Fall Brings An Inshore Bonanza To South Carolina’s Lowcountry

By Coastal Angler Magazine Staff


The South Carolina Lowcountry and its resort islands offer the kind of laid-back, Southern feel you’re looking for. The area includes the state’s four southern-most counties of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton, which sit tight on the Atlantic Ocean. The Lowcountry offers gorgeous beaches, marshes flush with wildlife and rich cultural and historic opportunities.

There’s your reason for bringing the family along. The Lowcountry is also a prime fishing destination. With the Gulf Stream 70 miles offshore from Hilton Head Island, offshore and nearshore fishing can be fantastic. Dolphin, marlin, kingfish and amberjack top the list of targeted species this month.

But September in the Lowcountry begins the transition to fall, when inshore fishing is as good as it gets. Redfish, known locally as spot-tail bass, spotted sea trout and anglers armed with cast nets all take advantage of the maturation of the delicious white shrimp that fill the estuaries.

Casting for shrimp is not just catching bait, it is a sport in itself in South Carolina. If you’ve got some skills with a net, you can catch enough shrimp to fill the freezer. These small white shrimp are sweet tasting, and the larger ones can be netted as the high tides drain from the grass and small creeks.

Once you net enough shrimp, you could go back to the dock and begin your Lowcountry boil. Or you could set some aside for later consumption and go fishing. The presence of all those shrimp means spot-tail bass will be in a feeding mood. Abundant shallow mud flats of the region make excellent feeding habitat for reds during the changing tides, and anglers can take advantage of that. A shrimp-baited bottom rig or jig head will yield quick results when there are bait and fish on a flat. And reds can also be found on the transition from shallow to deep water around structure. For deeper fish, a shrimp drifted under a float is a good choice, unless you prefer fishing artificials, which can be equally effective this time of year. Spinnerbaits and jerkbaits are consistent producers, fished similar to the way it’s done for freshwater bass. A shrimp imitation bounced across the bottom on a jig head can also be deadly.

Trout also take advantage of this abundance. No other time of year are they so preoccupied with food, and this makes them easy to target. In September and on into the late fall, trout follow baitfish and shrimp as they move in and out of the tidal creeks. As high tides recede, this whole mess of life is washed out of the grass and into the creeks, drops and structure of more open water. Schools of trout can be found ready to ambush confused bait as it is flushed out.

Inshore fishing in the South Carolina Lowcountry is about as easy as it gets when September brings with it the bounty of the estuaries. Fall is the best time to experience some of the best inshore action to be found anywhere.


Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.