Skip to main content

South Carolina

Fishing

Finfish Size & Catch Limits

TL=Total Length, FL=Fork Length; See General Information 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 General Information

Check out South Carolina saltwater fishing regulations on the Fish Rules App at www.fishrulesapp.com.

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

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.

Inshore & Offshore

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
3 per person per day (5 per person in the for-hire fishery)

Flounders (Southern, Summer & Gulf)
5 per person per day not to exceed 10 per boat per day 16-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
Possession prohibited in 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; see Freshwater Fish Size & Possession Limits for details.)
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; see Freshwater Fish Size & Possession Limits for details.)
26 inch TL except in lower reach of the Savannah River (27 inch TL; see Freshwater Fish Size & Possession Limits for details.)
  • 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
3 per person per day not to exceed 9 per boat per day 18-inch TL
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 032° 31.0’ N
1 per person per day and no more than 6 per boat per day federal waters and state waters north of 032° 31.0’ N
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.