Featured Fly Shop: Bay Street Outfitters

Beaufort, South Carolina

TheLow Country’s 80 miles long coast stretches along the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River in Georgia north to Pawley's Island. Millions of people visit the Lowcountry to sample its legendary cuisine. Bay Street Outfitters is to South Carolina Lowcountry fly fishing what shrimp and grits are to the South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine.

“We opened Bay Street Outfitter 21 years ago when I retired and moved to Beaufort from Atlanta,” says Tony Royal. “Beaufort is the logical hub for fishing redfish in the Lowcountry.  It is thetop spot for sight casting to redfish in skinny water. We have about200 square miles of perfect flats and can fish all year. The extensive Spartina Grass flats produce food for crab, shrimp and bait fish. Over 25 percent of the salt marsh on the East Coast of the United States is in Beaufort County, SC.

Royal also points out the importance of Beaufort is a little out of the way; not crowded; excellent motels and B & B’s; top restaurants and it’s incredible History of significance. Bay Street Outfitters is a full service, complete fly shop that is perchedbetween Savannah and Charleston. Their lines include Orvis, Simms, Sage, G Loomis, Barbour, Ex Officio, Patagonia, Luggage, Sebago Boat shoes, Tilley Hats, Fishpond, Rio and many more.

Locally tied fly patterns are available as well as special fly tying classes and one- on- one tying instruction. The shop has one tier on staff and two captains that tie “local patterns” Additionally, Bay Street Outfitters strives to have the best outdoor and travel clothing on the planet for men and women. It is not only a fly shop, but is also a Lifestyle Shop

“Key to the success of Bay Street Outfitters is our top shelf, well trained staff,” says Royal. “Additionally we have five in-house and some of the finest Captains on the Lowcountry Coast. The drivingforce here is our belief in teaching. We believe that it is OK to have a cheap fly rod but not a cheap cast.  This is critical as people are so much more focused on their time. A complete shop with captains,lessons, classes and tackle has to deliver.”

Royal notes that interest in a fly fishing has grown steadily over the last two decades. Bay Street Outfitters fly fishing charters have tripled and business traffic at the shop has doubled in the last decade. He also noted that the shop is welcominga growing number of couples and more ladies seeking fly fishing information. World class casting for tailing Redfish in the skinny water in the Lowcountry is no longer the guarded secret of local fly fishermen. The word is out.

“We see novice anglers almost daily and they do ask questions,” says Royal. “When we make a good impression and offer solutions and advice, some of them come back later to pursue the sport. The shop is always staffed with a highly experienced team.  We host 10 one day classes yearly and15 Orvis Fly Fishing Schools. The Sea Island Flyfishers, our local fly club, has meetings with attendance that often eceeds the number of regular members.

               “We are all conscious of the importance of our clean, Lowcountry water that is free of industrial pollution,” says Royal. “The Port Royal Sound Foundation has done a tremendous job of education and awareness of our beautifulEstuary. Our commitment to Catch and Release is very strong. More people are interested in our Lowcountry history thanks to the new Santa Elena Foundation. The foundation has done a great job of making us all better aware of our early history that started in the 1560’s with the first European settlement in North America by the Spainish.