Fishermen around Murrell’s Inlet have had smiles on their faces for the past week or so, and for an unusual reason. Speckled trout are showing up between routine catches of flounder and redfish, well before they normally show up, and Capt. J Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service said they’ve arrived in good numbers.

“We have started picking them up on about every trip when not even targeting them,” says Baisch. (843-902-0356) “They are in the same exact places where they are bunched up in the fall.”

The jetties, Oaks Creek, Alston Creek, Whale Creek, Woodland Creek and even the main thoroughfare running from the inlet to the causeway typically hold groups of trout in the fall, but areas closer to the ocean are producing the most trout right now. Baisch said to target the creek mouths, oyster banks and both sides of the jetty rocks on both the rising and falling tides. Trout prefer places with steady current and areas where submerged obstructions or points break the current flow.

The best fishing will come early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Baisch recommends anglers cast-net for finger mullet and shrimp in small creeks at low tide for bait, but artificials – shrimp, grubs and minnow imitations – have also been very productive.

Topwater fishing has also been good under low-light conditions; Baisch prefers a Zarar Spook in the “bone” color. He also advised fishermen to stay on the lookout for a ladyfish blitz anywhere from the back of the creeks to the ocean. 

“The trout are swimming a lot with the ladyfish right now. Look for pods of ladyfish blowing up on the surface and toss a surface walker to them and the trout will usually get to the plug before the ladyfish,” he said.