Monday, June 29, 2009

Harborfest - Parade Of Sail

The 2009 Harborfest concludes today with the Parade of Sail from 4 to 6 p.m. Thousands of Tall Ship enthusiasts spend the three-day weekend on the docks and decks of the visiting ships. They will sail out of Charleston Harbor and continue their Atlantic Challenge course which will end when they return to France in the fall. joins Harborfest in saluting the sailing schools that are run on each of these Tall Ships. Sail training provides experiences that make students into Sailors, or in the case of naval services - changes the cadets into seaman. Charleston is an old port that is suitable to host a gathering such as Harborfest which makes modern sailors nostalgic for an earlier era.

To view more blog entries from Harbor Fest click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: The sloop Bermuda on display at the Maritime Center, The flag of the Tall Ship Mircea boasts a nautical symbol, The rigging above the deck of the Kruzenshtern is complex, and a few mates scurried out on the sail for a better view of the air show

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday at Harborfest: Skydive VIDEO

Clear skies and sunny weather sunny weather should insure that Sunday's attendance will continue to set records. The Tall Ships are open for public viewing from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday activities include two air shows, parachuting commandos, pirate parties and the launching of the family-built wooden boats. The event finishes up on Monday during the Parade of Sail when the Tall Ships will sail out of the harbor in formation between 4 and 6 p.m.

To view more blog entries from Harbor Fest click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: The Tall Ship Europa is docked at the Maritime Center, the bell aboard the Schooner Virginia is ringing up rave reviews at Harborfest, a miniature C-17 is on loan from the 315th Airlift Wing of U.S. Air Force based in Charleston, America's Tall Ship Eagle has her namesake on the bow and is open for tours at the Passenger Terminal

Video: Para-Commandos land at Ansonborough Field during Harborfest

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Harborfest Photos and Air Show VIDEO

To view more blog entries from Harbor Fest click here.

Photos by Jeff Dennis: The Pride of Baltimore sails past the Maritime Center during the 2009 Harborfest, Jack Black
 the pirate puts on a show for all the swashbucklers viewing the Tall Ships, Donnie Schaeffer is just one carpenter on the Schirmer Family boat building team, and a 500-pound anchor that is topside on the Schooner Virginia
Video: Professional stunt pilots perform breath-taking maneuvers at the 2009 Harborfest

Harborfest - Tall Ships, Air Show and More

The 2009 Harborfest opened with the a large crowd on Friday, and many were having a hard time recollecting the last time the festival opened so strong. Saturday's full slate of events begins at ten a.m. with all exhibits opening at both locations, PLUS an air show over the Charleston harbor at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. A pirate's village is set up a the Maritime Center and a Children's village complete with craft activities. The Friday night Tall Ships Soiree saw hundreds of admirers board the Tall Ships in a festive setting, and the catered food and live band made for a satisfied crowd.

To view more blog entries from Harbor Fest click here.

Photos by Jeff Dennis: The Tall Ship Kruzenshtern is being boarded by visitors, Tow Boat U.S. Captain Little and wife are in the shadow of the Kruzenshtern (and they hope the Russians never call for a tow!), The bow of the Capitan Miranda is very distinctive, the stern of the American Tall Ship Eagle flies the Stars and Stripes

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 Harborfest now underway

The 2009 Harborfest got off to a great start last night when Mayor Joe Riley spoke at the Captain's Welcome Reception at the Charleston Maritime Center. Brad Van Liew, director of the Maritime Foundation thanked all of his Harborfest sponsors and told everyone to make the foreign sailors to feel welcome. Gentlefolk mingled with uniformed crew getting some shore leave after sailing to Charleston from Bermuda. Ship tours begin at 10:30 today and the polished and polite crews were already extending invitations to 'come aboard' at the Thursday night reception. Visitors can go to the Maritime Center or the Passenger Terminal for Harborfest activities all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

To view more blog entries from Harbor Fest click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Xavier, Lisa, Antoine and Nicolas are crew from the French ships Belle Poule And Etoile, Flags from the French sister ships fly over the Maritime Center, The Pride of Baltimore is moored in the Charleston Harbor, an interesting aft sail on a Tall Ship at the Passenger Terminal

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Charleston Harbor Fest - Schedule Begins Today

Some Tall Ships have already entered the Charleston harbor including the Russian ship Kruzenshtern and the Spirit of South Carolina, which has just returned from Bermuda after an exhibition race in the C2B event. Thursday June 25 is when the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle arrives with Captain Chris Sinnett of S.C. at the helm. The official start of Harborfest is Thursday's Captain's Welcome Reception from 7 to 9 at the Charleston Maritime Center with Mayor Joe Riley set to greet the sailors. Friday June 26 at 10:30 a.m. will be the start time for Tall Ship fans to board and tour some of the vessels that are tied up at the Maritime Center and at the Passenger Terminal. Two French Ships, the Belle Poule and Etoile, will visit the holy city for the first time in 77 years! They will join all of the foreign crews at Friday nights International Tall Ships Soiree from 8 to 11 at the Passenger Terminal, which will include some special presentations such as the French Legion of Honor pin to be awarded to a WWII veteran. Saturday and Sunday activities include pirates, music, wooden boatbuilding demos and more, which is followed by Monday's Parade of Sail when the Tall Ships leave Charleston. Join on the docks to celebrate our maritime heritage, and to support the South Carolina Maritime Foundation.

Photo By Priscilla Parker: The Tall Ship Spirit of South Carolina sails through Charleston Harbor
Photo By Clinch Heyward: There is no telling who may show up at the docks during Harborfest

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NWTF chufa on sale now

Got turkeys? If you want to keep them close consider planting some chufa, which is a tuber that makes a nut just below the ground's surface which is where turkeys love to scratch for food. The National Wild Turkey Federation is having a sale on its chufa, with planting season in early summer winding down. orders chufa every year from NWTF and can report that the 2009 shipment, which comes from Spain, was held up in the port of Charleston for upwards of one month - presumably in quarantine. The seed was eventually delivered to NWTF customers, and they have more to sell. Chufa requires a 90 to 110-day growing season, and you'll need 50-pounds to the acre. A fifty-pound bag will cost $80 right now, and not the regular price of $132. Call 1-800-The-NWTF if you wish to place an order.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Botany Bay WMA now closed on Tuesdays

Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island was in private hands for hundreds of years until a transition to state-ownership last year when Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was opened to the public in July 2008. Since that time over 47,600 people have visited the WMA and the month of April set a new record for 6,863 visitors in one month. With the upcoming summer tourist season in mind, DNR has made the management decision to close access to Botany Bay WMA on tuesdays. Wildlife research will still occur on this day unimpeded by auto and pedestrian traffic, and the volunteer network that assists visitors will have a day off from 'work.' Botany Bay WMA is an ecologically and historically significant property and was one of the first draw hunters to deer hunt this property in the fall of 2008. Conservation of this maritime gem on Edisto Island is imperative, and DNR is doing the best they can to steward it.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: the welcome sign at Boatany Bay, a live oak in the maritime forest, the historic beehive well that slaves used as a water source, and cactus with a beetle demonstrating the range of life present on Botany Bay WMA

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fly fish for Spanish with Shore Thang Charters

Just wanted to share with everyone that Capt. Mark Phelps of Shore Thang Charters is all over the spanish - and knows how to put a fly rod to good use. Also, thanks to Captain Chris Keen of Keen Eye Charters for pitching in his advice for the South Edisto area.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Capt. Phelps casting at sunrise, a spanish that fell for for a deciever

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Green River Bar-B-Que - Saluda, N.C.

Going to Saluda, North Carolina is a favorite way to pass the summertime for many Lowcountry sportsmen. Outlets such as mountain trout fishing and hiking spring to mind, while experiencing the therapeutic refreshment of cool temperatures. Saluda is home to the annual Coon Dog Day festival and parade in July (7/11/09) when about 10,000 visitors come to take part in a celebration of coon hunting traditions and associated family time in beautiful Polk County. has been blessed to join the Saluda Sittin' & Sippin' Society for many a Coon Dog Day and has always enjoyed stopping in at Green River Bar-B-Que for their delicious food and friendly service. Located right downtown, this institution has been owned for 25 years by Melanie Talbot, and on my recent visit she told me, "the economy has been slow around here so far this year - but we expect two great weekends in a row coming up first with July 4th and then with Coon Dog Day." Waitress Molly has been helping out for a number of years now and has become a familiar face to customers, always waiting patiently on them to decide what to eat. Main course choices include chopped pork, beef brisket, BBQ chicken, Pork Ribs and Smoked turkey breast. Catfish, shrimp and even oysters are on the menu as well. The choices of side items at Green River Bar-B-Que are outstanding starting with their homemade fries and chips, sweet potato fries, onion straws, tomato pie, fried okra, corn nuggets, hush puppies and collard greens. Don't forget their famous subs the Saluda Stuffer and the Hog Trough! 

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Owner Melanie Talbot with son Chris on 6/19/09, and a beef brisket plate with sweet potato fries, corn nuggets and hushpuppies - So good!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rivercourse - Trout Unlimited - VIDEO

The North Carolina chapter of Trout Unlimited held their 8th annual Rivercourse summer camp on June 13 - 19 and was fortunate enough to join them at picturesque Lake Logan. This summer camp is open for youths age 13, 14 and 15 and has a curriculum that entails fly-fishing, study of stream side bugs and tying of flies. Lake Logan Episcopal camp is the setting where the youths and their instructors (or ghillies) hone their fly-fishing skills. The West fork of the Pigeon River pours out of the Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County and runs through the 300-acre camp before running into the 90-acre Lake Logan. Rainbow trout are stocked in the stream but wild trout are also present, and the youths come to learn the difference between these categories - as well as stream etiquette and how to release a trout in good health. No fish are kept during this course, and coldwater conservation is stressed so that these students can take that message back to their hometowns and schools. You can read MUCH more about Rivercourse in my feature article for the Charleston Mercury set to publish on July 2.

Photos by Jeff Dennis: The group photo from Rivercourse, Benjamin King with a fine brown trout, teamwork comes in the form of a youth angler and his mentor, TU's logo for a baseball hat and a license plate

Video: Shows a youth fly-fisherman landing a trout with his sure-handed mentor

Friday, June 19, 2009

True Timber Camo - Factory visit with VIDEO

Driving up I-26 to work on a mountain trout story in N.C., I took advantage of an invitation from the folks at True Timber to stop by their factory, which is conveniently located at Exit 15. True Timber camo is manufactured here in Spartanburg, South Carolina in a 250,000 square foot warehouse that is clearly visible along the interstate. Corporate sales director Randall Howell gave the full tour of the operation which included viewing the huge 'printing presses' that use a heat transfer process to exchange the True Timber camo patterns from paper spools to large rolls of fabric. The fabric can range from cotton to polyester or even their "high performance" fabrics like Amerisuede - which is sort of a light-weight chamois. True Timber Camo offers a new era of digital effects that are fade resistant, and with more colors and detail for all-season concealment. Founded in 2004, True Timber is family-owned and CEO Paige Sellars told me, "We design camo patterns and we produce them here, or we can license them out. We have worked with camo clothes for kids and ladies, and we strive to reach all of the sporting community with quality products." True Timber has a complete range of camo patterns for any scenario and they can be viewed at

Photos By Jeff Dennis: True Timber Outdoors sign along I-26, just two of the camo patterns that True Timber can have printed onto bedding materials for the sporting home, a fine mount of a bobcat attacking a calico deer is on display at the True Timber outlet store, and Randy Howell takes aim from behind a True Timber flooded timber duck blind during a December 2008 waterfowl hunt at The Clinton House

Video: Some of the offerings and game mounts at the True Timber Camo outlet store

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

20 years of Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

This is the 20th anniversary of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) out of D.C., the umbrella organization for individual state's Legislative sporting caucuses. The CSF puts on its own events in D.C. for senators and congressman, but they also focus on state-level legislators which keeps them in touch with grass roots trends in hunting and fishing. salutes this fine organization for aiding South Carolina's legislature to monitor for threats to our quality of life as it relates to sporting traditions.
CSF's communications manager Lance Lemmonds siad, "With bipartisan leadership in both the House and the Senate, the Caucus is the sportsmen's ally and first line of defense in Washington promoting and protecting the rights of hunters, trappers and anglers."

To view a past blog entry about Rep. Mike Pitts click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Sportsman Rob Keck pauses before the pheasant tower shoot at the The Clinton House during the NASC / CSF annual meeting

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SC Wildlife Federation 5th Annual Bass Tourney

The 5th Annual SCWF Bass Tourney was fished 6/13 on Lake Wateree out of the Clear Water Cove Marina. Twenty-nine boats went out at first light and enjoyed warm weather and good fishing until the 3 p.m. weigh in. Only artificial lures were allowed and no trolling was permitted. The top places were determined by the aggregate weight of any teams' best six fish. First Place paid $2000(sponsored by Duke Power Co.) and a trophy went to Steve Phillips for his combined weight of 20.41-pounds. Second Place and a plaque from Tri State Bass Club went to Freddie Gibbs and Joey Bramlett for their 18.48-pound weight - good for $1000. Third place earned Josh McGregor and Randall Driggers a plaque from Tri State Bass Club and $750 for their weight of 18.26-pounds of bass. The Big Fish of the tournament was 5.38-pounds, and stay tuned for a photo when SCWF forwards them. This event is a fundraiser for the programs of the S.C. Wildlife Federation and wishes them continued success when this tournament is fished again on the same dates in 2010.

Photos courtesy of SCWF

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rainbow Runner caught on 6/13

The Rainbow Runner is a member of the Jack family of fish that is more commonly found in the Pacific Ocean. They are a somewhat occasional occurrence in the offshore waters of South Carolina, usually when water temperatures are running warm - like they are now. In the Pacific they are more likely found concentrated in schools, but in the Atlantic they are generally found alone. Angler Tony Wielicki was fishing about the Get It In during the SCWA Camp Woodie Tournement when the Rainbow Runner took the bait. Fifteen-year old Wielecki was reeling the fish in and said, "I don't know what it is - but it's big." The fish weighed 10.1-pounds back in port, and is rarely stumped by a saltwater fish species - but in this case some research was in order. The state record for the Rainbow Runner is 14.14-pounds, so Wielecki really scared that mark. The tournament gave trophies for several species of fish, but saltwater fisherman know that any fish this uncommon is a trophy unto itself, and that a healthy ocean still contains surprises for sportsmen willing to share in the outdoor heritage that is offshore fishing.

To view past blog entries on SCWA / Camp Woodie click here.

Photo By Jeff Dennis: Tony Wielecki with his 10.1-pound Rainbow Runner weighed in at the City Marina

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camp Woodie Offshore Tournament - Results

Day Two of the SCWA Offshore tourney saw 15 boats fish for kings and dolphin. Sportsmanship and fellowship were had by all the youth anglers and the adults that took them fishing. These results are unofficial at this time. First Place dolphin goes to Dillon Kroll for his 25.6-pound mahi caught on Day One aboard Hossanna, and first place king mackerel goes to Sam Smalley for his 21.6-pound fish caught on Day Two aboard Get It In.

To view past blog entries about SCWA / Camp Woodie click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Five-year old Shay Dotterer gets Harry Bissell to help him display his 17.7-pound king mackerel caught aboard the Swamp Angel, the fishing crew from Mama Jama show off their Mahi Mahi, Sam Smalley and father with his big king