Tuesday, June 29, 2010

America's Great Outdoors - Longleaf Pine




The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to Charleston on Monday June 28 to hold a 'listening session' concerning Longleaf Pine Restoration. Secretary John Vilsack was introduced by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley at the Founder's Hall facility at Charles Towne Landing. Riley said, "This historic location where the colony was founded in 1670 is fitting as we meet to talk about longleaf pines which used to occur here and across the Southeast." Secretary Vilsack said, "At one point there was 90 million acres of longleaf pines and today there is more like 3.4 million acres. Hunters, anglers and multi-generational small private landowners are very important to the rural areas where longleaf restoration is most likely to occur." With most of the Southeast in private hands, it is certain that whatever happens will be with their support. A panel discussion ensued with speakers from the Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy and several others. In a separate press conference Secretary Vilsack said, "Forest lands are important to people in this region and I bring the President's message for conservation of our natural resources." The listening session ended with breakout groups to address what works on the ground, what are the challenges ahead, and what should the role of the federal government look like?

PhotosByJeffDennis: Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Clemson Extension Agent Bob Franklin from Colleton County and E.J. Williams of the Longleaf Alliance - Bob Franklin will be retiring very soon and LowcountryOutdoors looks forward to trying to keep up with him in retirement

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2010 Carolina Billfish Classic - Results





Day Three of fishing was the most dramatic, with Caramba coming from behind to win the tournament - clinching their second straight win in the Governor's Cup Series. They released three sailfish and one blue marlin to beat Daymaker by 100 points - 1600 to 1500. The drama occurred about 2:30 when Captain Dale Lackey spotted a blue marlin in the baits from the cockpit, but this fish swam from bait to bait for a minute keeping the crew guessing what line he may or may not strike. Finally deciding to eat a Moldcraft lure, the blue marlin got hooked up on a Penn 80 reel and was released by 3 pm. This was the only blue marlin Caramba saw during the tournament and it measured a few inches short of the minimum Gov. Cup regulation 105-inches. Owner Bob Faith weighed in a tiny tuna on Friday and said, "We caught the smallest fish of the tournament yesterday, and we caught the 'biggest' fish today."

For more blog coverage from the 2010 CBC click here.
PhotosByJeffDennis: A look inside the mouth of the first place 52.4-pound wahoo brought in by angler Matt Watson aboard Chaos reveals the last meal of a pelagic carnivore; Fat Boy's crew of Gage Blue and Chuck Forrest show off their mixed bag; Capt. Jason Woodham (on left) aboard Trust Fun reeled in this 39.4-pound dolphin

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day Three





Daymaker of Georgetown built on its Day One lead by releasing four sailfish on Day Two of fishing - giving them 1500 points and the lead at the CBC. While Daymaker will stay in port today having used its alloted fish days, the majority of the Governor's Cup fleet will head back into the choppy and rough ocean to resume fishing for blue marlin. A total of eleven sailfish were released on Day Two by the 13 boats that elected to fish. Game On and Caramba each released two sailfish, while Rascal, Jabez and Compromise IV each released one. A blackfin tuna came to the scales and weighed 8.2-pounds and belonged to Carl Ulm fishing on the Jabez. Caramba sent an even smaller blackfin to the weighmaster that weighed .8-pounds - but it was said to have put up one helluva fight! Bubba Roof from Game On weighed in a 25-pound dolphin. Evening activities at the Charleston Harbor Resort included a fundraiser for the SC Memorial Reef, that took place under cloudy skies - but the strong seabreeze held the rain just inland.

To view more blog coverage from the 2010 CBC click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Bob Faith and Hovey Aiken from Caramba with the voracious blackfin tuna that they brought to the scales on Friday; pan-seared tuna was served at the Charleston Harbor Resort Friday night; Carl Ulm with his 8.2-pound blackfin tuna; the SC Memorial Reef silent auction had many fishing related items like these fish wine glasses

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day Two




Much of the Governor's Cup fleet will stay in port today, but plenty of activities are expected on the docks at the Charleston Harbor Marina later this evening when the weigh-in is held from 5 to 8, followed by an 'auction on the beach' to benefit the SC Memorial Reef. (www.SCMemorialReef.org) The facilities at the Resort are well suited for any event and the Carolina Billfish Classic holds a 'beach party' after each day of competition that includes live music, catered dinner and a full-service Tiki Bar! There is also ample space for a 'Sporting Village' of Exhibitors including The Billfish Foundation (www.Billfish.org) and artists like Mark Ray from Morehead City, N.C. With his specialty of blue water art Mark supports 10 billfish tourneys each year in SC, NC and Fla. and he has donated three prints to be awarded to the top angler in each meatfish division. (www.MarkRayStudio.com) Right now tongues are still wagging at the CHM about the girl with four names, Anne Brady Moore Carlson, who caught the large 62.4-pound fish with two names, MAHI MAHI!!

To view more blog coverage form the 2010 CBC click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The leading dolphin after Day One is 62.4-pounds; Artist Mark Ray with an example of his fine art; Welcome Angelers - Gotta love an Oops moment!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day One





Day One fishing was contested under HHH conditions - hot, hazy and humid. The ocean was a sloppy and choppy 4-feet for anglers but very fishable. The Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina (www.CharlestonHarborResort.com) offers a white sand beach and shade in the exhibitors village for tournament patrons to enjoy. Escape indoors to the Reel Bar for some refreshment as necessary! This tournament is a part of the World Billfish Series (www.FishWBS.com) where anglers cam compile WBS points in order to qualify for an end of the season championship at Los Suenos. The fourth leg of the S.C. Governor's Cup will also be a WBS event - making Charleston a good place to rack up WBS points.

To view more blog coverage form the 2010 CBC click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Mate and angler Abe Kuhn holds his 54.2-pound dolphin with Sportin' Life owner Graham Eubanks and the USS Yorktown in the background; Monty Montgomery of Moncks Corner with his 12.2-pound blackfin tuna that leads the CBC tuna division after Day One; Junior angler Randall 'Makum' Glover and Atlantic Tackle's Jeremy Burnham with two mahi caught aboard 'Scout 34'

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inaugural Carolina Billfish Classic - Three Port Tourney






The Inaugural Carolina Billfish Classic (www.FishCBC.com) makes its debut in Georgetown, Charleston and Hilton Head. A live video feed from Georgetown at the 7 p.m. Captain's meeting at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina gave the feeling that the entire coast of S.C. was part of this Gov. Cup event. Boats from G'town will fish North, boat from HHI will fish South and boats from Chas. will fish straight out. Any legal to keep blue marlin must come to the SCDNR scales in Charleston while meatfish may be weighed at any of the three ports. The CBC is under new leadership this year with Deidre Menfee serving as the tournament director. Weigh-in will be held from 5 to 8 each day with a 'beach party' to follow - so plan to come down the docks to see the fish and then to stay for an evening of fellowship. Several vendors are set up including www.bluewatershirtclub.com with their offshore shirt of the month club, and the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition with their fine sporting art. Fifty boats are all set to fish the CBC, which is the third leg f the S.C. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Artist Larry Rackley from Alabama (www.yellowfingallery.com) is just one example of the fine exhibitors on hand at the CBC; anglers assemble for the captain's meeting; Harbormaster Stan Jones speaks while Deidre Menefee, Amy Dukes, 'Walleye' Jenkins and Capt. Garmany listen


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

N.C. Trout Unlimited - Rivercourse





The ninth-annual North Carolina TU youth fly-fishing camp called Rivercourse is underway currently at Lake Logan, near Canton. Seventeen youth anglers from three states are enrolled for a week of camp that involves fishing at dawn, fishing at dusk, and more fishing during the day - all on the private waters that are stocked by the Lake Logan Resort. TU staff member Franklin Tate came from Asheville to speak to the youths about how TU is grooming the next generation of leaders for the preservation of land, trout streams and water quality in general. Workshops on fly-tying, fishing regulations, casting techniques and more are part of the curriculum - plus daily swim time in the cool waters of Lake Logan.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Trout Unlimited Logo; Charleston resident Grant McClure with his rainbow trout; Officer Jeff Jackson from NC Wildlife Resources Commission addressed campers; Tyler Ramsey displays his brook trout and 'ghillie' Dave Maeda holds the rod

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Costa sunglasses blog - News and more



Costa Sunglasses has launched a new foray into social media with its blog about conservation news, fishing adventures and new product releases. The new site can be accesses at www.the wateryrave.com. Want to read about the crew of the Expedition Great White? Than check out the new site. Maybe locals will post their perspectives on the ongoing oil spill, or post videos of what they are witnessing. Since it is an open forum format, perhaps someone you know will have a report to share with others in the future.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010 Kings For Vets - Tournament Results



The inaugural Kings For Vets fishing tournament was held out of the Charleston Harbor Marina and organizer Todd Knight's vision is to help raise awareness about what active duty servicemen and veterans live with daily. The general public may take their freedoms for granted but military personnel are the reason why that freedom exists. The tournament is open to the public, and entrants are challenged to find a veteran to take fishing with them - and since Flag Day was earlier this week on June 14 hopefully a patriotic mood is prevalent. One fishing team is known as 'Anchors Away' and they take veterans with disabilities out fishing in style on a 60-foot sportfisher: www.quadzeus.com/media.html. The three categories for the Kings For Vets event include King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel and Red Drum, provided they fall in the legal-to-keep slot limit. Entry fees will be donated to a variety of charities and participants will receive plaques for first and second places. First place King Mackerel went to Charlie Libby for his 29.2-pound fish while Bobby Baxter took second with a 21.2-pound king. First place Spanish Mackerel went to Charles Branks with a 3.75-pound Spaniard and Rick Hiott took second with a 2.55-pounder. Top Spot-tail went to Becky Accolla for her 1.9-pound redfish and Amy Little took second with her 1.5-pounder.
Check out the neat website that gets vets hunting and fishing: www.warriorsoutdoors.com.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fish Restaurant - Sustainable Seafood Initiative







Fish Restaurant on upper King Street was host to the patrons of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative on June 18. Fish Restaurant is a Platinum Sponsor of the S.C. Aquarium's conservation program that is headed by Megan Westmeyer. The Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SSI) promotes the use of local and sustainable seafood by chefs all around the state. The June SSI dinner consisted of four courses beginning with Baked Local Clams harvested by Dave Belanger (the clam man), and was followed by Grouper Quenell and Pan Seared Red Porgy. The clams were harvested behind Dewees Island and served with a white albarino wine from Spain that served to compliment the salty taste of the crustaceans. The grouper was served in a potato-based quenelle, and the server informed us that quenelle indicates a traditional shape of the serving, and was coupled with an Australian Pinot Gris that had a floral nose with a hint of apricot. Like the grouper, the red porgy came to the docks at Shem Creek. Red Porgy had suffered a near collapse according to the 2002 stock assessment, but have since rebounded to abundant numbers. The Red Porgy was served with summer vegetables and a spicy brown butter, and was paired with a cotes du rhone from southern France that was 50% granache and 50% syrah. Who knew porgy could be so delectable and Executive Chef Nico Romo proved that he knows how to produce real flavor from the white fleshy meat. Dessert came in the form of a chocolate French Toast served along with a sweet desert wine from Oregon. Fish Restaurant also partners with Lowcountry Local First to serve local produce, in addition to being the SSI Restaurant of the Year! Fish Restaurant is just one of the local properties owned by the Patrick family and for more information visit the Internet at www.patpropllc.com. More SSI click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Christi Hardin, Elizabeth Bender, Julie Werner and Jay Reagan enjoyed the sustainable seafood dinner; Baked Local Clams served with a cilantro gruyere cheese sauce; Pan seared Red Porgy served with lentils and summer vegetables; Fish Restaurant general manager Jodie Battles and Executive Chef Nico Romo

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sonny Boy Charters - Listen up Son!





Captain Brad Rumph of www.SonnyBoyCharters.com makes no bones about getting on the water early in order to catch trout, bass and flounder in dawn's early light. With a low tide at 6 a.m. and a sweltering heat building with sun up, we threw topwater baits with much success - catching trout on each of our first casts. With the heat of summer now upon us, it is imperative to get on the fish early before they head for cooler spots during the day to loaf. Rumph knows that even though he practices catch and release fishing that the gamefish will require some extra reviving after a fight due to the warmer water temps. No fish were kept this day, though the 5-pound Gator trout that Rumph reeled in was slower to swim off than normal, but coming to the net she offered a large splash of water across the gunnel and into the netman's face! Top redfish for the day went 11 pounds, with a 9-pounder reeled in after that. Just where was this?? Give Captain Brad a call at 843-708-1486 and set a date to practice some dawn patrol and try your luck.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Capt. Brad Rumph can find the gator trout; a redfish that went after a topwater bait
PhotosByBradRumph: Just look at the rod bend made by the 30-inch redfish that Jeff reeled in - what a beauty

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Daniel Island - CCA Oyster Restoration




CCA called on its members and on volunteers from the public to come on down to the water's edge and splash around a bit on 6/16 while helping to restore vital oyster habitat. The Topwater Action Coordinator is Gary Keisler and he can be reached at 843-696-6724. This action partners with the SCDNR's own restoration plans, with workers meeting at 101 River Landing Road at 1 pm and doing outside muddy work until 5 pm. Shoes are recommended as opposed to open-toe Crocs and flops, with gloves and drinks being provided. Why do CCE members give of their time? Oysters improve water quality, help combat erosion, and provide critical habitat to shrimp and crabs, which in return attract the gamefish that recreational anglers love to target. Volunteers put out 400 bags of oysters, and the Daniel island project is set to put out even more oyster shell bags over the summer of 2010.

To view past blog entries on the CCA Topwater Action Campaign click here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eco-Tours with Capt. Sally Rumph





What could be better than walking down a beach during the summer in the Lowcountry outdoors? How about walking down the beach with a naturalist with years of training and experience about communicating the presence of the natural world to her clientele. Captain Sally Rumph of www.SonnyBoyCharters.com is the local guide with the seashore knowledge and LowcountryOutdoors even learned a thing or two on Sally's nature walk! Her specialty is John's Island, the Dawhoo area, the North Edisto Inlet, Botany Island and Deveaux Bank.

To view my feature article click on Charleston Mercury.

PhotosByJeffDennis: A portrait of Lowcountry character collected while beachcombing with Capt. Sally; A whelk lays on the beach next to a whelk egg sack; A look inside just one compartment of the whelk egg sack reveals .... many tiny baby whelks!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Remington Outdoor Foundation - DU donation



The Remington Outdoor Foundation (ROF) is the philanthropic arm of Remington Arms Company and they have just donated $250,000 to Ducks Unlimited. Not only that, the ROF will make two additional payments to DU that will qualify for 'match' grants that will total $3 million dollars. The money will go towards DU's Rescue The Duck Factory campaign that was launched in 2008 to save high priority waterfowl breeding wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakotas. Waterfowlers in S.C. need to recognize that a fair amount of migratory waterfowl that visit the Palmetto State come from the central flyway nesting grounds. ROF president Jim Moore said, "Conserving wild places is an integral part of our mission to encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors." ROF also has a brand new website,www.OutdoorRoadMap.com, that aims to become the flagship source for online information regarding hunting and conservation. That is, if they can keep up with LowcountryOutdoors!!

PhotoByJeffDennis(SC DU State Media Chair): A hunting memory made on a private property in the Santee Delta that is under a conservation easement with Ducks Unlimited

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Marine Association's Marina Appreciation Day




Suzi DuRant of Charleston is the Executive Director of the S.C. Marine Association (www.SCmarine.org), which is raising awareness for marinas on July 12 along the coast. DuRant was in Myrtle Beach to attend the day of festivities at Harbourgate Marina which included SCDNR boater education courtesy inspections and remarks from Horry County officials. The www.CharlestonHarborResort.com also marked Marina Day with live music on the docks and Harbormaster Stan Jones said, "This is part of our community building program that we established when I took over management the marina on Saint Patrick's Day." Charleston Harbor Marina (CHM) offers 459 slips for boaters and non-ethanol products for fueling, plus since the CHM Resort is located at the end of the boardwalk, boaters that purchase dockage at CHM have access to amenities like the swimming pool and the Reel Bar. Jones hopes to bring back charter captains to CHM and to include overnight stays at the Resort with their charter trips, and CHM will host a portion of the Carolina Billfish Classic (www.FishCBC.com) on June 23 - 26. Another reason to stop by CHM sometime is their Rockin' at the Point concerts that occur on Friday's from May through July on their white sand beach. Looking ahead the CHM will be Charleston's July 4th headquarters with a Saturday concert July 3 with reggae band Steel Pulse followed by fireworks at Patriots Point. Inquire with the Resort and Marina about concert packages with rooms, tickets, water taxi and more!

PhotoByJeffDennis: The fuel dock at the Chas. Harbor Marina is in the shadow of the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hot Shot Charters - Dolphin Day





Captain Dick Vance took a motley crew of anglers into the deep blue ocean today in search of offshore fishing fun. Great conditions in 1000 feet of water, including a weedline and a blue / green water color change, had the charter boat captain with 30 years experience very excited. First mate Bryson Jennings was very busy and got some help from Phillip Fender, who is Captain on the Hammertime based in Myrtle Beach. Dolphin after dolphin came for the ballyhoo all day, but the schoolie or peanut dolphin were so thick that no other fish were spotted. The Charleston fleet reported the same conditions up and down the weedlines from the 226-hole and other locales. Captain Vance trolled at 7 knots and dealt with a slight Southwest wind that made the seas a choppy two to three feet. The blue water in the edge of the Gulf Stream was a constant 82 degrees. Captain Vance was a speaker at the Saltwater Seminar Series this winter with George Poveromo, and he fishes a ten-line spread with authority calling out which bait is getting hit so that a mate can handle the hook-up. "Right Short, Right Short!!"

To view past blog entires about migratory dolphin in May click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Michael Smith and mate Bryson Jennings with a cow dolphin; Pull a pink Lehi Squitch for all the peanut dolphin the mates can stand; fresh GREEN mahi mahi; Capt. Vance works the mousetrap and the shotgun from the cockpit