As of July 1, South Carolina fishermen will be limited in the number of spot, whiting and croaker they catch in a day’s time, thanks to legislation passed by the state legislature. 

Fishermen will be limited to no more than 50 spot, whiting and croaker in combination, thanks to legislation passed in 2013 but not to be implemented until this summer.

The limit is a generous one, and according to guide Jimmy Skinner of Edisto Beach’s Fontaine Charters, it’s not a tough one to catch right now.

“We are catching plenty of these fish right now in the creeks, inlets and nearshore waters around Edisto Island,” said Skinner (843-270-8087). “We’ve always caught good whiting here, but this summer, the sizes are better than usual; 14-inch fish are not uncommon.”

Scott Whitaker of the Coastal Conservation Association-South Carolina said his group was instrumental in crafting this legislation along with support from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and state legislators.

“Most of the time you see a limit imposed when a fishery is in decline,” said Whitaker. “The South Carolina coast has a great fishery of these fish, and they’re not hard to catch. We just felt being pro-active in establishing a limit would be a great way to preserve this fishery.”

Skinner said anglers can catch spot, whiting, and croaker off the beaches, but to find larger specimens, it’s better to get out into deeper water.

“It’s best to look for a deep hole in a creek or find some hard structure on the bottom near (the) shore or in the inlets,” he said. “We catch them using fresh pieces of shrimp on a bottom rig. Just drop to the bottom and wait for the bite. It takes a bit of feel to know when to set the hook, but it’s a lot of fun. I’ve found that an incoming tide with clear water seems to work best.”

Skinner also said that a bonus to this style of fishing is that bull redfish also hang around the same areas and won’t pass up a piece of shrimp.

“Don’t be surprised when one of the bites you get nearly takes the rod from your hand and screams drag for 50 yards or more,” said Skinner.

In addition, the personal catch limit on flounder changes to 15 fish per person per day and the boat limit becomes 30 fish per boat per day on July 1.