Boneyard beach flounder

The submerged trees in the background are fertile grounds for flounder. (Photo by Brian Cope)

Probe submerged trees for SC flounder

With North Carolina’s flounder fishery still on lockdown, South Carolina anglers are enjoying some excellent fishing for the species. And while they’re often overlooked by hardcore flounder anglers, boneyard beaches are great spots for catching these flatfish.

Many of the Palmetto State’s barrier islands have beaches that are scattered with dead trees that once stood tall along the coast. The sun- and wind-battered trees turn white over time, causing them to look like bones scattered on the sand. 

At dead low tide, some of these trees are high and dry, but at high tide, the water surrounds them and fills up with baitfish and gamefish alike.

Flounder flock to these areas as the tide comes in, chasing small crabs and baitfish hiding amongst the trees. Kayaks are great craft for chasing these fish, but anglers on foot can also do well, without the hassles involved in keeping a kayak in the right spot. They just need to make sure they don’t move too much, which can scare flounder away that are hunkered down within a few feet of the anglers themselves. 

Go slow

Live bait like mud minnows are always good choices for catching flounder here, and many anglers find it’s easier to hook them directly onto a jighead rather than using a standard Carolina rig. Bucktail jigs, with or without mud minnows, are also good options.

Anglers don’t need to worry about casting too close to the fully submerged parts of the trees, which can often cause frustrating hangups. Clusters of trees provide lots of shade in an area that normally doesn’t have it, and the flounder hang out in that shade and cruise through that shade, moving from one tree to the next while looking for an easy meal. 

Kayak anglers can place their rods in a rod holder, then paddle slowly in these areas, dragging their baits along enticingly. For anglers wading, they need to simply reel in their baits very slowly, paying close attention to the slightest change in feeling. Sometimes, the bite starts off very subtle, and continues until it’s time to set the hook. 

About Brian Cope 2783 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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