N.C. anglers catching gator speckled trout

speckled trout
Lee Cox caught this hefty trout in the Atlantic Beach area. It weighed 5.38 pounds.

Big speckled trout hitting variety of lures

The speckled trout have turned on during the past few weeks from Atlantic Beach to the Neuse River. And some anglers have been catching true gators. And many have brought them by Chasin’ Tails Outdoors or Neuse River Bait & Tackle for weighing and measuring.

These fish are biting a wide variety of lures and live baits. MirrOlures have been doing well, especially the 17MR. Topwater lures like the Heddon Super Spook Jr are also attracting big bites. And Z-Man soft plastics are also getting a workout.

On March 13, Danny Rodgers weighed an almost 5-pound speckled trout at Neuse River Bait & Tackle.

speckled trout
Danny Rodgers brought this hefty speck by Neuse River Bait & Tackle on March 13.

Brandon Phibbons stopped by a few days later after fishing from the bank on March 16. Phibbons was using a live mud minnow as bait when a giant trout hit. The fish was 27 inches long and weighed 6 pounds.

speckled trout
Brandon Phibbons caught this speck on a live mud minnow while fishing from the bank.

Over at Chasin’ Tails, Colin Morris brought some big ones by on March 17. He’d been catching good numbers of specks in the 22- to 24-inch range on a variety of lures. Then he caught his personal best, a 30 incher that weighed 7 pounds. MirrOlure Paul Browns, 17MRs, and Yo-Zuri 3DS minnows have been his go-to lures for the big trout.

speckled trout
Colin Morris caught his personal best 30-inch speckled trout on March 17, in the Atlantic Beach area.

The big trout continue to bite

On March 20, Jeffrey Mickler stopped at Chasin’ Tails to share some fish stories after fishing in the marsh. He was using a MirrOlure 17MR that got slammed by a 6-pound speck.

speckled trout
Jeffrey Mickler’s 6-pound trout hit a MirrOlure 17MR in the marsh.

Back at Neuse River on the 21st, Kevin Manning brought in a big trout he’d caught on a topwater lure. His fish weighed 5 1/2 pounds.

speckled trout
This 5 1/2-pound speckled trout hit Kevin Manning’s topwater lure on March 21.

Capt. Brian Hudson was fishing with a MirrOlure 17MR on March 22 out of Atlantic Beach when he caught and released a 26-inch beauty of a speck.

speckled trout
This 26-inch speckled trout slammed Capt. Brian Hudson’s MirrOlure 17MR on March 22. Hudson released the fish after taking this photo.

Trout fishing will get even better as weather stabilizes

And on March 27, David Mercer was fishing the Neuse River area with topwater lures. He caught an released a 27 1/2-inch trout.

David Mercer’s 27 1/2-inch speckled trout hit a topwater lure on March 27 in the Neuse River area.

Lee Cox stopped by Chasin’ Tails on March 28 after catching big trout on a Z-Man Curly TailZ in Bad Shad color. It’s his biggest trout, and it weighed 5.38 pounds.

speckled trout
Lee Cox caught this hefty trout in the Atlantic Beach area. It weighed 5.38 pounds.

Ethan Johnson was fishing with his dad on the 27th when he called Neuse River Bait & Tackle. He was experiencing some boat troubles. Todd Willis had just closed up shop, but stuck around to help get them back on the water with a new battery. Just a few minutes later, Johnson hooked the biggest speck of his life, a 29-inch brute that he released.

Ethan Johnson caught and released this 29-inch speck on March 27 in the Neuse River area.

The next morning, Thomas Gryb stopped at Neuse River Bait & Tackle with his personal best trout. It was 27 inches long and pulled the scale to 5 pounds, 7 ounces. Gryb caught his speck on a Heddon Super Spook Jr.

Thomas Gryb’s 27-inch speckled trout hit a Super Spook Jr. on the surface. The fished weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

Also on the 28th, Don Smith stopped by Neuse River to fill out a release citation form for his biggest trout. He caught a whopping 31 1/2-inch speck using a MirrOlure MR17. Smith weighed the fish on his scale before releasing it to fight another day. The trout weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces.

Don Smith caught and released his biggest ever trout on March 28. It weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces and was 31 1/2 inches long.


Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1553 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. 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.

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