Surf Fishing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Fun, Sun and Great Fishing in the Palmetto State

Surf fishing is a thrilling activity that combines the serenity of the ocean with the excitement of catching fish. And, if you’re an avid surf angler like me, you’re always looking for new surf fishing destinations. One premier destination to consider is surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Nestled along the stunning coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, Myrtle Beach offers anglers the opportunity to target a variety of fish species while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

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It’s also an excellent destination whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to try your hand at surf fishing. Come along and will provide you with all the information you need to enjoy a successful and memorable surf fishing experience in Myrtle Beach from the best spots, techniques, and local insider tips.

Located in the beautiful state of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for surf fisherman. With its pristine sandy beaches, abundant marine life, and breathtaking coastal views.

Whether you’re just seeking a peaceful day by the ocean or the excitement of reeling in a big catch, Myrtle Beach has it all, including many other fun attractions for the whole family.

Where is Myrtle Beach South Carolina?

Located about 98 miles north and east of Charleston, SC and 125 miles east of Columbia, SC Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast. It is the hub of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile string of beaches that’s also known for its celebrity-designed golf courses. Along its beachfront boardwalk are arcades, souvenir stands and restaurants, as well as the old-fashioned Family Kingdom amusement park and the SkyWheel, one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels.

Surf fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina - google map view of the Myrtle Beach South Carolina area
Photo Credit: Google Maps

With all the attractions, amenities, and excellent surf fishing opportunities, Myrtle Beach is an awesome family vacation destination.

The Basics of Surf Fishing

Unlike other forms of fishing, surf fishing allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach while trying your luck at catching fish. It requires specific knowledge, skills, and equipment to maximize your chances of success. Before we dive into the specifics of surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, let’s cover the fundamental aspects of fishing from the beach.

Surf fishing involves casting your line from the shoreline into the crashing waves, targeting various fish species that roam close to the beach. Combining elements of both saltwater and freshwater fishing, anglers must adapt their techniques accordingly.

Casting Technique

Mastering the art of surf casting is vital for reaching fish that are beyond the breaking waves.

The two most common casting techniques for surf fishing are the overhead cast and the pendulum cast. The overhead cast involves bringing the rod behind your shoulder and then forcefully casting the line forward.

The pendulum cast, on the other hand, involves swinging the rod sideways and then casting in an arc motion. Practice both techniques to determine which one feels more comfortable for you.

Surf angler making an overhead cast - surf fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Making an overhead cast

Understanding the Tides and Seasons

When surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, it’s crucial to consider the tide cycles, as they greatly influence the movement and behavior of fish. Typically, the best times to fish are during the incoming and outgoing tides, as fish are more active during these periods.

Myrtle Beach experiences two high tides and two low tides each day, creating a dynamic environment for surf anglers. During high tide, fish tend to move closer to the shore, following the rising water. This presents an excellent opportunity to cast your line closer in and target species like Red Drum, Flounder, and Spotted Seatrout.

On the other hand, during low tide, fish may retreat to deeper waters between sandbars and around structures like cuts, rocks and jetties. By adjusting your fishing strategy accordingly, you can still catch fish during these periods. It’s worth noting that the changing seasons can also affect the behavior and migration patterns of fish in Myrtle Beach.

Diagram of how tides affect fish movements
How tides affect fish location

For instance, spring and fall are known for the presence of migratory species like Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish, while summer brings opportunities to catch Pompano and Whiting. Also, early morning and late afternoon are generally the best times to fish, as fish are more active during these periods.

Choosing the Right Gear

When it comes to surf fishing, having the right gear can make all the difference in your angling success. Before heading out on your fishing expedition, it’s important to equip yourself with the proper surf fishing gear. Let’s take a closer look at the tackle you’ll need to ensure a productive day on the shores of Myrtle Beach. This includes a sturdy fishing rod and reel combination suitable for saltwater fishing, a tackle box stocked with various hooks, sinkers, and lures, a cooler to keep your bait fresh, a fishing net, and a comfortable chair or surf cart.

Rods and Reels

Selecting the right fishing rod and reel combination is crucial for surf fishing. The ideal rod should be long, sturdy, and capable of casting heavy weights over long distances.

A surfcasting rod in the range of 9 to 12 feet is recommended, as it provides the necessary leverage for casting the longer distances often necessary with surf fishing.

For the reel, I recommend you choose a spinning reel that can handle the saltwater environment. Look for a reel with a smooth drag system and a large line capacity. This will enable you to cast further, handle larger fish, and prevent your line from breaking under the strain of the fight.

Fishing Line and Terminal Tackle

Choosing a quality fishing line is important when surf fishing. Monofilament lines are a popular choice due to their versatility and affordability. Braided lines are great for their low stretch and smaller diameter which allows for more line capacity on your reel. Look for a line with a test strength ranging from 12 to 20 pounds, depending on the target species and prevailing conditions.

To complete your setup, you’ll need terminal tackle, including sinkers, hooks, and swivels. Sinkers, or weights, help anchor your bait in the water and hold your rig in place against the force of the current and waves. Pyramid sinkers, or sputnik type weights are commonly used in surf fishing as they hold well in sandy bottoms. Select hooks based on the size of the fish you’re targeting, and use whenever possible as fish are less likely to swallow the hook.

Fishing Rigs

Surf fishing rigs, or leaders, are setups that have one or multiple hooks and your sinker. The two most common rigs for surf fishing are the fishfinder rig and the Carolina rig. The fishfinder rig consists of a sliding sinker, a swivel, a leader, and the hook. It allows the fish to pick up the bait and move freely without feeling the weight of the sinker.

The Carolina rig is similar but includes a bead between the sinker and the swivel, which produces added noise and attraction. Another popular option is the double drop or pompano rig that consists of two drops with hooks, your sinker, and a swivel to connect to your main line.

Carolina rig leader set up
Carolina rig

Best Times for Surf Fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina

The best time of year for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina largely depends on the specific fish species you’re targeting. However, generally speaking, the prime seasons for surf fishing in this area are spring, summer, and fall. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and the fish species commonly caught during those times:

Spring (March to May): Springtime in Myrtle Beach can offer excellent surf fishing opportunities. During this season, you can target species such as Red Drum (Redfish), Flounder, Black Drum, and Speckled Trout. As the water warms up, these fish become more active and can be found feeding in the surf.

Summer (June to August): The summer months are typically the most popular time for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach. You can expect to catch a variety of species, including Red Drum, Black Drum, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, and Whiting.

The water temperatures are warmer, and the fish are abundant, making it an excellent time for both beginners and experienced anglers.

Fall (September to November): Fall is another great season for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach. As the water starts to cool down, the fish become more active and aggressive. You can target Red Drum, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Black Drum, and Bluefish during this time. Fall often brings a higher number of migratory fish, providing exciting opportunities for anglers.

It’s important to note that weather conditions, tides, and local fishing regulations can also influence your fishing success. It’s recommended to check with local tackle shops or experienced anglers in the area for real-time updates on fishing conditions and the best bait and techniques to use. Additionally, obtaining a fishing license is required before engaging in any fishing activities in South Carolina.

What Can You Catch Surf Fishing in Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach is home to a diverse range of fish species, making it a paradise for surf fisherman and anglers in general. Some common fish species you may encounter include red drum, flounder, black drum, Spanish mackerel, pompano, and sheepshead.

Red Drum (Redfish): Red Drum is one of the most popular game fish in the region. They can be caught year-round but are particularly active during the warmer months.

Black Drum: Black Drum are another species commonly found along the surf. They are known for their strong fight and can be caught throughout the year.

Flounder: Flounder are flatfish that inhabit the sandy and muddy bottoms. They are more active during the warmer months and are a prized catch for surf fishermen.

Speckled Trout (Spotted Sea Trout): Speckled Trout are commonly caught during spring, summer, and fall. They are known for their beautiful markings and can be found in the surf as well as in estuaries and creeks.

Young girl with a nice black drum caught while surf fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Photo Credit: Myrtle Beach Fishing Guides

Spanish Mackerel: Spanish Mackerel are fast-swimming fish that migrate along the coast during the summer months. They are often caught by surf anglers using lures or live bait.

Whiting (Southern Kingfish): Whiting are small to medium-sized fish that are plentiful along the Myrtle Beach coast. They are active throughout the year and are often targeted by surf fishermen.

Bluefish: Bluefish are migratory fish that can provide exciting action for surf anglers. They are known for their aggressive strikes and are usually caught during the spring and fall seasons.

These are just a few examples of the fish species you can catch while surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Check with the local online fishing forums and bait and tackle shops for what fish are likely to be running the surf when you are planning your trip.

Bait and Lures: What Works Best in Myrtle Beach

When surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, selecting the right bait and lures can be the difference between catching, and just fishing. The type of bait you choose will depend on the species you’re targeting, as well as personal preferences. Let’s explore some of the top bait and lure options favored by surf fishing enthusiasts in Myrtle Beach. Some popular bait options include shrimp, sand fleas, mullet, and squid. Additionally, lures such as spoons, jigs, topwater plugs, and soft plastics can be effective for targeting specific fish species.

Live Bait

Best surf fishing bait - live shrimp rigged and ready

One of the most effective ways to attract fish is by using live bait. Local favorites include shrimp, mullet, finger mullet, and sand fleas.

These baits are readily available at bait shops throughout Myrtle Beach and can significantly increase your chances of success.

Be sure to rig your live bait properly to ensure it stays on the hook and appears natural to the fish.

Cut Bait

Cut bait refers to pieces of fish or squid that are used as bait. This method is particularly effective for targeting predatory species such as Red Drum, Black Drum, and sharks.

Cut bait produces a strong scent trail that can attract nearby fish to strike.

Artificial Lures

For anglers who prefer artificial lures, there are plenty of options available. Soft plastic swimbaits, spoons, and topwater lures are popular choices for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach. These lures mimic the movements of baitfish and can trigger aggressive strikes from predatory species such as speckled trout, jack crevalle, and Spanish mackerel.

Remember to experiment with different baits and lures to determine what works best on any given day. Fish behavior can vary depending on factors such as water temperature, time of day, and the presence of baitfish.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina Local Information:

Best Surf Fishing Spots in Myrtle Beach

Choosing the right fishing spot is essential for a productive day of surf fishing. Look for areas with natural structures such as jetties, piers, or sandbars, as these often attract fish. Talk to local anglers or visit bait and tackle shops to gather information about the best fishing spots in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach offers an abundance of excellent surf fishing spots, each with its own unique characteristics and fish species. Here are some of the top locations to consider when planning your surf fishing adventure:

1. Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State Park is a prime destination for surf fisherman. With its picturesque coastline and diverse marine life, this park offers ample opportunities to reel in a variety of species. From Red Drum and Flounder to Whiting and Pompano, the waters here are teeming with a variety of fish. The park also provides convenient beach access and amenities, making it an ideal spot for anglers of all levels of experience and the entire family.

Apache Pier Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Apache Pier Myrtle Beach, SC

2. Apache Pier

Apache Pier is another popular choice for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach.

Stretching 1,206 feet into the ocean, it offers anglers a chance to cast their lines into deeper waters where larger fish tend to roam.

Expect to encounter species such as Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and King Mackerel.

The pier also features a tackle shop where you can stock up on bait and supplies, as well as a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat after a successful day of fishing.

3. Cherry Grove Pier

Cherry Grove Pier, located in North Myrtle Beach, is a beloved spot for surf anglers. This iconic pier extends 985 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, providing access to a diverse range of fish species. Whether you’re targeting Flounder, Black Drum, or even the occasional Shark, this pier offers ample opportunities for a rewarding fishing experience. The pier is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including a tackle shop, restrooms, and a café.

4. Huntington State Park Jetties

Located just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach, the Huntington State park offers both beach and jetty surf fishing options. Speckled trout, flounder, red drum and sheepshead all frequent the rocks of the jetties as well as other species depending on the time of year. The park offers miles of hiking trails, bird watching and other family freindly activites as well.

These are just a few examples of the top surf fishing spots in Myrtle Beach.

Be sure to explore other areas along the coastline to discover your own favorite fishing hotspots.

And, while surf fishing is a popular activity in Myrtle Beach, the area also offers alternative fishing opportunities.

Huntington State Park Jetty Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Huntington State Park Jetty

Consider exploring the nearby freshwater lakes, rivers, and estuaries, where you can fish for bass, catfish, trout, and other freshwater species. This allows you to diversify your fishing experiences and explore the diverse aquatic ecosystems in the region.

Fishing Regulations in Myrtle Beach

Before surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations and obtain any necessary permits. South Carolina requires a saltwater fishing license for anglers aged 16 and older. Be sure to adhere to catch limits, size restrictions, and any seasonal closures to promote sustainable fishing practices and avoid expensive fines. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Fishing License: To legally fish in Myrtle Beach, anglers aged 16 and older must possess a valid South Carolina fishing license. Licenses can be obtained online or from authorized vendors.
  2. Size and Bag Limits: Each species has specific size and bag limits that regulate the number and size of fish you can keep. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these limits and release any undersized or protected fish.
  3. Protected Species: Some fish species are protected or subject to specific regulations. For example, Red Drum (Redfish) in South Carolina are managed under slot limits, meaning only fish within a certain size range can be harvested.
  4. Seasonal Closures: Certain fish species may have seasonal closures during their spawning periods to protect their populations. It’s essential to stay informed about any temporary closures that may be in effect.

To ensure compliance with fishing regulations, anglers are encouraged to visit the official website of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or consult the local bait and tackle shops in Myrtle Beach for the most up-to-date information.

Surf fisherman hooked up with a fish while surf fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Photo Credit: Myrtle Beach Fishing Guide

As anglers, it’s our responsibility to protect and preserve the marine environment. Follow catch and release practices whenever possible, especially for threatened or endangered species.

Dispose of trash properly and avoid leaving any litter behind. By practicing responsible fishing, we can ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the beauty of Myrtle Beach for future generations.

More to Do and See Exploring the Myrtle Beach Area

Myrtle Beach is not only a haven for anglers but also a vibrant tourist destination with a variety of activities for the whole family. Take the opportunity to explore the area’s attractions, such as amusement parks, golf courses, shopping centers, and waterfront dining options. Immerse yourself in the local culture, visit historical landmarks, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the breathtaking views. The following are some of the most popular Myrtle Beach attractions.

1. Broadway at the Beach, South Carolina’s favorite Travel Destination and the largest entertainment venue of its kind in the state features unique specialty shops, exceptional dining, award-winning attractions, fabulous nightlife and relaxing accommodations, all surrounding the magnificent Lake Broadway.

2. SkyWheel Myrtle Beach – Elevate Your Perspective! High above the beach and far from the stresses of everyday life awaits an unforgettable experience that soars over 20 stories above the Atlantic Ocean.

The SkyWheel features 42 climate-controlled gondolas that offer an uplifting experience for children and adults of all ages. Open day and night, 363 days a year!

Skywheel Myrtle Beach South Carolina
SkyWheel Myrtle Beach South Carolina

3. Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach – Ripley’s Aquarium is a 1st class, moving walkway thrill in glass tunnel thru the ocean… filled with an incredible display of sea creatures from all over the world. Adjacent to Broadway at the Beach, plan a rainy day, or just a break from the sand and surf for a visit. A favorite attraction for kids are the “touch and feel” exhibits of horse shoe crabs and rays. The boat ride in the lagoon is awesome too. Eat lunch in their restaurant and later visit Broadway at the Beach for lots of restaurants, shops and attractions.

4. Hollywood Wax Museum – Come Play with the Stars! At the Hollywood Wax Museum, you can get into the action and take selfies with your favorite stars, while learning all about their pets, pet peeves, charity work, and accomplishments. Peek into the Prop Vault, dance with the stars, tiptoe through a laser maze, find out what type of villain you’d be, and more.

Family Kingdom amusement park in Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Family Kingdom Amusement Park Myrtle Beach, SC

5. Family Kingdom Amusement Park – This charming, old-fashioned amusement park features more than 30 fun-filled rides including an all-wooden roller coaster, Log Flume, Go-Kart tracks, historic carousel and the largest Ferris wheel in South Carolina.

For more information about all the attractions and amenities that Myrtle beach has to offer, check out:

Frequently Asked Questions About Surf Fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Can I fish from the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?

Yes, fishing from the beach is permitted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The city has numerous public access points that provide anglers with ample opportunities to cast their lines into the surf and target a variety of fish species. Check with the local municipalities for beach rules and access information.

frequently asked questions sign

What types of fish can I catch while surf fishing in Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach offers a diverse range of fish species that can be caught while surf fishing. Common catches include Red Drum, Flounder, Spotted Seatrout, Whiting, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, and Bluefish. Depending on the time of year and prevailing conditions, you may encounter other species as well.

Are there any fishing charters available in Myrtle Beach?

Yes, Myrtle Beach offers a variety of fishing charters that cater to both inshore and offshore anglers. These charters provide an opportunity to explore deeper waters and target larger game fish. Experienced captains and crews will guide you to the best fishing grounds, ensuring an unforgettable angling experience.

What is the best time of year for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach?

The best time for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach varies depending on the target species. Generally, spring and fall are considered prime seasons, as they coincide with the migration of species such as Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and Red Drum. However, Myrtle Beach offers fishing opportunities year-round, and different species can be targeted during each season.

Can I bring my own fishing gear, or are rentals available in Myrtle Beach?

You have the option to bring your own fishing gear or rent equipment from various bait and tackle shops in Myrtle Beach. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, these shops can provide you with the necessary gear and tackle, as well as offer advice on the best setup for your fishing needs.

Are there any restrictions on fishing from the piers in Myrtle Beach?

Fishing from the piers in Myrtle Beach is subject to specific regulations set by the pier owners and local authorities. It’s important to familiarize yourself with any pier-specific rules, such as fishing hours, bait restrictions, and pier access fees.

Cherry Grove fishing Pier Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Cherry Grove Fishing Pier Myrtle Beach, SC

Do I need a fishing license for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach?

Yes, anglers aged 16 and older are required to have a saltwater fishing license in South Carolina. You can get fishing license information online from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Or from local bait and tackle shops.

What are the best times of the day for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach?

Early morning and late afternoon are generally the most productive times for surf fishing in Myrtle Beach. In addition, some municipal beaches with life guards only allow surf fishing after 5 pm. So be sure to check with the local authorites.

Are there any safety precautions I should take while surf fishing?

Yes, it’s important to be aware of weather conditions, avoid turning your back to the ocean, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated. If you will be wading the surf, it is recommended you wear a life jacket or PFD.

Can I fish in other areas besides the beach in Myrtle Beach?

Yes, Myrtle Beach also offers fishing opportunities in freshwater lakes, rivers, and estuaries, where you can target different species of fish.

Take a Trip to Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers an incredible surf fishing experience for anglers of all levels. With its beautiful coastline, abundant fish species, and a wide variety of fishing spots to explore, Myrtle Beach is a haven for fishing enthusiasts of all kinds. Hopefully, with this comprehensive guide to surf fishing in Myrtle Beach, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to plan an exciting and successful fishing trip.

anglers holding a large tarpon caught while surf fishing in Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Photo credit: WMBF News

Enjoy the thrill of the chase, the beauty of the beach, and the satisfaction of catching some fish.

Remember to prioritize safety, respect the environment, and enjoy the unique blend of relaxation and thrill that surf fishing in Myrtle Beach has to offer.

So pack your gear, plan your trip, and get ready to create lasting memories in this angler’s paradise.

As always, stay safe, enjoy the journey and please try to leave it cleaner than you found it.

If you have any comments, questions, ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap. You can follow us on Facebook: Rex The Beach Angler, Instagram: thebeachangler7, Twitter: @AnglerBeach, and YouTube: Man Art Creations.

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