Border bounty: fat June speckled trout

speckled trout

Spawning trout provide plenty of action on both sides of the Carolinas’ state line

The numbers of speckled trout around the border between North Carolina and South Carolina this month usually aren’t quite as high as they get during the fall. But many are big sows laden with eggs.

This is the peak of the speckled trout spawn, and many fishermen are careful to only admire the large trout before releasing them to continue their business. However, there are also smaller but legal sow specks and plenty of males to be invited home to a trout dinner.

“This is an excellent time to catch trout. Big and little trout are feeding strong, and one of their favorite foods is live shrimp,” said Tommy Rickman of Southport Angler Outfitters Guide Service (

“One of the easiest ways to catch them is suspending live shrimp under a cork. I like the Betts Billy Bay Lowcountry Lightning floats because they let me quickly adjust the depth. I like to keep the bait suspended a little above the bottom, and this float makes that easy. It also has beads and I can click it as an attractor. On the business end, some fishermen prefer small treble hooks while others prefer ‘J’ or circle hooks and all produce.”

Speckled trout are on the feed in June along the coast of both Carolinas; the action around the states’ border is particularly hot. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

Rickman said fishing live shrimp under a float is a favorite technique from the creeks behind Bald Head Island to the shell points in Dunn Sound, especially along the Little River Inlet jetties. It is also popular with pier fishermen, who present squirming shrimp from the planks of the many ocean piers between Oak Island and Myrtle Beach.

Speckled trout love shrimp

The bottom line is, trout like to snack on live shrimp, and this is the most foolproof way to do it. There is no question of a strike — when the cork goes under, pause a second and set the hook.

Another popular way to catch specks is walking the dog with topwater lures. This technique requires a little practice to score consistently, but it is very popular. Attentive fishermen often see the trout sweeping up behind their lure to attack.

Seeing the trout strike can be nerve-wracking for novice fishermen, and it may keep their hookup ratio low. Once they learn to wait until they feel the weight of the fish to set the hook, their hookup ratio improves greatly. This is exciting fishing, but is typically limited to a few hours in the early morning and occasionally again in the late afternoon.

June is a good month to catch specks, and some will be large. They are spawning in the backwaters of both Carolinas, plus in the nearshore ocean — typically just beyond casting distance. Topwater lures will produce well in the backwaters, and live shrimp get their attention everywhere. A morning of fun “pullage” can also provide a speckled trout dinner.

JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month

Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Carolina Sportsman Magazine and

Jerry Dilsaver
About Jerry Dilsaver 1185 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.

1 Comment

  1. Love the Carolina Sportsman on line magazine, the videos and stories are both entertaining and informative. I look forward to making my annual trip to S.C. in October and I usually take some notes on the different fishing techniques that I read about. Big thanks by KY Mike and I really look forward to coming down this fall. God bless and tight lines…

Leave a Reply