Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Program

Red Drum

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Adult red drum, often referred to as "bull reds," are those fish that can spawn and are generally considered to be larger than 33 inches in length or about 14 pounds.

Adult Red Drum - Recommended Rigs

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.

Rigs

Recommended fishing rig 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*

* For more information on circle hooks, the results of this scientific study demonstrate the effectiveness of this hook style in catch and release fishing.