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Carolina Pier Fishing Tips

   Successful fishing requires both the right equipment and knowledge of the conditions that effect the fish. For information on catch and size limits, view the Department of Natural Resources South Carolina Saltwater Fishing Regulations.

A fishing license is not required to fish from the Cherry Grove Pier with your admission.

Conditions that effect fishing—

   The position of the sun, moon and tides. The sun and moon affect the level of the tides, and their light appears to influence the feeding habits of fish.

   The sunrise and sunset seems to increase the activity levels of fish. Some fish feed at night while others feed mainly during the day. Both day and night feeders become more active with the changing light and tides. Because of this, the changing tide at dawn or dusk can be among the best times to fish.

When fishing from the pier—

   Cast and let your bait drift with the tide, or fish on the bottom. The marine life attached to the pier's pilings means a supply of readily available food to the fish, so they naturally tend to gather around the pier.

To catch more fish—

   Come see us often and bring the whole family. Fishing is a great time of togetherness for families, and some of the fondest memories can be of father or grandfather teaching the kids to fish, and sharing a dinner of the day's fresh catch.

   Ask the fishing pros in our tackle shop how the fish are biting and what is the best bait to use. We have everything you'll need to make your outing fun and prosperous. Read our Carolina Pier Fishing Encyclopedia below. It will help you identify some common pier fish, and understand their habits.

   Use the proper tackle. Monofilament line should be replaced periodically, and tackle should be well maintained. Many a fisherman has lost "the big one" because of old, weakened line, dull hooks, or an improperly maintained drag. Our tackle shop pros can help you keep your equipment in top shape.

   Use fresh bait. It will always attract more fish especially if you are using live bait like shrimp or sand fleas. Change bait frequently for the best results.

   Use enough weight on your line when bottom fishing for the current and tide conditions. Bottom feeders will usually not surface to reach bait that is above them. Our fishing pros can advise you about the tide and current conditions

   Keep loud conversation, music, and noises to a minimum. Sound carries great distances under water and can drive fish away.

   Watch the experienced fishermen. You can learn a lot from the pros just by watching their techniques. Fishermen are friendly people who love the sport. Most will gladly answer a question or two, and some will even offer colorful stories about "the one that got away".

Cherry Grove Pier South Carolina Fishing Encyclopedia


Known for their power and voracious appetite, bluefish are incredible fighters and when a school is actively feeding any free-swimming bait will work. Bluefish have sharp teeth, so a wire leader is needed above the bait, and a spinning or level-wind rod in the medium to medium-heavy range is suggested.

King Mackerel
King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel

King Mackerel are one of the most highly prized fish by pier anglers along the coast and the subject of dozens of tournaments. Use an anchor line with a heavy pyramid sinker that has wire legs attached to it. Slip another line onto this one by using a sliding trolley that allows the bait to float freely down into the water. Live bait such as menhaden, mullet, bluefish, pinfish, spots, or croakers is suspended on a pair of treble hooks attached to a wire leader with three-way swivel that releases from the trolley clip when the king mackerel strikes. Cast your line into the ocean from one of our 50 King spaces on end of the pier where the water is at its deepest.


Pompano can't survive in water temperature below the mid-50's and prefer water temperatures is in the 80's so they are caught in the Carolinas throughout the summer and into the fall. Shrimp, clams, sand fleas, and small crabs all make good baits. The small mouth of the pompano means use small hooks and bait. Fish the bottom with a fish-finder rig, or run a line with two or three dropper loops. Allow your bait to rest on the bottom a minute or two before retrieving slowly. The best times are usually in the morning and evening on an incoming tide.

Red Drum
Red Drum

Red drum also known as redfish are excellent food fish. They were intensely harvested by commercial fishermen until fishing restrictions or outright bans were enacted, allowing the population to undergo a dramatic comeback. Red Drum like to search for food just inside the breakers on the surf and congregate around piers and docks. Red drum will strike natural bait like a sand flea, fiddler crab, shrimp or mullet on sliding-sinker bottom rigs, and are known to bite around sunset at the beginning of a falling tide.

Sea Trout
Sea Trout, Specs, Gray Trout or Weakfish

The most common bait fish for larger sea trout are menhaden, spot, mullet and mud minnows. There are two types of live bait rigs commonly used to target sea trout. The main line from the reel should be 6 to 12 pound test monofilament with a leader about 18 inches long and a barrel swivel. Hook size can vary from 1 to 2/0. Spinning or baitcasting rods work well depending on your preference. Sometimes a sinker will need to be used because of the tide and current. Prior to attaching the main line to the barrel swivel, an egg sinker can be added, and split shot placed on the leader as needed to keep the bait on the bottom. Fish on the bottom in one spot or slowly move the bail along the bottom with the current.


These game-fighting bottom feeders are primarily caught on bait with bottom or float rigs, usually with light or medium tackle. Crabs, clams, mussels, shrimp, or cut baits are the primary natural baits, sometimes used with sliding sinker rigs. Sheepshead have small mouth so use a small, sharp hook. They bite lightly, sometimes remaining undetected and stealing baits, and can be tough and frustrating fish to hook. Be sure to set the hook firmly because of the fish's hard mouth.

Spadefish or Angelfish

The easiest times to catch spadefish are during low current and calm seas. Popular bait includes clam strips, squid, and shrimp bits. Pick the largest and strongest hook that you can get away with and tie it to a short (18-24 inch), 20lb leader. The other end of the leader is tied to a swivel which is tied to your main line. An egg sinker about a half of an ounce, depending on the current, is threaded on the line above the swivel. The baited rig is lowered to the level of the fish, not to the bottom. These fish pull hard and their mouths tear easily. They also straighten many hooks and can break your line on the pier pilings. Since Spadefish generally hook themselves, don't set the hook. You may feel the the fish nibble for a while before it gets hooked.


Spots are one of the most sought-after fish on the Carolina coast. Spot runs often last for days, and always draw a crowd at the Cherry Grove Pier. Spinning or baitcasting rigs work well for spots with a 2 or 3 ounce pyramid sinker and a two-hook bottom rig. Casting a few feet directly out from the pier is the preferred method, and bloodworms fresh shrimp and mullet bits are effective bait choices.

Summer Flounder
Summer Flounder

Summer Flounder are also known as fluke because both of their eyes are on the same side of their body. Flounder are usually caught using live baits, dead baits or strip baits that are drifted along the current near the bottom. Flounder use their flat bodies and camouflage color to lie on the bottom and ambush prey as it swims past. Once they bite, they orient the baitfish head-first in their mouth before swallowing it so don't attempt to set the hook at the first nibble or you'll miss your flounder.


Whiting are both fun to catch and good eating. Cut squid cast out from piers on a two-hook rig and left on the bottom will work well for whiting. Because of their characteristics and relative ease to catch, fishing for whiting from the pier offers an excellent opportunity to introduce kids to the fun of fishing.

Blue Crab
Blue Crab

Crabbing is excellent at Cherry Grove Pier. Drop nets and collapsible traps, usually baited with herring, can be fished from the pier. Another method called "dipping" uses a long-handled dip net, several yards of string and bait. The bait, usually a chicken neck or fish head, is tied to the string and thrown into the water away from the bank. Once a tug is felt, the crabber pulls the bait and crab close enough to be quickly dipped from the water and placed into a waiting bucket.

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The Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
3500 North Ocean Boulevard  ·  North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29582  ·  843-249-1625