The black sea bass is a highly prized coastal fish that very few fishermen get the chance to catch.




Because they show up in the greatest numbers at a time of year when the fewest number of fishermen are out on the waters of the Grand Strand area, looking for something to bite.


Black sea bass like cooler water, so when the multitudes are flocking to beaches and piers, they’re likely to be well offshore, hanging out in deeper water. When the water cools and the tourists and fishermen leave, the black sea bass start to make their way toward the deserted beaches.


Most fishermen are fans of the black sea bass and their winter arrival. Once they arrive, it’s not difficult to catch them. The equation is fairly simple:


• Find an inshore reef or rock pile.

• Drop down a 2-hook bottom rig with

 cut bait like squid strips.

• Hang on.


Typically, bottom fish like cool water better. That’s why in the summer, if you want to catch them, you’ve got to go so far out. You could catch them in 10 feet of water if it was cold enough.


There are over 40 offshore artificial reefs in waters along the entire coast of South Carolina. There are 3 just off Little River and North Myrtle Beach, and a big cluster 15 off Myrtle Beach and Georgetown. These usually fill up with black sea bass as Christmas approaches. Members of the highly desirable grouper family will move in, stopping on reefs and rocks about 10 miles off the beach, in water about 60 feet deep.


You can catch a mixture of grouper and sea bass out there.


Artificial reefs along the Grand Strand are numerous and are made primarily of old ships, barges, airplanes, boxcars and concrete rubble.

By the end of December, there will be pretty nice-sized keeper black sea bass within sight of land – good, filleting-sized fish. They like the colder water; that’s why they move offshore in the summer. When the water cools off, they move closer to the beach.


Artificial reefs are marked with buoys, and their locations are available on almost any good chart map – plus the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources web site:


Typically, you want to be around the edges of the reefs. The fish won’t be up on top of it; they’ll be just downstream, waiting for something to float past them that they want to eat.


You’ll especially likes to fish the hollow, concrete “reef balls” that are placed on many artificial-reef cites. He said fish of all kinds like to inhabit the reef balls, because they provide cover from predator fish and an ambush point for forage fish.


A standard 2-hook bottom rig tipped with a pair of squid strips is all anybody needs to do battle with a black sea bass. One of the popular braided lines, Fireline, in 40- to 50-pound test, because most fishing is done vertically – requiring a line with great “feel” and abrasion resistance. Most black sea bass will be around 3 to 4 pounds, but many fishermen still like a rod with a little backbone in case they run into a bigger member of the grouper family. If a nice grouper bites, you’ve got to be able to get him out of there.


Grouper are more likely to be a little farther offshore than black sea bass, although both species will be found on some spots. And sometimes the better quality black sea bass will be farther off the beach.

Black Sea Bass: Because We All Need a Nice Christmas Present



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