Big, spawning specks invade Ocean Isle waters this month

Speckled trout are spawning and feeding heavily in the waters around Ocean Isle Beach in June.

Citation-sized specks are biting

June is a month to catch citation-sized speckled trout and very possibly boost your personal best. There may not be as many specks around as during the fall, but the annual trout spawn peaks this month. And lots of nice-sized sow trout are giving it their best to ensure healthy future generations. These big trout are working hard and are usually hungry, which helps fishermen.

Trout typically feed most aggressively at first light and sometimes again in late afternoon. However, they are opportunistic feeders. They will often attack something that looks good at any time of the day. They gather around grass points, creek mouths, oyster rocks and other places that concentrate baitfish or shrimp. This aggressive feeding continues throughout their spawn.

Specks retain their length after spawning but lose a lot of girth without bellies full of eggs. Trophy trout are the big females carrying eggs. They are fat, sassy, eating and spawning machines and the backbone of the species. Plenty of smaller sow specks and plenty of males of legal size are also biting. And anglers can invite them home to dinner.

Live or artificial shrimp make great speckled trout baits

Capt. Austin Kerr of Fellowship Charters (336-941-7292) in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., loves to chase trout and usually convinces them to bite by fishing live shrimp. When live shrimp aren’t available, he substitutes 3-inch Vudu Shrimp and twitches them seductively so they appear alive and ready to be eaten.

Kerr fishes from the Shallotte River to Little River Inlet, just across the state line in South Carolina. He looks for things that break the tidal current and give trout cover to stalk baitfish and shrimp. There is an average tidal change of better than 4 feet in these waters. So except for a few minutes right around the change, the water is always moving.

“My favorite way to catch speckled trout, especially these big ones, is to suspend a live shrimp about a foot above the bottom under a cork,” Kerr said. “You can tell when the shrimp spots a trout or other predator, as it begins to move quickly and may come to the surface and even run across it. It’s exciting to watch a shrimp get spooked and figure out how it’s going to get eaten.”

June is the best month to catch big, spawning sow trout. They’re busy making more little trout and need nourishment. Hungry specks won’t turn down a squirming live shrimp and usually eat soft plastic shrimp well too. The timing is right, trout are feeding heavily and the creeks and bays of southern Brunswick County are a great place to catch good numbers of June specks — including some genuine trophy fish.

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About Jerry Dilsaver 1115 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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