October 18, 2019
Photo by David Martin on Unsplash
South Carolina is a state beloved for its history, nature, and southern charm. And for anglers, there’s an extra-special reason to love The Palmetto State: the abundant fishery. Fishing options are so plentiful that local and visiting anglers may have a hard time choosing the best location for their next fishing adventure. From freshwater lakes, to the brackish marshes near the coast, and of course the Atlantic Ocean that’s full of possibilities, it’s no wonder South Carolina is a great place to drop a line!
Throughout the state are a variety of lakes, rivers, and canals just ready to host your group for a great day of fishing. Here are the best places to fish in South Carolina, in no particular order:
At the northern part of the state is a nice curved topography that offers some of the best inshore fishing on the Atlantic coast. From Murrells Inlet, through Myrtle Beach, all the way north to North Myrtle Beach there are captains and guides who fish throughout the year.
Murrells Inlet has earned the reputation of being a top producing fishing town. On the west side of Murrells Inlet is the Waccamaw River, a great fishery for largemouth bass and crappie. On the east side is the inlet itself, an enclosed system that offers excellent fishing for redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Any way you slice it, Murrells Inlet is without a doubt one of the best places in South Carolina for your fishing excursion.
Pier and surf fishing are very popular at Myrtle Beach State Park. This is only one of four oceanfront state parks in South Carolina and it allows anglers to get up-close and personal to the Atlantic Ocean action. If you opt for surf fishing, make sure you have a valid fishing license; pier anglers need to only worry about admission to the pier (no license required). You’ll see a great number of inshore fish species, including bluefish, redfish, black drum, Spanish and King mackerel, and trout just to name a few.
In North Myrtle Beach, check out Cherry Grove Pier. A 985ft. pier frequented by thousands of anglers since it was first built in the 1950s. Its home to many record catches, including a 1780lb. tiger shark. When fishing from Cherry Grove Pier, use live bait such as shrimp and cast your line out far. The bait will drift with the tide and pick up bluefish, pompano, trout, or redfish. If you are targeting larger fish, don’t forget to bring a landing net to get the fish onto the pier.
Lake Murray is a large reservoir near South Charleston’s capital, Columbia. Its size of 41 miles long and 14 miles wide along with 500 miles of shoreline offers anglers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts tons of opportunities. Each year the lake hosts several fishing tournaments, and recreational anglers fish the lake 365 days of the year. Look for buoys that mark man-made habitats, or fish attractors, that are good places to start your Lake Murray fishing trip. Just make sure that you don’t anchor in these spots. Top species include largemouth bass, striped bass, white perch, sunfish, crappie, and catfish. Lake Murray is known as one of the most productive lakes in South Carolina, and currently holds state records for white bass, white perch, white crappie, and white catfish.
Lake Marion is the largest lake and offers the best fishery of catfish in South Carolina. Located SE of Columbia, you can either fish from a boat, the vast shoreline, or the fishing pier in Santee State Park. A favorite event for locals in the area is the Big Daddy Fishing Tournament that takes place each August. It’s hosted by the state park to promote the sport of fishing and encourage children 3-12 years old to go fishing with an adult. Each child receives a new rod and reel in addition to other prizes. Although 110,000 acre Lake Marion is known for its catfish fishing, largemouth bass and crappie can be targeted and caught here as well.
At the northern part of the state is Lake Jocassee, right on the border of North Carolina with finger lakes reaching into Gorges State Park. Anglers can access Lake Jocassee from Devil’s Fork State Park and catch a variety of freshwater species including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and white bass. The lake is also a great fishing spot to target trophy rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass. The 7,565 acre Lake Jocassee is mountain spring-fed and provides exceptionally clear water. And the undeveloped land surrounding the lake makes it a paradise for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Back to the coast, Charleston Harbor is easily accessible for Charleston and Mount Pleasant residents and tourists alike. Charleston Harbor offers unique views of the historical city and some of the best fishing in the state. The biggest draw for anglers in the area: bull reds. For whatever reason, redfish love the estuary waters of Charleston Harbor. Visit in the late summer or early fall and you can see exactly what we mean. Other favorite fish to target include cobia, spotted seatrout, flounder, and sheepshead.
Offshore charters from Charleston or Mount Pleasant are generally fishing the same areas. The bottom fishing for grouper and snapper are very popular, or go for the pelagic tuna, marlin, or wahoo. The topwater species of mahi mahi is another popular South Carolina fish to target.
At the southern tip of South Carolina is Hilton Head Island. This particular region is known for its lowcountry, backwater fishing adventures. Inshore trips for redfish, sheepshead, and spotted seatrout are great year round. During the summer, the tarpon migration has anglers and fly fishermen/women in particular scouting the shallows for the silver king. Offshore Hilton Head fishing trips are also very popular. Trolling for Mahi Mahi or tuna is a great way to spend your day. Or try bottom fishing for Grouper and/or Snapper. As with most offshore trips, spend at least 6 hours on the water to give yourself plenty of time to reel in those trophy catches.
From north to south, Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head, South Carolina has some fantastic fishing opportunities! If you’re not sure where to start, let FishAnywhere help. We have Captains and Guides throughout the area ready to help fulfill your fishing dreams. Don’t overlook the Palmetto State, it has tons to offer!
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