For most of the fall, diehard anglers along the southern end of the Grand Strand with their sights on a gator-sized speckled trout have come up short – until now. The fat ladies are finally singing in full force, with monster-sized specks showing up from Pawley’s Island to Murrells Inlet and the Winyah Bay jetties.

The season’s biggest trout have arrived and are falling for a collection of artificial lures, according to Kevin “Stump” Grant of Pawley’s Island Outdoors, who is seeing a  lot of fish between 24 and 27 inches come through the doors of his store.

According to Grant (843-979-4666), the big trout are coming from the jetties, Pawley’s Island Sound, shell banks in Georgetown, and along the hard livebottom just right off the beachfront near Murrells Inlet.

“The big trout seem to like the livebottom areas and places with structure near or in the ocean. But it’s the big mullet that are still here that is giving their location away,” he says. “After the shrimp are gone, mullet are the game in town, and that is what they focus on.”

Grant is catching his biggest fish around the big groups of mullet passing through. Even though live shrimp are virtually non-existent inshore, big trout will still take them fished under float rigs with little hesitation. But Grant recommends anglers to use large baitfish imitations such as a MirrOlure or large crankbait to immitate large mullet.

“Shrimp get you the most fish, but artificial lures are getting you the biggest fish. MirOlure’s 52M is my favorite for the big trout, and I have had good successes with both dark- and light-colored baits. Color seems to vary from day to day.”

Grant is switching back and forth between MirOlure’s 52M in the 24 (blue), 808 (dark back, gold sides, orange belly) or 28 (red/yellow) colors.

As long as the water temperature stays in the mid- to lower-50s, fishermen should expect the bite to continue, with a steady flow of keeper trout and a strong showing of trophies.