For many inshore anglers, winter is the time to pare down from a multitude of targets until warming water temperatures and baitfish bring the rest of the schools back out to play in the spring.

Unfortunately many anglers believe speckled trout fall into the "Do Not Disturb" this category during the winter.

Jeff Yates of TYJO Knot Charters in Charleston (843-270-8956) specializes in chasing speckled trout throughout the year, and he looks forward to winter time when trout are more prone to school tightly in deep channels and smaller creeks around Mount Pleasant.

Yates employs a silver or gold eighth-ounce DOA shrimp in what he calls "free-lining", meaning he's simply tying the shrimp to the end of his line and casting it out to the fish.


"Once the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, that's what ushers in what I consider to be D.O.A. season, the time I free-line a D.O.A. shrimp into those deep cuts and channels and if the trout are there, most of the time they're going to bite," said Yates, who said he finds better fishing around the low tide. When trout get into the winter time pattern, a deep, slow presentation of the shrimp works best and unlike other times of the year, which means the slackening tide can make the bite better.


"It's always important to have current, but faster current will blow the bait by too fast," said Yates. "You cast the bait up current of your target and keep a tight line as that shrimp bounces along the bottom. Trout just aren't going to chase a bait when the water cools off, so the slower current on a slack tide works best."


To get into these slow, deep bite situations during the winter, Yates narrows his fishing areas to smaller creeks that feature hold water eight to nine feet deep during low tide. These water depths are not hard to find in bigger waterways like the ICW but the secret to Yates success is finding smaller, deep water cuts and holes off the beaten path.


In the attached video, Jeff Yates and his brother David Yates, a well-known offshore fishing guide in the Charleston area, target winter speckled trout behind the Isle of Palms and demonstrate Yates' free line trout fishing tactics utilizing DOA shrimp.


Photo Caption: Many anglers put speckled trout on the "Do Not Disturb" list during the winter. In this video, Charleston-area inshore guide Jeff Yates and his brother David show how to get winter speckled trout to come out and play.