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The historic town of Georgetown, SC, has long been a popular haunt of holidaymakers. With charming oak-lined streets, artisan boutiques, and Lowcountry cuisine restaurants, it’s a must-visit for anyone wanting a (literal) taste of the Palmetto State. But what about casting a line? Well, as Georgetown is situated on the Intracoastal Waterway, there’s really no need to ask. A Georgetown fishing adventure is the cherry on the cake of this incredible locale.
And that’s why we’re here today. We’ll take you through exactly what makes fishing in Georgetown so good. Starting with the most popular catches, we’ll also run through some effective techniques, popular spots, and even regulations you’ll have to abide by. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be an expert on the Georgetown fishing scene. All that’ll be left to do is to come and see for yourself!
What fish are biting in Georgetown, SC?
We mentioned the Intracoastal Waterway, but fishing in Georgetown is much more than that. Yes, the ICW is brimming with fish – and you should definitely explore it. But there are also freshwater rivers and access to the Atlantic to discover. From Crappie to Cobia, Trout to Tarpon, Tuna, and more, there’s a fish to suit everyone. Let’s meet the A-listers!
Freshwater Fish Species
Four rivers flow into the Winyah Bay, where Georgetown is situated and all four are home to exceptional fish. Year-round, you’ll get to go after Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, as well as Crappie, Bluegill, and other favorites. That means fun for the whole family whenever you visit, as these present great options for beginners.
Visit in spring and fall, and you’ll get to take advantage of peak Trout season. Brown Trout are most active these times of the year, giving fly anglers the prospect of a successful trip. Come summer, it’s all about Catfish in the rivers, but you’ll also find them in the bay.
With a range of fish suitable for beginners and plenty of strong creatures to keep even professional anglers on their toes, the Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Sampit, and Black Rivers will deliver for everyone.
A beginner rod and reel combo is enough for some of the smaller Panfish we mentioned, while minnows and smaller jigs will entice the bite. Meanwhile, a spinning rod with at least an 8 lb test line will do the trick for bigger fish like Bass and Catfish. Small–medium bait like shiners and minnows also work for Bass, with cranbaits, spinnerbaits, and much more likely to tempt them too. As for Catfish, nightcrawlers are the bait of choice but worms and other minnows can do the trick.
Inshore Fish Species
If you thought that was good, inshore fishing is what really puts Georgetown on the fishing map. Winyah Bay is part of the Intracoastal Waterway and spreads over 10 miles before reaching the inlet. That means there are shallow-water honey holes and deeper spots to explore in this brackish bay, providing an enviable range of potential opponents.
As with almost every bay or sound on the Atlantic Coast, Redfish and Spotted Seatrout are popular targets, available year-round in the shallows. They’re joined by Flounder from spring through fall, and Spanish Mackerel in summer.
Summer is when things really get going, as Tarpon show up in the salt marshes and oyster reefs. The “Silver King” is a bucket-list fish for any serious saltwater angler, so get ready for a tough workout if you’re after that PB. With Jack Crevalle, Black Drum, Bluefish, and many many more lively creatures calling these waters home, you’re in for an inshore fishing bonanza whenever you visit.
What about catching them? Well, the options are as diverse as the fish themselves. Flounder are best targeted by drifting but keeping your bait along the bottom. However, on warm summer nights, gigging can be another effective and enjoyable technique to try out. Sight casting will be your go-to methods for Redfish, Trout, Bluefish, and even Tarpon, while you can also try trolling for Mackerel when their season hits.
Nearshore and Offshore Fish Species
Speaking of fishing bonanzas, things keep getting better as you head towards the Atlantic. The deeper portions of the bay are home to a number of prized nearshore fish, while an offshore trip will see you target big game species towards the Gulf Stream.
Winter is a popular time to get out on the bay, as delicious species like Spadefish, Triggerfish, and Black Seabass hit their peak. You’ll try bottom fishing along the reefs and shallow water, with live bait providing the best chance of getting a bite. Squid and clams are particular favorites, but cut bait and even artificials with a strong natural scent can do the trick. In any case, by going after these fish, you’ll get to test your strength before devouring a hearty meal back on shore!
If you’re after a big game pursuit in the Atlantic, spring and summer are the times to visit. Cobia and Amberjack show up in spring, giving you the chance for a warm-up workout on your way to the deep seas. Then it’s all about Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, and Wahoo offshore. If you’re lucky, in July and August, you’ll even have a shot at Sailfish in the deep, while Blackfin Tuna are available in late fall or late winter. But you’ll have to find a captain willing to brave the elements to head out then.
While bottom fishing is also possible for Amberjack and Cobia, trolling is largely the name of the game when fishing offshore out of Georgetown. Just beware, you’ll need some sturdy gear to keep Mahi, Tuna, and Billfish on your line. As for enticing the bite, chumming is a great way to grab the attention of Tuna, in particular, while artificials are often the preferred bait for trolling for Billfish.
How to Go Fishing in Georgetown, SC
Of course, with such a range of fish on offer, there are multiple ways you can go after them, too. From setting up camp on the beach for the day to heading offshore with a fishing charter (and anything in between), there are endless ways to get your fish on in Georgetown, SC. Read on and find out what suits you best…
Looking for that back-to-basics approach that won’t break the bank? Then surf fishing in Georgetown is for you. The numerous beaches in and around the town are great starting spots to cast a line from, with river, bay, and ocean fishing all possible, depending on where you head.
Other than being cheaper than some of the options we’ll mention below, surf fishing is also very productive here. All the river and inshore fish are possible, while nearshore fish can also be found when the conditions allow oceanside. We suggest coming at dawn or dusk when the majority of the fish are most active, and casting for a couple of hours.
If you’re coming in summer, you can combine your surf fishing adventure with a day at the beach for the whole family. And, if it gets too hot, the waterfront bars and restaurants will provide plenty of opportunities to cool down.
On a budget but want to share your fishing experience with like-minded anglers? No problem. Georgetown’s fishing piers have you covered. Three piers in the area of varying lengths and sizes provide a haven for anglers of all skill levels to get their fish on.
The benefits of fishing from a pier compared to the shore are manifold. First, these purpose-built structures stretch out into the water, giving you a shot at bigger fish than you’d reach from shore. Secondly, the structures themselves build up algae which attract bait fish. This, in turn, attracts the predators that’ll become your prey. Finally, you’ll be fishing from above, giving you that extra advantage over the fish when reeling ’em in.
Another budget-friendly way of going fishing in Georgetown is casting from a kayak. These simple vessels are great for navigating the shallow waters of the rivers, creeks, and the bay, and you can rent them relatively cheaply from downtown retailers.
Alternatively, you can head out with a guide, who’ll also charge a fee for their expertise. This is nominal compared to what you’ll be paying for a fishing charter (that’s coming up next), and you’ll get to really learn the ropes of kayak fishing from a pro.
Beginners should certainly jump at the chance of going out with a guide, as maneuvering a kayak and casting at the same time can be tricky if you’re not used to it. But it provides a great workout, and you’ll get to reach some spots that bigger vessels can’t get to and that on-foot anglers can only dream of. That means plenty of fish, so it’s a win-win!
But, without a doubt, the best way to tackle Georgetown’s waterways is on a fishing charter. While these are more expensive than the ways of fishing we mentioned above, they’re worth every penny. Why? Well, heading out on a charter means you’ll get to cover more ground than is otherwise possible. If the fish aren’t biting, your captain will just turn on the engine and take you to where they are.
You’ll also get to take advantage of the crew’s local knowledge. After all, fishing is a way of life for these guides, and they’re on the water every day. You’re sure to learn some invaluable tips and local info when fishing with one.
And finally, they come with everything needed waiting for you on board. Yep, that’s correct. Georgetown fishing charters provide all the equipment you’ll need for a productive day on the water, so you can focus on what’s important – fishing. They’ll also cover licenses for everyone on board if fishing in saltwater, so there’s another thing less to worry about.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find one that suits your skill level and desires. Just reach out to the captain before your trip and they’ll be able to tailor the trip exactly to your needs.
Georgetown, SC, Fishing Spots
Ok, you get it – you should head out with a guide. While they’ll have their favorite spots to explore, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have an idea of some productive areas in town. And, if you’re fishing on foot or have your own vessel, you deserve to know exactly where you’ll have the best shot at landing that prized catch. Here’s our pick of the top fishing spots in Georgetown:
- Hobcaw and Winyah Bay Fishing Piers. Just a few feet separate the ends of these two piers on the Great Pee Dee River. A former connecting highway, this quiet spot a stone’s throw from downtown is great for crabbing, Rays, and even Redfish and Trout when the conditions allow.
- East Bay and Morgan Parks. With a public launching point in East Bay Park and a 100′ pier in Morgan Park, these two neighbors are ideal for inshore fishing at the confluence of two of Georgetown’s rivers with Winyah Bay.
- Georgetown Landing Marina. This is likely to be your departure point for your Georgetown fishing charter. From small skiffs to offshore sportfishing boats, you’re sure to find something to suit you here. Heck, the marina has even hosted some prestigious local tournaments!
- Whites Creek. Up the Sampit River from Georgetown, this winding waterway starts off as a Redfish, Flounder, and Seatrout fishery before ending up as a Bass one! Take advantage of Johnson’s Marina opposite the entrance for a boat ride to discover its wonders.
- The Slue and Bottle Channels. At the mouth of Winyah Bay as it pours out into the Atlantic, these channels are the places to be for all the fish you could want. Shark fishing is popular, and even Amberjacks come close by. And that’s on top of the incredible inshore fishing on offer.
Georgetown, SC, Fishing Rules & Regulations
Before we let you go, there are just a few housekeeping rules you need to be aware of when fishing in Georgetown. The most important thing to keep up to date on is licenses. Any angler over the age of 16 casting a line in freshwater will need an appropriate permit. If you head out with a saltwater guide, your license will be covered, but you’ll need one if fishing in saltwater on your own. For more information on who needs an SC fishing license and how to get the appropriate one for you, check out our comprehensive guide.
Other than that, you’ll also want to be aware of bag and size limits. While Georgetown fishing charter operators will ensure you’re fishing within the law, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be informed before your trip. Out of the most popular targets, you’ll get to keep two Redfish per person (or six per boat), two Wahoo, 10 Mahi Mahi, and 15 Spanish Mackerel. While you can keep one Tarpon over 77 inches (fork length), we suggest releasing these prehistoric beasts to fight another day.
For a complete breakdown of size and bag limits, consult the South Carolina DNR website as the rules are subject to change.
Fishing in Georgetown: A True Taste of SC
So there you have it. Fishing in Georgetown is as diverse as it gets, and that sums up the Palmetto State. This charming town provides everything you could want from a vacation. With the added bonus of some southern hospitality, you’re sure to want for nothing during your stay. Whether fishing in freshwater, inshore, or out on the Atlantic, you’ll have a blast. And, after a day’s fishing, you’ll get to kick back in pleasant, historical surroundings. We’re sure you won’t visit just once.
Have you ever been fishing in Georgetown, SC? Did it live up to the hype? Any tips you’d like to share with your fellow anglers? Drop us a line in the comments below!
Title: Georgetown Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/georgetown-fishing/
Published Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2023 09:28:24 +0000
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