In South Carolina, alligators are prevalent. It is believed that over 100,000 alligators live in its waters, per the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. They are a unique-looking species similar to that of a crocodile and are a spectacle to see, especially for visitors from the north. The alligator is a spectacle to see from a distance and not as a close encounter. Beyond South Carolina, the American alligator is also abundant in Georgia and North Carolina. Many anglers encounter aggressively feeding alligators, but how do you avoid catching them when fishing in South Carolina. 

How do you identify an alligator when fishing

The alligator is very easy to recognize if you can see it in plain sight. The body is armor-like with gray to green-colored skin. The top of the body has numerous protrusions. Its snout is shaped like a U compared to the snout of a crocodile which is more V shaped. The American alligator moves through the water by moving its tail and pushing water with the webbed feet. 

As far as size is concerned, the American alligator grows large. They can exceed 1,000 pounds and reach 12 feet in length. Fortunately, the full-sized alligators typically don’t chase fisherman’s baits. 

In what habitat do alligators live in South Carolina

The American alligator is most often found in areas where the water does not move swiftly, such as marshes, swamps, rivers, and lakes. Simultaneously, the alligator is considered a freshwater species that can be equally as common in saltwater marinas and saltwater lagoons. 

What is the range of the alligator in South Carolina 

Nearly all of the alligators in South Carolina are found beneath the fall line. Generally speaking, any part of South Carolina below I-20 is likely to have alligators. 

How to spot alligators when fishing

Some alligators make themselves plain as day when they are sunning themselves on the shoreline, while others are challenging to spot. In the water, they can be challenging to spot, and in particular, if they are small. 

At some points, the alligator may be submerged entirely except for the eyes. At other times, they may be more visible with the body, head, and tail, showing. You may think as though you are staring at a log off in the distance. 

Ways to avoid hooking an alligator when casting a lure

An alligator can be a very aggressive feeder and quickly chase down a top water lure thrown within its vicinity. Typically only small alligators will chase down lures. Don’t assume you need accidentally throw it at its nose to trigger a response. An alligator will travel from a distance when it sees the commotion and the possibility of a meal. 

Glance across the water to see if you spot a small alligator. If so, cast well clear of it and monitor which direction it travels between casts. 

Ways to avoid hooking an alligator when reeling in a fish

An alligator will be just as interested in a hooked fish. The hungry gator will see this as an opportunity to score a quick meal from a fish that is in distress. When a fish is on the line, follow where the fish travels through the water and see if an alligator is approaching quickly. If you see an alligator swimming rapidly to the hooked fish, reel as fast as possible to keep it away. The fish can be brought to the boat more quickly than an alligator can swallow it up. 

Should you be concerned about hooking an alligator when fishing?

The answer is yes, but don’t let it put you in fear of going fishing. Following these few tips like casting away from the presence of an alligator and reeling the lure or fish in quickly when it is in pursuit will help avoid or eliminate the risk of hooking one. Keeping a safe distance will prevent harm to the alligator and, most importantly you.