Saltwater


Sharks


A variety of sharks inhabit the waters surrounding Kiawah.  Most are less than 5 feet long.

 

Where to see

Saltwater rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

The 3 most common sharks are the Bonnethead, Atlantic sharpnose and Black-tipped.  They feed primarily on shrimp, crabs, and small fish.  Small sharks are routinely caught by surf fisherman.

Whiting


Gray-brown, often with black bars.  Long body, single barbell (whisker) under mouth.

 

Where to see

Saltwater rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

1-3 pounds.  Bottom dwellers that eat worms, crabs, and shrimp.  Commonly caught by surf fisherman using cut shrimp or squid.  Very good to eat. 

Menhaden


“Shiny” silver with darker back and black spot behind head.

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, river, ocean.

Notes

Up to 18 inches long.  Also called “porgy” or “bunker”.  Very oily flesh.  Fished commercially for oil and as fertilizer.  Often caught in cast nets and used as bait for larger gamefish.

Striped Mullet


Silver-gray with darker upperparts, horizontal stripes on body and small mouth.

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

Up to 25 inches and 10 pounds.  Eats algae.  Commonly seen leaping out of the water.  Small mullet are often caught in cast nets and used as bait for larger gamefish.

Spot/Croaker


Small, silvery, oval-shaped panfish.  Spot are more rounded in shape with a dark spot behind gill plate.  Croakers “croak” when handled.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

4 to 10-inches.  Commonly caught.  Good to eat.  Typically caught fishing on the bottom with shrimp or squid.

Pinfish


Silver with greenish hue, yellow horizontal stripes and dark spot behind gills, sharp dorsal spines.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

Up to 10 inches.  Commonly caught by anglers.  Eats small fish and invertebrates.  Not a highly sought after fish due to the bony nature of its flesh.

Black Drum


Vertical black and silver stripes.  Barbels (whiskers)under chin.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

Up to 50 pounds, typically 2-5 pounds.  Good eating fish.  Black stripes fade away as fish get larger.  Bottom feeder.  Most commonly caught on shrimp or squid.

Sheepshead


Vertical black and silver stripes.  Teeth distinctive, look similar to human teeth.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds, rivers, creeks and ocean.

Notes

Up to 20 pounds.  Typically found around docks and pilings.  Eats barnacles, crabs, and mollusks.  Typically caught using live fiddler crabs as bait. 

Southern Flounder


Dark brown with light spots.  Underside is solid white.  Both eyes on top side of body.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds (Canvasback, Egret, Bass, and Beachwalker), rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

Up to 10 pounds, typically 1-3.  Lays on bottom and ambushes small fish and shrimp as they pass by.

Spotted Sea Trout (Speckled Trout)


Silver fading to white on belly.  Black spots on sides.

 

Where to see

Brackish and saltwater ponds (Canvasback, Egret), rivers, creeks, ocean.

Notes

Up to 12 pounds.  1-5 pound fish routinely caught in island ponds.  One of the top species of inshore game fish in South Carolina.  Young trout primarily eat shrimp, while adults mostly eat fish.