There are two fishing piers in greater Charleston and each seems to have its own identity and frequent customers.
At Folly Beach, the Edwin S. Taylor Pier stretches 1,045 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.
In Mount Pleasant, the Memorial Waterfront Park Pier extends 1,250 feet into the Charleston harbor.
Folly is the older of the two and standing on the pier’s very end creates an immediate affinity for the area’s self-proclaimed title of “the edge of America.”
On the East Cooper side, Memorial Park’s pier offers a rare close encounter with passing container ships.
Pier pressure Both gift shops sell bait and rent out rods and reels.
At Folly, a shark can be seen in the surf just behind a breaking wave.
In Mount Pleasant, a dolphin could be so close you can hear the air expelled from the blowhole.
The fishing is definitely different.
At Folly, anglers must cast out and away from great distance into the surf. Strong rods with weights and leaders attached must be heavy enough to anchor on the bottom against shifting tides.
Those fishing at Folly seem to have done it before. Necks and arms and legs are heavily tanned, even in April.
In Mount Pleasant, the water is just a few feet away. Something as simple as a cane pole might be used. Often, it appears the more experienced fisherman is using a lure or maybe even live bait.
There’s a strange mixture of smells at both places. OK, there’s the ever popular low tide/pluff mud aroma that always beckons at certain times. But there’s another scent that combines fresh shrimp with coconut oil. Pretty sure it has something to do with bait and sun protection. If you apply the proper SPF to your shoulders before you bait the hook, it eventually all mixes together. Maybe that’s where the idea for coconut shrimp came from?
Walk the plank If you frequent one pier, does it mean you dislike the other? It depends on what you’re looking for. Those who fish seem to have their preferences. There’s fishing in the ocean and then there’s fishing in the river.
Parking at both locations is reasonable enough.
Those who don’t fish, but spectate, seem to like long walks to the end and back.
The breeze at the beach is constant and appreciated.
The benches and swings on the pier at the river are nice touches.
At Folly, your line might reveal everything from croaker to bluefish to seatrout on the other end.
In Mount Pleasant, the catch of the day could include sheepshead, flounder and red drum.
Both piers understand the value of a multipurposed facility. From time to time, evening dancing is offered.
Both are terrific spots if all you want to do is people watch. Granted, the beach location might feature more to see, but depending on the exposure quotient, well … be careful what you wish for.
Either way, it’s terrific our area has these two places that allow people without boats to get on the water. If you’ve never been to either, drop by on a late afternoon, even if it’s just to see a sunset.
There’s one more highly under-appreciated reason to enjoy all that a fishing pier can offer. It’s impossible to get seasick.
I’m just sayin’ …