Bone-chilling temperatures and fall-like conditions have transformed Murrells Inlet into the speckled trout paradise it is historically-known for being. And big, gator trout are leading the pack, with many fish showing up stretching the scales to more than 5 pounds. 

The speckled trout fishing over the past two months has been good, but recurring bouts of mild weather kept disrupting the bite. But the arctic air that arrived last week drove water temperatures into the 50s and drove off large numbers of non-target fishes. Now, inshore waters are full of big schools of speckled trout, with many large drag pullers available.

Capt. J Baisch of Fishfull Thinking Guide Service is fired up about the state of the trout fishing in Murrells Inlet.

“Cold weather is great for trout fishing, and we are catching some real nice fish,” said Baisch (843-902-0356).  “We have caught several lately over 5 pounds!”

While most big trout typically feed during the evenings, the cold weather and scattered bait has forced the old gals to eat anything and everything they can find.

Additionally, the water temperatures plunging towards winter have moved the pinfish, lizardfish and other pesky pickers to leave, allowing anglers to fish live bait in peace. Now, when the cork goes under, anglers can be assured that a speckled trout is on the end of the line.

“I catch plenty of fish this time of year on artificial lures, but the real big fish usually come from live shrimp under a slide float,” Baisch said.

Last year, Baisch won the annual John Payne Memorial Hooks for Hearts Speckled Trout Tournament with a 5.10-pound behemoth that was caught at the jetties on a live shrimp under a float. He is excited about his prospects, with the tournament scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 22.

“There are going to be some big fish caught this weekend, and I hope to see my name on the leader board again,” Baisch said.  

The drastic weather changes may have fishermen on a search-and-rescue mission with trout moving to different areas. Baisch said he will rely on an trolling grubs on ½-ounce jigheads and MirrOlures to find fish.

Baisch said he would troll along Garden City and Oaks creeks, and he’ll typically get more bites will trolling against the current.

“After I find them, I will anchor up and cast artificial lures across the current. The better bite is a cross-current retrieve. And of course, floating a live shrimp with the current is very effective on a school of feeding fish,” he said.