Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 5/5/2015

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
May 3 mahi harvest at Ripley Light Yacht Harbor
Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West shares that Charleston Harbor is Full of Bull, meaning that large 'bull' redfish have shown up in great numbers around our jetties and grillage areas. Large chunks of mullet, live menhaden and blue crab are all cannot fail bait options for these bronze bruisers. Flounder have also shown up in good numbers around our inlets and rock piles. Live minnows, Zman jerk shadz and the J-n-T spinner jigs have all been deadly options for anglers. Trout are still inhaling live shrimp along shell rakes, and a hot new option is Savage Gear shrimp, with the old standby being a D.O.A. shrimp. Many fishing guide photos are showing a good mix of Gator trout in with the regular smaller size specks. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: Scott heralds the news that offshore anglers wait for all year - the May bite for dolphin has hit full stride! Sunday May 3 saw flat oceanic conditions and many sportfishers launched from Georgetown, Charleston and Edisto in order to fish for mahi mahi, and most of them found great success with dolphin and blackfin tuna mixed in. The best dolphin bite seemed to be fishing south in 250 to 450-feet of water. Blackfin fishing was best at the Georgetown Hole and the Southwest Banks. Wahoo are still hanging around in the 150 to 250-feet of water range near the ledge. And don't forget that grouper season opened back up on May 1 with solid reports coming in from bottom bumpers in 80 to 130-feet of water using cigar minnows and butterfly style jigs.  Weather Note: The South Carolina coast is forecast to experience the first tropical low system of the hurricane season, so offshore anglers need to keep a weather eye concerning the offshore forecast for the next several days. To view the latest Governor's Cup Billfish Series newsletter click here.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Birding Journal Observations - March / April 2015

Rose-breasted grosbeak from April 28 - First Ever Sighting!!
A second wet winter in a row gave way to an early warm up, and a thick green-up of spring growth by early April. However the precipitation did not diminish and I recorded nearly 5-inches of rain during the final three weeks of April. With many plants blooming early and often under these conditions, the cavalcade of neotropical migratory songbirds began coming through the Lowcountry right on time!

A bird watcher's 'Life List' is a complete catalog of any bird witnessed during regular birding observations both at home or while traveling. It is with great joy I can report a notable bird sighting on April 28 when a male rose-bresated grosbeak made a first-ever appearance at my feeders, giving me a new entry for my Life List! Since this observation occurred in the Lowcountry, where I have lived all of my life, this is surely a grand example of avian migration since the rose-breasted grosbeak is simply passing through now and going to its summer range in the northern U.S. and Canada.

Some of the first sightings for other migratory species for 2015 include :
March 7 - two Northern flickers
March 9 - Brown-headed nuthatch
March 18 - Yellow-throated warbler
March 31 - two ruby-throated hummingbirds
April 1 - Swallow-tailed kite
April 15 - Two Indigo buntings, Whippoorwill
April 21 - Painted bunting, Blue grosbeak, Summer tanager, Mississippi kite
April 28 - Yellow-billed cuckoo, Rose-breasted grosbeak!!
May 1 - Black-throated blue warbler

Other birding observations from March and April include pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, dove, yellow-bellied sapsucker, brown-headed cowbird, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, chipping sparrow, white-throated sparow, brown thrasher, mockingbird, cardinal, towhee, blue jay, bluebird, bat, cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, great egret, Canada goose, blue-grey gnatcatcher, wood ducks, Carolina chickadee, pine siskin, goldfinch, Carolina wren, pine warbler, cedar waxwings, crow, red-headed woodpecker, grey catbird, wood stork, cattle egret and great blue heron.

To view the most recent Birding Journal Observations click Jan. / Feb. 2015

To view past Birding Journal Observations from March / April click 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 Criterium Cycling Race - Speed Week

13 years in a row - Woo Hoo!!
Race Starts are always an exciting time
The 13th Annual Pro Cycling bike race that is a part of the CRITS Speed Week rolled through downtown Walterboro on April 29. Heavy morning rains dropped 1.5-inches and threatened the event, but the weather let up in the afternoon and despite a one-hour delay to the start time, all of the races were completed before darkness set in. When the streets were closed off to traffic and lined with barricades at 3 p.m. it was still raining, and that may have had an impact on fan turnout. There just wasn't as many onlookers as in past years due to the dreary weather, leaving plenty of elbow room for the diehard bike racing fans. The number of sponsors keeps growing each year and a fine VIP area is run by committee members like Jeffrey Herndon, and they serve a catered supper from Rizer's Pork and Produce complete with strawberries from Breland Farms. These factors help remind attendees of the rural nature of Colleton County and the blessings of natural resources found locally.

Tight Turn - notice the hay bales rigged for impact
This is a competitive event!
The pro bike racers are traveling all week in order to pursue their passion and they began in Georgia over the weekend, before coming to the Lowcountry to race in N. Charleston on Tuesday and Walterboro on Wednesday. The Walterboro Race seems to have remained the most steady venue for CRITS since they often switch up racing locations in other years, with Walterboro always falling mid-week so that the event can grow. This is good clean fun in the outdoors, and yes a little rain can fall, but  it does the community and the racers good to gather in the name of sport during this annual event. To view the race results click here.

To view past blog entries from the Criterium Cycling Speed Week click 2014 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010, - 2009 



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pro Rodeo Returns to Double D Arena


The Pledge of Allegiance starts each night at the rodeo

A traveling rodeo of professional cowboys is coming back to Walterboro on May 1 and 2, bringing family fun and western wear back under the spotlights at the Double D Arena. Cowboys and cowgirls will find their way to Rodeo Road in Walterboro for the two nights of horses, bulls, calfs and the daring contestants that hope to tame them. This is the 26th year that Tommie Derry and family have hosted the pro rodeo, where everyone can watch the drama unfold as cowboys try to qualify for the Rodeo National Finals.
            
Don't have a cowboy hat??
Then get one at the Rodeo!!
Gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and adult ticket prices are $20 at the gate. Two kids under the age of ten years old are admitted free with one paid adult. Rodeo fans will want to get there early to enjoy all of the atmosphere that goes along with events at the Double D Arena. Country music will be playing, children will be playing on the jump castles and everyone will be eating the special offerings from the food trucks. You will find me in line for the hot and fresh mini doughnuts, followed up by a foot long corn dog! Western wear sales will include cowboy hats, boots, leather belts, bolo ties, chaps, bandanas and so much more. 

But no night at the rodeo gets underway without a salute to the troops of the United States of America and recognition of the blessing of being free. Everyone is told to rise and a cadre of horseback riders come into the arena bearing flags and ride in formation all around the ring before coming to a stop in front of the American flag. The National Anthem helps remind everyone that the rodeo is just as American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.

To read this entire article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about wild horses click here.

To view past blog entries about trail riding click on Georgia -  North Carolina

To view past blog entries for Polo for the Point click on 20142013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2009.




Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pioneer Boats Expands Workforce to Produce New Line


Henry Sikes in the 197 Islander at the Pioneer warehouse

Pioneer Boats based in Walterboro, South Carolina is successfully launching multiple boat lines from the Lowcountry. Pioneer Boat dealers dot the entire East Coast and they have recently expanded their reach as far west as Texas. The co-owners of this company both grew up in boat building families and they started Carolina Composites as a boat specialty parts manufacturer in 1999. Today the success of the Pioneer Boats brand has the company doubling employee numbers and expanding with two new boat brands.
            
Henry Sikes is the Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Pioneer Boats and asked me to tour the warehouse with him. Sikes started out as an independent dealer for Pioneer in his home state of North Carolina. After the economic recession that hit boat builders so hard began to fade, Sikes moved to South Carolina in order to be present everyday to oversee the operations at the 122,000-square foot warehouse space in Walterboro, located right beside Interstate 95.
Each boat is built in Walterboro, near to I-95
            
“We usually rig the 197 Islander with a 150-horsepower 4-stroke motor, and we have multiple motor manufacturer options,” said Sikes. “Our boat model year runs from July 1 through June 30 and for the year 2014 we probably doubled our previous best mark. We build these boats as soon as an order comes through and we have had to expand from 26 employees in January 2014, up to 66 employees in 2015 just to keep up with demand.” Although some of them are working on a new project.
            
197 Islander cruising along the Lowcountry
Carolina Composites launched a new line of boats called Bulls Bay in 2013 and now in 2015 they are launching the Avenger line of boats. The Avenger boat hull has its origins in South Louisiana, a place where they as many various boat types as they have wading birds. Sikes says they acquired the Avenger brand so that they can build and launch a 26-foot bay boat, with plans to roll out two smaller models after that.

 If I had to guess, I’d say the folks at Pioneer Boats are having fun right now with the growth afforded their small company by customer demand. All of which sounds like a recipe for success when it comes to giving boat buyers a bevy of boating options.

To read this entire magazine feature article click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries about boat builders click on Hinckley Company - Scout Boats

To view past blog entries about classic wooden boats click on Osprey - Annalee - Aphrodite.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town - Furyk Wins in Playoff


No. 1 Tee and NEW Clubhouse at Harbour Town
2015 Masters Champ Jordan Spieth

The RBC Heritage presented by Boeing had another memorable finish on Sunday. The 2014 tourney ended with a chip in birdie to win on the 18th hole, and the 2015 event needed two playoff holes to determine a winner. PGA Tour veteran Jim Furyk is 44 years old and he ended his streak of 100 starts without a win by defeating Kevin Kisner to claim his second Heritage win.
            
Furyk has won multiple events during his career including the 2003 U.S. Open and the 2010 Heritage title. When he teed off on the back nine on Thursday morning he faced the same stiff odds as the entire field, namely to beat Jordan Spieth who was the freshly minted Masters champion. Spieth became the second youngest player to win at Augusta National after Tiger Woods, and he came to Hilton Head to continue his stellar play. Not to mention that Matt Kuchar was fired up to defend his 2014 Heritage title.
            
The weather forecast looked ominous for the entire four days of the tourney, but in the end it wasn’t until Sunday when the rain had any affect. The PGA Tour made the decision to start play on Sunday early in the morning, so that they could finish before a weather system would be passing by. Ends up that was a great decision since heavy lightening and pouring rain arrived in the Lowcountry early that afternoon. A taped broadcast of the Sunday golf was aired on CBS, but by then the tartan jacket was already awarded to Furyk

To read my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries for the RBC Heritage click on 2014 - 2013

To view past blog entries from The Masters click on 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2009
Harbour Town Yacht Basin / Toys




Tom Watson on the 18th Hole

Sportfisher and Brandt Snedeker

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 4/21/2015

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Sadie Beth sportfishing releases a blue marlin on April 18, 2015
Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West asks if you have seen a GATOR trout yet?! Spring is in full gear and that means large trout in our inshore waters. Trout in the 18 to 22-inch range have been common and catch numbers averaging 10 to 20-fish per trip are the norm. Always keep in mind that the larger trout are the spawning population, and they need to be returned to the water! Live shrimp fished under a popping cork is always a good idea, or for artificials try a Vudu shrimp or a DOA shrimp around shell rakes in 3 to 6-feet of water. The sheepshead are still biting live fiddlers at rock piles and bridge pilings, and redfish have broken out of their cold water schooling pattern. The redfish can be found on structure like docks, so pitch a live minnow or cut bait to entice a strike. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: With the first few blue marlin of the season being caught and released there can be no question that the offshore fishing season has fully arrived! Congrats to the Sadie Beth for their blue marlin release on Saturday April 18, and thanks to Capt. Emerson Read too. Scott reports great blackfin tuna catches coming in from the Georgetown Hole and the southwest banks. Boats are leaving the marina extra early to be at the fishing grounds right at dawn to take advantage of a blackfin bite that might not last too long into the morning. Remember to fish the baits way back or under a kite to tame some tuna. Solid reports of wahoo are coming from the ledge down south near the Edisto banks and the Deli area. The majority of dolphin reports are coming off of temperature breaks in 400 to 1200-feet of water, so they are still real deep. To review the dates for the 2015 Governor's Cup Billfish Series click here.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.