At Eye Strike Fishing, we value Conservation & Sustainability in our fisheries. We want our grand kids to have the ability to catch fish even more plentiful than we enjoy. We try to lead by example. Here are a few of the things we do, and we hope it inspires you to jump on the bandwagon or even join us in helping out!
Community & Professional Response (CPR) Initiative
The CPR Initiative is an umbrella non-profit fund originated by Redfin Charters, Z-Man Fishing Products, and Eye Strike Fishing. The fund is a pathway for non-government entities to fund projects that benefit conservation and sustainability of our coastal fisheries.
Our first project is called Project ReSpeck. The goal of this project is to raise $25,000 to purchase a new spawning tank for the SCDNR Fort Johnson facility. Up to 700,000 trout fry can be generated per year per tank. These fry are then raised by the Waddell Mariculture Center for eventual release into our waters. This will help DNR respond to future cold kills by increasing the spawning capacity. You can donate to the fund by going to www.projectrespeck.com and donating to the Community and Professional Response Initiative.
Ashley River Cleanup
Dave organizes an annual cleanup of the historic, upper Ashley river for Summerville Saltwater Anglers fishing club. Dave & Ralph noticed a real problem with trash while fishing the river several years ago. In the years since the event was started, it has grown into a major event, with regularly over 100 people participating, and involvement from local schools businesses, government and civic organizations. Conservative estimates of trash removed are over 20 tons, consisting mostly of plastic bottles, styrofoam, bags, tires, buckets, etc. See our Facebook page Ashley River Cleanup for details on participating.
Oyster Planting with SCDNR
Another event we organize is an annual oyster planting in the Ashley river. There is simply nothing better for the marine environment than oysters. Each oyster filters approx 50 gallons of water a day. They are also the beginning of a food chain that ends up with the game fish we love to catch. Partnering with SCDNR, we load approx 4 tons of shell bags onto barges, transport them to the designated site, then place the bags in the intertidal zone where they provide preferential substrate for new oyster (spat) to attach and grow. It’s a fun thing to do for men, women and kids to participate in. Come join us! We do an event every July.
Catch, Photo, Release Tourneys
Our fishing tournaments at Summerville Saltwater Anglers used to be a traditional weigh-in. At least twice, w had trophy fish caught that we would have released but for the tournament. As a result, we decided to make all our tournaments a CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) format. This allows us to release all fish (if desired) and still have big fish count in the tournament. To participate you simply take a photo of the fish against a ruler with your smart phone and send it as an attachment to an email address. You are then free to release it if you wish. The neat thing about this format is that over- and under- slot fish can count. Our members actually prefer this format.
As a side note, CPR is a great way to begin a conservation minded ethic in your young children. If they catch a fish, naturally they will want to keep it. But if you explain to them the importance of releasing the fish so it can breed more fish in the future, you will find that they will complain if you keep them! It works….try it!
Voluntary Trout Upper Slot
Here in South Carolina, we have a lower slot for spotted seatrout (our favorite species), but no upper slot. This got us thinking about catch and creel limits and the law. We would love to have an upper slot for trout, as we feel it would both increase the numbers but also the amount of trophy fish in our waters. For many reasons, this is unlikely to happen any time soon. But, why can’t you abide by your own personal catch and creel limits that are more stringent than the law allows? For that reason, we voluntarily release all trout over 20″ (and honestly most others as well). But the personal upper slot is our way of leading by example and maybe making a small difference that maybe others will follow as well.
In January 2018 South Carolina had a severe cold snap including 7 inches of snow and water temps as low as 42F, causing a significant fish kill. As a result, along with our partners Z-Man Fishing Products we started a grass-roots campaign to voluntarily release all trout and preferably all inshore fish in the year 2018. We made stickers with the hashtag #RELEASE2018SC to use on social media to help spread the word. A wide spread release mentality will help the resource rebound much faster than otherwise. We hope you agree and volunteer to join us in releasing our fish.