Five most popular offshore pelagic fish in South Carolina

Offshore of South Carolina offers fertile fishing for many pelagic species. The state is an excellent fishery, and inlets line the coast for easy ocean access. Five of the most sought after pelagic fish are found in the gulf stream between twenty-five and seventy miles from the coastline. All of these are most frequently caught while trolling. Let’s learn about each of these. Here is some helpful information about the fish you can catch in South Carolina.

What are the most common pelagic fish found offshore of South Carolina?

  1. Wahoo
  2. Yellowfin Tuna
  3. Dolphin
  4. Sailfish
  5. Marlin

The get a better understanding of each of these in these gulf stream waters, here are specific details on each:

Wahoo

Common Names-

Ono

Peto 

Description

They are equipped with razor-sharp teeth with a beak-like mouth.

Long with verticle blue stripes against a white body.

Size:

They are frequently caught between twenty and fifty pounds.

Wahoo does reach over one hundred pounds. 

Sporting ability:

Spectacular drag screaming runs. Ono is one of the fastest fish in the ocean. 

Food Quality:

Although some would consider the flesh dry, wahoo is delicious, offering mild white fillets. The thick loins are often eaten raw as sashimi. 

Yellowfin Tuna

Common Names-

Allison Tuna

Ahi

Description

Small yellowfin tuna are often confused with blackfin tuna. One significant distinguishing marks are the lengthy second dorsal and anal fins. 

All of the fins are yellow and surrounded by a thin black line. 

Size:

Yellowfin tend to travel in schools. The size range is between three pounds up to one hundred. 

Although Ahi is generally caught in smaller school sized fish, they can exceed three hundred pounds.

Sporting ability:

Known for running deep and doubling over a rod. 

Food Quality:

One of the best-tasting fish in the sea. Great as sushi.

Dolphin

Common Names-

Mahi-Mahi

Dorado

Dolfinfish

Description

One of the most beautifully colored fish they have a mix of blue, green, and yellow. The colors change when the fish is in a feeding frenzy.

Males have a blunt shaped head and are called bulls.

The shape of Female dolphin heads is more rounded, and they are referred to as cows. 

Size:

Dolphin frequently travel in schools from a couple of pounds up to twenty pounds.

The large dolphin tend to travel alone or as a male/female partnership and reach over eighty pounds.

Sporting ability:

Mahi-Mahi put up an excellent fight. In a single hookup, they can make deep runs and magnificent jumps. 

Food Quality:

Excellent table fare. It can be cooked in many different methods. 

Sailfish

Common Names-

Sail 

Spindlebeak

Description

This billfish is unique to all the rest. The dorsal fin is very much like a sail, which can be laid flat or fully extended. 

Vertical dotted stripes line both sides and are colored blue on the top and silver towards the bottom. 

Sheepshead has seven vertical black stripes.

Size:

Sails are most often caught between thirty-five and sixty pounds but will exceed a hundred.

Sporting ability:

Exhilarating fight. Long fast runs with spectacular jumps that display’s the dorsal fin flailing in the air. 

Food Quality:

Most commonly, sailfish are released but can be smoked. 

Blue and White Marlin:

Common Names-

White Marlin:

Aguja Blanca

Blue Marlin

Aguja Azul

Description

The blue is most often prominently colored in deep shades of blue on the upper portions. 

Solid stripes extend from the top of the dorsal fin down to the anal fins from the front to the back of the body.

Whites are very similar in color but much slimmer.

A key difference between the two is the blue marlin has a pointed rear-facing dorsal fin tip, and the white has a rounded dorsal fin tip.

Size:

White Marlin are most often caught between fifty to one hundred pounds but do exceed 180. 

Blue Marlin are much larger than there counterpart. Five hundred pounders are not uncommon and reach weights of over 1,000 pounds.

Sporting ability:

Blues are found at the top of the list for both speed and power.

The white marlin has a more similar fight to a sailfish with long runs and impressive jumps.

Food Quality:

While both blue and white marlin may be harvested, they are commonly released. The flesh is considered good to eat. 

When you’re trolling offshore of South Carolina is not uncommon to have hookups with a variety of these pelagic fish. Suitable gear is necessary for the toughest of battles in addition to long runs and high seas. While the cost of fuel can be high, the reward of fighting these gamefish and icing them down for dinner is unmatched. Next time you’re on the South Carolina coast, venture offshore for your shot at these giants.