Sporting Life // 5 min Read

The Top 5 Fishing Destinations on the East Coast

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Jun 15, 2022

Your Guide to Fishing on the East Coast

The East Coast is home to some of the best fishing destinations in the world. With plenty of inshore and offshore fishing opportunities, anglers travel up and down the coast looking for the best spots to reel in their dream catch. Here, you can expect to find a variety of big game fish offshore as well as smaller, freshwater species.

Continue reading to discover the top destinations for fishing on the East Coast.

1. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

    A barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, the waters surrounding Hilton Head are among the best fishing spots on the East Coast. Inshore, there are an abundance of waterways to explore from the Calibogue Sound to the Intracoastal Waterway. The inshore waters surrounding the island are also infamous for their amazing tarpon fishing, which are known for jumping and putting up a fight once hooked. In fact, tarpon fishing is one of the most exhilarating and physically demanding types of fishing. If you’re looking to try your luck at reeling in one of these acrobatic fish, we recommend booking a fishing charter with an experienced captain who can show you the various techniques used to catch tarpon in the area.

    For those looking to venture further out and enjoy some offshore fishing, the Gulf Stream is located about 60-80 miles off the coast of the island. An abundance of fish are known to swim within the Gulf Stream’s current. Here, you can expect to catch a wide variety of big game fish during an all-day adventure.

    For those who prefer river fishing, the nearby May River, winding 15 miles through Hilton Head Island and Old Town Bluffton, is a great option. You can enjoy fishing for redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder, and so on. Not to mention, the surrounding marshes and creeks are great for fly fishing if that interests you!

    2. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland or Virginia

    Situated in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Chesapeake Bay is a hotspot for all types of fishing. Since it is located a little further up north, the best times of year for fishing here is April through August. In the Bay, you will find an abundance of striped bass, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel. Among the places we recommend visiting are the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Virginia Beach, Virginia as well as Annapolis and Ocean City, Maryland. These spots offer incredible bay fishing as well as the opportunity to venture offshore to the various reefs if desired.

    Offshore the Chesapeake Bay, you will be able to find a wide variety of big game fish including white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoo. In fact, Ocean City, Maryland hosts the White Marlin Open each year, the largest billfish tournament in the world. So, whether you’re looking to catch dinner or enjoy trophy fishing, the Chesapeake Bay and its offshore waters are a great destination to visit.

    3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Reaching roughly 65 miles out from the mainland of Massachusetts into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod is a hooked-shaped peninsula that is a popular vacation destination. Not to mention, the area is also infamous for its endless fishing opportunities. Primarily known for the abundance of cod in the area, you can also find other types of fish in the waters surrounding the peninsula including haddock, striped bass, bluefish, and so on. Some of the best fishing spots in the area include the Bass River, the Cape Cod Canal, and Whitecrest Beach. Offshore, you can try your luck at fishing for tuna, sharks, sea bass, porgies, and more.

    4. The Florida Keys, Florida

      Composed of Key West, the Lower Keys, Marathon, Islamorada, and Key Largo, the Florida Keys is an elite fishing destination all year round. With its proximity to the Gulf Stream and abundance of offshore reefs and wrecks, you’re sure to have an exciting fishing trip!

      A unique type of fishing that a trip to the Florida Keys offers is daytime swordfishing. This technique involves fishing in roughly 1500’ - 1800’ of water. Using this technique, anglers are able to get a better view of this fish and watch it majestically jump out of the water while being reeled in. These swordfish can range in size from 50-300 lbs. Since daytime swordfishing is a newer technique, it's best to embark on a charter with fishermen experienced in the technique. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t regret!

      5. Montauk, New York

        Situated at the eastern end of the Long Island peninsula, Montauk, New York is known for its beautiful beaches, strong surf, and exciting fishing. In fact, as you enter Montauk Harbor a sign welcomes you to the “Fishing Capital of the World.” As New York’s largest commercial harbor, Montauk is the home port of some of the greatest sport fishermen on the east coast. Offshore, you can try your luck at anything from sharks and tuna to mahi-mahi and marlin. If you prefer freshwater fishing, there are a variety of ponds and creeks in the area. Fort Pond, the largest pond in the area at 181 acres, has an abundance of bass, walleye, carp, and more.

        Experience Fishing on the East Coast

        Ready to plan a trip to fish the beautiful waters surrounding Hilton Head Island? We invite you to visit Palmetto Bluff, located near Hilton Head Island, to experience the thrill of East Coast fishing for yourself. Here, you can enjoy convenient access to the water as well as enjoy state-of-the-art amenities for a relaxing trip.

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