By Polly Dean
Photos by Ivo Kerssemakers
Anglers heading to South Carolina’s Grand Strand now have a new option for accommodations that combines all the modern conveniences with a throw back to earlier times. There are not many places where you can find first rate lodging at the back door of a bait and tackle shop that’s been in business for more than 60 years.
The newly renovated building housing Murrells Inlet Fishing Lodge is adjacent to Perry’s Bait and Tackle in the fishing village of Murrells Inlet. Despite having just opened, it has been a work in progress and a labor of love for several years. Outfitted for visiting anglers by Craig and Sharon Doehner, the lodge had been a vision of their daughter Jessica, who passed away three years ago at the age of just 37.
The four-bedroom lodge and the attached tackle shop, which has been a well-known and established business since the 1950s, were most recently owned by Jessica. Due to a conservatorship put in their names, Jessica’s three children Liam (14), Aden (11). and Bella (9) now are the official and youngest owners of a bait shop in the state.
Though fly anglers will not find fly-fishing gear at Perry’s, they will find plenty of advice and information about the local fishing. If you need a lead on local guides, including a fly-fishing guide, Perry’s can help you out.
The bait shop is a hub of activity from 5:00 am until 9:00 pm during the peak season, with scaled back hours during the winter months. There even is a hose and fish-cleaning station just steps away from the front door. Though the shop stays busy, the lodge itself is quiet and tucked away amid shade trees with a peaceful estuary tidal creek out back.
Murrells Inlet Fishing Lodge has a dock for boats and looks out onto the water of the inlet. A public boat ramp is located just down the creek as well. The view of the water and the towering live oaks can be enjoyed from the back porch. The lodge is ideally located and just steps away from Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk, a wooden boardwalk that enables visitors to easily access the area’s many restaurants and the nearby Veteran’s Pier
The fishing lodge has four bedrooms, all with direct access to three full bathrooms. It sleeps eight, with two king beds and two queens, making it ideal for families or groups of anglers with their spouses. There is a full kitchen and open floor plan with plenty of room for relaxing or tying flies. The roomy back porch overlooks the inlet’s marsh, with a view of Garden City on the beach in the distance. Regardless of time of the year, you may even be treated to a show of fireworks as you peer across the inlet after dark.
If you are looking for accommodation close to the angling or just a place to unwind, Murrells Inlet Fishing Lodge is comfortable and convenient to all that this quaint fishing village has to offer.