Adventure | Area Guide | Nature

On the Water: Q&A and Fishing Tails with Caroline Irwin, Fly Right Charters

Fishing in the Kiawah River is one of our residents’ favorite pastimes and is an outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy. With water all around us in the Lowcountry, including the Kiawah River itself, brackish ponds on the property and lively offshore reefs nearby, there is always a place to drop a line. A benefit of joining the Kiawah River community is that fishing is here for property owners only or scheduled with a professional and permitted guide. 

For an expert perspective on fishing, there is no team more familiar with the Kiawah River than our very own Fly Right Charters, which is owned and operated by John Irwin and his wife, Caroline. The duo and their expert guides will put you in the right place at the right time, making even amateur anglers feel like pros.  

We sat down with Caroline Irwin to learn more about her experience with fishing and what makes Kiawah River such a desirable fishing location.   

When did you and your husband, John Irwin, start teaching others how to fish and why?
Captain John Irwin has been teaching for over 20 years. He started teaching in Montana on the Gallatin and Madison Rivers where he worked for an outfitter. After moving to Charleston and getting his captain’s license, he was a certified “Fly Fishers International” instructor, and taught classes for the Charleston Angler and Haddrell’s Point Tackle. I also grew up fishing, but fly fishing was new to me when I moved to Charleston in 2012 and took one of his classes. After that I was hooked, and the rest is history.   

What is one fishing technique that you always share with beginners?
Avoid breaking your wrist! This keeps the rod tip from making an arching motion and makes tighter loops. The second thing to do is come to a complete pause in the back cast, allowing all the line to fall behind you before accelerating again into the forward cast. Then you will completely pause again to shoot the line ahead.  

What do you and John enjoy most about leading fishing charters out of Kiawah River?
John and I love the vast nature of the waterway around Kiawah River because it provides many options during both high and low tides for fishing. Whether it’s chasing tailing redfish in the grass at high tide during moon cycles or looking for schools at low tide in the creeks and flats, the Kiawah River is an area with versatility and many daily recreational fishing opportunities.  

What types of fish can anglers expect to find in the Kiawah River during the summer months?
Anglers can expect to find redfish, seatrout and flounder in the Kiawah River in the summer, usually in shallow water. They may even find a few other bycatches along the way, like sheepshead or sharks, which are typically tough to catch and notorious for stealing bait off your hook.  

What is the best bait fish for summer months?
Just about every fish in the ocean loves shrimp and crab, so these will likely catch you more fish than any other bait. Live bait is also great to use because that is what fish are used to seeing in the water.  

Do you have any advice for other female anglers interested in starting a fishing career?
Just do it! It’s such an amazing experience, being one with the marsh and the Lowcountry atmosphere. I’d love to give anyone interested a casting demonstration if needed. In fact, I’d love to plan a ladies’ fly-fishing class and wine tasting in the future. 

What is one of your favorite memories fishing in the Lowcountry? 
My favorite memory is falling in love with my husband and making special memories on the water – now with our two kids.