South Carolina Inshore Fishing Guide

What we catch on guided fishing charters depends on the season, but fishing in the lowcountry is great year-round.

Redfish · Trout · Flounder · Cobia · Sharks · Tarpon · Black Drum · Spanish Mackerel · Tripletail

Redfish, Bull Redfish (Red Drum)

The staple of Lowcountry fishing! Actively pursued on every angle from fly fishing, artificials, live bait, you name it. They are aggressive eaters, and school up in large numbers cruising and tailing all over the hard flats during flood tides searching for fiddler crabs. My personal favorite and for good reason. Available year round, and best in winter. "Bull reds" refers to the larger sexually mature brood stock redfish which are over 30" in length. These bull redfish typically move offshore and come back in to spawn September through the beginning of November and can be caught in deeper water, however a few are usually found roaming with the other redfish and provide some extra enjoyment to a day.

  • Average Size: 18 inches, 2.6 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 75 pounds (1965)
  • Maximum Age: approx. 38 years
  • (a few individuals as old as 60 have been reported in other states).

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spotted sea trout
Spotted Sea Trout
  • Average Size: 14 inches, 1.3 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 11 pounds, 13 ounces (1976)
  • Maximum Age: approx. 8 – 10 years.

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  • Average Size: 12 – 14 inches, 1 – 2 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 17 pounds, 6 ounces  (1974)
  • Maximum Age: approx. males – 5 years, females 7 or 8 years; females are generally larger and outlive males

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A unique inshore game species of the Port Royal Sound, and a species pursued by sight casting fly fishermen, people throwing jigs and eels as well as actively pursued by people bottom fishing on upwellings, rips and live bottoms across the sound, as well as our nearshore and offshore reefs. Cobia come well into the Port Royal Sound to spawn in April, May and June and are a great game fish for all levels of anglers.

  • Average Size: 30 inches, 15 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 92 pounds, 10 ounces (2009)
  • Maximum Age: approx. 15 years
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The lowcountry is home to many shark species, including blacktip, lemon, and bonnethead. Follow the link below to watch the Coastal Kingdom episode "Sharks and Rays" and learn more about the sharks in Port Royal Sound. Port Royal Sound's high shark biodiversity is a great positive indicator of the health of our fishery.

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One fish you won't forget catching, if you can handle it. With screaming runs, aerial jumps, and the ability to recuperate if you let up on them at all, the tarpon is a fish of a lifetime. Tarpon arrive in the Lowcountry late in summer and stay through most of September.

  • Average Size: 40 – 60 inches, 40 – 60 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 154 pounds 10 ounces (1987)
  • Maximum Age: approx. 50 years – possibly up to 70 years

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Black Drum

A welcome sight on a flat - they are fun to catch on fly or light tackle, but do require a very accurate cast as they don't typically move out of their way to eat baits. The large, bull black drum are a great fight and can be found around structure and caught on peeled shrimp with light tackle. Black drum are here year round.

  • Average Size: 14 inches, 2.2 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 89 pounds (1978)
  • Maximum Age: approx. 60 years

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spanish mackerel
Spanish Mackerel

Bite best when the temperature gets up high and the water is slick and clean. A great species to target with inline spinner baits buzzed on the surface on light tackle as they school up on minnows, or while trolling. Spanish mackerel can be found throughout Port Royal Sound from spring through the end of summer.

  • Average Size: 15 inches, 1.5 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 11 pounds (1983)
  • Maximum Age: approximately 11 years

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black sea bass

An ideal species for fly fishermen and light tackle anglers as they hover high in the water column around debris and in Spartina reeds on high tides awaiting invertebrates. Readily eat a well-placed bait and can be found spring through mid fall.


  • Average Size: 10-18 inches, < 20 pounds
  • South Carolina State Record: 33 pounds 8 ounces (caught off Hilton head in 2005)
  • Maximum Size: 50 pounds, 36 inches