Thursday, October 18, 2018

Edisto Redfish Tourney and Surf Fishing Brochure

Cut bait and pyramid sinkers on the beach.
A new Edisto brochure tackles surf fishing practices.
With the arrival of fall weather and cooler temperatures the coastal estuaries become more active for those in pursuit of saltwater hobbies. Edisto Beach kicked the season into high gear when Town Council decided to produce a brochure to educate both anglers and visitors on surf fishing practices. Shrimp baiting season began on September 7 and runs for two months, while oyster harvest season opened on October 1 and runs until Spring. This Saturday October 20 is the annual Redfish Tourney at Edisto Water Sports on Docksite Road, where spot-tail bass capture the spotlight.

After a week of public discussion about the merits of surf fishing practices, the Town of Edisto Beach decided to act to produce a brochure on the subject at their meeting on October 11. “I make the motion that the Town of Edisto Beach produce an informative brochure addressing the concerns that have been brought to the Town regarding surf fishing,” said Councilman Kizer. “This brochure will include consideration for swimmers, sunbathers and beach goers.” The motion passed unanimously.
The brochures will address placement of fishing rods on the beach when surf fishing, and include how to properly dispose of anything from bait to bycatch. First time visitors to the beach may not always understand the heritage and rights of saltwater anglers to cast their lines in the surf for sport or even for food. At the same time, lifelong anglers must be aware how the perception of fishing hooks and fishing tackle at the beach might be imposing. The brochure is to be placed at all businesses on Edisto island, especially the rental agencies.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about surf fishing click on Little St. Simon's Island Bald Head Island, NC - Edisto Island, SC - Bulls Island, SC - South Island, SC

Thursday, October 11, 2018

S.C. Quail Restoration and Bird Dogs at Moree's

Jeff Dennis and guide Billy Benson in the field
A return trip to hunt quail at Moree’s Sportsman Preserve in Chesterfield County on October 2 was nearly canceled due to storm damage from Hurricane Florence. Just two weeks earlier this area known as Society Hill received 24-inches of flooding rain, washing out some access roads. The longtime manager at Moree’s is Mike Johnson, and he worked overtime to prep their property and facilities for our hunt. Guide Billy Benson and I discussed bird dog lineage during the entire morning hunt, since I own one of the English Setters he raised eleven years ago at Moree’s.

S.C. Bobwhite Initiative
“I have been guiding here for 30 years now,” said Billy Benson of Florence. “Your dog’s mother was named Roxy, and this 9-year old male named Hoss is from a separate litter of puppies from Roxy. I watch the dogs each year to measure their ability to hunt and Hoss seems primed and ready for another hunting season. Aging is different for all dogs, but around age 11 is when I see it really slow down my working dogs. Another guide here named Leroy Jordan uses English Setters from the same lineage as your dog Chester.”

English Setter retrieves a bobwhite quail
while Mike Giles watches
The SEOPA conference in Florence featured bobwhite quail as a discussion topic with SCDNR’s small game biologist Michael Hook and Don McKenzie of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Quail population numbers have been in decline in every state of its range for decades, but out of the failure to fully grasp this landscape scale problem, a new resolve is forming to save our bird hunting culture. Songbirds have also been identified in decline, and it turns out that they require the same early successional habitat as bobwhite quail. A new management strategy that regards both the gamebirds and the songbirds as a treasured resource is uniting partners in conservation like never before.

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

To view past blog entries about bobwhite quail management click 2014 S.C. Quail Initiative - National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative - 2009 SE Quail Study Group - 2009 Quail Unlimited / Indian Creek Award

To view past blog entries for my S.C. Quail Season Finale click on 2015 - 20142013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 

To view past blog entries from the Tall Timbers Field Day click 2017 -  2013 2011 - 2010

To view past blog entries from SEOPA click 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2009

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cheraw State Park - Just After Hurricane Florence

Entrance right off Highway 52
Park Manager Robert Mahony
Located in Chesterfield County, Cheraw State Park has a rich history tied to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which built many of the structures found there today. A more recent chapter for Cheraw State Park is the championship golf course built in 1991. I visited with Park manager Robert Mahony on October 1 to learn more about the 7000-acre state park with centerpiece Lake Juniper offering recreational swimming, paddling and fishing.

"We just had Hurricane Florence come through here and we recorded 24-inches of rain," said Mahony. "Our campground road got washed out by the flooding and we cannot access about half of the park at this point, but repair work is already underway. Our Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is Duane Parrish and he came here right after the storm to assess the damage. We do have some pine trees that came down in the storm to clean up and our picnic area behind the office remains flooded."

Mechanical management practices are also in use here
A serious outbreak of mosquitoes is also making that picnic area inhospitable, but I did notice some folks using the pet-friendly Boardwalk Trail near there. Deeper in the property is Turkey Oak Trail which incorporates a 2-mile loop and a 4.5-mile loop though the piney woods. No horses and no 4-wheelers are allowed, but foot traffic is welcome. The state park is popular with visitors from place in North Carolina like Monroe, Fayetteville and Pinehurst. Any guests wishing to spend the night may utilize one of the cabins on sight, built by the CCC. The cabins are quaint, rustic and set up to sleep four guests and I am happy to report a new effort underway to remodel and modernize them.

To view past blog entries about S.C. State Parks click Hickory Knob State ParkEdisto Beach - Huntington Beach - Myrtle Beach - Hampton Plantation - Barnwell / Tornado - Hunting Island

To view past blog entries about managed properties click on Congaree National Park - Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Botany Bay WMA / Coastal Geology - Donnelly WMA / Night Sounds - Belfast WMA / Benefit - Bear Island WMA / Birding

Cabin 5 on Oct. 1 before the remodeling process