March 1, 2024

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Folly Beach Fishing Guide

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The “Edge of America,” as it’s fondly known by locals, sits on Folly Island, just south of Charleston. Almost everything here has true South Carolina charm, from beautiful beaches to amazing angling opportunities. Fishing in Folly Beach is pretty diverse, allowing locals and visitors to fish the shallows and bluewater whenever they please.

In this guide, we’ll talk about all the fishing opportunities this charming island city has to offer. You’ll learn about the local fish species, the various ways to catch them, and more. So, without further ado…

What can I catch while fishing in Folly Beach?

Folly Beach has everything a saltwater angler could want, from the vast expanse of marshes and estuaries with spartina grass and oyster mounds to the beautiful coastline and offshore grounds. You can explore the inshore spots or venture all the way out into the bluewater. Whatever you choose to do, the list of potential catches is impressive.

Inshore Fishing in Folly Beach

Inshore fishing is especially popular among families with young kids. You can spend just four hours on the water and target a selection of local species. This includes Redfish, Black Drum, Flounder, and Spotted Seatrout that patrol the inshore water all year round. And that’s not to mention the Tarpon that join this cast during the summer months, along with Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel.


As we mentioned above, Tarpon fishing in Folly Beach is a summertime pleasure. However, you can still target the “Silver Kings” in early fall. In short, Tarpon bite best from June through September. Plan your trip for early morning or late afternoon and evening hours for the best results.

So, where can you look for these fish? Tarpon inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons, and rivers, feeding on schooling fish and, occasionally, crabs. One of the best places in the area to fish for Tarpon are the waters of the Sunset Cay Marina.


A group of anglers standing on a fishing boat not far from shore, with two of them holding a Redfish each.

Good news is that Redfish fishing in Folly Beach is available throughout the year. You can find them pretty much along the entire coastline of Folly Beach, where they look for shrimp and blue crabs. The South Carolina Lowcountry’s estuaries are especially popular among local anglers.

Sight fishing with a fly rod is one of the most used techniques in Folly Beach. Anglers focus on the flood or tailing tides around the new and full moon phases in warmer months. The thing is, the tide raises so much it floods the grass flats with water, and Redfish follow. In winter, low tide is more productive, offering better visibility.

Nearshore Fishing in Folly Beach

As you leave the coastline and move towards local reefs, you’ll be able to find some exciting species. Snapper and Black Seabass are popular bottom fishing targets all year round, especially in winter. Come summer, the main focus is trolling for King Mackerel. Let’s talk about Red Snapper and King Mackerel in more detail.

Red Snapper

A happy smiling angler wearing sunglasses and holding a large freshly caught Red Snapper, while standing on a charter fishing boat, Folly Beach, SC

Red Snapper fishing in Folly Beach is a popular activity throughout most of the year. These fish are mostly available during the colder months, especially in the morning and evening hours from November through March. However, you can still try your luck throughout the day.

There are various spots in the area where you can target Red Snapper. However, the most productive spot depends on the season. One of them you can explore is the area around the Morris Island Lighthouse, which is a short boat ride north of Folly Beach.

King Mackerel

A picture showing a male angler holding a large King Mackerel (Kingfish) while sitting on a boat in Folly Beach, SC

While King Mackerel are mostly summertime catches, their season begins as early as May and goes well into fall, peaking in August. Locals often target both King Mackerel and their smaller cousins, Spanish Mackerel.

In addition to the nearshore grounds, reefs, commercial boats, and wrecks, you can hunt for Kingfish much closer to shore. Some fishermen target them from Folly Beach Pier with two rods. One serves as an anchor, and the other as a trolley rig. From a boat, anglers target Mackerel by trolling live bait.

Offshore Fishing in Folly Beach

Finally, offshore fishing in Folly Beach is all about something a little bigger. Folly Beach deep sea fishing takes place around remote structures or out in the Gulf Stream, where Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Marlin, and Sailfish are all on the cards. Offshore fishing is mostly a summertime activity, although Wahoo bite best in late spring.


A picture showing two anglers each holding a Tuna while standing on a charter fishing boat, Folly Beach, SC

Folly Beach anglers can lay their hands on majestic Yellowfin and the occasional Blackfin Tuna. However, there are several things you need to know before you venture offshore. Firstly, your chances of landing Tuna depend on the time of the year and the depth in which you’re fishing. Secondly, you’ll need to pay attention to angling methods.

In late summer, 50-pounders patrol the waters anywhere from 90–600 feet deep. The closer you get to summer, the bigger the fish. Anglers usually pair trolling with chumming, mixing natural baits with artificial lures, although you can fish with either.


A picture showing two male anglers holding a Sailfish while on a charter fishing boat in Folly Beach, near Charleston, SC

Last but not least, Billfish in Folly Beach need no introduction. You can find these ferocious fighters if you head to deeper waters, which usually requires a longer boat ride. However, with Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and Sailfish, action is always guaranteed.

July and August are the best months to pursue Billfish off Folly Beach and South Carolina’s coast in general. Similar to Tuna, trolling should be your technique of choice. Note that Marlin and Sailfish are strictly catch-and-release species. If you manage to catch these fish, you’ll need to return them back to water safe and unharmed. Don’t forget to take a few pictures, though!

How can I go fishing in Folly Beach?

Now that you know which fish species you can catch, let’s talk about how to target them. Shore, pier, and charter fishing are the most popular types of fishing in Folly Beach. Depending on what fish you’re after, you can just wet a line, introduce your kids to the art of fishing, or hunt some deep sea trophies. Keep in mind that some species won’t be available unless you head out on a boat.

Shore Fishing

A happy smiling angler wearing sunglasses and a hat and holding a freshly caught Redfish, Folly Beach, SC

Shore fishing in Folly Beach is ideal for those who want to stick their toes in the sand, sit back, and relax while waiting for the fish to bite. It’s a good option if you’re on vacation and don’t have enough time to head out on a boat.

One semi-secret local spot is the Morris Island Lighthouse trail. The water between Folly Beach and the neighboring Morris Island serves as a funnel for fish to swim through. Anglers, in turn, take advantage of that. Alternatively, you can just grab your rod and explore the shores of Folly Beach.

Pier Fishing

A picture showing a girl standing by the sea with Folly Beach Fishing Pier on her left, on a sunny day, Folly Beach, SC

Ask any Folly Beach local where the best pier fishing in the area is, and we guarantee you they’ll point to Folly Beach Pier. Stretching over 1,000 feet into the ocean, the pier is a real mecca for fishermen.

In the shallow parts of the pier, you can catch Drum, Whiting, and Trout. In the middle section, up and down the pier, you can catch Pompano, while the end of the pier is great for catching Tarpon, King and Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and Jacks. During high tide, the water at the end of the pier can be as deep as 25 feet!

At Folly Beach Pier, anglers can fish all day. All you need to do is buy a wristband; you don’t even need a DNR license. Plus, you can rent a rod and buy bait right at the spot.

Charter Fishing

A picture showing a fishing guide high-fiving a female angler on catching a Redfish while standing on a fishing boat.

Booking a trip with a Folly Beach captain is the best way to explore these waters, as simple as that. First of all, charter fishing gives you the full experience and the crew takes care of you throughout the trip. You won’t need to worry about preparing the right rods, reels, tackle, bait, and lures. Alternatively, you can book a “party boat” trip, where you’ll be able to share your experience with other anglers.

Most charters leave from the public dock near Folly River Bridge or Sunset Cay Marina, although many captains don’t mind meeting at a spot near you.

Secondly, and most importantly, fishing with a local guide saves you time and effort in finding the fish and reeling it in. You’ll be able to reach more remote spots and use a wealth of local knowledge to your advantage.

Where can I go fishing in Folly Beach?

A picture showing two anglers with rods in their hands, standing on a charter fishing boat, Folly Beach, SC

Folly Beach is literally surrounded by water. From the shallows, marshes, and estuaries to the reefs and all the way into the Gulf Stream, there are various fishing sites full of fish that you can enjoy. While there are hidden honey holes known only to local guides, you can still explore some tried and true spots, both in Folly Beach and nearby:

  • Charleston Jetties. These jetties are located at Charleston Harbor Inlet. If don’t mind the ride and choppy waters, head there for a large selection of fish species. Red and Black Drum, Tarpon, Seabass, and even Sharks are available.
  • Morris Island. As a premier area for shore fishing, Morris Island attracts anglers from all over the area. You can fish the marshes, channels, sand bars, and drop-offs, targeting Flounder, Striped Bass, Bluefish, and more.
  • Charleston 60’ Reef. This artificial reef complex is an excellent spot for Cobia, Seabass, and Kingfish, along with Barracuda and Grouper.
  • Comanche Reef. Reef fishing at its finest, the Comanche is a bit farther off. There, you can fish for Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Cobia, Grouper, King Mackerel, Red Snapper, and Amberjack when the season allows.
  • Gulf Stream. While the Gulf Stream begins around 70 miles offshore, a trip there is worth it. Trophy-seekers can catch Tuna, Billfish, Wahoo, or Mahi Mahi. Large Groupers and Tilefish are also an option if you book a deep dropping trip.

When should I go fishing in Folly Beach?

A picture showing a male angler fishing with a rod in his hand while standing on a charter fishing boat.

All in all, fall is the best time to go fishing in Folly Beach. The bait is plentiful, the inlets and the surrounding waters produce Bull Redfish, and the creeks teem with Trout, Flounder, and Black Drum. Tarpon continue to bite in September, although you might want to check the annual mullet run for the optimal time to target the Silver King.

The winter months offer clear waters, which is ideal when sight fishing for Redfish and Trout, as well as Sheepshead and Black Drum. In spring, you can switch your attention to Mahi Mahi and Wahoo in the offshore waters, along with the occasional Tuna in May.

Finally, summer fishing is all about Tarpon and Yellowfin Tuna in August, along with other species such as King Mackerel.

Make sure you pick the right time of the day to fish. The morning and evening hours are arguably the best time for a successful catch.

Fishing in Folly Beach FAQ

Do I need a license to go fishing in Folly Beach?
  • Saltwater fishing permits are usually covered on all charters in South Carolina. Any angler aged 16 and older needs to buy a freshwater fishing license. Note that there are various rules and regulations for each species. You can learn more about it at the DNR website.
Are there any fishing tournaments in Folly Beach?
  • The majority of sport fishing events take place in Charleston. The tournament season begins with The South Carolina Wahoo Series, followed by The Lowcountry Open, The Hooked on Miracles King Mackerel Tournament, and the Southern Redfish Cup.

Fishing in Folly Beach: South Carolina at Its Finest

A closeup of the end of Folly Beach Fishing Pier with visitors and fishing rods.

There are a lot of top-notch fishing spots in South Carolina, but it’s not a competition. Folly Beach is an amazing spot for beginner anglers and seasoned professionals alike. It has everything you can ask for, from Redfish in the shallows to Marlin in the bluewater. Mix in the great weather and beautiful beaches, and fishing in Folly Beach needs to be on your bucket list!

Have you ever been fishing in Folly Beach? What’s your favorite spot? What’s the best species to target there? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Folly Beach Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Folly Beach Fishing: The Complete Guide
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Published Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2023 15:55:00 +0000

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