Charleston SC Lifestyle: Fishing

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Charleston SC Fishing

Charleston is a highly-favored location for anglers who enjoy the varieties and challenges of year-long in-shore and off-shore fishing opportunities. With perennially warm waters nourished by marsh estuary, lush lake and river systems, as well as natural and artificial reefs, the Charleston area offers an abundance of prized game-fish species and a diverse range of habitat and catching methods.

Among the local in-shore fish found in bays, tidal areas and estuaries near Charleston are red drum, spotted sea trout, croaker, flounder and crevalle jack. One of the more popular fishing methods in these shallower waters is "flat fishing" or "sight fishing" with saltwater flyrods for species feeding in marshes and mud flats. Pushing shallow-draft boats with long poles, anglers locate fish as they break the surface with tails and fins in search of minnows and shrimp on sandy bottoms. The skill of and thrill of casting flies in rhythmic, sweeping motions from atop boat platforms is enhanced by the strike and landing of a big catch.
Just beyond area beaches near harbor jetties and splashing sand bars, other enjoyable in-shore varieties include tarpon, spanish mackerel, lady fish, blue fish, whiting, sheepshead and pompano. Another exciting catching method is trolling with live baits and lures for some of the fast-moving, more acrobatic species that will spin, splash and put up a memorable fight when the hook is set.
Off-shore venues in Charleston include an assortment of artificial reefs and natural ledge habitat. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has created hundreds of acres of live bottom by sinking forms of steel and concrete that include old ships, army tanks, and bridges. These areas attract wide varieties of dolphin, tuna, bonito, barracuda, amberjack, king mackerel, cobia, black sea bass and grouper caught by drifting or trolling baits and lures, as well as bottom rigs of cut or live bait. Farther off-shore, lurk the "trophy" pelagic species of blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish, caught by trolling multiple lines with outriggers and offering sensational struggles before being landed.

The competitive nature of Charleston's off-shore fishing community has created a number of outstanding and highly-rewarding billfish tournaments throughout the Spring and Summer months, most notably, the five-part Governor's Billfishing series that begins in May and concludes in July, featuring record-setting catches.
Professional fishing guides and charters are available any time of year in Charleston, with consistently-excellent catches made possible by the knowledge and experience of area guides.

Saltwater flyfishing and in-shore guides:
Fish Call Charters - Light tackle and flyfishing in calm waters near Charleston and adjacent barrier islands on 17-foot or 21-foot boats. Redfish, tarpon and bull reds. 843-509-7337
Captain George Gallager Guided Flyfishing - Flyfishing or light tackle in waters around the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge using choice of G-Loomis rods with Abel or Shimano reels. 843-696-6000.
Captain Rick Hiott's Inshore Fishing Charters - Award-winning guide and 21-foot Sea Pro bay boat featuring licenses and Shakespeare and Pflueger tackle. Bull red drum, jack crevalle, sheepshead, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel, king mackerel. 843-412-6776.
Speckdrum Charters - Year-round light spinfishing and flyfishing for red drum, trout, tarpon, jacks, ladyfish, and mackerel. 843-884-8627.
Fin Stalker Charters - Flyfishing and light tackle in waters surrounding Charleston, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Edisto Island and Isle of Palms. 843-795-4707.

Off-shore charters and guides:
Hot Shot Charters - Gulf Stream fishing aboard fast, air-conditoned 43-foot custom-built Carolina charter boat. Available to groups up to six people for charters or tournaments. Tuna, dolphin, wahoo, marlin, sailfish, amberjack, barracuda, bonito. 843-209-1630 or
Squid Row Charters - 53-foot Sportfisher accommodating up to six people for 1/2, 3/4, or full-day offshore charters. 843-849-6004.
Tag Team Charters - 46-foot Custom Carolina yacht features offshore charters for tuna, sailfish, wahoo and dolphin. 843-452-2744.
C-Level Sportfishing Charters - 43-foot Ray Davis custom Carolina Sportfisherman for Gulf Stream full-day and overnight swordfish trips. 843-271-5853.
Palmetto Charters - 11 off-shore yachts available from the convenience of the downtown Charleston Harbor Marina. 843-849-6004.


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