Catching Red Drum in the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge

By
Real Estate Agent with W.P. Baldwin & Associates

For my money the most fun you can have on the water in the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge (McClellanville, SC) is fishing for Spot tails (Red Drum).  There are many different approaches you can take, fishing the flats, casting a grub, fishing the edge of the marsh with live bait on a float, or surf fishing. 


Fishing the flats is a little like hunting and fishing combined.  I am terrible at it, but the idea is to pole through the marsh flats at high tide.  The Spot tails eat crabs in the marsh, so they usually have their tails sticking up out of the water while they dive for crabs.  When you see that, cast a DOA crab in front of them.  I have never had a lot of luck, but it gets your adrenaline going chasing fish through the marsh.

Surf fishing will usually produce the largest catch.  In my limited experience, I have had the best luck with live finger mullet, the bigger the bait the bigger the catch.  Shrimp work as well, but it seems to attract more sharks and catfish.  For tackle, use fish finder with a sliding 2 ounce weight on 25 lb test line.  Dick and I fished the Red Octorber Surf Tourney last year and won the aggregate length prize with our top three fish 40", 32" and 30".  That was definately my best day in the surf.


For the most sure fire method, go in almost any creek anywhere near a drain or oyster rock.  I prefer incoming tide just as it hits the marsh and fishing the bank with a float rig.  Again shrimp or finger mullet work best.  Cast as close to the marsh as possible.  There are many different methods, and most better than mine.  I am just a novice in perpetual training. The fish below was a picture I captured wtih my cell phone this fall (top quality photography). 

I was fishing with my son on the banks of the "secret spot" when my son (Morrison, 8) hooded something that almost pulled him over the stern.  He fought it for a minute, but it ran to the marsh and cut the line.  I quickly re-rigged and put him back on the same spot and immediately got a hit.  I let him fight for a second, and then
landed it for him, 32" (too big to keep, but fun to catch.)

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