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Exploring & Fishing South Carolina

Ryan Collins

This week I am headed to South Carolina for a wedding and to visit my in-laws, but I also hope to do some fishing on the ponds, piers and beaches of SC.

I'm looking forward to exploring a new area on foot, but honestly I am pretty spoiled by the terrific surfcasting we have here on Cape Cod.

From what I have gathered, most shore fishing in South Carolina takes place from piers. Growing up I used to fish from the Scusset Beach fish pier, but I have never fished a pier the magnitude of the ones they have in SC. 

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As far as species are concerned I know there are kingfish, spanish mackerel, flounder, trout, red and black drum and sheep head. I'm sure there are some sharks around too. 

Right now I am in the passenger seat of Lauren's Subaru Imprezza, and we are about to enter Fredericksburg, Virginia where we will stay the night. Tomorrow we'll drive another six hours en route Calabash, North Carolina. 

We'll spend tomorrow night in Calabash and on Wednesday morning I plan to head to Sunset Beach Fish Pier which is about 5 minutes from where we will be staying. 

Later in the day on Wednesday we hit the highway again, this time en route to Myrtle Beach where we will attend our friend's wedding. 

Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Pavillion which is more or less located right on the sand at Myrtle Beach. 

I am not in the wedding so I should have a decent amount of time to explore around. My online research has not yielded much information about surfcasting but hopefully I can find something that is willing to bite. 

Post-wedding I am heading to Spartanburg, South Carolina to visit Lauren's parents. They are located about 3 hours from the ocean so I will probably try to do some sort of freshwater fishing, perhaps in the lakes and streams in nearby Lake Lure, North Carolina.

So we shall see what happens. I am not expecting any huge catches (like the roosterfish in Costa Rica) but you never know unless you try.

If you have any experience fishing in South Carolina then please let me know by commenting below.

Tight lines!​

I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  1. I would have thought there would be blues and bass in abundance down there. The fish have to winter somewhere, unless it is further south. from what I have seen, the spring migration north starts somewhere off the Carolina’s and moves north from there. Any reason given as to why no-one fishes from the beach?

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  2. Ryan,
    Check out Seabrook Island. They have one of the most amazing fresh water ponds I have fished. The Bohicket Marina has super inexpensive boat and kayak rentals, and you can fish from the docks there. One thing I enjoyed about SC is all the unique estuary waters. Watch out for alligators if you are in swampy areas.

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  3. Good luck! Getting a Red Drum from the surf would be pretty awesome

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    1. It definitely would be. There have been some 25+ pound red drum caught from boats the past week off the Little River jetties but I have not heard much from shore.

      Last night before sunset I had a 5-7 foot shark rise on and then follow my Magic Swimmer. Would of loved to have hooked him, will try again today.

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  4. I have a place In Myrtle and despite fishing here on the Cape all the time, I don’t fish down there. Most of what I observe is from the beach where using bait is the norm, never see anyone working plugs, etc. Did speak with a local who said they will get the occasional run of stripers and blues this time of year, but I have not seen it. Good luck and have fun, maybe you can convince me to start!

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    1. Thanks for the info Tom. As you mention it sure does seem like bait fishing is most prevalent, as I also have not seen anyone tossing plugs from the beach.

      I spent my fishing time yesterday poppers and magic swimmers. No hits but I did have a 5-7ft long shark show swirl on the swimmer near Pier #14 and then follow it for a little while without committing.

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  5. One thing that you have to be ready for is how to get a fish you have caught from the water up to the pier so you can release it without breaking your line or your rod, especially if the fish is fairly large. In New Jersey they fish off piers a lot and use a unique system to do this. I have seen this used before and it is very effective.
    You need a rope long enough to reach the water and heavy enough to lift any fish you may catch. Then a strong metal ring about 2 feet in diameter with a net strung onto the ring. Use 3 smaller pieces of rope that are tied at 3 separate points around the ring and meet together above the ring. Often the small ropes are tied to a small ring about the size of a climbing carabiner. Connect the long rope to the the 3 small ropes by tying it to the small ring. Keep the system on the pier deck or hanging from the pier ready to use.
    When you catch a fish drop the net and ring down towards the water making sure to keep the other end of the rope tied to the pier. By maneuvering the rope get the ring right on top of the surface of the water or just under. Use your rod to guide the fish over the ring and into the net. Then pull the rope up so the ring, net and fish are lifted up onto the pier.
    Voila!

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    1. That is quite the technique! Some of the pier guys down here are very serious, with all sorts of equipment etc., much like serious canal fishermen.

      So far I have just been casting from the beach but I might try a pier today. I won’t have time to construct an apparatus like you have described, so hopefully there is someone around with one, if I do hook into something of some size!

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