When anglers hear the words “Myrtle Beach,” certain images—happy images—come to mind. The waters of this fertile fishing area—from backwater creeks to the deep Atlantic—are rich with variety. Whether you’d rather spend a lazy day fishing off a pier or an adrenalin-pumping afternoon sport fishing, Myrtle Beach has got action to suit your taste.
Fish like a Myrtle Beach local
“When March gets here, I fish pretty much wide open ’til Thanksgiving,” says Capt. Ronnie Atkinson, of Fish Hook Charters, based in nearby Little River.
“There’s times we’ll fish from 6 a.m. ’til 11 at night, when the kids are out of school,” he says, “all the way up to 16-hour trips.”
Atkinson’s 34-foot Crusader runs 12 months a year; he fishes commercially during the week, but still finds time to cater to years of loyal clients relying on him for recreational outings. Peak season for fishing is through the summer months, but bottom fishing is great year-round.
Local guides spice up a day on the water with colorful local history, an insider’s perspective on the area, and knowledge of local fish and wildlife.
“Inshore,” says Atkinson, “like in creeks, we catch spot-tail bass, winter and summer trout, drums, black drums and flounders.” Atkinson cites snapper, grouper and sea bass among the available sport fish, and when trolling, he’s catching blue marlin, sailfish and tuna. “You’ve also got mahi mahi and wahoo,” he says, as if our mouths weren’t already watering. Other local catches include amberjack, barracuda, cobia, flounder, ladyfish, mackerel, shark and tarpon. Anglers, start your engines.
Little River (just beyond North Myrtle Beach) has always been considered the heart of the fishing community. In addition to its fish house and the many commercial boats that tie up there, it’s also home to the Little River Fishing Fleet. Owner Cameron Sebastian and his crew host anglers on 40-foot and 90-foot boats for bottom fishing, trolling, offshore, Gulf Stream and night fishing. Each trip varies in the distance covered, from one to 70 miles.
The Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach is another great spot for trying your luck. Built in the 1950s and owned by the Prince family for over 40 years, this beloved pier was remodeled and lengthened in 1999. The world-record holding tiger shark – 1780 pounds – was landed on this very spot.
If you don’t travel with your own rod and reel, no problem. The Pier, local bait and tackle shops, and sporting good stores all rent equipment. A fishing license is not required for surf or pier fishing in Myrtle Beach, or if you’re fishing from a charter boat or rental boat. Anyone 16 and older fishing from a privately owned vessel, however, will be required to have a saltwater recreational fishing license.
Fish as long as you want around Myrtle Beach. There may be limits placed on the size of your catch, but nobody except you can limit your own dedication.