Fish Tales of the Speckled Trout

The first cast of the dimly lit grey of early morning sunrise was met with a jarring crash of the hard plastic lure, as the large speckled trout smashed it with vengeance.

speckled trout

The light spinning reel drag screamed in protest, as the trout made a long run in search of freedom.

Back and forth the battle continued, until finally the trout came to the boat. Scooping the nice trout into a net to avoid losing it — the recommended procedure as they have a papery thin mouth membrane — dinner was secured!

November and December are some of my favorite months for fishing, as temperatures cool and the water clarity improves. While anglers can and do use artificials all year, I’m far more confident in clearer water conditions to unleash my arsenal of soft and hard plastics. There are a plethora of types and colors available, and most can be used with success, if fished properly. 

Speckled trout are beautiful fish with a silvery backside sprinkled with spots, unlike the summer trout, which have dashes.

Like most members of the saltwater trout family, they have a pair of vampire-like fangs that, when used with their bone-jarring strike, help hold the prey. These fish are very aggressive and will often attack prey almost as large as themselves. 

Speckled trout are a schooling fish and, when located, make for a spirited angling session. They can be targeted on topwater, the mid-column and often on the bottom with a slow-retrieved screw or paddle-tail jig. Another tried-and-true technique involves using live bait, shrimp or mud minnows underneath a popping cork and fishing along the marsh edge. Generally speaking, the rising tide is the best time for this method. 

Speckled trout populations are often affected by deep cold spells, but the last few winters have been mild.

The abundance of small trout we’ve observed this spring offer the promise of a speck-tacular (no pun intended) season this winter. By law, the minimum size is 14 inches, and you can keep up to 10 of these tasty battlers. 

For the most fun, I recommend a light to medium-light 7-foot rod with a small spinning reel and 10-pound test. Tight lines!

By Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. The Finatic boat can accommodate up to 12 passengers. Contact Miles at (843) 290-6955 to book an inshore or offshore charter fishing trip.