The speckled trout bite is hot in the inshore waters of Beaufort, and Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Fishing Charters has been staying busy reeling them in.

The bait to use right now is a newcomer to Percy's arsenal, but one in which he has become a firm believer. The Vudu shrimp, a soft-plastic bait by Egret Baits, is putting a serious hurting on the specks for Percy.


"This bait acts different and looks different in the water than any other soft plastic I have seen," Percy said after a day when he caught more than 30 trout in Beaufort's creeks and inlets, proving that the specks – which have taken a beating by brutally cold weather in the past few years – have come back strong.


Percy said topwater action for trout has been spotty early in the morning but is definitely worth a try with Super Spooks and popping plugs. Some mornings the fish just seem to be rolling at the lures, but other mornings they are crushing them. Percy's favorite trick to getting the topwater action is to start very early, before it is even light out.


Once the sun comes up, live and cut shrimp under popping corks are always good bets around oyster rakes, especially around smaller creeks with running water.


Fishing in moving water is best for trout, and since trout seek out clean water, don't spend too much time fishing stained water. If one side of a creek is stained, the other side is often cleaner, but when all sides of a creek are muddy, it's best to crank the outboard and find a different creek.


Percy said ladyfish are also very active right now and said they are keeping things interesting in between the trout bites, and flounder have also been playing nice for anglers, including a 5.5-pounder one of Percy's clients caught recently.