Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quail Season Opener on private lands at Thanksgiving

Season opener with Chester and a brace of quail
Ready, SETTER, Go
Quail hunting season on private lands opened on November 25 but for those with food, family and friends to navigate during the week, often the Saturday after Turkey day serves as opening day. The fall weather so far in 2013 has already signaled that it is time to return to the bird woods, for long walks behind setters and pointers who crave one thing - the scent of a Northern Bobwhite quail. These bird dogs have another gear in them that is reserved only for quail season (and for some leftover giblet gravy on their food), so with the flash of the master's hunter orange in their retina, it's GAME ON!! The mere mention of hunting birds is enough to make a bird dog quiver, so the master must know how to keep a secret, because once the double gun comes out of the case there is no turning back. Armed with the hope that my now five-year old English Setter named Chester would be ready for the season opener, we hot the woods in 33-degree temps with a 15 m.p.h. wind blowing at tree top level. A fully charged shock collar was barely needed as Chester held tight on each point and allowed me to come in and flush the birds. The young bird dog on point flashing a stylish pose has added poise to his repertoire, and that adds great joy to the hunter and to the observer. Setting up the quail flush the way you intend may give the shooter a bit of an advantage, but it all depends on how those birds fly. By far the fastest flush of the day had me missing cleanly with the first barrel, but swinging through and dropping the bird stone dead with the second blast. The only true double flush of the day, I missed with both barrels, but excellent dog work allowed me to hunt and harvest both singles! With opening day goals set in the modest category to allow for 'rust' and such, the end result was a quality opener for quail season at Thanksgiving, with the remainder of the season set to run until February 28.

To read my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.
The hunt observer gets a close up view 

Do you see the second cockbird??

To view past blog entries about hunting on Thanksgiving click here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Camp Chef outdoor cooking system and Thanksgiving

Camp Chef griddle with rope sausage, burgers and dogs
Camp Chef cooking with family for Thanksgiving
Outdoorsmen love to cook the wild game that they pursue and harvest. In many cases they need the option to cook while still in the field, and the Camp Chef two-burner stove sets the table for a wide variety of options. In the case of Thanksgiving, what better time to keep the Camp Chef stove close to home to cook up the doves and venison, and the burgers and the hotdogs too. The grill box gives one the option of keeping an eye on the exact cooking temperature, while the cast iron griddle allows the 'short order cook' option - if it fits on the grill then it's good to go! Each unit from Camp Chef comes with a carrying case as an option, which really helps with camping travel, or trips between hunt camps. Remember, those who cook wild game are often welcome in all sorts of nice places. I can relay that the Camp Chef stove is easy to assemble, and that cooking with it is easy. Remember to spray the grill with some non-stick spray to improve the access to flipping meat, and the griddle will need scraping right after the cooking is complete before the byproduct juices become hardened. A few recipes that are associated with Thanksgiving are available on the Camp Chef website like Smoked butternut squash and Smoked yams with cilantro.

To view past blog entries about cooking in the outdoors click here.

The pieces come together for outdoor cooking

Carry case bags for each individual piece

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tree Farm program evolves in 2014

Scott Phillips and Dr. George Kessler in Blackville on Nov. 12

           The South Carolina Tree Farm System recently celebrated 65 years of history. All of that time the Tree Farm program was free for private landowners to join, but with the current economic climate the program will now charge a membership fee. Some of the movers and shakers in the world of forestry have been touring the Palmetto State to make a case for the new Tree Farm system. Bob Franklin with the Clemson Extension joined them for the November 12 meeting in Blackville for Lowcountry residents.
            Scott Phillips with the S.C. Forestry Commission was first to address the crowd of landowners at the afternoon meeting, before the Polk barbecue supper was served. “The Tree Farm used to be sponsored by the timber industry,” said Phillips. “Partly due to the new costs of the certified wood programs that are beginning to take shape globally, that industry support is now gone. However, we still like the idea of the Tree Farm being a great recognition program for participating landowners.”
            Phillips serves on the S.C. state steering committee, which has undertaken the mission of switching over past Tree Farm members to the new program. “What we are finding out is that we have lots of disconnected landowners who signed up for the free program, and then we failed to keep them all informed about the evolution that is now underway,” said Phillips. “We are now being proactive and reaching out to them.”
            Requirements for membership include owning at least 10 acres of forested land that is a part of a written management plan. If it passes the inspection by a Tree Farm forester, then all that is left are the dues. One year will cost the landowner $60 for up to 100 acres of land. After that the cost increases to .10-cents an acre. Members will receive Woodlands magazine four times a year from the American Forest Foundation and several newsletters for the S.C. Tree Farm committee.

To view my feature article on the Tree Farm changes click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Tree Farm click here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 11/26/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Thankful for my Pompano from S. Texas Gulf on 11/20/13
Charleston Inshore: Shane Clevenger at the West Ashley location of The Charleston Angler states that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and this is the best time of year for catching inshore species. The redfish are schooling up in the 30 to 40-fish range and these  schools will just continue to grow as the water temps cool down. On the days the wind lies  down, the sight-fishing has been incredible. This is especially true on the low tide mud flats.  Besides looking for the v-shaped “push” of these fish, another great way to locate these  large schools is to look for birds. The redfish will be stirring up all sorts of bait and the birds  will be there looking to pick up the scraps. We’re starting to see trout move to the deep waters, so when targeting these guys  look for fast moving water near oyster rakes in the 6-9 foot range. DOA Shrimp on popping  corks with longer leaders (24”) works best. Swing by The Charleston Angler for all the gear  and advice you’ll need to make the best of your next trip on the water!

Beaufort Report: Craig Lupton at Buck, Bass and Beyond shares that his report is almost a broken record now that the cold weather has decreased the number of species we can target. The trout bite remains great however with good numbers, a few keepers mixed in and one 5-pound GATOR trout that hit a Zara Spook! Lupton came from S. Florida and says not to underestimate the the smaller Spook Jr. or the Storm Chug Bug too. A good time to fish is on a high outgoing tide around and over isolated grass patches using erratic retrieves. If you're not into artificials, the trout are hitting mud minnows and live shrimp under popping corks as usual. Slow trolling of soft plastics can help you locate trout before you stop and fan-cast an area for hungry specks. The Redfish bite is still hot and customers report they are schooling up big time! Flounder and black drum reports are strong. Don't pass up checking around any drainages with moving water big or small. Ask any flounder gigger how many flounder they have gigged in an inch of water! The black drum are biting cut bait or live shrimp on the bottom near structure and in deeper holes associated with structure like bridge pilings. The sheepshead bite is good using a fiddler crab fished near anything with barnacles, or near an oyster bed. For more store information visit the Internet at Buck, Bass and Beyond.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Bluffton / Hilton Head DU Banquet

Happy DU volunteers sell golf cart raffle tickets
Chair Larry Muething, Josh Boyles,
Michael Perry and Craig Edwards
The 35th annual Bluffton / Hilton Head Ducks Unlimited banquet had a new location in 2013, at the Pepper Hill Plantation equestrian facility. The supper and auction was held under the gigantic pole barn and the threat of cold weather never materialized, which translated into a comfortable evening outdoors. Everyone passing through the check-in saw the golf cart raffle up close, and then they proceeded to walk down the silent auction table. Each year this event brings quality items to bidders like the iron garden bench, distinct walking staff, black and white duck print, ladies jewelry and other DU logo gear. The banners of the chapter sponsors hung behind the auction table, demonstrating the level of preparation that chapter chairman Larry Muething and his committee had put in for this night 'for the ducks.' A capacity crowd had one such member talking about how this looked a lot more like the crowds ten years ago, and that local businesses must be prosperous once again. There were plenty of fan favorite games to play such as Hi-Lo and Wingspan before supper. A catered dinner from Palm Key served to sate the appetite of these outdoors loving patrons - some of whom were able to rise before dawn and take advantage of the opening day of waterfowl season! A special sponsor raffle preceeded the live auction, and this chapter holds other events for their sponsors such as the annual sporting clays event at Turkey Hill. Congrats to sponsor Brian Rose for winning the sponsor gun, which was one of thirteen guns on the fundraising menu. Auction items included a beautiful Audubon print of canvasback ducks, a 15-foot Ocean Kayak, a guided turkey hunt, inshore flats fishing, a SEWE patron package, a special local quail hunt at R and M Plantation, and even a black lab puppy! A three-tier raffle at the end of the night made sure that plenty of people went home with something that they can use in the outdoors. The list of committee members is long and distinguished and they all deserve a salute for their drive to help preserve wetlands for waterfowl.
Anna Malphrus and Alexis Bienette support the ducks!

Chance Rose, Becca Ross and the DUDE Brad McDonald
To view past blog entries from the HHI DU banquet click 2012, 2011

Friday, November 22, 2013

2013 Redfish Lodge CCA Summit - Day Two

Capt. Dave Lear displays a Copano Bay redfish
Cool mixed bag caught while fishing for trout and redfish
Having a lodge filled with those who are focuses on the conservation of marine fisheries in order to produce more opportunities for recreational anglers is one thing. Having a lodge full of these folks that want to apply their fishing skills in the waters of Copano Bay is quite another, and so a gentleman's fishing tourney was established. Ted Venker is editor of TIDE magazine and he won the redfish category when her released a 33-inch redfish, which qualifies him for the Wall Of Fame. Bob Hayes is the CCA chief legal counsel and he released a 22-inch spotted sea trout to win speck honors. Other species in the bag include my 'Rare in Rockport' pompano, sheepshead, flounder, catfish and stingray. A sustainable seafood supper of black drum was served in the dining hall that night, as I gave the invocation asking for our Heavenly Father to guide our hearts and minds as we go back into our home states and promote conservation through both word and deed. I had the particular honor of fishing both days with writer Dave Lear from Florida, and while our banter was on an even pace, he somehow out-fished me with his 25-inch redfish on Day One and 18-inch trout on Day Two with Capt. Johan. His two large sheepshead were also impressive, but I somehow reeled in a bit of redemption with my 3-pound pompano. Altogether, I can vouch that the fishing out of The Redfish Lodge was very good.

Harte Lab featured speakers Dr. Larry McKinney,
Jennifer Pollack and Dr. Greg Stunz
To view past blog entires from the CCA Summit click 2013, 2012, 2011

Black drum smothered in crab meat - Texas style!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2013 Redfish Lodge CCA Summit - Day One

My Texas Pompano with Capt. Jim Friebele
Dinner with the CCA brain trust
The conservation programs that were discussed concern the environment, and the benefits to estuarine habitat and recreational anglers. The Coastal Conservation Association in association with Shell Oil convened their 2013Summit to better communicate their goals and programs. The recent formation of the Conservation Benefit Trust (CBT) and subsequent appointment of Matt Shilling to run the program, increases the presence of CCA in Washington. CBT will work to restore degraded habitats, create new habitats and foster habitat stewardship by example. CCA also forged a relationship with Texas A and M University when it donated $500K to their Harte Marine Lab based in Corpus Cristie, Texas. The 2013 summit brought together Harte Lab staff, CBT steering committee members and members of the media. CCA President Pat Murray and TIDE editor Ted Venker were on hand to take questions and to outline the year ahead. Updates on the Rigs to Reefs program, also known as Idle Iron, oyster recovery efforts in the Gulf and the cause and effects of Hypoxia were in depth and informative.

To view my past feature article contributions to TIDE magazine click here.

To view past blog entries from the CCA Media Sumit at Redfish Lodge click here.

Dave Lear with a nice sheepshead

How about a 17.5-inch speck in the mixed bag

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Donnelley WMA draw hunt yields grown 8-point buck

Seth Mixson of Ridgeland with his Donnelley WMA buck

Entering into the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources lottery drawing for deer hunts sets into motion a lot of questions. From will I even get drawn to hunt, to what kind of success might I even have? When it all works out perfectly, the answers are all a resounding YES. Seth Mixson of Ridgeland harvested his best buck ever when he tagged a fine 8-point buck from the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in Colleton County.
            Mixson had already been on the Donnelley WMA draw hunt for deer once before, but he was eager to return for another try in 2013. The three-day hunt period ran from November 11 – 13 and begins with hunters attending a safety meeting at lunch on Day One. “There was a DNR staff member who educated all of the draw hunters about safety and especially what we could and could not harvest on Donnelley,” said Mixson.
            A quality deer management system has been put in place on some of the SCDNR WMA’s in hopes of increasing the harvest of bigger bucks like Mixson’s mature 8-point white tail. Draw hunters may harvest a total of three deer during their hunt, which can be either three does, or two does and one buck. The management restrictions on the buck state that he must have four points on either side of his rack, OR possess a minimum of a 12-inch spread.
            When Mixson put his climbing tree stand overlook a wet weather pond, he hoped to see a buck that would meet these standards, and instead he saw one that far surpassed them. “While scouting for a hunting location I saw one of the widest and most-trampled game trails I have ever seen,” said Mixson. “It led into a wet weather pond that was too thick to hunt, so I climbed into a tree that was in between upland pines and that bottom area.”
            “My hunt began around 3:15 in the afternoon, and the wind was blowing perfectly, into my face,” said Mixson. “It wasn’t long until I saw two deer approach and it ended up being my buck chasing a doe. They went into the thicket and I lost sight of them until I picked up some movement behind me.” Turning around to shoot in a Summit tree stand is not always easy, but Mixson managed to squeeze off an 80-yard shot with his Browning .280-rifle at 4 p.m.
Big Buck on the ground!
            “I could see he was hit good since he ran right past me, falling in the woods about 50-yards further,” said Mixson. “In this moment he came about 5-yards away from my position and I could see the big rack very clearly and I began to shake for the first time.” Mixson was hunting on his own, so he climbed down from the tree with great care and went to check on the buck, electing to drag him out
during daylight rather than continue to hunt until dark.
            The 8-point buck weighed 185-pounds at the SCDNR check station and sports an impressive 20-inch spread. Mixson relays that the rack received a green score of 144 points, which would be good enough for the S.C. record book for typical bucks. This Colleton County dream draw hunt ends at Freddy’s Lowcountry taxidermy, where Mixson will be glad to pay for the preservation of his trophy buck that came from a lottery hunt on public land.

To view my article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on big bucks click here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TIDE magazine - Redheads to Redfish article

Story and photos by Jeff Dennis

Coastal Texas adds swarms of migratory ducks to its shallow salt environs by November. The private mile-long peninsula of The Redfish Lodge provides both hunting and fishing grounds, resting perfectly on the point overlooking Copano Bay. Visitors can enjoy gunning for bull redheads and drake pintails, as a diversion from catching bull redfish, in a classic case of Cast and Blast!
Cover for Nov/Dec 2013 issue
            November temperatures may still be quite warm, but even if the weather begins to cool down, the fishing remains red hot. Saltwater fishing is the primary focus of The Redfish Lodge, providing 20 years of guided fishing trips for their clientele. Chief guide Brain Holden puts the ratio of his winter trips as 90-percent fishing and 10-percent duck hunting, but the discerning sportsman will want to try both.
Lady angler catches strapping redfish
            Of course it was saltwater fishing that first brought me to Corpus Christi. Joining a leadership group from CCA, we took a 45-minute shuttle bus ride to Rockport. The Redfish Lodge operates this shuttle and as a repeat visitor I can relate that their driver is dependable. The van ride passes by the U.S.S. Lexington, before the scenery switches to vast fields fitted with wind energy turbines, before giving way to the Texas scrub and cattle habitat that hugs the coast.
            A visit to The Redfish Lodge includes friendly and hands on service. The shuttle driver will have your room assignment, and will relay what time to report to the main lodge for meals that are prepared by their chef. To say that each room offers a waterfront view does not fully convey the panoramic beauty from this peninsula. Passing thunderstorms become opportunities to view the power and beauty of nature using a 360-degree view.
            During my May 2011 fishing trip, I noticed that inside the main lodge some duck taxidermy was scattered among the fish taxidermy. When I inquired about the availability of waterfowl to hunt during winter, I was happy to learn that this part of Texas is right at the bottom of the migratory flyway. The fact that the duck mounts were redheads and pintails set off my duck radar in a BIG way!
            Find a copy of the Nov / Dec 2013 issue of TIDE to finish reading about The Redfish Lodge.

To view past articles I wrote for CCA and TIDE magazine click on 201320122011,20102009

Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 New Orleans - Photo Journal

This Jazz Band is just one example of LOTS of music 
to be heard. This was at the Royal Orleans Hotel.
These are just a few of the photos that I decided were worth a second look after spending a fall weekend in New Orleans. Click for more information about dining in the Big Easy, or about their Aquarium.

Crazy FUN 'seafood' Mardi Gras mural I found!!

Geaux Saints!! and Happy Fall Yall - both are Orleans-speak!

Night life at the Carousel bar at Hotel Monteleone

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 New Orleans - From Rabbit to Redfish - Dining for seafood and game

Start the day off right with Beignets
The Court of Two Sisters brunch offers many choices 
How can the outdoors enthusiast navigate the myriad culinary institutions of New Orleans in only a few days? Perhaps some direction for breakfast, brunch and dinner with a focus on fish and game is the way to go. The Cafe Du Monde on Jackson Square is by the Mississippi River and they have a breakfast combo that tops any other made in the South. Three fried beignets smothered in white confectionary sugar and a cup of their Cafe Ole coffee made with chicory, is always the perfect way to start the day when in the Crescent City.

If doughnuts are not a real option for your diet then consider a brunch in the French Quarter, at the historic Court of Two Sisters which actually stretches from Rue Bourbon to Royal Street, serving up an inner sanctum type feel for their diners. The hungrier the better for this power buffet that is served out of pirogue-boats for style, and also includes a custom omelette station and even the local delicacy of turtle soup. With a jazz band playing tunes both for inside dining or for courtyard dining, the full bar allows guests to unwind and enjoy the setting as much as the food. Heading straight for the seafood omelette I found it to be stuffed with crab, crawfish, shrimp and was prepared at the omelette station featuring two chefs. I added a side of grits from the food bar and smothered them with two gravy offerings, the first was andouille sausage and the second was braised veal - and they proved to be a perfect complement for the buttermilk biscuit that I used to soak up all of the overflow juices.

For dinner options, two more French Quarter stops will satisfy those looking for rabbit or redfish options. The Redfish Grill is only a few years old but they have carved a serious word of mouth reputation with their Hickory Grilled Redfish. In Louisiana the redfish is truly an example of a sustainable seafood, and their entree comes with a crabmeat topping served over a bed of diced potatoes, mushrooms and sweet peas. I found the redfish not to be salty or greasy, and the sides were obviously prepared with some love since they were light and delicate. Perhaps enjoy the Dark Horse label house wine with dinner, while people watching the foot traffic on Bourbon Street. On the other paradigm, Mr. B's bistro has stood the test of time just on Royal Street as a place where patrons can step off the street and enjoy an intimate dining experience. Their roasted rabbit plate serves up both the tenderloins and the flank meat over a bed of whipped potatoes and brown gravy - making this a very rich and filling dish. Assorted sweet treats await those who still have room to eat after taking a culinary tour of New Orleans, and a walking tour of the city is always a great way to work up an appetite for your next meal.
Red Fish Grill's hickory redfish

To view past blog entries about visiting New Orleans click 2013 Aquarium - 2013 Photo Journal2017 Insectarium - 2017 Rue Royal Dining - 2017 Photo Journal

Braised rabbit at Mr. B's Bistro

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 New Orleans - Audubon Aquarium Visit

Tropical fish in front of colorful coral
Penguin exhibit provides plenty of up close encounters
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas at One Canal Street in downtown New Orleans offers visitors a glimpse at the local marine initiatives as well as other exhibits from around the world. One of the best features of aquariums can be the aviary and this location was no different, with Parakeet Point a wonderful place for interaction with these active and colorful birds. Fish from the tropics, from the swamplands, and even from the Gulf of Mexico were on display in an educational setting that is geared towards family fun. Thanks to the Audubon Aquarium for hosting Lowcountry Outdoors!
A great way to navigate through New Orleans without having a rental car is to utilize the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour that stops at more than a dozen waypoints. The next bus comes by every thirty-minutes and this service runs from 9 to 5 for seven days a week.

Lionfish pictured with its namesake

Lots of information for visitors can be found at the New Orleans CVB.
Longsnout Seahorse and red coral

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wounded Warrior Deer Hunt continues in ACE Basin

          The ninth annual Wounded Warrior deer hunt put on by the Lowcountry Chapter of Safari Club International took place on November 4 and 5. The hunt group was a little bit smaller this year, and thus the total harvest was down slightly too, but the camaraderie among these veterans is special to see. They warriors were joined by some disabled hunters and a few special needs youth hunters, who fanned out across the plantation belt of the ACE Basin to hunt white-tailed deer.
Guide Manning Asnip, Gary Grant and Steven Diaz
            The hunt begins with a gathering at Nemours Plantation along the Combahee River on Monday for a spiritual message and a catered meal. With most of the Warriors coming from nearby Parris Island, the marines also send a color guard and a brass quintet. When the flag was presented at lunch, the band played the National Anthem, setting the tone for two days of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.
             Wounded Warrior Steven Diaz came from Columbia for the hunt, and he ended up harvesting his first ever buck on Tuesday morning. Diaz is in the 9th Engineering Support Battalion, and was wounded in Iraq on March 26, 2005 during an IED explosion that caused vision loss in his right eye. “This is my third time ever deer hunting and I’m so excited to harvest an 8-point buck!” said Diaz.
            “During the Monday night hunt, I saw plenty of deer but was waiting on a bigger buck to show up before firing,” said Diaz. “The next morning I went to my deer stand at 5:45 a.m. and it was 40-degrees out. I didn’t see anything until 7:30 when the 8-pointer came out at 75-yards.” The marine’s .243-rifle did the rest of the job from there and guide Manning Asnip declares – The Marines are great marksmen!
            “Overall, this deer hunt felt very therapeutic to me,” said Diaz. “This type of opportunity helps to relieve post traumatic stress syndrome, and it can give warriors a sense of belonging. Just look at me, I have a new hobby now in deer hunting, and we are all looking for a way to transition from our mission as an active duty member, and into the rest of our lives.” Diaz works with a group called Hidden Wounds in Columbia that counsels veterans about how to succeed in life.
            Hunting on the same property as Diaz was Cary Grant from Six Mile who came to the hunt with the S.C. Disabled Sportsmen organization. “I lost my left leg back in 1984 in a motorcycle accident, but I still like to go deer hunting,” said Grant. “I passed up ten small deer on Sunday night, but Monday morning was a different story. A big 9-point buck came out to a green food plot and I’m thankful that my .300 WSM bullet was accurate.”
Grant may have tagged the biggest buck of the hunt, and the property that allowed he and Diaz to visit request that they remain anonymous. Many of the plantations that participate in this hunt are glad to embrace our veterans and are not looking for any recognition at all. Ernie Wiggers from Nemours Plantation always remarks that this hunt is for the warriors but that it is not possible without the private landowners of the ACE Basin.

To view my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the Warrior Hunt click 2013 2012, 2011, 2010 or 2009.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 11/12/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Henry Martin with a bull redfish from the Charleston Jetties
Charleston Inshore: Shane Clevenger from the West Ashley location of The Charleston Angler got in a full weekend of fishing and recounts that this is becoming his favorite time of the year for inshore fishing. This sentiment echoes what almost all of the charter captains are also crowing loudly about - how strong the bite has been lately! Cooler weather makes sight-fishing for bigger schools unbelievable and it's only going to get better. Clevenger was in 5-feet of water and was able to cast towards the 'fat boys' in the school in such a way that he was able to round up the 'pigs' rather than everything else that is mixed into a redfish school of 50 fish ... or more. Throw a Z-man Paddlerz on a 1/8-ounce flutter hook and toss it right outside of the school to avoid spooking them. Want some trout?! There is NO DOUBT that now is the time. Put out a mud minnow under a popping cork rigged on a circle hook for great results. Clevenger's Pro Tip is not to 'set the hook' when the cork goes under, rather reel the line tight and let the circle hook do the work for you. If you want numbers of fish then head t Castle Pinckney and set up shop until the birds start diving like crazy. The bluefish are rummaging around and anglers are having LOTS of action with these small fish that are perfect for kid-fishing. Back in the day, we used to hang at the Castle and one fall we caught lots of immature Jack Crevalle - so get out there and see what's in town! For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Charleston Angler.

Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West has returned from 'hunt-cation' with a 10-point buck bowkill in tow - congrats!! But what about the fishing Scott?! Cool fall temps continue to spark a great trout bite right now and you don't have to worry as much anymore about live bait for trout. Lots of artificials are working including Trout Tricks, DOA shrimp, Zman Paddlerz and Diezel minnowz. Target shell banks and creek mouths in 3 to 7-feet of water, or simply slow troll some grubs along the banks at high water to easily locate the fish. Going after redfish in the shallows the new Savage shrimp is worth a try, but don't overlook a Zman or Gulp jerkshad with some chartreuse on it. 'Pup' drum are being found around docks and are easy to fool with live shrimp or mud minnows. Sheepshead reports continue to be good near the jetties and bridges and a live fiddler crab will be a top bait of choice, though smaller-sized shrimp will also work on sheepies. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Beaufort Report: Craig Lupton at Buck Bass N Beyond says that the fishing is very steady from the last report until now. The tour bite remains good on either tide as long as the water is moving. Mud minnows and shrimp under a cork is best, with some trout falling for DOA Lures, Gulp swimming minnows and Trout Tricks. The numbers of trout are good with an 18-inch speck mixed in only every so often. Reports of redfish up in the grass are winding down as fiddler activity decreases heading into winter. Anglers will locate the reds on mud flats though, and consider free-lining a live bait under a cork. The new Vudu shrimp is doing well, especially with some Pro Cure shrimp flavor on it! This latest color combo is purple with a chartreuse tail - which tells the fish to come and Get It!! This same color combo recently helped a husband and wife team to win the finals of the Lowcountry Redfish Cup that was fished in Beaufort. Nearshore fishing at the wrecks and reefs is good for weakfish, black sea bass, bluefish and redfish using bucktail jigs tipped with Gulp swimming mullet. For more store information visit Buck Bass N Beyond.

Offshore Report: Scott revelas that trolling reports continue to indicate good numbers of blackfin tuna hanging in 40 to 200-feet of water as well as some scattered reports of wahoo. A few dolphin have also been reported from the same water depths. Bottom fishing in 75 to 120-feet keeps producing solid numbers of vermillions and triggers, as well as the 'elusice' black sea bass. Grouper reports seem to have been a little scattered recently, but for the guys that have carried some live pinfish out with them, their dinner plates have been garnished with the finest filets that our live bottom offers! YUM!!

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Longleaf Alliance - New Book About Longleaf Pines

Rhett Johnson, Director of The Longleaf Alliance
 at the Tall Timbers Field Day
I can recommend purchasing a copy of the coffee-table book entitled Longleaf, Far As The Eye Can See. The panoramic pictures of healthy longleaf habitat will warm the hearts of an outdoorsman, and the historians will embrace the images of catface trees, logs and stumps that tell the fate the historic range of longleaf. A quote by conservationist Jim Posewtiz states ‘A society is ultimately measured not by what it develops or consumes, but rather by what it has nurtured and preserved.’ The Longleaf Alliance and its members do honor to the legacy of the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Check out this new coffee table book titled Longleaf, As far as the eye can see.

To see a promo video for the book click here.

To view past book reviews click on Tall Timbers - Red Knot - Audubon's Aviary - Lefty Kreh - Guy Harvey - Year of the Pig - Shrimp, Collards and Grits - Passion of the Wild - Kayak Fishing

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 Lowcountry Redfish Cup - Finals Report

Shannon Clark with her BIG redfish and husband Rennie
Team Crews Chevrolet takes home second place
The 2013 Lowcountry Redfish Cup will be memorable for a variety of reasons, but the most prominent reason is that this event was won for the first time by a female angler! How many times have I described the event as a 'two-man' team tournament?? Well the best 'two-angler' team ended up being a Lady angler and her husband, who are from North Carolina. To put this all in perspective, this lady angler has to be willing to spends several weekends of the year on the water fishing for redfish, and all of the Lowcountry Redfish Cup (LRC) events require a road trip. Now that's dedication! But that's not the end of this story - the largest redfish caught during the LRC Finals in Beaufort on November 9 was a superfreak of nature, and this special lady angler landed it and claimed a modest cash prize for Largest Redfish! The redfish measured 22-inches, which is one-inch within the legal limit of 23-inches, but the fish weighed over 5-pounds, tilting the scales to 5.08-pounds!! To put this in perspective, normally a 23-inch redfish does not weigh over 5-pounds, making her redfish the perfect specimen to catch on a tournament day - and to do it in the LRC Finals is just about unheard of. Congrats to Shannon Clark and her husband Captain Rennie Clark of Wilmington, N.C. for winning the 2013 LRC - including an 18-foot Shallow Sports Boat, Wesco Trailer and a Yamaha 90-HP motor (from Butler Marine). This is the first year that the Clark's have fished together as a competitive team, and they were steady all season without having a win, and after qualifying for the Beaufort Finals, they peaked at the right time. Wes Hudson came from Texas to donate the Shallow Sports boat, which is a family-owned company started by his grandfather in 1951. Finishing in second place was Team Crews Chevrolet and in third place was Team Natural Light. Overall, the 2013 went well and the budget is already being prepared for the 2014 tournament trail, so keep on fishing!!
Reminder - Every redfish in the LRC is RELEASED!!

Big check for the big winners - Congrats!!

To view past blog entries about the Lowcountry Redfish Cup click 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Deer senses story and photo in Georgia's Goin' South

Curved hoofs are a unique trophy for some deer hunters!
Coastal Georgia has so much to offer an outdoorsman, very much like the Lowcountry. Whether it be saltwater fishing or big game hunting - the menu of options is equal to a buffet of pursuits. With the peak of the rut almost complete along our coastal areas, I wanted to share this article from the Fall 2013 magazine for the deer hunting enthusiasts who might appreciate them while in preparation to Go South and do some hunting!

Article on White-tailed Deer in Fall 2013

Cover of Fall 2013 issue

To view past blog entries from Georgia's Goin' South click 2012, 2011.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Nature Conservancy's Marine Conservation Efforts

TNC Bd. member Travis Folk, Dr. Mary Conley, 
TNC Sec'y Jessica Loring
S.C. Updates from TNC
On a pleasant fall evening in downtown Charleston, a gathering of conservationists took place at the request of he South Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Several citizens sponsored the drinks and food at the Carolina Yacht Club, so that TNC Marine Conservation Director Mary Conley could speak about charting a map for saltwater conservation. Event host Hugh Lane began with 'no prepared remarks' by sharing that TNC's John Sawhill was in tune with the vision for the ACE Basin, before the concept took hold and before one acre had been protected. Lane also stressed that the work TNC does costs money and that any financial support would be welcome. When Mary Conley spoke, she addressed our culture's fascination with oysters. She stated that they have a unique and iconic status in our estuary since they are multi-taskers. Oysters improve water quality by filtering the water, they provide habitat for many marine species, and of course they are an integral part to our economic system due to their annual heyday at oyster roasts during the months with an 'R' in them. TNC has completed eight oyster restoration projects in S.C. and they want to identify all areas where these projects can occur so that other conservation groups (SCDNR, CCA) can contribute to the greater cause with their own oyster projects, since oyster shell recycling efforts may not be enough. When it comes to offshore waters, Conley shared that only 1-percent of our oceans are under any kind of conservation, with perhaps 20 federal agencies jockeying for the say-so in that realm. Again, TNC hopes to use their experience as a global player, to help them lead this generation down the tideline of conservation, so that future generations can enjoy the same relationship with the saltwater environs that each of us inherited.
TNC State Director Mark Robertson with
 event hosts Pierre Manigault and Ben Moise

To view past blog entries about the Nature Conservancy in S.C. click here.

Peter Brown and John Payne frame this photo of conservationists