A long winter in hiding rarely means anything these days, because savvy anglers can find speckled trout and redfish year-round. But the opportunity to catch a speckled trout on a floating lure doesn’t become an option until spring. And in the waters around Georgetown, S.C., April brings together the perfect conditions and perfect places for a spectacular topwater bite for specks.
As spring kicks off this month, the water temperature begins to rise from winter lows to the 60s, a level that means topwater lures are a regular option for fishermen like Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service, and the Saltwater Super Spook is his first choice.
“The topwater trout bite cranks up in April every year,” said Pate (843-814-7900). “As the waters warm, trout start feeding aggressively, and we rarely start our day without a Spook on the line.”
Speckled trout spend their winters in deep places, scavenging for food, but when the water begins to warm, baits that are around begins to get frisky, and new baits start to show up. Small baitfish will do everything they can to get away from these mean, famished trout lurking in the shadows.
The best trout bite is usually not too far from their winter holding areas. Pate fishes along shorelines with structure and deep water close by.
“We catch a lot of trout on these deeper ledges and creek channels during the winter, and the oyster and shell points along deep creek channels are always great topwater spots for us in the spring,” he said.
Trout are ambush feeders; they like to set up in places where bait gets washed into the current. In the waters around Georgetown, shell banks provide both deep water, bait and ideal ambush positions for trout. But beyond the shell banks, Pate will find hot topwater action along the main creeks in the North Inlet area that have significant oysters and shells submerged along the banks.
Both the rising and falling tides can bring on a fantastic topwater bite. Expect trout to be looking to score a quick meal in places where the oysters, grass or some other structure give bait an opportunity to hide from predators. Trout will be ready in these areas. Anglers can fish topwater plugs in these areas and expect a response when trout are present.
While a typical topwater bite normally coincides with low-light periods, the spring bite can outlast the typical summer topwater business, according to Pate.
“We sometimes are able to keep throwing topwater well into the morning this time of year,” he said.
While Pate will use his go-to Super Spook most days, he will sometimes use others that make slightly different noises, including, MirrOlure’s Top Dog Jr. and She Dog, Rapala’s Skitterwalk or Egret’s Zombie Ghost Walker.
“The Ghost Walker was a good one last year. It has both high- and low-frequency sound chambers, and it brought a lot of fish to the surface,” he said.
A walk-the-dog retrieve is the perfect way to get plenty of action. Pate recommends slow and steady retrieve.