Fishing for speckled trout continues to be exceptional around Ocean Isle, and Capt Mark Stacy thinks it’s going to only get better – along with several other species.

Stacy, of Ocean Isle Fishing Charters, said the number of trout being caught has greatly increased, and a good percentage of the extra fish have been keepers.

“Seriously, we’ve been catching trout just about everywhere,” said Stacy (910-279-0119) “They are thick in most creeks, schools are roaming the oyster rocks and shell edges of the Intracoastal Waterway, they are in the holes under the bridges, and it’s time for the trout along the jetties at Little River Inlet to get even larger. I’ve been fishing on docks at friend’s houses a couple of days when I didn’t have trips and didn’t want to launch the boat, and I’ve caught lots of trout – and some were really nice size.” 

Stacy said having live shrimp for bait takes the guesswork out of trout fishing, but he’s also been catching specks on a Billy Bay Halo Shripm and on MR 17 and MR 27 MirrOlures.

The last couple of cold fronts have moved a lot of smaller trout into the area; Stacy said somewhere between one-third and one-half of the trout caught are shorts, but a limit is still quite likely – you just have to catch two dozen trout instead of six or eight to fill your limit with larger fish. Most fishermen don’t see that as a problem worth worrying about. 

Stacy said that red drum, black drum and a surprising number of flounder are being caught in addition to trout, and cooling water should only crank the bite up even more.

“The water is cooling, but the fish are still active,” Stacy said. “We have pretty good numbers of redfish, but the water hasn’t been quite cold enough to get them schooling steadily, so you have to move around looking for them.” 

“Black drum must be followers.” Stacy said. “We haven’t found any concentrations of them, but most days we catch a few with the specks and a few with the reds. Don’t take that as a complaint; it isn’t. I’m glad to see them, and most of my clients know they taste good – even if they are ugly – and are glad to add some to the cooler to take home.”