Kelleytown Baptist Church in Hartsville, SC is hosting a free event that you should know about. The Sportsman's Banquet and Take-a-Kid Fishing Tournament will be held Friday, June 2nd & 3rd. See the below flyer for more information.
Download the Event Flyer Download Detailed Schedule flyer.
Last year I attended the Kelleytown Baptist Church Wild Game Dinner and it was a real treat. You may remember the blog I posted about the event. If you’ve never been you should check it out. There were several activities that were fun for the youth and competitions for everyone. I’m talking about archery competitions, skeet-shooting competitions, a BB gun range and even competitions for kids. The guys at Kelleytown do a real good job at putting this event on and the attendance of the event is a reflection of the quality of the event.
When the afternoon activities get over then everyone goes inside for a great meal (last year they had some good alligator on hand). Next up will be a duck calling demo by fellow WeHuntSC.com blogger Blake Hodge and then Hank Parker Jr. will be the featured guest speaker. So if you’re in the Hartsville area this coming weekend and want to attend a quality outdoor event then be sure to check it out.
I've attached the flyer for the event here in case you want to download it.
Last night I made a trip to Hartsville, SC to Kellytown Baptist Church. The church put on a ?Wild Game Banquet? that had a little something for everyone! The event was neat and I wish I would have arrived a little bit earlier than I did. To start off with they had skeet shooting competitions and as I walked up I could hear the final shots being fired in the tie-breaker rounds of the competition. I didn?t expect to know many people at this event, but before I even got in the door I saw a couple guys I know and even a guy who played on the state championship team with me back in 1997! The good ol? days just never die I don?t guess.
As I got close to the door I could see a Ducks Unlimited chapter breaking down a booth that they had set up outside of the church. I made my way into the church?s multi-purpose room and could hear music as and smell food as I entered. It?s always a good sign to smell some country cooking when you enter a room! The multipurpose room was big in size and there was a band playing on the stage. There were a couple of tables and displays set up around the room and I made my way to the back to where the Wrecking Crew & Blake Hodge were set up. Blake was on schedule to do a calling demonstration as part of the program. When I got to the back and talked to all the Wrecking Crew I noticed that my local taxidermist Carlyle Sutton had some displays set up and one of the deer looked awful familiar too! Since I knew a couple of people at the back I hung around there and put some WeHuntSC.com stickers on the Wrecking Crew?s table.
Once the skeet shooting competitions were complete and everyone made their way inside the emcee started making some announcements. He gave information on the door prizes and talked about the schedule for the evening. The preacher then blessed the food and everyone got in a line to eat the food we had smelled for some time. The buffet line consisted of catfish stew, catfish, rice, and alligator meat. It was the first time that I had ever eaten any alligator and I have to say?it wasn?t that bad! (It all tastes like chicken right?) I snapped some pics of the food and the line in the kitchen and then made my way back out. They also had a dessert table too. The dessert table had a bunch of cookies and cakes on it, but I was able to be self disciplined enough to pass it up this time.
After we ate Blake went up and blew his calls for the audience. I shot some video of Blake shooting, but I?ll have to say that I did a terrible job of filming it. I kept bumping the camera and I had the tripod head so tightly screwed into place I couldn?t budge it without being rough with it. So my apologies for the bad filming on this one!
After Mr. Patterson spoke the emcee gave out the rest of the door prizes to the audience. It seemed very fitting that a young kid won the shotgun that someone donated to the event since Mr. Patterson mentioned several times in his speech the notion of how it?s important for a boy to have a gun as he grows up. He always quickly followed that up with how it was also important that the father guide and instruct the kid on how to use the gun. It seemed like a good ending to a good night.
I was glad to have gone and met some new people, eat some good food, and hear a good speaker.
Below is a quick video I made from the event...sorry for the bumpy footage
The 2017 Predator Challenge was another successful event. We had hunters from SC, NC, & VA competing this year with a total of 86 teams and 281 hunters. We had been preparing to both host and participate in the competition all year and looked forward to its arrival. Out of all the years we’ve hosted the event it seemed like this year saw the most activity and movement from coyotes. Everyone we talked to seemed to have enjoyed the event regardless of how many coyotes they ended up getting on the ground.
As many of you know and as we mentioned yesterday at the check-in we don’t charge a fee for the competition and we don’t make money from it. We are regular hunters just like you who hope to protect our deer, turkey, duck, and others species for future hunters. (Hunting coyotes also helps protect local farmer’s livestock).
We would not be able to host the competition without the generous donations from our sponsors. They donate their products and services for free for the winners. They don’t have to do this! We ask that you patronize the sponsors by buying your goods, products, and services from them. Be sure to be vocal about our appreciation for their sponsorships. Without the sponsors we would not have a competition.
Competition Volunteers Thanks
Hosting a competition is not an easy task. There are tons of details to consider, emails to be sent, sponsors to connect with, hunters to explain (and re-explain) rules to, etc. You get what I’m saying… a competition doesn’t just host itself. With that said I’d like to also thank Gavin Jackson and Adam Smith. Gavin and Adam are the main guys behind making the competition possible. They stalk and wrangle sponsors, handle the Facebook promotions, constantly talk with hunters, promote the competition to everyone, build the check-in setup, handle the weighing of coyotes, and handle all the details that you don’t see on the surface. If you all see, know, or communicate with these guys be sure to thank them.
Did Changing the Date Result in Better Numbers?
Based on feedback from last year’s competition participants we moved the competition from January to March. This was done for the sake of listening to our participant’s feedback. This change allowed for the use of night vision for hunting coyotes as SCDNR has implemented a night-hunting program where hunters can register their lands for night hunting and use infrared and/or thermal optics to hunt coyotes.
Moving the competition to March ran the risk of much warmer weather, but we lucked out this year as it was cool the entire weekend. We were interested to see how moving the competition would affect the numbers at the check-in. Of course, there are more variables than just the time of year, but we really can’t control the weather. We anticipated a good turnout at the check-in as we received messages during the competition of people seeing a lot of coyotes while they were hunting. It seemed they were moving well this past weekend. It would turn out that we had a total of 57 coyotes checked-in, which is more than all previous years combined. Whether it was changing the competition from January to March or just a lucky streak of movement we don’t know, but we were pleased with the outcome.
This years winners were:
First Place – Jim Shepherd, Concord, NC - 12 Coyotes
Second Place – Carolina Coyote Slayers, Denver, NC - 8 Coyotes
Third Place + Big Dawg (42.8 lbs) – Wind Walkers Kryptonite, Lucknow SC – 7 Coyotes
Sportsman's Warehouse Gun Give-Away Winner - Ben McAlister, Monroe NC
Thanks, Surveys, & Video
Thanks to everyone who hunted in the competition. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoyed the event. We’ll be sending out emails asking for feedback very soon. We’ll see you next year at the check-in.
On Our Way to Okeechobee
We woke up around 4:45am and headed west. We would be putting in on the southern end of the lake in a town called Clewiston. Since it was so early it was of course dark, but I as we approached the town of Clewiston I could smell the smell of smoke. I asked Matt what that smell was and he said “Oh that’s the Sugar Cane farms, they burn the sugar during some part of their harvesting process”. It was interesting to smell that smell for a good ways, but yet not be alarmed that something was on fire or wrong. Late on in the day we found out that the sugar cane farmers actually burn the fields before they even harvest the sugar. The sugar cane fields spanned for miles and miles and miles. It was a neat sight.
Roland Martin Marina & Marine Center
We were set to meet our guide, Mark King, at the Roland Martin Marina. Once we started getting near the landing you could see the Christmas light decorations that were in the shape of a bass hanging in the streets.
Of course as “foreigners” we didn’t know which was the Marine Center and which was the Marina, but we learned pretty quickly. We went inside and saw several boats, tons of fishing lures, hats/shirts, and just about anything you could think of. Roland Martin’s name was everywhere and the marina had about what you would expect as well. There were restaurants, boats, weekend rental apartments, tiki bars, and of course fish on the walls and they even had 2 swimming in a tank.
Mark King, Bass Fishing Guide
We met the guide Matt lined us up with, Mark King, at the Marina. Mark was a very nice guy who definitely knows how to bass fish and he knows that lake like the back of his hand. Mark’s been guiding for 18 years and has all the accompanying honors and accolades that anybody would want a guide to have. Learn more about Mark’s guiding service at http://markkingfishing.com
Mark didn’t waste any time and we all hopped into his boat, which he already had waiting on us in the water. We rode through the locks and around the edge of the lake as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful sight.
Grass Paths in The Lake
Mark then made a left turn ducking into the grassy reeds of the lake. One thing I noticed throughout the day of fishing was the grass or weeds that were in the water. Of course I’ve seen grass in a lake before, but the lake had a lot of these on the edges and the paths that the boats ride leave carved out tunnels of sorts that were like hidden paths to bass hotspots if you will. I’d never really thought much about it, but these weeds or reeds were something that stuck out to me about the lake and when I think of Lake Okeechobee I’ll envision the grass in my mind. Anyways, we rode through these carved channels and we were head to a specific destination. I had the feeling that Mark knew these paths just as good as I know my way to some of my deer stands.
The Fish Were Biting
We got to our first stop and it wasn’t long before we had fish biting. We were using live bait, minnows, for our bait and they worked really well. I’d say we’d been stopped for about 5 minutes before we had corks going under. Mark told us to wait until the cork went under, count down from 5, then set the hook. This was obviously to let the bass get the minnow in their mouths really good before we set the hook. Even though we definitely wanted to let the bass get ahold of the minnows really well before setting the hook, you could see your cork darting off back toward the depths of the grassy weeds. It worked on my nerves a little bit to have a bass on and let him run back into that stuff, but I trusted the guide!
We set up right on the edge of the grassy reeds and would throw right out beside them. In every spot we fished in it wasn’t long before a bass would come out of that stuff and hammer the bait. We probably caught 15 bass the entire day and we constantly had action. There may have been a few minutes of lulls in action, but just as soon as I would turn around to look at something Mark would say “You’re down” and boom we’d have a fish in the boat.
Every fish we caught was healthy and nicely sized. We didn’t catch any state records, but we caught a nice mess of fish. One thing Mark told me was that the entire lake was only about 5 feet deep. I figured it would be deeper, but it wasn’t. Because it’s not that deep a lot of the boats there have unique anchoring systems called the “Power Pole” http://www.power-pole.com. You may be familiar with that type of anchor, but I wasn’t. I’m used to just throwing out something heavy and waiting until it hits the bottom.
Here are a few pics of fish we caught:
We Had a Blast
Needless to say, my friend Matt and I had a great time. We enjoyed being out on the lake and Mark was definitely effective as a fishing guide. I hope to be able to get back down there and fish with him again at some point. If you’re ever down in that area, be sure to give Mark and shout and tell him that you read about him here. You won’t be disappointed!
One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate for a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee River with fishing guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures. I was excited to get this gift, but had never really heard much about catfish on the Pee Dee River. I mean I knew the river had some catfish, but we always go down to Santee to fish for catfish in the summer. I guess catfishin? the Santee is kind of an embedded mindset when I think of going catfishin?. I was eager to see how a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee would pan out.
If you?ve read these blogs, then you know my schedule has been kind of hectic lately as the wedding draws near and as a lot of time is going in to our ?Food Plot Journey?. For these reasons, it was difficult for me to actually schedule this trip. Robbie is in high demand and finding a time when I could break free and go proved to be difficult. This year?s reoccurring snow and cold weather also made scheduling this trip easier said than done. However, we finally got a date that we both had open and I booked the trip and prayed for a day with decent weather.
The crew that I rounded up for the trip was Richard ?Big B? Blakeney, Coach Mangum, Jason Fararooei and me. Both Big B and Coach Mangum are well educated on catfishin?, but Jason (The WeHuntSC.com videographer) had never been before. We all wanted to see how Jason handled his first catfish and the overall trip in general. For a non-southerner, he did pretty well. Though, Jason did manage to fall asleep one time when we were moving the boat. Since he fell asleep, I got some good video of exactly how strong the gel in his hair is! Lol! Also, you?ll see Big B imitating Pageland?s very own ?Smiley? in the video as he was wearing a toboggan and a hat. You have to be from Pageland or have ridden through Pageland at some point to understand that one. So this was the crew that you?ll see in the video later in this entry.
Ultimately, the weather turned out perfect. We met Robbie at a boat landing at 8 in the morning and got everything together and headed out. We would end up fishing in two different locations?one shallow water spot that didn?t have much current and then another location that was deeper that did have a stronger current.
I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and scenic the river was. We put in at a small landing and slipped quietly through an access creek that met the river and within 5 minutes we were out in the open water. We almost had to stop in the creek a few times because Big B kept saying he swore there were some bream in the creek, but somehow we convinced him to continue on to bigger waters! It?s just hard for Big B to pass up stopping and trying to find a bream bed. Being out on the water, we almost felt like we were in unchartered territories because hardly any other boats were on the water and it was quiet and calm for the most part. If you?re use to going to Santee and having to wait at the ramp to put in, use to seeing a lot of boats out on the water, and generally having the feeling that you?re competing with a lot of other fishermen, you should consider the Pee Dee sometime. There was no feeling of the area being crowded with other fishermen and/or boats ?at least the area we were gave me this feeling. It was almost as If we had the whole river to ourselves. This was a unique feeling that added to the overall quality of the trip.
Robbie was a great guide and from talking to him and watching him operate his rig, it didn?t take long to figure out that this wasn?t his first rodeo. Robbie handled all the setup of the rods, reels, anchoring, etc. He took care of the whole nine yards. Of course we helped him with anything that we could?we weren?t going let him do all the work. He knows exactly what needs to be done and was on top of things all day long. Robbie has his boat customized for catfishin?. That is, he cut out some sections and made it easier to move freely across the boat + he?s got a jet engine on the boat which allows the boat to get into extra shallow water (if need be).
Throughout the day we caught a couple of fish at each location we that we fished. The catfish seemed to be more active in the morning than they were in the afternoon. We were bottom fishing with shad as our bait. We would move around to different locations and drop 3 anchors so that we wouldn?t spin around when the wind blew. We had about 8 rods out of each side of the boat at any given time and we were just watching the tips of them waiting on one to take a quick surge downward.
One neat trick that I learned on this trip was something Robbie called a ?cheater hook?. Robbie ties a treble hook onto the larger circle hook and lets it hang about 3 inches below. When he puts bait on the hook, he?ll put the larger circle hook into the ?meatiest? part of the bait and then hook the ?cheater hook? a few inches into the opposite end of the bait. This way if a catfish pecks at the big hook, but misses, you still have a chance at landing him on the smaller treble/cheater hook. You?ll see in the video where Jason (whom I?m calling terror-squad in the video) caught a fish on this ?cheater hook? and you?ll hear us talking about it when I say ?it paid off this time?. Throughout the day we caught about 14 fish and I think about 4 of them were on the ?cheater hook??so I?m glad that Robbie had our rig set up this way. While this may be a common practice for many, I?ve never used a set up like this. I guess we live and learn right! Though, if you aren?t using this rig, I suggest you give it a try sometime and see if it doesn?t pay off.
Over the course of the day we caught a lot of fish and I?ve got some of those catches meshed below in the video to give you a feel for what was going on. At the end of the day was when Big B reeled in the biggest catch of the day... a 19lb cat while we were anchored up in the middle of the larger body of water. While a 19lb cat was pretty big to me, Robbie says that they frequently get them way bigger on the river.
Overall the trip was great and Robbie really took good care of us. I think he even laughed at some of my corny jokes so you know he can handle just about anybody on a boat. We fished, talked, solved some of the world?s problems, learned some things about catfishin?, ate a high class ham sandwich & lance cracker lunch, and had a great time!
If you want to know more about Robbie Burr?s guide service and Pee Dee Fishing Adventures check him out at www.pdfishingadventures.com. Not only will he put you on some fish?he?ll even clean them for you too! Now that?s my kind of guide.
At the end of this video, I?ve got a short clip of the catfish being cleaned so if you are squeamish then you may want to click stop!
This past week I attended the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited banquet. This is my 3rd time attending the event and this year’s banquet did not disappoint. Robbie Boone is the Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Chapter President and he and his chapter members always run a well-organized, good eaten’, packed out event.
Every year I always look forward to the event because I know there are going to be a ton of great prizes, some awesome Jo Jo’s BBQ, and a good time with friends. If the event keeps growing they’re going to have to find another event venue. Also important to note is the reason for the event. The event was created to help raise funds for Ducks Unlimited to help protect our wetlands and to ensure the overall health of duck hunting as a sport for years to come. DU Chapters all over the country host these events and the money goes to the larger Ducks Unlimited organization. These events are what help keep duck hunting stay a managed and successful sport for outdoorsman. Along with the overarching reason for these events the banquets also provide an upbeat, entertaining environment where attendees can walk away with some great prizes.
When I arrived to the event there was a line waiting to get in the door. At that point I knew it was going to be another packed house. Upon entering the venue, the walls were lined with prizes, auction goods, vendors, and some very nice duck prints, decoys, and even corn hole boards. My favorite item that I saw was a neon green & yellow Ducks Unlimited light. I’m always inclined to like some kind of gadget and I could envision that neon light on my wall (although I’m sure my wife would have greeted me with a “Hey, um, that’s not going in this house” type response). Though, I didn’t end up going home with the neon green DU light as it went for more than I was willing to pay. However, some of my friends were more fortunate though… Derrick Outen left with a nice shotgun, Gerald Cato won a boat, and some others from the Pageland area walked away with various hunting items and gear.
I don’t know exactly the levels of funds the chapter brought in as a result of the event, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were one of the most successful chapters in the region. It was a great event, for a great cause, and everyone seemed to have a good time. My only critique is that I wish they would have dropped the AC a few more degrees lower!
Kudos to the Lancaster County DU Chapter for hosting another great event! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.