Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 S.C. Wildlife Federation's Wild Summer's Nite

The mission of the SCWF is to advocate for wildlife, habitat and the environment, and to educate citizens in the ethic of conservation, and to support outdoor traditions. Each summer is punctuated with SCWF's Wild Game Banquet and fundraising auction to celebrate with its member the continuation of outdoor enjoyment. Held Aug. 28 at Tronco's Medallion Center in Columbia the silent auction and social hour was followed by a game feast that included wild boar, duck, pheasant, catfish and the crowd-pleasing Gator Tail. Live auction items included trips to resort locations, and included things like turkey calls and quail hunting opportunities. Under the leadership of SCWF Executive Director Ben Gregg and SCWF Board Chair Clinch Heyward, both the Wild Summer's Nite and the SCWF mission are being executed with success.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Courtney Shumpert is a volunteer with SCWF staff member Heather Clarkson; SCWF Communications Director Sarah Lloyd and board member Dan Scheffing; Danny, William and Hydie Kirkland are a family that hunts together. Does SCWF support hunters? You Bet!

To view the 2009 blog entry click here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

2010 Plantation Managers meet at Nemours

Seabrook, Dale, Gardens Corner and Yemassee were all equidistant from the 2010 meeting of the S.C. Plantation Managers Society, or SCPMA. Nemours Wildlife Foundation hosted the meeting at their Clay Hall facilities, which is one section of their 10,000-acre swath of the Lowcountry situated along the Combahee River in Northern Beaufort County. Nemours manager Ernie Wiggers welcomed those gathered before opening the floor to a few speakers, including Joe Hamilton (founder of QDMA), Dean Harrigal (SCDNR waterfowl biologist), Jerald Sholar (Tall Timbers in S.C.), Donnie Buckland (Upland programs for NWTF) and Charles Ruth (SCDNR deer biologist). Wiggers managed to get in the last word though and said, "These large tracts of private land do a great deal for society and it doesn't cost taxpayers anything. The trees produce the oxygen we breathe, and the land (in some cases) collects stormwater runoff for urban areas." Following the meeting was a lunch with plenty of conversation about the big diamondback snake photo that has been making the rounds on the Internet, and then the plantation managers loaded into trucks for a tour of longleaf pine planting areas and hardwood tree thinning designed to improve wildlife and songbird habitat. Getting 'boots on the ground' is always the best way to share information with colleagues that was learned in the field.

To view the blog entry from the 2009 Plantation Managers meeting click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Dean Harrigal overlooks a waterfowl impoundment at Nemours Plantation

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SSI and Palmetto paired at Carolina's

The S.C. Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Initiative is a program that Megan Westmeyer says is designed to educate chefs about what is best to serve customers, given that seafood stocks can fluctuate due to nature's cycles. Chef Jeremiah Bacon, a John's Island native, addressed diners and said, "Getting local seafood to the plate is a big part of the program here at Carolina's." Each course of the five-course meal was paired with a beer from the Palmetto Brewery with brewer Ed Falkenstein on hand to explain the complexity of each frothy offering. Pan-sauteed heads-on medium-sized shrimp and watermelon wheat beer consisted of the first course, and the shrimp were tender and fresh from the docks at Shem Creek. Fried local clams with an 'almost tempura' batter on them consisted of course number two and were paired with the Palmetto Amber beer that "is all about the malted barley." Palmetto's Pale Ale and local swordfish from the Cherry Point docks defined course number three. The Orzo and rice salad served as a bed for the delicious and flaky swordfish that was intended to be dipped in the spicy Miso mustard sauce. Dinner table chatter about bottom fishing regulations followed the Triggerfish fourth course served with Herbed Nage and young potatoes, and paired with a 'test' brew called Pilot Brown Ale - something new from Palmetto that is not yet available to the public; and SSI patrons were happy to be test subjects. The flour-less chocolate cake dessert was matched with Palmetto's Porter brew, which actually has a hint of espresso since it is brewed with a blend of Costa Rican and Kenyan coffee beans. Carolina's will feature two dinner's paired with beer on Sept. 29th with Breckenridge Brewery flavors and on October 27th with Weihenstephan. More SSI here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Shrimp served Heads-On with arugala; Owner Joe Meloy and Chef Jeremiah Bacon, Swordfish and Miso sauce; Palmetto hops and barley were available for taste testing

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Velux 5 - Van Liew's Le Pingouin makes SPLASH

With only two months to go until the October 17 start of the Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 race in La Rochelle, France - the entrant from Charleston has launched his boat. Brad Van Liew will sail his Le Pingouin in the round the world race that is scheduled to have one stop in the Holy City in early 2011, and his Lazarus Project support team has stepped up to outfit the boat and to support his efforts to win the Velux race. The Eco 60 racing yacht had been in Deytens Shipyard for refitting work, but is now moored at the Seabreeze Marina downtown. Van Liew said, "We redesigned the deck and cabin to suit my sailing style and brought every facet up to the highest standards for an oceangoing racer." Some of the sponsors of the sailing effort include B&G autopilots, Samson ropes, Simrad navigation systems, Awlgrip paint, Alpine Aire dehydrated food products and Gill technical wear that is custom made for sailors. David Pritchard is president of Gill NA and said, "Brad has the experience and spirit to win and Gill is proud to align our brand with Team Lazarus." Look for a Bon Voyage send off party for Van Liew on September 2, with Le Pingouin expected to sail for France on Sept 5. As the only U.S. entry in the Velux 5 Oceans Race and the representative for Charleston, expect to follow news of the race on Lowcountry Outdoors until the completion of the solo round-the-world race.

PhotosByTeamLazarus: Le Pingouin hits the water - Look at that keel! ; transom shot; and Brad Van Liew

To view prior Velux 5 Oceans blog entries click here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fishing Photo Round-up / Reader Support

Closing in on 500 blog entries, and completing another long hot summer on the tournament docks, it will soon be time to focus on sporting pursuits in the field (with some saltwater mixed in). It seems the real message from the fishing folks, of which I am one, is that it's a good thing to involve our youth in fishing and it's also a good thing to promote our sporting heritage in a positive fashion. Allen Mahaffey wrote Lowcountry Outdoors to say, "I have four kids and I try to get them all interested in the outdoors, especially the way things are nowadays, thanks for what you do and good fishin' to you." Brent Williams wrote Lowcountry Outdoors and said, "Thank you for the work you've done and the work you continue to do for marine and wildlife conservation." If readers continue to request more Lowcountry Outdoors coverage, then we might be... 'just getting started.'

PhotosByJeffDennis: Coleman Jenkins won the youth angler honors at FFM and his father Carl wrote Lowcountry Outdoors and said, "We had hoped to have someone dockside to snap some shots, but that didn't work out, so yours are the only ones available. Thanks for sharing the photo, and I know a certain seven-year old who will be thrilled."

Seventeen-year old Alexis Roberts at FFM with a 13.5-pound king mackerel

PhotoByPeteLoy: The only Blue Marlin release at the Edisto Gov. Cup was on Lil' Bit

PhotoByChampSmith: Blair Wiggins, the Mogan man from Addcitive Fishing, and Lowcountry Outdoors teaming up on the redfish!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Addictive Fishing TV films in Lowcountry

When Captain Blair Wiggins and childhood friend and TV producer Kevin McCabe wanted to capture some exciting redfish action in HD, they brought Addictive Fishing to the Lowcountry. Filming took place over two days, as the boys from the Space Coast of Florida tried to locate the 'Mogan' reds around McClellanville and Bull's Bay. The thirty-minute cable television show is action-packed and Wiggins chose Captain Chris Wilson's FinAddict Guide Services to put him on the fish. Captain Champ Smith took turns on the poling platform, keeping the camera boat ready for close-up action. 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of Addictive Fishing TV and besides tackling media, Wiggins has also proved his skills on the tournament fishing trails when he became the 2006 FLW Redfish Series Champion. Just check out his new line of Flats Blue Signature Rods that he has partnered with Wright and McGill to make, you know the ones with the 'flats blue' camo color that blends in with the sky so as not to spook fish at close quarters. In the Lowcountry, look for them at Dick's Sporting Goods but they are also available at Academy Sports or Bass Pro Shops. Guided by Wilson, of, Wiggins and crew fished nothing but D.O.A. artificial lures starting at low tide and continued fishing all the way through the flood tide. Captain Wilson said, "It's neat to fish with Blair and to observe some of the tactics that he has perfected while fishing out of his Ranger 16-foot Phantom boat." A Mogan fish is a cross between a Monster and a Biggan, and Captain Champ Smith said, "Blair can cast the D.O.A. shrimp within 6-inches of where it needs to be everytime, and that really helps the hook-up ratio." What was working so well? Wiggins said, "I'm wearing Costa 580 amber lenses in a fathom frame and fishing a D.O.A. shrimp in the Morning Glory color (black with chartreuse tail) rigged on a weedless Lazer Sharp 1/8-ounce swim bait hook." Look for the Lowcountry redfish TV episode to air in approximately eight weeks to see Blair catch a 34-inch Mogan redfish!

PhotosByJeffDennis: Capt. Blair Wiggins with a bronze-backed 27-inch redfish in the Lowcountry; Three fishing buddies - Bootsie, Champ and Blair; The second generation S-Curve rod features the split foregrip that Wiggins designed for fingertip contact with the rod blank to give greater sensitivity

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel - Day Two

The 17th annual Key West Boats Fishing For Miracles king mackerel tournament to benefit M.U.S.C. Children's hospital finished with some cheers when Juggernaut brought in a 34.1-pound kingfish to take the first place prize money. Day Two leaders Cool Cat and Bow Movement held on to take second and third place, while Mangler brought in a 32.0-pound king to jump into fourth place overall. The slow king bite continued on day two despite the ocean conditions improving dramatically due to overnight and morning rainstorms that served to flatten out the water's surface. More fish were weighed-in by the 185-boat fleet on day two, but overall for FFM only eight entries topped the 30-pound mark. Juggernaut, owned and captained by Bert Harvey of Beaufort, knew they had a 'good fish' and called family members at the weigh-in to say 'get ready to roll some video tape.' They had to make about an hour run from where they were fishing to get to the 1 -4 weigh in, and were cheered by the crowd when they took over first place. Juggernaut is an SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) boat and onboard was A.C. Harvey and angler Jim Roberts. They only caught one other small king all day, and the big king ate a live mullet fished way back behind the boat, and took about 20-minutes to subdue. Youth angler honors went to 7-year old Coleman Jenkins for his 25.2-pound king caught Saturday on Team Charleston Rigging, who went on to make a television interview that aired on the local news about his angling prowess. Well Done!

For Day One blog coverage form the 2010 FFM click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The three-member Juggernaut (winners of the 2007 FFM) with their 2010 first-place kingfish; Capt. James Kampmeyer stands with youth angler Coleman Jenkins and father Carl Jenkins; Zarah Setro with her 15.2-pound king mackerel; and first-place in the 'We THOUGHT we had a smoker king' category is BittaSweet with their 90(?)-pound wahoo that angler Michael Leahy (holding fish) and Captain Jerry Tumbleston (blue shirt) and Brent Williams brought to the weigh-in

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel - Day One

An eerie calm gripped the 2 to 5 weigh-in at the Ripley Light Yacht Club before the afternoon thunderstorms moved in later. Not many fish were caught or weighed-in during Day One of the 17th annual Fishing For Miracles tournament, with only about 30 boats out of 185 entries even weighing a fish. Seas were a 'stacked-up' three to four feet in the morning which made gathering bait very difficult and really cut into fishing time. With most boats striking out and getting no bites all day, the top three boats did manage to land a king over (barely) 30-pounds and they only had one or two bites all day. A 29-foot catamaran from Bluffton leads the tournament with a 32.4-pound king they caught 30 miles off of Hilton Head and in 85-feet of water. Angler Curt Warrington said they ran to Charleston to weigh the fish, and Captain Chris Prince will drive it back to Bluffton to fish again today. With the weather forecast looking more 'iffy' on day two - Cool Cat may be sitting on a top prize fish worth $25,000. Sitting in second place is angler Jason Sawadske off of Bow Movement with his 32.2-pound king caught for Captain Jim Sherrer. Third place after day one is Team Blue Runner fishing out of Pawley's Island with the 31.3-pounder caught by Captain Craig Hoover.

For more FFM blog coverage click here.
PhotosByJeffDennis: Captain Chris Prince and angler Curt Warrington hold their 32.4-pound tournament leader; Captain Jim Sherrer is with angler Jason Sawadske and son Ryan Sherrer and their second place king; Team Winner's World and the 11.3-pounder caught by 11-year old Les Smith; Drew Coster of Charleston is Team Kaja's lady angler and is shown here with her 14.2-pound king mackerel

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Fishing For Miracles King Mackerel - Intro

A great Captain's meeting on Thursday afternoon at the Ripley Light Yacht Club set the stage for two days of tournament king mackerel fishing in the 17th annual Key West Boats Fishing For Miracles event. Anglers dined on rice pilauf and boiled peanuts, and simmered in the six o'clock sun. Wind forecast are favorable for fishing, and the late run of small boats signing up to fish was considerable.

For blog coverage from the 2010 FFM click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Check out the cool king wrap on the Sea Hunt Boat; the CCA logo is on the YETI cooler because CCA runs this tournament; the tournament bucket is always a fan favorite

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flat Spot Charters fishes McClellanville

Captain Jamie Hough agreed to head North for a day of redfishing in the pristine waters of Cape Romaine, in order to hook up with McClellanville resident Ronnie Pitts. Clear skies, calm winds and medium-hot conditions meant that it was time to 'mash up' the redfish on the other side of Muddy Bay. With the ocean breakers within earshot, my second cast to the 'flat spot' drew an immediate strike and the big spot-tail headed into the grass. This fish would eventually break me off, but Capt. Hough educated me about how to fight that fish the next time - and I went to school on the previous error and ended up with the largest red of the day, a 32-inch whopper! Redfish queen Amy Little reeled in a 26-incher and had other numerous bites that gave her 'a little trouble.' Captain Hough will work hard to make sure that his customers are on the fish, and he will not rest until the fish are fooled. When my unattended fishing line got eaten up by the trolling motor, there was no griping, he just took off the blade and cut out the line so that we could get back to fishing. We saw quite a few redfish in the area that we fished today, and at the last stop of the day the redfish school stretched for about 100 yards. Want to know where we left em? Better visit....

PhotosByJeffDennis: Amy Little and Capt. Hough with a nice McCelellanville redfish; Jamie poles his 22-foot Sterling Pro Flats boat onto the 'sheepshead flats'; LowcountryOutdoors and a daymaker redfish that took me into the grass but did not break me off!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Atlantic Tackle aims for Archery season

Manager Jeremy Burnham is way too busy with offshore fishing to talk about the upcoming archery season, but just go upstairs at Atlantic Game & Tackle and visit with Archery Manager Stephen Hames. You never know who will be on the 30-yard air-conditioned indoor archery range! Check out this link for an update on why now is a good time to get your archery equipment tuned up - PLUS you can get some 'skinny' on the redfish.

To read my feature article in the Charleston Mercury on archery click here.

For past blog entries about Atlantic Tackle click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Mother and son at 'full draw' on the indoor archery range at Atlantic G&T; All sorts of strange free-range animals are presently roaming on the indoor range; Avid archer Kara Slick and Archery Manager Stephen Hames in the pro shop

Monday, August 9, 2010

120th Rockville Regatta - Sunday Report

Sunday racing conditions were ideal at Rockville, with overcast skies from inland thunderstorms, and plenty of wind - which was in sharp contrast to the lack of wind suffered on Saturday. However, the term 'doldrums' likely did not apply on Saturday as witnesses indicated a huge spectator fleet filled with revelry (and maybe some hellraising too) had gathered to support the sailing regatta at the Sea Island Yacht Club. Sunday's sailing races were 'sprightly' and entertaining for those that were able to make it back onto the water to view them. Thanks to committee boat Sonny Boy for agreeing to provide transportation in order to share this look at the Rockville races.

To view blog coverage from the 2009 Rockville Regatta click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The Sea Island Yacht Club greets sailors returning from Sunday's races; a pageantry of color mixes into the display when sailors harness the power of the wind for sport; The Y-flyers sprint across the gusty North Edisto on their way to the buoy near Point of Pines; Hiked Out!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

S.C. Ducks Unlimited - State Banquet photos

The Top DU chapters in South Carolina gathered with the 'top brass' of S.C. Ducks Unlimited to celebrate the 2010 state convention at the Embassy Suites in Columbia. Many subjects were discussed from the 'Carolina Connection,' a fundraising effort to raise $2.5 million sponsor dollars by the end of 2010 - to the 'Carolina Commanders' - the hunting club formed by DU members in the Chesterfield area. Awards were presented to the 'Granders' initiative for raising $100,000 for DU, as well as to chapters with the highest net gains, largest greenwing (youth) events, and even for those chapters that are simply 'flying right.' In conservation easement news, DU protected 8 properties in 2009 with the 1,087-acre Hermitage property on the Edisto River topping the list - a part of the ACE Basin. Another 400-acre Swamp Tract was protected in the ACE Basin on the Little Salkehatchie River - in Western Colleton County - where more protection efforts are desperately needed to safeguard the future water quality of all the ACE Basin.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Incoming S.C. DU State Chair Andi Stevenson and his wife Lauri join Jay, Doug and Bill at the Awards Banquet; Doug Saunders and Bill Short smile and celebrate the volunteer work of John Leaphart for S.C. DU; Outgoing DU state chair Jay Phillips received a bronze statue from past state chair Bill Short and volunteer Larry Huckabee; Two 'susies' that support DU and their 'drakes'