Hunting Island trifecta

Kayaking into the lagoon, then fishing from shore is a good tactic to catch redfish and other species. (Photo by Brian Cope)

Anglers can fish from the pier, the surf, or the lagoon

Anglers looking to surf fish, pier fish, or kayak fish will find all of the above at Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort County, SC.

With 5 miles of beaches, a fishing pier and a saltwater lagoon, it offers something for every type of angler.

The pier, which was rebuilt in the last few years, stretches into Fripp Inlet, offering anglers a shot at numerous gamefish species, including redfish, speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead and black drum, among others. The water here is relatively calm compared to most other fishing piers in the Carolinas, but it’s still good to have plenty of weight on hand to keep your rigs anchored.

This is the best place on the island to catch sheepshead, which cruise vertically, up and down the pier’s pilings, looking for barnacles and small crabs to feast on. A well-placed fiddler crab will get you hooked up in no time.

For surf anglers, Hunting Island is a gold mine. One downside is that you’ll have to haul your gear some distance from the parking lot, but that means hardcore anglers, or those who travel light, can pick their spots.

Easy fishing

Part of the beach faces Fripp Inlet, and the rest faces the Atlantic Ocean. The usual suspects – redfish, specks and flounder are in play. And it’s not at all uncommon this month to see tarpon leaping high above the surface just past the breakers. This is also a great month to hook into some bull redfish. And the partially submerged trees just off the beach are hotspots for black drum.

Kayak anglers have it good here too. With parking directly on the lagoon, it’s easy to launch and load, as long as you play close attention to the tides.

At low tide, the lagoon shrinks all the way down to dry land where it dumps into the ocean. So on the incoming tide, the  water rushes back in, bringing with it tons of baitfish and the gamefish that follow them. Redfish are the most common species, but speckled trout and flounder are always a possibility.

No matter where you’re fishing here, live and cut shrimp, mud minnows and baits like Berkley Gulp! Surf Bytes will catch your share of all species.

If you’d like to collect a batch of whiting, the lagoon is a great place to do it. Scale down the size of your bait and they’ll keep you busy.

About Brian Cope 2605 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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