This summer, thousands of anglers will be leaving their favorite boats and fishing spots to vacation in Myrtle Beach. If you’re an avid fisherman, no matter how much fun you have at all of Grand Strands top tourist attractions, at some point you’re bound to ask yourself, “Is it really a vacation if I don’t fish?”
The Grand Strand consists of a chain of beaches stretching almost 60 miles from Little River to Pawley’s Island, a crescent-shaped area known as “Long Bay” on most nautical charts. This coastline is interrupted only by small saltwater inlets that form coastal bays. These salt marshes are a refuge for dozens of species of salt fish that are just waiting for a well-thrown bait.
What you need to know about saltwater fishing in Myrtle Beach
The very first thing to know about shore fishing on South Carolina beaches and marshes is that a saltwater fishing license is absolutely necessary unless you are fishing from a pier or an approved guide boat.
South Carolina residents can purchase a 14-day saltwater license for $10. Non-residents will want either the $10 1-day license or the $35 7-day license. All South Carolina Department of Natural Resources licenses are available on their website.
Saltwater fish tend to be toothy and have sharp fins, so never attempt to lick a salty fish like you would a largemouth bass or you might come away with bloody fingers.
Finally, the coast of Myrtle Beach experiences large tidal swings, up to six feet, twice a day, which keeps the bait and fish moving and changes the terrain.
Watch where you walk. Caroline’s “meaty mud” is known to suck boots and oyster reefs make nasty cuts. So, check your destination’s tide chart before you go and wear proper footwear.
Choose one of these six area piers to start.
The Carolina Coast is home to a seasonal migration of many different species, from the small but tasty Pompano to the ripping King Mackerel.
Heading to one of the seven piers open to the public is the easiest way to start fishing in Myrtle Beach, as a recreational fishing license is not required to fish from area piers.
Pier bait shops can provide everything you need to get started, from rod/reel rentals and bait, to advice on what bites and a sense of camaraderie from other anglers.
Catches vary by season, but regularly include plaice, sea trout, red and black drum, whiting, Spanish mackerel, croaker and pompano.
We have six local piers and a seventh under construction: Cherry Grove Pier, Apache Campground Pier, Pier 14, 2nd Avenue Pier, Springmaid Pier, Myrtle Beach State Park Pier and Garden City Beach Pier. The Surfside Beach pier is under construction.
Hit the surf for anything that swims.
The Myrtle Beach area has long been a popular spot for surf fishing. Anglers line calmer sections of the beaches with rod holders sunk in the sand lifting 2-5 ounces of pyramid weights onto bottom rigs baited with cut shrimp, squid, live or cut mullet , sand fleas or crab.
No one wants to snag a swimmer, so be sure to set yourself up away from the crowds. The city of Myrtle Beach gives swimmers the right of way, prohibiting fishing from fifty feet and in front of rental umbrellas, but regulations vary by municipality, so when in doubt, ask your nearest lifeguard. Surf fishing is often best in the early morning or late evening when it is usually less crowded, allowing the angler and the fish to avoid the blistering heat of the day.
Anglers need a rod long enough to ride the waves, a weight heavy enough to hold their bait to the bottom, and the right rig and bait for the target species. The expertise of bait shops is the best way to learn this style of fishing. Most local shops have a surf fishing expert ready to help newcomers fish. The state Department of Natural Resources hosts fishing clinics and provides a wealth of information on its website.
Watch the entries for some hot coastal action.
The saltwater marshes and estuaries along the Carolina coast are teeming with marine life like oysters, crabs, shrimp and baitfish which attract many target fish species such as rockfish, flounder , spotted sea trout, black drum and Spanish mackerel.
Many fishermen can be seen along the roads and causeways flowing into the creek. A quick look at Google Earth will give the visiting angler an idea of where these swamps can be easily reached on foot, keeping an eye out for the aforementioned oysters and mud pfluff. Here are some popular areas in the Myrtle Beach area to get you started.
Vereen Memorial Gardens 2250 SC-179, Little River, SC 29566 is a Horry County park with boardwalks through the marsh leading a few hundred yards to the shoreline of the Intracoastal Waterway with a pier jutting into the lane navigable. The shore is a gently sloping crushed oyster shell, easy to walk and wade.
Cherry Grove Park and Boat Ramp 413 53rd Avenue North in North Myrtle Beach is on Hog Inlet has a public pier and fishing spots along the seawall. The area is popular with boaters and kayakers. Parking is $2 per hour. A saltwater fishing license is required. There are other popular places to access the entrance in the Cherry Grove area. Riprap lined Lake Drive at 39th Ave. North to North Myrtle Beach follows the edge of House Creek. There is also a good paddling area at “The Point” where Hog Inlet flows between sandbars into the ocean. Keep in mind that much of the point is covered at high tide. The closest public parking lot to Cherry Grove Point is at 6202 North Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach.
Garden City Beach Atlantic Avenue Causeway, the main road through Garden City Beach, has a boardwalk on the north side with steps leading to oyster bars and mudflats.
The Veterans Pier at Murrells Inlet Marshwalk is a great place to fish and crab as well as grab a bite to eat or drink at one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.
Oyster Landing Drive is a hidden location behind Huntington Beach State Park to collect all the swamp prizes. This is a large area of mudflat and oyster reef that almost dries out at low tide and is often used for launching small boats and kayaks. If you go there, be careful to park above the high tide line.
Murrells Inlet’s South Pier at Huntington Beach State Park is a favorite spot for anglers who are willing to take the long walk with their gear to get there. This rocky jetty juts almost 500 meters into the Atlantic Ocean and serves as a breakwater for boats sailing in the cove. It has a black surface that is convenient for foot traffic, bicycles and fishing carts. Everything that swims in our ocean passes through here, which provides plenty of opportunities for big catches. But, be careful crawling on sharp rocks with barnacles and smooth ones with marine growth. Entrance to Huntington Beach State Park is $8 per person and a 1.5 mile beach walk from the northernmost parking lot, so pack light.
Pawleys Island has a limited number of parking spaces near the north and south causeways on the island, and anglers can often be seen diving into the streams from the bridges. But, the easiest way to get to the water here is at the South Point parking lot on the southern end of the island. It is a free lot and anglers have the choice of fishing the waves or the sandy shore inside the cove.
Be well rigged. Ask a local.
Anglers will find that many rods, rigs and freshwater fishing techniques will also work in our inshore fisheries, so bring your bass tackle. Jig heads weighted with soft plastics, spoons and many of the same hard plugs are effective artificial baits in our marshes.
The most popular rigs for fishing bait are the “Carolina Rig” and the “Double Dropper Rig”.
Dock and surf anglers will likely want longer, heavier rods to deal with the waves and current.
Bass Pro Shops, located at 10177 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, is a shopping mecca for any angler, but it’s always best to stop by the nearest local bait shop to find out what bites and how to bite it. rig.
This local knowledge can turn a day of fishing into a day of fishing.
Here are some local bait shops that will help you get on the fish.
Stalvey Baits and Tackle: 1609 4th Ave, Conway. 843-488-2715
Baishe Boys Baits and Tackle: 4298 US-17 BUS, Murrells entrance. 843-651-191
Perry’s bait and tackle: 3965 US-17 BUS, Murrells entrance. 843-651-2895
Pawley’s Island Away: 9790 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island. 843-979-4666
Fish-On Outfitters: 800 Sea Mountain Hwy, North Myrtle Beach. 843-249-2600
Boulineau Ace Hardware: 318 Sea Mountain Hwy, North Myrtle Beach. 843-663-6920