How To Catch Redfish In Charleston, SC


A variety of gamefish species roam the waters around Charleston, and redfish are undoubtedly one of the most popular targets. In this post, we’ll teach you how to catch redfish in Charleston, SC. Of course, you can always book a fishing charter with Therapy Fishing to get right at the action! Captain Dan has years of experience and will provide all of the equipment you need to catch a redfish in no time.

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Redfish In Charleston


Redfish are incredibly abundant in the Charleston area, and they’re also year-round residents. This means that you can catch them during any month of the year. Redfish in this region also occur in several different size classes. You can focus on filling a cooler with small, “eating size” redfish, or you can set your sights on some of the 40-inch-plus giants lurking in slightly deeper water.

Given all of these factors, and the fact that redfish put up a spirited fight once hooked, it’s easy to see why they’re one of Charleston’s most celebrated species. It’s also part of the reason we offer trips that focus specifically on these fantastic, crimson-colored fish.

During your charter, we’ll take care of everything during your charter, from gear and tackle to tips and techniques. But it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these beautiful fish and the basic techniques used to catch them before hitting the water.  

Redfish Basics


Redfish, sometimes referred to as red drum, are medium-sized gamefish. Unlike some other species, who bear monikers that don’t seem terribly appropriate or descriptive, redfish are aptly named. They have handsome red backs and sides, and they typically bear one or two large, black spots near their tails. The “drum” portion of their name reflects their tendency to make audible “thumping” sounds when stressed.

Redfish are a salt-water species, but they also inhabit brackish water near the coast. They primarily forage near the bottom of the water column, where they feed on a variety of prey. However, crustaceans—particularly blue crabs—and mullet often form the bulk of their diet.

Redfish are closely related to another local denizen, the black drum. Young individuals of both species taste quite similar, and they can both be caught with relatively similar approaches. Black drum grow larger than their red-colored cousins, but redfish remain the more popular target among local anglers.

Basic Redfish Fishing Techniques


When fishing for any species, you must start by locating your quarry. Fortunately, redfish typically exhibit pretty consistent feeding and behavioral patterns, which eliminates the need for a lot of guesswork.

However, you will need to decide whether you’d rather catch large numbers of small redfish or test your luck targeting big, “bull redfish.” Young individuals tend to spend most of their time prowling flats, but larger fish are often found much farther from shore, just beyond the most distant sandbars. They frequently use grass mats for cover, but they can also be found near oyster beds and jetties.

Once in a good location, you’ll typically start using a live-bait rig, designed to keep the bait just above the bottom. However, you can catch redfish using artificial lures, and some anglers even enjoy fly-fishing for these aggressive feeders.

Gear Overview

When you book a charter with Therapy Fishing, we’ll set you up with everything you need to catch redfish during your trip. But we’ll break down the basic gear and tackle you’ll be using below, so you can know what to expect.

Rod & Real

Medium- to medium-heavy rods in the 7- to 9-foot range typically provide more than enough backbone to control redfish and reroute them away from line-cutting oyster beds and similar obstacles.

Some anglers prefer to use bait-casting reels, while others enjoy the simplicity that spinning reels provide. Either option will work well. It is, however, important to ensure you keep your reel loaded with at least 100 yards of line, as big drums occasionally go on epic runs.


Braided fishing line is the preferred choice for most redfish anglers. It is thinner than monofilament or fluorocarbon lines of similar strength. Braided lines are also better able to withstand the occasional run-in with jagged shells and rocks.

Because redfish primarily hunt by smell and taste, they usually aren’t very line-shy, so the high-visibility nature of braided lines won’t be a problem the way it is for some other species.

Baits & Rigs

We’ll typically set you up with a simple sinker rig, but floating rigs are also effective if properly set up so that the bait remains close to the bottom. The best redfish bait varies slightly based on the time of year and current conditions. Quartered blue crabs, shrimp and mullet are a few of the most effective options.


Ready To Catch Redfish?

In many ways, redfish are the ideal quarry in the Charleston area. They’re abundant, fight well once hooked, and make great table fare. They also offer something for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Young and inexperienced anglers will usually have no trouble hooking plenty of small fish, and experienced anglers will find it challenging to battle big bulls back to the boat.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your redfish adventure in Charleston, SC with Therapy Fishing today!

Adam Limbach