Kayaker missing on Lake Jocassee

According to Oconee County (SC) Emergency Services, a kayaker that went missing on Oct. 7, 2023 is still unaccounted for as of Oct. 9. The man was kayaking to a remote camping spot with a female companion when both of their kayaks were overtaken by waves and capsized on Lake Jocassee.

The female kayaker was found and hospitalized for hypothermia shortly after the mishap. She is expected to make a full recovery. According to SCDNR officials, neither of the kayakers were wearing life jackets.

Rescue crews have used sonar technology to search for the man, and have found some of his belongings. But he is still missing.

Lake Jocassee is a popular lake, located in South Carolina’s upstate region. It is known as a lake that can turn from calm to rough without warning.

Click here for an update to this story.

Crispy bluegill delight

This crispy bluegill recipe is top notch!

This is my unbeatable recipe for fried bluegill. This dish takes me back to lazy summer days by the lake (and the Wateree River, a severely underrated bluegill fishery), and I’m excited to share it with you. The key here is keeping some of the larger bluegills you catch, because you want to filet them for this dish. This makes them easy for anyone to eat, and the resemblance to chicken fingers will appeal even to folks who may shy away from eating fish. No bones in this recipe! So grab your fishing rod, catch some fresh bluegill, and let’s get cooking.


  • Freshly caught bluegill fillets
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying


1. The Catch of the Day: The key to mouthwatering fried bluegill starts with the freshest catch. Head to your favorite fishing spot and reel in some plump bluegill. Clean and fillet the fish, removing any bones but keeping the skin for extra flavor.

2. Seasoned Cornmeal Coating: In a shallow dish, combine the cornmeal, flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix it up – this is where the magic begins!

3. Dippin’ and Coatin’: Heat up a generous amount of canola oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. You want it hot enough to sizzle but not smoking. While the oil is heating, pat the bluegill fillets dry with paper towels. Dip each fillet into the seasoned cornmeal mixture, ensuring a nice, even coating on both sides.

4. Dive into Deliciousness: Carefully place the coated bluegill fillets into the hot oil. Fry them for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Make sure to keep an eye on them – you want that perfect crunch without overcooking.

5. Patience and Paper Towels: Once your bluegill fillets are golden and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Let them rest for a moment – although resisting that temptation might be a challenge!

6. Dive In, Flavor Explosion! The moment you’ve been waiting for: it’s time to indulge. Grab a fork and bite into the crunchy coating to reveal the tender, flaky bluegill inside. The blend of spices and the satisfying crunch will transport you straight to the lake.

7. Savor the Moment: Serve your fried bluegill with your choice of sides – think fresh lemon wedges, coleslaw, or a zesty tartar sauce. Don’t forget to share this delicious dish with friends and family – they’ll be begging for your secret recipe!

My fried bluegill recipe is more than just food; it’s a taste of nostalgia and a celebration of the great outdoors. So whether you’re reminiscing about summers by the lake or just craving a crispy, flavorful meal, give this recipe a try. It’s a delicious adventure you won’t want to miss!

And hey, if you catch some shellcrackers or any other kind of panfish, don’t throw them back! They fry up (and taste) just as good as bluegills!

Wateree River fatal boat crash looks Murdaugh-esque

A fatal boat crash on the Wateree River has similarities to the Paul Murdaugh boat crash in Beaufort, SC.

A fatal boat crash on the Wateree River this past May has some similarities to the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach when Paul Murdaugh, son of disgraced attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, was driving. The similarities? Drunken underage boat driver, a relative with some political power in the area, the sale of alcohol to a minor, and an attempt at a coverup.

That’s what is alleged by the parents of 15-year-old Chase Newman, who died at the scene of the May 5, 2023 crash on the Wateree River. They have filed a lawsuit against several parties. The crash involved a group of friends in two separate boats, which collided near Pine Tree Creek.

Zachary Cameron was driving the boat Newman was in when the collision occurred. One of the first officials on the scene was David West, the Kershaw County Coroner, who is also the granddad of Cameron.

Newman’s parents have alleged that Cameron was drunk, and that West intervened with law enforcement officials who arrived later, telling them that he had checked for alcohol, and that none was involved. He also allegedly advised the boat parties to get rid of any evidence of alcohol in both boats.

Aside from suing Cameron, Newman’s parents are also suing Trent Mathis, the driver of the boat that crashed into the boat Newman was riding in. Five convenience stores are also targets of the lawsuit for selling alcohol to Cameron, who was younger than 21.

No one was arrested at the scene, in large part due to West’s position as coroner, and in the way he inserted himself into the investigation and convinced law enforcement that his grandson had done no wrong, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that in the weeks following the crash, Cameron “discussed how drunk he was on the night Newman lost his life.”

New Orleans’ Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival is March 25

The 74th Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival is slated for March 25, 2023 in New Orleans.

The 74th Annual Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival is scheduled for March 25, 2023 at New Orleans City Park.

The Big Bass Rodeo is the oldest freshwater rodeo in the United States, and features numerous divisions, including Adult, Junior, Kayak, Student, and Team. A Fishtival will take place the day of the event, featuring activities and entertainment throughout the morning, along with a visit from Robbie the Redfish and Parker the Raccoon.

If you’d like to get ready for the rodeo, the LDWF is offering two free bass fishing courses at the park on Feb. 25 and March 24. Courses will include bass behavior, proper handling of bass, and lure preparation and use. Click here for more info and to sign up.

North Carolina stocking F1 bass

The NCWRC is set to stock F1 bass into three North Carolina lakes, and the private sector is invited to help.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is gearing up to stock F1 bass into three of the state’s lakes. And for the first time ever, they will accept private funds to help finance the project.

The state is going full steam ahead, stocking even if no money is donated by the private sector. But for every dollar private citizens give, the federal government will triple it. F1 bass fingerlings currently cost about 50 cents apiece to stock. So one dollar from private funds would normally result in two fish being stocked.

But thanks to the government matching these funds at a 3-to-1 ratio, one dollar raised will result in eight fish being stocked. That’s a big deal!

It’s the perfect storm, in all the right ways, for the stocking program, said Marty Stone, a former professional bass angler who teamed up with two other bass fishing gurus to form the NC F1 Bass organization, which will help educate the public and funnel private funds to the NCWRC for the stocking program.

Stone and his partners have set the organization up as a 501(c)3, so all money donated will be tax deductible. And they’ve vowed that every dollar donated will go directly to NCWRC for the F1 stocking program.

So what is an F1 bass? It is the offspring of a Florida-strain bass and a norther-strain bass. This results in a fish with the exponential growth characteristics of a Florida-strain bass, coupled with the aggressive nature and extreme weather tolerance of a northern-strain bass. It’s the perfect fish to combat the influx of Alabama spotted bass that have been illegally introduced into many of North Carolina’s waters over the years.

The three lakes that will receive the first stockings of the F1 bass are Gaston, Jordan and Norman. These three lakes have three different water-quality ratings, which will help fisheries biologists gauge how well the F1 bass perform in varying conditions.

If you’d like more information on the program, click here to visit NCF1Bass.org.

Arkansas lakes see new bass regulations

Some new bass fishing regulations are in order for two Arkansas lakes beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Anglers in Arkansas should note some new bass regulations which began on Jan. 1, 2023. The changes are for two lakes in the Natural State.

On Norfork Lake, regulations for all three species of black bass have been changed. The new law states that largemouth and smallmouth bass must be at least 13 inches long to keep. The length limit on spotted bass (sometimes called Kentucky bass) has been dropped. Anglers can keep spotted bass of any length.

The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission encourages anglers on Norfork Lake to keep smaller, legal-sized bass of all three species. While this may seem counterproductive and a shift from a long-standing, nationwide push to release bass to fight another day, this lake is currently overpopulated with small bass, which stunts the growth rates of all fish.

The same problem has led to a change in Sugarloaf Lake’s largemouth bass slot limit, which has been removed. Anglers can now keep any size bass from Sugarloaf Lake. AGFC has stated that the slot limit has left this lake, like Norfork, full of stunted bass.

A third lake that anglers should take note of is Lake Monticello. This lake has been renovated and is currently slowly refilling to full pool. It is open for anglers, but all gamefish must be released immediately. 

For full information on fish and game regulations in Arkansas, click here.

SC man sets bowfishing world record

Stuart Vandyke of Eutawville, SC set the new bowfishing South Carolina state and world record for catfish on Jan. 6, 2023 when he arrowed an Arkansas blue catfish that tipped the scales at 84 pounds, 12.8 ounces.

Vandyke’s catfish was 54 inches long, with a girth of 37 inches. And this fish tale has some twists and turns that make it a little more interesting than breaking a world record is to begin with.

First of all, 15 days earlier, Vandyke’s friend David Ard set the bowfishing world record for the same species with a fish that weighed a little more than 80 pounds.

Add to that, another of Vandyke’s friends that was in the boat with him on Jan. 6 took the first shot at the record fish, but missed. This gave Vandyke an opportunity, and he took full advantage of it.

Once his arrow pierced the fish, he knew it would be big enough to vie for the record. He and his friends wrestled it aboard, then called a friend with a certified scale. They weighed the fish and got it entered into the Bowfishing Association of America’s record book, ending Ard’s short-lived status as world record holder.

For other state and world bowfishing records, visit www.bowfishingassociation.com.

Santee Cooper catfish report – summer

Catfish in the daytime, catfish at night. They’re biting all hours at Santee right now.

The summertime catfish report on the Santee Cooper lakes shows many blue cats being caught. Capt. Kyle Austin’s anglers are catching plenty of them at night, which helps beat the heat. But the daytime bite hasn’t been bad.

This young lady had a big night of fishing with Capt. Kyle Austin at Santee recently.

Capt. Jason Wolfe of Wolfe’s Guide Service has a two-part strategy for summertime cats on Santee. First thing in the morning, he likes to anchor down in fairly shallow water. He baits up with cut baitfish, casts out a spread of six to eight rods, sets the rods in the rod holders, then waits.

Wolfe suggests anglers leave the rods in the rod holders until the rod is doubled over. Many anglers try to set the hook, which he said is a mistake. The circle hooks he uses will do their job once the fish commits. And the action of his Catch the Fever rods coupled with the reel’s drag will allow the catfish to swim away long enough for the hook to embed itself in the corner of the fish’s mouth.

As the fish continues to swim away, the rod finally doubles over. Sometime the drag begins to sing, letting you know that a true fighter is on the line

As the sun gets up and the day begins to warm, the catfish leave the shallows, so Wolfe does too. He heads for deep water, usually on the main section of the Lower Lake. Here, he replaces his weights with Drifting Stix, then casts all his rods again. And once again they go in rod holder.

Now, Wolfe suggests his anglers kick back and watch the rod tips. As they drift over humps and deep holes, the bait is being presented to catfish of all sizes. When one takes the bait, you’ll know it quickly.

Lumber River panfishing from one-man boats

Chris Douglas from Carolina ALL OUT TV joined up with Capt. Brandon “Gator” Freeman of Gators Outdoor Adventure and Guide Service (843-409-9162) for a day of fishing for redbreast and bluegill on the Lumber River.

And after catching their share of these hard-fighting fish, they pulled over to the banks for a good old-fashioned shore lunch. Fried fish doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Enjoy the video, and check out Carolina ALL OUT for even more outdoor adventure videos.

R.I.P. Jason Henderson

Catfish community lost a great one this month

The catfishing community in the Carolinas lost a popular member on Sept. 12, 2021. Jason Kevin Henderson was known by many as a great catfish angler, but most importantly as a great person.

Along with his brother Clay, Jason was a part of Drifting Stix, a company that makes products for catfish anglers. And he won numerous fishing tournaments and championships. He was passionate about angling, and about helping other anglers succeed.

I only met him once, on a fishing trip at Santee last year. At about 6 a.m., his first words to me were a light hearted joke, and before we ever left the dock, I felt like I’d known him my whole life. He was a laid back guy that just put others immediately at ease, and made them feel like life-long friends.

Aside from fishing, Jason was a loving son, husband, dad, brother, cousin, uncle, nephew and a friend to many people.

If you never fished with him, you missed out. If you never met him at all, you missed out even more.

The Southeastern Catfish Club and the rest of the catfish community came together to launch a money-raising effort to help Jason’s family with funeral and other expenses. If you’d like to donate, visit https://app.easytithe.com/app/giving/afo