Watch: Handling Tips for Red Drum Catch & Release
Red drum are Captain J.R. Waits' bread and butter. For over 20 years, he's led fishing charters in Charleston and guided countless first-timers and veterans alike on inshore angling trips. As a conservation-minded angler, he's seen the ups and downs of the red drum population in South Carolina waters and changed his practices toward these popular fish accordingly.
This summer we were excited to team up with Capt. Waits to show you how an experienced captain handles the catch and release of large red drum. If you target big reds, watch on to see how Capt. Waits gives these important fish the best shot at surviving their encounters with anglers.
Here are the takeaways if you target large red drum:
- Use gear that shortens the fight time (20-lb and higher test line)
- Use a rig that minimizes the chance of hook damage (short leader, fixed sinker weighing 3 oz. or more, and barbless, non-offset and non-stainless hook)
- Keep the fish in the water (we recommend snapping photos of the fish during revival and release!)