No reciprocal license agreement, different regulations make border fishing touchy
The border between the Carolinas runs northwest to southeast angle across the Calabash River and Intracoastal Waterway, marshes and creeks from just west of Calabash to just east of the north jetty at Little River Inlet. Unfortunately there isn’t a dotted line drawn to mark the boundary, and it is difficult to always know which state one is in.
It’s also not possible to move between several places in either state without crossing through the other state. For example, to get Calabash to the North Carolina section of the ICW, you have to go through South Carolina.
Knowing where you are is important because the two Carolinas do not have a reciprocal license agreement, so you’re required to have licenses from both states if you cross the border, and many species are managed with different regulations.
Both states have a 14-inch minimum for speckled trout, but North Carolina’s daily creel limit is four fish, and South Carolina’s is 10. North Carolina allows anglers to keep one red drum per day between 18 and 27 inches, while South Carolina anglers can keep three per day between 15 and 23 inches. North Carolina allows 10 black drum per day, with one allowed longer than a 14- to 25-inch slot limit. South Carolina allows five per day in a 14- to 27-inch slot. For flounder, South Carolina anglers can keep 15 a day or 30 per boat, with a 14-inch minimum size. North Carolina anglers can keep six per day, with a 15-inch minimum.
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