Sunday, August 31, 2014

Field Notes and Photos - August 2014

Mounds of Mushrooms coming up from the ground
MOO cow - I think I'll stay on this side of the fence!
I came across a Luna moth recently that was clearly at the end of its life span, and it made me recall the time I was able to photograph a healthy specimen. This recent moth was pale in color, rather than the bold green coloration of a luna moth in good health. Also, the paper-thin wings of this moth were not whole but rather they were tattered. This moth was on the ground, another sure sign that it was not well since they like to be in habitat that is upright like trees. But nature surprised me when I went to gather the moth to photograph, it simply flapped its wings and was lifted by a light breeze into the top of a nearly live oak and totally removed from my grasp. My guess is that one of the birds in the area was likely to have a luna moth supper very soon, but that is a part of nature that does not surprise me. So here are some of my recent field notes photos.

To view past Field Notes entries click here.

Black and Clear dragonfly - or 'Mosquito Hawk'

Dove and barcode intermingle in urban jungle

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Quail Habitat Workshop / Whispering Pines Plantation

Land managers view the open ground at Whispering Pines
that is managed for quail using prescribed fire

A classroom full of quail enthusiasts 
The restoration of bobwhite quail habitat remains a goal for many who love the outdoors. Hunting for quail, sometimes affectionately known as Gentleman Bob, is a southern pastime that still holds an allure for the wingshooters of today. But a huge decline in the overall population numbers for quail has severely limited or halted altogether the pursuit of quail by many sportsmen. A meeting for wildlife managers in Orangeburg on August 14 continued the recent conversation about quail conservation.
While the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is in charge of the game species in the Palmetto State, quail habitat recovery must take place on a landscape scale involving many thousands of acres of land. This is why Milliken Forestry Company helped to organize a meeting at the offices of C.F. Evans Construction for land managers to attend. Travis Sumner with Milliken works with wildlife solutions on the properties that they manage, and he started the meeting with introduction of the day’s speakers.
Pointer flushing a few bobwhite quail
The decline in quail numbers does not just affect S.C., but rather it affects the entire Southeast and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, or NBCI, was set up around 2009 to address long range quail recovery plans. Nat Ruth is the plantation manager from Mount Pleasant Plantation in Georgetown County, where a revival of quail habitat and quail hunting practices is currently underway. Ruth is dedicated to quail recovery and is glad to share his formula for success, although any blueprint for success must often be customized for a specific property.
Ten years of predator management is in the books at Mt. Pleasant and Nat Ruth relays that this job is never really done. “Land managers need to complete a predator index for their property to begin with, to document what animals are present,” said Ruth. “Most properties utilize the early release of pen-raised quail to supplement any wild birds present, and something like 40-percent of released birds are predated before hunting season begins.”
I was glad to attend and learn more about quail management
The trapping of predators is a time consuming practice that requires know how and cash flow, making it tough for small private landowners to undertake. Still, it is important that everyone understand that trapping is now thought of as part of the equation to bring back bobwhite quail. The public’s appetite to accept trapping is trending upward with the arrival of coyotes and the discovery that they are having a tremendous affect of deer and turkey.
Wild hogs are a bigger problem for those managing land along river systems, and nest raiders like raccoons, opossums and armadillos are seemingly everywhere. Different traps are required for different predators, plus the knowledge of how to place them out and what type of bait to use. Serious land managers understand that they must get in the habit of trapping, and that being more sneaky than those critters is a tough assignment.

The landowner meeting concluded with a field trip to the Whispering Pines Plantation near Cameron where landowner Johnny Evans explained what works for him regarding quail management. Having served on the SCDNR Board, Evans is a wildlife enthusiast who shares that he thinned his timber some to provide more habitat for quail. His journey began with an article in Progressive Farmer magazine abut do it yourself quail habitat, and he relays that he has been very pleased with the overall experience of working to return bobwhite quail to the landscape.

To view this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about quail click NBCI  - QU - Quail Season Finale.

To view past blog entries from the Tall Timbers Field Day click  2017 2013 2011 - 2010

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Opening Day 8-Point in Full Velvet for Lady Hunter

Leslie Lawson with her opening day buck from Bamberg County
The Briar Creek Hunt Club in Bamberg County had a very special guest on the opening day of the 2014 deer season when Leslie Lawson accompanied her father to hunt. They sat in separate deer stands, but Mark Lawson never gave up on his daughter's chance to harvest her first ever buck in velvet, urging her on via text message until after 8 p.m. It wasn't until 8:15 when the trophy buck with a wide rack stepped out, giving her the chance to harvest this buck that is now going on her wall.

This young lady began deer hunting only three years, and it was two years ago when she registered her first doe harvest. Then last year in 2013 she moved up to harvesting a buck, a tall-tined 6-pointer that really pleased her and her father. Still she wanted more and began to borrow her father's rifle more and more to go hunting. Eventually she settled into her own rifle, a Savage Axis .308 and that way she could go to the woods as much as she wanted. Though the 2013 season ended, her obsession remained and she dare not miss the 2014 opening day hunt.

Lawson and her 6-point in 2013
Leslie had brought her boyfriend along for comapny and they sat in a stand overlooking young planted pines and  a corn pile. She says that three does came out to eat a little after 7 p.m. and that they watched them for about an hour. When the buck stepped out about 8:15 the does ran off, and the buck turned to look at the deerstand. When she saw the wide rack on this nice 8-point buck she knew it was a shooter and she quickly raised her rifle, looked through the nikon scope and drilled him from 100-yards away.

It was dark when they decided to get down from the deer stand and look for the buck that they knew had been hit. They went to the truck and got a flashlight and soon after arriving at the corn pile they found sign of a lung shot and a good blood trail. The buck weighed 175-pounds and carried a 19-inch spread, which is very respectable for a buck from the Lowcountry. Her gaol for 2014 was to kill a buck in velvet and to harvest a buck bigger than her previous best - and she accomplished both goals with one shot on opening day!! What's next for Leslie - she now says she wants to start bow hunting!! Congrats.
This rack has a 19-inch spread

For past blog entries about Opening Days Deer Success Stories click on 2014 or 2013 or2012 or 2011 or 2010 or 2009. 

FLW Tour's Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray, S.C.

Scott Martin of Clewiston, Florida finished in 9th place overall

The FLW Tour is a series of bass fishing tournaments put on by Wal-Mart under the moniker of Fishing League Worldwide. The top bass anglers came from all around the Southeast to take on Lake Murray in the August heat to decide the winner of the season ending Forrest Wood Cup. Two S.C. anglers finished in the Top Five with Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity taking home the trophy and prize money on Sunday’s weigh-in at Colonial Life Arena in downtown Columbia.
Fervent fans were evident at the Forrest Wood Cup weigh in
Gagliardi never led during the four-day Forrest Wood Cup which began fishing on Thursday August 14, but he did advance each day in a tournament formula that requires results. Only 45 bass anglers qualify from the FLW tour to participate in the Forrest Wood Cup, which changes states every year. All the anglers fish on the first two days of the tournament, but then the field is cut down to only the Top Twenty, though all the anglers receive monetary compensation.
Andy Morgan was in town to fish Lake Murray
The entire week had bass fishing fans in frenzy with practice fishing days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday complete with events for family and media too. The FLW Tour brought a large entourage of tour sponsors with them to South Carolina and they set up a bass fishing expo in the coliseum parking lot for the entire weekend. Displays ranged from fishing equipment companies to Chevrolet trucks, and plenty of fishing celebrities were on hand like Jimmy Houston and Hank Parker.
Other sideline events included the State Fish Art competition sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources where kids of all ages could submit depictions of their favorite freshwater fish. Another fan favorite was the cook off on Saturday put on by the South Carolina Barbecue Association. All of the educational booths provided plenty of reasons for the public to turn out and enjoy the Forrest Wood Cup festivities before going indoors for the daily 5 p.m. weigh in.
The Day One weigh in on Thursday, although met with lots of fervor from the fans, proved to be a little light in the fish weight department. The FLW tour allows for five largemouth bass to be weighed in per angler, but plenty of these bass fishing pros did not bring a limit with them to the scales. Some of the anglers only had one or two fish to weigh in and a couple even struck out altogether.
Cody Meyer was a fan favorite at the Colonial Life Coliseum
Bass anglers wait at the aeration station
But with a slow weigh-in came the feeling that no one was out of the game yet, and that a strong second day could really change things. Some anglers had come from as far away as California, and they were not going to go home quietly. Plenty of anglers had sections of family in the crowd at the daily coliseum weigh-ins cheering them on, holding up handmade signs and doing all the things that demonstrate their complete support since winning the Cup brings name recognition, a champions banner and trophy.

At the end it was Gagliardi who was the most consistent angler, weighing in five-fish on three of the four days, giving him a grand total of 51-pounds and 2-ounces of bass, which was enough to grab the $500,000 winner’s check. The town of Prosperity, S.C. has a new reason to celebrate after the Forrest Wood Cup, and the FLW Tour can be proud of their champ and of the competition they provided at Lake Murray. 

To read this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about fresh water click fishing tips or North Santee River or King Kat.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 8/19/2014

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
The next 30 days might be the best for S.C. tarpon fishing
Inshore Report: Shane Clevenger at The Charleston Angler in West Ashley asks Captain Kevin Blair - What's your Go To setup in August? Blair begins by sharing that a large variety of fish are available right now including big redfish and sharks in deeper waters with flounder and trout more inshore. An inglux of bait like shrimp, menhaden and finger mullet have all predators looking for the opportunity to feed. Blair keeps about six rods rigged and ready and they average at least 7-feet in length.

Of course a couple of heavy-action rods are warranted and Blair keeps them rigged up with 60-pound braid, connected to a 25-inch leader of 50-pound flourocarbon and 6-ought circle hooks. This rig is good for live lining big mullet or menhaden around the jetties for reds and sharks. Attaching an egg sinker is easy to do if the current requires more weight to reach the bottom.

Blair has two rods rigged with 20-pound braid, 3/4-ounce egg sinkers and a 20-inch flourocarbon leader. He uses the 2-ought circle hooks to target flounder and small reds along the jetties or the marsh. Lastly he keeps two rods rigged with 15-pound braid and a 12-pound flouro leader with a 2-ought circle hook. These lighter rigs are good for using shrimp or finger mullet and a popping cork can be added to the line easily.

Blair says to remember to keep a cast net handy this time of year to gather any bait you may encounter. He also shares that it's not a bad idea to buy at least some bait before leaving the boat ramp simply to ensure you aren't ever fishing 'on credit.' For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Charleston Angler.

Editor's Note: Tarpon are being found in abundance along the S.C. coast and the next 30 days are potentially the best for tarpon fishing in the Lowcountry for the remainder of 2014.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Driven Hunt 9-Point in Velvet / 2014 Opening Days Success Story

Harrington Bissell with his velvet 9-pointer,
with horseback drivers ready to assist.
Photo By Chris Silcox.
With the traditional August 15 staring date of deer season falling on a Friday, many hunting clubs celebrated their opening day on Saturday August 16. Though the heat of August is constant, many outdoorsmen will not let it slow down their sporting pursuits. One such story came from the Middleton Hunt Club in Charleston County where a stander used some scouting knowledge to pick a spot in the woods to try his luck during a driven hunt. Keep in mind that doe deer season is not yet open, so viewing any deer on the run calls for discretion, with veteran hunters better able to quickly distinguish the sex of a deer and make a decision about offering a shot.

Harrington Bissell slipped into a section of designated woods that the horseback drivers would soon stir up with their vocalizations and with a pack of hounds. When he found a shed antler from a 6-point buck near his assigned location he felt is was THE spot and set up his stool. The drive began quietly enough, and then a lone hound began to bay, and it sounded like it was coming closer. Scanning the woodlands for movement, he saw a deer bounding in his direction. A lot of small sweetgum saplings made the viewing difficult but when the white-tailed deer closed to within 15-yards of his position he clearly saw antlers in full velvet and squeezed off a shot from his shotgun and cleanly harvested the 9-point buck.

He blew on his hunter's horn to draw the attention of the horseback drivers who came to retrieve the downed buck. A tale of the tape showed the rack had a 13-inch spread with 9-points. This was the hunt club's first harvest in 2014 and it was Bissell's FIRST EVER buck in velvet, and weighed 133-pounds. The venison was shared among the club members and now one more person understands how the early deer season in South Carolina can reap special memories for those willing to get outdoors and hunt in August.

For past blog entries about Opening Days Deer Success Stories click on 2013 or 2012 or 2011 or 2010 or 2009.

To view past blog entries about velvet antlers click on NJ hunter or Bull's Island or youth hunter.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Passion Of The Wild - Inspirational Outdoors Stories

The First Book from Mike Giles of Mississippi

One of the duties of a responsible media member is to seek membership in an organization that strives to show that expertise and ethics are indeed integral parts of the job. It was through the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association that I met Mike Giles of Mississippi, and recognized him as a like-minded outdoor writer. Giles compiles some of his memorable outdoors stories in the form of a book titled Passion Of The Wild.
Giles relates tales that any outdoorsman who has spent a lifetime in the outdoors might recognize as rites of passage. His passage became a passion that he wants to share with others, and so he dips into his own family stories, and into his religious faith to relay memorable endeavors. Wild turkey hunting seems to be a favorite subject with Giles, followed by white-tailed deer hunting and duck hunting tales, all set in Mississippi.
Of course no one becomes a sharp shooting wingshot or an expert deer tracker without first experiencing failure. Dove season is a universal experience in the South and Giles shares that he was a poor wingshot for doves until his Uncle mentored him about swinging the gun on a passing bird. Many people know the frustration of emptying your gun at a dove without cutting a feather, while the next stander down knocks them down two at a time.
Rather than sticking with his devotion to big game like deer and turkeys, Giles made it a point to work with his Uncle to improve his aim and his dove shooting game while at a shooting range. Soon this story turns into an account from the next dove hunt and Giles crumples bird after bird with his new found confidence. At this point in the story Giles inserts an inspirational saying, and includes bible verses in other chapters.
In the dove shooting chapter it reads Imagine The Possibilities. “Don’t tell people how to do things, don’t tell them what to do and don’t tell them what you’re going to do for them. Show them what to do, how to do it and lead by example by doing it right.” Amen. I love this saying and the fact that it came from someone with an outdoors mindset, because it can be equally applied to all walks of life.

In the book’s final chapter Giles quotes Genesis 1:26 and how man should have rule over the fish in the sea, birds in the sky and the creatures on the ground. He shares how conservation includes the responsible harvest of our natural resources, and that stewardship is a part of God’s plan. Giles is using his writing to speak out about his passion for big bass, long beards and wide racks and I’m glad to call him my friend.

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past book reviews click on Moonbird or Kayak Fishing or Audubon's Aviary.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Early Migratory Seasons Set by SCDNR

Look for flocks of geese in freshly cutover corn fields

Goose getters will also return to the field in September for the early season on Canada geese which runs from September 1 – 30.  Shooting hours are 30-minutes before sunrise until sunset and the daily bag limit is 15 geese. Goose hunters will need a valid hunting license in addition to migratory bird permit, state waterfowl permit and a federal duck stamp. Specialized load and shot-size are also required, so be sure to read all SCDNR regulations carefully.

The second piece of good news from the feds involves the bag limit for early teal season, with an increase from four teal per day to six teal per day for waterfowl hunters. These blue-winged teal are the first ducks to migrate south and generally will be in the coastal impoundments of the Lowcountry and other duck ponds during the month of September. Teal are small birds and the increased opportunity to target just a couple more of them can serve to keep wingshooting skills sharp.

Early teal season runs Sept. 12 - 27 and hunters will need all of the same license and shot requirements, plus they have a different legal shooting time which runs from sunrise until sunset. Category II waterfowl areas on SCDNR lands are open for public hunting during early teal and goose seasons. All possession limits for the migratory bird season will now be three times the daily bag limit.
Another early hunting season announced by SCDNR is the two-part marsh hen season which begins September 8 – 12. The daily bag limit for king and clapper rails is 15 per day and shooting hours are 30-minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily limit for sora and Virginia rails is 25 birds per hunter. The second season for marsh hens runs from October 6 through December 9, and hunter success usually coincides with the time of flood tides in the spartina marsh.

Did you miss the NEW expanded dove season dates for 2014 - if so, click here.

To view past blog entries about September goose hunting click Opening Day 2013 or 2011.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 Dove Season Expands / SCDNR amends Regs too

It will soon be time again for dove decoys and limits of doves

Wingshooters in the state of South Carolina have a double-barreled excuse to welcome the 2014 hunting season. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages regulations for migratory birds that travel across multiple states, and they have added twenty more days to dove hunting season! The increase was approved by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and will provide more days in the field for those who love the camaraderie of dove hunting.

Dove season is increased from 70 days in 2013 to 90 days during the 2014 – 2015 season. The traditional opening day remains set for September 1 and the early season runs until October 11. Remember that during the first days of the hunting season, until Sept. 6, the legal shooting hours for doves is only from noon until sunset. The next dove season dates are set for November 15 – 29 and December 13 through January 15. Legal hunting hours are 30-minutes before sunrise until sunset, and the daily bag limit remains 15 doves per day.

SCDNR also has made a variation in legal hunting practices over fields that have been top sown with wheat. Using Clemson Extension Service Guidelines, it is now possible to practice top sowing of wheat from Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 when spreading seed evenly on a well-prepared seed bed established by heavy tilling. Special spreading rates apply, and piling of seed can still result in a baited field, so be sure to check with your local Extension office about how to stay legal.

To read this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about dove hunting click on Opening Day for 2013, or 2012, or 2011, or 2010, or 2009.
For recipes click on Bacon-Wrapped Doves.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Folbot Float Trip - It's In The Bag

David Grubbs and Eric Thome
In searching out a small watercraft to enjoy on rivers and lakes, a modern kayak with a serious history is worthy of the spotlight. The Folbot kayak (pronounced Full Boat) is a foldable kayak that fits in a backpack style bag for transport when not in use. A visit to the Folbot warehouse in Charleston, their home since 1953,  gave a unique look into their current operations before we splashed a Folbot at a nearby kayak access ramp on the Ashley River.
Vintage Folbot float book
Grubbs digs in while paddling in the Ashley River

Jack Kissner founded Folbot boast just over 80 years ago in England. Kissner moved the Folbot operation to New York City in 1935 to tap the American market, eventually settling into Charleston, S.C. in 1953. The company changed owners a few times since the 1980’s with Eric Thome and Scott Peckham purchasing Folbot in 2012. Presently, Folbot is offering nine different models of foldable kayak in nine different colors.

Versatility is what sets Folbot apart, since the boat actually fits in the trunk of your car. No SUV, no pick-up, no roof racks – No Problem here. Summer intern David Grubbs, a local High School student, helped Thome and I load up three Folbots in the back of a Mercedes wagon. After a short drive to a public kayak landing in Charleston County I witnessed the assembly of the 13-foot Sporting Life model.
“The average set up time for the Folbot is right around 20-minutes,” said Thome. The backpack was brought down to the floating dock where all the parts were emptied onto the flat surface next to the kayak ramp. “In the backpack, the Sporting Like model weighs about 39-pounds. This water repellant skin on this model features Realtree Max-4 camouflage, which is our latest offering for those who like to fish or to hunt out of their kayak.”

It’s ironic that the vintage Folbot book includes a passage on page 167 about ‘Swift Folbot Waters in Carolina’ and mentions the saltwater marshes of the Ashley River. So with one eye on the past, and the other on new experiences I paddled the Folbot upriver and found it to be comfortable, easy to maneuver and fishable. In order to learn how to Unfold New Adventure on the water visit the Internet at Folbot.

How 'bout some Behind The Scenes action
To view the entire feature article click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries about kayak fishing click How To or Forgotten Coast or Beaufort Blueways or Edisto River Flow or Tarpon Lodge.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

NRA Sporting Arms Museum thrives in First Year

Sporting Art is also present in the NRA museum

The history of sporting arms and a huge display of firearms can now be found in Springfield, Missouri at the National Rifle Association National Sporting Arms Museum. The museum opened in August of 2013 in the flagship store for Bass Pro Shops, the hometown of Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris who offered to house the museum in the heartland. With the goal of bringing this history of firearms to a wider audience, nearly 500-thousand toured the museum by its first anniversary.

Making my first ever visit to Missouri in June allowed me the chance to visit with media fiends at the flagship store for Bass Pro Shops. The store is an astonishing 500,000-square feet in size, and still growing with plans to add other museums for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. This store is centrally located in the Midwest and boasts four million visitors annually, making it an ideal location for the NRA museum.
Bass Pro’s Morris visited the NRA’s National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia more that ten years ago and wanted to bring the artistry and history of these sporting arms back to his home in Missouri. From that point the idea of sharing resources began to grow and soon some private gun collectors saw this new 7500-square feet museum as the only place that was the correct fit for their guns to appear.
Admission to the museum is free, and a self-guided tour is available or docents are always on hand to walk you through the timeline of American sporting arms. My guide was a retired gent named Stoney Roberts who shared that the museum was founded in the name of hunting conservation and freedom. More than a few quotes were highlighted at the entrance including Thomas Jefferson’s “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” and N.C.’s Horace Kephart wrote “In the school of the woods there is no graduation day,” which had particular meaning for me.

Near the end of the museum is a special section dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt. A document on display there from Roosevelt is dated Feb. 17, 1907 and reads “I am so heartily interested in the success of the National Rifle Association of America that I take pleasure in sending you herewith my check for $25 for life membership therein.”

Established in 1871 the NRA is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group, and this partnership with Bass Pro Shops expands their role as the leading firearm educator for the general public.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bass Pro Shops founded in Springfield, Missouri

Bass Pro Shops Flagship store entrance in Springfield, Missouri

A chance to visit media friends in June at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri proved to be the catalyst for learning more about the sporting goods store with a focus on the outdoors and conservation. The Springfield Bass Pro Shops store is the original retail location opened in 1981 and proudly remains their flagship store dubbed the Granddaddy of all Outdoor Stores. This location has become a tourist destination for the Midwest and attracts about four million visitors annually to view the boats, wildlife taxidermy, guns and fish tanks.
My visit began at the corporate home base for Bass Pro Shops, which is an entirely different location capable of handling the business concerning all of the Bass Pro chain stores. I found their headquarters to be a friendly place with the same commitment to wildlife taxidermy and a respect for the outdoors that can be found at retail locations. A large black cloud and a downpour of rain initiated me into the wild world of weather that can be found in Missouri but I was made to feel welcome to wait out the storm, including a bite of lunch in the corporate cafeteria.

Speaking with store manager Aaron Schroeter he told me that they have seven over-sized fish aquariums in the store, and several locations where customers can make a photo souvenir, including with a bronze whitetail sculpture that is 20-feet tall. Conservation exhibits include the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and the Archery Hall of Fame. Currently there is one Bass Pro store in South Carolina at Myrtle Beach, but two new stores are planned for 2015 in North Charleston and in Greenville.

I first met Johnny Morris in 2012 when he visited Hilton Head to receive a conservation award from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which includes SCDNR. Morris has the ability to hunt and fish all the time now, but he still takes time to give back by supporting conservation groups like AFWA. More currently Morris has helped raise awareness for the need of saltwater regulatory reform in D.C. by working with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Also, Morris was recently appointed to the Board of Wetlands America Trust, the land conservation arm of Ducks Unlimited.
My visit to the Springfield store helped to reveal that Bass Pro Shops is a leader not only in retail, but also in a commitment to portray our outdoor heritage in a positive light. Saltwater fishing is how I forged such a strong connection to the outdoors, and a similar love of fishing helped Morris to forge the beginnings of Bass Pro Shops. Simple things like bait and tackle will always help anglers and sportsmen connect to nature, which is an important step along the outdoors trail and towards the conservation of our natural resources.

To view this feature story in the newspaper click Colletonian.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 8/5/2014

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Two Kings come to the scales at the
2013 Fishing For Miracles Tourney
Inshore: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West shares that the silver king reigns in August! Yep, tarpon have begun to show up in good numbers recently and have been taking large live mullet, live menhaden, and cut baits fished around the tips of the jetties and around our inlets. Bull reds continue to provide solid action around the grillage and jetties as well, with numbers of Spanish holding just out side the jetties and inlets on the tidelines as well. Early mornings have produced some solid topwater action on trout and reds in the river, and some BIG flounder have hit the scales recently as big as 9lbs that were caught along rock piles on live minnows, live mullet, and jerkshads. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore: Scott says while Red Snapper season was a huge success with some huge ARS being caught, just beacause Red Snapper are closed again does not mean that there is not still some excellent bottom fishing to be had. Solid numbers of grouper in 100ft have been found on live baits as well as butterfly style jigs and vermillions have been numerous in 80-90ft on squid and cigar minnows. The trolling side of things is still producing a handful of mid-sized wahoo along the ledge with the scattered dolphin thrown in the mix. Sailfish have been a little hit and miss, with the better reports coming from 350-450ft.

Recent tournament coverage includes the 20th Charleston Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney and the Edisto Governor's Cup Billfish Tourney.

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney - Winner!

Organizer Cantey Smith, Winning angler Matt Bachinski,
and Captain J.R. Waits
Angler Matt Bachinski and tarpon
The 20th Annual Charleston Harbor Tarpon Release Tourney is one of the longest-running tarpon events along the East Coast. Organizer Cantey Smith picks a date in July that will coincide with a favorable tide and moon phase that is conducive to tarpon fishing. The initial tourney date was July 5 and the weather conspired to make a rough ocean that kept some boats in port but all but assured that no one would catch and release a tarpon. Smith scheduled a second date for July 20 and a fleet of 52-anglers strong set out in search of the silver king in order to produce a tourney winner. The only tarpon catch and release that day belonged to angler Matt Bachinski fishing with Captain J.R. Waits and angler Bill Browne. Despite a two-hour search for the right bait, which included dodging some thunder storms, Waits had his crew in the right place at the right time. This year's award is a handsome wood carving, something unique for the winning angler to cherish from this memorable fish fight.

To view past entries about the Chas. Harbor Tarpon Release tourney click 2013, or 2012, or 2011, or 2010, or 2009.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gearing Up for Hunting Season with ACE, Drake, and Snakes

Moultrie Game Cameras are hot item for hunters

Don’t miss out on the bargains offered for Hunter’s Day Out at Westbury ACE Hardware. Their store on Bell’s Highway in Walterboro is having their annual hunting sales event on August 2, with t-shirt giveaways and lots of vendor demonstrations. There’s always a learning curve when it comes to this year’s deer gear, so Hunter’s Day Out offers the perfect time and place to gather that info.
New this year will be a live radio broadcast from 10 until noon location with I93.7 FM in Walterboro. Morning radio broadcaster Miles Crosby will be chatting live with VIP’s about his life long experience in the hunting woods. Don’t forget you can listen to the Lowcountry Outdoors on the radio every Wednesday morning with Uncle Miles at 7:40 when writer Jeff Dennis shares what is making headlines in the Outdoor Sports section of The Colletonian.

Human scent can squash a hunter’s chances quicker than you can say - I got snorted! Putting boots on the ground goes without saying, whether it’s putting up a deer stand or simply scouting out a deer trail. Scent control products and snake boots are just two of the essentials that Westbury will have on hand.
Waterproof and snakeproof boots
Deer hunting ladder stands and climbing stands are available at Westbury’s along with the camo burlap that is required to hide them from the wary eyes of deer. Leafy camo jackets and pants are in stock, or go with some of the many styles of Drake Camo that are in stock, including camo hats and visors to complete your hunting gear or simply just get outfitted for your lifestyle.
Trail cams and game cameras will make improvements each year so the 2014 Moultrie cameras and feeders will be on sale. Hunter’s Day Out specials on cobb corn and shelled corn mean that you can get the deer checking out your hunting property just in time for opening day of August 15. For all the season Rules for 2014 - 2015 check in with the SCDNR Regulations.

To view this feature story in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from ACE hardware click on Eddie Salter.