"So What Do You Fish For in Beaufort Anyway?”
A question we get in the shop almost every single day from passerbys, tourists, and even locals! And to put it lightly, we fish for a lot here.
Where to begin? First off, 25% of the United States wetlands are located in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Now, not all wetlands are fishable areas, but DNR says we still have a little more than 234,000 acres of "open water, sounds, marshes, and estuaries,” aka, fishable areas. What does all this mean? Well, simply put, we just have a lot of water and a lot of places that we can find fish. Here at Bay Street Outfitters, we’re are exclusively fishing the saltwater flats and rivers from the Coosaw River down to Hilton Head, and all the waters in between.
Let's start with what we don’t fish for. We don’t have Bonefish or Permit, those species prefer a warmer, more tropical climate and habitat than what we have here. If you're lucky (really, lucky) you can find the occasional Snook, but I wouldn't claim Beaufort as a Snook fishery by any means. We also don’t have any Smallmouth Bass, Brown, Rainbow, or Brook Trout here in the Lowcountry. Those fish require colder, fresh water, something that we don’t have a lot of. We do have Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Sunfish, etc. in the freshwater lakes at your neighborhood park or golf course.
So what do we fish for? Well, we have a wide variety of species in our waters, some are seasonal and some we can find for most of the year here in the Lowcountry. Our resident fish include Redfish (Red Drum, Spot Tail Bass), Speckled Sea Trout, Black Drum, Sheepshead, Flounder, and both Black Tip and Bonnethead Sharks. All of these fish can be caught on either fly, artificial, or live/cut bait.
Seasonal species that we’ve been able to target inshore include: Tarpon, Cobia, Crevalle Jacks, Ladyfish, Tripletail, and Spanish Mackerel. These fish may be here for only a few months at a time but having the opportunity to cast to them is another part of what makes this fishery so special. A majority of these species tend to show up in the warmer summer months, but they have been known to show up early and stay late depending on water temperature. Keep in mind that although we may have all of these fish around at the same time, you may not be able to find them all in the same area. Some fish like Cobia prefer deeper, open waters while Redfish prefer shallow water and oyster beds. Be patient, open to advice, and willing to explore new water. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn.
There are many other species of fish in our waters, but these discussed here are the primary targets of anglers coming and going from the shop. Keep following along with our blog as we will dive into specific techniques for some of the species in the coming weeks. If you have any questions on fish, tackle, flies, or just want some general information on the fishery, drop us a line or swing on by. We’d love to hear from you.