Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beaver VS. Top Water Frog

This beaver didn't like me casting my weedless frog, but he sure liked eating the lily pads....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fishing Video

This is a video of various fishing trips I've made in 2011...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunrift Adventures July Fishing Challenge

I lucked up and won the Sunrift Adventures July Fishing Challenge, an online competition hosted by the South Carolina Kayak Fishing website and sponsored by Sunrift, the premier outfitter of South Carolina's upstate. My prize is a Kayak Essential Package, which includes a bilge pump and some other items that make kayaking safer and more enjoyable.

This largemouth bass helped me win the Sunrift Adventures July Kayak Fishing Challenge

Participating in these monthly challenges is free. All you have to do is be a registered member of the SCKF forum and post photos of your fish throughout the month. For all the details visit SCKF, and for more information on gear for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and cycling, visit http://www.sunrift.com/.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wrecking Crew waterfowl video

The Wrecking Crew Guide Service in Lancaster is now booking early season hunts for Canada Geese and migratory teal. Summer scouting is underway and the September early season will be here very, very soon. Senior guide Darly Hodge is a member of the Drake Waterfowl Systems Pro Staff, and son Blake Hodge is the expert duck and goose caller. Blake has also shown an affinity for videography and shares this video review of their most recent season afield.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Daryl Hodge in the foreground in a coffin blind set up in an ag field

PhotoByChipWolfe: Daryl Hodge, Englis Glover, Blake Hodge and Jeff Dennis after the hunt

Thursday, June 16, 2011

S.C. Waterfowl Association - 2011 Update

Dear SCWA Supporters,
I hope everyone is having a great start to the Summer. I wanted to take a moment to provide you with an update the programs of the South Carolina Waterfowl Association.

David J Wielicki - Executive Director

Wood Duck Production ProjectWood Duck Logo
The nest box checking season is underway. SCWA waterfowl biologist Stuart Cochran and field technician Matt Huggins have started checking nest boxes. The nesting season was off to a great start with good Spring wetland conditions across the state. However, the recent high heat and dry spell could have a negative effect on late nesting and brood survival. We will keep you posted on nesting results. If you are interested in starting a wood duck nest box project give Stuart Cochran a call at 803-600-0742 or email him at scochran@scwa.org.
Waterfowl Population and Habitat Update
Despite our dry conditions the Prairie duck factory is enjoying near record water levels, especially in North Dakota, Southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In late July the US Fish and Wildife Service will publish their waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey results. I expect this year to be one of the best since the surveys began. This should result in large Fall flight of waterfowl with a liberal waterfowl season for all four flyways. The MRP Logofinal season dates will be set in late August. I look forward to keeping you posted.
The waterfowl habitat at our Wildlife Education Center is in great shape thanks to the installation of a new irrigation system. We also installed hog proof fencing to keep wild hogs from damaging our waterfowl crops in our major habitat areas. Three weeks ago we released 3,000 mallards at the Center. We are working hard with Frost Waterfowl and project cooperators across the state to release over 40,000 mallards this summer.
Chapter Banquets
Chapter Banquets are right around the corner. Our first banquet is in Columbia on Saturday, August 13 at the Medallion Center. Chairman David Stanley welcomes anyone who would like to attend or make a contribution to the event. He is always looking for more chapter committee members. David and his committee of dedicated volunteers are working hard to achieve number one chapter status for 2011.
The Summerville banquet is set for Saturday, August 27 at the Dorchester Senior Center. Larry Wells and his committee are looking forward to a great event.

For more information about upcoming events or toFour Color SCWAbecome a part of one of our committees, please visit our website!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Midlands Angler Selected for Mepps Fishing Catalog

Bishopville's Joie McCutchen is a big fan of Mepps Aglia lures, especially when fishing for bluegills and shellcracker in local ponds and in the Wateree River. A photo of her with her favorite lure has been selected for the 2013 Mepps fishing catalog. The photo, which features Joie holding up a nice bluegill by the Aglia, caught the eye of Mepps public relations guru Jim Martinsen. About the photo, Martinsen said "Great catch. Pretty girl. Nice background."

Martinsen went on to say that the 2012 catalog has already gone to print, and that Joie's photo will appear in their 2013 catalog. Sign up to get your free copy of the catalog at http://www.mepps.com/, and check out all their nice fishing lures while you're there.

So does everyone agree with Martinsen about the catch, the girl, and the background? Yeah--I thought so....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wateree River Bream Fishing

The bream bite on the Wateree River is picking up. After all the recent rains, the water levels of the river fluctuated greatly in a short period of time. With no rain in the last few days, things have calmed down and the river is at a good level for navigating and fishing. The bream are spread out, so when you find a good bream hole, it's best to stay put until the bite forces you to leave. Bedding should pick up soon though and they will be easier to find.

Bluegills and shellcracker are being caught out of holes right next to each other, and they are both biting crickets and worms. Artificial lures like Mepps Aglia Spinners are not particularly effective right now, but a few bigger fish are being caught on such lures. Fish are hitting at depths of 3-6 feet, and when you find some bluegills but aren't catching any shellcracker, go about 18 inches deeper and you should pick some up.

Fish around the inside bends where the current is slacker, and you should find fish around any structure like fallen trees. Pay special attention to the big root balls of toppled trees that are lying in the river.

PhotosByBrianCope: A mixed bag of bluegills and shellcrackers crowds Joie McCutchen's stringer.

Joie shows off this shellcracker she caught on a Mepps Aglia spinner.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Midlands Angler Survives Harrowing Day

Sumter resident and tournament angler Mitch Seruya had a great day of fishing during the April 16th Carolina Angler's Team Trail on Lake Marion. With over 20 pounds of fish in the livewell and a storm approaching, he decided to head to the weigh-in spot over 2 hours early for the sake of safety. Due to the storm's early arrival, he didn't make it to the weigh in, but instead ended up clinging to the rocky shoreline of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge's Cuddo Unit, known locally as a hotspot for huge numbers of large alligators.

To see more details of Seruya's ordeal, check out the July issue of South Carolina Sportsman Magazine, where his story will be featured in the "Reader Report" section.

PhotoByMitchSeruya: With nothing to do but watch and wait for help, Seruya photographed his Ranger taking a beating by the April storm which brought lightning, a tornado, and hail his way, as well as 6-foot swells in Santee's big water.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Healthy Forest Reserve Program for Private Landowners

Private landowners are encouraged to apply for a program that is making its first appearance to South Carolina. The Healthy Forest Reserve Program is a program that encourages landowners to restore, enhance, and protect their privately owned forest land through easement agreements with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS will enter cost-share agreements with landowners.

To be eligible for participation in the program, the land must be located in one of the historic longleaf ecosystems which includes virtually all land in the midlands of South Carolina.

If accpeted into the program, the NRCS will pay 100% of the cost for landowners who enter into permanent easement agreements, 75% of the cost for 30-year easement agreements, and 50% of the cost for 10-year easement agreements.

To find out more about this valuable program, visit http://www.sc.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/HFRP.html or visit your local NRCS office, which can be found here: http://www.sc.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/.

Photograph shows a longleaf pine, which is one area of focus for this program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clemson Extension Opens Lake to Fishing

After months of input from the community through meeting and email surveys, Clemson Extension has opened their lake and 2 ponds to fishing by creating the Sandhill Fish Club. This will be the first time fishing has been permitted at the location, and the club will work as a fee-based membership. The membership will be open to the first 100 members that turn in their applications and fees to the Extension's Sandhill office at 560 Civitas Circle.

This first membership will run from April 15 to December 15. Individual membership fees are $120, family memberships are $195. A reduced fee of $95 is available to seniors 65 and older. For more information and an application, visit http://www.clemson.edu/public/rec/sandhill/programs/fishing.html.

Monday, April 4, 2011

River Bassin' Tournament--3rd place

I fished the Charlotte stop of the River Bassin' Tournament Trail this past weekend and put in a tough day of fishing on the Wateree River. I caught a few decent fish and took 3rd place against 26 other anglers.

The River Bassin' Trail is a kayak/canoe fishing tournament format and participants are allowed to fish within 100 miles of the weigh-in spot. The Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills served as that spot Saturday, and I fished the southern-most point within our boundaries. All the rain we had last week made for some tough fishing with most of the rivers having much higher than normal water levels.

I had planned to fish the Broad River because I've had good luck with smallmouth there, but the water there was just too high. So I opted for plan B, putting in at the Wateree Dam and paddling over to a small creek called Grannie's Quarter Creek. I've bream fished this spot and have always caught a few small bass while throwing panfish spinners. I upsized my lure offerings on this day, and totaled six fish. The limit for the River Bassin' Trail is 3, so I was in good shape.

This trail, like most kayak tournament trails, uses the CPR (Catch, Photograph, Release) method of judging fish, so Friday night we all met at Bass Pro Shops and were given a Gorilla Glue icon that was required to appear in all photos, along with the measuring device and the fish. The winning 'stringer' is actually represented by the photos of an angler's three longest fish. My stringer was 45.5 inches.

Eric Boyd of Kings Mountain, NC took the top spot. His 3-fish stringer measured 48.75 inches, including one fish that went over 21 inches. Drew Haerer came in 2nd place with 46.75 inches.

It was a fun event and Drew Gregory and his staff put on a top-notch post-tournament meal and show. The next River Bassin' event will be held in Birmingham, Alabama on April 16, with 13 more stops before the championship in Roanoke, Virginia in early fall. To find out more about the River Bassin' Tournament Trail, visit http://www.riverbassintrail.com/.

PhotosByBrianCope: The River Bassin' Tent greets anglers and visitors to the Concord Mills Bass Pro Shops. This was my biggest fish of the day, and helped me into 3rd place for the tournament.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Fish

This is a great time of year to turn a youngster on to fishing. The cold weather has given way to spring and kids are eager to spend as many hours outdoors as possible. For those kids who have yet to catch their first fish, now is the perfect time to get them to a pond.

Diego Moore recently joined his dad and me to get a cure for his fishing itch. With a cup of nightcrawlers and a pair of Zebco 202 combos, the adults baited hooks and cast out lines, handing the reeling duties off to Diego, who caught 10 bream in about 15 minutes. His reactions ranged from crying to giggling. And every time I see him now, he wants to know "when do we go fishy again?"

Soon Diego. Soon....

PhotosByBrianCope: Fishless no more, Diego Moore shows he has joined the rank of anglers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Catawba River Kayak Fishing

I recently joined professional kayak angler Drew Gregory for a fishing excursion to the Catawba River just below the Lake Wylie Dam. Drew was demonstrating his signature series fishing kayak, the Coosa by Jackson Kayak, and of course a little fishing was in order.
We caught several largemouth bass on the day, and Drew caught a large gar that really put up a fight. The Coosa performed well and has some features that make it a unique river fishing kayak. Drew doesn't care for fishing in lakes, ponds, or the ocean. River fishing is where it's at as far as he is concerned, so he designed the Coosa with that in mind.

One of the river specific features on this kayak is a built-in recessed area for a drag chain, which slows your drift and also keeps your kayak pointed in the desired direction. The Coosa is also very stable for standing up, which is always helpful when fishing for Mr. Bucketmouth.

The Coosa is available at most kayak outfitters, including River Runners in Columbia. Or check out http://www.jacksonkayak.com/.

PhotosByBrianCope: The big swirl of the gar, and the prize fish in Drew's hand. For a junk fish, that sure is a beaut!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Perfect Fishing Weather

The midlands has been blessed with great fishing weather for the past week. Dalton Reames and Morgan Watt took advantage of this over the weekend to fish the Rocky Bluff Swamp that runs through Sumter County. The water was a little too high to find a real hotspot, but the anglers found a few redbreast here and there tossing Beetlespins and other 1/16th-ounce spinners.

No rain is expected this week, and the trees throughout the swamp are budding, which will suck a lot of water from the stream, so the water level should drop quickly. This will concentrate the fish more and make for better fishing next time.

PhotoByBrianCope: Dalton Reames show off a hefty redbreast bream.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SCWF Sponsors Nature Walks This Month

We've been having some great weather in the midlands lately, and it's a great time of year for a nature walk. The South Carolina Wildlife Federation will host two nature walks designed for families. The first will take place March 19 at the Carolina Children's Garden which is located at the Clemson Extension Education Center on Clemson Road in Columbia.

The second walk will be held March 26 at Riverfront Park (4120 River Dr.) Both walks are free, but you must register in advance by emailing sara@scwf.org.

The walks are a part of the National Wildlife Federation's Green Hour Program which stresses the need for kids to get outside for at least an hour a day. Certain plants, rocks, insects, and wildlife will be noted by naturalists leading the walks.

For more information on these walks, and on other programs sponsored by SCWF, visit the Federations website at http://www.scwf.org/.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tree Farmer Volunteer of the year Award

The 65th Anniversary of the S.C. Tree Farm program was commemorated by a Legislative lobby day at the statehouse in Columbia on March 2. Approximately 50 Tree Farm representatives gathered at 8 a.m. to get in a full day of activities, with an equal balance of landowners and forestry professionals attending. As one part of the day-long event, Jeff Dennis was awarded the Master Tree Farmer program 2010 Volunteer of the Year for my work raising awareness about forestry in Colleton County and the ACE Basin. To read more about these efforts please visit Jeff's website at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com and click on the PL-ACE button. As a small private landowner and advocate for the natural resources of the Lowcountry, JeffDennis will continue to showcase the positive aspects of the outdoors. Special thanks go the the House and Senate for passing a resolution in support of the S.C. Tree Farm system's contributions to the forestry industry. For more information on the S.C. Tree Farm click here. Special thanks go to Sen. Chip Campsen for recognizing Volunteer Award recipient from the floor of the Senate, and for being a champion for sportsmen and conservation.

For a report on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Rep. Chip Limehouse recognized Jeff Dennis at the press conference in the capital rotunda and is here with Denise Bonnette, the S.C. Tree Farm Committee Chair; the Tree Farm logo is universal nationwide; members of the Tree Farm green shirt team await the press conference; the Volunteer award plaque was a very sturdy and attractive wood product - most fitting for a Tree Farmer!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wood Duck Box Maintenance

Central Carolina Technical College's Natural Resource Management Program students met with the SCDNR this morning to help do maintenance on the wood duck boxes at Hickory Top WMA. DNR's Chris Orange and Ed Laney were on hand to give instruction on the details of the Wood Duck Box Program, and the students then went about wading through the flooded areas to count eggs, clean out old debris, remark the boxes, and add new shavings for bedding.

Orange warned the students about some of the dangers of this project--including wasps, snakes, and alligators, but fortunately no such pests were encountered this time. The remains of several hatched eggs were found as well as a couple of unhatched eggs.

The boxes are important to wood ducks because they provide additional nesting sites, and are equipped with predator shields that do a much better job at keeping out snakes and such than an unshielded hole in a tree does.

Want to make your own wood duck boxes? Visit this portion of the SCDNR website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/woodduck/index.html.

PhotosByBrianCope: Kellen Thompkins (foreground) and Justin Leviner (behind duck box) are students in CCTC's NRM program, and are seen here checking a wood duck box. These two unhealthy eggs went unhatched, and were discarded prior to installing new wood shavings.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lake Wylie CATT

Bass fishing season is in full swing and that means there is a Carolina Angler's Team Trail event near you. Lake Wylie hosted the Feb 19th CATT tournament, which had 26 teams competing. Doug Gilmer and Tom Russell brought home 1st place, finishing with 14+ pounds of largemouth that netted them a $790 paycheck. See more info at South Carolina Sportsman Magazine.

There is plenty of time to get in on the CATT Trail for 2011. It's turning into one of the biggest tournament trails in the state, offering anglers a chance to compete against some stiff competition without too much travel. There are complete trails on lakes Wylie, Santee, Wateree, and Murray, and a CATT Classic Championship at the end of the season. Where is the next stop? Find out at http://www.catttrail.com/.

PhotosByCATT: Bill Brier shows off his 5 lb 9 oz lunker that took the Big Fish award and pushed him into 4th place.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lake Murray BFL Produces Four 20+ lb Bags

The warming trend the midlands has enjoyed for the past week really turned on the fish for the WalMart BFL tournament held Saturday, March 19 at Lake Murray. The weigh-in, which took place at Dreher Island State Park, saw 4 anglers catch limits of bass that exceeded 20 lbs. Two of those anglers tied for 2nd place with their 20 lb, 5 oz bags. Top spot went to Blacksburg's Jeremy Wilson, with 21 lbs, 6 ozs.

For more information and photos on the tournament, check out the coverage from SC Sportsman at http://www.southcarolinasportsman.com/lpca/index.php?section=reports&event=view&action=full_report&id=139701

PhotoByBrianCope: This 8+ pounder was one of several big fish weighed in at the tournament.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

50 Attend Clemson Extension Fishing Meeting

Sign up for email updates concerning fishing in
Clemson Extension's Sandhill Pond.
Clemson Extension has long had a pond used for research at their midlands Sandhill facility in Columbia, and while the pond has never been open to fishing by the public, that could soon change. Stan Perry, who is the Special Projects Director at the Sandhill site, held a meeting at the end of January to speak about the possibility of opening the pond with controlled access. 50 interested anglers attended the meeting, where Perry talked about the issue.

No changes were made at the meeting, but Perry says upcoming announcements will be forthcoming, and may come after addtional surveys with the public are done. To ensure you're up to speed on any updates, sign up for the email distribution list by sending an email to shrec@clemson.edu. In the subject line, type "fishing list" and include your name in the body of the email.

Friday, February 11, 2011

SCWF Names New Board Members and Chairman

The South Carolina Wildlife Federation has added four board members and announced the election of a new Chairman.

Dan Scheffing resides in the midlands town of Andrews and serves as the Senior Project Manager of Sabine and Waters' Forestry Division, a consulting firm for the forestry and environmental sector. He has been elected as the new Chairman of SCWF.

On  helping SCWF achieve its mission, Scheffing states
“With a life long interest in the natural world - it's been my vocation as well as my avocation - it's an honor and a welcome challenge to be selected to lead the SCWF Board for the next two years.  Association with the oldest conservation group in SC is rewarding and being asked to play a leadership role with that group is humbling.  The challenges around advocating the important issues that face our natural heritage, particularly during very tough economic times, will demand the talents and efforts of the Board and our very capable Staff.  I look forward to being part of that process.”

The news board members are Valerie Carter-Stone of West Columbia; William Fairey of Charlotte, NC; Peyton Sasnett of Columbia, SC; and Ed Wilson, also of Columbia.

The SCWF is the oldest statewide conservation organization, and is looking forward to a successful year-their 80th-with the addition of these new board members.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guy Harvey Magazine dolphin tagging article

Guy Harvey is well-known as a marine artist, but he is also an advocate for conservation of all ocean species. Whether donating a portion of his profits to a special cause like the Gulf Oil Spill, or the long-term funding of his oceanographic institute in Florida, there can be no denial that he puts an emphasis on financial support of his causes. When the first edition of Guy Harvey Magazine came out, about the time of the opening of Guy Harvey's restaurant in Mount Pleasant, Jeff Dennis knew that the story of S.C.'s local dolphin-tagging guru Don Hammond needed to be told. And the story goes something like this, Hammond's local program is going worldwide and Guy Harvey magazine, which is billed as 'The Art of Ocean Conservation," is helping to raise awareness about dolphin tagging for research purposes. Jeff's story on Hammond's program is posted under the 'conservation' section of the Guy Harvey Magazine website.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Offshore anglers love to fish for dolphin to enjoy fresh mahi mahi when they return to port; This Guy Harvey dolphin print is on the cover of his latest magazine; Don Hammond takes measurements and records data on dolphin that are brought back to the docks to extrapolate the current health trends as they migrate past South Carolina; Guy Harvey Magazine bears the unforgettable signature of the man who advocates conservation for the world's oceans

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rainy Weather Bad for Quail, Good for Cats

The rainy weather has been the cause of a few canceled quail hunting trips this week, but one good thing that comes from all this rain is that it raises the river levels quickly, and that is the perfect time to set bushlines for catfish. You need a "set hook" permit from the SCDNR, and the rest is simple. A strand of trotline cord or 75-pound test monofilament will get you started. Some folks tie a barrel swivel in between two strands to cut down on twisting. Your hook size is up to you and the size fish you're looking to catch. Some folks use a 6/0, some use hooks made for tuna. Tie onto a flexible tree branch that's overhanging the water--or will overhang it once the river rises. Stick a hunk of cut bait on the hook and drop it in the water.

Set a few lines like that just before dark and check them throughout the night, or first thing in the morning. The catfish love to cruise the shallows as the river rises and the rains knock worms, insects, and small animals like mice into the water. It sounds a little boring to some folks, but when they start checking lines, that changes real quick. Want to make it more exciting? Try it from a kayak, and get ready for hand-to-hand combat!

PhotoByBrianCope: Lee County's Anthony Messier struggles to subdue a 33-pound blue cat caught on a bushline.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Midlands Outdoors Founder in CCA Tide Magazine

Jeff Dennis, outdoor writer and founder of Midlands Outdoors, Lowcountry Outdoors, and Foothills Outdoors, has a feature in the latest issue of CCA's Tide Magazine. This high-quality magazine is available in print and online. Check out Jeff's article on page 44--Tide Magazine.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Greene's Boat and Motor Bass Trail-Lake Wylie

This weekend marks the first tournament of 2011 of the Greene's Boat and Motor Trail. Tomorrow's tournament will be located on Lake Wylie, and anglers will use the South Point Access landing. The 2011 Trail will feature six 1-day tournaments and a 2-day Classic. The 2010 Greene Trail paid back over $40,000 to anglers, and director Brett Collins says this year is looking even better.

This trail is run as a partnership with Collins' Carolina Anglers Team Trail, so check out the http://www.catttrail.com/ website for more information and the full 2011 schedule for both trails.

PhotoProvidedByCATT: Tournament director Brett Collins says it's never too early to get a youngster started in tournament fishing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fishin' in the Cold

Have any of you guys been fishing in the cold? John Riggs of Columbia hasn't let the weather keep him off the water. John likes to fish for smallmouth bass in the Congaree and Broad Rivers, and has been out on some of the coldest days this month. He's had success with small crankbaits and plastic crawdads with a small profile. Tossing these lures into areas of river with little current, and in the direct sunlight, has paid off for him.

John fishes from an Old Town canoe, and is a frequent contributor to the http://www.riverbassin.com/ forum, where he is known as TheRiggsRunThroughIt. He stresses the importance of wearing a PFD on the water, especially this time of year, as a dunk in the river can leave you helpless in no time.

Don't let the cold keep you indoors--the fish still have to eat, so entice them with a meal or two.

PhotosByJohnRiggs: Riggs shows off a Broad River smallie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FoothillsOutdoors.com blogger wins award

Frabill is the world's largest producer of live bait containers and aeration products. Frabill also supplies other accessories to fishermen like dip nets of all sizes, all purpose waterproof gloves, and foul weather gear. Since 1938 Frabill has been gaining trust among anglers who want can-do products. Since Frabill makes live bait handling a priority it makes sense that they conducted an essay contest for outdoor writers to discuss why live bait is the way to go. On January 13 Frabill announced that Larry Ross of FoothillsOutdoors.com won first place with his article, "Love it or hate it, Live bait is usually the Ticket to Success." The article appeared in the Anderson Independent newspaper and Ross collected the $1000 first place award, and distinguished himself among his peer group of outdoor communicators. Congratulations Larry - well done!

PhotoByLarryRoss: Two youngsters bait up with a wiggling worm
PhotoProvided: Larry Ross in the Foothills

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winyah Bay Heritage Festival

 The Winyah Bay Heritage Festival is taking place this weekend in Georgetown, and MidlandsOutdoors stopped by the festival today. The SCDNR has the Take One, Make One trailer which allows kids to simulate a shooting and fishing experience. Fishing guides are also on hand giving classes on how to throw a cast net and talking about fishing the Winyah Bay and other inshore areas of Georgetown County and the Grand Strand.

Decoy carvers, painters, and other artists are there in big numbers, and if you like old, new, and unique waterfowl decoys, you'll be in heaven at this festival. There are decoy ducks, swans, geese, and many other birds for show and sale.

One of the most exciting parts of the festival is the Dixie Dock Dogs competition which allows dogs to show off their retrieving skills in a large pool. The dogs have to stay put until their masters give them the command to go, and with that signal, the dogs leap from a platform into the pool to retrieve their dummies. You can learn more about the Dixie Dock Dogs by visiting their website. And to learn more about the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival, visit http://www.winyahbay.org/.

PhotosByBrianCope: Waterfowl hunting plays a major role in the lives of Winyah Bay area outdoorsmen, so it is fitting artwork dealing with waterfowl has a big role in the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival.

VideoByBrianCope: Watch this clip to see a little bit of what the Dixie Dock Dog competition is all about.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Midlands Striper Club Awards

Midlands Striper Club named their annual award winners on January 8th at Saluda Shoals Park. Leesville's Lee Thomas, 6-time Angler of the Year at the cllub, presented the 2010 Angler of the Year award to Rick Kellemeyer of Chapin. This was the first Angler of the Year award for Kellemeyer. Kreg Frady of Leesville took the runner-up spot, and Chapin's Van Cook finished third.

Debbie Alewine of Rock Hill was named Lady Anger of the Year, and Weston Thomas of Lexington won the club's Youth Angler of the award. This marks the fifth straight year Thomas has won the award, a first for the club.

The Big Fish of the Year award went to Terry Caulder of Little Mountain, for his 20 lb, 7 oz fish he caught on March 20.

Team Catchall won Team of the Year, with Team Wildman taking the 2nd spot, followed by Team Gar Hart.

100 members and guests attended the awards ceremony, and they were all treated to a catering by Shealy's BBQ of Batesburg-Leesville. The club's next meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 8 at The Flight Deck Restaurant in Lexington. Guests are encouraged to attend.

PhotosCourtesyMSC: Lady Angler of the Year Debbie Alewine accepting her award from her husband. Angler of the Year Rick Kellemeyer is presented his plaque. Weston Thomas poses with the Youth Angler of the Year award, presented by Kreg Frady.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Screaming War Bird Wins Grand American

The 2011 Grand American Overall Winner has been crowned, and the honor goes to Screaming War Bird, a female treeing walker. The walker hails from Indian Trail, NC and is owned by Garrett Shearin and Josh Griffin.

Randy Steadman and Sam Drain of Kinport, TN took 2nd place with Ironman's Crank. Bowman, SC is home to the 3rd place finisher, Drain's Little Jake, owned by Sam Drain.

The Grand American, held annually in Orangeburg, is the nation's largest coon hunt. 402 dogs competed this year (50 more than competed last year) and estimates show that this year's crowd topped 30,000 folks.

Read more at South Carolina Sportsman Magazine's website here.

PhotoFromthetandd.com: Screaming War Bird is the 2011 Overall Winner of the Grand American.