Go slow for Stono River speckled trout

Stono River
Gifford Scott said the Stono River is a great spot for speckled trout in December and throughout winter.

Speckled trout feed heavily in this lowcountry river

The Stono River in South Carolina’s lowcountry is a haven for speckled trout. The trick, said fishing guide Gifford Scott of SC Flats Fishing (843-4112-6429) is staying on the move until you get that first bite.

And once you’ve landed that first trout, Scott said you’re almost certainly in for your share of others.

Likely spots include small creeks off the main river, wooden docks, and oyster shell banks where secondary creeks meet the main river channel.

“On some days, you’ll find them in all three types of spots. Other days, they’re holding tight to just one type. And this time of year, it changes daily. You can think you’ve got them figured out because you caught them in a certain spot a few days in a row, then the next day, they aren’t there. So you just have to keep moving to the next spot, and try all three types of areas until you find them,” he said.

For lures, Scott said swimbaits on jigheads are all you need. His favorite is the D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad Tail on a Ralph Phillips jighead. He varies the size and weight of his jighead depending on conditions.

Use the lightest weight possible

“When it’s really windy and when the current is really ripping, you’ve got to size up,” he said. “But I like to use the smallest weight I can get away with.

“That 3-inch Shad Tail is a good one because it has some weight on its own. It’s good paired up with a 1/4-ounce jighead. But if I can reach my target with a 1/8-ounce, all the better,” he said.

He likes to try different colors throughout each day, and he always has D.O.A.’s 400 Greene in the mix.

“That’s a color that just works whether the water is dingy or clear. You always want to have one that’s good in many different circumstances,” he said.

More importantly than color, said Scott, is the speed of your retrieve.

“I can’t stress enough how slow you need to reel it in. Experiment at first of course, but if you’re not getting bit, always try slowing your retrieve before moving to another spot. You need to reel slower than you think. And when you’re reeling that slow, you need to slow down again. Painstakingly slow,” he said.

Scott said this time of year, it’s not uncommon to catch a dozen in one spot, then for them to shut down. That’s when it’s time to repeat the process.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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