Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Edisto Gov. Cup - Reel Passion wins; takes Series too

The third and final day of the Edisto Governor's Cup was not a formality, but when Legal Holiday returned as the top boat on Saturday with three sailfish releases, it meant that the Day Two lead for Reel Passion carried over to make them the winner at Edisto. Good fortune was not done shining on the Reel Passion this day though, which is a 61-foot Billy Holton owned by Bill Ingram of Charlotte. With a home port at Toler's Cove, the Reel Passion rewrote the Governor's Cup record books in 2011. Consider that they also won the year's first event at Bohicket Marina, by being the only boat to record a Grand Slam during tournament days this year. And besides winning the two tournaments that bookend the Gov. Cup Series, Reel Passion led in the overall points standings from wire to wire! Along the way they released the most billfish (22) for one boat in the series and subsequently recorded the highest points total ever with 6075 release points. Ingram asked me to salute his crew which includes Captain Gary Richardson, first mate Thomas Garmany, Ford Rivers, Mike Runey, Blair Bartelson and Jordan Marley. Congrats!!!

To view my Lines In from Edisto in Marlin magazine click here.

To view more blog coverage from the 2011 Edisto Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The 2011 Edisto Gov. Cup t-shirt design; Todd Savage weighed in this 30.0-pound mahi on Saturday from Frayed Knot to take the Outstanding Dolphin Award; Edisto tourney director Becca Jones with Reel Passion crew and owner Bill Ingram at the awards in Bay Creek Park; Fred Bergen holds his 25.0-pound mahi and Gene Sauers shows his 10.8-pound tuna caught from Legal Holiday

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Edisto Gov. Cup - Gov. Nikki Haley attends / video

Ten boats of the Governor's Cup fleet elected to fish on Friday and they released a total of 14 sailfish. The sea conditions were nearly the same but the billfish bite had diminished from Thursday, when reports of free-jumping sails and multiple shots on sails were common. Reel Passion, fishing from Toler's Cove, had the best of the Day Two fishing and released 4 sailfish. Added together with their five sailfish releases from Thursday, they are now leading the Edisto Gov. Cup event - but are also fished out. Reel Passion owns a considerable lead in the Gov. Cup Series point totals that should stand up, barring a blue marlin bonanza today by Sportin' Life. Also on Friday Bill FIshin' released three sails. Releasing two sails were Sadie Beth, Trick 'Em and Sportin' Life. Sadie Beth is fished out and in second place with 8 sailfish releases. Lil' Bit, in third place, is fished out and released five sailfish total.

VideoByJeffDennis: Governor Nikki Haley addresses the crowd gathered at Edisto for the Friday afternoon weigh-in

To view more blog coverage from the 2011 Edisto Gov. Cup click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Peyton Stilp brought in the new blackfin tuna leader which weighed in at 19.8-pounds caught aboard Trick 'Em and shown here with owner Curtis Walker; Governor Nikki Haley and family brought some excitement to the docks at Friday's weigh-in; Keegan Kennedy is the current leading lady angler for this 17.6-pound blackfin tuna caught from Sea Trace and is here with her brother Josh; Harrington Bissell and son Harry Bissell were hooked up at the same time on Lil 'Bit when they reeled in these tuna that weighed 12.2-pounds and 9.6-pounds respectively

Friday, July 29, 2011

2011 Edisto Gov. Cup - Day One lead with Sadie Beth

A return to the normal summer weather pattern of hot weather and clam seas greeted the 17 boat fleet that went fishing for billfish on Thursday out of the Edisto marina. While three boats decided to take a lay day, the rest of the fleet went out and released a ton of sailfish, with the exception of Laff-A-Lot which released one blue marlin as well. At the top of the heap after Day One was Sadie Beth, out of Charleston and owned by Cage Blue, with six sailfish release flags flying. Reel Passion fished out of Toler's Cove, and owns the Gov. Cup Series point lead, went out and released five sailfish to claim second place after Day One. Reel Passion won the first event of the year at nearby Bohicket Marina and their Edisto Day One points total makes them a favorite to win the series this year. Laff-A-Lot released one sailfish and one blue marlin, which has them tied for third place with Lil 'Bit which released four sailfish on Day One.

Meatfish leaders:
Dolphin, Kirk Sutlive 25.6-pounds caught from Trash Man
Wahoo, Cam Werntz 41.2-pounds caught from Laff-A-Lot
Blackfin Tuna, Houston Demere 16.4-pounds caught from Crack Of Dawn

To view blog coverage from the 2011 Gov. Cup Series click here.

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

PhotosByJeffDennis: Day One leader Sadie Beth shows off her six sailfish release flags; Karlie Boggus is the leading youth angler with her 5.0-pound mahi caught from Bill Fishin; Cam Werntz and his leading 41.2-pound wahoo; Brittany Boggus is the leading lady angler with her 11.0-pound skipjack tuna

Thursday, July 28, 2011

700th post & 350,000 miles - Two special numbers

Two BIG numbers reveal the two small blessings that help me to communicate about the Lowcountry Outdoors that we all love. This is the 700th post on this blog and that spans two and a half years of delivering a positive message regarding hunting, fishing and conservation. The other number is even bigger as my work truck rolled 350,000-miles recently! The Toyota Tacoma is an older truck now but it has served this blogger well and deserves a salute. The two BIG numbers seem inextricably linked and 'if the creek don't rise' then both numbers will continue to increase naturally. Now just what does this blog entry say about the outdoors.... not all that much, except that the outdoors path is very clear to me and I will continue to follow it and I hope readers will continue with me.

To view my 500th blog entry with Mookie's possum photo click here.

To view a past blog entry about reader support click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Here's a photo of the BIG number on my truck's odometer!

Here's a good photo of my truck on duty, and is from a 2008 New Year's Day man drive at a Lowcountry Plantation

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eddie Salter visits Central True Value - turkey call video

After I received a lot of great feedback about my visit with turkey calling champ Eddie Salter of Alabama, I decided to post a few more photos and a video of the master using a few hen calls. Salter and I spoke on his cell phone before he left his home state and he was as genuine and friendly as a fellow hunter ought to be. He was late to the deer hunting game because he was foremost a turkey hunting nut. He competed in calling contests from 1979 to 1993 and won over 60 titles including world champ in '85 & '89. The top tip from this H.S. Strut Pro Staff member is that if a gobbler cuts you off during your call, then he is telling you that he is killable. "Early in the season you can call to that turkey more than late in the season," said Salter. "If he cuts you off late in the season the best thing you can do is throw your call about ten feet away from you so you can't make another sound. He heard you and now it's up to him to come on in or not." Salter shared lots of tips with me so stay tuned for more tipd on how to handle turkeys in the Lowcountry Outdoors.

VideoByJeffDennis: Eddie Salter runs three hen calls at once. No turkey could resist!!

To view another blog entry on Eddie Salter click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: A boss tom turkey decoy on the archery range; H.S. Strut turkey calls that Eddie Salter keeps close by; Great logo from Central True Value; deer seminar poster

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eddie Salter visits Central True Value - deer call video

When Hunter's Specialties Pro Staff member Eddie Salter came to town, I was fortunate to have an invitation from my outdoors industry friends to visit with him. Salter is best known for winning the world champion turkey caller contest... twice! He is also an avid bowhunter who resides in Alabama, and he came to the Lowcountry of the Palmetto State to attend the 2011 Hunter's Day in Moncks Corner at the Central True Value store. The local Wildlife Action chapter conducted an archery tournament in the morning, while store's p.r. maven Tabatha Waddill directed the day's activities. Salter conducted seminars on how hunters can improve their chances of success while deer hunting - and of course he threw out some pro tips for turkey hunters! For deer Salter says he likes to reach out to their ears first, using H.S. Strut calls, then give them something to look at (decoys), and complete the seduction with an H.S. Strut scent for their nose. Did you know that Salter used to be a barber back in the day?The people skills he developed then serve him very well when relating to inquisitive hunters today. Salter's overall message was to use 'feeling' when making doe and grunt calls, and don't just go through the motions, because white-tails always make their calls for a reason and deer hunters would do well to understand this trait. We are listening Eddie, thanks for the advice!!

VideoByJeff Dennis: Eddie Salter demonstrates the True Talker call for everyone

PhotoByMikeMcKnight: Jeff and Eddie Salter, friends in the outdoor industry, share a smile

PhotosByJeffDennis: Hunter's Day t-shirts for sale at Central True Value; Eddie Salter congratulates Mike McKnight for his second place finish in the open division of the bow tournament with Greg Housand of Central True Value; Scent-Away Tek garments like this one are very important to Eddie Salter's hunting strategy; H.S. Strut products including trail marking tape, camo hats and camo blind burlap, the True Talker deer call and a rattling antlers bag

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grand Re-Opening for Summerville tackle shop / video

Moving just a few doors down from its old location, The Charleston Angler store in Summerville celebrated its Grand Re-Opening on Saturday July 23. The building renovations look great and the full-service tackle shop offers anglers everything from live bait, fly fishing supplies, freshwater products, plus rod and reel repair. Local fishing teams were on hand for the celebration, local artist Amanda McLenon was their too, not to mention a cookout for everyone that included chicken wings and ribs! A raffle for door prizes like a folding knife, minnow traps, and other useful items was fun and customers received a free 'Green Wave' t-shirt with their store purchase. Store manager Mike Farmer graciously agreed to a tour of the new facility for Lowcountry Outdoors, including the bait shack out back. Good visiting with you Mike!!

VideoByJeffDennis: Mike Farmer talks about the new Summerville store

PhotosByJeffDennis: Store Manager Mike Farmer and Charleston Angler owner Caroline Rhodes greet customers at the front door on Grand Re-Opening Saturday; A beautiful billfish mount by the rod repair shop; The Creekside Bass angler team is Roger Dennis, Randy Litchfield and Rick Sparger; Raffle winners Trey Fox and Allen Stack of Summerville were happy campers; freshwater bass fishing has a home at the Summerville tackle shop; the green wave t-shirt design; a clouser streamer fly in the fly shop - lovely!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011 Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney - WINNER!

The 17th Annual Charleston Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney was fished under sunny skies with hot and windy conditions. Angler Brodie Trickey caught and released a BIG poon at 4 p.m. while fishing with Capt. Chris Condon in Bull's Bay and was the 2011 tarpon release champ. Condon is a Penn-endorsed guide who runs Strike Zone Charters. A Penn Battle reel and a Penn Legion rod were all the angler needed to handle the estimated 120-pound tarpon during a 45-minute fight that began next to the beach and continued with a chase that ended about 3 miles out. Condon's 20-foot Pathfinder boat handled the rough waters of the afternoon and crewman Curt Rogers was on hand to handle the photography duties. This was Brodie Trickey's first ever tarpon and he said the fish jumped at least seven times! "We had three menhaden on one hook and had the bait down on the bottom in a shallow spot, and he took it and got big air right off the bat," said Trickey. Condon said that they fished from 6 a.m. until the tarpon bite and fought about 10 sharks during the day. Legal fishing time was from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a legal catch was defined as the swivel touching the rod tip. Organizer Cantey Smith reports that three other boats jumped off tarpon today, and that 97 anglers were registered to fish.

For past blog entries about the Tarpon Release Tourney click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Brodie Trickey, Capt. Chris Condon, Cantey Smith and Curt Rogers at the awards supper at Toler's Cove Marina

PhotoByCurtRogers: Capt. Chris Condon and angler Brodie Trickey with the tarpon that gave them quite a fight. Condon took 30-minutes to properly revive the big tarpon before releasing it to fight another day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney - Capt. Mtg.

The 17th annual Charleston Harbor Tarpon Release Tournament held a Captain's meeting at the Toler's Cover marina on a warm Thursday afternoon. THIS JUST IN...... 100 anglers will be in pursuit of the silver king on Saturday July 23 - with tourney rules stating they must be fishing in Charleston County waters. Organizer Cantey Smith stresses conservation by recognizing a legal catch as when your swivel touches your rod tip, with the fish being released immediately afterwards. Anglers are not competing for a cash prize, but rather for a handsome wooden trophy and the bragging honors for a year. The rules stipulate that the first angler to report a legal catch to the committee boat is the winner, unless any angler releases multiple tarpon, then the tournament is decided by the most tarpon released by one angler. As always, any angler that kills a tarpon must eat the fish at the awards dinner on Saturday night at Toler's Cove. A special culinary dinner by Buist Rivers and Lowcountry Eats added to the fellowship.

For a blog entry from the 2010 Tarpon Release Tourney click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The 17th annual Tarpon t-shirt design; Cantey Smith with Blair Johnson and Susan Pearce at the captain's meeting; the tarpon release flag and tarpon mouth sculpture will go to the winner; Dowse Rustin is the man who will be fishing with Jennifer MacNair from the committee boat on Saturday

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wrecking Crew waterfowl video

The Wrecking Crew Guide Service in Lancaster is now booking early season hunts for Canada Geese and migratory teal. Summer scouting is underway and the September early season will be here very, very soon. Senior guide Darly Hodge is a member of the Drake Waterfowl Systems Pro Staff, and son Blake Hodge is the expert duck and goose caller. Blake has also shown an affinity for videography and shares this video review of their most recent season afield.

To view my past blog entry about a hunt with the Wrecking Crew click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Daryl Hodge in the foreground in a coffin blind set up in an ag field

PhotoByChipWolfe: Daryl Hodge, Englis Glover, Blake Hodge and Jeff Dennis after the hunt

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lowcountry Fishing Report July '11

For the Charleston Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina click here.

To view the past blog entry with the accolade of Best Fishing Report form the Charleston City Paper click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Brothers Randolph and Carl Koches with a 6.25-pound sheepshead

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SCDNR Mid-Season Turtle nesting numbers

Mid-season (through June) marine turtle nesting, stranding update for S.C. coast

So far through June of 2011 (representing 54% of the nesting season), 2,545 loggerhead, and four leatherback nests have been reported on project beaches along the South Carolina coast. The preliminary 2011 statewide estimate for South Carolina this year is 3,511 turtle nests, which includes nests laid on beaches that do not have daily monitoring. Nesting in 2011 has started out extremely strong with most of the coast reporting higher than normal nest counts. Often, when nesting starts strong, the nest numbers drop off quickly towards the end of the season. Therefore, it remains to be seen as to how the season wraps up.

As the peak of hatching season approaches, the support of South Carolina coastal residents and visitors is needed to raise awareness and educate visitors to Keep Lights Out for Loggerheads. When hatchlings emerge from the nest, they are attracted to the blue and green wavelengths of light naturally reflected off the ocean through celestial light. They use this natural light cue to navigate from the nest towards the ocean. If an artificial light source on the beach is brighter than the natural light, hatchlings will head towards this artificial source. This is known as disorientation and occurs when artificial beach lighting is brighter than the natural ocean horizon. In these instances, hatchings will crawl away from the ocean toward bright, artificial lights, causing them to be more susceptible to predators and exhaustion.
This year marks the first time the entire length of North Island in Georgetown County has been surveyed for sea turtle nests during the nesting season. The number of nests documented through the end of June (which represents approximately 54% of the nesting season) is 95. If nesting effort remains strong, North Island could have as many as 200 nests, possibly more. This means North Island would be tied with Kiawah Island as the second densest sea turtle nesting beach in South Carolina (based on nests per kilometer).
To view past blog entries about S.C. Sea Turtle click here.
PhotoByJeffDennis: Dawsey the loggerhead turtle pushes off from Kiawah's beach in June of 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SoLo Task Force and SRP meet at Webb Center

A July 13th luncheon held in the name of conservation took place at the Webb Wildlife Center near Estill. The South Lowcountry (SoLo) Task Force held a meeting to discuss conservation efforts in their focus area, and then the Savannah River Preserve (SRP) hosted a fried chicken lunch with a speaker from Tall Timbers Research Station. Despite 100-degree heat the luncheon was well-attended by those who love and cherish our Lowcountry Outdoors and who desire to be proactive when it comes to conservation and preservation efforts. Groton Plantation was one of the early leaders in the formation of the SRP when they granted a conservation easement on a portion of their considerable bottomland hardwood holdings. A big announcement from luncheon speaker Jerald Sholar, with Tall TImbers, is that the S.C. Quail Project's Fall Field Day will be held this November at Groton Plantation. The Savannah River Preserve is 827,000-acres and includes the 200,000-acre Savannah River Site and runs south to the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge. Large private landowners helped to instigate the formation of the SRP a few years ago and they continue to raise awareness about conservation for all landowners in the area. Hunting and fishing are among the chief pursuits of those who support the SoLo focus area and the SRP.

To view past blog entries from the SRP click here.

To view another blog entry with a map of the SRP and a link to my 2008 feature article on the SRP click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: The official signage of the Savannah River Preserve does not contain a bobwhite quail, but I took the liberty to make this image that includes Gentleman Bob!

Don Dyches of Bo Peep Plantation helped to organize and run the July 13 SoLo/SRP meeting and is shown here with intern Raymond Dadds and Jim Westerhold, who represents the Horry/G'town Technical College that produces natural resource manager interns

Jim Boone with Red Bluff Lodge stands with Jerald Sholar of the S.C. Quail Project and John Rice, consulting forester in Allendale

Karen, Billy and Daniel Exley of Recess Planation make the outdoors a family affair and are pictured here with Rob Winthrop of Groton Plantation

Land managers like Billy Mixon, Burt Chandler, Wesley Smith and Lamar Comalander made it a priority to support the SRP

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2011 March/April/May/ June Birding Journal Observations

Imagine my surprise when recently contacted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology wondering why I had skipped my March/April Birding Journal Observations?! To read the journal entries of the Cornell search team that looked for the ivory-billed woodpecker in S.C in 2007 click here.

The neotropical migratory songbirds of Spring did not disappoint and April was simply exhilerating! A kingfisher was observed at the pasture pond on March 8 in addition to other March observations of a cardinal, carolina chickadee, chipping sparrow, red-bellied woodpecker, carolina wren, pileated woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, white-throated sparrow, hairy woodpecker, brown thrasher, dove, and brown-headed cowbird.
On April 2 I recorded a bright-yellow male goldfinch plus two male towhees.
April 11 the first male Indigo bunting of the season was viewed and it turned into a first viewing double-header when the blue grosbeak turned up that very day!
April 20 the first ruby-throated hummingbird of the season was spotted!
Also on April 20 the first Swallow-tailed Kite was spotted over the cow pasture!
And a male yellow warbler showed up that day for good measure, plus bluebirds, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, and most of the regular songbirds listed above.
April 22 was a shocker when a very green, first-spring male painted bunting turned up.
New observations in May and June were limited to the yellow-billed cuckoo and barn swallows, with lots of observations of the regular songbirds listed above.

The most powerful attractant in this time of drought has been water in birdbaths.
Feed in the form of suet, black sunflower seeds, birdseed and peanuts is also utilized.

To see my Jan/Feb 2011 Birding Journal Observations click here.

To view past Birding Journal Observations from March / April click 20142013, 2012, 2010 or 2009.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yemassee Revitalization - article and video

Most everyone relishes the abundance of history present in our Lowcountry Outdoors, and the Yemassee Revitalization Committee continues to raise awareness about their mission. On July 5th a feature article ran in the Post and Courier which names several of the leaders of the YRC. One such leader is Jessica Loring and she made a video regarding Old Combahee Plantation which has been in her family for five generations.

For more blog coverage about the YRT click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Old Combahee plantation overlooking Izard's Creek; a nostalgic 10-point buck rack is on display on the porch; Jessica Loring authored this book about when Auldbrass was also in her family's holdings; Jessica Loring is involved in the community and is pictured here (blue jacket) at the Private Landowners of the ACE field day held in June of 2009