Catching Eel: Johns Island/Charleston


I just moved from Maryland where I would catch eel out of the river near the the bay (American eel) using eel pots. I was wondering if anyone would be kind to share any spots / rivers near my location where I could try my luck. I use larger eels for sushi which I make and smaller eels for bait.

Will cook sushi for a eel spot! HAHA

Welcome to the forum. We need new blood here, especially ones that come from south of the Mason Dixon line. Here is what I think I know.

American eels live mostly in fresh water and in the fall come into the salt to breed, or so i have been told.

We used to catch them in some ponds on Raccoon Island and further up in the dawhoo on a regular basis.

Any river that touches the ocean will probably hold eels in SC.

Im no expert, but the guys that taught me about eels set their pots closer to the ocean in the fall and closer to the brackish/fresh water other times of the year.

We made our own pots and used wire mesh,panty hose, and zip ties to make them.

I had the best luck baiting them with big clam pieces and snouts.

if you are lucky barbawang will be along soon and give us all a proper eel lesson.

What part of MD? I caught one once on the eastern shore using small baitfish on hook & line.

Can you post a picture of your pots?

There was a bunch of eels way up in Goose Creek near the dam. I once pulled up a pot in the middle of pimlico rice field and it was full of big eels. I always wanted to smoke one after seeing that guy with the weir on the television.

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I’ve caught them on bait years ago in the Cooper, but I don’t know anything about them. Probably only 15 minutes from the Harbor, so very salty water still. Pretty sure it was in the colder months too if I remember correctly.

Only eel I’ve ever caught was in the rice fields near the old Berkeley County Yacht Club. Scared the ever living crap out of me but my Granddad had me grab it with a rag and take the hook out of it to learn. Slicker than eel shi* isn’t just an old cliche sayin… ask me how I know… ha

Good luck on your adventure. Keep us in the know, looking forward to seeing how this goes…

I’ll give this the full response it deserves asap. Salt eels are hard for me to give advice on. Bushy park area of the cooper is covered in them though. They like to eat fiddler crabs, so all the steep, hard mud banks up there make great habitat. I’d research the legality of using a store bought minnow trap, which I believe just means you can’t widen the openings in the trap past 1” diameter

More soon

And welcome to the group!

S man ain’t that kind of hard to keep lit.

Yeah I know but somebody had to say it

First I wanted to say thanks for all the feedback!! I will update everyone with the places I try and what I catch/cook. I tend to use minor traps too with just with bigger openings. Smaller openings = 0 eel. Custom eel traps can be bought on Facebook market place for $10-15 a trap where I lived in MD and just ended buying a few. Stono river is pretty close to my area and will try this soonish. First, I plan to do some shore fishing off Folly beach.

Looks like you can fish up to 2 traps in saltwater without purchasing extra tags… as long as they conform to those specs, white buoys, saltwater license, etc.

I’d guess that in the Stono area you might try setting them in smaller creeks that are cut off into deeper pools at low tide… IMO the vast majority of American eels here spend their time in lower salinities i.e. up the rivers a ways. One of those traps might end up hard to pull if you found the right spot to set near Bushy Park on the Cooper.

Look forward to your reports!

If you’re near the Stono, try Bulow Landing in Ravenel. Salinity is lower up that way in the old rice fields.

Will check this out tomorrow and not even a far drive from the house. Looks pretty promising for a spot. Huge thanks!!!