For anglers lucky enough to fish Georgetown’s waters at daybreak have had a real treat the past few weeks. Flurries of healthy, roe-filled speckled trout have invaded inshore waters with massive appetites, and low-light periods are proving to be the best times to show up rigged with an arsenal of artificial offerings. 

Capt. Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service has seen some of the best action. A few days ago, Colin Stokes, a visiting angler from Athens, Ga., landed a 6-pounder on a black/chartreuse Zara Spook.

“We are having epic topwater action,” said Pate (843-7900), “and nearly all of the ones we are catching are big, roe trout.”

Typically, adult speckled trout move inshore to spawn from the spring through the summer. Some of the biggest fish annually are caught in the first spawning wave. And water temperatures in the low- to mid-70s are making for almost ideal conditions.

According to Pate, Winyah Bay and the Santee Delta are loaded with lots of small menhaden, and trout are feeding heavily. Pate recommends using baitfish patterns that mimic menhaden.

“Big trout are crushing nearly everything you throw at them, with the best action at dawn and dusk,” he said. “Spooks in bone and chartreuse/black have been the go-to topwater lures.”

Later in the morning, Pate switches to sub-surface lures, including Gulp! Jerkshad and Vudu Mullet. Any small baitfish imitation will trigger a bite from the hungry trout, but Pate has been having the most success using pearl-white or root beer colors.

Just about every trout that Pate’s clients have caught has been a spawning female, and they have released many of them after snapping a couple of photos.

“I really make a point to release the majority of these fish to let them spawn,” Pate said. “Females have noticeably larger bellies which are full of roe. Males tend to be smaller and often make a drumming sound, particularly during the spawn.”