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Top Fishing Charters in Isle Of Palms

Fishing in Isle Of Palms

You can spend your time in Isle of Palms fishing for some of South Carolina’s favorite game fish. Located less than 20 miles from Charleston and less than 10 miles from Mount Pleasant, this barrier island grants you access to the best fishing in the state.

Known For

Known for its warm waters, beaches, and family-friendly atmosphere, this stretch of land is a popular place for vacationers. You’ll find the water to be just as welcoming as the island, with plenty of sightseeing and wildlife viewing your whole family can enjoy. This destination also has a reputation for exquisite inshore fishing along the flats, marshes, and shallow coastal waters.

With an Isle of Palms fishing charter, you get the whole package: hard fighting game fish, stunning views of the lowcountry, and a knowledgeable captain who’s ready to help you make the most of it all. Catch yourself a trophy sized Tarpon, teach your kids how to fish, or just sit back and relax. Whatever you have in mind, this is the place to make it happen.

Inshore Fishing
When it comes to shallow inshore waters, the spotlight is on Redfish. Fall and winter are excellent times to go fly fishing or sight casting for this prize, when the water is crystal clear and the fish begin schooling up.
 
You can also fish for a year-round supply of Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, and Flounder.
 
In summer you can expect your average catch to get bigger—much bigger. You’ll see Bull Reds in the 10-30 lb range swimming around the harbor and just off the coast. This is also the season for Tarpon fishing. The Silver King makes his entrance some time in late June and stays until October. At the same time, these waters grow crowded with a variety of Sharks, including Blacktips, Bonnetheads, Spinners, and Bull Sharks.
 
In warmer months you’re also likely to hit a few nearshore reefs for Spadefish, Tripletail, and Cobia.
 
In the midst of all this summer hype, keep an eye out for tailing Redfish on the grass flats. Sight fishers and fly fishermen delight in this spectacle as the fish root around for crabs, their tails peaking above the water. This happens exclusively during the flood tides between mid May and early October, and some IOP fishing guides offer special trips dedicated to this fleeting opportunity.
 
Offshore and Deep Sea Fishing
If you’re in the market for deep sea fishing, best to leave Isle of Palms behind for a hot second and make your way to Mount Pleasant, Charleston, or Folly Beach. These destinations offer countless offshore fishing charters that can take you anywhere from 25-60 miles out, all the way to the Gulf Stream.
 
You can take advantage of this area’s excellent bottom fishing any time of year. Offshore wrecks and reefs scattered throughout the area host Snapper, Grouper, Black Seabass, Triggerfish, and Amberjack. Cobia arrives in summer to shake things up a little.
 
Fishing the reefs might take you 5-10 miles offshore on a half day trip, or as far as 30 miles on a full day trip.
 
The real cherry on top is big game fishing in the Gulf Stream, some 40-60 miles offshore at the edge of the continental shelf. Get ready for the long haul, ‘cause an expedition of this sort will take a good 12 hours.
 
The long ride and fuel costs are well worthwhile, though. Out here, you can catch major players like Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, and Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. You may even hit up a few reefs on your way home for some dinner. The season for this world class deep sea fishery starts in late April and runs through November.

How much will it cost?

Isle of Palms fishing charters depart from the IOP Marina, just 5-10 minutes from some of the best fishing grounds near the island. Captains operating in this area specialize primarily in inshore fishing, with occasional runs to some nearshore reefs when the weather is fair.

It’s worth noting that many local guides encourage catch and release fishing—some may even insist on it. Be sure to ask your captain about which species you plan on targeting and whether you may be able to keep them. 

Half day trips cost between $350-$450, while ¾ day trips might start as low as $350 and make their way up to $600. Likewise, you’ll find full day trips for as little as $425 or as high as $750, and everywhere in between.

You can also find 3 hour trips for $400 or less. These are perfect for fishing the flood tides in summer or for a quick trip that will keep the kids entertained.

Deep Sea Charters
Offshore fishing charters in Charleston and the surrounding area generally start at $550 for a half day reef fishing trip. Longer reef fishing trips cost $650-$750. A ¾ day bottom fishing and trolling combo costs between $900 and $1,200 (this will take you about 25 miles offshore).
 
A trip to the Gulf Stream lasts 12 hours, for $1,475-$1,900. You can book an 8-10 hour trip for $1,000-$1,500, but this will likely involve more bottom fishing than big game fishing, about 30 miles offshore.

Types of Fishing

Light Tackle and Fly Fishing
The inshore waters at Isle of Palms are a fly fisherman’s paradise. You can catch almost any species here on fly, with autumn offering the perfect conditions. A trusty 8-weight fly rod will stand you in good stead, especially when targeting Redfish.
 
Spinning with light tackle can be just as thrilling, and this is the preferred method for novice anglers. You can use light rods and reels with a double hook rig and bait such as live Minnows, fiddler Crabs, or dead Shrimp.

For Tarpon fishing, consider using a long rod and a spinning reel with 20-50 lb test line and 6/0 circle hooks. Live Red Mullet is effective bait.

Deep Sea Fishing
Deep sea fishing in the Charleston area will have you trolling the Gulf Stream and bottom fishing the reefs offshore. Targeting pelagic game fish like Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi could also involve sight fishing and kite fishing. Bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and other fish near the reefs is sometimes accompanied by trolling, sight fishing, and jigging.
 
Surf Fishing
Fishing off the beaches and piers on Isle of Palms is a great way to brush up on your skills before heading out on the water. All you need is a rod, a reel, some bait—and who knows, you could land anything from Redfish, Flounder, and Mackerel to Sand Rays and Sharks (most likely Rays and Sharks).
 
A couple of surf and pier fishing hot spots in the area include the Isle of Palms Pier and the Breach Inlet between IOP and Sullivan’s Island. The Isle of Palms pier is closed to the public but you'll have access if staying in one of the private oceanside villas or sea cabins nearby.

Need to Know

Anglers must have a South Carolina fishing license if fishing from a boat, pier, or the beach. Most fishing charters on the Isle of Palms include a fishing license for you.

If needed, non-residents can buy a 14-day license online ($11, price subject to change).

Bear in mind that some species are strictly catch and release (Tarpon) while others may be closed to harvest during certain months. Your captain will help you follow regulations, but it never hurts to take a look online before you go.

Isle Of Palms
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Isle Of Palms Fishing Seasons

With average temperatures hovering around 47°F, the start of the year is rather chilly. But this is one of the best times to target Redfish, especially if you’re a fly fisherman. 

Come take advantage of the cold, crystal clear waters inshore! While stalking Redfish you might also hook into Speckled Trout and Sheepshead.

Spring is right around the corner, meaning you can expect to get a lot more bite from Speckled Trout and Flounder. Fishing for Redfish and Sheepshead is still promising.

April marks the start of big game fishing’s prime season offshore. Head to Charleston and book a trip to the Gulf Stream, or see if you can bring home something delicious from the reefs.

When you’re not battling Marlin, Tuna, and other brutes offshore, take some time to explore the shallow waters as many summertime species start to make their entrance. Redfish will be tailing by mid-month.

Tarpon is here! Add to that Bull Reds and Sharks—and suddenly, it’s hard to decide where the big game fishing is better: in here, or out there in the Gulf Stream? We’ll let you decide.

The inshore fishing is red hot, with Tarpon and a variety of other seasonal fish biting inshore while the reefs just off the coast are bustling with Spadefish, Tripletail, and more.

You can expect temperatures around 80°F by the end of summer. This is a great time to finish off that checklist, with a chance to catch tailing Redfish, Tarpon, Sharks, or any number of big game fish offshore.

Fall is the best time for sight fishing and fly fishing. The waters are clear and the Redfish are abundant. You might still hook into Tarpon, too. Offshore, the big game fish season rages on.

With average temperatures hovering around 67°F, this is still a great time to head offshore for Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and Sailfish. Or stick around the island and chase after Redfish.

The offshore big game fishing is winding down, but you’ll still have plenty of luck on the reefs. Inshore, Redfish, Sheepshead, and Flounder continue to promise great light tackle action.

Don’t let the year pass you by without casting a few lines in Isle of Palms! You can enjoy great success fishing for Redfish, Sheepshead, and more this holiday season.

Isle Of Palms Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Isle Of Palms

"An awesome day!"

Billy Turner fished with Barrier Island Fishing Charters on July 16, 2018

Call Captain Shane! Great with the whole family and know were the fish are.

"Fishing with Michael"

Chuck Socia fished with HotFish Charleston on June 13, 2018

Beautiful place to fish...very clean and well kept.

"Captain Mike was great he is everything promised and more. "

Ed Lemaster fished with HotFish Charleston on August 8, 2017

Fish with Captain Mike and you will have a great fishing experience.

"Half Day trip with Capt. Mike"

Andrew Mazeika fished with HotFish Charleston on July 18, 2017

Have a good knowledge of the baits to use, the tides and/or go with a guide to show you around.

Top Targeted Species in Isle Of Palms

Redfish

Spotted Seatrout

Black Drum

Flounder

Nearby Fishing Destinations