Insight on the best bait shops to hit before your day on the water.
Story by Sarah Orie
Hook yourself up with the freshest bait available by discovering the Lowcountry’s top hometown tackle stores. All of these are operated by avid fishermen who are a wealth of local knowledge. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish and they will set you up for success.
Bubba’s Cabin Lowcountry Outfitters
William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head
As one of Hilton Head’s top locations for live mud minnows and fiddler crabs, Bubba’s Cabin is a well-known mid-island bait and tackle shop. Other frozen bait available includes shrimp, mullet, squid, pogies, and chum blocks/buckets. You even can order stingray on special request. Its variation of tackle includes everything from rods and reels to cast nets and hooks. You also can tend to your reel-spooling needs with its manual spooling device with a wide selection of braid and mono. You can definitely say there’s much more than what meets the eye at this small cabin.
The Boathouse Squire Pope Road, Hilton Head
Located next to Skull Creek Boathouse restaurant, this tackle and gear shop carries rods, reels, fishing gear and apparel. Its tackle selection is based on what local captains use, and the knowledgeable staff will help you find the right combo. No matter what type of fishing you do — inshore, flats, offshore, or freshwater— it has everything you need. The Boathouse also has locations at Palmetto Bay Marina and on Okatie Highway in Ridgeland.
Southern Drawl Outfitters
Moss Creek Village, Bluffton
Specializing in saltwater fishing, Southern Drawl Outfitters is a hotspot for all your fishing needs. Its live bait collection includes shrimp, fiddlers, and minnows while also having a variety of artificial and frozen bait available. Recognized by Step Outside as one of South Carolina’s top nine bait and tackle shops, it’s known for personalized service and reasonable prices. As an outfitter, it also carries specialized fishing apparel and tackle to help you on your journey. Customers love its dedication to inshore, offshore, and fly fishing.
Ship’s Store Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head
At Ship’s Store, anglers looking for tackle and bait should be able to find anything they need to catch fish on Hilton Head. Located in Shelter Cove Marina, it carries frozen shrimp, chicken necks, squid, mullet, and chum. It’s known as the headquarters for fishing charter reservations as well as selling different types of gear ranging from apparel to souvenirs. Open sunrise to sunset, the friendly team is always happy to “sea” you and answer any of your fishing questions.
Blue Water Tackle Shop South Beach Marina, Hilton Head
Standing as Hilton Head Island’s closest marina to the Atlantic Ocean, Blue Water brings the bait and the views. Selling frozen bait such as mullet, shrimp, and squid, it also has a nice selection of artificials. Found in South Beach Marina in Sea Pines, it offers fishing excursions and crabbing equipment as well. From tackle to T-shirts this shop is open daily from 8 a.m, to 5 p.m., and the knowledgeable staff would love to help you be successful on the water. You should definitely stop by and pick up a rod and some rigs for your next fishing excursion.
Sea Turtle Marketplace, Hilton Head
Available at its location in the Sea Turtle Marketplace, West Marine carries a long list of frozen bait. From the basics of shrimp, mullet and squid to bonita, bait clams, and menhaden, their coolers are killer. The many different types of mullet and ballyhoo are what set it apart from your average bait and tackle shop. Locals can grab a frequent angler frozen bait card where if you purchase nine bait packs, you get the tenth one free. Shelving many different types of marine goods, this shop is a go-to for Lowcountry living and fishing.
Burnt Church Road, Bluffton
Owner and angler Aaron Dowell founded Bluffton Marine in 2011 with the goal of offering products that cater to the local anglers as well as boating and outdoor enthusiasts. The wide selection of bait and products will surely make your day on the water complete. Its daily menu changes seasonally, offering a huge variety of live bait such as eels, worms, crickets, fiddler crabs, shrimp, and mud minnows. As for frozen, it sells ballyhoo, cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, and much more. Looking at the selection of fishing gear, there’s no de-bait that this is the place to go for all things tackle and fish.
Last Chance Bait & Tackle
8th Street, Port Royal
Open seven days a week, Last Chance Bait and Tackle caters to the needs of the anglers of Port Royal. Equipped with lots of local knowledge, the staff is known for being incredibly informative and helpful. It carries both live and frozen bait with live options being mud minnows, shrimp, and fiddlers. Other products include apparel, rod and reel combos, and artificials for trout and reds. This local shop has a history of helping visitors and locals catch the big ones. Find information on local fishing tournaments, or pop in to pick up some tackle at this well-stocked shop.
Beaufort Boat & Dock Supply Ribaut Road, Port Royal
Beaufort Boat and Dock is ready to supply you with all the necessities for your next fishing adventure. Stocked with tackle, boating supplies, and dock hardware, this shop is home to everything you need. The bait selection includes seasonal crickets, mud minnows, eels, shrimp and crabs, as well as a full walk-in cooler of frozen bait. If you’re looking for something special, call and they’ll get it for you. Open every day except Sundays, you can find a range of gear from popular brands that will help you look the part. Do yourself a favor and shop here next time you’re fishing in Beaufort.