A Bit of Australia in Myrtle Beach

September 30th, 2010

by Joyce Deaton

If you’re a regular cruiser along the Intracoastal Waterway, you know Barefoot Landing. It’s a great stopping point for a broad range of food and entertainment. If your stopovers so far haven’t included Greg Norman’s Australian Grille, you have a treat in store.

Like the golfer, his restaurant is one-of-a-kind. No chain, this. At 13,000 square feet including its retail store featuring Greg Norman clothing, this oversize, rollicking establishment feels as big as Australia itself. The plenitude starts at the 225-foot dock, where boaters can tie up without charge while they dine. “Because of this, the Myrtle Beach Herald for the past two years has named us the number one most boater-friendly restaurant,” says operations manager Peter Dombrowski.

A huge veranda with a patio-style waiting area beckons you to relax and have a sip of something cool. The Shark Pub (Norman is nicknamed the Shark for his aggressive golfing) is a work of art, with a large oval mahogany bar that holds 30, plus plenty of oversize leather couches and relaxing armchairs. Eight TVs ensure you won’t miss a stroke or a play of whatever sport is your passion. Happy hour is similarly generous – from 3 to 7 p.m. – and there’s live entertainment every evening on the waterway deck.

Looking for lunch or dinner? You won’t be disappointed. The restaurant’s interior is unexpectedly beautiful. No golf-themed décor and only two depictions of the Shark himself. Instead, there’s more leather and handcrafted woods from Australia. An earthy rust-and-coral color scheme is warm and inviting, and Aboriginal artwork adorns the walls. A large mural of Australia’s Ayers Rock, complete with cascading waterfall, transports diners to the outback. In the main dining room, a handpainted sky-blue cathedral ceiling with eucalyptus-leaf chandeliers completes the look, and seating is sumptuously comfy.

The tiered dining room, which holds 164, provides a view of the ICW from every level, and an open-air woodburning grill fills the air with wonderful aromas. Dining is available on the patio as well, where a 130-foot canopy protects seating for more than 80. Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and dinner is available from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Sometimes such a spectacular restaurant offers only mundane food, but not here. Chefs Jeff Edwards and Greg Sandford collaborate on special dishes you’ll remember even more than the surroundings. Appetizers include seafood spring rolls and calamari. Favorite entrees include Cowboy Steak, North Atlantic salmon over mashed potatoes with corn, pea, bacon and lobster succotash, and bourbon tuna with mushroom risotto. Save room for dessert because of the Fallen Chocolate Cake, which is baked to order and served warm with vanilla ice cream, raspberry sauce and whipped cream.

Portions are generous here, and prices more reasonable than you might expect.
“We take pride in being the most affordable fine dining restaurant in all of Myrtle Beach,” says Dombrowski. You can find a tasty entrée for around $16. Service is impeccable, and the restaurant’s wine list has earned numerous awards of excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. As you walk back to your boat and motor down the waterway, you’ll almost certainly be pleased with your experience at this Aussie emporium.

What’s on your menu?

September 30th, 2010

by Capt. Butch Foster

Grouper, prized by many as one of the best eating fish in the ocean can often be hard to catch, but with a few hints of the trade, you may also be able to add them to your menu.

The first order of business, if you are very serious about Grouper fishing, is obtaining bait. Always put some frozen cigar minnows in the cooler, just in case live bait has disappeared that morning. Live bait is very attractive to a big grouper and he can hardly resist them! I prefer to stop on the offshore buoys and use a #12 Sibiki rig and jig up live cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, greenies, etc.

Now I am not saying live bait is the only thing they will bite, I am just saying it is usually the best. However, I have seen days when all they would hit was cut bait. Guess they are like us, we like hotdogs, but not all the time!

Now, pay attention to the way the current is running. Let us say the current is running to the West, this will be the direction you will want to travel especially if looking for ledges.
You will want to look for drops (ledges) that drop off from hi to low, not low to hi. The drop from hi to low will provide a current break on the drop, if you see some fish markings here, you may be in business. Same goes for rocks, fish the down current side.

Only way to tell is to anchor up and find out. You must anchor up on the drop, ledge, rock, etc; in this fishing, close usually will not get the job done!!!

A good “stand up” rod in the 80 lb. class makes a good grouper rod. As for the reel, you can do just fine with a Penn 114 (6/0), but, if you have access to a heavy two-speed reel, that is even better, but the best of all is an electric reel. I personally like the Precision Auto Reels spooled with 80 to 100 lb. line.

The rig I like best is the “Carolina” style, which consist of an egg weight, swivel, heavy 150 to 200 lb. leader and a large 10/0 circle hook. The heavy leader is for strength, but more importantly is the abrasion resistant because of the areas where big grouper live.

When that big grouper bite does come, you have to get him up and away from the rocks. Crank for all you’re worth! If you work the “set the hook” style of fishing, and lower the rod before you start cranking, well, that grouper just taught you lesson #1 in what not to do!

I like to hit my good rocks about once a year. I am not saying my way is the best way, it just works for me. I have to produce fish; it is what I do for a living! Put your time in; ask questions, pay attention to the little details, experiment and soon you too will find what works best for you.

I hope this will help you catch more grouper in the future and if you don’t get a bite your next trip out, then you will know why it’s called fishin’ and not catchin’, but it’s still better than a good day at work!

Check back in the next issue of Pilot. We will be featuring another species and tips to help you catch more fish!

Capt Butch Foster from Southport, NC has fished offshore for over 40 years. In 2004, he started YEAH RIGHT CHARTERS and has worked hard to show others how much fun offshore fishing can be. He does seminars during the winter months across the region and has been featured in many outdoor magazines, newspapers, and books. He maintains the Yeah Rights Charters website, www.yeahrightcharters.com, by posting reports of how fishing really is off the coast. His hard work and willingness to teach others have helped him earn recognition as “the charter service fishermen prefer and locals recommend.”

Belle Isle Marina and Battery White

September 30th, 2010

A bit of history on a beautiful bay

by Marla Stroupe

Situated just next to the marina and waterfront condominiums of Marina Village at Belle Isle is the historic Battery White, a large earthwork battery built circa 1862 and manned by Confederate troops during the Civil War. It’s positioned on Mayrant’s Bluff overlooking Winyah Bay, where guns could command the seaward access to the port of Georgetown.

Still largely intact, the five-hundred-foot long fortification is now a natural component of the Belle Isle community. The imposing earthworks are part of many homes’ back yards and the two remaining cannons blend in among the lush azaleas and live oak trees of the small waterfront park.

The three-acre tract of today’s Battery White site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in November 1977.

Belle Isle itself was one of several former rice plantations once owned by Col. Peter Horry – for whom Horry County is named. After the demise of working plantations, part of Belle Isle Plantation became Belle Isle Gardens, a showplace of live oaks, azaleas and camellias planted in the early 1900s.

Today, the Belle Isle community is an interesting mixture of residences that forms three distinct sections; single family homes on large wooded lots, a 1970s-era condominium complex with buildings on or near Winyah Bay, and a new yacht club and multi-phased luxury condominium project under construction along the bay’s shoreline. This new construction project included a substantial Belle Isle Marina refurbishment in 2008.

Just a few miles south of Georgetown, SC, on Winyah Bay, the sparkling new 82-slip Belle Isle Marina is run by Dockmaster Steve Hedrick who invites boaters to stop by and enjoy the view, good food and historic significance of the area.
If you’re traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway, which passes through Winyah Bay, or just out for an afternoon cruise, visit Belle Isle Marina and enjoy a little taste of Southern history. You can pick up a brochure about the history of Battery White at the Belle Isle Marina or gate house.

Belle IsleMarina is also the site of the Belle IsleWahoo Tournament being held August 5-7, 2010. For more information about the tournament, contact Steve at 843.546.8491.