Saltwater Fishing Trends

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The Columbia full-service Licensing and Boat Titling office is now located at:

SCDNR at the State Farmer's Market
326 Little Brooke Lane
West Columbia, SC 29172

The State Farmers Market has convenient parking and easy access to both I-77 and I-26.

These services are no longer offered at 1000 Assembly Street in Downtown Columbia.

North Grand Strand

Inshore: Captain Smiley Fishing Charters (843-361-7445) reports that this has been a good fall already, but they are optimistic that more big trout will show up this month to go with good numbers that have already arrived. Ledges and deep holes in the IntraCoastal Waterway should produce, and fish will eat live shrimp as well as a broad array of artificial lures. There is also a strong population of smaller redfish right now that will eat most anything, and black drum will continue to feed on shrimp.

Most detailed North Grand Strand Updates

South Grand Strand

Inshore: Captain Tom Cushman (843-997-5850) reports that the trout didn’t show up as expected in November, and they hope that with the delayed cooling more fish will arrive in December. Each year the bite seems to start later. Both live shrimp and a variety of artificial lures should work. Redfish will continue to be caught in the creeks mixed in with the trout, and more fish may move into Murrells Inlet this month. Black drum fishing is more fun on shrimp now that the pinfish have left, and there are lots of sheepshead around. Most of the flounder should head offshore this month but some juvenile fish will stay inshore.

Most detailed Southern Grand Strand Updates


Inshore: Captain Greg Holmes (843-241-0594) reports that by the end of November catches of big redfish had slowed down, but there were still plenty of juvenile redfish around providing action. This should continue in December. The trout fishing will almost certainly pick up this month as water temperatures drop below 55, and while lures will catch fish live shrimp are virtually impossible to beat. Fish should feed around current rips, points, creek mouths and other areas that affect water flow. Finally, juvenile black drum should continue to be found inshore where they will eat cut shrimp.


Inshore: Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) and Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) report that December in Charleston is mostly about redfish and trout, and this should continue to be an outstanding season for both species. As the water clears it will be easier to visually locate big schools of redfish on low tide, and they will eat both artificial lures and live bait. There will also be some fish caught around docks. The trout bite is already excellent but more big fish should be caught in December in moving water and holes in the creeks. With shrimp and baitfish harder to find this month trout should only get hungrier and more willing to take lures. Finally, there should be some good sheepshead fishing around inshore structure.

Surf and pier: Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports redfish and whiting should continue to bite through December, and there are also always sheepshead around.

Most detailed Charleston updates

Edisto Island

Inshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that, with the bait essentially gone inshore, this December both trout and redfish will take artificial lures as well as they go after bait in other parts of the year. With each drop of a couple of degrees the fish will feed more aggressively until temperatures bottom out. Redfish are mixed between the creeks and flats, with sight-fishing coming into its prime as the water clears. Some years trout start out the month in both the main rivers and creeks, but this year they had already mostly moved into the creeks where they should be caught all December trolling or casting grubs. At the beginning of the month a few flounder, sheepshead and more will still be around inshore, but they will become scarce as temperatures drop.

Most detailed Edisto Island Updates


Inshore: Captain Tuck Scott (843-524-5250) and Captain Patrick Kelly (843-962-3503) report that as the water clears in December sight-fishing will become a better and better pattern, particularly on low tide but also when the water is first getting in the grass. Look for fish to be aggressive since water temperatures have not yet bottomed out. Scented soft plastics as well as natural baits will all work. Additionally, there should continue to be large numbers of fish found around docks and other cover as Beaufort has an abundant population of redfish. The trout bite has been strong in November and could get even better December. Look for fish in current seams where they will eat soft plastics on quarter-ounce jigheads, and they will also feed on mud minnows. Finally, expect sheepshead and black drum to be found around inshore structure until temperatures force them to move deeper.

Most detailed Beaufort Updates

Hilton Head

Inshore: Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) and Captain Trent Malphrus (843-301-4634) report that December is a prime month for redfish and trout in the Hilton Head area. In December trout can be found around a wide variety of structure, and they will take artificial lures or live shrimp fished in the creeks. Look for moving water with some sort of current break. With the water clearing and fish getting into tight schools this is also a great month for sight-fishing for redfish. Later in the winter conditions will still be clear, but after it gets very cold fish will become more lethargic – while in December before temperatures really drop the fish should continue to be aggressive. Artificial lures in general will be good enough most of this month, but when fish are harder to locate scented soft plastics or live bait can increase the chances of hooking up.

Most detailed Hilton Head Updates