Jarvis Creek Park occupies 53 acres on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The centerpiece of the park is an 11 acre freshwater pond. The pond was created a few years ago to turn a storm water management problem into a public space for recreation. It is surrounded by mowed fields, walking trails and wooded areas.
The pond is fairly large and open though there is heavy weed growth in the margins. Access is limited by these weeds and other pondside trees and brush. But there are several places where you can get some good casts off. There is a heavily fished fishing pier and dock area near the parking area. The paved walking trail circling the pond makes it fairly easy to get to any other area.
One thing to watch out for are the many alligators in the pond. Signs warn of the danger of alligators and of fines for anyone who feeds them. Some of the alligators are pretty big. Although they can be found lounging around they can kick into gear if they notice you catching a fish. I’ve had a couple of gators as long as grown men come out of the water after fish I’ve caught in this pond. If you look close enough at the picture at the top of this article you will see one of the many gators that lives in Jarvis Creek Park.
Fish species in Jarvis Creek Park
The pond in Jarvis Creek Park is stocked with largemouth bass and bluegill. Catch and release fishing is permitted. This isn’t the best fishery in the world by any means. But it is possible to catch some decent bass here. I have also seen some silvery fish take flight and leap all the way out of the water here. I couldn’t identify the species but they sure looked like small grass carp to me.
I don’t know how often this park is stocked. I can say that there are several of year classes of bass present. I’ve seen bass from a few inches up to two feet swimming here. The larger bass can be fairly wise. This is no doubt a result of fishing pressure. They can still be caught with the right approach.
I caught this bass in Jarvis Creek Park
All of the bluegill I’ve seen here were spread out and on the small side. There may be bigger specimens in the pond. But if so I haven’t found them. There are also some micros swimming around in shallow areas that I have no been able to identify.
I have mainly focused on bass when fishing this pond. I’ve caught largemouth up to 20 inches in length here that were pretty heavy. I did have to put in some effort and work my way around the pond. I found some action near the fishing dock but most of the bass I saw there were line shy to say the least. I would guess they’ve been bombarded with bait and lures of every sort.
Fishing in Jarvis Creek Park
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Jarvis Creek Park isn’t a place to go if you are looking for solitude out in the countryside. This is a heavily used park visited by families, bike riders, dog walkers, bird watchers, exercisers and plenty of people looking to fish.
The fish are spread out and they are pressured. Finding some decent sized bass can take effort. Getting those bass to bite can be even more involved.
I have had the best results here by seeking out less pressured fish near cover. Typical bass structure like overhanging trees and bushes can give the fish a place to feel safe and hunt down their prey.
The standard weedless bass lures like bass worms and frogs along with flies like the Dahlberg Diver can certainly work here. I’ve had the most success with downsized, slow sinking offerings like marabou jigs and finesse swimbaits that can be worked through pockets in the weeds. I’ve also done well on top water lures. My biggest fish in this pond took a size 7 Original Floating Rapala while it rested on top of the water near a tree branch.
Fishing in Jarvis Creek Park pond is only allowed on a catch-and-release basis. Other than that it seems there are no special regulations. So normal freshwater fishing regulations for the state of South Carolina would apply. That means the pond is open year round and fishing can be done with up to four rods and reels at a time.
To the best of my knowledge, this is accurate as of the time of writing. Of course regulations are subject to change. For current regulations be sure to check the South Carolina Department of Nature Resources website.
Jarvis Creek Park fishing at a glance
- Fish species present: Bluegill, largemouth bass.
- Closest tackle shops: Southern Drawl Outfitters, West Marine.
- Recommend spin fishing tackle: Medium action rod, 6-8lb monofilament line.
- Recommend bait/lures: Original Floating Rapala, finesse swimbait, Scum Frog, VMC marabou jig.
- Recommended fly fishing tackle: 7-8 weight rod. WF Floating line, 1x tippet.
- Recommended flies: Dahlberg Diver, Muddler Minnow.
- Nearby hotels: Hampton Inn Hilton Head, Simple Rewards Inn.