South Carolina Billfishing & Offshore Report – South Carolina Memorial Reef

Cameron J. Rhodes | October 2021

Coastal Venture, courtesy of Stevens Towing

When we think of a vessel sinking, we often suffer through heart break, fear, and countless other uncomfortable emotions. Rarely do we consider such circumstances as achievements.

When the M/V Coastal Venture, a 247-ft decommissioned vessel, eventually settles at the bottom of the ocean, South Carolina’s blue water sport fishing community will celebrate.

If you’re not familiar with the Charleston Deep Reef and the South Carolina Memorial Reef, much of this will seem strange. The Charleston Deep Reef is a Marine Protected Area located approximately 52 nautical miles Southeast of Charleston Harbor. Bottom fishing is not permitted at the site, but anglers can troll for species like blue marlin, sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, and tunas.

Bridges, barges, and other structures were sunk at the Charleston Deep Reef to form the South Carolina Memorial Reef. This special site was established to provide critical habitat for bottom fish like snappers and groupers while also memorializing members of the sport fishing community who have passed away.

The South Carolina Memorial Reef is a truly remarkable location. In recent years, anglers have enjoyed both the biological and spiritual benefits of the site.

The reef structure provides relief habitat for deep water species such as Warsaw Grouper, Red Snapper, and Snowy Grouper. Meanwhile, the new structure also results in eddies and nutrient-rich upwelling, which attracts bait fish. This in turn brings in the pelagic species.

The billfish bite has been particularly good at the South Carolina Memorial Reef, with many sport fishing crews earning top honors in the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series after trolling the site.

Stevens Towing delivers the Highway 41 Bridge to the SC Memorial Reef

While anglers certainly appreciate the good fishing, there is something much more important at work at the site. Since the South Carolina Memorial Reef is the final resting place for lost loved ones, friends and family members feel a close connection to those memorialized whenever fishing there.

The South Carolina Memorial Reef is continually looking for opportunities to expand. Funds are currently being raised to purchase the M/V Coastal Venture so that the vessel can be added to the reef. It’s truly beautiful just how many businesses and individuals have stepped in to support this worthy cause.

If you’d like to join the long list of folks who have already donated to South Carolina Memorial Reef efforts, you can find more information here:

To learn more about the beloved men and women who are memorialized at the South Carolina Memorial Reef, visit

Until next time, tight lines!

– Cameron

– Over the last several years, Cameron Rhodes has served as the official photographer and social media manager for the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. Utilizing her Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami, Cameron also works in federal fisheries management as an outreach and communication specialist. While she is very proud of all of this work, Cameron is most excited about sharing the stories, experiences, and expertise of fishermen. She is not the expert here, but will instead be sharing news and information from those who know these waters best.



All Photo’s for this article unless noted are courtesy of Cameron Rhodes/SC Governor’s Cup


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