Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by Capt. R.C.
What is the best month for fishing in South Carolina? This is a question I am asked on almost every fishing charter. It is challenging to answer such a subjective question with an objective response. The Farmer’s Almanac states, “The best time to catch a fish is when you have a hook in the water.” While this may get a good laugh, that’s not the answer my clients are looking for.
The problem with nailing down an appropriate response to this question is I have to wonder, “The best month of fishing for what?” Fishing can be better for different species in different months, so it may depend on what you are looking for. Another issue, is that the best time for whatever you want to catch could run from one month to another in SC.
Now, you will very well have stellar fishing in September through the Winter on Trout, Flounder and Redfish; and these three species can be targeted year-round with great success! Spring will bring fantastic flounder fishing inshore, while King Mackerel and Sheepshead fishing is great around the jetties. In early Summer, you can have some awesome days simultaneously catching Flounder and King Mackerel on nearshore reefs. Summertime brings some of the best Tarpon fishing on the East coast and the occasional Tripletail.
But you clicked on this link for an answer didn’t you? I’m going to give it you below, so you will not have to scroll through this entire post to find it; however, it may interest you to continue reading for the full view of what makes this question difficult to answer in one word.
October is the Best Month for Fishing in SC
If you must choose one month, October is when you can have great success fishing for most of the species that can be targeted in South Carolina. The weather begins to cool down, which is an added bonus to the level of comfort you will have on the water. The month of October gives you the best of both worlds as the cooler weather turns fish on; and the fish that are here for warm water conditions are still around.
Okay, so we have some species that visit our estuaries from Myrtle Beach to Charleston during the summer months. In Winyah Bay, these include Tarpon and Tripletail. If the water temperatures stay warm enough, anglers can have great success fishing for them in October. Sure this is about the time that targeting these species begins to wind down, but the fact that they can be caught helps make October our top month for fishing in SC.
We catch Speckled Trout in South Carolina year-round. This species is one of the most prolific when it comes to spawning, which helps make the local population sustainable as long as we can avoid any hard freezes during Winter. However, their final big spawn of the year will occur around a full moon in the Fall. As this time nears, trout instinctively form large schools to gorge themselves on live shrimp and finger mullet. This pattern begins around early September, and continues in to the Winter.
We catch Redfish year-round in South Carolina. They are a long-lived species; and they do not spawn until they surpass the age of 4 years, at which time they leave the estuary to take residence in the ocean. This means there are only 3 generations of resident fish, which is why I practice ‘catch and release’ with this species. Redfish only spawn a couple times a year when the ‘Bulls’ enter the estuary from the ocean. The ‘Bulls’ usually show up for their Fall spawn around mid-September, and exit to the ocean around mid-November depending on water temperatures.
We catch Flounder from the Spring through Fall along South Carolina’s coast. These fish begin to appear in the Cherry Grove and Murrell’s Inlet estuaries around March. As we get in to Summer, Flounder can be targeted both inshore and nearshore. The flounder bite continues in to November until water temperatures get in the low 50’s.
Sheepshead can be caught year-round along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. We refer to these fish as ‘convicts’ because of their reputation for stealing bait and the striped color pattern they wear. While these fish can be caught year-round, where to locate them will vary. During the Summer months in to October, your best bet will be around the Winyah Bay or Murrell’s Inlet jetties.
A South Carolina Tarpon is likely the most challenging among all species to target. Tarpon are seasonal for South Carolina as they migrate up the East coast with warmer weather. Tarpon season usually ends around October, but the fact that they can still be caught contributes to October’s overall title of the best month for fishing in SC.
I hope this information helps some of y’all who are dying to know when the best month for fishing is in South Carolina. While October probably takes the cake, South Carolina has diverse opportunities for fishing all year long. You can probably see how many times I tried to point that out while also trying to stay on topic.
If you want to experience some of South Carolina’s inshore and nearshore fishing like a local, that is exactly what you will get with Harvest Moon Fishing Charters. I grew up here, and I treat every trip like I am going fishing with my friends. Give me a call or book online; and I will give you the best experience coastal SC has to offer.