Monday, May 31, 2010

Palmetto Wild! e-zine - Red drum article

The South Carolina Wildlife Federation has put together its first ever glossy magazine called Palmetto Wild! It has an article from SCWF Board Chair Clinch Heyward about different ways to enjoy the bounty of South Carolina's outdoors. The 7th annual SCWF photo contest winners are in the magazine too! was honored to contribute an article on fishing for red drum - to view the entire e-zine just click on this link. To fast forward to my fishing article use the upper left 'Table of Contents' menu and select Fish For Red Drum.

To view a past blog entry from the 2009 SCWF Conservation Awards click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: A well-known senior angler handles a red drum that carries a tag from SCDNR. The green algae grows on the tag after a long 'liberty' - and this fish was re-released

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Georgetown Gov. Cup - Day Three & Results

Another beautiful day on the ocean greeted the Governor's Cup fleet and six more billfish releases were tallied. Two of the meatfish category leaders from Thursday held on to win but angler Poe Ratterree slid his 63-pound wahoo onto the Georgetown Landing marina docks to claim that category, and looks to be a contender for the top wahoo for the Governor's Cup Series. Caramba claimed the 43rd Georgetown Blue Marlin tournament by being the only boat to release a blue marlin on consecutive days, earning 1200 points for the win. Daymaker finished in second place on the strength of their three billfish releases - one white marlin and two sailfish good for 700 points. Game On finished in third place with one blue marlin released and 600 points. Caramaba is owned by Bob Faith of Mount Pleasant and the boat captain is Dale Lackey. Angler Ryan Riggs handled the blue marlin on Friday that ate the flat line and came up an inch short on the in-water estimate at 104-inches, while Faith handled the duties on Saturday when the approximately 300-pound blue marlin ate a ballyhoo on a pitch bait at 9:30 a.m. after the fish would not eat the flat line. Faith reported seeing other billfish in the baits over the last two days, and many of the other boats did too, making the fishing very exciting for some. Daymaker is owned by Mark Daniels and is based in Georgetown, with Captain Jay Weaver at the helm. Game On is owned by Bubba Roof of Sea Hunt Boats, and his wife Kelli released the blue marlin for them on Friday. On Saturday Caramba, Big Sky and Dem Boys released one blue marlin each while Due Course released one sailfish and Daymaker released one white marlin and one sailfish. Meatfish winners at Georgetown: Wahoo 63-pounds Poe Ratterree fishing aboard Christy II; tuna 12.4-pounds Steve Godfrey fishing aboard Christy II; Dolphin 31.4-pounds Miles Herring fishing aboard Daymaker.

To view Day Two coverage of the 2010 G'town Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Poe Ratterree stands tall with his 63-pound stud wahoo; Bill Dial gave the blue marlin a break but reeled in a fine 23.8-pound mahi mahi; Reel Passion owner Billy Ingram shows angler Clay Gallup's 148.6-pound mako shark off to his twin daughters; 11-year old youth angler John Taylor caught his 13.4-pound dolphin aboard Caramba and is shown here with father Joe Taylor and Bob Faith

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Georgetown Gov. Cup - Day Two

Great conditions offshore led to a big day for billfish releases with a total of seven boats returning to The Georgetown Landing marina flying their release flags. Unofficial results are: Caramba snagged the Day One points lead (600) by being the first boat to report the release of a blue marlin, while Game On was the next to do so when female angler Kelli Roof released a blue marlin to take the early lead in the outstanding female angler category. Houdini was also credited with the release of a blue marlin. Middleton 58 and No Problem each released a white marlin - and No Problem blew an engine and did not return to port until 10:30 under the escort of Sea Tow! Hat Trick and Daymaker reported a sailfish release each. Georgetown Marina manager John Horton had his dock hands working overtime during the first day of fishing action, and will see plenty more work on Saturday as the entire fleet will fish again. Meatfish leaders are as follows: Dolphin 31.4-pounds Miles Herring fishing on the Daymaker; Tuna 12.4-pounds Steve Godfrey fishing on the Christy II; wahoo 18.2-pounds Poe Raterie also on the Christy II. Leading in the youth angler category is Taylor Gaton with her 18.6-pound mahi mahi caught aboard Due Course.

To view blog coverage from Day One of the 2010 G'town Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: 13-year old youth angler Ellen Davis caught this 14-pound dolphin aboard the Benchmark; Lady angler Tara Asbill with her two dolphin (the largest weighed 23.6-pounds) caught from the Crystal Blue; Eddie Buck Jr. with an nice 24.2-pound dolphin caught on the Rookie IV; Family fun is always a part of the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series!

Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 Spoleto USA - Opening Ceremony VIDEO

Once again, hot weather greets the opening ceremonies for the Spoleto Festival. After the Invocation and the National Anthem the podium was given to Mr. Michael Colgan who is the Director of the Gate Theatre located in Dublin Ireland. Mr. Colgan spoke warmly of the Arts Festival that has grown into an almost symbiotic relationship with the City of Charleston. He praised Mayor Joe Riley for overseeing the refurbishment of the Dock Street Theatre (where the Gate Theatre will perform) and was overjoyed at the current state of that facility. Furthermore, he touched on the fact that the Gate Theatre has been fortunate to play in the most respected festivals in the world, including the Sydney arts festival and the Lincoln Center festival, but only Charleston has hosted the Gate Theatre for seven different productions - a fact that he attributes to the way Charleston accepts and promotes the artists which has fostered a genuine warmth - and he credits many of Charleston's garden parties as the fertile grounds where future artistic collaborations have been spawned. Yes, Charleston does have a magical event in Spoleto USA (and Piccolo Spoleto) and with many of the concert offerings located outdoors, it is also another fine way to blend culture with our lovely Lowcountry.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Micahel Colgan, Director of the Gate Theatre of Dublin makes his opening cermony remarks

VideoByJeffDennis: Charleston City Mayor Joe Riley declares in Italian and in English that the 34th Spoleto Festival is now OPEN

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Georgetown Gov. Cup - Day One

SCDNR has confirmed that zero boats fished Day One of the 43rd Annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, likely due to rough ocean conditions associated with a low pressure system that passed by the coast earlier in the week. The offshore forecast for Friday and Saturday is MUCH better and the entire fleet of 39 boats is expected to fish back-to-back days. The weigh-in on Friday starts at 5 and continues until all boats are safely in, while Saturday's weigh-in runs from 5 until 7.

To view blog coverage from the 2009 G'town Gov. Cup click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: The charter dock at Georgetown is full of sportfishers

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fly Fishing Hazel Creek, N.C.

Traveling up the Hazel Creek Trail into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park affords excellent mountain trout fishing and so much more. Each elevation change brings an appreciation for the Indians, settlers and pioneers that used to live off the land in this area – seemingly cut off from other concerns. Thoughts regarding past efforts to tame a wild place were omnipresent, but our efforts were focused on what must be done to enjoy several days of fishing from a streamside camp.
Arranging transportation across Lake Fontana is the first step of the journey, which also includes reserving a campsite on the Hazel Creek Trail. Hikers must contact the Fontana Village Resort Marina to secure pontoon boat transfer service across the 10,230-acre Fontana Lake and into the National Park.
No mechanized travel is allowed into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park so hikers must haul all provisions up the mountain in backpacks or wheeled carts. Wheeled-carts allow for campers to bring in tents, cooking equipment, lighting, coolers, perishables – not to mention breathable waders, fishing vests and fly rods in protective tubes. Carrying gear three miles uphill is a chore to be sure, but an early challenge brings satisfaction to all that their time spent fishing in the stream would be earned.

This expedition reminded me of a prior adventure when Charleston fishing friend Fred Andrus and I camped in the Cohutta Wilderness Area of North Georgia to fish Jack’s Creek. I accused Fred of taking me on a “Bataan death march” carrying all of our needs up and down trails, with my sea-level legs being put to the test. Everything I learned on that outing could now be applied in the Smokies.

To view a blog entry about Fly Fishing Jackson County, N.C. click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Fly fishing in Hazel Creek (N.C.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; a 7-inch wild rainbow trout that is 'fat and happy' in Hazel Creek; a beautiful blue mountain butterfly that paused on a rock; after hiking 3.5 miles to camp at the 'Sawdust Pile' you can bet that time around the campfire is cherished

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bushwackin' the Beaufort Blueways

The Sands boat ramp at the Town of Port Royal is just one of many stops along the Beaufort Blueways Kayak Trail that stretches for 6.2-miles between Beaufort and historic Port Royal. Jean Ribaut recognized this estuary as a perfect settlement in 1562 and established a French colony on Parris Island, thus naming the entire area Port Royal. Using a kayak to fish along this paddling trail is a popular diversion for saltwater fisherman, so for more information including GPS waypoints visit the Internet at
The Beaufort Blueways Kayak Trail includes a stop at Fort Frederick; a fort built by the British around 1730 and thought to protect the port from the Spanish that were located just south at nearby Saint Augustine. Today the tabby ruins are in the care of the SCDNR Heritage Preserve program and are thought to be the oldest tabby structure in the state. Good trout fishing can often be found along riprap like old structure in the water associated with historic forts.
The Beaufort River is lined with miles of spartina grass, creek mouths, oyster banks, shell points and other native habitat that holds gamefish in the area. Checking the tide charts before kayak fishing the Blueways trail and keeping an eye on the weather should be all the prep work needed to enjoy some quality fishing time on the water.
Captain Danny Rourk is the Chairman of the Lowcountry Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, based in Beaufort. When speaking of fly-fishing for trout Rourk said, “A fly that looks like a glass minnow will work well when the specks are in shallow water, but fly-fishing for redfish is much more popular and productive.”
Other public landings that are a part of the Beaufort Blueways Kayak Trail are the Lady’s Island Public Landing, the downtown Beaufort Public Landing, Wallace Landing and the Penn Center Dock, which is the termination of the Beaufort Blueways’ Penn Center Trail. The Penn Center destination offers anglers a chance to get out of their kayak for a moment to tour the Penn Center, a National Historic Landmark since 1974, and its Museum of black history. One planning note should be that the Penn Center dock is not accessible at dead low tide, so visits should be timed out for two hours on either side of low tide, and on up to the time of high tide.
Visit and explore Beaufort to see why Field and Stream Magazine named the area one of the “Top 20 Fishing Towns in America” – in their February 2008 edition. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

CCA Legislator Summit

PhotosByJeffDennis: South Carolina State Legislators at the Isle Of Palms Marina ready for a day of environmental education on the water with the Coastal Conservation Association: Sen. Ronnie Cromer, House members Anne Peterson Hutte, Ted Vick and Chip Limhouse and Sen. Larry Grroms; S.C. Rep. Peterson-Hutto of 'Jim Isle' and Scott Whittaker of CCA with a bluefish; Anne reels in yet another spotted seatrout at a secret spot
PhotoByScottWhittaker: Jeff displays the 16-inch trout that Anne caught with NO help

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

East Cooper Fishing Club

Captain Brian Garris, co-founder of the East Cooper Fishing Club (other co-founder was Todd Gough), President Martin Hox and V.P. Ed Kidney asked to go on an inshore fishing trip recently.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bohicket Gov. Cup - Results

Game On held its Day One release points lead and won the Bohicket Marina leg of the S.C. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series. My Time Out finished in second place and Rascal finished in third place. Game On has 800-points and leads the Series by only 200 points after the first leg of competition. David Peterson won the dolphin division with his 44.8-pound entry, fishing from Trust Me. Zach Lyman won the wahoo division with his 35-pound entry, fishing from Miss Magnolia. Fraser Wilson brought in a 21-pound blackfin tuna to win the tuna division fishing on Small Change. Caleb Teske, age 13, was the top youth angler with his 36.2-pound dolphin caught from Middleton 58. Lady Angler went to Kelly Roof aboard Game On for releasing the blue marlin and sailfish, earning her a $500 check from Palmetto Props.

To view more blog coverage of the 2010 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: The transom of the Blue Sky and their blue marlin landed flag; the blue marlin in the fish box at Bohicket marina; Youth angler Caleb Teske and his 36.2-pound dolphin with friend Tripp Boggus

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bohicket Gov. Cup - Blue Marlin VIDEO

A blue marlin was landed on Saturday by Blue Sky, a 56-foot Viking, during the Bohicket Governor's Cup. Confirmation of the fish being landed about 2 p.m. allowed for much anticipation at the weigh-in scheduled from 5 to 7. Blue Sky pulled up to the fuel dock to unload their 112-inch blue marlin, and were given a round of applause from fellow anglers onboard Major Motion. Bohicket marina manager Brian Richardson directed his staffers to place the blue marlin in a gurney and bring him up the gangway to the scales. Fisheries biologists Wallace Jenkins and Amy Dukes measured the fish to verify that it was of legal length before the beast was weighed to be 515-pounds! With a home port of Georgetown, Blue Sky is owned by Greg Smith and captained by Steve Krammer. Crew members Ross Thames, Chris Bech and Hew King saw fellow angler Bill Dial of Anderson grab the Shimano Tiagra reel when the female blue marlin streaked in and took the starboard bait. A spanish mackerel rigged with a circle hook was the ticket, and the blue marlin dumped half the spool of 80-pound mono before Dial stumbled into the fighting chair. Dial said, "I loosened the drag since it was a circle hook, but the fish was about to pull the rod out of my hands. Everyone worked together as a team to clear the transom of rods and when I got in the chair Capt. Krammer backed down aggressively." Forty minutes later the blue marlin was at the transom door, they put a cord in the water that measured 105-inches and the marlin exceeded that minimum length so they opened the transom door and brought her aboard.

To view more blog coverage from the 2010 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The crew of the Blue Sky with their 515-pound blue marlin at the Bohicket marina; an appreciative crowd gathered to show support for the Governor's Cup Series; DNR's Wallace Jenkins and Amy Dukes worked to measure the fish and to extract biological samples for research; McNair Rhodes was fishing aboard Small Change when she reeled in this 20.2-pound mahi mahi

VideoByJeffDennis: Blue Sky offloads their 515-pound blue marlin

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bohicket Gov. Cup - Day Two

Another beautiful ocean greeted the nine boats that fished today, and the biggest news came when Game On decided to fish again riding their hot hand, but they returned with no billfish releases. Game On still leads the Bohicket Governor's Cup with 800 points, but most of the fleet will fish again tomorrow, and their 200 point lead over Rascal and My Time Out could be eclipsed. Caramba released a sailfish on Friday, giving them 200 points. Things heated up in the meatfish category when David Peterson landed a 44.8-pound dolphin while fishing on the Trust Me just inside of the 380 hole. Captain Jim Foulke said that the bull dolphin hit the custom Lehi lure that the Gov. Cup commissioned this year! Justin McAbee brought in a 26.4-pound wahoo, and was fishing on Second Love III when the bull took an Aloha Lures 'custom beauty' in black and orange. Fraser Wilson brought in a 21-pound tuna aboard the Small Change.

To view more blog coverage from the 2010 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The results at Bohicket after two days of fishing; Lady angler Jennifer Feltham reeled in this 18-pound dolphin; Justin McAbee and his wahoo on the Bohicket Charter dock; the crew of the Trust Me assembled to show off their big dolphin that ate the Governor's Cup custom lure!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bohicket Gov. Cup - Day One partners with the SCDNR Governor's Cup Billfishing Series to bring you the unofficial results from each day of offshore fishing. On Day One at Bohicket 24 of 28 boats went fishing and four boats released blue marlin, while two boats lost blue marlin.
Boats releasing a blue marlin were Trust Me, Rascal, My Time Out, and Game On. Game on also released a sailfish so they are in first place right now via release points. would like to recognize 88-year old angler Buck Morris who released a white marlin on Day One. Furthermore, Buck is a credit to the Governor's Cup legacy of tradition, having fished on Major Motion for 25+ years. Captain Wesley Morris said, "The white marlin ate a Bart Schneider green and black lure about 1 p.m., after turning down a pitch bait." Day One meatfish leaders are as follows: Wahoo - 35 pounds caught by Zack Lyman aboard Miss Magnolia; Dolphin - 27.6-pound caught by Greg Welsh aboard Mary Agnes; Tuna - 7.4-pounds caught by Mark Feltham aboard Trinity V. All boats reported ideal conditions at sea for fishing.

For more blog coverage from the 2010 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Greg Welsh of Charleston with his 27.6-pound dolphin; Mike Wellons represents Miss Magnolia with their 35-pound wahoo; brother and sister team Bucky Morris and Pam Hanckel show off their mahi mahi

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Governor's Cup - Bohicket Marina

The 2010 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series kicked off with a Captain's meeting at 7 p.m. on the docks of Bohicket Marina on John's Island. Beautiful weather greeted the anglers and high hopes are for calm seas during the next three days of competition. Strategy is already in the works as 'Benchmark' plans to take a lay day on Thursday while the rest of the 26 boat fleet goes fushin'. SCDNR officials Wally Jenkins and Amy Dukes called the meeting to order before Bohicket Marina manager Bryan Richardson took over to answer questions. A private party at the new Red's Ice House at Bohicket followed with barbecue and fun for all.

PhotosByJeffDennis: A special lure from Lehi Baits was delivered to each boat entered in the 2010 Gov. Cup - ain't it a 'beaut!; Sherri Stutts, Buck Morris and Andrea Prettyman share a smile on Major Motion; a crowd of offshore fishing fanatics gathered to listen at the Captain's meeting; the Bohicket Charter dock is the epicenter of billfishing in South Carolina for the next three days

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Colleton County - Conservation ALERT

A new round of 'public input' meetings concerning the proposed 2020 Land Use PLan is underway in Colleton County. Of particular concern is the proposed "RD-1" zoning that will allow TWO UNITS PER ACRE in this newly expanded zone that surrounds the City of Walterboro. The County notified its citizens just one week ago that the public meetings would be held this week and next. Unfortunately the County does not seem concerned that this might be considered "short notice" for many of Colletons working-class citizens who are family farm acreage owners. Attending the FIRST of the public meetings in Smoaks on Tuesday the 12th, I was not surprised to find that NO ONE showed up to speak with County officials. I wrote down my concerns about the 2020 Land Use Plan and voiced that I DO NOT APPROVE of the increased chance for development in rural, agricultural areas of Colleton County. Other public input meetings will follow from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on :
Wednesday May 12 @ Bells Fire Station
Thursday May 13 @ Islandton Fire Station
Friday May 14th @ Cottageville Fire Station
Monday May 17th @ Green Pond Fire Station
Tuesday May 18th @ Walterboro Museum
Wednesday May 19th @ Edisto Civic Center

For more background information on the Land Use Plan please read the story that I wrote in the Spring of 2009. NOTE: At that time "RD-1" was being called 'Rural Agriculture'

PhotoByJeffDennis: A close-up of the proposed "RD-1" zone in light coloring that surrounds Walterboro (shown in black) and its TWO UNITS PER ACRE zoning. This greatly expands the area where Colleton County officials would like for population growth to occur (in a rural and pastoral section) rather than in the urban hubs like Cottageville and Walterboro

Saturday, May 8, 2010

RODEO comes to Walterboro w/Video

Professional cowboys and cowgirls made their annual visit to Walterboro to compete in the two-day rodeo. The Ken Treadway Rodeo (which is a touring rodeo that covers S.C., N.C. and Georgia) visited the Double D arena, which is owned by Tommie Derry and family. A large crowd turned out to see competitions like Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Saddel Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Cowgirl Barrel Racing, Team Roping and the evening finishes up with fan-favorite - Bull Riding. The professionals are actually competing for points that might allow them to qualify to travel to Oklahoma City for the Rodeo National Finals. The rodeo was held on Friday and Saturday and cumulative scores from each night determined event winners. Bojangles and Walterboro Feed and Seed were some of the rodeo sponsors from Walterboro. The steer wrestling event is also known as 'bulldogging' becasue the cowboy closes ground on the running steer via horseback before jumping on him and using his horns to twist his neck and bring him skidding to the ground.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Cowboy hats were very popular in the crowd and vendors seemed to have plenty on hand for those that forgot to wear one

VideoByJeffDennis: The objective is to ride a bucking horse for 8 seconds without using your free hand, and this N.C. cowboy succeeds before bailing off his horse

Friday, May 7, 2010

CCA 2010 Conservation Banquet - East Cooper Chapter

The Coastal Conservation Association's East Cooper Chapter held their annual spring banquet on May 6th at Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant. Fresh sun tans on the members reflected how nice the weather has been lately for fishing, and with the offshore season just getting underway much anticipation lies ahead. Also, much chit chat focused on the dreaded oil spill in the Gulf and the worry that the 'Loop Current' may bring tar balls to the East Coast. Chapter President Jay Brown and Executive Director Scott Whittaker conducted the celebratory event, while guests dined on the food prepared by Charleston Bay Gourmet. Tuna, shrimp, flounder and barbecue were all on the menu. A cocktail hour and silent auction was followed by the live auction and the raffle drawing. A list of the auction items and more photos from the 2010 event (coming in a day or two), and photos from past conservation banquets can be found on the East Cooper home page:

To View my blog from the 2009 East Cooper CCA banquet click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Virginia Lee is a sponsor with First Reliance Bank and stands with David Mandell; Captain Reed Simmons of Team D.O.A. stands tall next to J.B. McCarty; Sponsors Anna and Debbie King smile for conservation with friend Lindsay Weber; CCA youth members Dylan Wallace and Graham Wilkins can't wait to go fishin'