It pays to know the game before you start playing

rodcrafter@islc.netJanuary 21, 2012 

Often, fishing introduces me to those new to the game. On occasion, I have stopped to identify fish, offer assistance and have been known to aid in landing a few larger-than-angler varieties.

Everyone who partakes of the outdoors is an optimist -- or at least should be. You don't start the day thinking you are going to fail, but that is exactly what you will do if you are not prepared.

When fishing heats up and weekends are in focus, don't hurry to get out without a check list. Know your limitations, as well as the rules and regulations that govern your target. Stay informed of the latest changes and assume nothing. Doing so could be costly.

Above all, stay within limits, take only what you need and leave the rest. Practice catch-and-release methods.

CATCH AND RELEASE

Use a net whenever possible, and one large enough to serve your purpose. If a net is not available, be sure to wet your hands. Even better, use wet gloves to protect the fish. Oils from you hands will damage the slime coating on many fish.

Support the fish's spine, belly and head. Never hold a fish vertically.

Be prepared for photo opportunities. Do not keep the fish out of water longer than necessary.

Use the appropriate tackle. Remember that extended battles increase mortality rates.

Do not "throw" fish over the side. Place fish back in the water head-first to flow water over their gills. Better still, it is best not to remove the fish from the water.

Do not release fish that have been foul-hooked and are bleeding.

Do not remove hooks that are deeply embedded -- cut the line close to the hook without causing damage to the fish. Also, cut the hook barb as close to the shank, if possible.

NEWS AND EVENTS

BSFDC Award-Winners: The Beaufort Sportfishing and Diving Club recently held its annual awards banquet. The overall winners for the 2011 Year-Round Fishing Tournament were:

10 and under Youth -- Duncan Gibson

Youth -- Manfred Call VI

Female Angler -- Carrol Currin

Male Angler -- Frank Gibson

Best Recreational Boat -- Assure Thing, Ben Taylor

Best Commercial Boat -- My Time Out III, Capt. Frank Gibson

SEARCH & RESCUE GOLF TOURNAMENT

The Beaufort Water Search & Rescue and Fripp Island Sea Rescue are hosting the ninth annual Saint Patty's Day Golf Tournament on March 24.

The rescue units are volunteers who serve the commercial and recreational boating community in emergencies. The primary mission is to help boaters in distress by conducting search and rescue missions to assist the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, SCDNR and State and Federal Law Enforcement agencies.

This is the only fundraising the rescue units have. Their help saves taxpayers thousands of dollars. Donations by local sponsors and proceeds from the event will help continue these services.

Those interested in becoming a sponsor can call tournament chairman Don Scott at 844-441-0643 or co-chairman Robbie White at 843-838-5005. For golf information, call Ted Michaels at 843-838-5788.

BOAT SHOW NEXT WEEK

The 32nd annual Charleston Boat Show will be held Jan. 27-29 at the North Charleston Convention Center.

The Lowcountry's biggest boat show will feature the latest models. Dealers will be showcasing an array of the newest fishing boats. Exhibitors will feature the latest in marine supplies and equipment, as well as fishing products including: tackle, electronics, boat and dock systems, nautical jewelry and artwork.

Show hours -- Friday, Jan. 27: Noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 29: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets cost $8 for adults ($5 on Friday), $5 for military, $3 for kids ages 4-12 and free admission for kids 3 and under. Parking is also free.

For more information, call Debbie Taylor at 864-250 -9713.

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