Accounts of large alligators are becoming more common in many of our coastal areas. Not to be outdone, Capt. Ricky Kellum of Speckled Specialist Inshore Fishing Charters landed a “gator” speckled trout in the New River near Sneads Ferry on May 23 that stretched 29 inches and topped the 8-pound mark.

“The boil behind the bait was as big as the hood of my truck,” said Kellum (910-330-2745), describing the trout that tracked his topwater lure. “The second time it struck, it hit solid and blew up like a cinderblock hit the water. Then it took drag three or four good times, and I thought it might be a redfish because we were fishing the shoals of the river, it could be either. But then it tired out like a trout and came to the boat.”

The trophy trout, one of Kellum’s largest ever on a topwater lure, inhaled a Zara Spook Jr. with a chartreuse head and white body. 

“There were a lot of glass minnows around that morning, and you could see the trout feeding on top.  We have been catching them good on the Billy Bay Halo Shad, but when you see activity on the surface it pays to join in,” said Kellum.  “We caught four or five more close to four pounds.”

The weight and girth of these fish are attributed to the next generation of trout they are carrying. 

“Most of the trout we’re catching now are full of roe, and they’re just beginning to spawn” Kellum said. “That’s why the season is closed until June 15, to give those trout a chance to spawn before they can be kept. But there are a lot of natural factors that will determine when they actually finish.”

The Sneads Ferry section of the New River offers abundant shallow water that is prime habitat for trout and redfish.

“We actually found this school of trout while looking for redfish on the shoals of the river,” said Kellum.