It’s the best time of year to put the smackdown on specks
If there was ever a prime time to catch speckled trout in the Carolinas, November would rank way up there. Not only is it a prime month to catch specks, it’s when the big gators show up and stretch line to its limits.
A crafty angler can take home a few, fresh trout fillets most months, but fall is, hands down, a prime period to target specks when the water temperatures are tumbling and available bait is scurrying away to greener pastures. And it’s no huge surprise when a 5-, 6- or 8-pound beast shows up.
Guide Tripp Hooks of Captain Hook Outdoors out of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., frequently sees these tremendous fish in his catches.
“We catch a lot of trout in the fall, and some really big ones, too,” said Hooks (910-540-7332). “Its not uncommon to catch a handful of fish over 5 pounds when we are fishing the right water.”
Hooks fishes from Little River’s tannic waters along the border between the two Carolinas north and east to Southport, N.C., but his honey holes in Little River typically produce the biggest fish of the season.
Look for bigger trout in the deeper water
“We catch some big trout around Little River in November, and most of the bigger fish come from places with deep structure and good current flow. The bigger fish are usually in deeper water,” said Hooks, who will fish from the deep ledges off the ICW to Little River’s jetties.
“The jetties on a falling tide is one of my favorite places to go for a big fish. I like to get 20 feet off the rocks and make long drifts with my baits down 12 to 14 feet (under) the surface.”
Hooks’ best technique to catch a big trout is with live shrimp.
“Big trout will eat both big and small baits this time of year, but it is hard to beat a live shrimp under an adjustable float,” he said.
The bait in the estuaries and creeks, including shrimp, becomes less and less abundant through the fall and into winter, but local bait shops will normally have live shrimp that come from more southern waters.
Typically, big trout move in and stay for the cool months and fortunately, trout will hit live shrimp all winter long under almost any type of condition. And a big trout will rarely turn its nose up at a live shrimp.