Toby Murdaugh is making a name for himself in the world of bow fishing.
In the past five months, Murdaugh has set six Bowfishing Association of America (bowfishingassociation.com) youth state records, including a world record. And he’s only eight years old, in third grade at Cottageville Elementary School.
Murdaugh, the son of Chase Murdaugh and Caroline Grant and her husband Tyler Grant, has been fishing since he was little. But it was only recently that he took up bow fishing.
Bowfishing is sometimes described as similar to small game hunting and is usually done after dark from a boat that uses bright light to locate the target. The tackle is a bow equipped with a fishing reel and an arrow whose barbs widen once they enter the fish. The bow fisherman then brings in his catch.
“Recently his dad bought a bow fishing boat and started taking it out. He’s been hooked since he shot his first fish,” Caroline Grant said.
Toby started learning to bowfish in 2020, but over the past year he has really made great strides.
“He caught on a lot quicker than I thought he would,” said Chase Murdaugh, who has been a bowfisher for 10 to 12 years. He said Toby accompanied him on bow fishing expeditions all over South Carolina as well as on a trip to Florida.
Toby shoots a youthful bow and said that at first it was hard to back up and aim. But he progressed in a very short time.
“I really like to fish. We fish for carp, gar, mudfish, catfish,” Toby Murdaugh said. “The first time I went there I took a few naps. I saw a fish and tried to shoot it but I couldn’t hit it because it was my first time. But it was fun. You step back, shoot it and then I hit it and bring it back. The fight is good.
He said his favorite catch was a mullet he caught Aug. 21 from Moultrie Lake that is not only South Carolina’s youth record, but also a world record. He weighed 5 pounds and was 22.5 inches tall.
That same night, he also caught a 15.4-pound, 31.5-inch common carp to break his own youth state record of 9.9 pounds caught April 22. 22. His other youth state record is a 3.5-pound, 14.25-inch Spotted Sucker harvested June 6.
And Toby has already decided what he would like to be when he grows up.
“The first day of school, when you’re doing these little charts about what you want to be when you grow up,” Caroline Grant said, “he said he wanted to be a bowfishing guide. He’s delighted with this sport.”
Meeting of the Deer by Francis Marion
The SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is planning a public meeting to discuss the deer population and deer hunting in the Francis Marion National Forest. The meeting will take place on September 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Santee Cooper Auditorium, 1 Riverwood Drive at Moncks Corner.
For several years, the SCDNR has heard hunters worry about the low number of deer and the quality of hunting in the national forest estate. Available deer harvest data and population surveys support these concerns.
As part of the meeting, the SCDNR will present available data, receive feedback from hunters, and discuss options for future regulatory changes that could help increase the deer population in the national forest. Any changes to the regulations would not come into effect until the 2023 deer season.
Due to time constraints and the complexity of the issue, discussions and concerns will be limited to deer and deer hunting in the Francis Marion National Forest.
The Francis Marion National Forest is approximately 260,000 acres of US Forest Service property in Berkeley and Charleston counties. The property is part of the SCDNR’s wildlife management program, with the land being managed for hunting and other public uses.
American yacht club
America’s Boating Club Charleston will be hosting boating safety courses Sept. 10 and Oct. 15 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. Classes start at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Successful participants are awarded the SC Department of Natural Resources Boater Education Card. The cost is $45 for adults and $15 for additional household members sharing the text. Bursaries are available for young people between the ages of 12 and 18. Call 843-312-2876 or email [email protected]
Student Angler’s League Tournament Trail
Students in grades 1-12 who want to fish in a competitive school year youth league from boats for rockfish or bass can join the Student Angler League Tournament Trail.
You are not required to have a team or club at your school. You must be enrolled in a school (basic, home, virtual, etc.) to participate. An adult 21 years or older must operate an insured boat. The first SALTT trail tournament will take place on September 24 in Georgetown. All four trail events award $4,000 in gift cards and fishing-related merchandise from our partners. For more information, visit salttfishing.com.