Fishing in Murrells Inlet: A Complete Guide
Oct 19, 2021 | 8 minute read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Murrells Inlet is a charming village where fishing is a way of life. Dubbed the “seafood capital of South Carolina,” it’s a fantastic destination to visit, whether you’re the outdoorsy type or simply planning some family time. Of course, if you’re looking to do some fishing in Murrells Inlet, rest assured it’s the kind of place where angling dreams come true.

Several boats moored at a dock in Murrells Inlet, SC.

Featuring jetties, shallow creeks, and plenty of hidden spots, Murrells Inlet is an inshore fishing heaven. But if you move a few miles from the coast, you’ll find some reefs and wrecks, abundant with food fish. Even further offshore, in the depths of the ocean, lies the Gulf Stream. Out there, you could find yourself fishing as if on an episode of Wicked Tuna, with monster pelagics biting the end of your line.

If you’d like to learn more about the type of angling this stretch of South Carolina offers, read on. We’ll cover some of the top species to target, ways to fish, and where to start. You’ll also be able to read a bit about local regulations. So strap in, and let’s explore fishing in Murrells Inlet together.

What fish are biting Murrells Inlet?

With a vibrant inshore fishery and access to some amazing deep sea fishing, Murrells Inlet pretty much has it all. Although the species change depending on the season, fishing is good year-round. Have a look at just some of the popular fish you can catch in this area.

Red Drum

Ask the locals what their favorite fish to target is and Red Drum will probably be near the top. These fish are voracious eaters so you can fish for them using a variety of natural or artificial baits. Once you get the bite, they’ll put up a heck of a fight, especially if you hook a big one. Also, Red Drum like to lurk close to shore, so there’s no need to go far to catch them!

An angler on a boat holding a big Red Drum caught in Murrells Inlet.

In Murrells Inlet, you can usually find Drum hiding in the creeks and along the jetties. Every fall, Bull Reds show up, giving anglers the chance to aim for a trophy. Despite this, these fish reside in the area throughout the year and are always a popular target.

King Mackerel

King Mackerel are famous for their lightning-quick runs, razor-sharp teeth, and the thrilling fight they put up. They can also get pretty big, capable of reaching sizes of over 50 pounds. All of this makes them an incredibly fun fish to chase after. King Mackerel are also a good choice if you’re new to offshore fishing, as you can find them closer to shore than the likes of Tuna or Billfish.

A man kneeling and holding a big King Mackerel with his boat in the background.

The best season to catch these fish in Murrells Inlet runs from spring through fall. The bite is usually the hottest during summer when they can be found within a few miles from shore, and the most effective method to fish for King Mackerel is typically trolling, followed by drifting. They like to hang around reefs, natural bottoms, or wrecks, so aim for those once you set out.

Flounder

With their oddball look, Flounder are an extremely amusing species to target if you’re on a family outing. Just imagine your kid feeling the line pull only to reel in a fish that looks nothing like what they’ve seen in Finding Nemo! But make no mistake, Flounder may look unique but they’re actually one of the most delicious fish you can catch.

A boy holding a Flounder caught in Murrells Inlet with a man kneeling alongside him.

Flounder fishing in Murrells Inlet usually takes place around jetties, oyster bars, and creeks, as these fish like to ambush their prey. You’ll find them hiding on the bottom, lying flat, and waiting for some unsuspecting baitfish to pass by. In this part of South Carolina, Flounder start showing up as early as April. However, the best time to target them is throughout the summer months.

Black Drum

Another fish you can catch inshore are Black Drum. Like their cousin, Red Drum, these fish will put up a solid battle when you hook them. They can also get fairly big, adding even more excitement to the fight. Smaller Black Drum are also great table fare. Just be mindful of the size and bag limits if you decide to keep them.

A man on a boat holding a big Black Drum with a woman on his left pointing at the fish.

Murrells Inlet has year-round populations of Black Drum so it’s always possible to target them. However, the bigger ones usually show up around fall, chasing after shrimp. You’ll find them hiding along the jetties and creeks, as well as muddy bottoms. They lurk in the same places as Red Drum, so it’s possible to reel in both on a single trip.

And More!

Considering the quality of fishing Murrells Inlet has to offer, it’s almost impossible to list all the species you can target. Besides the ones we already named, you can also find Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, Cobia, and Sharks prowling through the area. 

An angler on a boat, holding a big Amberjack.

But the fishing doesn’t stop inshore or nearshore. If you’re looking to do some deep sea fishing in Murrells Inlet, why not plan a visit to the Gulf Stream? Out in the ocean, you’ll find some of the most prolific Tuna fishing grounds on the planet. You’ll also get your shot at Marlin, Wahoo, Amberjack, Mahi, Mahi, and other prized game fish. 

If you’d like to do some freshwater fishing, you can also head to the nearby Waccamaw River. This scenic body of water passes right by Murrells Inlet and will let you target Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and more. With such variety in one place, all you need to do is choose how and where to fish.

How can I fish in Murrells Inlet?

Charter Fishing

For anglers new to Murrells Inlet, hopping on a charter is a great way to get to know the fishery. The local captains are always up to date on what’s biting and how the fish move. They’ll also share their knowledge on which techniques work best and provide you with the appropriate equipment.

A charter boat gliding through a marsh with sun setting in the background.

Charters are also a great option if you plan on taking your family fishing. The calm, inshore grounds are a great place for your little ones to reel in their first catch. Most captains love fishing with children. As long as you let them know, they’ll adjust your trip so everyone can enjoy it.

If you’re planning a deep sea fishing trip, you’ll have no trouble finding a captain in Murrells Inlet. Many of them specialize in long, offshore trips and are able to take you as far as the Gulf Stream. Pairing up with an expert will give you your best shot at landing a trophy.

Shore Fishing

Casting your line from the coast is a nice, laid-back way to spend your day. It may not give you the same amount of variety as charter fishing, but you’ll still get plenty of action. Murrells Inlet features several spots where you can reel in some pretty amazing fish. You could be hooking into Flounder, Sharks, and even Bull Red Drum when they’re in season.

A man with a dog fishing from a pier at sunset.

Of course, if you’re fishing from shore, you’ll need to get your equipment and bait ready. If you’re a novice, the local tackle shops can give you tips on what works best. In most cases, you’ll also need to obtain a fishing license. Later on in this article, we’ll cover a couple of fishing spots in Murrells Inlet. Make sure to take a look at those before you set out.

Kayak Fishing

Fishing the waters surrounding Murrells Inlet aboard a kayak will let you experience the area in a unique, intimate way. Just picture all the shallow waters, creeks, and marshes that are waiting for you to explore them. Also, you’ll be able to get to all the hidden nooks and crannies and silently sneak up on your catch.

An angler fishing in Murrells Inlet from a kayak with another man behind the vessel.

Depending on how much experience with kayak fishing you have, you may find it a bit awkward to fish from the vessel itself. However, don’t let that discourage you. You can use your kayak to get to some of the less accessible banks along the marsh and just cast from shore. Before you go, it’s always a good idea to check the weather and wind conditions.

Top Fishing Spots in Murrells Inlet

Ranging from inshore to far offshore, there are many fishing spots in Murrells Inlet you can try out. We won’t cover all of them as they can change with the season and the sea conditions. Instead, take a look at a few reliable starting places.

A photo of a walkway in Huntington Beach State Park at sunset.
  • Huntington Beach State Park Jetty: Murrells Inlet’s jetties are some of the best spots to fish if you’re looking for big Red Drum, Sharks, Flounder, and more. You can fish this specific area from a boat, giving you the opportunity to cast to both the jetties guarding the inlet. Or you can reach it by foot, but keep in mind you’ll have to walk about a mile along the beach.
  • Morse Park Landing: If you’re planning to explore Murrells Inlet aboard a kayak, Morse Park Landing is a great place to launch. You can target many different species here, including Speckled Trout, Black Drum, Red Drum, and others. There’s also a boardwalk right by the marsh!
  • Inshore Creeks: The Murrells Inlet marsh features several creeks that provide a natural habitat for fish. Allston, Oaks, Whale, and Woodland Creek are all worth giving a shot. Among others, you’ll be able to hook into Red Drum, Trout, Sheepshead, Flounder, and Black Drum.
  • Nearshore Reefs: If you head a few miles off the beach, you’ll get the opportunity to fish some of the nearshore reefs. Paradise, Ten Mile, and Eleven Mile Reef are all good spots to hit if you’re looking to reel in some Black Seabass, Sheepshead, and other table fare. Spanish and King Mackerel can also be found here depending on the season.
  • Gulf Stream: For experienced anglers looking to hunt their next pelagic trophy, the Gulf Stream is one of the best places to do so. Be prepared for a ride though, as you’ll have to go around 60 miles offshore. Once you’ve reached the prime fishing grounds, you’ll get to fish for an incredible variety of migrating fish. These include Tuna, Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Sailfish, among others.

Fishing Regulations in Murrells Inlet

When fishing aboard a charter in South Carolina, you won’t need a fishing license. However, all anglers aged 16 and up will need a saltwater fishing license when fishing from shore, unless it’s from a licensed pier. If you decide to fish the Waccamaw River, you’ll need a freshwater permit. For more information, check out our detailed guide on South Carolina fishing regulations.

An infographic image that says "Murrells Inlet Fishing Regulations" and "What you need to know" below it.

Once you’re out on the water, you should keep in mind that most of the fish you’ll catch have size and bag limits. These usually change every season and are there to help preserve the fish populations for years to come. To stay up to date, visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website before your trip.

Murrells Inlet: A Welcoming Fishing Village

A scenic view of the marsh surrounding Murrells Inlet.

Once an infamous pirate sanctuary, Murrells Inlet is now a modern vacation spot for families, seafood lovers, and all kinds of fishing enthusiasts. It’s a place where novice anglers can relax and learn while staying in calm waters close to shore. It’s also where you can hop on a charter and wrestle a Tuna till your heart’s content. With so many options, what’s not to love about Murrells Inlet?

Have you ever been fishing in Murrells Inlet? What’s the catch you’re most proud of? Hit the comment button below and let us know!

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