There are two iconic images of the Lowcountry. During the shrimping season (June 1 to late December or early January) you can see boats off shore trawling for shrimp; their arms spread wide, dragging their nets. Then there is the fisherman in his bateau throwing a huge mesh net to corral his catch.
Shrimping has always played a large role in the day-to-day life and culture of the people throughout the Lowcountry.
If you want to get a good feel for what this region is all about, go shrimping. This is a wonderful activity for the whole family. Adults will feel a particular pleasure in learning to throw a cast net, while children will find joy in watching a net full of shrimp being hauled aboard a chugging trawler.
The art of throwing a net has to be taught in person by a professional guide. It’s not something you can learn by sitting in your living room watching “YouTube.” Nets can be cast from shore, piers or boats. In South Carolina, you need a salt water fishing license to cast net unless you are with a licensed captain or at a licensed pier.
You could also join a boat cruise that is both educational and scenic. You’ll learn about this area’s salt marsh ecosystem and why it is so favorable for shrimp to develop. You can even take a trip the shrimping grounds on a real working trawler.
For a different take, join a photo tour of shrimp boats in action. You’ll be able to see the frenzy of birds and dolphins feeding around the boats.
If you don’t have time for lessons or a cruise, take advantage of the numerous farmers markets and roadside stands that sell fresh shrimp.
For more information, contact:
Dolphin Seafari (843-785-2345)
Live Oac Adventures (888-254-8362)
Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris (843-524-3037)
Outside Hilton Head (843-686-6996)
Vagabond Cruises (843-363-9026)