Speckled trout bite hanging on in Charleston’s Stono River

Catch the action in the attached video as Capt. John Koonce fishes the Stono River behind John’s Island for some late fall speckled trout.

Live or imitation shrimp fished under cork producing good catches

For late fall anglers, speckled trout represent a highly prized target. but they can be especially fickle as the weather starts to turn colder. Capt. John Koonce of Shoal Bandit Charters on Johns Island claims the weather may be hard to predict, but the hot trout bite this fall in Charleston-area waters, especially the Stono River, is still hanging on.

“One day we’ll be out here in jeans and t-shirts, and the next day we’ll be wearing heavy jackets and toboggans,” he said. “But the water temperatures are still pretty decent, and the trout bite has stayed with us.”

While water temperatures remain above 50 degrees, Koonce (843-425-2939) expects to find schools of speckled trout hanging out along the banks, especially areas that feature long points or oyster shells where trout can ambush prey. The trout will move up on the edges of the grass with the incoming tide and move back off the banks as the tide recedes.

“Shrimp in the Stono are getting scarce now,” said Koonce. “Most of the bait is moving out, so I like to use either a live shrimp or an artificial DOA shrimp and work it under a cork. I’m not real aggressive with the retrieve, just a short, pop, pop, pop to let the fish know the bait is there.”

When using live shrimp, Koonce points out that most anglers hook the bait near the head. His preference is to hook it in the tail, where it appears more natural to the fish.

“A shrimp swims backwards when it’s scared or being attacked,” Koonce said. “So I rig him where he scoots backwards through the water when I pop the cork. As these fish start to slow down, it’s the little things that can spell the difference between having a so-so day and having a really good day on these fish.”

Get more tips from Capt John Koonce in the attached video, as he and his dog Jessie put the hammer down on some Stono River trout.

About Phillip Gentry 817 Articles
Phillip Gentry of Waterloo, S.C., is an avid outdoorsman and said if it swims, flies, hops or crawls, he's usually not too far behind.

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