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Red Drum fishing regulations pending


Capt. Patrick Kelly of North Myrtle Beach, owner/operator of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters, prepares to release a red drum on a recent fishing trip. New limits on red drum appear imminent, pending approval of Gov. Henry McMaster. Submitted photo
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New limits on red drum fishing are about to become law in S.C. See what they are

By Gregg Holshouser

For The Sun News

May 10, 2018 05:48 PM

Updated May 10, 2018 06:55 PM

Changes to fishing limits on South Carolina’s red drum population have been approved by the state legislature and only need the signature of Gov. Henry McMaster to become law.

The legislature has approved a bill that will reduce the daily bag limit from three fish per person per day to two, and introduce a first-time boat limit of six red drum per day in the Palmetto State.

“It’s going to the governor’s desk and we don’t anticipate any problem with the governor signing the legislation,” said Scott Whitaker, Executive Director of Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina, which supported the changes.
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The current size slot limit of 15 to 23 inches for red drum would remain unchanged.

There were two versions of the bill under consideration, one in the House, which also had designs on a ban on gigging red drum, and one in the Senate.

The Senate version passed, and gigging of red drum will continue to be legal in South Carolina waters.

Red drum are widely considered the most popular – and most highly targeted – species found in South Carolinas inlets, bays, sounds and rivers.

Capt. Patrick Kelly, owner/operator of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in North Myrtle Beach, is pleased to see some pressure taken off such an important and easily accessible species. “I think it’s excellent, I’m really excited about it,” said Kelly.

Kelly specializes in fishing for estuary species such as red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder and black drum, and says there is support for the changes among his co-horts.

“The guides in this area I talk to regularly are behind it,” said Kelly. “I don’t think it will hurt the business end of it, this only makes things better for the future.”

RedDrum Legislation details

*Reduce the daily bag limit from three per person to two person

*Institute a boat limit of six per day

*The current slot limit of 15 to 23 inches remains

*Gigging of reddrum would remain legal, except in the months of December, January and February