One thing about trophy catfishing is the potential revenue that they can bring to an area. I live in an area where I can drive to TN, SC, Virginia, and anywhere in NC all the way to the Cape Fear in 3 hours or less. If I am going to hire a guide or drive all the way to fish myself with the prices (gas etc) I want to fish where there are lots of trophies. My personal opinion, before the current change in catfish reg's, I wouldn't have picked Santee Cooper or the Cape Fear. I feel, for my personal money to be spent, too many big cats have been removed for me to drive or spend my money. I would prob. drive to the James River or TN River to fish. Both have catchable numbers of trophies and reg's to protect the fishery are present in TN and VA. Others may have different opinions which is 100% OK, but catfish hotspots that produce trophies and protect them like TN and Virginia will draw in my money. This includes gas, motels, expenses, guides, license if out of state, food, etc. If the Cape Fear etc. had better protection of trophy cats, or Badin etc. would I fish them instead, and spend my money in those communties? Until I, personally, feel those things are done I will spend my money elsewhere. This also includes all the family and friends that I take each year on trips and the money I spend. So many of these areas (local communties) could benefit by bringing in anglers if trophies (fishable numbers and a great chance to land one) were present and protected. On a 100% biased note, I would say that in an area like the Cape Fear would anglers come from distant regions to fish for large flatheads and blues or the Cape Fear shiner? The question about protecting trophy cats has many angles and economics is one of them. Additionally, look at the catfish tournaments that are popping up each year. These tournaments go where the big cats are, and people spend money when they go. I just know that when I spend my personal money on a catfishing trip I want to go where the trophies are, and I have the best chance of landing one. If your local lake or river has the potential to grow large flatheads and blues, yet they are hard to catch why is that, and how much money could a community make if they where there in better numbers? I do not have the answer, but I know that they will not see my money until the cats are there.