New limits on red drum fishing appear imminent, S.C. Wahoo Series picks up
For The Sun News
April 06, 2018 05:05 PM
Updated April 06, 2018 05:10 PM
Both bodies of the South Carolina Legislature are in near-unanimous agreement that new, more restrictive laws are needed to protect the Palmetto State’s population of red drum, but there are simultaneous bills under consideration by the two bodies, with one difference.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved its version of the bill by a 106-1 vote.
The House version includes a ban on gigging of red drum to go with a reduction in the daily bag limit from three fish per person per day to two, and a first-time boat limit of six red drum per day.
The Senate version, approved in mid-February by a 40-0 vote, includes the same reduction in the bag limit and the new boat limit but does not include the ban on gigging of red drum.
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With the Senate and the House in agreement that the reduction in bag limit is needed, Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina Executive Director Scott Whitaker is optimistic some version of the bill will be passed during the current legislative session.
“Both pieces of legislation have passed through their respective bodies by an overwhelming majority vote and made the important cross over date for legislation to proceed,” said Whitaker on Friday morning. “Everyone in the General Assembly that we have spoken with understands the importance of this action and to their credit, no one we are aware of has any opposition to change.
“We believe they will come to a consensus on the two versions and that we will see much needed new regulations on red drum very shortly.”
If a version of the bills is passed it would become law upon being signed by Gov. Henry McMaster.
S.C. Wahoo Series
After a March to forget weather-wise, the S.C. Wahoo Series got rolling when April arrived on Easter Sunday.
Just over half the field of 128 boats, 65 to be exact, took advantage of decent seas on Sunday and Monday to make the lengthy run offshore to target wahoo, and there were plenty of nice fish weighed in.
“There had been a lot of sitting around, but there was a lot going on for a few days,” said series director Marc Pincus.
The tournament format allows competing boats to fish two days and weigh in one wahoo per day during the event, which opened on Feb. 2 and runs through April 15.
The heaviest cumulative weight of two wahoo determines the winner.
LIQRBOX out of Charleston, headed by Charlie Aimar, weighed in the largest wahoo yet on Monday at Toler’s Cove Marina, an 87.1-pounder.
That fish paired well with the 61.8-pounder the crew weighed on March 24, giving them the top two-fish aggregate thus far at 148.9 pounds.
Monday was quite a day at Georgetown Landing Marina, one of three weigh-in spots for the series, with three wahoo over 75 pounds weighed in.
Leading the way was Jason Johnson of Conway and his crew aboard Kings Full, which weighed in an 85.5-pounder, good for the second-largest wahoo overall with one day still to fish.
My Boat, headed by Derrick Blanton of Murrells Inlet, weighed in its first fish, an 84.1-pounder, the event’s third largest wahoo thus far.
Jess Fisher and crew of Deal Maker out of Murrells Inlet weighed in a 75.7-pounder Monday, then on Wednesday completed their run in the series with their second wahoo, a 53.0-pounder.
Pincus said 25 boats declared fishing days on Friday, but numerous boats still must declare fishing days before the series concludes.