Sunday, August 30, 2009

SC Wildlife Federation's Wild Summer Night






The annual Wild Summer's night banquet and fundraiser took place in Columbia on 8/29/09. A large crowd gathered to support conservation and enjoy some fine eating catered by Tronco's Restaurant. Silent auction items included a wild boar hunt at Bostick Plantation, a week at a Folly Beach rental house, a Montana trout fishing trip,  a Get the Kids outdoors package, and in inshore fishing trip in Georgetown. Live auction items included a Bob Harwell custom turkey call, a Vic Odom Knife, a quail hunt at Wing & Point Preserve and a Beaufort vacation for the Outdoor Family - plus much more. As the name states, all sorts of wild game was served including gator tail, quail, venison, catfish and elk - and it was all delicious. Truly, any occasion is a good time to enjoy some wild game supper and thanks to the S.C. Wildlife Federation for making that point so effortlessly while bringing together their supporters in a celebration of the outdoor lifestyle.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Pat and Layla Mason stand with Barbara Heyward and husband Clinch, the Chairman of the SCWF Board of Directors, SCWF Board member Matt Hill with Charleston-native wife Amy Hill, Kathy Stephens poses with a TriStar Sporting Clays gun donated to the auction by Carolina Rod & Gun

Friday, August 28, 2009

Big Kahuna Tourney at Folly Pier 8/29



The Big Kahuna tournament returns to the Folly Beach Pier on August 29. Charleston County Parks will hold a registration meeting at 6 a.m. and then fishing commences all day long until 4 p.m. The largest fish for multiple species will be awarded prizes immediately following the close of fishing. This family fun event is an annual favorite on the Pier and the prizes are usually pier-fishing oriented gifts. 

Photos by Jeff Dennis: A king mackerel fisherman deploys his live bait from the diamond-shaped tip of the Folly Beach Pier

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SC Wildlife Magazine - Muzzleloader Story


Ever wondered about the sporting method of deer hunting with a muzzleloader? You can read about that very subject in the Sept./Oct. 2009 issue of South Carolina Wildlife Magazine in my article One-Shot Wonders. I harvested my first doe with a Thompson Center muzzleloader last September, and the story details and reveals how this method of hunting makes one feel connected to the roots of hunting and to modern civilization. The author even makes an appearance in some of the photos!

Photo by Hovey Smith: Jeff Dennis shooting his Thompson Center Omega stainless steel .50-caliber muzzleloader

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cordray's Farm opens its Beef Store





With deer season and alligator season opening up in the Lowcountry, Cordray's processing will be ramping up with daily activities. Cordray's farm dates to 1907 and this year they are offering Naturally Raised Lowcountry Beef to their discerning customers. One can place a custom-order for a half of a cow, OR purchase beef side 'shares.' The concept is that the Cordrays cows were born on their property and raised on local hay for about three years before they are ready for slaughter. The on-farm retail butcher shop is open 6 days a week and the meat case is fully stocked with vacuum-sealed steaks, burger packs and beef roasts. Other cuts of meat available are T-bone steaks, ribeyes, sirloin roasts, bone-in sirloin steaks, flank steaks and even smoked items. Stop by Cordrays for the latest prices on beef shares, or to drop off that early season deer for processing. Cordray's Taxidermy is ready to mount your special trophies too.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Michael and Claudia Cordray stand with their taxidermist-son Kenneth, Cordray's sign speaks of its grass-fed cows that are now offered in 'shares', the smoker at Cordray's is full of jalepeno cheese venison sausage, the Cordray's label touts its Naturally Raised Lowcountry Beef

Monday, August 24, 2009

D.O.A. Writers Weekend - Snook VIDEO





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The tenth annual D.O.A. Writer's Festival was held recently at River Palm fish camp in Jensen Beach Florida. From that port we were able to fish the Indian River and the St. Lucie River, including some wade-fishing in a spoil area near Boy Scout Island. The early morning start on 8/17 included a special treat as the space shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral (space coast) some 80 miles north giving anglers in our area (treasure coast) a spectacular view of perhaps the final shuttle launch! Captain Mark Nichols told me that D.O.A. lures started in 1989 and that his heaviest snook ever weighed 35-pounds and measured 49-inches in length and had a girth of 27-inches. My first ever snook was a more run-of-the-mill 18-inch snook, but the glow quarter-ounce D.O.A. shrimp I was fishing was destined to catch something even more special - a hybrid known as a 'tarpon snook.' Wade fishing in the southernmost section of the Indian River Lagoon next to Sailfish Point, Captain Nichols was able to demonstrate what an experienced angler can catch on a D.O.A. shrimp - reeling in a 25-pound snook.

For more blog coverage from DOA camp click here.

Photo by Jeff Dennis: Captain Mark Nichols of D.O.A. lures with his 25-pound snook caught while wade-fishing near Boy Scout Isalnd; Photo By David Sikes: outdoor writer Jeff Dennis (and Capt. Nichols) with his first ever snook caught in the St. Lucie River

VIDEO: Captain Mark Nichols reels in a tarpon snook and explains what makes them unique

Sunday, August 23, 2009

D.O.A. Outdoor Writers Festival - 200th Post






Lowcountryoutdoors.com received an invitation to join D.O.A. lures in Jensen Beach Florida for a weekend of product review and saltwater fishing. This endeavor resulted in a 'first' when Captain Mark Nichols guided me to catch a few snook - making this a very special 200th blog entry. (but who's counting...) Joining the group of Florida fishing guides and outdoor writers from California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia (and S.C.) - D.O.A. lures provided product demos from Power Pro fishing line, Johnson motors, Shimano rods and reels, Seaguar leaders, Shearwater boats, Eagle Claw hooks, Frogg Toggs outerwear, Flambeau tackle boxes and Oakley HD sunglasses. The event was held at River Palm fish camp (Martin County) on the Indian River Lagoon - where owner Rufus Wakeman even serves as one of the fishing guides. The guides were outfitted with D.O.A. products (all D.O.A. products are proudly made in the U.S.A.) such as the 3-inch shrimp, softshell crab, C.A.L. lure and the brand new B.F.L. lure. The aptly named Big Fishing Lure seemed to be just the trick when guide Captain Greg Snyder reeled in a 30-pound snook! Other species caught on D.O.A. lures during the fishing were bluefish, blue runner, mangrove snapper, pompano, jack crevalle, flounder, ladyfish, trout, redfish and a hybrid known as a tarpon snook.

To view my 100th blog entry click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Captain Snyder posed for the camera and then released this mature snook back into the Indian River, The dock at River Palm fish camp is just north of West Palm Beach, Capt. Mark Nichols and Rufus Wakeman are year round fishing friends, Captain Nichols with a NICE left-eye summer flounder that fell for a 3-inch D.O.A. shrimp in the NEW night-glow color with gold-rush belly flakes

Saturday, August 22, 2009

West Marine hosts Marine Trade Day



The South Carolina Marine Association  has partnered with West Marine (WM) to hold a Marine Trade Day August 22 at all four Lowcountry WM stores. One hour discussion topics will start at 9 a.m. and continue all day on topics such as marine electronics, electrical systems maintenance, outboard engine maintenance, H2O plumbing systems, total yacht management and all things 'Trailerboat.' West Marine is a great source for all things boating and Lowcountryoutdoors.com especially likes their online 'scuttlebutt calendar.'

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lowcountry Longbeards NWTF banquet






The inaugural Hunting Heritage banquet held by the new Lowcountry Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) was held 8/21 at Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant. A social hour welcomed members before a beaufort stew was served by Charleston Bay Gourmet.  A live auction and silent auction were conducted so that sportsmen could bid on exclusive items such as turkey hunts and fishing trips. The dollars raised will go towards conservation programs of the NWTF and to causes such as the Wheelin' Sportsman program. The Lowcountry Longbeards chapter has already held several hunts for disabled hunters at the Tibwin Forest in Awendaw.

Photos by Jeff Dennis: Kevin (green shirt) and Jennifer Lusk are from Lowcountry Mud Buddy, Jennifer Ekonomon and her father Bill Lyman enjoy the setting at Alhambra Hall, Gary Peters of the US Forest Service and Mike Hoffstatter of NWTF helped run the auction, Dennis Axson joins DeAnn Dubis and David Morris to celebrate conservation in NWTF style!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two HUGE wahoo photos



Lowcountryoutdoors.com hears a lot of scuttlebutt about fishing, but reports about scattered wahoo 'studs' seems to be coming true. Both of these beautiful fish are worth noting.

Photo By Jeff Dennis: Angler Derek Nobles (far right) of Murrell's Inlet was fishing on Captain Jim Horton's (far left) 31-foot Contender out of Charleston with Jeff Fisher (middle) during the Fishing For Miracles tournament on August 8th and reeled in this 77.20-pound wahoo.

Photo by Scott Hammond: McColl Furman caught this 76-pound wahoo on August 8th and weighed it at Haddrell's Point West

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BIG buck harvest query



Lowcountryoutdoors.com asks readers to help report when a notable trophy buck is harvested. While a 'first' buck is absolutely a trophy for the sportsmen, this query is directed at bucks with a large rack or with a notable feature such as a drop tine. We will recognize the highest quality bucks on this blog. Thanks to all who hunt safely in 2009 and who elect to share some of your good news.

Photo: Captain Jack Bracewell of Summerville (on ATV) knew where to find a quality buck in 2008! Russ Parker of Mount Pleasant had some luck in 2009, when this fine 8-point buck in velvet weighing 205-pounds stepped out at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney - Winner!





The 15th Tarpon release tourney was fished out of Toler's Cove on August 15th. Organizer Cantey Smith had a field of fifty anglers fishing for the silver king. He reported ten hook-ups with one fish coming to the boat. Congrats go to Captain Chris Wilson and angler Lance Hightower for releasing an 80-pound tarpon at 10:30 a.m. on tournament day to win bragging rights for one year.

Photo by David Ingle: Organizer Champ Smith awards the tarpon trophy and release flag to the winners

Photo By Jeff Dennis: A fine tarpon mount honors past releases

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2009 Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel - Day Two




Day two conditions were again overcast and calm. Dirty Work weighed in a 41.78-pound king caught by Amelia Wirth finishing in 2nd place behind Black Cat's king from Friday. They also had a 40.78-pound king but tournament rules stipulate only one heaviest fish per boat may be entered in the tournament. Dirty Work is a 34-foot Venture out of Mount Pleasant and they caught both their BIG kings by 8:30 a.m. Rob Donlin was back on the docks today to help direct this CCA-run tournament. All tourney results can be viewed at www.fishingformiracles.org.

For Day One blog coverage from the 2009 FFM click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Team Dirty Work caught two 40-pound kings on Day Two, Matt Winter caught this 34.22-pound king while fishing with his brother on the Done Wishin'

Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel - Day One





The 16th annual Fishing For Miracles (FFM) Tournament began on Thursday night with a Captain's Meeting at Ripley Light Marina. Day One of fishing will see the 200-boat fleet fish from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. - with the weigh-in to follow from 2 to 5 p.m. Overcast conditions and calm seas greeted the king mackerel anglers on Day One. CCA South Carolina Executive Director Scott Whittaker told me "We'll give $1000 to the largest fish that is weighed-in by an ALL-CCA crew." OK, a NICE fish came in to be weighed right at 2 p.m. - The 35-foot Triton Black Cat out of Georgetown weighed in a 42.90-pound king. They caught this fish at 9:30 a.m. about ten miles South of Charleston. Captain Jamey Stuart said that crewman Clay Peurifoy thought the fish was small at first, but it only took 10 minutes to boat the big king. Youth angler Kateland Todd was fishing with Black Cat when she reeled in her 26.76-pound king. Second place on Day One went to Mark Mitchell for a 37.22-pound kingfish that was caught aboard Trophy Hunter out of Georgetown.

Photo By Jeff Dennis: The Black Cat's big king was caught by lady angler Carlett Stuart, Mark Mitchell poses with his fish at the FFM tourney which benefits MUSC Children's Hospital

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plantation Managers Meet at Poco Sabo




Green Pond was the nearest 'urban area' when the South Carolina Plantation Managers Association (SCPMA) gathered at Poco Sabo Plantation on the Ashepoo River for their annual meeting. SCPMA President Jim McCormick (from Mount Holly Plantation) welcomed the land manager's and laid out the agenda for the day. Joe Hamilton, founder of the Quality Deer Management Association spoke about the effect that coyotes are having on the fawn survival rate, then Jerald Sholar spoke about the newly formed S.C. Quail Project based out of Mount Pleasant Plantation, and SCDNR's Charles Ruth spoke about current events within both the deer and turkey programs. Further discussion touched on how the current recession impacts plantation management due to budget cutbacks, and what individuals are doing to make the best of things. Lowcountryoutdoors.com  would like to thank the owner of Poco Sabo Plantation for hosting the SCPMA meeting.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Poco Sabo manager Tom Bowen points to the 75-acre impoundment where he plants no-till corn, Shorty the horse was out to pasture during the SCPMA meeting but the stall bearing his name caught my eye

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spirit of South Carolina - Title One Schools





Meagahn Van Liew of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation tells me that 37 "at risk" teens from Title One schools in Charleston County have completed a six-week summer program that used the Tall Ship Spirit of South Carolina as a teaching tool. The majority of the students were minorities and most qualified for free lunch during the school year. The program is called the 21st Century Spirit Ocean Adventure summer program and consisted of day classes  that stressed reading, navigation, coastal ecological processes, marine life and swimming lessons. Following these classes the students flew to New York City (where the Spirit was) to sail around Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound. Lowcountryoutdoors.com asks you to raise your hand if you have ever sailed on the Spirit around Long Island Sound?! Besides the aforementioned perk, the core goals of this course are to improve literacy and prevent drop-outs while increasing their leadership skills and self-confidence. On August 6th the students made presentations about their studies, and shared photos from their sailing trip, for friends and family at the Charleston Maritime Center - demonstrating how sailing is a great connection to the outdoors and offers a different kind of education experience.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chester Turns One Year Old Today



My English Setter named Chester has reached his first birthday today. He is a quail dog in training and was purchased from Moree's Sportsman Preserve in Chesterfield County. He chewed his way through some documents and shoes along the way, but he has 'hunted' the birds in the dog park with diligence and will be a 'working dog' come quail season. He is a hard-headed male dog at times, but his nose seems to be acute to the scent of birds and his vision does not miss a winged critter (near of far) that flutters by. He is getting a dog house at Snipe Hill for his birthday - not for use in the heat of August, but rather as a secure outpost in the country in between hunting adventures. Chester loves to run, as most English Setter's do, and I look forward to trying to keep up with him when it is cool enough for us to hit the quail woods again. Chester is a loving dog with big eyes that are 'masked' by his facial markings when in low light or at night. Chester's ears perk up when the master says Moo, Meow, Quack quack or Honk honk but his strongest reaction is always simply to the word - "bird."

To view past blog entries about Chester click here.

Photos By Jeff Dennis: Chester at 4 months of age, and Chester on his First Birthday

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HUGE blue marlin caught by G'town boat



A grander blue marlin was caught off of Ocean City, Maryland last week during the White Marlin Open. The 1062-pound Blue Marlin was caught by angler Bob Ferris on August 5, 2009 while fishing aboard No Problem, a sportfisher based in Georgetown. The 63-year-old angler is a CPA living in Charlotte and while he fought the fish for three hours, he still had no idea just how big this grand fish was. The blue marlin bests the old Maryland state record of 942-pounds - and would have topped the S.C. record too (if it had been caught here). It is truly RARE to catch a grander marlin off the East Coast and this was more than memorable - it is exciting to know that these fish are still growing to large sizes and leaving years of successful reproduction activities in their wake - for future anglers to pursue.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SCSSA 2009 Sailfish XXVII Tournament




The South Carolina Saltwater Sportfishing Association is holding their 27th Annual Sailfish Tournament this weekend out of Charleston. The fish days are August 7, 8 & 9 with lines in from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. SCSSA mandates that circle hooks ONLY be used for this tournament, and that any meatfish (dolphin, wahoo or kings) that are caught can be weighed in from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day at the Cooper River Marina or Bohicket Marina. The winners will be recognized at the SCSSA year end rewards to be held August 18. Unofficial results say that Electric Bill released nine sailfish to win the tournament and that Syked Out released eight sailfish to take second place. The fleet had light east winds and good fishing conditions over the weekend. Thanks to SCSSA member William Dotterer for the conditions report, and congrats to his boat Swamp Angel for boating the first sailfish of the tournament on Friday morning at 8:20 a.m.