Fishing the area around Little River Inlet is unique, if only because you can cross the North Carolina-South Carolina border several times in a day’s trip, and because there isn’t a reciprocal licensing agreement between the states and because of regulation differences, things can get interesting.
The state line runs roughly northwest to southeast from approximately a half-mile west of Calabash to approximately 100 yards east of the base of the north jetty at Little River Inlet. This crosses Calabash Creek, the point at Ocean Harbor Golf Club, the Intracoastal Waterway, Goat Island, a large section of marsh and several meandering creeks. The border is not well marked through this area. There are a few insignificant white poles on the side of the Intracoastal Waterway and again at Little River Inlet, but most fishermen don’t know what they signify and many don’t notice them unless they are pointed out.
Red drum, black drum, speckled trout and occasionally flounder are caught in this area in late winter and early spring. North Carolina allow anglers a single red drum per day in a slot of 18 to 27 inches, while South Carolina anglers can keep three between 15 and 23 inches.
When it comes to black drum, North Carolina has a 10-fish daily creel limit, with a 14- to 25-inch slot limit; one larger fish can be kept. South Carolina anglers can keep five black drum in a 14- to 27-inch slot. Speckled trout are managed with a 14-inch minimum size in both states, but North Carolina’s limit is four, while South Carolina’s is 10. Flounder have a 14-inch minimum size south of the border, and fishermen can keep 15 flounder — not to exceed 30 per boat. North Carolina anglers can keep only six, with a 15-inch minimum size.
Anglers wishing to fish the entire area need licenses from both states and need to make sure they have fish in their livewells that are legal in both states: 18 to 23 inches for reds, 18 to 23 inches for blacks and 15 inches for flounder.