Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 Edisto Billfish Tourney Raises Fish and Attendance

Whitney Arnold with winning mahi
The dog days of summer settled in over the Lowcountry just in time for the 2017 Edisto Billfish Tourney, with hot weather translating into calm seas. With the weather forecast for fishable seas locked in, the Marina at Edisto Beach reeled in a fleet of 38 boats to go offshore in search of billfish and meatfish. The town of Edisto Beach and many local businesses also came together for this multi-day event that is partially based out of Bay Creek Park. When the fishing was complete on Saturday, Wildlife claimed the Edisto title, while Gryphon wins the entire 2017 Governor’s Cup Series.

Bubba Simmons with winning Tuna
Plenty of boats released lots of billfish, and also had many more billfish get away, so it underscores that Wildlife was the most efficient given the ample opportunities that the ocean was yielding. For example, on Saturday alone the fishing fleet released 51 sailfish, 6 blue marlin and one white marlin. Any number of boat captains I spoke to on the docks said that they had a realistic chance at more billfish, but that they would not bite the lure or they got broke off during the fight. Saltwater anglers know they won’t catch and release every billfish they see, but everyone appreciates that the billfish were plentiful.

Angler Bolegs Warner with winning HOO!!
Anticipation also doubles up in the meatfish category, wining the top spot for both the heaviest dolphin and the heaviest tuna, for owner Paul Coury and Captain Harvey Shiflet. On Day One female angler Whitney Arnold weighed in a 45.3-pound mahi mahi for Anticipation, and she also released two sailfish during the tourney. Then on Saturday Bubba Simmons weighed in a 12-pound blackfin tuna for Anticipation , the only tuna brought to the scales at the 2017 event. The heaviest wahoo went to Bolegs Warner fishing on the Dealer’s Choice based out of Walterboro, with a 73.2 HOO brought in on Day One.

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

Congrats to Wildlife for the WIN.
To view past blog entries from the Governor's Cup winners click on 20162015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009

To view past blog entries from 2017 at Edisto click on Edisto Music Festival - Lions Club Bingo - Business of the Year Jim Bost Tourney - Summer Activities

To view past blog entries from 2016 at Edisto click on Afternoon Heat Relief - Jim Bost Memorial - Dolphin Slam - Cobia Tourney - Spring Shorebird Synergy - Bovine Bones on Beach - Edisto River book 

Mackenzi Truluck is all smiles after releasing sailfish!!!

Looking forward to the 2018 Tourney!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Edisto Land Trust Continues Conservation Outreach

Dr. Richard Porcher and John Girault
The Back to Nature program of the Edisto Island Open LadTrust (EIOLT) brought Dr. Richard Porcher to Edisto on July 15 for a Saturday morning lecture. The meeting was held at the Edisto Island State Park Environmental Learning Center, providing an air-conditioned setting for the capacity crowd. EILOT Director John Girault welcomed both members and guests, including a contingent of volunteers from nearby Botany Bay WMA, to hear Porcher speak about the changing landscape on the sea islands of the Lowcountry.

Dr. Porcher's subject matter includes rice trunks and wetlands
Dr. Porcher is a botanist, retiring after a 30-year teaching career at the The Citadel, to focus on conservation in the field and to publish two books on Wildflowers and Sea Island Cotton. “Today’s lecture is in support of another book I am working on to document how the landscape is continuously evolving since the arrival of mankind and large scale agriculture practices,” said Porcher. “While Indigo production was significant in the Lowcountry, it was Sea Island Cotton that became so valuable that the wealth it brought to planters and their families essentially funded the building of the city of Charleston.”
“In 1852 the entire island of Edisto was planted in Sea Island cotton,” said Porcher. “It is said that one could stand on the back side of Edisto Island and look toward the beach and see the ocean, because the landscape was flat for ag practices.” Another part of Edisto Island’s history is that the planters used to live at a beachfront colony called Edingsville Beach, which was located near Frampton’s Inlet, but was wiped off the map and left underwater after a major hurricane.

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Flounder regulations change reflects concern for flatfish

Flounder caught on a DOA shrimp!
The three species of flounder that can be caught in local waters have shown declines in their numbers via marine research. The southern, summer and Gulf flounder are now under new regulations in South Carolina designed to protect their stocks for the future of recreational fishing. The changes are designed to be a long-term fix to the issue of increased fishing pressure that is in direct correlation to the increase in saltwater fishing license sales. The legal length for keeping a flounder increases from 14-inches to 15-inches as of July 1, 2017.
In addition, the daily bag limit and the daily boat limit for keeping flounder have been reduced. Anglers can only claim 10 flounder per day now, down from the 15 flounder limit that was in place since 2007. The maximum daily boat limit is now set at 20 flounder per day, a limit which addresses fishing trips for larger parties or charters. The hope for flounder recovery relies on their own ability to reproduce, with the new regulations giving smaller fish a greater chance to reach spawning age.

Judging the health of any specific stock of saltwater fish can be tricky, especially considering that flounder can swim from inshore to offshore, and they can migrate across state lines, exposing them to different regulations. However, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has solid data sets for many species thanks to the dedication of the Marine Resources Division. Their trammel net surveys over the past twenty years in waters such as those of the ACE Basin reveal a decline in the catch and release of flounder. It would be hard to imagine a mixed bag of saltwater fish without any flounder among them. If the 2017 changes produce the desired effect, we can expect to see more flounder than ever, keeping this fishery sustainable and preserving part of our outdoor heritage.

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

To view past blog entries about coastal flatfish click here.