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Hunting Report

Spring is in full effect and the woods have been crowded with hunters and turkeys alike. The new 3 bird limit seems to be making a significant difference with the state of the Eastern Turkey here in SC. Lots of great pictures have come in to us over the last couple weeks. Congrats to all those that have been able to fool a thunder chicken in to range. What’s your choice of calls in the woods? We prefer the Strut Buster diaphragm calls made locally in the Lowcountry. Give them a chance and see if you can decrease that distance between you and that long beard.

What food plot are you gonna be planting for the whitetail? Next couple months are the most important time to get your food plot ready for the traffic of crop eaters and getting your plot established before it’s too late. See you in the woods!

Early Spring Saltwater Report

Inshore

Look for the flounder numbers to start increasing over the next couple weeks as waters start to warm up and watch for the “snot” grass to start floating finally. Concentrate on areas that the water will warm quicker and that will have warm water flowing through during the tide changes. Mud Minnows and artificial baits such as Vuduu Shrimp and various plastic baits on jig heads like the Organized Chaos jigs will entice all the bites you want right now. Also, look for schools of reds in these same locations as they start to move out of the backs of the estuaries looking for a meal. Fresh or frozen shrimp as well as quartered blue crabs are great baits right now and will entice the nose of a hungry red or black drum. In Little River area right now the Speckled Trout are concentrated in the ICW and live shrimp under a cork can land you in a very active bite when you find these large schools of fish located along the banks and around structure.

Nearshore

Its time to head to the nearshore reefs with your fiddlers and fresh shrimp to get in on the incredible bite right now of Black Drum and Sheepshead. Target structure in the 35 to 45ft depth and be prepared to move around until you locate these fish in very large numbers up through April. Also, be sure to have your #1 planers rigged and ready with Clark and Drone spoons to get the kids in on the excitement as the first run of the blues and Spanish Mackerel start to show up on the reefs as well. Try to keep your speed between 4 and 5mph for the best results and get ready to do a lot of work filling up the coolers.

Offshore

The winds have been harsh to say the least, but the catches are great of Blackfin Tuna and Wahoo for those that make it to the break. Be sure to get a surface temp report and go find the warmest water near the break for the best results. High Speed for the wahoo has been exceptional and producing large fish as well as the best numbers. Be sure to try small baits and fluoro for your best chance at tuna this time of the year.

Early Spring Freshwater Report

The rivers along the Grand Strand have been at a great level for some time now and the fishing is on fire. Panfish such as Bream and Shellcrackers can be found in the backs of creeks off the main river and are going to be concentrated on structure for the next month or so. Crickets, worms, and artificial baits will produce some great numbers for next several months as each full moon will bring the fish to the spawning areas.

Bass are starting to move up and off of the beds and now is the time to catch that big girl feeding before or after she lays those eggs. Bed fishing can be great and use any artificial that will get that fish just mad enough to protect those frye and to jump on your line. You can find plenty of fish at the entrance areas to the spawning grounds and working a crank bait, spinner, or a worm will out plenty of bend in the end of your rod. Don’t over look the ricefields right now as many fish try to get in their to spawn and the many ditches leading in can be full of both males and female waiting to move up.

Catfish are going to be best at night and live baits and cut eels will produce on most limbs that are located near some good bottom structure that will be holding bream and other panfish. The bite with rod n reels may not be the best right now but heading into the areas around the rice fields with shrimp and worms can put a nice cooler full of dinner in the boat.

Crappie are going to be found on top of structure in 6 to 15ft of water and trolling beetle spins right now can help you locate the numbers. Switch to live bait after that and get some crappie minnows down on jigs to produce the best numbers along the Waccamaw River.

Capt E’s Grilled Black Drum/Red Drum on the 1/2 Shell

The most important and enjoyable part of this recipe is to get out and enjoy some great battles with two of the hardest fighting species in our estuaries. I like to filet my drum and leave the skin and the scales on. There are a number of reasons I choose this but I am a lazy fish cleaner and would rather fillet and get a nice clean piece of meat and I hate to descale fish. That being said the most important reason I leave the skin and scales on my drum is that in my experience and enjoyment of cooking these tasty fish on the grill, the fat layer just inside the skin is a source for incredible flavor. After creating my rub for my seasoning which includes some Redfish Magic and some brown sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. I then coat my filets very generously with the rub and let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so and let it harden a bit. I then pull them out and prepare my Wilmington Grill at about 380 degrees to 400 and place them skin side down. One of the most important steps to this and I think exactly why that layer of fat (Omega 3) cooks into the meat perfectly at the same time that 2 or 3, 1/2 teaspoons of butter placed on top of the fillet melts. I basically let the butter tell me when my fish is done. I can take a spatula and the meat will normally separate perfectly from the skin and its time to cook some pasta or rice and chow down. I started with the brown sugar to see if I could increase the interest of my kids in fish and they jumped in head first. Give this recipe a try this spring and get some scales on your Wilmington Grill.

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 70z filets of Drum or Sheepshead
  • Redfish Magic
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter/Margarine

Dove Recipes

Doves in wine

  • 8 doves, cleaned and picked
  • 3 T. olive oil or bacon drippings, heated
  • Brown doves on all sides in oil or drippings in heavy iron skillet.
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients to doves. Cover skillet with tight lid. Simmer over a low heat (liquid should never boil) for 1 1/2 hours or until tender Serve with wild rice.

Pan-roasted Dove with Peaches

  • 4 ea. dove
  • 1/2 lb. whole unsalted butter
  • 1 T. oil
  • 5 ea. peaches
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 ea. small onions, chopped
  • 2 ea. garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ea. bouquet garni (10 black peppercorns, 2 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves and 1 slice of fresh ginger)
  • 2 t. fine sea salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 2 T. cognac
  • 2 T. Grand Marnier

For the peaches: Cut a small “X” on the bottom of each peach and plunge them into boiling water for 10 seconds. Transfer the peaches to an ice water bath and allow them to cool. Peel the peaches and cut them in half lengthwise to remove the stones. Be careful not to damage the peach halves. Place eight peach halves to the side and reserve the skins and stones along with the two remaining peach halves for the sauce. For the doves: Season inside and outside with some salt and pepper. Brush two tablespoons of melted butter over them. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and lightly brown them on all sides. Roast them in a 450° oven for 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Separate the breasts from the carcasses, and pour off the fat from the pan. For the sauce: Place the pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, the onions, garlic, the dove carcasses, the reserved peach skins and stones and the two peach halves. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and Grand Marnier. Use a spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by two thirds and add the stock and the bouquet. Simmer over gentle heat for 20 minutes, while skimming the surface of fat and impurities as needed. Strain the sauce, return it to the pan and reduce until it becomes slightly syrupy. Keep warm. Preheat the broiler to hot. Sprinkle some sugar over the peach halves and glaze them under the hot broiler (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Set them aside. Slice the peach halves and place them at the bottom of each plate. Arrange two breasts in the middle of the plates. Meanwhile, remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of whole butter. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the dove and peaches.

Quick and Delicious Sautéed Dove

  • 3 dove breasts per person
  • 1-2 stalks fresh celery
  • 1-2 carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Fluffy cooked rice
  • Bottle of a nice red wine

Start the rice ahead of time, because this dish doesn’t take a lot time to prepare. Pour enough olive oil into a frying pan to cover its bottom. While it’s heating, slice each dove breast into three or four slices. Next, slice the carrots and celery at an angle so that it is more presentable than just chopped. When the oil is hot enough, add the dove meat. Whisk the slices around the pan just once before adding a splash of wine to the pan. Then add the vegetables, letting them cook just long enough to heat through. Serve over rice.

Bacon & Maple Dove

  • Dove breasts, de-boned
  • Cream cheese, softened
  • Jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • Brown sugar
  • Bacon
  • Maple syrup

Soak the dove in water for 1 hour. Remove and pat dry. On one side of breast, place 1/2 tsp. cream cheese and a slice of pepper. Sprinkle on a pinch of brown sugar. Wrap entire thing in bacon and secure with toothpicks. Grill over medium heat until bacon is almost done. Turn as needed.
Baste with maple syrup and continue to cook until bacon is done. Baste several times. Turn as needed.

Slow Cooked Dove

  • 6-8 dove breasts, skinned
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the breasts in salt water solution for 20-30 minutes (1 Tbsp salt to 4 cups water.) Rinse the birds and set aside. Place all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir and cover. Turn crockpot on low. Cook time approximately 6-8 hours. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for your crockpot. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles.

Bubba’s Catfish Batter!

1 egg
1 ½ cups of milk
2 cups of cornmeal
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4th tsp black pepper

Mix the egg and milk in bowl. Shake dry ingredients into paper bag. Dip catfish filets in milk mixture then add to bag and shake well. Fry in hot grease until golden brown.

Wild Meat Marinade

1 Serving
2 quarts of water
½ cup of vinegar
1/4th cup lemon juice
1 tbs salt

Combine all ingredients and marinate the game for several hours. Rinse the meat with cold water before cooking. This marinade helps eliminate the wild taste of venison.

Swordfish Souvlaki

  • 1 pound skinless swordfish steak (about 1 in. thick), cut into 1 in. cubes
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 4 (7-in.) pitas
  • 1 lg. cucumber
  • 8 oz. container of plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp. chopped garlic, mashed to a paste w/ ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 med. tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ sm. chopped red onion
  • ¾ cup chopped romaine lettuce

Prepare grill. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a bowl toss swordfish with lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill, 15 min. Wrap pitas in foil and warm in oven. Peel and seed cucumber and coarsely chop. In a sm. bowl, stir together cucumber, yogurt, mint, garlic paste and salt and pepper. Grill fish in oiled grill basket about 8 min. turning occasionally. Divide cucumber mixture among pitas, spreading to cover. Top with fish. Sprinkle tomatoes, onion and lettuce over fish and roll pitas into cones, wrapping with foil to secure. Serves 4.

Smoked Salmon, Horseradish Sour Cream & Cucumber Wrap Sandwich

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 sm. red onion
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped drained capers
  • 2 tsp. drained bottled horseradish
  • one 16-18 in. round, thin wrap or lavash bread
  • 6 thin slices smoked salmon (about 6 oz.)
  • chopped chives
  • 1 cup watercress sprigs

Halve and seed cucumber. Cut cucumber into 16 (5×1/4 in. thick) sticks. Cut onion into thin slices. In a sm. bowl stir together sour cream, capers, horseradish and salt and pepper to taste. Quarter wrap or lavash bread and spread 1 side of each quarter with 1 tbsp. sour cream mixture, leaving a ½ in. border all around. On each quarter arrange about 1 ½ slices salmon in one layer over sour cream mixture and spread 1 tbsp. sour cream mixture over salmon. On each quarter arrange a few slices cucumber, onion, a sprinkling of chives and a few watercress sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Tightly roll up each wrap around filling into a cone and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for an hour to form and for flavors to marry. Makes 4 small sandwiches.

Shrimp, Bacon & Fried Green Tomatoes “BLTs”

  • ½ lb. frozen thawed cooked shrimp, chopped
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. green tomatoes (about 6), cut into ¼ in. slices
  • 12 lg. slices firm sourdough bread
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves

In a 10-12 in. heavy skillet cook bacon in batches over moderate heat until crisp, reserving ½ cup drippings and transferring bacon to paper towels to drain. (When bacon is almost crisp, add in shrimp for just 3 min. to flavor in bacon.) In a bowl, coat 4 tomato slices evenly with cornmeal and season with salt. In skillet heat ¼ cup reserved bacon drippings and olive oil over med. heat and fry tomatoes until golden brown on both sides about 5 min. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Finish frying remaining green tomatoes in same manner. Preheat broiler. On a baking sheet broil one side of bread slices until golden. Make sandwiches by layering, on untoasted sides of 6 bread slices, all ingredients. Top with remaining bread slices, toasted side up. Serves 6.