Mount Pleasant, SC
Holy by name, holy by nature, well at least for anglers. Charleston, or the ‘The Holy City’ as it is referred to by locals, is a quintessential fishing city. Aside from its scrumptious food, foot-tapping live music, and hospitable residents, it has tidal creeks, salt marshes and offshore destinations, which are littered with shipwrecks that attract all types of fish species. In short, Charleston is one hell of a place.
Fall 2022 offshore fishing report for Charleston from Capt. Linus Bruno, Sea Runner Charters: "With the cooler waters starting to come in, the Sailfish, Wahoo, and Black Fin Tuna are jumping in our boat. Come visit one of the best cities on the East Coast and spend a day fishing with our crew."
South Carolina's slogan is "smiling faces, beautiful places". It certainly rings true when you're out on the water here.
It's easy to get out and enjoy the ocean around Charleston as there are plenty of fishing charters with experienced captains and well-maintained vessels. If you fancy heading far out to sea, they'll be more than happy to guide you up to 50 miles offshore, although shorter voyages of 5 miles or less are sure to entertain. If sticking to nearshore and inshore fishing, the marsh ecosystem provides rich feeding grounds for Redfish, Sea Trout, Black Drum, Sheepshead, and Flounder -- as well as fun channels to wind through on a boat or kayak. Far offshore, you'll find Red Snapper, Triggerfish, Wahoo, Billfish and Mahi Mahi. What'll you be having?Browse Charleston fishing charters
Although known for its saltwater, Charleston boasts some pretty fine freshwater fishing too. It has over 14 reservoirs, totaling around 400,000 acres of freshwater (yes, you read that right) and countless rivers, streams and waterways. Little surprise these waters are overflowing with fish. There’s Crappie, Bream, Catfish and the usual species of Trout up for grabs. Lake Moultrie is about an hour from Charleston, and further north near Columbia, Lake Murray is known as one of the most bountiful lakes in the Southeast U.S.Browse Charleston fishing charters
Now that you're eager to get out on the water, don't forget to purchase a fishing license. Under South Carolina's new system, there are three convenient purchasing options. Licenses can be bought directly through the state’s official website, by phone or at authorized point-of-sale agents (of which there are over 230). Everyone 16 years or old needs one. Besides, when you do get out onto the water, be sure to bring your license with you. Anglers must keep their licenses on their person while engaging in fishing activities.Purchase a South Carolina fishing license
Spoiled for choice doesn't even come close to describing the best places to fish in Charleston. Here are some of the best.
The Cooper River flows from the north of Charleston, meeting the Wando River at the Charleston Harbor. Fishers will find a wide variety of fish including Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Panfish, and Striped Bass. Whether you are fly fishing or baitcasting, the chances of getting a bite here are more than good. They're great!View fishing boats
Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers during the Great Depression, the Intracoastal Waterway connected most of the estuaries, bays and rivers that existed in the local area. Needless to say, this is an angler's paradise. The Waterway snakes through Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach. Ask any local and they’ll tell you: some of the best fishing in the state can be found on the Waterway. Give it a try.View fishing boats
Straight from New York City, Comanche Reef is composed of subway cars that were sunk by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. In addition to being a great spot for fishing, this artificial reef system is a unique spot for diving and underwater photography.View fishing boats
Many of the captains here are born and raised Charlestonians, or at least proud Lowcountry locals. On a charter trip, you'll likely come back not just with new fishing stories to tell, but also with greater knowledge of the area's rich history and geography.
There are many charters available in Charleston, with capacity for 3-6 anglers per boat in most cases and pricing starting around $250 for 2 hour trips.
If booking a charter, your captain will have exactly what’s needed for the fish you want to target. Going on your own? You can get more information from local bait and tackle shops, or look for other help online.
When booking a fishing charter, remember to come prepared with cash since gratuity is expected for most captains and / or their first mates helping on the trip.
The variety of marine life in Charleston is staggering. Name a species and there's a good chance it's here. These are some of the region’s most likely suspects.
Also known as red drum, these fish are all along the coast of South Carolina. Since they're such a popular target, state protections must be followed closely. Pay attention to the daily catch limit for the dates you're fishing and to size restrictions for keeping your catch.
King Mackerel are a regal catch. Charleston’s Mackerel season starts in May and continues well into fall.
Wahoo excite anglers throughout the Southeast. Arriving in spring, Wahoo grace South Carolina’s waters until the end of summer.
Fishing, fishing, fishing! If you haven't gotten the picture yet, it's the name of the game in Charleston. We've laid out much of the details around charter fishing, so here are a few more options and ideas.
Want to prove your skills? There are an impressive number of fishing tournaments in Charleston, many of which run throughout the year. The unique South Carolina Wahoo Series comes as one of the earliest in February. Then, the Hooked On Miracles King Mackerel Tournament and and SC Fall Classic offer more opportunities for anglers to battle it out offshore later in the year.
Kayak fishing is popular with anglers who like to explore on their own, but it can also be done with a hired fishing guide. It's an easy way to escape the crowds and reach some bountiful fishing grounds. Novices can paddle through the marshes in search of Reds or cast lines inshore for Sheepshead. However, the weather can turn on a knife-edge in South Carolina – so stay safe.
Piers are pleasure paradises, even more so if you want to bag yourself a fish. Luckily there are several different kinds of piers in Charleston. Many are geared towards tourists and have shops, restaurants and entertainment attractions. Meanwhile, there are numerous other no-nonsense fishing piers that are more peaceful and serene. Explore to find your favorite!
One of the best things about Charleston is its year-round fishing. Offshore is best in the warm months (March – November) with Wahoo and King Mackerel peaking in the summer. Black Sea Bass are available throughout the year. Even better is the inshore fishing calendar. It remains consistent across all 12 months.
January is an excellent month for Striped and Hybrid Bass.
Time for some Catfish.
March is an ideal month for catching Crappie.
Spanish Mackerel and Cobia season starts.
Cobia are at their peak.
Typically when Redfish season kicks off. Mahi Mahi also show up strong.
Peak time for Silver Kings, the nickname for Tarpon.
Spanish Mackerel are peaking.
Best time for Sharks, although all must be released.
Redfish, Flounder and Spotted Sea Trout are great targets for sight fishing.
Striped Bass in SC’s lakes are good during the winter months.
Excellent time for Spotted Seatrout.