Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jason Christie Dominates FLW Tour Event at Lake Hartwell

Photos by L. Ross showing Jason Christie at weigh-in on Sunday

The last two days of the FLW event at Lake Hartwell were cold and rainy, but the fish continued to co-operate. Jason Christie led the first three days and a good last day would bag him his first win on the FLW tour. He had been in similar circumstances twice before, only to lose on the last day.

Three times was good luck for him and the limit of five fish weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces, was sufficient to seal his victory. He ended the tournament with a total of 70 pounds, 11 ounces. Christie struggled early on the last day as he fished the same spot that had been so good to him the previous three days. He was getting anxious by 10:00 a.m., and preparing to move to another location when he caught his first fish of the day, which was a good keeper. That was the turning point and he resolved to stay put. It proved to be a good tactic and he won the tournament by ten pounds over second place Brent Ehrler who finished with 60 pounds, 11 ounces.

Christie took most of his fish on a BOOYAH spinnerbait and the rest on a YUM F2 Mighty Bug. He was fishing in Beaver Creek most of the tournament. He said, “This goes to the people who support me. They’re sitting there watching me right now – my parents, kids, wife and uncles.” He was ecstatic holding the $125,000 check and the trophy aloft as the crowd cheered.

Tom Mansoor was in second place at the end of Saturday’s competition, but had a disappointing day on Sunday with only one fish weighing less than two pounds. He said that everywhere he went he caught stripers all day. He said that he couldn’t understand it.

Brent Ehrler caught 15 pounds, 8 ounces, on the last day and said that he may have discovered a new technique. He called it the “trolling motor pattern”. He said that every time he ran the trolling motor, he could see fish approaching on the sonar.

J. R. Wright won the co-angler division first prize of $25,000 on Saturday with a total of 15 bass weighing 40 pound, 9 ounces.

No one should doubt the popularity of bass fishing. The Greenville First Center was standing room only as the final weigh-in was in progress.

Several of the anglers commented on the quality of the fishing in Lake Hartwell and hoped that a return tournament would be scheduled here again next year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

School of Outdoor Sports

The School Of Outdoor Sports is an exciting new website crammed full of great information for those interested in outdoor sports. Dennis Groce, a friend and Director of Development, shared this new site with me recently. It is supported by a group of dedicated and well-known sportsmen such as Ray Eye and Larry Dahlberg.

SOS offers instructional article about hunting, shooting, fishing and other outdoor sports. They also have a video that tells about features of the School of Sports.

Dennis Groce is a professional promoter of outdoor events, PR specialist and active is many facets of outdoor sports and a true South Carolina Sportsman.

You will definitely want to add this site ( to your list of sites to visit often.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Upstate SC and northwest NC are trout hotspots

Nice western NC rainbow and Gene Cunningham fishing picturesque pool

L. Ross with another good rainbow

Last Friday was a "drop-dead", gorgeous day to be in the woods. Gene Cunningham and I drove to the North Mills River, a delayed harvest stream in search of trout. This has been a favorite spot, but has been a victim of poaching in recent years and is not fulfilling the goal intended by wildlife agencies.

The property was in danger of development, but TU provided funds to preserve the area and maintain it as a public fishing resource.

We saw a young "Jake" turkey on the road alongside the river. He was not in a hurry to depart and we had a good chance to admire his plumage as it shown iridescent in the sun. That alone was worth the drive.

The water temperature was an excellent 50 degrees and a few other anglers were present on the stream. Unfortunately, the fish population was small, even after stocking in March. Most fishermen only caught a couple of fish, but it was great to be on the water.

One of the last pools fished yielded a fat, scrappy rainbow on a nymph. After a valiant fight, he was admired, photographed and allowed to return to the deep.

Upstate SC has several good trout destinations with the Chattooga River being one of the best. Western NC has an abundance of streams and many are within an hour drive from the Greenville, SC, area.

The French Broad offers trout, smallmouth and even a few muskies. A guide acquaintance told of fishing for muskies with large streamer flies on the Broad. He said you need to use a heavy rod, or they will destroy your equipment. Steel leaders are a good idea as well.

A day on a trout stream is good for a man's soul. The quiet whispering of the wind through the boughs of the trees and the sound of the water rippling over the boulders is a respite from the cares of everyday life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Master Tree Farmer 2010 Volunteer of the Year award

The 65th Anniversary of the S.C. Tree Farm program was commemorated by a Legislative lobby day at the statehouse in Columbia on March 2. Approximately 50 Tree Farm representatives gathered at 8 a.m. to get in a full day of activities, with an equal balance of landowners and forestry professionals attending. As one part of the day-long event, Jeff Dennis was awarded the Master Tree Farmer program 2010 Volunteer of the Year for my work raising awareness about forestry in Colleton County and the ACE Basin. To read more about these efforts please visit my website at and click on the PL-ACE button. As a small private landowner and advocate for the natural resources of the Lowcountry, Jeff Denns will continue to showcase the positive aspects of the outdoors. Special thanks go the the House and Senate for passing a resolution in support of the S.C. Tree Farm system's contributions to the forestry industry. For more information on the S.C. Tree Farm click here. Special thanks go to Sen. Chip Campsen for recognizing the Volunteer Award recipient from the floor of the Senate, and for being a champion for sportsmen and conservation.

For a report on click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Rep. Chip Limehouse recognized me at the press conference in the capital rotunda and is here with Denise Bonnette, the S.C. Tree Farm Committee Chair; the Tree Farm logo is universal nationwide; members of the Tree Farm green shirt team await the press conference; the Volunteer award plaque was a very sturdy and attractive wood product - most fitting for a Tree Farmer!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Outdoor Dreams Foundation "Shoot for Dreams"

Richard McConnell and first group of shooters Csonka chats with onlookers

B. C. McConnell recording scores Larry Csonka shoots, Richard McConnell operates trap

L. to R., Richard and, B. C. McConnell Larry Csonka in McConnell "Hall of Heads"

On Saturday, March 5, Larry Csonka joined the Outdoor Dreams Foundation for a fundraiser called "Shoot for Dreams". Outdoor Dreams sponsors trips and events for youth that have life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

The sky was dark and rain pelted the shooters throughout the day, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm. Clay targets flew constantly and the air was filled with the sharp report of shotguns. The smell of gunpowder is a stimulant for sportsmen and it seemed to be working Saturday.

Larry Csonka is a friendly, down-to-earth guy and an enjoyable conversationalist. He shared some hunting and fishing stories and observations on the world of professional football, past and present.

Richard and B.C. McConnell were the ultimate hosts, as always, at McConnell Hall Outfitters. The "Hall of Heads" with its array of African big game and North American trophies is exotic and interesting. One young shooter on his first visit to McConnell Hall was so impressed that he said, "This is so cool. I could just live in here." I expect that some of the adults felt the same.

McConnell Hall has an expansive dining area, kitchen, and sleeping accommodations in addition to the office area and gun-room. It is situated on the family farm and has a special charm with horses, barns, sporting clays, century old trees around the home and sufficient fields for quail hunts and tower shoots for pheasants.

A good day was had by all and the proceeds will benefit the Outdoor Dreams Foundation in their efforts to make kids dreams come true.

We will amend this post later to add names of the winning shooters.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Urban Turkeys

Wild Turkey photo by L. Ross

This morning was dedicated to placing a post and new bluebird house that I built for my daughter. We live a couple of miles apart in Travelers Rest. She and her husband live in a development on the outskirts of town. After completing the installation, we were standing on her deck admiring it and she looked across the road toward some large oak trees. She turned and asked me, "What are those big birds in the trees?"

I looked up and spotted a couple of turkey hens perched high in the treetops. They were nervous and started flying from tree to tree, but didn't fly to the ground. It was sprinkling rain and despite the fact that it was almost 10:00 a.m., they had remained in the trees all the time that I was digging the posthole and attaching the birdhouse.

During travel through the surrounding countryside, it is amazing to see the widespread population of wild turkeys. Several decades ago, it was very unusual to see a wild turkey in the upstate area.

The restocking of the wild turkeys and deer are two success stories of the mid-twentieth century and we can thank the foresight of DNR and supporting conservation groups for a job well done.

The growing population of coyotes is a definite influence on the populations of these two species and it remains to be seen what the long-term effects will be. Already, SCDNR is proposing changing bag limits and doe tag restrictions. Reduced limits on bucks and a tagging system have been proposed. These are good management tools and will have to be administered by region to have the desired impact.