The Rig You Should Be Using for Big Reds

The Rig You Should Be Using for Big Reds

Reviving a red drum before release (Photo: Philip Jones)

Reviving a red drum before release (Photo: Philip Jones)

The vast majority of red drum caught in South Carolina aren’t kept for coolers.

Of the estimated 560,000 red drum hooked by anglers each year, 80% are released. But even under ideal conditions, studies estimate that about 10% of caught-and-released fish die.                 

The math is clear – with coastal angler numbers on the rise, proper handling and release are critical to ensuring good fishing in South Carolina.

Today we’re sharing our picks for the ideal rigs to use for adult red drum (aka bull reds) in particular. These set-ups are designed to minimize the chance of gut-hooking these large fish, giving them a better shot at surviving their encounters with anglers. The older and larger a fish is, the more it can contribute to the next generation of red drum – so if you target adult red drum, it’s worth taking the time to use the right rig.

Here are the specs for SCDNR-recommended rigs for adult red drum:

  • A short leader (~6 inches or less) on 50-80-pound monofilament
  • A fixed sinker weighing 3-6 ounces
  • A barbless, non-offset and non-stainless circle hook
Two variations on the ideal adult red drum rig (Image: Mark Conrardy/SCDNR)

Two variations on the ideal adult red drum rig (Image: Mark Conrardy/SCDNR)

Already fish with rigs like this? Tell us about your experience with them below.

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