First rule of the Captain’s League: We don’t look for a good home to live in. We look for a good boating dock that happens to be connected to a home. Rain or shine, boating is on our minds. Everyone on the boat knows the captain is right, and if you have any questions, refer back to that rule. When it’s sunny, we’re out enjoying the tidal creeks and ocean spray. If it’s raining, we’re sitting at home thinking about boating. It’s also probably why we’re ignoring you when you try to get our attention. Don’t be offended. Boating is just that important.
When it comes to living in Charleston, we’re not here for the history lessons or the delicious treats each and every restaurant offers. For us, the “Southern Charm” of the city comes from the smell of the marsh. It comes from the sound of our reel as we tug in the next big fish. And lastly, it comes from the thrill we experience as we rev up our twin motors and cruise along the glistening Charleston harbor. For the Captain’s League, Charleston is a dock to let our boats rest for the day.
What We Do
Fun and enjoyment are always at the top of our minds, but as a member of the Captain’s League, we care about the water. Protecting Charleston’s many waterways is an integral part of what makes us captains. Keeping it fishable and swimmable are just small parts of our cause. We are all friends to other captains and will help them in any need. If that sounds like the Coast Guard – then you know who stole our first name.
Most of all, we’re captains who enjoy the water. And we’ll help you enjoy it too!
The Know-Hows of the Captain’s League
For the Captain’s League, we know there are a few things that will always remain true. Here’s the first 5, if you’re curious:
1. We know when to send unruly passengers to the plank.
2. We know when Charleston floods, we have an easy route home.
3. We know that the wrong bait won’t catch anything around town. The fish are too smart.
4. We know all those Captain Morgan commercials were copied from our greatness.
5. We all know when the zombie apocalypse breaks out, we have the safest exit … to the ocean (a.k.a. “the pond”).
The Charleston Waterways
Every captain should already know the waterways, but if you’re looking for a new place to explore, use our map to find a marina near you.
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If you’re tired of storing your boat at a local marina, then it’s time to find a home with its own dock. Search some of Cassina’s best waterfront properties and see where you can get easy access to the water!
Fishing Tips Straight from the Captain’s League
When it comes to the League, we are no greenhorn to fishing. With ties to the Atlantic and the coastal estuaries that creep around the peninsula, there’s no shortage of great spots to fish. You’ll find a variety of species from the nearby inlets and the chance to catch some real prizes offshore. So, to make your fishing adventure a little bit easier, we’re going to share a few trademark captain secrets to catching certain fish around Charleston.
Catching Common Fish around Charleston
Also known as the spot-tail bass, you can use a variety of bait to catch this fish, including shrimp, menhaden, mullet, soft-plastic grubs, and quartered blue crabs. Generally, you should concentrate your efforts along the shallows and marsh. They often fish in shallow waters during high tide, so you might be able to spot their tails as they break the surface.
Trout often love waiting for their prey near riverbanks (the ambush points). If you’re looking to catch this fish, a popular choice of lure remains to be a quarter ounce jig head rigged with soft-plastic grub. When you cast, aim for the shore and reel in with a decent pace.
When you’re looking to snag a flounder, a lot of fishermen use a standard rig, consisting of a 4/0-circle hook on a 15 inch 20 lb. leader. Common bait usually ranges from finger mullet to shrimp. The key to catching them is waiting for the “thump” on your line. Wait a bit for the flounder to re-position the bait in its mouth and then set the hook.
There’s plenty of other fish to be caught in and around Charleston, but that’s lengthy enough for another article. If you have any tips and specific hot spots for fishing you’d like to share, leave in a comment below. We are always happy to hear what other captains are doing around Charleston.
How to Shrimp in Charleston
It’s not all about fish in Charleston. Local shrimp offers a unique flavor that is rarely passed over in the Charleston area. With the 101 ways to cook shrimp, every captain wants to try his luck at shrimping when he has free time. So, to make sure you have a good success story to tell others, we’re going to highlight some basics to catching shrimp.
Basic Gear to Prepare:
- Cast Net
- Shrimp Bait
- Line or Rope
- A Cooler to House the Shrimp
- Running Lights (if Shrimping at Night)
As many of us captains grew up, we most likely learned to catch shrimp with a cast net. Throwing a cast net is not always easy at first and can take a little bit practice to get perfect, but once you feel your skills are up to par, it’s time to head over to one of the local estuaries. For favorable shrimping, find a flat (about 1.5 feet deep) along an estuary during the outgoing tide (around 5 feet deep). If you’re using poles to help you in catching shrimp, cast a few “bait balls” of shrimp meal 5-8 feet away from the poles with relation to tide flow. Usually, after 10-15 minutes of waiting, it’s a good time to cast your net.
When you’re retrieving the net, shake the line a little bit before pulling up. This will help the shrimp move further up in the net and makes them less likely to fall out. Once you’ve pulled the net up, place it over your shrimp basket or cooler, and grab the horn. Pull it up and shake the net, which should allow the shrimp to fall into the cooler.
Crabbing in Charleston: the How, Where, and Why
If the boat is out for repairs or you don’t feel like taking her out, some crabbing might be a great alternative for spending the day on the water. Easily done from any dock or small bridge, you can take a simple crab net hooked with some bait and find your efforts rewarded in a matter of hours. There’s not much skill to crabbing. You just need to aim in the right areas, which are often along the marshes and small creeks. When you feel you’ve caught something, pull up the net and have your scoop ready. Some crabs try to escape when the net reaches the surface, so be ready. Scoop them up and put them in a bucket for storage.
Common Places to Go Crabbing At
- Cooper River Bridge Fishing Pier (Mt. Pleasant Side)
- Remley’s Point Public Boat Landing
- Limehouse Landing (Johns Island)
- County Parks around Charleston (James Island, Mt. Pleasant, & Folly Beach)
- Old Bridges, like the Breach Inlet Bridge Separating the Isle of Palms & Sullivan’s Island
Ready to Join the Captain’s League?
Think you have enough hook and bait to call yourself captain? Take the test and tell me why you’re a captain of Charleston’s waterways.