Thursday, June 27, 2013

14th DOA Outdoor Writer's Event - Day Two

I hooked this snook in a tight nook - TRUE!
DOA shrimp rigged heavy-style with a CAL jighead
Capt. Mark Nichols welcomes his friends
The second day of DOA camp was very productive for snook, trout and flounder - not to mention ladyfish, jacks and even a blue runner. The weather remained excellent for fishing and my day began at the jetties in the St. Lucie Inlet probing for giant snook with a DOA 3-inch shrimp in glow. Fishing with Capt. Jimmy Anderson and Bob McNally from Jacksonville, we quickly had to adjust our plans to sight-casting for snook at a nearby creek bend. We could see the bait getting busted right up against a corner of rock rip-rap that was covered by a wire mesh for the sake of habitat conservation. Then we saw the fins of a snook, but it was right up against the rock and wire. I change over to a DOA shrimp rigged with a jighead to make the precision cast necessary to hit the nook holding the snook. One inch too far and the lure would be hung up, one inch too short and the lure would not be in the strike zone. Lucky for me, I cast to the right spot and after one crank on my reel I was hooked up with a snook! After a brief fight behind the boat, we were able to make some photos, and release the snook. The fishing was slow, so this really was getting it done, and I am grateful to Bob for making the snook photo. Fishing gear includes Tailin' toads fishing gloves, Costa Saltbreak sunglasses, oystaflage buff and DOA denali shirt. Next up we came across Doug Olander casting lures to fish in the middle of the channel, and we decided to help him catch a few ladyfish and jacks. We then headed to the .10-cent bridge and tied on a DOA baitbuster to check for fish in the shade, and under some nearby docks, but with little action. Back at the Chickee hut everyone has a good time sharing their fresh fish photos and a cold drink while Capt. Nichols gives a couple of quick interviews before hitting the water some more. It could be that the tougher the fishing, the more inspired Nichols will become, and several new lures including the DOA airhead are coming onto the market to help salt anglers catch more fish.
Capt. Jimmy Anderson and Bob McNally
Doug Olander and wife on the prowl for jacks

To view past blog entries from DOA Writers event click 2013, 2012, 2011,2010 or 2009.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

14th DOA Outdoor Writer's Event - Day One

Capt. Mark Nichols of DOA Lures at the helm
Dave Stewart from N.C. with a flounder from the mangroves
Captain Mark Nichols, founder of DOA Lures, was at the helm of the 14th outdoor writer festival. He welcomes a bevy of DOA-endorsed fishing guides to River Palms fish camp, and the outdoor writers who still aspire to create fishing reports and stories so that readers may enjoy them. Writers can also help to raise awareness about any issues that may arise, like the present threat from tainted waters from Lake Okeechobee that threaten to traverse the St. Lucie River and damage native grasses. These grasses near the inlet and into the Indian River Lagoon represent the building blocks of life for baitfish, and without lots of grass, saltwater anglers know there will be many less trout and snook to target. The environment was just one of many topics discussed by the guides and writers over a fresh mahi taco supper served up by Jenny Nichols. Sponsors on site included Trokar hooks/Eagle Claw, Costa sunglasses, Hummingbird, Shimano reels, Tailin' Toads and Frogg Toggs. Getting to visit with this select group of fishing enthusiasts equates to learning via osmosis, when everyone soaks up some new knowledge. Day One fishing involved an old lesson though, when the fish did not bite for the DOA fleet. The moon was full, the runoff was too bad, there was too much live bait, not as many fish in the area anymore - fishermen know how to explain it all away. Not every boat struck out for sure, and DOA guide Ed Zyak stuck a memorable snook on Day One, but for the most part this fleet of experienced and talented anglers was stonewalled. I was fishing with Capt. Paul Hobby from Ft. Myers in his flats boat, and to his credit he rounded up two catfish during the tough day of fishing. The weather this day was close to prefect though and Hobby and I wade-fished the grass flats and shared memorable observations like bait busting the surface and a shark passing close by. And best of all perhaps is swapping stories about past DOA camps, and Hobby has been to ALL of them. I fished a DOA CAL in Arkansas glow most of the day when we were in the boat, and then a weedless version when on the flats.

Capt. Paul Hobby bends a light tackle rod

Jack crevalle while wade fishing the flats 

To view past blog entries from DOA Writers event click 2012, 2011, 2010 or 2009.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 6/25/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Scott Hammond with a 6-pound gator released on June 12
Charleston Inshore: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West is so reverent when it comes to fishing that he says it would be a SIN not to get out and enjoy some topwater action right now. He states that with the heat ramping up, and July 4 usually signals the start of 'dog days' weather, this subtle transition in weather changes gamefish feeding patterns. Ever heard the expression 'We are burning daylight?' - well in order to get the maximum out of the topwater bite at dawn, anglers need to plan to rise a bit earlier, and put in at the boat ramp before dawn. Make sure your running lights are functioning, and be at your fishing hole, rigged and ready for the 'first light bite.' Almost any 'walk the dog' topwater bait can draw a strike from redfish and trout, but you can never rule out bluefish or ladyfish in that mix. Scott says that after the sun gets up, switch over to a suspending bait like the Mirrolure 17MR. Stop by the store to learn what colors are working best, and to pick up live bait like mud minnows and shrimp. Use DOA shrimp under a popping float to tangle with gator trout, and who doesn't want to wrangle with a bull redfish! The bulls are showing up at the jetties right now, eating live menhaden and blue crabs. Warmer weather and large concentrations of bait have also washed some tarpon into the inlets, as well as sharks. Tarpon reports should only improve from here on - YES we have a tarpon fishery!! Spanish mackerel are both inshore and offshore, and a silver casting jig or a clarkspoon in size #00 is what you need for some action. In the nearshore, cast a drone spoon into the Spanish school and let it fall to the bottom to try and draw a 'wounded fish' strike from a king mackerel. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore: Scott recalls that every year about this time the number of dolphin being caught offshore begins to diminish. Reports of 4 to 10 mahi per trip are more random and a few stud wahoo are being mixed in. One silver lining is that with the calming effect that hot weather has on the ocean, smaller boats can get out to have dolphin trips, with hook-ups coming from 80 to 130-feet of water. Blue marlin are still steady and are found in 350 to 1200-feet of water, and Scott wonders if 2013 is going to be one of our best years for blue marlin fishing ever? Keep in mind that a blue marlin weighed in the S.C. Governor's Cup was heavier than the 2013 Big Rock tourney winner. Bottom fishing continues to produce solid reports of large sea bass in 70 to 110-feet of water, along with good numbers of vermillions and giant grouper, using butterfly jigs and live baits like pinfish and cigar minnows. Solid reports of smoker kings are coming from 45 to 75-feet of water.

To view past Lowcountry saltwater fishing reports click here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

2013 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day Three / Results

55.5-pound wahoo from Georgetown Landing Marina
Ken Strickland and his 40.4-pound mahi
ALmost all of the 32-boat Gov. Cup fleet went fishing for Day Three of the Carolina Billfish Classic. The fishing conditions were much improved, with a hot bite, and a flat calm ocean. Billfish releases came in bunches, and plenty of mahi hit the scales as well. Chasin' wins the 2013 CBC based on their Day Two blue marlin release, followed up by a Day Three white marlin release and a Day Three sailfish release. Congrats to owner Smythe McKissick and Captain Bennett Griffin. Other Day Three billfish releases include Sportin' Life with one blue marlin and one white marlin released. Streamweaver and Cacique each released two sails apiece on Day Three, and Micabe release one white marlin. Legacy released a blue marlin and a sailfish on Day Three. Other billfish releases were still being tallied as the scales closed at 7 p.m. A change in the heaviest mahi category came when Ken Strickland weighed-in a 40.4-pound dolphin for the Wildlife! The Day Two wahoo weighed-in at Georgetown held up, an nice 55.5-pound HOO. The tuna leader continues to be Frayed Knot.

To view my feature article from the 2013 CBC click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the 2013 CBC click here.
Legacy from Day Three

Lynne Zachrich and a nice mahi

2013 Carolina Billfish Classic - S.C. Memorial Reef auction

Blair Johnson with ladies handbag from auction,
plus Croghan's jewelry on silent auction
Thanks kids for helping to display these silent auction items
The S.C. Memorial Reef is set to be deployed this August, and final preparations are underway with Stevens Towing and all vital parties. One big punctuation on the process will be the annual S.C. Memorial Reef Auction at Goldbug Island, in conjunction with the 2013 CBC awards party. The bar opens at 7 p.m. with the live auction scheduled for 8:30 - and tickets may be purchased at the door! The silent auction offers items for men, women and even children this year - so check it out!
To view past blog entries from the S.C. Memorial reef auction click 2012, 2011, 2010, or 2009.
To view past blog entries from the 2013 CBC click here.

Icey-Tek cooler with S.C. Memorial Reef logo

Blue Havana by Guy Harvey is on the silent auction

2013 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day Two photos

Youth mahi leader Harry Hood, age 9,
with his 32.2-pounder from Compromise

Cordes Johnson, age 8, with his 17.8-pound mahi from Petrel

Hey Joel Burgess! What's better than one mahi??

Hayley and Chris Anderson are the newest members;
with Brantlee de Brux and The Billfish Foundation
For more Day Two photos and info from the 2013 CBC click here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day Two

Cacique's Frank Pohanka with his Day Two wahoo
Less than half of the 32-boat fleet went fishing on Friday. No changes were recorded for the leading mahi, but Cacique brought a 20.6-pound wahoo to the scales, but was topped by Mirage (fishing out of G'town) when Moe Monckton brought a 55.5-pound HOO to the CBC scales. Frayed Knot showed up with a 16.4-pound tuna, taking the lead in that category. Chasin' and Wildlife released a blue marlin each on Day Two. Micabe, Crystal Blue and Dem Boys all released one sailfish apiece on Day Two.

To view past blog entires from the 2013 Carolina Billfish Classic click here.
Leading female angler Ashley Dent

Dustin Corbin and his leading tuna

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Carolina Billfish Classic - Day One

Jeff Jones with his 36.6-pound mahi
Pelican looking for a free meal at the Gov. Cup
Thursday saw 13 of 32 boats in the Gov. Cup fleet go fishing for billfish on Day One of the Carolina Billfish Classic. The cool front that brought torrential rains to Charleston on Wednesday, drenched the fleet all day long as it pushed just offshore; just ask the crew of the 33-foot Lucky Hooker out of Hilton Head. The first blue marlin was released at 9:20 a.m. by the Game On owner Bubba Roof, putting Captain Cricket in the lead after Day One. Big Sky and Rascal elected to fish out of Georgetown and Big Sky released a BIG blue marlin at 10:56 - with rumors putting their 'man in the blue suit' around 500-pounds! Kudos to Jabez and Legacy for releasing one sailfish apiece on Day One. The leading mahi weighed in by Jeff Jones from Syked Out came in at 36.6-pounds, with Trye Thomas from Sportin' Life in second with a 35.4-pound dolphin. Showtime's Tom Russell threw down a 34.6-pound Maui for good measure, and youth anger Fisher Jackson from Summer Girl brought in a 15.8-pound mahi. Charlie Byars brought in the only other species, a skipjack tuna weighing 7.4-pound, caught from the Reel Patience. Most of the fleet will now fish Friday and Saturday at the Carolina Billfish Classic, with the S.C. Memorial Reef Auction set for Saturday night at Goldbug Island.

Tournament Director Diedre Menefee has done an excellent job of balancing the fishing out of Toler's Cover with the evening events at Goldbug Island. She brings a passion to her work that helps to buoy the Governor's Cup. I would be hard pressed to name someone who supports Lowcountry Outdoors as much as Diedre does, and I am very grateful.

To view past blog entries about the Carolina Billfish Classic click 2012, 2011, 2010.

Trey Thomas shows off his 35.4-pound dolphin

Charlie Byars and the tuna tower on Reel Patience

2013 Edisto Shark Tourney weighs 515-pound Tiger

The annual Edisto Shark tourney at Edisto Watersports, with help from Freddy Avant, drew a field of 28 boats. There was drama that day with a boat from Hilton Head bringing in a large shark with less than ten minutes to go in the weigh-in, giving angler Brian Walsh the victory. Walsh was fishing with Captain Chip Michalove out of Hilton Head harbor marina in a 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran boat. Michalove runs Outcast Fishing charters and is known for his shark-hunting prowess. It was back in 2010 when Michalove guided angler Stephen Liesen from Quincy, Illinois to the current. S.C. state record for Lemon Shark. That shark weighed 380-pounds and was caught on July 22, beating a record that stood since 2002. With the 2013 Edisto Shark tourney win, Michalove also has the distinction of having won the event three times, with two second place finishes to boot. “We shoved off at 6:30 a.m. and went to my regular shark fishing hole,” said Michalove. “But the fishing was slow there, and we only boated one blacktip shark in the 80 to 90-pound range, so I decided to head offshore.” It was late in the morning when friend Brian Walsh was holding a Shimano Talus reel spooled with 200-pound braid line and a Shimano Tiagra 50-wide reel. “We had one-half of an amberjack out for bait and the big shark thrashed it at noon,” said Michalove. Michalove and Walsh celebrated by cutting the jaws out of the awesome animal, and then donated the meat to some Edisto locals who promised to eat it. In second place it was Barry Fontaine fishing with Laird Summerlin of Edisto in a 28-foot center console. Their shark hit at 11 a.m. and was boated by noon, fishing five miles offshore. “If you’re going to lose the tourney, you don’t mind so much by losing to a shark that weighs 200-pounds more than yours,” said Summerlin.

To view the remainder of my feature article click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the Edisto Shark Tourney click 2011

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nature notes from Saluda, North Carolina

Pearson's Falls; about 90-feet high
Crazy cool salamander!!
Young bucks prefer mountain streams
Lowcountry residents have a natural tendency to gravitate towards the mountains od western N.C. when the HHH-conditions max out along the coast. Fortunate to stay in Saulda with friends for the weekend, a bit of stream fishing and hiking revealed these images to my camera lens, and of course I wanted to share them with my viewers!

To view past blogs entries from the mountains click here.
SSSSSSSSssssssssssNAIL !

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fly fishing for trout with South Holston River Lodge

The SHRL guide and my brown trout I was glad to see
South Holston River Lodge with anxious anglers
The beginning of April is the start of peak season on the South Holston River near Bristol, Tennessee. My early summer visit for two days of floating the river for rainbow trout and brown trout included one day that was refreshingly cool and spring-like, and the next day was hot and muggy like summer. Needless to say the anglers enjoyed the cool weather the best, and judging from the bite, the fish could tell the difference too! Fishing out of a float boat is essential when the South Holston River is experiencing water released from the hydro-electric dam above stream. Wade fishing is tougher here, since waders are almost always necessary due to the cold water temps, which is the same reason for the hearty trout population. The South Holston River Lodge was easy to find, not too far from the famed Bristol NASCAR speedway, and offered comfortable lodging with extras like chef-prepared meals and a stunning riverside setting. Fly anglers of all levels are welcome to visit the lodge, but as one guide relayed, it's all up to the trout whether to bite the fly or not. Luckily, we fooled quite a few of those brownies and 'bows. All fishing out of the SHRL is catch and release only. Look for more details in my feature story in the July issue of the Charleston Mercury.
To view past blog entries about fly fishing for mountain trout click here.

Manager Jon Hooper SETS the HOOK !!

Simms hat and trademark brown trout ready for release

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 6/13/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Lowcountry Redfish Cup angler releases beautiful bass

Charleston Inshore: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West shares that June is bringing in the hot topwater bite. Early mornings and late evening have been producing 'Morning Glory' and 'Afternoon Delight' in the form of blow-ups on trout, redfish and bluefish. A Super Spook Jr. in chartreuse and black or the silver mullet pattern are go-to options, with the Bomber 3.5-inch popper as a back up topwater tool. Redfish continue to chomp down live baits such as a menhaden and finger mullet, but they are still susceptible to artificial baits such as Zman Paddlerz and Zman Minnowz - with the new 'Mulletron' coloration working like a 'redfish terminator.' Expect to see a reduction in the number of gator trout in June, the offset will be an increase in total numbers for smaller trout in the 11 to 18-inch range. The trout are hanging tight around shell rakes and creek points in 3 to 6-feet of water, and are ready to inhale a shrimp under a popping float or a DOA shrimp free-lined towards their ambush point. Spanish mackerel have also begun to show themselves around the inlets and jetties in June, and this 'Spanish armada' should only increase over the summer. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: Scott begins that catch numbers of dolphin have decreased somewhat, but the BIG bull dolphin are on the prowl. Numerous dolphin in the 50 to 55-pound range have made a splash at the scales - the largest so far going 63.4-pounds. The blue marlin bite is still holding very strong off the S.C. coast, and again many of these fish have been larger than average with quite a few in the 440 to 550-pound range being released. Bottom fishing reports have yielded some solid action on grouper and large sea bass in 75 to 110-feet of water, and YES black sea bass season is open once again as of June 1. Cobia reports from the nearshore reefs and live bottom areas out to 80-feet of water have also been very strong, with many brown bombers in the 50 to 60-pound class. Try live baits and Hogy eels or a Hogy flounder jigged around the reefs and live bottom areas for best success.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup - Running of the Bull Mahi; Final Results

Drew Wilkinson and winning mahi 
Lynne Zachrich and her 43.8-pound mahi
The final day of fishing on June 8 saw 17 boats go fishing for blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish. Just one day after T.S. Andrea passed by, the oceans were calm and anglers were hoping for a supercharged billfish bite related to the tumultuous weather. Showtime raised, played and released a blue marlin at 10:18 a.m. and angler John Crislip handled the rod with precision. This release protected their Day One lead - giving Capt. Wink Doerzbacher and owner Fred Hardwick the right to hoist the Bohicket Cup in 2013. In second place it was Capt. Harvey Shiflet and Cacique releasing a sailfish to keep its second place status, good for an artist's print at the awards ceremony. Speaking with Drew Wilkinson on Cacique, he characterized the fishing conditions as 3 to 4-feet waves and very good mahi fishing. Did I mention that Wilkinson dropped a HUGE dolphin by the weigh station? Tilting the scales at 60.6-pounds, he easily leap-frogged the Day One leaders and shared that this was his personal best dolphin too. No kidding! Three big bull mahi came to the Bohicket docks as Sportin' Life weighed-in a 47.2-pounder, and Reel Patience brought a 43.8-pounder. Interestingly, no wahoo or tuna came to the scales during the 2013 Bohicket Governor's Cup.
To view my feature story on the 2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.
To view past blog entries from the 2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup click Day Two, Day One.
To view past blog entries about the Bohicket Gov. Cup click 2012 - 2011 - 2010

Nice fush from Sportin' Life, nice board shorts too

Longtime marina manager Bryan Richardson (center)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup - Blue Coast Co.

Loyce Turner with his Day One mahi
Amy Dukes of SCDNR measures a mahi
Day Two of the 2013 Bohicket Governor's Cup was 'blown out' for fishing, thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea's high winds. However, the Bohicket Marina Village was spared any rain, and the anglers and vendors turned out in full force to socialize and enjoy the day of rest. Seventeen boats went fishing again on Saturday June 8, and there will be a weigh-in and awards supper on Saturday evening. One of the many Bohicket sponsors is the Blue Coast company, making apparel, art and gear with a bluewater theme. Artist Wesley Carter moved to the Isle of Palms one year ago with her son and business manager Kent Krebeck. They brought their mobile sales trailer to Bohicket for the Governor's Cup, offering high-quality designs on regular cotton t's and on their 7000-series Protecht performance shirts with 40 UPF. Wesley Carter shows her work at the Lowcountry Artist Gallery on East Bay Street, and she is adamant about having their same outdoor lifestyle designs available on women's clothing with a contemporary fit. If you missed Blue Coast at Bohicket, be sure to check them out at the MegaDock Governor's Cup since they designed the 2013 MegaDock tourney t-shirts.

To view past blog entries form the 2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup click here.

Kent Krebeck and artist Wesley Carter

Blue Marlin artwork by Blue Coast 

Friday, June 7, 2013

2013 Bohicket Gov. Cup - Day One

Dixon Pearce with his 34.6-pound mahi
Thomas Henry Key and Bennett Wyatt show their mahi
The 2013 Bohicket Governor's Cup will forever be linked with the surprise formation of Tropical Storm Andrea, and it's almost overnight effects in the Lowcountry. It poured rain on Wednesday during the Captain's meeting and the forecast for Friday fishing looked dire. Understandably, several boats elected not to fish on short notice, making the Bohicket fleet 18-boats strong. Day One fishing conditions on Thursday were surprisingly calm from all reports, and a good number of billfish were released. Fishing out of Toler's Cove, Showtime took the early lead with two blue marlin released and one sailfish released. In second place is Cassique with two blue marlin releases, followed by Rascal with one blue marlin released and two sailfish released. The meatfish weigh-in was all mahi and Dixon Pearce holds the top spot with his 34.6-pound dolphin from Sportin' Life. Cassique has the second position on mahi with a 33.8-pound fish for Chris Gepford. Youth angler Loyce Taylor brought a nice 31.6-pounder to the scales for Legal Holiday.
T.S. Andrea took dead aim at Bohicket

Coaster assortment at Habitat For Humanity auction
To view past blog entries about the Bohicket Gov. Cup click 2012 - 2011 - 2010

To view past blog entries about the Bohicket Gov. Cup click 2012 - 2011 - 2010