up.

For more information on the Carolina Angler's Team Trail, visit their website at http://www.carolinaanglersteamtrail.com/.

PhotoCourtesyOfCATT: Randy Griffis and Chris Gramling pose with their 14.58 lb sack.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RiverBassin' Tournament Trail Makes NC/SC Stop

The River Bassin' Tournament Trail presented by Bass Pro Shops will make a stop in the North Carolina/South Carolina area this weekend, with the captain's meeting taking place Friday, June 25th at the Charlotte Bass Pro Shops. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Fishing will start at first safe light on Saturday, with weigh-in at 4:30, also at the Charlotte Bass Pro Shops. Anglers can fish on any river or tributary of a river within a certain radius around the weigh-in spot. For this tournament, anglers can fish anywhere from downtown Charlotte all the way up to Galax, Virginia, and all the way down to Columbia, South Carolina.

The River Bassin' Tournament Trail is in its inaugural season, and this weekend will mark its 4th stop of the series. The trail consists of anglers fishing for all black bass--the most common of which are largemouth and smallmouth, but also include bartram (or Bartram's) bass, Suwannee bass, spotted bass, and shoal bass. Anglers typically fish out of kayaks or canoes during this trail's format, and anglers follow the 'CPR' format, which stand for Catch, Photo, Release. Anglers are furnished a measuring device at the captain's meeting, along with a unique photo identifier that must be present in all photos. The weigh-in is made up of tournament directors studying everyone's photo cards and determining the winners based on the total overall length of each participants' top 3 bass.

Prizes consist of new kayaks by Jackson Kayak and NuCanoe, Bass Pro Shops gift cards, Kokatat life vests, and much more. Read more about the trail and sign up to participate at http://www.riverbassintrail.com/.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Costa sunglasses blog - News and more

Costa Sunglasses has launched a new foray into social media with its blog about conservation news, fishing adventures and new product releases. The new site can be accesses at www.the wateryrave.com. Want to read about the crew of the Expedition Great White? Than check out the new site. Maybe locals will post their perspectives on the ongoing oil spill, or post videos of what they are witnessing. Since it is an open forum format, perhaps someone you know will have a report to share with others in the future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fishers of Men Lake Murray Tournament

The Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail (FMNTT) Low Country Division held its June tournament on the 12th on Lake Murray out of Dreher Island. 34 teams fished the event, with Kent and Shannon Ware taking top honors with a bag weighing 17.71 lbs.

Sean Anderson and George Berry came in a close 2nd with 16.38 lbs., and Joey Sabbagah and Mark McCormick rounded out the top 3 with 15.55 lbs.

The FMNTT is a faith-based, non-denominational ministry which spreads their message through professionally run fishing tournaments. The trail began in 1998 and is now one of the biggest fishing tournament trails in the nation. The trail has two divisions--the tournament division and the legacy division. Both divisions are made up of two-man teams, but the legacy division teams are made up of one angler 19-years of age or older, and an angler that is younger than 19.

Professional angler Al Odom, a midlands resident, began the tournament trail and is the national president. For more information on the trail, visit their website at http://www.fomntt.com/.

PhotoCourtesyOfwww.fomntt.com: Shannon and Kent Ware with the weighmaster, showing their winning creel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trout Unlimited-Saluda River Chapter

The Saluda River Chapter of Trout Unlimited held their monthly meeting at Saluda Shoals Park on June 14th. Keith Cloud, Outings and Membership Coordinator, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the crowd, and it was easy to see why the other members spoke highly of his shore-lunches. Barron's Outfitters (http://www.barronsoutfitters.com/) was on hand to pass out discount cards to TU members, and raffle tickets were sold for a fly rod to be given away at the South Carolina TU fall Council Meeting on October 9th. The rod is a TXL Sage 7'10", 3-weight, 3-piece beauty, and it comes with an aluminum tube and cloth sock.

The Saluda River Chapter of TU spreads the values of Trout Unlimited through introductory fly-fishing classes, monthly meetings, banquets, and several chapter outings throughout the year. Recent trips include North Carolina's Green River and Pigeon River, Arkansas' White River, and the Watauga River in Tennessee, among others.

The Saluda Chapter meets once a month, usually at the Green Quad Learning Facility on the USC Campus in Columbia. There will be no meeting in July, but the meetings will resume in August.

Saluda Shoals Park is a part of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, and offers opportunities for anglers and nature lovers, and families looking to enjoy the great outdoors. Visit their website at http://www.icrc.net/saludashoals/. Learn more about the Saluda Chapter of Trout Unlimited at http://www.saludatu.org/.

PhotosByBrianCope: The Saluda River Chapter patch. This Sage 3-wt is being raffled off. The Trout Crossing sign lets members know where the TU meeting is, but they could probably tell by Keith Cloud's grilling in the background anyway.

Monday, June 14, 2010

B.A.S.S Federation Tournament Results-Lake Wateree

The SC BASS Federation held their Lake Wateree tournament from Clearwater Cove this past weekend and 21 anglers participated. Gregory Rickard of Leesville came out on top, weighing in a 5-fish limit that went 16.4 lbs. Jason Holland of Kings Mountain, NC was a close 2nd, with 5 fish that weighed 16.12 lbs. after losing 1/4-lb for a dead fish penalty. Larry Rollings of Hartsville also lost 1/4-lb for a dead fish at the weigh-in, and finished in 3rd place with 13.4 lbs.

The day was extremely hot, and that seemed to take its toll on the fish, with 4 of the top 5 anglers bringing at least one dead fish to the weigh-in, and one angler, 4th place finisher Carlton Thompkins, losing 1/2-lb for bringing in two dead fish.

Holland brought in the big fish of the day with a 5.71 largemouth.

The SC BASS Federation is an affiliate of the national BASS Federation. The SC Federation has over 800 members and 62 clubs. These anglers compete in state trail tournaments and all have the opportunity to qualify for the Super Bowl of fishing events, the Bassmaster Classic. To join the SC BASS Federation, visit their website at http://www.scbassfed.org/.

PhotoByBrianCope: Michael Spinks shows why Clearwater Cove is such a popular pick for tournament trails fishing on Lake Wateree.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Remington Outdoor Foundation - DU donation

The Remington Outdoor Foundation (ROF) is the philanthropic arm of Remington Arms Company and they have just donated $250,000 to Ducks Unlimited. Not only that, the ROF will make two additional payments to DU that will qualify for 'match' grants that will total $3 million dollars. The money will go towards DU's Rescue The Duck Factory campaign that was launched in 2008 to save high priority waterfowl breeding wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakotas. Waterfowlers in S.C. need to recognize that a fair amount of migratory waterfowl that visit the Palmetto State come from the central flyway nesting grounds. ROF president Jim Moore said, "Conserving wild places is an integral part of our mission to encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors." ROF also has a brand new website, www.OutdoorRoadMap.com, that aims to become the flagship source for online information regarding hunting and conservation. That is, if they can keep up with MidlandsOutdoors!!

PhotoByJeffDennis(SC DU State Media Chair): A hunting memory made on a private property in the Santee Delta that is under a conservation easement with Ducks Unlimited

Friday, June 11, 2010

Upcoming Striper Tournament Boasts $4000 Purse

The Midlands Striper Club is teaming up with Hydro Glow for a night tournament June 18-19 out of Jake's Landing on Lake Murray. The tournament will begin on June 18 at 6:30pm and run until 10:00am the following morning.

Hydro Glow makes lights for night-fishing and has several models of fishing lights, all of which use green light technology, giving a soft green glow to the water you're fishing in. These lights are placed under the surface of the water, attracting baitfish in the water--and not bugs in your boat. Hydro Glow is throwing in some bonus money for winners who utilize their products during the tournament.

The top 10 places will win prize money, and other prizes, such as Lady Angler and Youth Angler, will be awarded as well. The captain's meeting will be Friday, June 18 at 5:00pm at Jake's Landing. Midlands Striper Club will donate the proceeds from this event to the South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources for striped bass stocking and research throughout the Palmetto State.

For more information on the tournament and on Midlands Striper Club, visit their website at http://www.midlandsstriperclub.org/. To find out more about Hydro Glow fishing lights, visit http://www.hydroglow.com/

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lake Murray CATT

The latest Lake Murray Carolina Angler's Team Trail tournament was held June 5, and the winning team outpaced the runners-up by over 8 lbs. Howard Stephens of Columbia teamed up with Mark McCormick and caught a 5-bass limit which weighed 23 lbs. 6 ozs. Their 6 lb 14 oz largemouth was good for 1st place big fish, and the team took home $444.00.

Saluda's Sean Anderson and Batesburg's George Berry finished 2nd with 5 bass that weighed 15 lb 4 ozs. They won $400.00 after collecting the Bonus Bucks.

This Saturday, the CATT will once again visit Lake Murray from the Dreher Island Landing.

PhotoByBrettCollins: Mark McCormick and Howard Stephens took 1st place overall and 1st place big fish.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CATT Wateree Tournament

The Carolina Angler's Team Trail (CATT) held its 2nd tournament of the summer on Lake Wateree this past Saturday. The results show promising signs for the largemouth fishery at Wateree. Numerous bass in the 5-6 lb. range were weighed in, and the winning sack was over 22 lbs!

Steve Phillips of Lugoff fished alone, and his 5-fish limit tipped the scales at 22.5 lbs. He won $1040 for the day.

Coming in 2nd place, Chad Gainey and Cleve Yarborough had to rely on their biggest fish (which was also big fish of the tournament) to break a tie between them and John Cowart and Sam Jacoby. The 6 lb, 7 oz bucketmouth pushed Gainey and Yarborough into 2nd place with a payday of $563. Cowart and Jacoby walked away with $337 and their bag was aided by their big fish, a 5 lb, 13 oz. bruiser which was good for 2nd place in the big fish category.

The Carolina Angler's Team Trail is made up of a series of tournaments held on several lakes throughout North and South Carolina, and paid out over $146,000 in 2009. The trail has expanded for 2010 and looks to pay out even more this year. For more information about the CATT, visit their website at http://www.carolinaanglersteamtrail.com/.

PhotoByBrettCollins: Steve Phillips shows off two of the bass that helped him to Saturday's win at Lake Wateree.

Monday, June 7, 2010

SC Wildlife Magazine Back Issues Free to Teachers

The SCDNR's award-winning publication, South Carolina Wildlife Magazine, has helped many people--young and old alike--learn about conservation and the state's natural resources. The DNR currently has a large amount (approx. 35,000 copies) of magazines from 2008 and 2009. These magazines are being offered free to South Carolina's teachers and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Due to budget cuts, magzines cannot be mailed. They can, however, be picked up on June 14 at the Rosewood Storage Facility (http://rosewoodselfstorage.com/) in Columbia. DNR staff members will be on hand to help load the magazines, and teachers may take as many copies of each issue as desired. Appointments are not necessary, and any magazines left over will be recycled, so please spread the word and help our teachers share the great outdoors with their students through this great magazine which is well-known for its wonderful photographs and great writing.

PhotosCourtesyOfSCDNR: These magazine covers show just a sample of the great photography present in each issue of SC Wildlife Magazine.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

DU Collegiate Sweet 16 - USC No. 16

The tally for 2009 is in for the Ducks Unlimited college chapters initiative. More than $550,000 was raised on college campuses and the top chapters then competed in a Sweet sixteen bracket-style competition to see who came out on top. Congratulations go to East Carolina University of North Carolina for being the 2009 DU collegiate champion.

The North Carolina State DU chapter, led by Trent Nelson, finished third in the collegiate Sweet 16. The wolfpack chapter has the distinction of holding the record for dinner event attendance In North Carolina. They have an annual DU banquet where just under 1000 people show up to participate, which their large committee of banquet planners is responsible for selling them their tickets.

The Citadel Ducks Unlimited Chapter in Charleston, South Carolina finished in fourth place in the Sweet 16 competition behind the strength of their Sponsor Skeet Shoot event. Led by Caleb Rodgers, the Citadels’ dinner banquet fundraiser has been steadily improving. And with three of the top four spots firmly in the grasp of the Carolinas, there can be little doubt about the high value that is placed upon the enjoyment of the outdoors by young people in the Carolinas!

Cabell Barrow of Charlotte is DU’s University Chapter Coordinator and said, “It is truly inspiring to see these young adults join together in the name of waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Each and every collegiate chapter in the nation helps to secure our hunting and outdoor heritage.” Those interested in more information about the collegiate chapters can call Barrow at 864-380-1498.

UNC-Wilmington grabbed sixth place in the Sweet 16 competition. Clemson University finished in eighth place and has held a spot in the Sweet 16 for several years running, raising tens of thousands of dollars annually for DU. The University of South Carolina took the final spot in the Sweet 16 with signature events like oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

D.O.A. Lures - June Saltwater Column

Captain Mark Nichols was in South Carolina recently and subsequently gave some tips to local anglers about how to best use his D.O.A. shrimp to catch some 'stupid' fish. Here's the link:

PhotoByJeffDennis: Capt. Mike Able Jr and Capt. Mark Nichols out in the boat in Gray Bay

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Palmetto Wild! e-zine - Red drum article

The South Carolina Wildlife Federation has put together its first ever glossy magazine called Palmetto Wild! It has an article from SCWF Board Chair Clinch Heyward about different ways to enjoy the bounty of South Carolina's outdoors. The 7th annual SCWF photo contest winners are in the magazine too! Lowcountryoutdoors.com was honored to contribute an article on fishing for red drum - to view the entire e-zine just click on this link. To fast forward to the fishing article use the upper left 'Table of Contents' menu and select Fish For Red Drum.

PhotoByJeffDennis: SCDNR biologist John Archambault prepares to release a tagged red drum