Fishing on Hilton Head Island, SC
You can fish in fresh and brackish water lagoons, tidal lagoons, estuaries (tidal creeks), inshore on the Calibogue Sound and offshore in the Atlantic ocean.
The State of South Carolina regulates fishing up to three miles offshore. Beyond that, Federal rules and regulations kick in. Follow the link to see further information regarding State Regulations at South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
You will need a State license for Salt water fishing if you are 16 years of age or older to fish from a boat. Commercial fishing boats already have a license that covers all fishermen and women, and you can get a State license to fish from a private boat for $11.00 for a three day non-resident (SC) license.
If you prefer to fish from the beach, the tidal creeks or dock and pier you now need a license. Fees for a 14 day non-resident license are $11 and $5 for residents. There is no fishing permitted in designated swimming areas and fishing for sharks is not allowed. However, the sharks can't read and occasionally you might get the fight of your life until you cut the line rather then taking a chance on getting injured.
Many charter fishing vessels are available for small or large groups and these trips vary and length and areas depending on the excursion you choose. For the serious deep sea individuals there are trips available that will take you roughly 70 miles off shore that will take you into the Gulf Stream. Be prepared for a full day and take lots of sunscreen.
Fresh Water Fishing
There are numerous creeks that appear to be fresh water but they are not. Many of these estuaries are tidal with ocean water receding and ascending. There are some lagoons and lakes that contain fresh water (brackish water).
Similar to the salt water fishing requirements, fresh water fishing outside of the plantations or other private property requires that anyone over the age of 16 have a State fishing license. A seven day non-resident license can be purchased for $11.
The State classifies plantations as private property and a license is not required, however the rules of each development would need to be followed.
Sea Pines: It is required that you be a resident or guest and a permit should be obtained from the CSA security office. You must be able to show proof of residency or that you are a guest of Sea Pines.
Shipyard: There are no requirements or restrictions guests or residents.
Palmetto Dunes: No fishing is allowed from the Queens Folly Bridge at the entrance to PD but residents and guests may fish from the banks of the lagoon.
Hope everyone has a fish tale or two to share! Happy fishing!