Female specks light up soft plastic lures in March
For many lowcountry anglers, the late fall is their favorite time of year to fish for speckled trout. But for David Fladd of Eye Strike Fishing and ReleaseOver20.org in Charleston, SC, the springtime is just fine with him.
Fladd gets this mentality from his business partner and fishing mentor, Ralph Phillips.
“He’s done a pretty good job instilling that mentality in me. Other times of the year may be better for pursuing other species on artificial lures. But it’s this time of year that we look forward to because it’s the best opportunity to catch big sow trout,” said Fladd.
As the weather begins to warm up, which can happen in early or late March, depending on the year, these big trout began to prepare for spawning season. And that makes even the smartest gator trout vulnerable.
“Really big trout are survivors for a reason. They are wary. But in spring, for some reason, they tend to occasionally let their guard down in pursuit of an easy meal,” he said.
Fladd likes to get on the water very early, even before the sun peeks over the horizon.
“Our day will start pre-dawn, throwing topwater plugs,” he said.
Lowcountry specks like variety of lures
Numerous surface lures will do the trick. Fladd has a special affinity to the Rapala Skitter V. When the topwater bite dies off, he switches gears.
“Once the sun is over the tree line, then we break out our jigs along with Z-Man ElaZtech lures and start searching deeper water,” he said.
Using Texas Eye jigs and 4-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ, he casts in areas with concrete, rubble, very hard bottom, and in deeper holes.
“Fishing in these areas, you’re going to go through your share of tackle. But no reward comes without a cost,” he said.
But Fladd said because of the shape and design, the hook on this jighead makes it weedless. This also helps to safely release trout, which Fladd encourages, especially those over 20 inches.
For the Jerk ShadZ, Fladd likes the smoky shad and nuked pilchard colors. His retrieve is pretty simple, but highly effective.
“We work them by hopping them along the bottom with short, sharp snaps. The hit usually happens on the drop,” he said.