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Many species of fish moving through local waters

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Cooler weather has pushed fall fishing along quickly. Variable winds and weather conditions mean fishing luck changes daily, but it also means a lot of species are moving through our local waters.

Speckled trout are active inside. Trout hit throughout the year, but middle to late fall is probably being the best time to fish for them. During autumn, specks can be targeted in a variety of ways. They like a moving bait and are schooled up very tightly.

The best bait for speckled trout is live shrimp, fished either under a float or on a rig without much weight. Live shrimp will not be available forever, and in any case they are not always easy to catch and are not cheap. Many fishermen use cast nets to catch their own in the creeks, but they are not present in the colder months.

Another fine option now would be the big finger mullet moving en masse through our inshore waters. Trout are lying in wait around (and beneath) these huge schools and can especially be caught at a midtide that is lowering as baitfish are flushed out of the creeks.

Specks can also be caught on a variety of lures, and many anglers wait to throw lures until about this time of year. The Gulp! brand of soft baits has many gained many followers in recent years, as has the DOA and Billy Bay Halo shrimp imitation lures. There are, however, literally hundreds of grubs and jigs that will work for trout if they are in a feeding mood.

Speckled trout put up a good fight and have delicate white meat that is good fried but also great in many other fish recipes. Just remember the size limit has recently changed to 14 inches.

There are a lot of flounder anglers out there now, too. Most people fish for flounder with live bait, such as finger mullet or mud minnows. On piers, fishermen toss mud minnows or live shrimp around the pilings in shallow waters. Shore and surf anglers often cast and slowly retrieve finger mullet to entice them. Flounder fishermen in boats drift with the tide or troll for flounder, crossing vast stretches of sand and pulling minnows on the bottom.

You can also anchor up near structure and cast live bait or artificial lures like jigs and grubs to them. The same big finger mullet that will work for trout are a great choice for flounder right now. Flounder are not spectacular fighters but are regarded as one of the best tasting fish in local waters.

Many pier fishermen are still lining the rails looking for spot. Spot are the most anticipated fish of the year, present in some numbers all the time but swarming onto the beaches in great schools during the fall. Although not large, they are a great tasting little fish.

The “spot runs” have been variable this year, in numbers and size. The verdict is still out on how good a spot fishing season it will end up being. Spot are caught mainly on bloodworms and artificial bloodworms, earthworms and cut shrimp.

There have also been some big red drum reported by the guides out at the jetties, as well as some drum activity on the piers and in the surf. Pompano and sea mullet continue to hit when the spot are not cooperating in the ocean.

There is a lot of fishing activity now, as anglers know that cooling weather puts fish on the move. This is the last time for a while that huge bait schools will be roaming through our area. Now is a great time to go after fishing, when it is still warm enough to fish but cold enough to get them to bite.

JEFFREY WEEKS is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at saltyweeks@gmail.com or follow updated fishing reports on his blog at http://saltyweeks.blogspot.com.