Get crabby with Wando River redfish

Shane Flannigan targets redfish around Wando River docks with cut crab as bait.

Quartered crab is a top notch bait

Anglers in South Carolina’s Lowcountry have plenty of fish to choose from in October. And redfish are one of the most willing to bite, especially on chunks of blue crab.

Shane Flannigan of Mt. Pleasant’s Reel Deal Charters said as long as anglers can put their baits under docks on the Wando River, they’ll stay busy reeling in redfish of various sizes. He said the keys are using the right bait, watching your line closely and putting the right amount of pressure on the fish once you’re hooked up.

“You really can’t beat quartered chunks of blue crab for redfish under docks this time of year,” said Flannigan (843-388-5093). “You want to set up on the upcurrent side of a dock so that your line will stay tight once your bait is in place. Just put your rod in a rod holder, but you have to keep a close watch. Once a redfish picks up your bait, it can wrap you all around the pilings if you don’t pull it from under the dock fairly quickly.”

Hooking a crab chunk properly is a key to bait presentation.

The hardest part for many anglers, he said, is hooking the bait correctly. Flannigan takes a whole blue crab and cuts the legs off, but leaves the knuckles — the joints where the legs connect to the crab’s body. Then he removes the shell by holding the bottom of the crab’s body in one hand, then twisting the top with the other hand. Next, he cuts the body into four parts.

You’ll know quickly if redfish are present

“The only way to keep the bait on is to run the hook through one of the knuckles. And each of the four parts has knuckles on them if you cut the crab properly. That knuckle will hold on the hook securely,” he said.

With a medium-heavy spinning rod and a 2500 series reel spooled with 15- to 20-pound line, a 1-ounce weight, a barrel swivel, a fluorocarbon leader, and the crab chunk on a 2/0 hook, Flannigan casts under the dock. He likes to use two rods at a time.

“I put those two rods in rod holders, and then it’s just time to wait,” he said.

But anglers shouldn’t get too comfortable.

“If the fish are under that dock, it won’t take long for you to know it. They will bite it right quick, and when they do, you can’t be scared to put pressure on them. You need to turn them away from those pilings to keep them from wrapping you up,” he said.

Flannigan said if you don’t get at least a bite within about 15 minutes, reel in and find another dock.

“This area is full of redfish right now, and they love hanging out under docks. If you aren’t having any luck, move to another dock. It’s good to have some patience, but don’t waste time,” he said.



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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1664 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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