Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jones Gap State Park Adds 305 Acres

Photos by L. Ross of species found in Jones Gap State Park

Jones Gap State Park was recently expanded by a gift of 305 acres from the Naturaland Trust. The gift was worth $1.8 million. In addition, another 200 acre is expected to be given by the Nature Conservancy in the future.

The gift includes Grassy Top Mountain, the second highest peak in South Carolina at 3,268 feet. Grassy Top is only 300 feet lower than Sassafras Mountain, the location of a recently constructed observation deck.

This pristine property will be protected from development and will be available for public access. The tract is east of Jones Gap State Park and 40 miles north of Anderson, SC. It includes the headwaters of Tankersly Branch River and the elevation offers a spectacular view.

Tommy Wyche, a Greenville attorney and founder of Naturaland Trust and his son, Brad Wyche, founder of Upstate Forever, were instrumental in obtaining and arranging easements assuring that the Jones Gap area will be enlarged and protected from development. In addition, they were involved in helping to protect 1,900 acres at Asbury Methodist Camp near Caesar's Head three years ago.

These new additions will provide wilderness areas that may be used for recreation and enjoyment by citizens and we owe our continuing gratitude to those responsible for helping to protect them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hunting and Fishing the "Edges"

Unfortunately, the images above are all that some hunters see when they are pursuing wild game or fish. There are some tactics that will make you more successful.
My late father-in-law said that he never found a recipe for preparing a meal from tracks. He had a point. Just like the unsuccessful hunter on TV that said he would have to eat "Tag Soup".
If you're not bagging game consistently, you are using the wrong tactics or you're in the wrong place. You need to analyze what you're doing wrong and make some corrections.

Most game animals and even fish are found much of the time in "Transition Zones" or "Edges". For example, when hunting deer, look for habitat where several types of vegetation or terrain meet. This could be mature forest where it meets a cut-over or a field. Fields with weeds and shrubs around the perimeter that meet woodlands are examples.

These places provide cover. In the off-season, you may observe deer feeding in fields or food plots, but when the season opens, much of this activity is nocturnal. You will be more successful if you find "Staging" areas around the perimeter of these food plots. The deer will move into these areas before dawn prior to moving to bedding areas and also prior to dusk before moving into the open field.

Fish are also creatures of the edge. They will hold in areas where slack water and swift water meets. They expend a minimum of energy until they see food in the current, move out to snatch it and retreat to the slower currents.

These edges may also be behind rocks that break the current or dips in the bottom structure that allows the faster current to move over the pocket.

Charles Waterman, noted wildlife writer, even mentions fish being more responsive at the edge of day and night (dawn or dusk) and at the edges of weather changes.

When you are scouting, remember those key words, "Edges" or "Transition Zones".
This will be your ticket to success.

Hunting and Fishing the "Edges"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boat Raffle to benefit S.C. Ducks Unlimited

Da Boat from SC DU is going to be a special year-end fundraiser where 100 tickets are being sold at $100 each, and the winner will be drawn on Christmas Eve. Talk about timing - just get some gas and some lucky waterfowler could be shooting ducks Christmas morning in his new rig!

DU's website recently underwent an upgrade and here is a link to the state contacts for S.C. DU

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Belfast WMA Dedication

It was a special day today at Belfast WMA. The event was a dedication of the property to serve as recreational and educational area for present and future generations. The 4,664 acres is a wonderful addition to the wildlife management program.
Speakers included: Michael McShane, Chairman, S.C. Department of Natural Resources Board, Representative Mike Pitts, District 14, Larry Selzer, President, The Conservation Fund, Marvin Durant, Executive Director, South Carolina Conservation Bank, and John Frampton, Director, S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
Marvin Durant spoke of days gone by when outdoor opportunities abounded. He said, "We have bought back part of the past by purchasing Belfast Plantation."
John Frampton said, "The number one priority of the SCDNR board has been habitat protection." He went on to say that Belfast will be unique in the was that it is used to provide educational opportunities for youth, access for "wounded warriors" and as a special place to be utilized by local residents. He assured that revenue generated by sound timber management practices would be used for upkeep and improvement of the WMA and not channelled back to the agency.
South Carolina has seen a loss of public hunting and recreational property in past years, but it was stressed in this meeting that over 145,000 acres have been purchased during the current board's tenure.
Larry Selzer gave an inspirational talk about the need for children to get outdoors and experience the healthy activities of nature. There is a "dullness" in many of today's children. An average if seven hours daily in front of electronic devices has contributed to increases in obesity, diabetes and other problems.
Loss of habitat and places to recreate ourselves is becoming more of a problem daily. Setting aside jewels such as Belfast will help to stem the tide and hopefully we can see a re-awakening of the desire to experience nature.
Photos by L. Ross above show Belfast Plantation house and John Frampton.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 SCOPe conference

The photos above were taken last weekend at the 2010 South Carolina Outdoor Press Association's 2010 fall meeting by L. Ross.
As you can see from the photos, outdoor activities and seminars covered a wide array of topics and activities. The left photo is noted turkey call maker Irving Whitt working his magic with a "suction call" which is a variation of the old turkey wingbone call. He and Steve Mann each donated a box call for the SCOPe auction and gave talks and demonstrations of their skill at fooling old tom.
The center photo shows Brian Cope with a nice shellcracker (red-eared sunfish) taken on a side trip to Lake Murray. Jim Casada and guide Doug Lown are shown in the background. The morning was cold, but as the temperature warmed in mid-morning, the shellcrackers responded to our offerings of nightcrawlers presented on ultra-light gear.
Guide Doug Lown is shown in the photo on the right holding another nice specimen. He is a well-know guide on Lake Murray and pursues largemouth bass and other species successfully. Capt. Lown is very personable and competent and will provide a great experience on the water, whether you are a novice or experienced angler. Contact him at (803) 321-9026 home or (803)924-8946 cellular to schedule a trip.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Drum action at Oriental, NC

The photo on the left is Vernon Bennett of Anderson, SC, holding a 43" red drum that was later released. The photo on the right is Bennett and Craig Caldwell of Denver, NC, holding two North Carolina citation red drum of 44" and 45". Photos are courtesy of Capt. Price.

They were fishing with Capt. Craig Price of Denver, NC. Capt. Price is a fishing guide based on Lake Norman and books seasonal salt water trips in the Oriental, NC area. On this trip, they were fishing at the mouth of the Neuse River when a large school of red drum surfaced near them to feed on menhaden. They were bottom fishing with cut mullet and tossed some chunks of mullet near the school to attract them. They proceeded to catch seven of the giant drum before the action subsided.

That, my friends, is a good day on the water!

Contact information for Capt. Price is:
Capt. Craig Price
PO Box 1623
Denver, NC 28037

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WNC Fly Fishing Expo

Saturday was a great day at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo. We had a good time and saw some old friends. It was informative and good to see the latest new gear.
With the moving of the 2011 show from Charlotte to Raleigh, the WNC show will probably be even bigger next year.
There was a good crowd, but the tough economic times seemed to be affecting sales. There were a lot of lookers, but it appeared that sales were slow.
We talked with noted fly tyer Harrison Steeves, a Virginian, and were regaled with his funny stories. He is a "hoot" and very entertaining as well as being one of the leading fly tyers of terrestrial patterns.
Steeves has been a guide and biology professor, and is a writer and contract fly designer for Umpqua as serves on the pro staff for several companies. He ties at about five major fly fishing shows a year.
If you ever get a chance to see and talk with Steeves, don't miss a wonderful opportunity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CCA 30 day tagged fish tourney

This November CCA members are eligible to enter the 2nd annual Lowcountry tagged redfish tournament, to look for the five redfish in the waters surrounding Beaufort that have been tagged with special CCA South Carolina tags. For the entire story on click here.

PhotoByJeffDennis: Jon Wood and Danny Rourk of Tail Wind Charters are fishing for the tagged CCA redfish in Beaufort, seen here pre-fishing 10/30

Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo

The selection of photos by L. Ross shows some of the opportunities, equipment and visual enjoyment of fly fishing. If you enjoy fly fishing and all its trappings, don't miss an opportunity to attend the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6 and 7.
The show will be open from 9-5 Sat. and 9-4 on Sunday. Parking is free and admission is $10 for adults. There will be equipment vendors, food service and a special micro brewery beer tasting on Saturday evening.
The show will feature noted speakers, including my friend Jim Casada, noted outdoor author and fly fishing authority. Speakers will be highlighting opportunities on western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee fly fishing waters.
In addition, there will be casting instruction, fly tying demonstrations, fly tying materials and equipment for sale and dealers there to answer your questions. Instructional information will be available and Casada will be glad to autograph copies for buyers.
Due to the moving of the January Fly Fishing Expo from Charlotte to Raleigh, this will be an opportunity to visit a show close to home. This is the second annual show at the North Carolina Agricultural Center, off highway 26 at highway 280 (near Asheville, NC, airport).
Check it out. You should not miss this event if you are a fly fisherman or have aspirations of becoming one.