Fishing on Artificial Reefs

Fishing on South Carolina's marine artificial reefs can be a rewarding year-round experience. Depending on the location of the reef and the time of year, a wide assortment of popular saltwater game fish may be landed by experienced or novice anglers, employing a variety of fishing techniques. Peak fishing activity on the artificial reefs occurs from May through November, but even on winter days when weather permits, excellent fishing opportunities still exist.  During the spring, as ocean water temperatures rise, bluefish, cobia, amberjack, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel are among the more popular pelagic species landed by trolling or drifting bait or artificial lures over artificial reef structures. Bottom fish taken during this same period include black sea bass, sheepshead, porgy, red drum and black drum. Anglers interested in these species usually rely on a one or two hook bottom rig with cut bait, squid, or live bait.

Late spring and early summer months bring additional fish to the reefs. Pelagic species such as crevalle jack, pompano, barracuda, spadefish and shark are commonly found on near shore reefs. Farther offshore, dolphin, tuna, mackerel and even sailfish have been landed on or close to reef structures. Black sea bass, snapper, grouper, porgy and flounder are also commonly landed during summer months while bottom fishing.

While cooler water temperatures in the fall and winter lead to the departure of some summertime resident reef fish, angling activities are renewed for popular species such as cobia, king mackerel, red drum and spotted sea trout. Even during the coldest months of the year artificial reefs are still a popular haven for large black sea bass, grouper, sheepshead and drum.

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To learn more about artificial reefs in South Carolina check out our "Sea Science" Artificial Reef publication.