Fall weather is here, and that has inshore anglers excited about a number of species, and speckled trout in particular. The cooling trend the state has experienced the past few days is expected to continue beyond next week, and this already has reports of sea trout action picking up. 

Capt. Justin Witten of Ambush Charters in Murrells Inlet said the most exciting thing about this time of year for inshore fishing is catching trout on surface lures. “My number one lure for this time of year is definitely a Zara Spook,” he said.

The Zara Spook, by Heddon Lures, is a walk-the-dog type lure, and is one of the most popular-selling lures along the coast throughout the year, and especially so once the hottest days of summer give way to cooler temperatures. Witten (843-685-9910) said fishing it is pretty straight forward. “After casting, let the lure settle down, then give it a good twitch with the pop of your wrist, reel in the slack, give it a good twitch, and on and on. You want to keep the lure moving and alternate between reeling just enough to get the slack out of the line, and popping the lure. It will walk left-to-right, over and over on the retrieve,” he said.

The Spook is effective around typical trout-holding areas like over oyster shell beds that are in secondary creeks, and the best times to use them are early morning and late evening.

Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in Beaufort also loves the topwater bite this time of year, but he said the VuDu Shrimp is also one of his top producers in the fall. “It’s deadly under a popping cork, and if you cast it into moving water near a current break, you better make sure you’re watching that cork closely,” said Percy (803-535-6166). 

That current break, described Percy, is where a current is meeting other moving water, usually near a shell bank that is being covered by the incoming tide. “Baitfish get swirled around in these current breaks, and the trout are stacked up nearby just waiting for those baitfish to get stunned by the colliding currents. That VuDu Shrimp really is too good for them to pass up, and when it’s fished under a popping cork, you really don’t have to do anything but watch it and make sure it’s in the moving water. Once the cork stops moving—and if the lure hasn’t been eaten by a trout—reel in and cast into that moving water again,” said Percy.

John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop said his best trout fishing this time of year comes after the early morning bite when many trout fishermen assume the bite is done for the first half of the day. Long uses spoons such as ADL’s Live Bait Series spoons. “I like the 3/8-oz in mullet or pinfish, and I fish them just off the bottom during the middle of the day. I cast toward the bank, then just reel fast enough to keep the spoon moving while feeling it barely make contact with the grass, shells, and dirt along the bottom,” said Long.

While the Spook and VuDu Shrimp are at their best when the tide is either incoming or outgoing, Long (803-776-8320) said the spoons are very effective on the slack tide. “It’s really the only thing I’ve found that will catch them consistently when the tide is dead still. I used to dread that time of morning when the topwater bite would turn off, but since I’ve been using this technique with the spoons, I actually look forward to it,” he said.