If families, solo backpackers, or nature lovers are planning a trip to Hilton Head, one of the must-do activities is fishing.
Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes on the island because the clear, blue waters of Hilton Head are teeming with an array of fish species to discover. From redfish and trout to flounders, black drums, and tarpons, there are so many interesting water creatures to find.
It doesn’t matter if vacationers are fishing for leisure or sport because Hilton Head Island is sure to have something for everyone who wants to enjoy its beautiful ponds, beaches, and lakes. Check out the information below provided by Beachside Hilton Head to make sure you plan the best fishing trip possible!
Best Spots for Fishing on Hilton Head
Although there is a wide range of fishing locations to choose from, it’s important for fishers to find the best spots to get the most out of the experience. Here are five of the best fishing destinations they need to check out.
1. Jarvis Creek Park
Located just off William Hilton Parkway, this 53-acre park houses a fishing pier, a large pond, picnic shelters, a playground, and open fields. It’s an excellent place for families to visit because there’s an activity for just about everyone to enjoy.
There are many fish within the large pond, making it much easier to catch something good. Bass is one of the most common fish in this park, but there is always a chance of scoring something better.
Jarvis Creek Park is highly family-friendly — not just with the abundance of activities available, but also with its fishing environment. With the dock, adults can teach their young ones the proper way to fish before going into the water. From how to bait to how to reel in their first catch, every interested kiddo can get a beginner’s course on fishing.
2. Daufuskie Island
If there are tourists who want to take a trip back in time and catch a fish the traditional way, there’s no better place to go than Daufuskie Island. Appropriately dubbed the “paradise beyond,” this island takes visitors to a simpler time before modernization.
The island is immaculate. White sand beaches, Spanish moss, historical landmarks, and ancient oaks give life and spirit to this island. Besides the thriving fishing scene, the island is rich in history and culture.
The quiet streams and creeks are the best locations to go fishing. Not only that, but fishers can eat their catch for dinner. Some of the fish they can catch include brown and rainbow trout, tarpon, and mahi mahi. But, among these various fish species, smallmouth and largemouth bass remain the most common types. Alongside the bass are flounders, spotted seatrout, and redfish. If visitors go offshore, they can find other types of fish like tuna, swordfish, and marlin.
3. Charles C. Haigh Jr. Fishing Pier
For anyone looking for saltwater fishing, Charles C. Haigh Jr. Fishing Pier is one of the top spots in Hilton Head. It’s open year-round and offers visitors a close encounter to deep saltwater fishing without needing to get on a boat. The best part is, the overall experience is completely free. Families can drop by the pier and enjoy the picturesque blue views or take their shot at fishing.
4. Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines
Besides piers and ponds, many visitors go straight to the shores of the island’s sandy beaches to do some fishing. Little do they know, they will have a much better chance of catching fish inshore.
Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines are two of the top inshore options to check out. These communities have built-in lagoon systems where fishers can catch trouts, tarpons, black drums, flounders, and redfish.
To access these lagoons, guests must first be booked in these resorts. Then, they can rent Duffy boats, canoes, and kayaks to get into the waters.
5. Fishing Charters at Hilton Head Island
Tourists looking for a relaxing and ambient time while fishing can explore the options mentioned above. But if they want to go on more of an adventure out in the open waters, there are many fishing charters available. All they have to do is take their pick from public or private charters and half-day or full-day events.
Some of the fishing charters in Hilton Head are as follows:
- Hilton Head Fishing Adventures: Headed by Captain Charlie Beadon, this charter will take passengers on a light fishing trip inshore.
- Outcast Sport Fishing: For something a little more extreme, this fishing charter will take passengers on a one-of-a-kind adventure for a chance to snatch a trophy fish. To date the captain of this charter and his team hold the state record catch for lemon shark and blacktip shark.
- Off the Hook Fishing Charters: With this charter, families can enjoy a cruise through the backwaters of the island and take part in an exhilarating spinning and fly fishing experience. This boat will take them to flats, the ocean, or the bay. Anything the participants want, Off the Hook Fishing Charters is sure to deliver.
Different Types of Bait to Use for Fishing on Hilton Head
Regardless if the fisher is a beginner or a pro, aside from selecting the best spots to fish, the key to their success is utilizing the right bait. When it comes to fishing in Hilton Head, there are five categories of bait that they can explore.
Considered one of the oldest types of bait out there, jigs are the most popular and productive lures that fishers can use to get a good catch. They come in a wide range of varieties, including pinpoint heads, flat heads, or round heads.
Their distinguishing characteristics are the hook on one side and the weighted head on the other. If the fishers choose the right weight, this type of bait can easily attract bottom feeders that are otherwise difficult to catch.
Also known as spinnerbaits, this type of lure is completely different from jigs because rather than moving vertically down to sink in the bottom, these baits move horizontally across the water.
Spinners are made with skirted hooks on one side and metal blades on the other. The metal blades spin like propellers that create vibration and reflect colors, mimicking the look of minnows swimming through the water.
Much like jigs, spinners come in a variety of colors and shapes. Each of these is specifically created to target certain species at particular depths. For this reason, understanding what type of spinners are best suited for the diverse waters of Hilton Head can make a world of difference.
These lures are ideal if the fisher is in search of pike, perch, or bass.
Another great tool to catch bass — which is a common fish species in Hilton Head — is a crankbait. Crankbaits are articulately designed to spread out and cover as much water as possible. As fishers reel them in, they make noise to draw fish from surrounding areas to the bait.
However, as effective as this bait is to capture bass, they’re not as effective in cold water. That said, once fall arrives and the temperatures cool, switch crankbaits with something else.
If anyone’s interested in fishing during the colder months, they can try out what’s known as saltwater fly fishing. Although this is a year-round sport on the island, it’s most popular during the winter when there’s an abundance of trout and redfish.
Flies are the best lures for this kind of fishing. They consist of a skirt — made with either features, furs, or thread — and a single hook to resemble crustaceans, insects, and other prey of fish. There are two types of flies: surface flies, which are designed to float, and subsurface flies, which are created to sink.
Since the type of fly lure they should create greatly depends on what type of fish they want to catch, it’s crucial to understand different fish behaviors so fishers can develop a lure that can give them the best opportunities.
5. Soft Plastics
Similar to flies, soft plastics are a type of bait that mimics a variety of fish prey, such as worms, minnows, crawfish, frogs, or lizards. The only difference between soft plastics and flies is that the former is made with a flexible rubber material while the latter is not. They’re frequently used for bass fishing and work better when they are camouflaged in their surroundings.
No matter what type of bait fishers need, there are local tackle shops they can check out before their fishing expedition. These include:
- Blue Water Tackle Shop
- West Marine
- Southern Drawl Outfitters
- Bubba’s Cabin Lowcountry Outfitters
If they’re lucky, they can meet the owners and get their expertise on the matter.
Types of Fish on Hilton Head
Hilton Head is teeming with exciting fish species, such as the black drum, bluefish, flounder, redfish, sea trout, striped bass, and tarpon. If the fisherman is especially lucky, they can even get a chance to catch red snappers or sharks.
Fishing is truly one of the best activities and pastimes on the island for both tourists and locals alike. Whether they’re doing it as a professional sport or just for fun, they’re bound to have an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind fishing experience at Hilton Head!