In the Palmetto State, the cool, fall weather brings out anglers from just about every nook and cranny to catch some of the popular coastal fish. Both speckled trout and redfish have food on the brain, and that makes for a perfect opportunity to leave the live bait in the water and stock up with a regiment of artificial baits. Anglers looking to put more fish in the boat can build variations of traditional rigs and unique accessories.
During the fall, specks and reds are filling up as much as possible to prepare for the arrival of winter. This gives anglers a huge advantage, and while artificial lures reign supreme, traditional rigging methods and techniques can be out-fished under the right circumstances.
Because reds and trout are ready to feed throughout the day and night, any type of lure or technique that gathers a fish’s attention quickly will produce better under fall conditions, and that includes using live bait.
An angler can easily catch more fish than one using live bait because most artificial lures can be fished faster and over a larger area. No doubt, live bait will become dinner at the right moment, but the basic technique is flawed.
When using live bait, the presentation is much slower, and bait stealers can easily strip an angler’s hook. An artificial lure is fishing between the time it enters and exits the water on each cast.
Changing color is the first step to getting more bites. Lure companies produce just baits in just about every color of the rainbow, but fishermen can further change their colors by dipping them in lure dyes, one of the most popular being Spike-It’s Dip-N-Glow, with red and chartreuse extremely popular colors.
Sometimes anglers need to go the extra mile by altering lures in an unconventional way.
Capt. Mark Stacy of Ocean Isle Fishing Charters thinks out of the box frequently. Huis latest creation combines a spinner with a lure that’s already hot, increasing his chances of picking up feisty redfish along the edge of some marsh grass.
“Just recently, I paired up a gold spinner with a Vudu Mullet, and the results have been very positive,” said Stacy (910-279-0119). “The lure, by itself, looks great in the water, but the gold flash and vibration just gets the attention of the fish much faster than the Vudu Mullet alone.”
Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrell’s Inlet is constantly developing new and exciting rigs for her customers. She ties custom rigs for Spanish mackerel, bull redfish, cobia, bottomfish and speckled trout. This time of year, she struggles to keep her tandem speck rigs on the shelf.
“Trolling is a very popular fall technique for trout. When you troll, the fish scatter and regroup right about the time when the lures will be passing by,” said Perry (843-655-3117). “I make double-grub rigs that are very effective when trolled way behind the boat.”
Perry’s speckled trout tandem rig consists of 1/8th- and 3/8th-ounce jigheads, a bullet weight, a three-way swivel, and two of her favorite grub colors: opening night and albino shad.
“The tandem rig emulates two different-sized baitfish attempting to get away,” says Perry.
While most of her trout rigs are tandem, anglers can experiment with additional jigs to provide a larger, flashier presentation to catch more fish. Perry said some fishermen like to pair up two artificial shrimp in tandem by using contraptions like the Vudu Shrimp V-Rig to provide a larger presentation to catch more fish.
The Alabama rig, originally created for catching largemouth bass, is another potential crowd pleaser for fall speckled trout. It simulates a single baitfish lagging behind a small school of fish, and it can be trolled or cast.