Anyone new to the angler’s life in South Carolina will hear plenty of new terms, such as inshore fishing, offshore fishing, deep sea fishing, sport fishing, and big game fishing. There are a few established metrics for defining them, but one general rule of thumb is that deep sea fishing (often synonymous with offshore fishing) starts at about 30 meters (90 ft) of water.

How Far Out at Sea is Offshore Fishing?

With the above in mind, exactly how far out at sea is offshore fishing? The depth could theoretically be found at any distance from shore. But South Carolina defines its offshore waters as extending from about ten miles beyond the coast all the way to the edge of the continental shelf. Out there, depths will vary from 50 feet to 600+ feet, which is perfect terrain for a variety of surface and bottom fish species. True adventurers will find the warm waters of the Gulf Stream starting about 75 miles offshore, flowing north out of the Florida Straits.

Offshore Fishing in South Carolina

Charleston Offshore Fishing Rods

Offshore fishing in South Carolina is bigger and more intense than inshore fishing. It requires much larger boats or yachts, as you will need to travel 10, 20, or even 50 miles offshore. These boats must be outfitted with radar, radio equipment, weather instruments, and even SONAR. You’ll also need large, reinforced rod holders, fighting chairs, and other deep-sea equipment.

South Carolina waters are warm enough for some tropical and subtropical species to thrive throughout the year. Add to that the artificial reefs and shipwrecks found here, and the irregular ocean floor, including the “Charleston Bump”, which guides in warmer water from the Gulf Stream, and you’ll find great game fishing during every month.

Charleston Offshore Fishing

Because the waters found off of Charleston’s coast remain relatively warm throughout the year and that water receives an abundance of sunlight, algae and other phytoplankton flourish and Charleston offshore fishing are prominent. Big-game fishermen will be interested in the king and Spanish mackerel, large sea bass, sailfish, marlin, swordfish, wahoo, several types of tuna, and dolphin fish (mahi-mahi). You’ll also find grunts, triggerfish, grouper, porgies, amberjacks, and rudderfish. While these populations will fluctuate throughout the year and move closer and farther from shore depending upon the temperature they need, sport fishing is popular in Charleston year-round.

To fish offshore successfully you need experience. You must navigate seasickness, sun exposure, close quarters for long hours, and all the gear of a larger watercraft. And of course, offshore fishing requires a whole different skill set to track and lure your desired catch. Maximize this adventure by using the highest quality yachts with all the latest tech, and make sure you choose the right trip with a seasoned captain so you don’t miss out on experiencing (and hooking) the best bottom and surface catch available during the current season.