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Hilton Head Fishing Report

About Hilton Head Fishing

Includes Daufuskie Island fishing report.

Located on the southernmost end of South Carolina’s coastline, Hilton Head Island is one of the largest islands on the Atlantic Coast.  Located entirely within Beaufort County, Hilton Head features 12 miles of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean and is an extremely popular tourist destination with millions of visitors each year.  Despite the popularity of this destination, Hilton Head is known for its environmentally friendly development and so the island has an unusually large amount of tree cover with development nestled between the trees.  Also unique is that much of the island is located inside gated private communities, although these can be visited to access restaurants, shopping and more.  Public beach access has also been maintained. 

A boot-shaped island, the two halves of the island are separated by Broad Creek.  To the north of Hilton Head is the Port Royal Sound, and to the south across the Calibogue Sound is Daufuskie Island and then the Savannah River which defines South Carolina’s southern border with Georgia.  This fishing report covers the area from and including Port Royal Sound to the South Carolina/ Georgia border. 

Redfish (also known as spottail bass, red drum, and other names) can be caught inshore around Hilton Head the year round, as can spotted seatrout (also known as speckled seatrout, winter trout, and more).  Sheepshead and black drum can also be found inshore most of the year, although in late winter the mature fish generally head offshore to spawn.  There are also an abundance of essentially migratory species that generally come in the warmer months – a broad category in South Carolina – and leave when temperatures cool.  These include croaker, pompano, spot, whiting and of course flounder (juveniles of both species may be present all year), tripletail bluefish, tarpon, weakfish, spadefish, cobia, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, sharks and more.  Bottom species including black sea bass, triggerfish, porgies, and various species of snapper and grouper can always be found off the coast at varying depths, while dolphin, tuna and even marlin are seasonal offshore species.  Wahoo can generally be caught the year round in the Gulf Stream off South Carolina.  Note that species can seasonally come to South Carolina via north/south migration along the Atlantic coast, or they can seasonally move closer to the coast and then farther out via east/west migration, as well as a combination of the two.  In addition to spawning patterns and water temperature preference, some of these migrations are driven at least in part by bait availability, including shrimp, mullet, menhaden and more.

July 1

Morning surface water temperatures are roughly 83 degrees around Hilton Head, but in the afternoons in skinny water they can reach 90. The water is not very clear mainly due to tides and wind. 

As it gets hot some inshore species have gotten a little sluggish around Hilton Head, but Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports

  • by Jay

June 11

Water temperatures are about 83 around Hilton Head. 

Big redfish have been keeping charter clients happy the last week or two, and Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) reports

  • by Jay

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