Best Fishing Charter
RedFin Charters

Back in 2017, a deep Charleston freeze hammered the Lowcountry’s inshore fish populations. With speckled trout numbers in particular decline, RedFin Charters owner Joel Levine needed to not only save the livelihood of his catch-and-release based operation, but a crucial finned component of our local ecosystem. Levine and colleagues including Z-man Fishing president Daniel Nussbaum, the Coastal Conservation Association and Friends of the Lowcountry developed a way to route funds from a popular “per-fish-caught” donation program among RedFin customers into the rehabilitation of 5,000-gallon unused hatchery tanks at the Bluffton Mariculture Center. These tanks are used by the Department of Natural Resources to raise tiny fish until they’re big enough to be released into area waterways. “They had the ability to do 600,000 trout and 1.2 million redfish,” Levine said. “The new tanks basically doubled that capacity.” 

Since that time: “We’ve noticed a large difference and comeback with the trout,” Levine said. “We’re catching some of the largest trout we’ve ever caught in the Charleston waters this year.” 

More recently, Levine launched a new initiative with The South Carolina Aquarium that teaches not only sustainable fishing practices but practical skills like throwing a cast net or casting a fly rod. Anyone under 12 fishing with RedFin will also have the opportunity to tag that fish and release it. After they send that tag information to the DNR, they are notified if the fish is caught again, its measurements and whether it was kept or released. “Sometimes, you tag a fish and you’ll get notified three or four times that the same fish has been caught and released,” said Levine. “Just from that endeavor — it teaches kids so much about sustainability and the importance of releasing the fish.”

Help the City Paper keep delivering excellence

Winner of top 2021 state journalism honors (best editorial writing and best cartoon), the Charleston City Paper brings you the Best of Charleston every day. Support our “unafraid” journalism with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.