Go fish

Drop a line at these great public fishing spots.  

By Sarah Orie

The Lowcountry is home to some of the best fishing South Carolina has to offer. Whether it be a freshwater pond, a brackish creek or a saltwater reef — Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort and the surrounding Lowcountry are a haven for anglers. For the most memorable experience, book an expedition with a local captain. If you’re looking for a more DIY fishing experience, try these five hot spots open to the public. Purchase a fishing license online at dnr.sc.gov.

Boardwalk empire

The Sands, Port Royal

Easily accessible with amazing views, The Sands is a popular location for fishermen to flock. With the opportunity to fish off the boardwalk or beach, local guides say this is the spot for casting and crabbing in Beaufort. In the waters you’ll find a wide variety of saltwater fishes such as flounder, speckled trout and redfish. Look around and you’ll see convenient fish cleaning stations and might even spot a dolphin. Located on Sands Beach Road in Port Royal, you can easily make a day out of visiting this place.

Landing party

Trask Landing, Bluffton

Nestled all the way at the end of Sawmill Creek Road lies this hidden fishing gem. The H.E. Trask Sr. Boat Landing provides access to some peace and quiet as well as the Colleton, Okatie, and Chechessee rivers. Noted as an easygoing place to fish and crab, you’ll find black drum, trout, tarpon and shark. If you’re looking for bragging rights, you can use the saltwater fish ruler posted on the pier to measure the size of your catches. Time permitting, you can even visit the nearby Waddell Mariculture Center, one of the country’s largest facilities for mariculture research. Inshore fish come and go seasonally, so be sure to research water temperatures before fishing.

Heavens to Betsy

Betsy Ross Reef

Lat. 32 03.2’N, Long. 80 25.0’W – South Carolina’s Marine Artificial Reefs are the best for a day of offshore fishing. Developed by the DNR Marine Resources Division starting in 1973, these reefs are made of scrap, such as steel-hulled vessels and concrete bridges. The most popular include the Liberty Ship at Betsy Ross Reef and Fish America Reef that’s about 2 1/2 miles off the shore of Hilton Head. At these locations you’ll find a long list of fish such as mackerel, sea trout, red snapper, barracuda and grouper. These unbelievable underwater ecosystems can be found on the SCDNR website through coordinates to put into your boat GPS. Make the most of your day on the water and visit these underwater marvels.

Park it

Jarvis Creek Park, Hilton Head

If you’re eager to freshwater fish with the family, the 11-acre lake at Jarvis Creek Park is the spot for you. Included in the wonderful wildlife here are many largemouth bass and bluegill. Giving you the opportunity to fish from the pier or shoreline, the park is a great place to enjoy scenery and drop a line. You won’t be the only ones on the bank, so be sure to watch out for alligators hanging around. Keep in mind there is also a catch-and-release policy, so whatever you snag you can’t keep. With plenty of parking and amenities, there’s nothing stopping you from going to get your next big catch.

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