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Nestled between the lively Myrtle Beach and the serene, historic Georgetown on the Grand Strand is a cozy haven known as Little River, South Carolina. This hidden gem, although close to popular tourist attractions, offers a personal experience, as you go fishing in Little River’s tranquil waters. This area is not only rich in catches but also in stunning natural sights, hosting exotic birds and even dolphins.
Despite its name, Little River is anything but small when it comes to culture and history. From its origins as a fishing village and trading port, this South Carolina town has evolved into a vibrant community hub, full of angling culture. It hosts exciting events like the Blue Crab Festival, the Shrimp and Jazz Festival, and Little River Oktoberfest. It even has a touch of presidential history, boasting a site where George Washington once stayed.
But in this guide, we’ll focus on the angling action. We’ll walk you through everything fishing in Little River has to offer. You’ll learn about what you can catch and when, where, and how to go about it. Let’s see what the local angling scene has to offer!
Top Little River Fish Species
Inshore fishing in Little River allows you to discover beaches, rocky shores, backwater creeks, inlets, jetties, flats, and other calm spots. Of course, it’s no surprise that such a wealth of fishing locations is home to a myriad of interesting inshore species. Here are a few of the local favorites:
It’s hard to name a more iconic inshore catch than the Little River Redfish – also known as Red Drum. Here, you can hunt for Reds near the edge of marsh grasses and estuaries, where younger fish linger and munch on minnows and crabs early in the morning. Adult Red Drum, on the other hand, feed on sandy bottoms, tidal creeks, and oyster beds.
The beauty of Red Drum fishing in Little River is that you can cast in grass flats if you’re wading or visit a jetty if you’re fishing from a boat. In any case, consider bringing light tackle gear, such as a spinning rod with a 20 lb test line for your slot Redfish – fish within the 15–23 inch limit. If you’re fortunate, you can also hook into a Bull Redfish, over 39 inches. But you’ll need to release back into the water.
Black Drum is another great species that competes for the attention of Little River inshore anglers. This species hangs out in deeper parts of inlet channels in early spring, before moving to cooler, deeper waters in the summer. They then come back to the shallow grass areas around late fall.
The Little River Inlet and its jetties are amazing spots to look for these fighters. Tailor your trip to some tidal activity and cast for Blacks in muddy bottoms and along the stone walls. A standard setup for a 14–27″ Drum is more than enough. Pack a 7′ spinning rod with a 15 lb test line. Just make sure that your daily haul of Black Drum is within the set limits, which you can check with your guide or the SDNR.
An inshore species roundup in Little River would be incomplete without mentioning the visually-striking Spotted Seatrout. Like Redfish and Black Drum, these are local favorites that don’t demand any heavy-duty equipment to tackle them.
Seatrout are residents in these waters year-round, especially in deeper reaches of the estuaries in the summer months, and around structure when the waters cool off. Spots like oyster bars, rocky outcrops, and pilings are ideal hunting grounds even for a beginner angler. As for regulations, make sure you don’t keep any Seatrout over the maximum total length of 14 inches and stick to the bag limits whenever you head out.
Picking a top three inshore species was challenging enough, but the nearshore waters offer even more variety. You can’t even begin to imagine the list of potential catches that awaits you within ten miles of shore, from Spanish Mackerel to Barracuda, Bluefish, and more. But there’s one species that steals the show…
Shark fishing in Little River holds a special place in every angler’s heart. There are so many spots along the Grand Strand (Long Bay) that you’re practically spoiled for choice. Plus, you don’t even need to book a full-day charter to enjoy some Shark action, especially if you fish during the summer months.
So, what’s on the menu? Little River is home to Dog, Blacktip, Dusky, Tiger, Spinner, and Bull Sharks. And some of them weigh up to 300 pounds and reach 6 feet! When it comes to Shark fishing, catch-and-release is the standard practice in Little River and the surrounding areas.
The overall Little River offshore fishing rule is, the further you go, the bigger the fish. You can leave the 10-mile mark and venture all the way into the blue waters of the Gulf Stream to check what’s biting. We’re talking 80+ miles off the coast. For that, of course, you’ll need a professional charter captain. And it’s worth it to target Tuna, Wahoo, Snapper, Grouper, and Billfish. Now let’s take a closer look at a couple of them.
If you ask any local captain what the most coveted offshore catch in these waters is, they’re sure to tell you that it’s Billfish. These majestic creatures are on anglers’ minds from April to August, especially those looking for Blue Marlin beyond the Gulf Stream.
However, that’s not all. If you book a deep sea fishing charter during the summer, you can also come across White Marlin and Sailfish. And if that’s not enough and you’re up for a bigger challenge, ask your captain to take you to the Swordfish and Spearfish fishing grounds. That’s right. Although very rare, these species are all available if you know where to look.
In true South Carolina sportfishing manner, all Billfish are catch-and-release. There might be exceptions, though, which you’ll need to check in advance.
Billfish aside, when it comes to offshore fishing, Little River’s bluewaters are also home to various species of Tuna. You can get your hands on Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna, both known for their exceptional speed and agility.
Yellowfins bite 50–80 miles offshore and are typically larger than Blackfins and range anywhere from 40 to over 200 pounds. However, you can enjoy some decent Blackfin Tuna fishing action much closer to shore, with successful catches possible 20–30 miles from the coast.
Top Little River Fishing Techniques
Now that you know what species you can target, it’s time to talk about how you can do it. Fishing in Little River, be it inshore or offshore, can involve a lot of techniques and methods.
You can test your sight casting skills in early winter, lure Trout with topwater plugs, or head out in the evening for a nice Flounder trip. Then, there’s the allure of the open sea with a blend of trolling and bottom fishing, be it 20 miles from the coast or all the way towards the Continental Shelf.
Let’s concentrate on the most popular types of fishing Little River has to offer:
Little River Inshore Fishing
If the inshore waters are your playground, you already know you’re in for a treat. Locals usually work the areas with various niches, from the quiet backwater creeks and sprawling estuaries to beachfronts and rock-ribbed shorelines, where you can catch Black Drum, Redfish, and Seatrout.
One of the key factors in inshore fishing in Little River is tidal movements, as they play a huge role in the success of Redfishing trips, in particular. In addition to that, you’ll need to know which oyster bar and pilings hold Seatrout and whether the channel you fish is deep enough for an early spring Black Drum.
Little River Deep Sea Fishing
The offshore waters out of Little River stretch from 20 to 80+ miles out, so the sky’s the limit. Some captains offer 12+ hour journeys even further offshore! This, in turn, promises bigger catches. Unlike Reds and Seatrout, big game species such as Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Marlin demand heavier gear and different techniques.
As we mentioned earlier, trolling and bottom fishing are the go-to techniques that locals use for the majority of offshore species. Of course, there are also various other tricks that they try, such as chunking and kite fishing.
Little River Charter Fishing
If you want to fish like the locals, fish with the locals. Booking a trip with a licensed captain is always a good idea. A professional crew will handle all the technicalities, including rules and regulations, and take you to the honey holes only they know about. You can focus on the thrill of the catch, where your experience and budget don’t really matter,
Plus, fishing with a guide takes the responsibility of picking the right gear and bait off your shoulders. Who knows what works best in every inch of water, from the beachfront all the way into the Continental Shelf better than a local angler?
Top Little River Fishing Spots
It’s amazing how many fishing spots Little River has to offer. From channels and estuaries to nearshore reefs, wrecks, and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean… Now that you’ve picked your target and know which excursion to book, it’s time to choose the right spot to explore the area. Here’s our pick of the bunch:
- Little River Inlet. This natural waterway separates South Carolina and North Carolina. The rich waters of the Intracoastal Waterway here offer extraordinary fishing opportunities for Redfish, Trout, and Flounder, among others.
- Cherry Grove Pier. This is one of the best spots for those who don’t want to hop on a boat. A local favorite, the pier extends almost 1,000 feet into the Atlantic. Here, you can cast for Spanish Mackerel, Whiting, Bluefish, and even Sharks.
- Waites Island. This secluded hotspot is located between Little River Inlet and Cherry Grove. Locals typically come here to fish the backwater for Redfish and Flounder, although there are plenty of other species that you can find at the end of your line.
- Vereen Memorial Gardens Ponds. If you’re a freshwater enthusiast and happen to spend your day with your family, consider heading to these serene ponds. In the Vereen Memorial Gardens, you’ll get to cast for Bass and Bluegill and enjoy a historical park at the same time!
- The Atlantic Ocean: The Gulf Stream and beyond offer a myriad of options even for the most seasoned of angler. A variety of charter operators can take you into the deep blue for a healthy dose of Tuna, Wahoo, Marlin, Swordfish, and Mahi Mahi.
Little River Fishing Seasons
Any day is a good day for a Little River fishing trip. The only question is which species you’re after. In spring, Seatrout and Flounder show up around beaches and inlets, along with Bluefish that later on migrate to sounds. Late May, for instance, is perfect for a nearshore trolling trip or a Mahi Mahi extravaganza.
It’s hard to argue, though, that summer is the most active period of the year. You can get your hands on practically anything, from Sharks and Mackerel to Redfish, Black Drum, and various large deep sea predators. Consider booking an early morning or a late evening trip during low tide cycles, as it’s when the fish bite best.
The action doesn’t stop in fall and winter. Trophy Reds and Seatrout patrol the shallow waters, bringing joy to locals and visitors alike.
Little River Fishing Rules and Regulations
The good news is, if you’re fishing with a charter operator, they’ll take care of all licenses for you. If, however, you prefer to head out solo, make sure to get a valid South Carolina fishing license ahead of time. This is a must for any saltwater angler over the age of 16. Always make sure to check the seasonality, along with bag and size limits for whatever target you have in mind.
Note that Little River itself is less than two miles away from the border with North Carolina. In some cases, you might be fishing the waters of the neighboring state, which means separate rules and regulations.
Little River Fishing FAQs
Little River: The Palmetto State’s Angling Secret
So, grab your gear, call your friends and family, and prepare for an unforgettable Little River fishing adventure. Its waters are ready to challenge and inspire anyone, no matter your age or skill level. And stick around for the festivals once you’re done fishing!
Have you ever been fishing in Little River? What’s your favorite spot? What about your top targets? Let us know in the comments below!
Title: Little River Fishing – The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/little-river-fishing-the-complete-guide/
Published Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2023 10:39:22 +0000