Charleston’s May Fishing Forecast

Springtime trout

May is a fantastic month to go fishing in Charleston. The weather is great, the water is warm, and there are plenty of fishing opportunities available. May is the start of the summer fishing season for good reason. The sea trout will come out of their winter haunts and begin schooling and feeding during their first spawn of the season.  Because the large female trout will feed on mullet and small menhaden to prepare for their spawn, some of the largest trout of the year are caught in May. Many of these fish are in the 2- to 5-pound range. Please handle these trout with care, and release the larger fish whenever possible. Biologists tell us one female trout can have several hundred thousand eggs in a spawn which will have a huge impact on our future trout stocks. Live bait, like finger mullet or small menhaden, is hard to beat. Use these under a cork, or fish them on the bottom using a Carolina rig. I have also caught several nice trout on the simple DOA shrimp under a popping cork. Fishing this way should produce several nice redfish and flounder as well.

Nice amberjack caught on fly

This month, you will also see several of the seasonal migrating fish appear in the warmer waters of the Charleston area. Cobia should be moving along the beach and nearshore areas on their migration north. We can also find schools of Spanish and king mackerel, amberjacks, Jack Crevelle, bluefish, ladyfish and pompano working their way north. You may find these fish just off the beach or working their way into the Charleston Harbor. Look for seagulls diving over the schools of fish, or look for the fish busting on the surface. Overall, May is an excellent time to get out and enjoy the Lowcountry from the water. The weather will be warm and beautiful, and the fishing will be really enjoyable.

A great way to spend the day on the water is to book one of the area’s great guides. Having fished in Charleston for almost 22 years, I am extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this area. As owner and operator of Shore Thang Charters, I would love to share my expertise with you on the water.


Capt. Mark Phelps

Shore Thang Charters

(843) 475-1274