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