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Fishing in Charleston is Almost as Good as Pork Rinds Taste

When to go: Mid to Late September


Where: Charleston South Carolina


fish Fishing in Charleston is Almost as Good as Pork Rinds TasteWe were fishing in the shadows of Fort Sumner where Confederate cannons had battered the union defenses for 34 straight hours.
As I struggled to hold the giant Redfish I felt and heard the deep, resounding drumming coming from within the fish (hence the name Red “Drum”). The repeated boom, boom, boom made me think of how the first shots of the Civil War were fired in this very harbor. Could it get any better than this? It did.


We had timed our arrival in Charleston to coincide with the famed monarch hatch and bull red run in late September/early October. The butterflies are migrating down the east coast by the millions and the bull reds are in a feeding frenzy getting ready for winter. We were fishing “the griddle” within sight of both Ft Sumner and Ft Moultrie. But more importantly our guide, Captain Mike Illig, informed us that our timing was on the money. He was right … we spent the next 7 hours hauling in dozens of bug bull reds. We figure 6 were over 40 inches with one stretching to 44 inches long. Fishing a current rip along the rock jetties working for redfish, bluefish and spanish mackerel. We used medium heavy rods suited for 50# braid line with 3 oz carolina rigs during either sides of slack tide so the current was not too strong. Caught live menhaden and live crabs for bait on a 7/0 circle hook.  We use non offset hooks to help avoid injury to fish for better catch and release on those trophy reds.


What You Must Have:fish2 Fishing in Charleston is Almost as Good as Pork Rinds Taste

  1. 1) A great guide. I cannot stress this enough. Great guides catch more fish and there is nothing worse than paying good money to someone who has lost interest in his craft. If your staying in a hotel check with them for recommendations. Talk to the guide on the phone. If he’s not excited you should not be. In Charleston we give Captain Mike five out of five high fives for one of the best fishing days of our lives. His email is or check out his web site at He works hard, knows the fish and never sighs when you lose a big one. While not a native to this area and his biology degree from the University of the South gives him great insight into one of the finest tidal fisheries in the world.
  2. 2) Bring along your fly rods. While we caught most of our fish on live or cut bait we fished some great flats in between tides. I used an 8 weight medium fast Scott with a Ross Cimarron reel. I like the new super slick RIO saltwater lines. It worked great on bones in Belize and the reds up here. Tie on a 9 foot 16 lb. leader and your ready to go. The great thing about saltwater is there is no hatch to match. Small brown and green crab imitations, shrimp imitations, electric chicken (pink and chartruse with some red flash mixed in)and rattling spoons are perfect. Throw in some clousers for the blues and Spanish macks that might come slashing by.
  3. 3) Rain suit. It is on all my lists. It never rains when you have a rain suit. I love Gore-Tex TM. It stuffs small and keeps you bone dry.
  4. 4) Sunscreen. We have all read about skin cancer now. Goop up often and on all exposed surfaces.
  5. 5) Hat, sun gloves and new breathable facemasks. The new UV proof stuff from Simms and others works great and adds protection.
  6. 6) Long sleeve Cabelas GXII guide wear shirts and pants. I love the lightweight, quick dry material. It’s roomy with back venting. When combined with multiple pockets (two zippered) and no brainer care this has become my go to fishing shirt and pant.
  7. 7) Polarized sunglasses. I love Maui Jims but any polarized lenses of reasonable quality will do.
  8. 8) Leatherman. Handy for taking trash fish off, cutting line, crimping lead and other fishing tasks. I know you have a guide. But coming with the ability to help a little really gets your guide excited. Less customer maintenance normally means more fish and a bigger tip.
     RudolphOriginalPorkRinds 375oz Fishing in Charleston is Almost as Good as Pork Rinds Taste
  9. 9) Dry Bag. Come on, what do you think you are going to take one thru nine in? I love my small Simms dry backpack. Holds camera, rain suit, water, fly boxes, etc. It needs to be small enough to fit in the limited storage on a flats boat. Of course, it’s also great for storing pork rinds or other snacks.
  10. 10) Non Slip Non Marking Deck Shoes. I love my Keenes but dozens of great designs work. Merrill, Sperry, and Crocs all make great alternatives.


Capt. Mike Illig
Avid Angling Fishing Charters
Charleston, SC


162 Woodland Shores rd.
Charleston, SC 29412


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Gear Guide:
hook Fishing in Charleston is Almost as Good as Pork Rinds Taste
Circle hooks are not recent phenomena. Excavations of graves from pre-Columbian Indians in Latin America uncovered hooks made from seashells that resembled modern circle hook. Early Japanese fishermen tied pieces of reindeer horn together in the shape of a circle hook, while Pacific coast native Americans also used hooks that fished similarly to modern circle hook. Modern commercial longline fishermen have used circle hook for many years (Moore, 2001; Prince et al., 2002).

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