For most of the summer, anglers targeting speckled trout search for a good bite that usually takes them to deep water or along an oyster ledge at dawn. While they can be very successful, fall fishing is desperately anticipated.
As the water temperatures begin to cool down in September and October, the fishing cranks up, but it is not until November when the best conditions arrive and the speckled trout action peaks.
Fishermen can expect good fishing along the entire coast of both Carolinas, but some waters are far superior to others, and Murrells Inlet, S.C., is one of those.
“From the first week of November through Christmas, the bite is on fire,” said Adam Goodwin of Fly Girl Fishing Charters (843-798-9100). We can get a (10-fish) limit in 45 minutes when the time is right.
“It looks like a conveyor belt on our boat, with a fish coming in on each side non-stop.”
Even though the Murrells Inlet estuary is on the smaller side, its super-clean waters and perfect habitat make it a premier speckled trout destination. As soon as the water temperatures drop into the 60s, the fishing begins to take off.
Goodwin said it’s hard to pick a bad place to target speckled trout this month.
“We catch plenty of fish at the jetties, in the backs of the creeks, and just about anywhere as long as you have a swift current where the water is highly oxygenated. And when you catch one, you will likely catch three or four in a row. They are schooling this time of year,” he said.
November specks are feeding on anything and everything they can find. If they can find shrimp, it will be the first to fall.
“Trout prefer shrimp over about anything. It’s their favorite food,” said Goodwin, who will float live shrimp on a slip cork a foot or two off the bottom along oyster and grass-covered banks.
But live shrimp will not always be available. When that happens, Goodwin resorts to artificials that resemble small minnows and shrimp. His favorite are Matrix Shad and Z-man soft plastics hooked on ¼- to 1/8-ounce jigheads fished right off the bottom and jigged vertically to mimic a fleeing shrimp.
“I started using these lures a couple of years ago, and I have been hooked ever since because the trout hit them so hard,” said Goodwin, who changes colors on a daily basis depending on what fish like.
“Some days they will hit a green and pink and other days they will not touch them. We keep several colors rigged and will find out which one will work the best on that day,” he said.