Even though the heat has been tough, the inshore bite over the past few weeks has been rewarding anglers in waters close to the South Carolina-North Carolina state line, and it’s not the normal redfish and flounder, either. Speckled trout are surprising anglers, with a few fat sow trout making an appearance, too.  

Guide Kyle Hughes of Speckulator Inshore Fishing Charters is picking away at the trout in and around the Little River area on a regular basis.

“Trout action is great right now in Little River and just across the state line into North Carolina,” said Hughes (910-840-7186). “I’m not sure how long it will last, but we had decent trout action last year well into August, and we hope for the same.”

According to Hughes, inshore waters are covered in mullet and small shrimp that are fueling the better-than-average trout bite for this time of year. Anywhere trout can find places to ambush bait are the best places to encounter these hungry fish right now.

“We have been catching them off shell and grass banks in the ICW and in the local creeks on incoming (tide), as well as, around the Little River jetties on the falling tide,” he said.

Fortunately, many ambush places are the same places flounder and redfish are lying up, and an assortment of live-bait options is getting the job done. Live shrimp and minnows under slip corks are bringing the best results for Hughes, but soft-plastic shrimp and baitfish are bringing fish to the boat, too, including Vudu shrimp, Halo Shrimp or the D.O.A. Shrimp or swimbait-style lures like the Halo Shad and the Sea Shad.

While the trout numbers aren’t quite equal to what will be seen in the fall, they have been well worth the effort, and plenty of big, spawning females are showing up for breakfast, too.

Speckled trout spawn between June and October, making summer a perfect time to encounter a big, trophy sized trout full of eggs at the Little River jetties and along the rocky shorelines of the Intracoastal Waterway. Hughes is running into the big, female trout just after dawn, generally on topwater lures.

“This is a great time of year to catch a big trout on a Super Spook Jr. or a Top Dog Jr., my favorite two topwater baits,” he said. “Cloudy, overcast and calm days are usually best.”

A slow, steady walk-the-dog retrieve with the occasional pause will be too much for these big speckled trout patrolling the shorelines, and don’t be surprised to get a visit from a lunker redfish. Early morning, when the water is the coolest, marks the peak of feeding activity in many inshore areas. Anglers dragging lures across the surface along an oyster point or a grass line will be in for an explosive surprise under these summer conditions.