Inshore Fisheries Research Section
Red Drum - Survey Results
Thank you to all those who took the time to fill out a survey. Your input is very important!
Surveys were collected from:
- 506 Saltwater fishing license holders
- 246 South Carolina CCA members
- 379 Visitors to Charleston Inshore Fishing Expo, Myrtle Beach Boat Show, and Charleston Boat Show
- 277 Charleston inshore fishing tournament participants, Fishing Club meeting attendees, and Fishing Pier anglers
Out of the 1,408 surveys that were filled out and returned:
- 90.3% of fisherman practice catch and release, "usually" or "always" releasing some of the fish caught.
- 92.6% of respondents were male, ages 25-64.
- 61.6% were neither members of fishing clubs nor SCCCA.
- 85.6% of survey respondents fish for red drum.
- 47.6% use J-hooks.
- 34.5% use Circle Hooks.
- 17.9% use all other hook types combined.
- 70% use Live or Natural Bait.
- 15% use Artificial Baits.
- 11.8% use a combination of Artificial and Natural Baits.
- 3% Fly Fish for red drum.
- Almost all South Carolina anglers fish for red drum from private boats.
- Most fish in tidal creeks, mud flats, and around oyster bars. Very few fish in the surf.
- Most anglers (70%) do not target only legal sized fish. They fish for all sizes of red drum.
Now for what it all means:
We now know that nearly all South Carolina anglers encounter fish which they release alive. Red drum is the most targeted fish species in the estuary, and is one of the most popular recreational fish species in the entire southeast. SC red drum anglers overwhelmingly choose to use natural or live baits, using J-hooks more often than any other type.
In previous studies comparing hook and bait types, the combination of J-hooks and natural bait produced the highest catch-and-release mortality rate of any combination studied. This study has revealed a similar phenomenon.
- This study found that J-hooks gut-hooked red drum 35-40% of the time. In addition, 5-10% of fish caught on J-hooks died.
- Offset Circle hooks gut-hooked fish aproximately 20% of the time, and 10% of fish caught on this type of hook died.
- Non-offset Circle hooks gut-hooked fish only 5-10% of the time, with 2-5% of fish caught on non-offset circle hooks dying.
These data will be combined with our fishing studies to help us to estimate catch and release mortality for red drum in South Carolina's estuaries. Are more fish surviving the catch and release encounter than we had thought? Or are fewer fish surviving to grow and reproduce?
A random drawing was conducted on 10/31/04 to award cash prizes to survey participants.
- $500-James Daniels
- $200-R.Q. Harvey
- $150-Willy Timmons
- $75-Art Kelly
- $75-Daniel Warren
This project was funded by a grant from the Cooperative Research Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office.