You don’t need to pack your fishing pole to enjoy that favorite of recreational pastimes in South Carolina. The Department of Natural Resources will lend you one for free — and the tackle to go with it. All you need is the bait and a SC fishing license.
You can pick up a spin-cast rod and reel at any of 30 sites located across the state. Almost every state park with a freshwater pond or lake participates in the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. Visitors at Hunting Island State Park and Edisto Beach State Park have the option of borrowing gear for surf fishing as well.
Along with the fishing rod, you’ll get a tackle box with a bobber, hook and split shot. Worms and crickets — the recommended bait — are usually available at nearby tackle stores. Some parks offer them on site.
For newbies, instructions on tying knots, rigging a line and bait will be provided.
“It’s a chance for those who have never laid a hand on a rod and reel to try it out before they go out and buy the equipment,” said Lorianne Riggin, aquatic education coordinator for the SCDNR. “Or if you’re visiting a state park and forgot to bring your gear, you can still go fishing.”
Unless there’s a high demand for the rental poles, there is no set limit on how long you can keep the gear out. For more information on the program and a complete list of sites, click here.