Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 Edisto Gov. Cup - Results and Photos

Robert Rodelsperger off the Miss Wy

If it’s late July it is time for some of the hottest weather of the summer, and is also time for the Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament. All of Edisto Beach is a winner during the Governor’s Cup week and this is the 26th year for the tournament. Organizer Becca Smith worked tirelessly before the event lining up sponsors and signing up the fishing boats that bring so much fun to the docks. Congratulations to Trick ‘Em (48) for winning the Edisto Tourney by releasing three blue marlin and one sailfish.
Girls just want to have fun at the Edisto Governor's Cup
Everyone assembles at the Edisto Marina on Wednesday, with the sportfishing boats getting assigned their slips, and the boatload of anglers settling in to their rental beach houses. Edisto Beach mayor Burly Lyons helped to kick off the afternoon Captain’s Meeting in Big Bay Park, and a blessing of the fleet asked for calm seas and BIG fish. Despite a frog strangler thunderstorm during the weigh in on Friday, the fishing weather were just fine.
Blackfin tuna from My Three Sons
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources runs the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. A total of five of these events take place during the summer up and down the S.C. coast and a Series winner is determined using a points system for billfish releases. Since this tourney was held in Colleton County the SCDNR Game Wardens on site for license checks and crowd control included J.P. Jones, Kevin Ryan and Blake Graham. SCDNR Exec. Dir. Alvin Talyor and Col. Chisolm Frampton were also on hand. SCDNR’s Wally Jenkins, Amy Dukes and Willie LaDue attend each tourney and provide continuity for all of the Governor’s Cup events.

Day One of fishing on Thursday saw the Series leading boat named Rascal, go out and release a blue marlin and a sailfish to take the early lead. Owner Norman Pulliam of Spartanburg is an SCDNR Board Member and a longtime Governor’s Cup participant. Co-owner Foster McKissick and the veteran crew on Rascal realized that they were in a good position, and ends up their points tally held on to earn them the Best Billfish Boat title for the 2014 Governor's Cup Series.
Shark Bite Wahoo for Wes Frierson on Rascal

At the weigh in scales on Day Two a large 31.4-pound mahi caught by Fred Bergen Jr. aboard Legal Holiday jumped into the lead, and the first blackfin tuna was weighed in by Voodoo Child and angler Susan Daly, which tipped the scales at 18.8-pounds. A wahoo did come to the scales on Day Three and angler Poe Ratteree took home the top spot with his 22.5-pounder caught from the Christy II. Congrats to these meatfish category winners.

The largest crowd of spectators waited to assemble on Saturday during the weigh in from 5 until 7, and they were not disappointed. A band played on the deck at the marina, as patrons inside Pressley’s Restaurant looked down on the docks. It was hot and muggy right through the afternoon in into the awards ceremony after dark in Big Bay Park. The tide was ebbing, the sun was setting, and the summer was waning but all was well on that Lowcountry evening that served to offer a final salute to the fishing fun.
To read this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view more photos form the 2014 Edisto Tourney click on Gov. Cup Lifestyle or Island Life.

To view past blog entries from the Gov. Cup finale at Edisto click 20132012, 2011, 2010.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Exploring Edisto Island - Governor's Cup Lifestyle Photos

Fish handler Chelsea and tourney
organizer Becca Jones
Boyce Campsen and his hunting hat
You can't ignore the culture and lifestyle that goes along with the S.C. Governor's Cup especially when it interacts with the beachy lifestyle of Edisto Island. As the saying goes, if you're lucky enough to be at the beach, then you're lucky enough!! Of course the Edisto Marina is on the back side of the barrier island, so we spend plenty of time On 'Da' Creek - which is ALWAYS the right thing. Here is my photo essay to the friends gathered along this saltwater trail and some of the reasons why we look forward to doing this at Edisto again next year.

To view more blog entries from the 2014 Edisto Gov. Cup click on Results, or Preview or Lowcountry Outdoors Lifestyle.

Wally Jenkins explains
You Boys Don't Do as I Do.......

My friends and members of Gov. Cup family

Bring On the pelicans and storm clouds

Thanks to the hard working Drink Staff 

Youth will be served!
8-year old Charlie Clark

Monday, July 28, 2014

Exploring Edisto Island - Lowcountry Outdoors Lifestyle

Love Edisto Beach
Here's some images from when the the weather and wildlife were conducive for a photo!

To view more blog entries from the 2014 Edisto Gov. Cup click on Results, or Preview or Gov. Cup Lifestyle.
Big summer thunderstorm over Edisto marina

Don't tread on me

Master of the Grill moment!!
Pluff Mud River
Pelicans are spectators too

Edisto Beach sunrise on July 27

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Exploring Edisto Island - Atwood Vacations

Checking In about my Rental Unit with Melanie Hamilton
My rental dock with view of Edisto Marina
One thing about visiting Edisto Island and Edisto Beach is that there are no hotels on the island. Visitors are all in the same boat when it comes to the need for a rental unit, whether it be a condo or a front row beach house. Fortunately for the public, there are several agencies to choose from, but it was Atwood Vacations that listened to my needs for the Governor's Cup week, where I hoped to mix business and pleasure on this Sea Island in the Lowcountry. My requests included being close to the Edisto marina for work each day of the event Wednesday thru Saturday, and to have access to a dock so that I might try my luck at fishing and crabbing during the day with my family. They were able to pinpoint a rental unit that fit my needs from one of their many rental units on Edisto, and we ended up being second row from the beach as well with a beach access trail almost across the street. When considering which agency to choose on Edisto you can take a look at things like longevity, and though Atwood Vacations is under new ownership for the past three years, they are celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2014. Furthermore, when it comes to the customer service issues that will arise concerning rental units and scorching hot summer weather, I can report that Atwood Vacations performs well in this department, with plenty of personal communication from the owners and their service contractors. Everyone's time is limited when visiting the beach, and we value our freedom just a bit more when trying to squeeze in one more walk along the pristine sand dunes while gazing out at the boats in St. Helena Sound. In addition to service, the Explore Edisto magazine that each customer is given upon arrival highlights which businesses on the island to reach out to when renting bikes or going to a restaurant. Little things like this local information can make family decisions about what activity to do next a little smoother, especially when sunburned skin and wear and tear from the heat are in play, so Thanks Atwood!
Lots of Edisto knowledge at Atwood
Atwood employees at their sponsor tent
at the Governor's Cup Tourney

For past blog entries about Edisto Island click on Botany Bay WMA, or Surf Fishing, or Bird Watching, or Quail Hunting, or Governor's Cup.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament - Preview / Radio Chat

Craig Jones - Emcee of the Edisto Marina
It’s time for the 26th edition of the Edisto Marina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Tournament this weekend, July 23 – 26. This is the fifth and final event in a series of tournaments that will determine the Best Billfish Boat in 2014 in the S.C. Governor’s Cup competition. Edisto Tourney Director Becca Jones invites all Colletonians to come down to the marina for the afternoon weigh-ins and family fun.
“Wednesday night is the Captain’s Meeting at Big Bay Park that kicks off the festivities,” said Jones. “We will have a blessing of the fleet and the offshore fishing boats will chose two days to fish either Thursday, Friday or Saturday. The forecast for offshore fishing conditions is looking good, despite the chance for summer showers back inland. The weigh-ins from 5 – 8 each day are a free to the public, and we expect big crowds.”
“Each night following the weigh-in a catered supper will be available for a $20 ticket,” said Jones. The food is provided by Lowcountry Eats catering run by Buist Rivers and Aris Newton and this is the sixth year they have been providing fine southern cuisine for Edisto patrons. The main course menu for individual nights of the week will be shrimp and grits, smoked chicken, friend chicken, and barbecue. Several vendors will be set up in the park to promote Edisto Island and to sell artwork and coastal living items.
video“Of course the popular Edisto Marina Tournament T-shirts will be on sale at the Ships Store too,” said Jones. “Elliott Smith with Fish-Smith Company designs a fresh print for us each year and folks love them as a souvenir from their Edisto visit.” Another eating option is Pressley’s Restaurant at the Marina which is entering its second year of business. Live music on the deck is another draw to the evening activities at Edisto Marina., and for a full schedule visit
Heading into the 2014 Edisto Tourney we know that the sportfisher named Rascal is in the overall series lead after the first four events. Owner Norman Pulliam of Greenville is also on the Board of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and his boat stays up at Georgetown Marina. Rascal also owns the S.C. state record for a blue marlin from back in 2005.

Wallace Jenkins is the Program Coordination for the SCDNR Governor’s Cup and he told me that Rascal has been the most consistent boat in 2014. They have clinched third place in two individual tournaments thus far and are looking to increase their advantage while at Edisto. No word yet if Governor Nikki Haley intends to visit the tournament this yea, she came to visit the Rascal crew in 2011, but people-watching is always part of the fun of being down at the docks.

The view this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries Exploring Edisto Island click on Dolphin Stranding, orBotany Bay WMA, or  Surf Fishing, or Bird Watching or Quail Hunting, orGovernor's Cup.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 7/22/2014

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:

This July 2014 Snapper harvest reveals
 Leatherback and Loggerhead hatchlings.

Photo By Scott Mijares. 
Inshore: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West says 'Go walk the dog!' No seriously, get a few super spook jr topwater plugs and go walk the dog early in the morning along shell rakes and creek mouths for some explosive action from trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and redfish. The topwater bite has been good the past couple of weeks, and so has the flounder bite. Live minnows or a jerkshad fished near rock piles, creek mouths, as well as in sandy coves have been producing solid numbers of flounder and some good sized flatties as well. Redfish continue to take cut mullet, live shrimp, and Zman Ultra ShrimpZ fished under docks at low tide, or along the grass edges and shell rakes at higher water. Spanish mackerel are still schooling up tight along the tideline just off the front beaches, and the bonnethead sharks are around in big numbers willing and ready to take cut mullet and half of a blue crab. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore: Dredge season is here, and Scott reports the sailfish are too. Yep now is time to put the dredges in the water and tease up some great sailfish action. Reports of 2, 4 and 5 sails a day have not been uncommon with many more “shots” being reported. A few dolphin are still being found here and there, plus some wahoo are still hanging around in the warm water along the ledge. The recreational season for Red Snapper opened last weekend, is open this weekend, and is also open to the recreational angler Friday 7/25 and Saturday 7/26. Anglers bottom fishing the Red snapper season last weekend all found good numbers of snapper to fill their one per person limit, but more incredibly was the size of some of these snapper. Red snapper weighing twenty pounds were common, with a handful even larger than that. Take advantage while the season is open. For more from 2013 Red Snapper season click here.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fly Fishing For Rainbows and Hook In Hand

My over-sized pond trout, and hook is still in hand
My frist day of fly fishing a private pond for rainbow trout in Western North Carolina was aided by guide Jack Mincey who shared his Tips for Pond Trout with me. The next day I returned to the trout pond with my trusty Orvis Fy Rod and a plan to catch some fish on my own. At first the fish did not seem to be biting, so I practiced my casting knowing that the two-acre pond had plenty of area to cover. When I did see a trout rise to eat a bug off the water's surface it was in a cove that I could reach, while casting from a dock.

Dropper rig fly hook in my thumb - OUCH.
A couple of strips of my line and I was hooked up solid, but with what size trout? The day before I had seen that these pond trout came in two shapes, large and over-sized. When my fish made a run to the far end of the pond, burning drag and my hand as the fly line initially peeled, I soon knew that I was tied into one of the over-sized variety. What a Fight! Not only did this rainbow trout have 'shoulders' but he had room to operate, and I used my lifetime of angling knowledge to play the fish, never giving in to the trout's plan to spoil the fun and break off my fishing line.

Fighting a Rainbow Trout with 'shoulders' 
After a rod-bending experience, I stepped off the dock and into the water's edge to try and land the fish, even though I did not have a net. I surfed the fish up near the bank and tried to get a grip on the 23-inch stout rainbow, being mindful of the hook in its upper jaw. As I lifted up the fish, the slimy and squirmy trout made another play for freedom and slipped out of my hands, causing a second small hook rigged on a dropper to get lodged into my thumb. OUCH.

First attempt to handle the BIG rainbow started off well
My first instinct was to cut the line between the trout and the hook - which stops the fish from yanking the hook, and thus causing more pain. So after a lifetime of saltwater angling, this is the first time that I had a fish hook enter my body. I still have a trophy rainbow trout at my feet and hooked on my fly line that I surely must release in good condition. With the hook in my thumb I found I was able to hold and lift the fish by simply keeping it held out in a prone position. We made a photo, removed the hook with forceps, released the trout, and then had a seat on the dock to take a deep breath.

In a remote location, the only thing to do was to try and remove the hook using forceps for the quickest possible fix. Luckily, the hook was small and the barb had not come thru the skin. Using forceps, I grabbed the hook shank and pushed downwards and backwards, and found out that this technique makes human skin stretch up forming what looks like a tent of skin. I stopped that attempt, took another breath, wiped away some of the blood. I took another grip on the shank and tried the same procedure and this time the hook backed out of my hand, presumably through a hole that I had just stretched just enough to release the hook. While the hurt finger did finish my fishing plans for the day, I was grateful for the fish fight, and for another rich experience, full of emotions, along my outdoors trail.

To view a past blog entry about the N.C. Fly Fishing click Jackson County or Hazel Creek or Rivercourse.