The summer sun beats down and bakes South Carolina’s inshore waters, but even though the heat can be rough during daylight hours, each day starts off a little cooler under dawn’s early light.

For any angler who dreams of topwater explosions, the first couple hours of daylight can be epic for busting a trophy speckled before breakfast in Georgetown’s waters. 

Speckled trout are a fall and winter treat, but anglers shouldn’t overlook summer for gator trout. In the Carolinas, yellow mouths begin spawning in June and will continue to lay eggs well into September. Typically, most spawn and feed under dark skies during the summer. However, they leave plenty of room in their stomachs for an early morning feed when there is more available light to spot their prey..    

Jeff Lattig of Pawleys Island’s Living Water Guide Service spends his summers trading back and forth between reds and speckled trout. Lattig doesn’t miss the first couple of hours of daylight.

“If you want to catch a big trout, the early mornings in the summertime offer a prime opportunity,” said Lattig (843-997-4655). “I like to use big plugs to bring in a big fish.”

Lattig likes to throw big topwater plugs to imitate the jumbo mullet minnows running oyster edges, the tops of shell beds and along the edges of rips around structure this time of year. 

“Trout will push bait to the top around structure,” he said. 

For Lattig, all of the waters south from North Inlet to Bulls Bay are fair game, and all will produce a good topwater bite during summer. For the best bite, he likes to fish when daylight coincides with a rising tide. 

“I like the rising tide the best in the summer because you get clean and cool water coming in from the ocean,” he said. 

Lattig also likes to avoid mornings after a full, moon-lit night. Trout will feed all night  during a full moon, and that slows down he morning bite.

“As a general rule, I will not schedule a trout-fishing trip after a full , especially when the skies were clear,” he said. 

A Super Spook is one of Lattig’s favorite topwaters. He prefers a mixture of bright and darker colors depending on the amount of sunlight available. 

“When the fish are looking up, you need that contrast. Therefore, I will use darker colors on bright days and lighter plugs on darker days,” he said. 

For diehard trout anglers patrolling Georgetown’s fabulous waters, an early start is never a bad idea. It is the perfect time to dupe a trophy-sized spawner on a topwater offering.