Monday, February 28, 2011

Gray's Sporting Journal - 2010 Fly-Fishing Issue

Everyone should know about the fine art, photos and writings of Gray's Sporting Journal. In order to raise awareness about what I view to be an excellent publication I'll share the electronic edition of the 2010 Fly-Fishing issue here. The 2011 edition is on news stands now.

For a past GSP blog entry click here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Lowcountry Redfish Cup - Beaufort

The first of four Lowcountry Redfish Cup events slated for 2011 was fished on Saturday Feb. 26. Windy and overcast conditions greeted the 55-boat fleet, but by noon the sun came out, the temperature warmed up to nearly 80-degrees and the redfish began to bite. Many teams that had caught no fish in the morning began to put a few in the livewell, with one angler telling me that he actually weighed in one fish that he caught just ten minute before the 3 p.m. deadline. The two-man teams are required to weigh-in their fish while still alive, so that they may be released to fight again another day. The tournament awarded cash prizes to the top five finishers plus they paid $1500 for the biggest fish weighed in and they recognized the top youth angler. Congratulations to Team 2 Reds of Beaufort for winning the first leg of the 2011 LRC.

To view past blog entires from the 2010 Lowcountry Redfish Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Team Butler Marine angler Chris Rosengarten holds up two beautiful redfish at the 11th Street marina in Port Royal; a youth is introduced to a redfish caught in the LRC; redfish are measured before they are weighed and fish that are too long are disqualified; LRC founders Fred Bricketto and Brian Rose.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Home Place game preserve hunt

The end of quail season is just about here, and this year's season has been a great one hunting over my own English Setter. But for the season's last hurrah Scott Whittaker and I visited the Home Place preserve in Western Colleton County, which is in the ACE Basin. This section of Colleton County has pretty uplands that host longleaf regeneration and broomstraw, which completes a pretty picture for bird hunters to pursue Gentleman Bob. Hunting over two English pointers and two English setters we watched the dogs circle, work and wind the birds until we had our two-man limit secured by lunchtime, using a Beretta 28-gauge and an Ithaca 20-gauge. A cool start gave way to a warm mid-day which is one way mother nature signals the end of the quail season. Thanks to Mt. Pleasant's Madison Howell for showing us a quality time at his preserve.

To view more end of season quail hunt reports click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Scott and Jeff in the uplands of Western Colleton County - an area of the ACE Basin that is ripe for a conservation movement; Home Place sign; Bobwhite quail as viewed in a gentleman's place setting; dogman David with setter Buckshot

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Third time 'Round The Horn for Van Liew

Brad Van Liew must be loving the Third Leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race, since he continues to be in the lead, and since he has successfully rounded Cape Horn for the third time in his career. He writes in his blog that he witnessed a picture perfect moment, in 20 knot winds, as he saw the rock outcropping in sunset's spendor - making a new mental memory for the veteran sailor.
In support of Lazarus Racing as the Le Pingouin team needs further funding, the Cape Horn Crew was created recently asking for contributions of $500, and future fundraising efforts will follow. So whatever supporters can spare, it's not too late to join sailing guru Brad Van Liew's brew crew at To read more of Van Liew's blog click here. Remember, Leg Four of the Velux 5 oceans race will end on Charleston! For prior Velux 5 oceans entries click here.

PhotosByAinhoaSanchez: Two images of Le Pingouin under sail in the Southern Ocean
PhotoByBradVanLiew: Cape Horn sticks out at the tip of South America

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 SEWE Sunday photos

PhotosByJeffDennis: Lowcountry Outdoors has it on good authority that this is a 'fox' that was let loose by the face painters in Marion Square; The Carolina Dock Dogs traveled here from N.C. and made it to the Finals of the competition; Wood carving demos were just one part of the exhibits in Brittlebank Park

For more 2011 SEWE blog entries click here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 SEWE & Soiree

Day Two of SEWE saw sunny and warm weather continue to usher in large crowds of like-minded wildlife enthusiasts. The Gaillard Auditorium saw steady traffic for vendors like the S.C. Knifemaker's display and the DuBarry boots booth. Day Two ends with the famed SEWE Soiree which is never disappointing.
For more 2011 SEWE blog entries click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The SEWE shuffle is a popular line dance at the Soiree; David Strickland and fiancee Kara Slick plan to have fun at the Visitor's Center Bus Shed; Pointing dogs and steaming oysters are two signatures of the SEWE Soiree

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 SEWE DU Oyster Roast

The annual DU Oyster Roast at SEWE has grown into a gathering of about 1500 friends looking to celebrate feathers, conservation and more. Warm and sunny conditions greeted the first full day of SEWE and many enjoyed the outdoor venues at Marion Square Park and Brittlebank Park. A few special events crop up each year to 'bridge the gap' between the SEWE daytime and the Ducks Unlimited event that Friday night. One such event was the Audubon Gallery's exhibit that was sponsored by the Charleston Mercury, attracting those drawn to fine wildlife prints. Also, the Niche Gallery hosted a Bourbon and Bucks party in conjunction with Buck-N-Rut Treestands which made for a pleasing mix of hunters and artists at the Code Red Event. For more 2011 SEWE blog entries click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The crowd that turned out to support DU at the Visitor Center Bus Shed was amazing; One DU supporter decided to get comfortable in the Buck-N-Rut Treestand that was donated to the auction by owner/designer Les Bees

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 SEWE Kick Off & Gala / HALEY video

The 2011 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition kicked off on Wednesday night with a reception at the Mills House Hotel and a wild game dinner at Hall's Chop House, which will be serving its meat dishes with their signature hospitality all weekend long - because SEWE kicks off a wild weekend of celebration at Hall's. A special preview afternoon artwork viewing for VIP's was conducted Thursday followed by the SEWE black tie Gala, which was attended by Governor Nikki Haley. The three full days of the Expo will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday - and the weather this year is sure to attract outdoor enthusiasts in record numbers. Just think, it was snowing at the DU oyster roast this time last year!
For my blog entry on the 2010 Fall SEWE / DU Soiree click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: A bevy of beautiful birds showed up to the SEWE Gala at Charleston Place to join the bounty of benefactors in attendance; Tyler Condon with SEWE staff Natalie Wooten; Channel Two's Larry Collett, Michael Caristi with meteorologist and DU volunteer Josh Marthers

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 LOLT Annual Meeting & Silver Moon

The 25th anniversary celebration of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust began on Feb. 15th with the 2011 Annual Meeting at the newly refurbished Dock Street Theatre. The theme for the year will be the Silver Moon Anniversary - with events like the annual picnic set for LOLT members on March 12 at Lavington Plantation, and a Silver Moon Gala to be announced later this Fall. The LOLT conservationists saw Mayor Joe Riley recognized for his work 25 years ago to steward protection of marshy vistas and hummocks that are now considered essential to the appeal and mystique of the Holy City. "Easements are permanent gifts to one another to preserve what others may take for granted," said Riley. LOLT accepted 10 easements in 2010 totaling 2,144-acres of protected land. Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Hagood recognized outgoing board members and welcomed new Board Chair Batson Hewitt. Hewitt announced that he would bring new urgency to the LOLT efforts in 2011 and that a new Silver Moon level of giving, set at $25,000, would be instilled and that LOLT already had three such donors. LOLT is ranked behind national organizations The Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited in total number of acres protected in SC, but they continue to play a significant role in raising awareness about conservation in the Lowcountry Outdoors!

To view my blog about the 2010 LOLT picnic click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Mayor Joe Riley received a signature LOLT blue bird house at the 2011 annual meeting - I wonder if he knows that it is high time to install that box for our early nesting bluebirds; outgoing board members receive recognition for their time; 25 years will be celebrated with a Silver Moon Gala in the Fall of 2011; the land protection map of the ACE Basin shows that there are plenty of 'blank spots' where more easements are needed - and the large area of protection (in red) on the top right is Brosnan Forest

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Edisto River Snipe Hunt

Walking in rice fields that are still wet after being drained recently, a local hunting party was able to target some 'February birds' - the common snipe. This shorebird-looking gamebird is drawn to the fresh mud in order to probe it with its long bill, and hunters are drawn to try and match their wingshooting prowess against the whirling dervish flight of the snipe. Hip boots are recommended so as not to get wet when stepping in a quarter-drain or gator hole, and I used the BoggTogg hipper. Walking in a skirmish line the hunters were able to stir up the snipe and harvest some of these birds that are less than the size of a dove. The traditional hunting of doves, ducks, quail and turkey may yield a bigger bird, but the actual thrill of the snipe hunt is equal to these pursuits - and thus a worthy endeavor.

To view a feature story on snipe hunting in the Charleston Mercury click here.

To view past blog entries about shore birds in shallow water click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Tommy Salter holds a snipe that he knocked down; a partially flooded rice field is a great place to look for snipe; four harvested snipe; a double-gun in a lighter gauge keeps a snipe hunt a sporting affair

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quail Hunt at Airy Hall Plantation

Most of the way down Bennett's Point Road, deep in the heart of ACE Basin territory, rests Airy Hall Plantation. Approximately 1600 acres of land and impoundments along the Ashepoo River, this property has remained intact for over 200 years. The live oak allee runs between the Georgian style brick plantation house and the matching horse stable.

Horses have always played an important role at Airy Hall with a special emphasis in modern history on polo and fox hunting. A saturday sunshine that helped to reveal the splendor of Airy Hall greeted the bird hunters that assembled to search for gentleman Bob. Not one but two English setters were on point and a lively boykin spaniel was on back-up duty.

S.C. Representative Chip Limehouse made the most of his time in the field by demonstrating that he is a fair wingshot, but he also shared gunning time with friends September Welborn and Charleston City Councilman Tim Mallard. Afterwards, the hunting party relaxed and ate lunch by the pool and reflected on their day in Colleton County, which was once known as St. Bartholomew's Parish.

To view a video of Airy Hall click here.

To view past blog entries about quail hunting click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Buck Limehouse, September Welborn and Rep. Chip Limehouse in the field at Airy Hall; Star and Chester are both on point under this brushy live oak; Tim Mallard and Chip show off a chukar; this Guide and dog man for the day had his hands full!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 CCA State Convention

A near capacity crowd of recreational anglers that support conservation of marine fisheries turned out for the Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday night at the CCA SC State Convention. One of a kind auction items included a Nascar Trip, a Sonoma Valley trip and several hunting and fishing combo trips. Three inductees into the CCA SC Hall of Fame were recognized before the live auction and raffles were conducted. A Bad Boy buggie was given away on just one of the special raffles held on this BIG night. Food by Charleston Bay Gourmet included surf and turf offerings that ensured everyone was well fed. This third annual CCA State Convention has to be the best one yet!

To see my blog entry for the 2010 CCA State convention click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Each table at dinner had a tailing redfish decoration on it - nice touch!; Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Bedell came down from Columbia for the CCA State Convention; a surf board is a good example of the unique and one of a kind items offered at the Hall of Fame banquet; the East Cooper chapter was just one of the chapters competing in the Team Cook Off on Friday night and here are Brad and Don Tate with CCA webmaster John Gourdin

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wright and McGill Signature Fishing Equipment

For 85 years Wright & McGill Co, has been considered a leader in the production of high quality sport fishing equipment. Whether your passion is dry flies on mountain streams or salt waters charged with beefy redfish, Wright & McGill bring experience and creativity to their craft.

From the mosquito lagoon in Florida a tournament champion angler sought out Wright and McGill in hopes of creating a light and sensitive rod and reel combo. The S-Curve technology Blair Wiggins Signature Series Rods and Sabalos reels are the result of that salty search.

The rod blank is made of a T-glass core wrapped with carbon tape and a layer of high-density graphite. Lightweight stainless steel guides with zirconium rings won’t crack or groove when used with the new braided lines. A custom split cork foregrip allows for fingertip access to the rod blank, providing more sensitivity to fish strikes, and an oversized rod butt won’t rub anglers wrong.

“I asked the designers at Wright and McGill to bring me a rod that would not spook fish in clear, skinny water, and they came up with the Flats Blue camo my rods are painted with,” Capt. Blair Wiggins said. The blue color is said to blend in with the sky when viewed from a piscatorial perspective, giving anglers added stealth when in close proximity.

The signature rods come in seven different models and can be matched with any of the four different Sabalos spinning reels. The reel’s all aluminum body will sneer at saltwater corrosion and the ultra smooth front drag system utilizes a dual disc system. The spare spool for the reel is also made of aluminum, further demonstrating the Wright & McGill quest for quality.

When Wiggins was in the Lowcountry in August for the filming of an episode of his Addictive Fishing television show, he demonstrated the S-curve signature rods. “These new rods are super-light but the carbon and Kevlar wrap makes it super strong,” Wiggins said. “The benefit of a light rod is that you can cast artificial lures with it all day and not get fatigued.”

“With the split cork foregrip you can put your thumb right on the rod blank if your rod is upright while jigging,” Wiggins said. Fishing with Captain Champ Smith Wiggins caught a 34-inch redfish, which is the size that earned Wiggins the name Mogan Man.

His Mogan Tour is visiting different locations of Dick’s Sporting Goods, his retail partner, to show the Flats Blue camo rods to his fans. Wright and McGill produces the fishing equipment that Wiggins uses, and Wiggins supplies the likeable personality that makes this combo the reel deal. Click here to view the commercial.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The split foregrip allows fingertip feel with the rid blank; Blair and Jeff with a Lowcountry redfish; Blair returns the drum to the estuary

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scottish tradition woven into BraeVal shirts

When Gregor McCluskey visited the Lowcountry during the 2010 Side X Side Classic at Backwoods Quail Club in the fall, he brought his BraeVal collection. These shirts are visually appealing, soft to the touch, and are well suited for dressing up any shooting occasion.

A hunter named Big Jock McCluskey, the great uncle of Gregor McCluskey, first brought the red and black tartan of Rob Roy MacGregor to North America in the 19th century. The tartan became known as buffalo plaid as Big Jock gathered hides and traded them in the Dakotas and Montana. Legends still whisper that Native Americans had never seen a brighter color of red on the tartan and thought it may be from the blood of his enemies.

BraeVal is the Scottish word for the upland river valleys ‘tween the mountains and the highlands, where streams wind and search for the loch. Pronounced ‘brave-all’ the name harkens the special challenges of the outdoor lifestyle that excites sportsmen. The mystique of Big Jock taming the wild lands is carried over to this distinctive sporting apparel marked with each garment marked with a patch of buffalo plaid.

With a goal to make the most comfortable clothing in the world, these shirts are for the upscale sporting connoisseur. The BraeVal difference includes quality features like a hidden vented bi-swing back, extra full cut for better shooting range of motion and long shirt tails. Made of 80-percent tiera natural blended fabric and 20-percent Merino wool, the shirts are sophisticated enough to serve as either social or field garments. A few sweaters and vests are included in the BraeVal line up but their shirts are the main calling card.

The Artemis shirt by BraeVal is named after the goddess of the hunt, and its legendary status of being too nice for the field is indeed a myth. With a functional and rugged design, this shirt sets one apart with its quilted right shoulder gun patch and its double-layered left breast bellows pocket. With designs that include the Camel, Khaki and Maroon District Check and Sonoma Red Cavalry Twill or Mocha Bold Tattersal – the Artemis excels as essential wingshooting gear.

Spring and Summer short sleeve shirts and shorts are also part of the BraeVael wardrobe, and these distinctive garments can be found on the Internet at - Join the BraeVal clan and wear your sporting handkerchief of Buffalo Plaid with highland honor.

Photos: Jeff in an Artemis shirt by BraeVal with Chester

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'Hill Boys' take down late season Canada Geese

Late season waterfowl hunting always comes down to the special goose season that is tacked on after duck season finishes. Scouting is always a key to reveal where the Canada Geese are gathering in order to help increase odds of success when a hunt is called. Setting up on a small pond with two Big Foot floater goose decoys on a Rig 'Em Right jerk cord, the three gunners took up their positions in the reeds. When the first group of geese were heard honking well beyond the tree line, I blew my Foiles Migrators goose call at them and before long they made a pass towards the pond, saw the dekes and locked up. Comer Morrison took the lead goose out and the flock turned to pass over Julian Clark, armed with his double-barrel shotgun, was able to take down two geese with two shots, and then I was able to clean up the fourth goose. What a hunt! Seven more geese came into the decoys without sounding off - it's true that geese usually honk, but sometimes Canada geese will simply come in silent - this is a natural fact. The Hill Boys from Rose Hill, Spring Hill and Snipe Hill managed to thin out two more singles and called it a day. Two more geese would come to land on the pond while we were packing up our gear and gathering our game to clean - but we left them 'for seed.'

To view past blog entries about late goose season click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The decoys looked life-like on the water while the Hill Boys waited on the arrival of those late season geese; Comer and Julian with the geese that landed in the field; Fishing skills were required to 'fetch' the geese that landed in the pond; Jeff and Julian with the entire harvest from the successful waterfowl hunt