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 (www.fishsouthport.com).
“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.”
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.