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Finfish Size & Catch Limits

Hunting Regulations Icon South Carolina Hunting & Fishing

TL=Total Length, FL=Fork Length; See Crustacean & Shellfish Method & Devices for information on how to measure a fish.

AIW=Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; State Waters extend from the saltwater-freshwater dividing line to the 3-mile limit. Federal Waters extend from the 3-mile limit to 200 miles offshore (international waters).

Up to date fishing regulations can be found on the SCDNR website at www.eregulations.com/southcarolina/huntingandfishing/general-information/

All species in this section must be landed with head and tail intact.

Species

Closed Season

Bag Limit

Size Limit

Restrictions

Inshore Finfish

American Shad No closed season for recreational hook & line harvest; For all other gears, seasons as for commercial harvest. 10 shad per person per day except in Santee River and Rediversion Canal (20 per person per day)
Herring See Freshwater Nongame Fishing Regulations for closed areas. 1 US bushel of herring per person per day
Black Drum 5 per person per day 14-inch to 27-inch TL
Bluefish 15 per person per day
Flounders (Southern, Summer & Gulf) 10 per person per day not to exceed 20 per boat per day 15-inch TL
  • Bag limits apply to hook and line or gig.
Red Drum May not be harvested by gig Dec. 1 – Feb. 28 2 per person per day (state waters) not to exceed 6 per boat per day

0 per person per day (federal waters)

15-inch to

23-inch TL

  • May only be taken by rod & reel and gig.
  • May not be harvested from federal waters.
Saltwater Catfishes (Hardhead & gafftopsail catfishes) Possession prohibited Possession prohibited
  • If caught must be released immediately.
Sheepshead 10 per person per day not to exceed 30 per boat per day 14-inch TL
Spotted Seatrout May not be harvested by gig Dec. 1 – Feb. 28 10 per person per day 14-inch TL
  • May only be taken by rod & reel and gig.
Striped Bass Possession prohibited:
June 1 – Sept. 30 except in lower reach of the Savannah River (2 per person per day year round.)
Possession prohibited: June 1 – Sept. 30;

3 fish per person per day: Oct. 1 – May 31 except in lower reach of the Savannah River (2 per person per day year round.)

26 inch TL except in lower reach of the Savannah River (27 inch TL.)
  • May only be taken by rod & reel.
Hybrid Bass, White Bass, & Combinations In lower reach of the Savannah River: 2 per person per day

All other saltwaters: no bag limit

In the lower reach of the Savannah River: 27 inch TL

All other saltwaters: no size limit

Tarpon 1 per person per day 77-inch FL
  • May only be taken by rod & reel.
Tripletail No associated regulations
Weakfish 1 per person per day 12-inch TL
Atlantic Croaker, Spot, Whiting 50 per person per day aggregate bag limit
  • Bag limit applies to hook and line only.

Offshore Finfish

Cobia May 1 to May 31 in state waters south of 032° 31.0 N latitude (Jeremy Inlet, Edisto Island) In federal and all other state waters, closed when Annual Catch Limit (ACL) is met 1 per person per day and no more than 3 per boat per day in State waters south of 32.31

1 per person per day and no more than 6 per boat per day Federal waters and State waters north of 32.31

36-inch FL
  • For-hire vessels must have a Coastal Migratory Pelagics permit to fish for this species in federal waters.
  • In state waters may only be taken by rod & reel and gig.
Dolphin 10 per person per day not to exceed 60 per boat per day.

Headboats have no boat limit

20-inch FL
  • For-hire vessels must have a Dolphin Wahoo permit to fish for this species in federal waters.
  • Sale of recreational catch is prohibited.
King Mackerel 3 per person per day 24-inch FL
  • For-hire vessels must have a Coastal Migratory Pelagics permit to fish for this species in federal waters.
Spanish Mackerel 15 per person per day 12-inch FL
  • For-hire vessels must have a Coastal Migratory Pelagics permit to fish for this species in federal waters.
Wahoo 2 per person per day
  • For-hire vessels must have a Dolphin Wahoo permit to fish for this species in federal waters.
  • Sale of recreational catch is prohibited.

An operator or crew member onboard a for-hire or commercial vessel must have a valid Operator Card when underway fishing for Dolphin/Wahoo.

These species are also managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) in federal waters. Regulations may change. Please contact the SAFMC at 843-571-4366 or www.safmc.net to get the most up to date regulations on these species.

The harvest and possession of coastal migratory pelagic species by commercial and recreational fishermen will be limited to the recreational bag limit within the Special Management Zones. See “Special Information” (General Information) for information on SMZs.