Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Edisto Gov. Cup - Results and Photos

Fin Addict crew with William Tetterton's 39.6-pound HOO
Silver Anniversary T-shirt
Local boat Change Order watches from the water

There were plenty of traditions that came to pass at the Edisto Governor's Cup such as fans crowding the docks while bluewater anglers showed off tuna, wahoo and dolphin. With school just weeks away, the Governor’s Cup tourney plays out like a holiday weekend on Edisto and puts Colleton County in the spotlight. Electing to fish on Thursday and Saturday, Showtime! was the most consistent boat during the Edisto tourney and they took home the coveted cleat award at the Saturday night awards banquet in Bay Creek Park. The Showtime! is a 62-foot Spencer boat that calls Stuart, Florida their home port. Owner Fred Hardwick resides at Sailfish Point in Florida but brought the boat to S.C. to compete in the popular S.C. Billfishing Series. Captain Wink Doerzbacher skippers the boat, which is kept at Toler’s Cove Marina, on Sullivan’s Island. Some local anglers got into the action and into the prize money when Can’t Complain took home the award for heaviest dolphin. Owner Mullins McLeod saw his friend Brian Cannon weigh in a 38.2-pound mahi that edged out the competition by just one pound. Can’t Complain also did well in the billfish category by releasing one sailfish on Friday and one blue marlin on Saturday. Fishing Team Haz Mat from Walterboro weighed in some meat fish but had less luck with the billfish. The 38-foot Donzi boat with triple engines is owned by Mark Odum and fished Friday and Saturday at Edisto. Crew member Matthew Crosby told me that while the boat had both blue marlin and sailfish behind the boat and in their bait spread, they were not able to get hooked up - but that's fishing. Tournament organizer Becca Jones lined up a who’s who of sponsors for her father and Marina owner Buddy Smith, who is always on site to welcome both sailors and anglers to the docks. The FishSmith company designed a handsome silver anniversary tournament t-shirt that is sure to be a collector’s item one day, and they are for sale at the ship’s store. Other reasons to visit the marina include Pressley's Restaurant, the fuel dock, and charter fishing trips.

To my feature article on the Edisto Gov. Cup click on Colletonian.
Austin Odum from Haz Mat with his 9-pound skipjack tuna

To view past blog entries from the Edisto Gov. Cup click here.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 Rockville Regatta preview

My image from the Rockville Regatta on the cover 
Revelers and pirates enjoy the 2012 Rockville Regatta
It's time again for the annual Rockville Regatta! What started as a way of life for Sea Island farmers over a century ago, continues today in a grand way. The Sea Island Yacht Club is the setting each August, at the tip of Wadmalaw Island, overlooking Bohicket Creek. Large crowds of on-the water spectators come every year to celebrate the tradition of sailboat races, and to keep in touch with a nautical tradition in the South Carolina Lowcountry. It’s hard to convey the sentiment that the Rockville Regatta carries, without speaking to a local resident who grew up exposed to the sailing culture at Rockville. John Settle sailed in many of these regattas and his father was a former Commodore of the Sea Island Yacht Club. “The first weekend of August is off limits to just about anything except spending time at Rockville,” said Settle. “We don’t plan any weddings, or work days at the hunt club, or family vacations for the first weekend in August." The spectator fleet literally takes up one-half of Bohicket Creek, and the Race Committee cordons off the racing area with a series of buoys. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is on hand along with a heavy law enforcement presence to keep the sailing lanes open. Swift currents in the Lowcountry and the narrow course make the Rockville regatta a good challenge for the sailors. To stroll under the live oaks along the shoreline at Rockville, and watch the fleet pass back and forth up and down Bohicket Creek, is to embrace a part of sailing history.

Rockville Regatta Race Committee's Brad Rumph and I
To view the full article click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries about Rockville Regatta click here.
To view past blog entries about classic wooden boats click here.

You see ALOT while at Rockville Regatta

Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney - Winner!

Capt. Chris Wilson handles the tarpon release
The 19th annual Charleston Harbor Tarpon Release Tournament was re-fished on July 27. What in the world does re-fished mean? This traditional event is held in high regard among the local anglers that are willing to target tarpon, although most anglers will not catch a tarpon. The original fish day for the Chas. Harbor Release Tourney was July 13 and indeed no one caught a tarpon, hence the need to re-fish. Alas, the 2012 winner Capt. Shane Sinclair was hooked up with a tarpon for ten minutes on the 13th but the poon spit the hook on him. Of course a second tourney date

Cantey Smith, trophy and angler George Ritter
means more work for tourney organizer Cantey Smith, but he is only too willing to continue his longtime promotion of tarpon  conservation. Cantey's first law of tarpon release is that if you keep a tarpon, then you must eat it at the awards supper. So far... no takers!! Smith purchases and awards a wood carving of a tarpon for the winner and the 2013 winner is angler George Ritter who was fishing with Capt. Chris Wilson. Ritter was the first angler to release a tarpon on July 27. A second silver king was caught and released by angler James Clease Teske, but any other angler would have to release multiple tarpon in order to surpass the first angler to release a tarpon. With the continued presence of migratory tarpon (and manatees too) this event is important to tarpon conservationists, or what I like to call a tarponist. Looking forward to the 20th Anniversary tourney in 2014.

To view past entries about the Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release tourney click 2012, 2011, 2010, or 2009.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

2013 Edisto Gov. Cup - Showtime! wins; claims Billfish Series

Charles Ragsdale with a 34.7-pound mahi from Blue Sky
Brian DeMille and Kyle Clark's tuna from Trash Man
The final day of fishing at the Edisto Governor's Cup saw most of the fleet go fishing, and it was Showtime, a 62-foot Spencer fishing out of Toler's Cove that took home dual titles. Showtime was the only boat to release multiple billfish on Day One with one blue marlin and one sailfish, and they followed that up with another blue marlin and sailfish release on Day Three. Showtime claimed the Edisto Gov. Cup title and unofficially has the most overall points in the entire Gov. Cup Series. Congrats! Finishing in second place at Edisto is Rascal which released two blue marlin and one sailfish, barely edging out Game On which finished in third place based on time of release, when they released two blue marlin and one sailfish on Day Three. Only one change came to the meatfish leaderboard when angler Kyle Clark weighed in a 21.2-pound tuna while fishing from Trash Man. The Day Two 61-pound wahoo for Day Maker and 38.2-pound mahi for Can't Complain held up just fine.

To view past blog entries from the Edisto Gov. Cup click 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Boatload of mahi from Benchmark

Capt. Wink and owner Fred Hardwick from Showtime!,
with Emma Rizer and Becca Jones from Edisto Marina

Saturday, July 27, 2013

2013 Edisto Gov. Cup - Day Two Fishing

Friday fishing was very productive for Can't Complain
Ashley Dent celebrating her first blue marlin release
Friday fishing at the Edisto Marina Governor's Cup was the second day in a row that anglers reported back that the ocean was flat calm. The fishing wasn't though with new leaders coming for wahoo and mahi, and lady angler Ashley Dent releasing her first ever blue marlin - Congrats!! Dent is fishing on the Frayed Knot and she weighed in a nice 34.5-pound dolphin on Thursday, and a fine 37.2-pound waHOO on Friday. The pelagic fish can rest easier on Saturday since Dent and the Frayed Knot are fished out and will be in port awaiting the results from Day Three of fishing. Another Day Two highlight saw Petrel release four sailfish, with Micabe and Can't Complain releasing one sailfish apiece. Brian Cannon weighed in a 38.2-pound dolphin for Can't Complain to take the heaviest dolphin spot through two days at Edisto. It was Michael Krivohlivek fishing from Day Maker who brought in the heaviest meatfish of the tourney, a 61-pound wahoo. The only tuna weighed on Friday was Austin Odum aboard the Haz Mat with his 9-pounder. Saturday fishing will determine the winner of the Edisto event and of the 25th anniversary Governor's Cup Series!

To view past blog entries from Edisto click here.

Grab some buds and head to Edisto Marina

Michael K. and his 61-pound HOO

Friday, July 26, 2013

2013 Edisto Gov. Cup - Day One Fishing

Big Kahuna had a BIG wahoo on Day One
Jessica Mitchell and angler Ashley Dent from Frayed Knot
The final event in the 2013 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series is contested out of Edisto Marina each year. Day One on Thursday saw 24 boats go fishing and they released five blue marlin and seven sailfish. The blue marlin bite was in the a.m. and Showtime, Rascal, Trick 'Em, Lil 'Bit and Sportsmann   all released one blue marlin. Two footnotes are that a youth angler handled the fish on Sportsmann, and that Showtime was the only boat to release multiple billfish with one blue and one sailfish, giving them the early lead at Edisto. Sportin' Life held the overall points lead for the 25th Anniversary of the Gov. Cup after four events, but after zero billfish releases on Thursday, Showtime jumps from second place into first place with one day of fishing left for each boat. Rascal was in the third place position coming into Edisto and still has a chance at the overall title if they can find some more blue marlin on Saturday. The heaviest mahi came off the Benchmark and weighed 35.8-pounds. The top tuna weighed in was a 15.8-pound bonita for Fisher Jackson on the Summer Girl. The heaviest meatfish of the day and best wahoo weighed 44.3-pounds, caught by Rhett Spencer aboard the Big Kahuna.

To view past blog entires from the Edisto Gov. Cup click here.

Fisher Jackson doubles down for Summer Girl

 SCDNR's Wally Jenkins, youth angler Maddie and Ken Strickland

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gear up for Hunting Season with boots and bug machines

Thermacell Outdoors provides hunters a NO FLY zone
With deer season set to commence on the traditional August 15 start date, and dove season coming in on September 1, it’s time to gear up for the outdoors. The weather always plays a role during early deer season, but more so in 2013, which is turning out to be the year of the frog and mosquito. Sportsmen with a Can Do attitude will be fine but gear like boots, buckshot and bug machines are essential to their hunting success. Putting boots on the ground goes without saying, whether it’s putting up a deer stand or simply scouting out a deer trail. LaCrosse offers two boots that offer snake-proof reliability and the waterproof protection that everyone will need during this wet weather. Both the Coil Side Zip snake boot and the Alpha Mudlight snake boot have camouflage and come from the LaCrosse family of high quality boots. Bugs of all kinds are loving this warm wet weather, making a Thermacell bug machine one of the best investments you can make. If you have confidence in one Thermacell unit, why not try running two when necessary. It can’t hurt and it’s much much tougher to spot deer if one can’t be still while in the deer stand. The new Thermacell Outdoor Lantern is available this year to hang back at hunt camp while cleaning your game. It has eight LED lights that are powered by four AA batteries. It burns a butane cartridge and a scent pad that lasts four hours and covers the same area that a regular Thermacell unit protects. The lantern would also be excellent for camping, or perhaps during that all-night catfishing trip in the Edisto River.

To view the rest of my feature article on hunting season gear click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about sporting gear click here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 7/23/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Splashdance!! A mahi makes a fuss while fighting.
Charleston Inshore: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West shares that massive amounts of rainfall has really changed up the inshore fishery! How many inches have you poured out of your rain gauge already this year?! In order to keep pace with the change in salinity, Scott says to target your inshore fish closer to inlets. The closer to the ocean the better right now! Redfish, trout and flounder reports are keeping hopes for the inshore slam alive, and tarpon have begun to roll across the sandbars with regularity. Trout are chomping live shrimp and minnows fished under a popping float along shell rakes near our inlets in 3 to 6-feet of water. If you prefer artificials, throw VuDu Shrimp or DOA shrimp at them. Flounder hook ups are possibly the most consistent fishing right now, when fishing around edges of rock piles and creek mouths. Reds are still very structure oriented right now at low water situations, but have become plentiful in the tailing tides associated with the super moon. Bull reds are still at the jetties, grillage and inlets and they are eating blue crabs. Tarpon are looking for large mullet or large menhaden on the bottom, but don't be afraid to try a line up top as well. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: It's dredge season! Scott says that the sailfish bite is here now with the heating up of summer. Best reports include good numbers of sailfish in 400 to 800-feet of water. A few dolphin are still hanging around in 110 to 250-feet of water. While the wahoo numbers have not been that great, the fish that are being landed are studs! Bottom fishing continues to produce large black sea bass in 60 to 100-feet of water, and good numbers of triggerfish and grouper are in the same depths. Go get 'em!

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

QDMA 25th Anniversary Membership Drive

Quality doe in her summer coat

The Quality Deer Management Association is celebrating 25 years of deer stewardship in 2013. QDMA just completed their 13th ever National Convention in Athens, Georgia over the weekend of July 19 - 21. Did you know that QDMA held one of their earliest conventions right here in Charleston? The Lowcountry Branch of QDMA is holding their annual banquet on August 1 at the Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant. QDMA was founded in the Lowcountry of S.C. by Joe Hamilton and the Palmetto State is home to over 200,000 hunters, and now is a great time to join up. Tickets for the banquet are $50 and include
 a one-year QDMA membership plus drinks and a catered meal by Charleston Bay Gourmet. Sponsors will enjoy an early bird hour at 5 p.m. to study the auction merchandise before doors open at 6. Branch President Freddy St. Laurent attended the National Convention and said that in the next 25 years QDMA will study urban development, chronic wasting disease, and coyote mortality on fawns. The Lowcountry Branch funds youth hunts, supplies venison meat to the hungry and any funds raised this year will go to support more of these great local causes. Auction items will include youth-oriented gear branded with the QDMA Rack Pack logo, and a special paintball hunting package is sure to draw some attention. Jewelry for the ladies will certainly be in the mix. Other quality auction items include a Bad Boy Buggy, a hog hunt via horseback, inshore fishing trips, quail hunting, beach house rentals, a FoodSaver vacuum sealer and a charter on the Osprey. For tickets call 
David at (843) 991-0035, Freddy at (843) 330-6517, or Jimmy at (843) 729-4128. 

To view past blog entries from the Lowcountry QDMA Branch click here.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 Charleston Coastal Anglers 30th Annual Tournament

Capt. Robert Olsen displays his winning 40-pound king mackerel
30th Annual tourney - Congrats!!
Brandon Riley with the top two flounder
The James Island Yacht Club was the setting for the 30th Charleston Coastal Anglers fishing tourney. The Captain's Meeting on Wednesday night was well attended and an afternoon thunderstorm served to cool down what had been a hot day. Fishing conditions on Saturday July 20 were at times rainy, and at other times windy and rough, producing little results for most anglers. However, the veteran anglers came through and so did a smattering of other anglers who targeted ladyfish, bluefish, trout, sheepshead, flounder, redfish, spadefish, blackfish and king mackerel. No Spanish mackerel were weighed in however. Taking home the Outstanding Angler award with the heaviest King mackerel was Captain Robert Olsen of Knot At Work Charters with his 40.80-pound smoker, which was caught about 15 miles offshore from his 31-foot Contender. The top king scored $500 in cash anda YETI cooler - Congrats! Olsen also weighed in the second place king weighing 23.97-pounds, and placed two fish in the blackfish winning column. Despite a slew of nice flounder weighed in, it was Brandon Riley who took home first and second place with his 3.44 and 3.30-pound flat fish. Veteran angler Lonnie East III won the sheepshead race with his 5.40-pound sheepie. The best spadefish went to Sheldon Peeples, and second place went to Scotty McInerny. The top trout went to Daryl Thurlow and second place went to Phillip McClary. First and second place finishers won a rod and reel.

To view past blog entries from the Charleston Coastal Anglers tourney click here.

Phillip McClary and his nice trout

David Waldrop and Amber Pennington

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 Megadock - Lady anglers love mahi mahi

Mahi Mahi for Amy Bennett and RODEO
Hands UP for Lynne Zachrich and Reel Patience
Anna Bunch is all smiles

The 2013 MegaDock Governor’s Cup had a strong field of participants from S.C., N.C. and Virginia. The fishing from July 11 – 13 was very good for both billfish and meatfish, and each day saw changes come to the leaderboard. Overall, 32 boats in the MegaDock fleet had 56 billfish releases including 42 sailfish, 10 blue marlin and three white marlin. Stream Weaver finished strong on the final fishing day by releasing five sailfish, and racking up 1000 release points to add to their blue marlin release from Day One. It was a combination of good fishing that allowed them to win the 2013 MegaDock. Considering fourth place finisher Chasin’ released five sailfish on Day One, but were unable to back it up, getting blanked on Day Two of fishing. The top ten boats in the Governor’s Cup Series were all present at the MegaDock, and it’s a sure bet that the top ten plus a few more will be docked at the Edisto Marina for the final event in the 25th Anniversary season of the S.C. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series.
Sarah Dudash from Artemis

To view the rest of my feature article from 2013 MegaDock click Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the 2013 MegaDock click here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

30th Pirate's Cove billfish tournament set for 2013

View from the 2012 Pirate's Cove Marina Billfish Tournament
Alice Kelly Ladies Tourney logo

When thinking of Manteo, North Carolina, boat builders like Bayliss, Spencer and B & B may spring to mind. However, a deeply-rooted tradition of offshore fishing for blue marlin is also present at the Pirate’s Cove Marina. August will mark the 30th annual competition to decide which boat will command the winner’s check and bragging rights for weighing-in the heaviest blue marlin. Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament director Jim Tobin shares that the events will stretch from August 10 – 16. “On Sunday August 11 we hold a tournament just for our lady anglers,” said Tobin. “With most of the sportfishing boats already in port, we will have a high rate of participation, since the ladies share a love for the bluewater. This is known as the Alice Kelly event and it raises funds to support the Outer Banks Cancer Support Group,” said Tobin. “This group was founded by Alice Kelly before her passing, helping patients fight cancer with proper treatment, even if they lack health insurance. The Pirates Cove event raises funds for charity too, and we are closing in on the one million-dollar figure donated to charities.” The Pirates Cove Billfish Tourney allows anglers to choose three out of four days to fish between Tuesday August 13 and Friday August 16. Pirates Cove is one of the original tourneys in the state Governor’s Cup Series, and one of eight Series dates in 2013. In 2008 the Pirates Cove tourney saw the state record blue marlin weighed-in by angler Trey Irvine. At one thousand twenty-eight pounds, the big blue marlin is still the talk of the docks to this day.

To view the rest of my feature story click All At Sea.

To view past blog entries from the 2013 S.C. Governor's Cup click here.

30th Ann. Pirate's Cove sponsor

Crowd shot form the 2012 Pirate's Cove tourney

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aphrodite very speedy for classic wooden boat

Aphrodite fully underway on June 25 in the St. Lucie River, Florida
Aphrodite is the name of the Greek goddess for love and beauty, but it's the beautiful lines of the 74-foot wooden vessel named Aprodite that caught my eye. I was minding my own business fishing for snook under the .10-cent bridge in the St. Lucie River when Aphrodite passed under the bridge. I asked the captain of our flats boat if we could move ahead of her briefly for the purpose of making a photo. The fishing was slow so he was quick to agree and by the time we stowed the rods and cranked the motor, the Aprodite began to cruise smoothely across the water. Changing camera lenses to match the morning light conditions while riding in the bow, we soon became more like a chase boat than a casual observer. The Aphrodite kept rising in the water as her Captain kept pushing the throttles forward. With our boat running wide open I was able to make these photos but we were impressed at the ability of this wooden boat running wide open in flat calm conditions - she can fly! After scouring the Internet for further details to relay regarding the Aphrodite I came across the 7-minute video about her recent makeover. Aphrodite was built in 1937 by the Purdy Boat Company for a Wall Street financier and U.S. Ambassador to use as a 'commuter yacht' from his home on Long Island to his office in Manhattan.

To view past blog entries about wooden boats click here.

Close-up of bow section

Wheelhouse and transom

Monday, July 15, 2013

Classic wooden vessel Osprey finds new life

The Osprey underway during a typical cruising tour
The Osprey moors in historic Shem Creek

The 61-foot wooden Blue Heron II was launched in from the renowned Gilliken yard on Harker’s Island, N.C., in 1960 and fished commercially from the Carolinas to Florida until 1996 when new Coast Guard regulations made it obsolete. It was sold for use as a shrimp boat, but when the nets were deployed the rudder was found to be lacking in size and reliability. Semi-retired, the boat eventually was moored and used as a floating bar at a waterfront restaurant. The culinary businessman was not a boater, and the vessel fell into disrepair from lack of maintenance.
After an ebay auction in 2007, Capt. Lucas Smith took ownership and re-christened her The Osprey. He spent two years refurbishing the boat while continuing to run a dry-cleaning business. A couple of years after realizing his vision of chartering the boat, however, Capt. Glover and his employee Carly Donohue were killed in a tragic but unrelated accident on the water in 2011. The Osprey was again rudderless in the ebb of time.
Blue Heron II in 1961
A year later, Smith's estate agreed to sell The Osprey to four of his friends – Capt. Brian Berrigan, Mark Welker of Salt Works Catering, Mike Atkins and Capt. Donnie Buhrmaster – who sought to keep Smith’s dream alive.
The first charters for this quartet of multi-tasking owners came during December 2012, with the Christmas Parade of Boats and a New Year’s Eve cruise. So far in 2013 bookings are better than expected for The Osprey with indications of a profitable summer ahead.

Blue Heron II in 1962
An awning for the foredeck provides shade during Charleston’s long summer season, and the railing offers panoramic views of the Lowcountry for all, just as the Blue Heron II provided ample space for bottom fishing anglers during its head boat days.

The living history that The Osprey represents is a salute to wooden boats and the men who built them, and all those who have stood on her deck. With each voyage, The Osprey adds a thread to the maritime fabric of the 
Lowcountry lifestyle.
Historic photos courtesey of Michael Daniewicz of "Mike's Maritime Memorabilia"

To view my feature article on The Osprey click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries on wooden ships click here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 MegaDock - Final Results

Top tuna went 25.4-pounds for Chris Gepford 
Meatfish Slam on Saturday for the Rookie IV
Stream Weaver went out on Saturday and did what the rest of the MegaDock Governor's Cup fleet failed to do. They backed up their Day One release points, by racking up enough Day Two release points to win the 2013 MegaDock. Stream Weaver release a blue marlin on Thursday good for 600 points, and then released five sailfish on Saturday good for 1000 more points, finishing ahead of second place Sportin' Life by 200 points. Home Run had 1400 points but finished in third due to time of release. Chasin' finished in first place after Day One, but failed to build on that lead, and Rascal suffered a similar fate - but that's fishing. A new tuna leader came to the scales on Saturday when Chris Gepford brought a 25.4-pound blackfin after fishing with Cacique. The 71.8-pound wahoo held up for Kirkley Russell fishing on Russellhat. Kelli Roof fishing  aboard Game On won the Lady Angler MegaCleat for her three billfish releases, and she had the heaviest dolphin too, coming in at 42.6-pounds. Winning the youth angler MegaCleat and fishing aboard Arica was 9-year old River Simmons who released his first ever blue marlin / billfish. Congrats!

To view past blog entries from the MegaDock click 20132012, 2011, 2010, or 2009.

River Simmons (right) with his MegaCleat
Tournament Director McKenzie Hutaff and MegaDock patrons