"Landlocked" will air on the Documentary Channel on the Dish Network and DirecTV on July 22 at 10 pm. It will also be aired several times over the course of the year.
"Landlocked" traces the events that lead up to the building of the Santee-Cooper reservoirs; the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project was the largest land-clearing project and the largest dam in the world at that time.
What was not known was that during an 8-week period when the lakes were finally impounded, saltwater stripers that were spawning up in the Santee and Cooper rivers were trapped or landlocked and became permanent residents in Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie.
It didn't take long for local anglers to discover the "saltwater" stripers. The original thinking was that the stripers would die out or they would go back through the locks, and back to the ocean. Not only did they stay, but they were surviving and growing.
In the 1950s, it was discovered that the stripers were reproducing in the Santee Cooper lakes, and then South Carolina fisheries biologists began raising striped bass in hatcheries and began stocking them in other reservoirs. As a result of the "odd behavior of a fish," 36 states and five countries now have landlocked striped bass.
King caught "striped bass fever" more than 15 years ago when he caught a 10-pound fish from Lake Hartwell. He began spending his free time researching stripers and decided to produce a documentary that would chronicle their story.
King took a year off from work and joined forces with Bryan Tankersley and Jeff Sumerel of Dark Corner Films. The result was a 38-minute documentary that debuted last February at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston.
King told his wife he doubted he would ever get back the money back he invested in his "passion project," but he is still donating five percent of the proceeds to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources' striped bass program.