For much of the year, the coast along the border between North Carolina and South Carolina provides a wide variety of species to target, and November is a great time to be on the water, especially if speckled trout are among your favorites. It’s a sure bet for steady action on every phase of the tide.
“All-around, November is the best month of the year for trout,” said Kyle Hughes of Speculator Guide Service. “Everything is cooling off, and the shrimp are thick. Trout congregate in big schools, eating everything in sight.”
The estuaries from the freshwater/saltwater dividing line in South Carolina’s Little River a good distance north of the state line support considerable populations of brown and pink shrimp. As soon as the water temperatures begin their annual tumble, shrimp pack their bags and head for greener pastures, and that triggers a feeding frenzy among speckled trout.
“The shrimp movement begins when the water temperatures in the creeks drops below 65 degrees,” said Hughes (910-840-7186).
When that happens, all of the main creeks and passageways to the ocean become buffet tables for speckled trout and a long list of finned takers.
Hughes will fish around main-creek junctions, the ICW and any main-creek area. The places with a change in the bottom contour tend to produce the best bites.
“I like to fish hard ledges where the water drops 2 feet, 4 feet or more,” he said. “Fish will hold up on these ledges where the current is broken to ambush shrimp passing by in the current.”
Hughes said that catching fall trout isn’t limited to a short interval in the tide cycle.
“I catch trout on all phases of the tide this time of year, but the opposite current may not set up the same way on each tide. Certain positions are better along structure on the fall versus the rise and vice versa,” he said.
Luckily, the schools of trout don’t have to travel very far to regroup on a tide change, and that makes it easy for anglers to keep the action steady.
Live shrimp under an adjustable float are deadly, but Hughes said anglers can have fantastic success on a wide variety of artificial options, including both shrimp and baitfish imitations.
“Fish are hungry and looking for a quick meal. Live bait or artificial lures are both perfect choices to catch plenty of specs in November,” he said.