Saturday, July 31, 2010

Virtual Fishing

Most kayak fishing tournaments are done in the CPR format, which stands for Catch, Photo, Release. Usually, competitors meet just before the tournament starts and are given a unique photo identifier that must be in all of their fish photos. Then the tournament begins, and everyone meets back at a certain time for the "weigh-in," which is actually more like a slide show where tournament judges look over all the photos and determine the winners. During the event, the fish are laid out on measuring devices with the photo identifiers lying next to the fish, and a photo is snapped.

It's a pretty good system, for tournament organizers, anglers, and the fish, which are let go immediately in the same area they were caught, unlike tournaments that release fish at the docks after live weigh-ins.

Chad Hoover has taken this tournament format one step further. There is no captain's meeting, and anglers compete against other fishermen all over the nation. The unique photo identifiers are printed out by anglers, and photos of fish are posted on the forum. Each tournament lasts a month, and prizes range from Hobie kayaks, Wilderness Systems kayaks, G. Loomis rods, and Secret Weapons Lure packages, to a copy of Hoover's book, Kayak Bass Fishing.

Aside from the monthly tournaments, there is an overall Hobie Pro Angler Big Bass season champion. This award goes to the angler with the 4 biggest fish caught during the year.

Sign up now for the Awful August challenge where the angler with the biggest bass wins a Wilderness Systems kayak valued at $1275. Entry fee is $20, and you don't even have to rent a hotel room to fish a designated spot. You fish your own waters, and you don't have to worry about giving away those honey holes to competing anglers, most of which live hundreds of miles away from you. Check out the website at to see all the challenges.

PhotoByBrianCope: This largemouth put me in 20th place in the July "Sweatin' the Points" challenge, but I was knocked out of the top 20 on July 30th.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Midlands Kayak Angler Catches 42-inch Redfish

Sumter's Dalton Reames caught what he calls his fish of a lifetime Saturday afternoon in the Hunting Island area of Beaufort County. After several hours of fishing with nothing to show for it, Reames' persistence paid off with a 42-inch redfish that pulled him and his kayak, a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, through Johnson Creek on a lowcountry sleigh ride.

Reames had been fishing under the Johnson Creek bridge for sheepshead, but after having no luck, he decided to troll through the creek with a mud minnow. He's had a lot of luck trolling in this part of Beaufort County, so when it felt like his kayak got bumped, he knew it was really a fish on his line. He set the hook and reeled in the fish, which went on a run when it saw the kayak. This happened multiple times over several minutes before the fish finally played itself out and Reames was able to haul the fish aboard for a photo. When he returned the fish to the water, it was too worn out to swim off, so Reames entered the water to help revive the fish, which then swam off unharmed.

PhotosByRichieBoykin: Reviving the fish from the kayak wasn't working, so Reames entered the water to help the fish, which finally swam off unharmed. Catching this fish was a great feat, but ensuring the fish was healthy is what makes this angler a true sportsman.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kayak Angler Magazine - Spotlight's S.C.

It's hot outside, but it's never too hot for freshwater bass action - the hotter the better! Kayak angler Brian Cope of Sumter, S.C. is getting fired up about the hot summer days of August that are fast approaching. Getting on the water in a kayak is a great way to stay close to a refreshing splash of H2O, and casting topwater lures for lurking bucketmouths to seek out the crash of a game fish helps to pass the time. Largemouth bass are featured in this article, but many of the tactics can be applied to smallmouth bass as well. Brian Cope regularly fishes saltwater, and turned in a fine showing at the IFA/Hobie Kayak Tournament back on March 21 in Charleston.

To view the article and get access to Brians' Pro Tips go to:

PhotoProvided: Brian with a largemouth bass, wearing his PSE Archery ballcap (

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apply Now for Oak Lea, Tuomey Dove Hunts

Oak Lea Wildlife Management Area in Clarendon County and Tuomey Wildlife Management Area will be holding public dove hunts on Sept. 4, the opening day of dove season. This is the first time the SCDNR will hold public drawings for these hunts. This move was prompted by DNR's desire to improve the quality of these hunts and to ensure the safety of all involved. The deadline to apply for these hunts is Aug. 13.

Participating hunters will be selected on Aug. 17 during a public drawing, and 150 hunters will be chosen to try their luck at Oak Lea's dove field, while 75 will receive permission to hunt the dove field at Tuomey.

It's free to apply for either hunt, and up to 5 people can apply to hunt together. Everyone who applies will receive notice by Aug. 23, letting them know if they've been selected or not. Selected hunters are required to have their notice, as well as the appropriate hunting license, with them at all times during the hunt.

Don't let the deadline sneak up on you. You can apply by writing or typing out the following information: which hunt applied for, mailing address, telephone number, and each participant's name and age. Mail applications to: 
SCDNR Office
Oak Lea Dove Hunt Application (or Tuomey Dove Hunt Application)
Attn: Willie Simmons
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202

Applications can also be faxed to (803) 734-6020

Photo: Dove hunting provides fun and fellowship, with a tasty meal in the near future.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gulf Savers - Donate for Habitat and Wildlife

What can a Sandlapper do to help with the situation caused by the oil spill in the Gulf? Basically, sending money is likely the best option to ensure that needs are met with exactly the right equipment. Two options concerning donations have come to the attention of LowcountryOutdoors, and the residents along the Gulf states have certainly been on our minds and in our prayers. Gulf Savers at are asking for $25 donations that will go towards Wetland Restoration Solutions. Further information can be gleaned from Gulf Savers surrogate Want to work within the Palmetto state to raise funds for the gulf? A partnership has been struck between Upstate Forever, the S.C. Wildlife Federation and the Coastal Conservation League with drop-off locations in each part of the state. Ben Gregg of the SCWF said, "Donating supplies and gift cards is one way to directly and immediately make a positive impact." Gift cards should be to stores like Staples, Home Depot, Target, Walmart and REI because the volunteers on the ground need items like GPS units, clipboards and backpacks. For more information visit the Internet at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Night Hunting Laws

A good Midlands hog.
The South Carolina General Assembly has made changes to the Palmetto State's night hunting laws, adding coyotes, armadillos, and hogs to the list of animals that can be legally hunted at night.

Coyotes and armadillos share identical restrictions. Hunters are allowed to have an artificial light that is attached to them by way of helmet or hat, or part of a belt system worn by the hunter. Rifles no larger than .22 caliber rimfire, shotguns with shot size BB or smaller, or a sidearm of any caliber with iron sights and a barrel-length of 9 inches or shorter are allowed. No scopes are allowed on any firearms and no laser sights, light-emitting devices, or light-enhancing devices are allowed on the firearms. It is also illegal to hunt coyotes and armadillos from a vehicle unless a special permit is received from the DNR.

The laws are a little different for hunting hogs at night. The main difference is that for hunting hogs, no long guns are permitted. Only sidearms with a barrel-length not to exceed 9 inches are allowed, and these sidearms must have iron sights. As with hunting coyotes and armadillos, hunters may wear a light on their head or on a belt system, and the sidearms are not allowed to have lights, lasers, or scopes attached. It is legal to hunt hogs at night with dogs while following these firearms restrictions.

With these new laws in effect the SCDNR wishes to stress that it is still illegal to hunt deer at night by any means.

PhotoByBrianCope: The new night hunting laws make it legal to hunt during night-time hours for coyotes, armadillos, and hogs like this Midlands specimen, which was killed last year along the banks of the Wateree River in the Horatio area of SC.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fishin' at the Prison

Midlands area anglers have a good fishing resource that many don't know about. While the thought of visiting a prison to get your fishing fix may seem odd to some, don't let it keep you from experiencing some jam-up fishing.

The Wateree River Correctional Institution has a well-maintained pond and some other fishing waters that are open to the public, and these waters hold some nice largemouth, bream, and crappie. According to Keith Hunter, who has been fishing at the prison for over 15 years, at least one 10-pound largemouth has been caught each year out of these fishing grounds.

And there are no worries about this being inside the gates of a prison. The fishing grounds are secluded with no interaction, or even sightings of, inmates.

Getting a pass is easy. Just drive to the main gate off of Hwy. 261 between Boykin and Horatio and ask for a fishing application. It will take about 2 weeks to get approval, and then you can fish on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. Small boats are allowed, and electric motors are also approved. It's always good to have access to a pond, and this is a good one to add to your inventory.

PhotosByBrianCope: Ponds like the one at Wateree River Correctional Institution are always great for putting kids on bream. While this largemouth isn't a trophy, it's a healthy fish that shows the potential of one of WRCI's ponds, shown in the bottom photo.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pageland Watermelon Festival

Pageland, SC bills itself as the Watermelon Capital of the World, and each July since 1951, folks have gathered in this midlands town to celebrate that round green and pink fruit that South Carolinians love to snack on.

Watermelon seed spitting contests, watermelon eating contests, car shows, beauty pageants, and more highlight the festival. The 2010 version of the festival was held this past weekend, when the town population swelled from 3000 to over 30,000. In addition to the previously-mentioned activities, festival-goers enjoyed live music, parades, amusement rides, softball games, and a rodeo.

Plan to make it to next year's Watermelon Festival, and see why Pageland is known as The Perfect Slice of Life. For more information, visit the Pageland Chamber of Commerce website at

Photos: Watermelon art is popular at the Pageland Watermelon Festival. Now THAT's a BIG watermelon! A few of the autos in the Watermelon Festival Car Show.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

CATT Bass Tournament--Santee

Brett Mitchell and Wayne Frierson stuck it to the bass--and the competition--in the latest Carolina Angler's Team Trail tournament on Lake Santee. Fishing out of Pack's Landing, the duo teamed up to land an impressive catch from what has been a tough lake to fish in recent months. 18.24 lbs is what they brought to the scale on their way to a $650 payday.

The 2nd place team of Chris Brunson and Nelson Walker weighed in 15.76 lbs, and took home $245.

Check out the full standings and see the latest CATT happenings by visiting

PhotosCourtesyOfCATT: Brett Mitchell took first place, bringing more than 2 full pounds of fish to the scale than the 2nd place team of Chris Brunson and Nelson Walker.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vote YES - on The Right to Hunt and Fish

In November there will be many choices for registered voters of the Palmetto State to make decisions about the political leadership, and to decide other issues and rights. One such example is the Referendum on South Carolinian's constitutional right to hunt and fish - yes, it's on the same ballot as the Governor's race. On Monday July 12 the SC Camo Coalition's steering committee ( met in Columbia to discuss getting the word out to sportsmen, their families, and other parties that seek to hold up the right to hunt and fish in S.C. as a positive and permanent form of outdoor recreation. With only 5000 'e-mail' members and virtually no funding, this is going to be a Grass Roots campaign, and education about this upcoming vote will be a priority for MidlandsOutdoors. Whether a hunter or an angler, skeet shooter, conservationist, nature-watcher, forest landowner or mother (women are the fastest-growing subset of sporting enthusiasts) - we need to be unified come November about the Vote Yes campaign for the Right to Hunt and Fish. The National Rifle Association has begun a campaign to educate its membership via their position on the Second Ammendment, and more information may be found at Why is this referendum important? It ensures that future hunting and fishing rights are not challenged by "Anti" hunting groups. While there has not been much attention by the "Anti's" in S.C. - did you know that PETA was behind the forced curtailment of egg sales by a religious organization in Moncks Corner?

Many S.C. families owe our sporting heritage some acknowledgement for all the times that ancestors provided for loved ones from the bounty of natural resources in the Palmetto state.

Vote Yes in November to continue a responsible and sustainable harvest for all time.

PhotoByJohnGribb: Two sportsmen share fellowship over a boykin spaniel, the S.C. state dog, while in pursuit of Gentleman Bob - the prince of gamebirds. Vote Yes to ensure moments like this in the future!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Costa - Jose frames and PCB lens debut

Costa sunglasses is further cementing its legacy of partnership with fishermen by announcing its debut of the new 'Jose' sunglass style - named after legendary angler Jose Wejebe from the TV show Spanish Fly. These frames are made of indestructible nylon and provide a comfortable 'forget-they're-on' fit, and they come in black or tortoise. Jose Wejebe said, "I've been wearing Costa's for years, and for them to name a new style after me is like a badge of honor." Costa is in Las Vegas today with most of the nation's fishing specialists at the ICAST show, or International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. Costa is also rolling out its new polycarbonate (PCB) lenses to fit the 'Jose' frame, orany of its other existing frames. The new lens will come in the highest grade, known as the 580 lens, but will be more lightweight and impact resistant than its 580 predecessors that are made of glass. Glass lenses are still available in popular colors like blue mirror and green mirrow, and 580 Polycarbonate color options include grey, copper and amber. Consult the web for more information at and

PhotoProvidedByCosta: The new 'Jose' frames and 580PCB lens

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Team Catchall Wins Hydroglow Stiper Tournament

Captain Lee Thomas and Team Catchall won the Midlands Striper Club Hydroglow night fishing tournament on Lake Murray, besting 31 other teams. A total of 91 anglers fished the event, with 26 of the 32 teams bringing in fish to weigh.

Team Catchall brought 4 fish in for a total of 35 lbs, 2 ozs, including the Big Fish of the tournament, a 15+ pounder. 2nd place was Team Wildman, which weighed in 4 fish totaling 31 lbs, 10 ozs. Team Rocky Bottom placed 3rd with 29 lbs, 3 ozs.

PhotoByMSC: Capt. Lee Thomas, Weston Thomas, and Kreg Frady make up Team Catchall, winners of the Hydroglow Open Fishing Tournament, are pictured here with the Big Fish, a 15+ pounder.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mountain Stream Fishing

MidlandsOutdoors is visiting the cold water streams of Western North Carolina and my nephew joined me as we got out to do some fishing in Cane Creek, a Mountain Heritage and Blue Water Trout Stream that flows through the little hamlet of Bakersville. A few inches of rain that fell last night brought the water level up a little higher than normal and clouded the water. This didn't keep the fish from biting, but those that bit were all very small. Small rainbows, sucker fish, and a few "redeye" bass were landed during our outing.

Bakersville, NC is known as the Gateway to Roan Mountain, and home to the annual Rhododendrun Festival as well as the yearly Troutacular Trout Festival. For more information visit

PhotoByBrianCope: My nephew Joe, of Lake City, shows off a small rock bass, also-known-as a redeye bass, caught in Cane Creek. These fish only live in cold water rivers and streams and are similar in size and appearance to a warmouth bream, a popular panfish in the midlands. Click on the photo for a close up to see the obvious reason they are called redeye bass.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brett Collins takes 3rd at ABA Event

Ridgeway’s Brett Collins took 3rd place in an American Bass Anglers ( event held out of Clearwater Cove on Lake Wateree June 26th. This was no small feat for the Midlands angler, considering his own tournament trail series, the Carolina Angler’s Team Trail, was holding three events on that same day—one also from Clearwater Cove.

One of only 2 anglers to bring a limit to the scales, Collins weighed in 5 fish that totaled 13.79 lbs including a chunky 4.79-pounder. He was surrounded in the tournament standings by a couple of other Midlands anglers. Lugoff’s Steve Phillips took 2nd place in the event with 15.45 lbs, and was the other angler to bring 5 bass to the weigh-in. Wayne King of Sumter took 4th place, weighing in 3 fish for 10.56 lbs.

Photo: Brett Collins weighs in at the recent ABA event.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Striper Regulations

As of July 1st, there are new regulations for striper fishing in Lake Russell, the inshore waters and territorial sea, and the Santee and Cooper River systems.

For Lake Russell, no more than 2 striped bass may be taken or possessed, and only one of these fish can exceed 34 inches in length. These new regulations cover all waters from the Lake Russell Dam to the Lake Hartwell Dam and the Lake Secession Dam.

The new laws for inshore waters and territorial sea waters states that no more than 3 striped bass may be kept, no striped bass over 26-inches may be kept, and no striped bass may be possessed without the head and tail fin intact.

In the Santee and Cooper River Systems, no striped bass may be harvested between June 1 and October 30. This is a continuation of a law that has been on the books for a couple of years. However, while it was legal to practice catch and release on stripers during that time, now it is also unlawful to catch, or attempt to catch, striped bass during this closed season.

PhotoByBrianCope: One of South Carolina's State Fish, the striped bass, comes to the net.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

EC Fishing Club - July Saltwater Column

Check out the saltwater column for the July issue of South Carolina Sportsman magazine:

PhotoByJeffDennis: Ed Kidney and Martin Hox at the Charleston Boat Show in Jan. 2010
PhotoByEdKidney: Jeff and Capt. Brian Garris with redfish and its a 'grown one'

Friday, July 2, 2010

License Renewal Day - July 1

Fishermen! Don't get caught on the water during your July 4th holiday without an up to date fishing license. In South Carolina, all fishing and hunting licenses expire on June 30, and sometimes a simple reminder is all a sportsman needs in order to get 'current.' Going down to the tackle shop is still a good option for renewing licenses because then you can get a recent fishing report as well. Or sportsman can head over to their local DNR office in Columbia for direct dealings with the state agency. Going online for license purchasing is likely the most popular route, or mail in a license query, which allows a laminated license card to be returned in the mail. The laminated license tends to withstand freshwater fishing season, ducks ponds and the like very well. Sportsmen should consult the vendors about what age youths should have a fishing license, and in the case of senior sportsmen - at what age to they qualify for the state's gratis license. NEW this year is the option to purchase a three-year license for hunting and fishing which came from the S.C. General Assembly. The three-year license policy will help generate funds that go towards habitat restoration projects that license fees support, and besides that - anglers have only to remember once every three years to renew that license before fishing on the 4th!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 26th Wateree CATT Tournament Results

The Carolina Angler's Team Trail was back at Lake Wateree last weekend and the hottest team in CATT took away the top spot. Walt Almond of McBee and Chad Rabon of Camden left Wateree $820 richer, catching 5 fish that weighed 19 lbs, 12 ozs.

Coming in 2nd place was the Hartsville team of Dean West and Ryan West. Their limit of fish weighed 17 lbs, 6ozs--good for $275 in prize money.

Gene DuBose of Lynchburg paired up with Billy McIntosh of Wedgefield for 3rd. 14lbs, 11 ozs gave them a 2-ounce lead over the 4th place team of Tim and Craig Haven.

July 10 is the date of the Summer Final of the Carolina Angler's Team Trail on Lake Wateree. 60 teams are eligible to compete in the final based on the 4 qualifying tournaments leading up to the final.

PhotosCourtesyOfCatt: There's not a hotter team on the CATT trail than Wateree's Chad Rabon and Walt Almond, shown here with their winning bag from June 26th's Lake Wateree tournament.