Best trout fishing of year arrives along North Carolina’s southeastern coast

Speckled trout around North Carolina’s Cape Fear will have their feed on throughout November.

I don’t think there is anyone, anywhere, who would argue that 2020 hasn’t been an unusual year. With free time from not being able to work, lots of folks went fishing, and one of the fish that hasn’t disappointed has been speckled trout. Surprisingly, good numbers of nice specks have been caught all year, and what is typically the best fishing of the year is just beginning.

Thanks to several consecutive mild winters, there hasn’t been a recent trout stun or kill, and with those fish surviving to spawn, a lot of specks are around to be caught. Even better, there are a good number of gator specks in the mix. The creeks and marshes from Topsail, N.C., to the South Carolina border are holding specks and they specks are already hungry and biting.

The last of the baitfish and shrimp usually move out of the marshes in November, and the trout are following and ambushing them. It’s a great time to catch 4-fish limits and add a citation for a 5-pound or heavier trout to the wall in your man cave.

Many fishermen believe the best way to catch fall trout is by suspending a live shrimp under a cork. This works well, but, unfortunately live shrimp aren’t always available. Capt. Butch Foster of Yeah Right Charters in Southport, N.C., said he has found a surprisingly good substitute, and it works easy enough that even beginning fisherman will catch fish using it.

“I really like the (Betts) Halo Shad,” said Foster (336-309-5900).  “We’ve been using them for a while, and our clients continue to put nice fish in the boat. They catch red drum and flounder, also.

“I use a handful of colors to keep checking, but green tiger in the 1/4-ounce size and chartreuse in 1/2-ounce size regularly outfish the others. They are almost too easy to fish. Simply cast one out, let it sink and then reel it back in just fast enough to make the tail wiggle.”

Foster said the water temperature in November should be just about perfect to keep trout active and feeding. They’ll be looking for food, and anywhere that concentrates bait may be holding trout. Good places to find them are at creek mouths (especially during the falling tide), on points where the current eddies turn or slow, dropoffs along grass edges, along oyster bars and along rip-rap.

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Jerry Dilsaver
About Jerry Dilsaver 1187 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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