Looking back – Summer, 2016

It was a short walk from my Murrells Inlet home to Perry’s Bait & Tackle. I planned to chat with Jessica, hoping to get some talking points for my next hunting and fishing blog. But this summer day, I had the pleasure of bumping into her mother, Sharon Doehner, who was hanging original artwork Jessica had just finished. I quickly said how talented, creative, and knowledgeable Jessica was about anything to do with fishing. At that very moment, I was about to get “schooled “by her mom as she proceeded to tell me more about her daughter. “Jessica is indeed a knowledgeable young lady and has earned a double degree in biology and chemistry from East Carolina University; she planned to complete her studies to become a pharmacist,” Sharon explained. I felt disappointment in Sharon’s voice. As we both knew, the tidal creek tugged at Jessica’s heartstrings, and the lows and highs of running a bait and tackle shop was the future Jessica had chosen. Her unpretentious manner was one of the things people loved about her, and few knew that Jessica used her biology knowledge every day in the bait shop and was committed to the continued preservation of marine life for future generations.


There was no doubt that Jessica was as brilliant as she was beautiful. The girl in the bright-colored sundress, tan and barefoot, had time for every customer no matter how long the line was. Fishermen from near and far would stop by to catch a big fishing tip with a side of bait. Even the saltiest of fishermen respected her and considered her one of them. Jessica’s fishing knowledge made her a legend in Murrells Inlet. But, as a resort community, her reputation spread far as visitors from many places returned each year to grab some bait and get a “fishing report” from Jessica.

September 29, 2017-Saying Goodbye to Jessica

Perry’s Bait & Tackle and Jessica are as familiar to locals as the smell of pluff mud from the salt creek on a lazy summer day. On that tragic day, September 29, 2017, my phone was ringing off the hook. I had written several posts about Jessica, and my website was blowing up with over 3500 clicks in a few hours as people frantically searched to find out if the terrible news was true. Traumatically, it was. Jessica was forever lost to domestic violence. The reality was beyond anyone’s comprehension.

Jessica’s Dream Comes True!  – Murrells Inlet Lodge

Fishing Lodge

Pushing past the horrendous pain and loss, the Doehner family pulled together and put forth a plan to continue the bait shop and fulfill Jessica’s dream of updating and repurposing the residential property that originally had been her inlaws’ home behind the bait shop into a modern and attractive fishing lodge. Finally, the long and challenging work was done, and Murrell Inlet Fishing Lodge opened for guests in 2020. Sharon and Craig accomplished this huge undertaking while completing the formality of adopting Jessica’s three children as they dedicated their lives to nurturing and protecting these precious children.  


family on pier

Craig, Sharon, Aden, Liam, Bella, and Corbett Doehner

Fast forward: Surfside Beach Fishing Pier & Perry’s at the Pier

The Surfside Pier-

Surside Pier

The Pier

Located in the small community town of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, the Surfside Pier rose from the beach in 1953 and sadly was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel, one of the most notable hurricanes this century witnessed not a year later. Having been built and rebuilt multiple times, the citizens of Surfside Beach would not accept defeat, even against a foe as formidable as nature. This strong sense of community and proven resiliency over generations defines the Town of Surfside Beach and its newly constructed Surfside Pier! Saying it is bigger and better is a huge understatement!

Perry’s at the Pier

May 2024 brings a new chapter to Jessica’s dream- a second bait and tackle location at the Surfside Beach Fishing Pier is now open – Perry’s on the Pier! Sharon and Craig know that each new milestone ensures a bright future for Liam, Aden, and Bella. They could not pass up the opportunity to open a second location at the Pier in Surfside Beach! Surfside Beach has long used the tagline “The Family Beach.” So it goes that the tagline for the Pier is “The Family Pier,” which perfectly describes their new tenants: Jessica’s three wonderful children, owners of Perry’s Bait and Tackle, Murrells Inlet Lodge, and now Perry’s At The Pier!

The “open Sign” is hanging, and Perry’s is now ready for customers just in time for the summer season at the beach. The friendly staff at Perry’s will hook you up with your fishing pass and everything you need for a day, week, or whatever time you want you plan to fish. You can bring your gear, or you can choose to rent your fishing equipment. Perry’s has everything you would expect in a pier bait and tackle shop and features Lew’s rods and reels and Pier Hook Nets, which are fantastic for flounder fishing and hand-tied rigs such as Carolina rigs, double rigs, and sinker rigs. Of course, if you need one more ball cap, they have great choices and other outdoor apparel such as tee shirts and sunglasses. A fishing store would only be complete with sunscreen and cold drinks, and oh wait, yes, they have frozen and live bait!  

Surfside Beach Fishing Pier Fees; Check-in at Perry’s Bait & Tackle Shop

Standard Fishing $12.00 Daily – Rod Rental & Bait Sold Separately 

• $45.00 Weekly

• $150.00 Annual 

King Fishing $14.00 Daily – Rod Rental & Bait Sold Separately

• $65.00 Weekly

• $200.00 Annual

Children under 12 can fish for free with a “paid” adult.

Pier Operational Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. April 1 through September 30. 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. October 1 through March 31. 

Female boating captain

Wondering what’s biting? Just ask Chrystal, the knowledgeable Manager at Perry’s. She’s happy to expertly guide you in selecting the perfect bait or rigs for a successful and enjoyable day on the Pier. And if you’re looking for something different from pier fishing, she can tell you about the available charters.